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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

February 20, 1991

The President. Let me welcome you back to the United States of America. Your own motto aptly describes your role, "God's help, the people's love, Denmark's strength." It's a privilege to greet you as an ally and a friend.

You and Prince Henrik were here last in 1976, when President Ford noted how America has maintained uninterrupted relations with Denmark since 1801. These 190 years represent one of the oldest relationships that the United States has had with any country. We have much in common; we stood by each other in peace and in war. Our meeting today will enhance a relationship which already links our history and our hearts.

You were educated in Denmark, England, and France, and speak five languages. And still, we know that there must be a universal language, a commitment to the liberty and dignity of the individual, freedom, and democracy, the rule of law, and the right of all people and States to live in peace. Both our countries realize that freedom is never finally won; rather, each generation must secure that blessing for itself and for those who follow.

During World War II, your countrymen organized a strong and noble resistance. Denmark protected most of its Jewish population from the horrors of the Holocaust. And after the war, this legacy helped Denmark join America as a founding member of NATO, strengthening our historic ties with the multilateral bonds of an historic alliance. For decades, Denmark and America have known that to protect our own freedom we must maintain the freedom of others.

Your Majesty was born 1 week after Denmark was occupied in 1940. And you know that self-determination often carries a price. And so, it is no surprise that when the freedom of Kuwait came under attack, Denmark joined the multinational coalition. You knew that naked aggression must not stand. And today, a Danish warship, the Corvette Olfert Fischer, is deployed in the Gulf.

You seek to strengthen the international community sanctions against the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. And today, also, Denmark is assisting the victims of war, sending a medical team to the coalition forces in Saudi Arabia, readying a hospital in Europe for evacuated casualties, helping refugees from Kuwait and Iraq.

Denmark stands up for freedom. Danish forces have distinguished themselves in United Nations peacekeeping missions all over the globe. And Denmark has taken a firm and principled stand in support of the Baltic peoples and their democratically-elected governments. Both Denmark and the United States have spoken out against the use of force in the Baltics and in support of a return to peaceful and constructive negotiations.

Historically, Denmark and America have shared a commitment to strengthen democratic processes that has never been stronger. Nor has our joint belief that real peace means the triumph of freedom, not merely the absence of war.

A Danish proverb notes that peace and a well-built house cannot be bought too dearly. Together we are building a house of peace in Europe, espousing the cause of hope and human dignity, a cause that is right and good. And for that I thank you.

I welcome Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, and her consort, Prince Henrik, to Washington as very special guests of the United States. The Danes say proudly that if the monarchy were abolished -- I hope this won't embarrass you -- the Queen would win the Presidency by a landslide. And surely, the year-long jubilee of the Queen's birthday showed Denmark's love of this artist, translator, stage designer, archeologist, and ruler, as it has also of Prince Henrik, whose work in the business and charity, diplomacy, and the environment has won him the esteem of the Danish people and the respect of the United States and many other countries as well.

So, Your Majesty, let me welcome you back to the White House and wish you a very happy and productive visit. And may God bless Denmark and the United States of America.

Queen Margrethe. Mr. President, the Prince Consort and I have looked forward to our first state visit to your country with warm expectancy. So many close ties bind the United States and Denmark together. Our two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for almost 190 years, the longest uninterrupted relationship, I am told, of the United States with any other state.

But far more important than the duration of the official relationship are the innumerable personal ties between Americans and Danes and the values that we share. For more than a generation, in fact, as long as I can remember, the United States and Denmark have been partners or have otherwise cooperated in many fields. We need only mention our membership with the United Nations and our partnership in NATO that remain two of the fundamentals of the foreign policy of both our countries.

The Prince Consort and I have just spent 2 delightful days at Williamsburg. Though the distance between the capital of colonial Virginia and Washington, DC, is short, it is nevertheless a journey in time, for it spans the history of the United States from early republican time to the present day. And it is striking how all through the years one thing has remained unchanged: the dedication of your country and its people to the ideals proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. Those ideals are values that we share.

And however troubled the present times may be, it is heartening to see how the dedication to common values is able to rally so many nations of the international community when the United Nations calls upon them.

Mr. President, the reception which you have given to me and the Prince Consort here just now makes an impressive beginning to our stay as your guests. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:14 a.m. on the South Portico of the White House, where Queen Margrethe was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his remarks, he referred to Prince Henrik, the Queen's husband. Following the ceremony, the President and the Queen met in the Oval Office.

George Bush, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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