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Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Paris, France

January 04, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. President, distinguished members of the French Government, people of France:

I am delighted to be here in Paris, the Queen of Cities, and 'to make my second visit to France, whose intellectual and cultural parentage of the United States has been exceeded only by the nation whose language I now speak.

I have had the privilege of meeting with President Giscard d'Estaing in London and of welcoming Prime Minister Barre to the White House this past year. Their advice and knowledge, especially on international, political, and economic matters of concern to both our nations, has been very helpful.

As your President said, the relationship between our people is special and rare because it has largely been an alliance of ideals. Two hundred years ago, leaders in both our nations helped each other to a definition of a revolutionary principle-that citizens possess certain natural rights which stood higher than the claims of power of any state.

In their time, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Declaration of Independence turned the world upside down, and they are still the bedrock of our own democratic systems of government and of the demands for human rights, which is being heard with increasing intensity throughout the world.

But our alliance has embodied more than ideals. Americans will forever remember the crucial assistance which Lafayette and the French nation gave us during those painful and dangerous days of our own national birth. It was with the same spirit of common purpose that Americans came to the Normandy beaches and to the Marne to join France in preserving your liberty and, thereby, our own.

Now we are again allied in a search for answers to difficult questions that concern us both. President Giscard d'Estaing and I will discuss ensuring the stability and growth of the international economy and working for economic justice within our own societies and among the nations of the world, maintaining the defense of our Western nations, while constantly searching for peace in troubled areas such as the Middle East, for constantly improved relations with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and for reductions in the level of all kinds of armaments everywhere in the world, addressing other issues which no nation can afford to ignore, especially the world's energy problems, and continuing the struggle for basic human rights, which our two nations proclaimed 200 years ago.

The statue in the harbor of New York that symbolizes our own liberty, like many of the ideas which first inspired our own demands for freedom, came as a gift from the people of France.

Our approaches to specific questions may not always be the same, but our deep respect for the independence and leadership of France and our affection for your people have remained strong for more than 200 years. I hope and believe that in the future the ties between France and the United States of America will grow even stronger.

Mr. President, we are delighted to be here in your great country with your great people.

Note: The President spoke at 3:20 p.m. at Orly International Airport in response to welcoming remarks by President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

Following the ceremony, the President and President Giscard d'Estaing motorcaded to the Arc de Triomphe, where they participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They then proceeded to Elysee Palace for meetings.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Paris, France Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244297

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