Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks Upon Receiving an Original Copy of the Magna Carta From a Delegation of British Parliamentarians.

June 04, 1976

FIRST, LET me extend a very warm welcome to our British friends to the White House as well as to the Rose Garden. And we certainly want to express, on behalf of all of the American people, our gratitude and appreciation to the United Kingdom and the Parliament for loaning to the United States, for a period of 1 year, one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta. It is very appropriate, I think, that it will be displayed in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the American people will have an opportunity to see firsthand this very historic document.

The Magna Carta, as we all know in this country as well as in Great Britain, is revered by free people everywhere. It is basically the foundation of our deep-seated beliefs in this country, in the right of freedom for all people. And we are proud of the fact that our own Declaration of Independence, to a very substantial degree, carries on the great principles and traditions of the Magna Carta. And without our Declaration of Independence, of course, perhaps this country never would have come into being.

So, I do wish to express, on behalf of 215 million Americans, your generosity in letting us have for a period of 1 year this very historic document. And I should say in addition, all of us in this country are looking forward with great anticipation to the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. It will be an historic event in not only the history of this country but certainly in our Bicentennial Year. And we hope and trust that the visit of the Queen will be one of the great events in our Nation's history.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:05 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

The British delegation consisted of Lord Elwyn-Jones, Lord High Chancellor, Lord Shepherd, Lord Privy Seal, The Right Honorable George Thomas, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Sir Thomas Williams, QC, MP. Sir Peter Ramsbotham, British Ambassador to the United States, Representative John J. Rhodes of Arizona, and Speaker of the House Carl Albert also attended.

Lord Elwyn-Jones' response to the President's remarks is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 12, p. 999).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks Upon Receiving an Original Copy of the Magna Carta From a Delegation of British Parliamentarians. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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