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Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Edward Heath of Great Britain

December 17, 1970

Mr. Prime Minister:

I have welcomed you before to Washington, D.C., and to this house, but it is a special privilege to welcome you for the first time as Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Our countries have a special relationship which we often refer to. That relationship can be described in terms of a common language, of our adherence to the common law, and of the various institutions of government which we share in common.

Today, as we meet for our talks and as we meet again tomorrow, we shall be thinking of those common bonds. But what really makes our relationship special is something far more significant and far more profound. It is the dedication of our two nations and of our two peoples to great principles of justice, progress, freedom, opportunity, and peace for ourselves and for other people throughout the world.

We have fought together in two great wars in this century for those principles. And today, as we meet, we shall be speaking of how we can work together for those principles to prevail, not only in our own nations but throughout the world.

As this Christmas season is with us, I think it is most appropriate that we are meeting, because no greater cause could be served than for our two nations, which do have a special relationship for the reasons that I have mentioned, and which do have this common dedication to these great principles, that our two nations should work together and be rededicated anew to achieving a goal that people in this world have never had in this century, a full generation of peace.

I am sure our talks will contribute toward that end.

Note: The President spoke at 10: 15 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Heath was given a formal welcome with full military honors.
See also Item 470.

The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President:

May I thank you on behalf of my colleagues and myself for the very warm welcome which you have given us this morning.

I am delighted to be here in the United States as Prime Minister of Great Britain, to have come to a country which I have now known well for more than 30 years, since the time I first came here when I was a student.

Mr. President, we have all admired the courage of the American people, which has done so much to maintain freedom across the world. We have all been grateful to the generosity of the American people, which has done so much to help to rebuild Europe and bring prosperity to other people.

We have, I believe, between our two countries and our two peoples, what matters most of all, and that is a natural relationship, which has now grown up over many years and which is the basis for our work together.

We were delighted to be able to welcome you to Chequers in a very natural way, in a very natural setting, and just to have talks together.

These 2 days will enable us both to discuss a wide range of affairs of mutual interest to us.

Naturally, we shall also be discussing, amongst them, Europe, our common interests in the Western Alliance, and Britain's policies towards Europe.

I see nothing incompatible, nor do my colleagues, in the application of Britain to become a member of the European Economic Community and, thus, to create a wider unity in our own continent.

Indeed, I believe that if the application is successful, it will be to the benefit, not only of Europe and Britain in Europe, but of the United States and the Atlantic Alliance and the whole free world.

And as you have so rightly said at this Christmas time, we think above all of peace, and what we can do to contribute towards it, to establish it on a solid basis. And we think, too, of those who are less fortunate in the world and what we, as industrially developed nations, can do to bring them a more prosperous and a happier life than they have had hitherto.

And so, Mr. President, I am greatly looking forward to the talks which we are going to have today, which will, I believe, consolidate that happy relationship which exists between our countries, if I may say so, between you and myself, because we have known each other also over many years, both in and out of office, and I believe the talks which we are now going to have will greatly help the work which both of us have in hand for the good of our own countries, for the Western World, for freedom, and for prosperity.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Edward Heath of Great Britain Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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