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Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Hilmar Baunsgaard of Denmark

April 14, 1970

Mr. Prime Minister:

I have the very great honor to welcome you to Washington on this day. We regret that our weather is such that the formal ceremonies that we had scheduled for the South Grounds could not be carried out, but the welcome, I can assure you, is one that is just as deep and one that means just as much in this historic East Room of the White House.

As we think of your visit, I recognize the fact that you are the first head of government from a Scandinavian country to visit this country on an official visit since this administration. And we are very happy that that is the case for reasons both official and personal.

Official because Denmark and the United States have had such close and friendly relations over a long period of time. We have been allies and friends over 160 years. We work together in the United Nations and NATO. Our commercial relations and bilateral relations are among the very best in the world.

And personal because my wife and I remember in 1962, July 4, when we visited your country, the only nation in the world in which an official celebration of the American Fourth of July is held by the people of that country, the people of Denmark--and I shall never forget 50,000 Danes at Rebild celebrating the American Fourth of July. That touched me very deeply then, as it touches all Americans that have had the opportunity to visit that famous occasion, and we realize then how close the bonds are between our two countries.

As we came in, we saw your flag and our flag together. And I was reminded of the fact that your flag, the Dannebrog, is 750 years old. That is the oldest flag in continuous use without alteration in the whole history of the present world. And that flag indicates the history, the tradition of your country, but your visit here indicates the future. You represent the business community. You represent the Government. You represent the progressive characteristics of Denmark and the great contribution that it has made not only to Europe but to the world.

I know that our talks that we will have here will contribute to a relationship that is already strong and friendly, and we welcome you most warmly.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. Because of rain, the ceremony was moved from the South Lawn to the North Portico where Prime Minister Baunsgaard was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The President and Prime Minister then proceeded to the East Room for their exchange of remarks.

Prime Minister Baunsgaard responded as follows:

Mr. President:

My wife and I, and the members of my delegation, are sincerely thankful for your cordial words of welcome.

I believe in the value of personal contact. It is therefore only natural that I should be delighted to have come to Washington, D.C., and I am deeply grateful to be here as the guest of you, Mr. President, and the United States.

I am sure, Mr. President, that our meetings will prove to be very useful. It will offer opportunity for free talks on world issues and on problems of direct concern to our two countries. I am convinced that we shall both find that there are no fundamental problems dividing us.

In Denmark, we have always attached great importance to our cooperation with the United States. We recollect with special gratitude the great achievements of the United States which paved the way for our country's liberation in 1945. It is my earnest hope that our meeting will confirm and, if possible, even further strengthen the longstanding cooperation and friendship between our two countries.

May I, Mr. President, say that we in the Danish delegation were deeply concerned last night about the news of the difficulties which the Apollo 13 flight has run into. What the U.S. has accomplished in space is so remarkable and outstanding, and we know how very qualified the people in NASA are. Our confidence and prayers will follow the brave and able astronauts for their safe return to the earth.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Hilmar Baunsgaard of Denmark Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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