John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Macmillan at Andrews Air force Base

April 27, 1962

Prime Minister, Mr. Secretary, Ambassadors

It is a great pleasure to welcome you once again to this Capital City. This is the fifth occasion, Prime Minister, since I have become President, in which you and I have had a chance to meet, and it follows a long series of meetings with my distinguished predecessor and your old friend, General Eisenhower.

To those who may wonder what we find to talk about on these occasions, I suggest they take a map of the world and trace those countries scattered around the globe whose integrity, security, and freedom both the United States and Great Britain are committed to maintain. In NATO, in CENTO, in SEATO, in the United Nations, in dozens of areas, Great Britain and the United States work shoulder to shoulder.

We regard the Atlantic as uniting us, not separating us. And I may say, speaking personally, Prime Minister, that it is a source of satisfaction and comfort to me to be associated with you in this most critical time-you, who have for 20 years been a distinguished captain in the field in the defense of the West, and the leader of a country which for more than a thousand years has borne its weight and more.

So, Prime Minister, we welcome you here again. You come at a most significant time, and you come to a country which welcomes you, in a sense, as a native son by inheritance, and as a friend by deeds.

Prime Minister, we are glad to have you.

Note: Prime Minister Macmillan responded as follows:

"Mr. President, I would like to thank you most warmly for the gracious words that you have spoken. These meetings which we have had are becoming not just occasional but, I am happy to say, a normal practice, and although they excite sometimes a certain interest in the press, as to what it is exactly that we are going to do, we do, as you say, Mr. President, generally find something to do which may be useful.

"The last time we met I had the honor of welcoming you to Bermuda, and I think, as you said, this is the fifth occasion that we have met since you became President of the United States. The real truth of it is that however admirable--and they are admirable--our Ambassadors and the representatives that we have in each other's capitals, however excellent are the communications between our Secretaries of State--and they are very good--there is something quite different in being able just to talk over problems, simply, face to face, and in an informal manner. Perhaps it is that that is the very basis of the friendship, partnership, alliance--call it what you will, between your country and mine.

"Each time I come to Washington I am proud to feel that, as you referred to, I am in a sense the product of Anglo-American cooperation, and I hope that I shall have an opportunity of coming again, and of welcoming you, Mr. President, in England on another occasion.

"As I say, these conversations are something unique and valuable to both of us and I am very grateful for the chance of having them, especially at this time, when although there is much cause for anxiety, there is also much need for patience and firmness combined.

"I thank you."

In his opening remarks the President referred to Secretary of State Dean Rusk and to members of the diplomatic corps.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome to Prime Minister Macmillan at Andrews Air force Base Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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