Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada

March 24, 1969

Mr. Prime Minister, and ladies and gentlemen:

As most of you are aware, the Prime Minister is the first official visitor since the new administration assumed office.

In welcoming him personally today and also in welcoming him representing his country, I do so saying first that it is altogether appropriate that he should be the first official visitor to this country. Because as we look at the relations between your country and my country, Mr. Prime Minister, we recognize many factors that are often spoken about in the classroom and in the press and on television: We share the longest common border of all nations. We share the common law. We share a common language. We share many common characteristics with regard to our history. And, in addition to that, we share a very precious asset, the asset of friendship.

In describing that friendship, however, I would emphasize a characteristic about it that sometimes we forget. That characteristic is that the friendship that Canada and the United States have enjoyed for so many years is not characterized by that total unanimity of view which destroys creativity, but it is characterized by a lively diversity and through that diversity we have the hallmark of freedom.

As the Prime Minister and I will be talking, and as his associates will be talking with the Secretary of State and their opposite numbers, we will find most areas in which we are in agreement. We will find other areas in which we find that we have differences. But those differences are ones that, between friends, we will be able to discuss and find, in most instances, a common ground which is perhaps superior to the position that either of us had before.

This is the mark of true friendship. And it is why in speaking to you today, Mr. Prime Minister, I welcome you in behalf of all of the American people, so many of us who have known and enjoyed your country.

I can only add this: I only hope we can make you feel as much at home here in the United States as my wife and I, and so many hundreds of thousands of Americans, have been welcomed in your country when we have visited there as private citizens.

Note: The President spoke at 10:04 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. Earlier, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada was given a formal welcome with full military honors at the North Portico.

See also Items 126 and 127.

Prime Minister Trudeau responded as follows:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of my colleagues and myself, I want to thank you for your very cordial welcome.

I am very happy to be here. I feel very honored that you should have extended your welcome to me, sir, so early in the days of your new administration.

We have, as you say, very many ties which link us, ties of friendship and ties of common interest. And, especially, we have a common outlook on the world. We have the same values and we tend to face the issues in a common way.

It is because of this, Mr. President, that I am looking forward to our discussions, discussions of matters of mutual interest. And I am looking forward to listening to your views on world problems, on the information, and the wisdom that you will want to impart upon me in your talks.

For these reasons, I am very glad to be here. Like so many Canadians, I always look forward to a visit to the United States with great pleasure. I have great pleasure in being here and I am looking forward to my stay with great anticipation.

Thank you very much, sir, for your welcome.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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