Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

A Toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

October 17, 1957

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, My Friends:

There have been a few times in my life when I have wished that the gift of eloquence might have been conferred upon me. This evening is one of those times. More than this, I know that each guest at this table fervently would pray that I could have had that gift, because through me each of us would like to say what we know is in America's heart: Welcome to our distinguished royal couple that have come to us to this country, making their first visit in the old commonwealth of Virginia.

Very fittingly they have done so. There was the first colony that Britain established on these shores, and there were established those ties, that commingling of customs and of practices and a way of life that became so much one that when we finally became independent it was difficult to tell where one custom left off and another began.

And through the succeeding century Britain was a great influence in the world, a great influence for peace. Wherever her flag was shown there people felt that justice could prevail.

And then there came two great wars, and in those wars Britain's sons and ours marched side by side with a courage that matched that of those settlers that came here in the lone wilderness and fought the weather and the climate and the Indians and began establishing this nation. In those wars the courage of England again was as fully manifested.

To me was given the great privilege of serving with the people of that nation for almost four years. From the royal family to the humblest citizen, they so conducted themselves that they enlisted the admiration, the liking and the respect of every American who came in contact with them.

Those great days are not over. The free world is engaged in a great struggle and the total of the free world's assets are so much greater than those of our potential enemy, should we say, that it is ridiculous to compare their brains, their abilities in science, in philosophical thought, or in any phase of culture or of the arts with the combined total of the free world.

But I say combined total advisedly. We are too much separated by things that concern us locally. This is a struggle of ideologies, of a religious way of life against atheism, of freedom against dictatorship.

But we have the power. The only thing to do is to put it together.

Our scientists must work together. NATO should not be thought of merely as a military alliance. NATO is a way of grouping ability--of our manhood, our resources, of our industries and our factories.

At the heart and foundation of all of this, the English-speaking people march forward together, to stand steadfast behind the principles that have made the two nations great--of the same faith in their God, and in themselves--a belief in the rights of man.

That is the way we will go forward. That courage--the respect we have for Britain--is epitomized in the affection we have for the royal family, who have honored us so much by making this visit to our shores.

And before I ask you to rise with me, I want to make a Toast to the Queen, I want again to say that my faith in the future of these two great countries and the whole Commonwealth of the British nations, indeed of the whole free world, is absolutely unimpeachable. I know we can do it.

And at the bottom of it, the example of Britain--of America-of Canada--and the rest of the Commonwealth--marching forward, carrying the flag of unity and cooperation will be the keynote to that great successful future that will be ours, that will belong to our children and our grandchildren.

Ladies and gentlemen, will you please rise with me and drink a Toast to the Queen.

Note: The President proposed this toast at the State Dinner in honor of the Queen and the Prince Philip at the White House.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, A Toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233813

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