Gerald R. Ford photo

Toasts of the President and Carlos Arias Navarro, President of Government of Spain, at a Working Luncheon in Madrid

May 31, 1975

Mr. President, Mr. Minister, Your Excellencies:

For a quarter of a century, Spain and the United States have enjoyed the most cordial and the most productive ties, characterized by our common efforts to meet the danger of aggression against the Western community of nations and, supported by mutual respect for the aspirations of our respective peoples, to secure for themselves a better life.

Mindful as we have been of each other's concerns and needs, we have forged, fortunately, a harmonious and a very fine relationship.

We have met today to reaffirm our commitment to build this cooperation in a mutually beneficial manner.

The world has changed, as we well know, from when the first U.S.-Spanish friendship agreement which was signed in 1953. But the need for strong defenses has not lessened in any way whatsoever. Spain and the United States have, in the past, contributed together to the maintenance of a strong Western security. The present and future call for no less effort. The United States remains totally dedicated to this task.

It would be my observation that the cooperation being carried out in so many fields between our countries demonstrates the breadth of our interests, the depth of friendship, and the commitment of the United States and Spain to a better life for our citizens. Spain, of course, is an important part of our Atlantic conception.

Mr. President, I raise my glass and propose a toast to this spirit of friendship. May our cooperation be preserved and strengthened. May it assure peace for Spaniards and Americans alike Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 3:35 p.m. in the Salon de Columnas at Moncloa Palace. In his opening remarks, he referred to Foreign Minister Pedro Cortina Mauri.

President Arias Navarro spoke in Spanish. His response was translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President:

It constitutes for me a great honor to attend this working lunch, which you have so kindly invited me to.

During the tight schedule of your visit to our country, we will have the opportunity to keep a broad exchange of views, which will constitute the basis of an understanding with which to cement an official and positive cooperation of the one that fortunately has guided so far the relations between our two countries.

Spanish-American relationships have blended throughout history. For Spain, it is a motive of deep pride in her glorious past to have so substantially contributed to the origins of the great American Nation, both during its discovery and its independence.

In the past, European inhabitants of territories which then became the United States were of Spanish origin. Also Spanish was the initial impulse and backing received by the forefathers of America in the heroic days of her access to the concert of free nations.

The last 25 years of understanding and cooperation between Spain and the United States has become particularly intense. This cooperation has been, I am sure, one of the fundamental supports for the existence of the free world.

Spain believes that the hour has come for this direct, loyal, and disinterested contribution on her part to be acknowledged in specific and practical terms by the nations that formed the Western world, to which our country belongs, as wall as for its geographical position, its history, and its culture, and for its past and present contributions.

Mr. President, this is not the first time that Spain has had the honor to receive you. You have come to Madrid before, when you represented your country in the event of the tragic death of my predecessor, Almairante Carrero Blanco, a sorrowful occasion for all Spaniards, especially for those of us who had the privilege of sharing the responsibilities of government under his command.

Your visits then and today, we believe, fit in that long tradition of cooperation that I have already mentioned. That is why the Spanish people, my colleagues in the Government, and myself think that nobody better than you can understand the depth and importance of existing cooperation between our countries, as well as the need for preserving such understanding for the future sake of values that belong to our common civilization and that have been so efficiently defended so far.

We congratulate ourselves, Mr. President, and we thank you for your visit to Spain. We are certain that you share with us the desire to continue our friendship, already a tradition. You can be sure that Spain trusts your leadership in the Western world and knows that our common objectives can be reached.

Allow me, Mr. President, to raise my glass for the perseverance of that spirit of friendship and understanding existing between Spain and the United States, for the friendship of the American people, as well as for yours.

Following the luncheon, the President met with Prince Juan Carlos at Moncloa Palace.

Gerald R. Ford, Toasts of the President and Carlos Arias Navarro, President of Government of Spain, at a Working Luncheon in Madrid Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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