Richard Nixon photo

Toasts of the President and Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria at a Luncheon in Salzburg

May 21, 1972

Mr. Chancellor and Mrs. Kreisky, and our distinguished hosts and all of our guests today:

Mrs. Nixon and I are very moved by the remarks you have just made and by the reception that you have given us on our brief visit to Salzburg and to Austria.

Mr. Chancellor, you said that this is one of the most beautiful cities in your country. As we look at this view and as we look back at the mountain in back of us, this is one of the most beautiful cities in all the world.

It is not my first visit here. I recall in 1956---when the now Secretary of State was then Deputy Attorney General and I was Vice President--when we visited Austria. We were in Vienna, we were in Salzburg around Christmastime. We learned then to know the hospitality, the grace, the warmth of the Austrian people.

We learned then to know the beauty of this country and of this city and of all the country. We learned then, too, to admire the Austrian people for what they did for the refugees who came into the country from Hungary. It was a difficult time for the world, for those refugees, for this country. But the great warmth, the hospitality, as a matter of fact, the sacrifice that was made by the Austrian people in order to help those who were having very difficult times made an enormous impression upon us.

We wish to pay tribute to the Austrian people for what they did then and what they have contributed then, before then, and since then to the kind of a peaceful world that we all want to build.

You, Mr. Chancellor, have said that this is a small country. I would simply respond by saying that as we leave tomorrow on a visit that will bring us to a meeting between the two most powerful nations in the world--the Soviet Union and the United States--that one of our major purposes will be to try to make progress toward the time when all countries in the world, whatever their size, may have the right to choose their own way, the right to independence, to whatever form of government they desire--a right which we see here in Austria exemplified in the highest degree.

Finally, Mr. Chancellor, I think you should know that while our talks have been necessarily brief and informal, it has been most helpful for me to get the benefit of your thinking on the problems of Europe, the problems of the world in which you are so well versed because you have not only served in this capacity but also as Foreign Minister.

I can only say that the size of a country does not determine the quality of its leadership. And a small country has produced, in the present Chancellor of Austria, one of the top statesmen of the world who contributes greatly to the thinking which the world needs if we are to build what we all want--generations of peace in the years ahead, peace with progress for all people, and peace with independence for all nations.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 2:43 p.m. in the Kobenzl-Gaisberg Hotel. He spoke without referring to notes. Chancellor Kreisky's remarks were as follows: Dear Mr. President Nixon:

It is both an honor and a profound pleasure for me to be able to welcome you in one of the most beautiful cities of our country.

I know that you are on your way to what will undoubtedly be one of the great political events in many years. Small countries do not have sufficient power of their own to immunize themselves against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and so are, therefore, particularly interested that such events turn out to be fruitful.

As a representative of a small nation, I may, therefore, wish you every possible good luck for your forthcoming trip to Moscow.

Finally, I hope that you and Mrs. Nixon will leave Austria with good memories, that one day we may be able to meet you again in the capital of our country.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and Chancellor Bruno Kreisky of Austria at a Luncheon in Salzburg Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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