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Toasts of the President and General Francisco Franco of Spain at a State Dinner in Madrid

October 02, 1970

General Franco, Mrs. Franco, Your Excellencies, friends of Spain and the United States:

When I visited President Eisenhower just a few weeks before he died, he was reminiscing about his great experiences as president and also as a military leader. I asked him to weigh the various receptions that he had had around the world. He thought a moment and then he said that one of the greatest and most friendly welcomes and the most memorable receptions he had as President of the United States was a reception in Spain in 1959, when he was the guest at this table and in this city of you, General Franco, and Mrs. Franco.

I now know what he meant, because today we had the opportunity to feel the kind of reception that the Spanish people, under your leadership, gave to him and that you gave to us, as representatives of the American people. We think of this magnificent banquet, at the very table where he sat just 11 years ago, with many of the same people here present.

We think of the words of welcome which you have so generously spoken. We think also, of the tremendous crowds in the streets of Madrid as we drove together to the Palace where we are staying.

And as we heard and saw those crowds, they were saying many things. Among them were these: First, General Franco, they were expressing their respect and their affection for you. Second, they were expressing their friendship for the people of the United States.

Third, as I saw those crowds, I saw the past of Spain and the future of Spain, and it is truly a great future, because I saw a vigorous people--a proud people, a young people, a dynamic people--the people that have been responsible for Spain having the fastest growth rate of any country in Europe over these past to years; the people who will be responsible for Spain, in the last 30 years of this century, moving into a new period of economic progress and well-being for its people and a new period of contributions to progress for all peoples in the world.

This is what I felt as we drove through the streets of Madrid today.

And then in the talks that we have had this afternoon with you, with members of your staff, with Vice President Blanco, with Prince Juan Carlos, with Secretary Bravo,1 I felt that we, in those talks, established a new firm base for increased understanding, increased cooperation in all fields between Spain and the United States in the years ahead.

We have been good friends, our two countries. We, I believe, in the years ahead can be even better friends.

The treaty to which you have referred can be the solid basis for areas of cooperation that have not yet been explored, and we want to participate with you in this great adventure in which the Spanish people, with a proud past, move forward to one of the great periods in its entire history in the last 30 years of this century.

I would say to you finally, that as I heard the crowds in the streets today, I realized that the United States has many friends in Spain.

I want to assure you, General Franco, the members of your Government, and all of this distinguished company here, and all those who may hear me on television or radio, that Spain has many friends in the United States. And I assure you, particularly, that Spain has two special friends, the present President of the United States and his wife, who have a feeling of affection and of friendship for this country, for its people.

You will always have a friend in us and a good friend and a loyal friend in the years ahead.

So I ask this company to rise with me and raise your glasses to the health of General Franco and Mrs. Franco, to the economic progress and prosperity of the Spanish people, and to the cooperation of the United States and Spain in the cause of peace and progress for the whole world.

General Franco.

1 Foreign Minister of Spain Gregorio Lopez Bravo.

Note: The President spoke at 10:49 a.m. [See APP note below] in the Royal Palace in Madrid in response to a toast proposed by General Franco who spoke in Spanish. A translation of the General's remarks, made available by the Spanish Embassy in Washington, follows:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

It is an honor and a great satisfaction to have with us today President Nixon, a statesman for whom I have always felt the deepest admiration, whose qualities of wisdom, realism, understanding, and devotion to his responsibilities are an example and a source of inspiration for any public man in our times.

I wish particularly to express, in the name of my wife and in my own, our pleasure in having also with us Mrs. Nixon, a figure who is well known, admired, and loved in Spain for her qualities of distinction and personal charm.

In the short hours that his tight schedule has allowed the President to dedicate to our country, we have had the opportunity for a broad exchange of views which, in my opinion, has been of great interest.

The problems which, at this time, are of common concern for the United States and Spain, and which are also, most of them, of common concern for the West as a whole, are beyond doubt grave and urgent. I am glad, therefore, to be able to state that in this moment, in the presence of the dangers that confront us, our views have been basically coincident. This is all the more significant if we take into account the fact that the international position of Spain has very special and characteristic features. Our kinship and our historical and cultural ties with Latin America; the fact that we are, at the same time, a part of Europe; the traditional friendship with the Arab countries; our geographic position at the crossroads of two seas and two continents--all those are factors which determine and shape the international policy of our country.

Notwithstanding such peculiarities, the American and the Spanish position regarding the present problems in the areas of common interest, are practically coincident.

In this connection I cannot fail to recall the visit in 1959 of your predecessor, President Eisenhower, a perennial example of civic and military virtues. His stay among us was a cause of the deepest personal satisfaction for myself and of sincere joy for every Spaniard and contributed positively to strengthening the ties of friendship which already existed between our two countries.

Recently, with the purpose of continuing the fruitful cooperation of both Governments, our plenipotentiaries have signed a new Agreement of Friendship and Cooperation which goes beyond the intention of merely heeding to occasional considerations and contemplates the widest collaboration in a varied range of activities. My Government is determined to use effectively every opportunity of joint action which that instrument offers and to engage without reserve in the task of promoting jointly the human values and defending the ways of life to which we wish to remain faithful.

Our essential aim--and we know it is fully shared by our American friends--is the preservation of peace among all the nations. This is the supreme value in the field of human relations and the condition necessary for any other accomplishment that we could envisage for the future.

Mr. President, I raise my glass to the personal welfare of yourself and your distinguished wife and family, to the friendship of our two countries, to the prosperity and the greatness of the American Nation, which you so worthily represent.

[APP NOTE: The time given, 10:49 a.m. is as published in the Public Papers.]

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and General Francisco Franco of Spain at a State Dinner in Madrid Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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