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Toasts of the President and King Baudouin I at a State Luncheon in Brussels, Belgium

January 06, 1978

THE KING. Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to raise your glasses to the health of the President of the United States and of Mrs. Carter.

Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, we were really very happy to have you both here, for too little time, and we wish you a happy return home and, if possible, a peaceful rest during the weekend.

May God give you the strength and light to continue your work for peace and more justice.

THE PRESIDENT. Your Majesties and distinguished leaders of the Government of Belgium and the international organizations that have come here because of the deep commitments of Belgium and your people to the principles of freedom, strength through voluntary commitment and international organization, because of common beliefs and common purpose, those of us from the United States are very pleased to be again in your great country.

Rosalynn and I came here before when I was a Governor. In order to demonstrate to the world the importance of myself and my State, I called a press conference. And only two people came. [Laughter]

Today the importance of our relationship is demonstrated by the great welcome that you've given us and the interests of the press and the rest of the world in the presence of American officials here with the European Community, with NATO, and also with the Government of Belgium. Then, as now, my trip is too brief and is devoted to work of an official nature.

I would love to be able to have celebrated the 400th birthday of Rubens with you and to travel around your beautiful country to see not only your people but also the works of art and the origin of the culture, much of which we have inherited in our own country.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to visit, with President Giscard d'Estaing, the shores of Normandy, where in just 24 hours 176,000 forces landed to restore the freedom of Europe and, at the same time, on an equivalent and equal basis, to guarantee the freedom of the people of the United States. We considered that to be both a joint effort and also that the results of the victory in Europe to be of equal benefit to us along with you. But it did demonstrate vividly the close ties that bind us together. And I am very thankful that you have welcomed us with such hospitality.

Your Majesties, I would like to propose on behalf of the people of the United States a toast to you and Queen Fabiola, to the distinguished Prime Minister and the officials of Belgium, to the great international organizations represented here, to the people of your great country, and to peace throughout the world.

Note: The exchange began at 1:50 p.m. in La Grande Galerie at the Royal Palace.

Prior to the luncheon, the President met at the Royal Palace with King Baudouin I and Prime Minister Leo Tindemans.

Jimmy Carter, Toasts of the President and King Baudouin I at a State Luncheon in Brussels, Belgium Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244442

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