Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toasts of the President and King Frederik of Denmark

October 11, 1960

Your Majesties, and ladies and gentlemen:

It is indeed a signal honor to welcome to this Capital and to this house Their Majesties the King and Queen of Denmark. It is a country with which we are bound by ties of common ideals and principles, and ties of blood. Many of their people have come to this country--and indeed, in their country, they celebrate one of our holidays. It has a long and interesting history. And of course, standing as it does as a buttress between the Baltic and the North Seas, it is not strange that they have had a long maritime history.

But in these later days it is one of the key countries in the NATO alliance. It is a forward country. Geographically it looks across a very narrow gap to the threatening dictatorship that creates so much tension and indeed so much ill will in this world.

So we are proud to call them friend and ally. We need them. We hope that they feel, on their part, a sense of partnership and need for us. I am sure they do.

It is a romantic country. Many of you no doubt visited the Castle of Hamlet, and for my part at least, I was astonished to find out that Hamlet never lived in Denmark.

It is a country of people calm and serene; they seem never to be startled, never to be hysterical. One great man said of his people: they were always hysterical in victory and panicky in defeat. I think the people of Denmark would be the last people that you could say that about, if you went there and wanted to make a generalization.

In any event, it is a great country--a prosperous country--and above all, one with us, believing in the dignity of man and ready to put everything on the line; to risk even their existence in the defense of these values that free men feel are above all else in life.

So you can realize that it is with a great sense of distinction that I ask you all to rise with me to drink to Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Denmark.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a state dinner in honor of King Frederick and Queen Ingrid at the White House. King Frederik responded as follows:

Mr. President:

The Queen and I are deeply moved by the kind words you have addressed to us and by the hearty welcome which you and Mrs. Eisenhower as well as the inhabitants of this beautiful city of Washington have given us.

The kind hospitality with which we have been met by everybody during this first part of our stay in the United States has made a great impression on us and will always be kept in grateful memory by the Queen and myself.

We have been looking forward with great expectations to this visit which I am sure will contribute to further strengthening of the ties of friendship which so happily unite our two countries. Twenty-one years have elapsed since in 1939 we had the opportunity of paying our first visit to the United States--a tour of which we retain the most happy memories--21 years full of dramatic historic events.

A world war with its terror and suffering for millions of people lies between then and now. During the dark years of war our two countries--each with the means at her disposal--aimed at promoting a common cause. We Danes realize how much we owe to the United States, to the courage and sacrifice of the American people, to the indomitable leadership of outstanding individuals as your memorable predecessors and you yourself, Mr. President, and to the dedicated efforts of the United States to achieve a peace based .on freedom and justice for all nations. I wish to take this opportunity to express on behalf of all my countrymen our gratitude towards the United States for their share in the liberation of our country.

When peace had been achieved, we were faced with a series of new problems. As a result of the war the economy of my country--like that of most other European countries--had suffered severe setbacks. The rebuilding and expansion of our means of production and our merchant fleet and the revival of our commerce would not have been completed today had not the United States Government carried out their large-scale aid programs. Through this assistance the United States significantly helped the cause of economic integration in Western Europe. Your country thereby made an inestimable contribution to the unity of the states in our region. It is in my view a major interest, not only of Western Europe, but also of its friends in this hemisphere, that the cause of ever closer cooperation between European nations should enjoy the sympathy and active support of the United States of America.

At the same time dark and menacing clouds were again gathering on the international horizon and prevented the peoples of the world from enjoying the peace for which they had fought so bitterly. Certainly those clouds still darken the sun, but thanks to inspiration and support from the United States the free nations of the Western World have joined their efforts to avert the threats to their national existence and their free way of life.

Our country and yours are united in NATO. During the past 11 years we have had ample proof of the solidarity of the United States with NATO. We have benefited from the magnanimous aid which has enabled Denmark to build up a defense system without endangering the economic and social stability which are also important links in total defense. The contribution of Denmark to the defense of the whole NATO area is, of course, bound to be on a moderate scale. However, we are fully aware that solidarity with our allies is a necessity if the alliance is to fulfill its mission. The establishment of common defense areas in Greenland, upon which Denmark and the United States agreed in 1951, is one of the Danish contributions to that end. During our recent visit to Greenland the Queen and I had the pleasure to visit one of these areas and to inspect the forces stationed there. The high efficiency of these forces gained and deserved our sincere admiration.

While both of us see in the alliance which unites us a purely defensive instrument and a successful means to avert the horrors of a new war, we are not closing our eyes to, but indeed seeking, all possible means to diminish the present tension in the world. We are grateful to you, Mr. President, for your untiring, personal efforts in the cause of peace and good will. They are the ultimate proof of the peaceful aims to which the policy of the United States as well as Denmark are dedicated.

The close cooperation between our two countries--in the United Nations and other international organizations--is based on an identity of views with respect to the fundamental elements of life and stamped by mutual respect and sympathy. To this contribute in no slight degree the ties which unite many Americans of Danish origin with the land of their ancestors. for centuries Danes have gone to the United States to work and study. Many of them stayed on and founded their new homes in their country of adoption; we are happy to meet them here as esteemed and mostly prosperous citizens of this great country. New bonds of friendship have been created by the ever increasing numbers of American visitors coming to Denmark and Danes going to the United States. A most useful and ever increasing exchange of scientists, students, teachers, etc., has developed since the war--thanks to American generosity and planning. This constitutes an essential factor in the cultural relations between our two countries. Tourist travel also is becoming possible for wider and wider groups of our citizens, thanks to the rising standards of living and the progress in the means of transportation. We Danes have always been proud of our merchant marine. In the field of air transportation we have--by pooling our resources with our sister nations, Norway and Sweden--significantly assisted in making connections between your country and Scandinavia easier and closer. These personal links across oceans and borders bear evidence of the freedom reigning in our countries. Let us unite in the hope that the torch of freedom which we received from our fathers may also illuminate the path of our descendants for generations to come.

I raise my glass in honor of the President of the United States and Mrs. Eisenhower, for the prosperity and happiness of the people of the United States.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toasts of the President and King Frederik of Denmark Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235546

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