Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Krag of Denmark

June 09, 1964

Mrs. Johnson and I are honored tonight to welcome to this house as good friends of America two good friends of ours--the Prime Minister and Mrs. Krag of Denmark.

In 1963 at the suggestion of President Kennedy, Mrs. Johnson, our daughter Lynda, and I visited Scandinavia. Our memorable mission was concluded with a never-to-be-forgotten weekend in Copenhagen. Our guests tonight were our gracious hosts then. We shall always be grateful for the reception that we received from Their Majesties and The Royal Family, and from all of the wonderful people that we met on the streets of Copenhagen and the Tivoli Gardens.

We made one happy discovery about the Krags. As some of you know, some small attention has been given in this country to the fact that the Johnson family all have the same initials in our monogram, but the Krags have really outdone us. They both observe the same birthday.

Denmark is an old country, but her people and her leadership live in the future and not in the past. The world cherishes Denmark's great storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen, but the world will never forget Denmark's great scientist--Niels Bohr.

The Flag of Denmark is five centuries older than the Stars and Stripes of the United States. Yet, while the ages of our country are greatly different, the aspirations of our people have always been much the same--a respect for human dignity, dedication to social progress, and an untiring quest for universal peace.

Many sons of Denmark have enriched America's life with such vision. I think particularly of the writer and reformer, Jacob Riis--long ago he was; he may truly be called a pioneer in the war on poverty which America is carrying on today.

On the world stage, Denmark and the United States stand together as allies in NATO, and we work together in common dedication to the cause of peace. Americans are appreciative of Denmark's responsible role in supporting the United Nations and in sending her sons to help keep the peace in Cyprus, in the Congo, in the Gaza Strip.

We are also deeply grateful for Denmark's constructive support of the vision of an outward-looking Atlantic partnership.

When we were in Denmark I was greatly impressed with the visits with Their Majesties, with Prime Minister and Mrs. Krag, and with all of the leaders of Danish industry in both public and private life.

I was also greatly impressed with our own Ambassador to Denmark at that time, Ambassador and Mrs. William Blair. That is why I have called upon them to take up a new post of duty in another land toward which Americans have the warmest and deepest affection--the Republic of the Philippines.

We in Washington are grateful, Mr. Prime Minister, that Denmark honors us here with Count and Countess Knuth-Winterfeldt as your ambassadorial representatives.

We have sent to Copenhagen as ambassador one of America's most outstanding women, Mrs. Katharine White.

Our country is honored, and we in this house are privileged, to have as our guests this outstanding couple representing modern Scandinavia as well as modern Europe.

So it gives me a great deal of pride and pleasure and joy this evening here in this house that belongs to all Americans, in which I hope all of the people of the world will feel comfortable, to ask those of you, our good friends who have come here, to join me in a toast to His Majesty, the King of Denmark--and to the continuing friendship of our lands and our people--to the King of Denmark.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a dinner in the State Dining Room at the White House. Prime Minister Krag responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, ladies and gentlemen:

First of all, I have to convey to you, Mr. President, and to you, Mrs. Johnson, the greetings and best wishes of the King of Denmark and the Queen of Denmark. They remember your visit in Copenhagen, and they wanted me to wish you all success in the very responsible task you have now.

On behalf of my wife, the members of the Danish delegation and myself, I extend to you, Mr. President, and to Mrs. Johnson, our most sincere thanks for the warm welcome given us on our arrival today and for the very kind words which you have just addressed to us.

We come here as friends and in the knowledge of being among friends and close relatives in this great country where so many of our countrymen are living and working.

This feeling of being among friends is so much the stronger because we know you, Mr. President, as a friend of Denmark. The all too kind and flattering words you just said about my country prove this, and we know it from your visit to Denmark in September 1963, We were indeed happy to see you in Copenhagen then and we learned to appreciate your great personal qualities and were happy to show you something of our country and its people.

Never in history have the relations between our two countries been closer than today based as they are on common ideals and embracing nearly all aspects of public life, be they political, economic, or cultural. Our countries differ widely in size and in structure. I know, Mr. President, what a heavy burden of work and responsibility you carry.

The complexity and magnitude of the social and political problems in the United States make enormous demands on the Government. We greatly admire the courage and foresight with which you, Mr. president, and your Government are tackling these huge problems and your earnest endeavors to solve them in conformity with the noble principles embodied in the American Constitution.

The American example is a source of inspiration for all people who wish to live in peace and freedom. We have all in this troubled world of ours been inspired by American leadership and have seen how the American Nation has endeavored to create throughout the world the basis for free, democratic, and viable societies.

The assistance in money, manpower, and know-how given during the last 20 years by America to other countries will, I know, be considered a most honorable and glorious chapter in the history of the world. We in Denmark shall never forget the generous and warmhearted support which our warstricken country received from the United States, an aid which enormously contributed towards restoring our economy after the war.

We are living through an auspicious period offering endless opportunities to mankind. Never before have the horizons been so wide as they are now-as you yourself stressed during your visit to Denmark last year. The faith in peace is today greater than it has been for many years, and peace is what we all want and strive for. Every possibility of lessening tensions in the world must be examined.

The United Nations is the international organization to which the nations look when they strive for a world bent on justice and the rule of law. There is much to be done in the future, but already the United Nations has shown its worth and importance. The Danish Government and the Danish people are very well aware of the great contributions and the inspiring leadership which throughout the years the United States has given to this organization.

In this connection, I want to express the sincere hope that the years to come will show the world new examples of progress in the field of disarmament. This question is perhaps--in this age of atomic power--the greatest challenge that faces us all.

The disarmament conference in Geneva is now resuming its work. May they explore and find new areas of understanding in order that we all may progress on the way towards our goal. As it appeared from our talks this afternoon, the international situation still presents many uncertain factors which should be a continuous reminder to us that we must stand firm on our principles and defend our ideals. That applies not least to our Atlantic defense cooperation.

More than ever before is it essential that we should preserve our solidarity within NATO. Only through the security to be found within the NATO Alliance shall we be able to proceed along the road of relaxation of tension which we seem to have entered upon in the last few years.

The Danish Government supports wholeheartedly the American endeavors to reduce international tension through contacts between East and West.

In the communiqué from the recent NATO meeting in The Hague it was stated, and very rightly so, that the NATO Alliance is an indispensable guardian of security and peace and thus the prerequisite for social and economic progress.

Denmark and the United States share the wish that the tariff negotiations which are now in progress may open up better opportunities for world trade. We want, therefore, to eliminate the trade barriers which are still standing in the way of increased liberalization of world trade. Prosperity and a sound economy cannot be ensured through protectionism.

Mr. President, since the tragic occurrences of November last year more than 6 months have passed. On the international scene many serious problems remain unsolved, and a tremendous responsibility rests with all of us to approach these problems in a manner which best serves the interests of all mankind. In this situation, we look to you, Mr. President, with confidence for world leadership.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to raise your glasses to join with me in a toast to the health of the President of the United States and the prosperity of the American people.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Krag of Denmark Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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