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Toasts of the President and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands

April 18, 1963

Ladies and gentlemen

I know that I speak on behalf of all of our fellow Americans in extending the warmest welcome to our guest of honor and to the members of her party. She is welcome in this country again. She was a guest of my predecessor, President Eisenhower.

But she is welcome for many reasons, because of the country she represents, which has had the most ancient ties with the United States, which has sent to us some of our most industrious and distinguished citizens, which has had a history which in its own right has captured in many ways the imagination of all of us who are interested in the West and the story of the West, and because her country is allied with us closely in NATO and represents an association which we value most heavily.

Her countrymen have made a reputation for themselves as defenders not only of the interests of their own country--this is particularly true in recent months and years-but also as an outward looking people who look to the integration of Europe in an Atlantic Community and partnership which can serve as the nucleus for a strong and free world. So, her country meets, I think, its responsibilities in a vital time as we hope we meet ours. And I think the long view that we have of the future of the West and defense of the West is parallel to the long view which her countrymen hold.

So, we are delighted to have her here and also because she is her mother's daughter, who is so highly regarded here, and her father's daughter, who has worked so hard to make a reality of the general aspirations of which I spoke. And we are glad, particularly, to have her here because of her own exceptional personality. Coming from an old country and an old people, she is a bright, young figure whom we admire and whom we feel honored by her visit.

So we want you to know, Your Highness, that we are very proud to have you here; we are delighted to have you here. And I hope that all of you will join in drinking with me to the prosperity of her country and to the health of Her Majesty, the Queen.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. Princess Beatrix responded as follows:

This is not fair, because I wasn't prepared for this at all! May I ask everybody present to toast the health and well-being of the President of the United States.

John F. Kennedy, Toasts of the President and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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