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Visit of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada - Remarks of the President and the Prime Minister at the Welcoming Ceremony

February 21, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. To Prime Minister Trudeau and his beautiful wife, Margaret, to the people of Canada who come to be with us this afternoon, and to all of our own welcomers who have come here on t/ds occasion to make our neighbors feel at home:

I am very grateful to be here, to welcome to the White House and to our country a man who shares with me the tremendous friendship that has always existed between the United States of America and the people of Canada to the north.

We share a common border, more than 5,000 miles. We share a common defense of our own people. We share the human and natural resources of an entire continent. We share a great respect and friendship for each other. We share a commitment to human decency and to personal freedom. We share a historical belief in the principles of democracy, and these principles have been tangibly demonstrated by our Governments for generations. And we share a common commitment to world peace.

Canada is our most important trade partner. We have many common purposes and common concerns, common problems, and also the potential for common solutions to those problems. This next 2 days I will spend with Prime Minister Trudeau, and he will have a chance to visit with our top officials and to let the Canadian officials share these discussions. We will be talking about defense and peace. We will be talking about the world economy and our Nations' great contribution to that economy.

Prime Minister Trudeau has been recognized for many years as one of the developed nations' leading negotiators and understanders of the problems of the developing nations of the world. Because of his commitment to humanitarian purposes, he has the trust and confidence of people who are not quite so fortunate as are we. He is a senior statesman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, having been in office now for more than 8 years. And his common and unique and persistent commitment to the principles of the democratic nations of the world has made him a leader even from the first days when he was in office.

He made a comment recently that I think is important for all of us to remember, which typifies his own attitude toward human beings. He said it is not enough to measure a nation's product in our gross national financial product, but we should think about the outcome and the output of our Nation on the basis of a net human benefit, how well the people find a better life because of the activities and decisions of government.

So, because of all these reasons, in a personal way and as a leader of our great Nation, I want to welcome to our country Prime Minister Trudeau and his wife, Margaret.
Welcome, Mr. Prime Minister.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, and American friends:

First, I wanted to tell you, Mr. President, that I brought the greetings of some 22 million Canadians. But I see that by the flags over on the lawn there that a lot of them have preceded me here. The greetings are warm nonetheless.

I want to tell you, also, that we bring you our great, good wishes as you assume the very arduous, important office of President of this great Nation.

Canadians are looking forward to this period of good relationships with you at the head of this great Nation. With your dedication, your hard work, your discipline, your sense of morality, we feel that these are great days for our relationship and for the world.

We are particularly grateful and honored, sir, that you invited your North American neighbors very early in the term of your office. I am sure I can speak for President Lopez Portillo--I certainly speak for myself and for Canadians-when I say that we have great expectations that this continental neighborhood will flourish and develop because of the great personal interest you have shown in it.

The links between our countries are so numerous, the cooperation that we are involved in is so deep that this kind of meeting is as natural as it is friendly. As I look through the enormous briefing books that I had, sir, and I am sure it happened to you, too, I just felt that there is perhaps nothing that our countries can do which doesn't involve one another. There are so many associations, so many committees, so many clubs, so many links between us of all kinds that I believe they are absolutely legion. I tried to get a count and I was told it wasn't possible. And I can well understand it.

We have been such old friends and our links are so deep that this number of associations together can only rest on the deep friendship between our peoples.

The International Women's Year, sir, has only passed in history for 14 months now. It seems that our wives, Mrs. Carter and Margaret, have already met and established a good agenda for the discussions. You and I are only meeting this moment. But I am quite convinced that we will, in a friendly way, rivalize with their achievements and catch up to their friendly relations.

I want to thank you, sir, for your very warm hospitality to all the visiting Canadians and to have received us in this beautiful garden and this nice sun. It makes me feel that Canadians now as they are buried deep. in snow, they have hope. They hope that when that snow melts there will still be grass there on earth.

Sir, we hope with the same faith that you will favor us with your visit and Mrs. Carter's to Canada one of these days.

Thank you very, very much, I am looking forward to our talk.

Note: The President spoke at 3:39 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada - Remarks of the President and the Prime Minister at the Welcoming Ceremony Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242039

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