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Visit of Prime Minister Raymond Barre of France Remarks of the President and the Prime Minister at the Welcoming Ceremony.

September 15, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. Prime Minister Barre and Mrs. Barre, other distinguished guests who have come here from France:

On behalf of the more than 200 million people of our country, I would like to extend to you a hearty welcome to our country. This is the first time we've been honored by a visit of the French Prime Minister in more than 20 years. And we hope that in the years ahead, that we might be blessed with additional visits from you in order to further strengthen the understanding and mutual purpose and friendship that has always existed between our two great countries.

I think it's accurate to say that of all the nations in the world, our own country owes its greatest debt to France, because 200 years ago when we were struggling for our own independence, for the freedom of our people, for the formation of our country itself, our closest ally and friend and staunch partner in this difficult struggle were the people of France. Your military leaders supported and fought with George Washington and his troops, both on land and at sea. And we shared then an experience that became exemplified in the French Revolution, when the concepts of liberty, equality, fraternity became a worldwide slogan.

I think it's accurate to say, too, that in the last 65 years, we have shown more than once that when a challenge erupted against the concepts of freedom, that the French people and the people of the United States have stood shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers to meet those challenges successfully.

Yours is an ancient country, a nation of intense commitment to independence, to freedom, and to world leadership.

I have been blessed with an opportunity to meet with you previously, Prime Minister Barre, and with President Giscard. And I'm very proud of the fact that as we approach problems that are inevitably going to face us in the future that, as has been the case in the past, in the future we'll be bound with a spirit of mutual concern and mutual commitment. This is not an artificial partnership. It's one that comes because our people share common beliefs, common experiences, and a common future.

I read with great interest a recent speech made by President Giscard on the subject of human rights. I've seen with great admiration the fact that France, among all the developed nations of the world, allocates the greatest portion of your own riches to the developing nations of the world. And if there is a superb link between any of the democratic nations and the poor or struggling or new or weak countries of the world, it's France.

The advice and counsel that we receive from you and other French leaders in economic matters, as well as political and military matters, is important to us. And there can be no greater purpose for me in pursuing the objectives of our own Government than to consult closely with and communicate constantly with and share the partnership with the people of France.

We do have problems of a mutual nature--a termination of the worldwide arms race, a prevention of the escalation of nuclear explosive capability, the problems of unemployment and inflation. And in this particular realm or subject, you bring to government leaders of the world a unique background, training, and sound judgment.

The economic efforts that have been initiated in France under your leadership are watched with great attention by us, and the success that you've already achieved so far has been one of great gratification to me personally and, I'm sure, to the people of France.

We will be meeting this morning, tonight, and tomorrow in private conversations that affect the future of our people. There is no restraint between us that would prevent mutual benefit being derived from exchanges of information, advice, and counsel in the most unrestricted and free and mutually beneficial fashion.

So, from our people, Mr. Prime Minister, we extend to you a welcome that's based on past history, on present mutual interests, and on the belief that in the future these superb achievements might even be enhanced.

Thank you for coming to visit us. It's a great honor for our country and our people.
Thank you very much.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Mr. president, Mrs. Carter:

I would like to thank you for the words of welcome you have just spoken for me, Mr. President, and for the warmth of your welcome.

A year and a half ago, I had the privilege to accompany President Giscard d'Estaing of the French Republic when he came to the United States to celebrate both the Bicentennial of American Independence and that of the unbroken friendship and alliance which binds our two countries.

Faced with the challenges of our time, this friendship, this alliance .are necessary more than ever. My visit as your guest, Mr. President, displays the will of our two countries to seek, in concert with all the states sharing our ideals of democracy and freedom, the means to contribute to strengthening peace and prosperity throughout the world.

The conversations that you have been good enough to invite me to have with you will give me an opportunity to express, in the straightforward and candid manner that friendship requires, what is France's policy in her dignity and her continuity.

I do not doubt that profound concurrence of our basic objectives will come out of these meetings, even if, as is only natural, the different situations and the different interests are sometimes reflected in a different approach to the problems. What matters, above all, Mr. President, is the dialog in mutual good faith and friendship.

Mr. President, rest assured, you and the American people, that this is gratitude by the French Government, and I salute today the American people.

Note: The President spoke at 10:38 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. Prime Minister Barre spoke in French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Raymond Barre of France 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/241979

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