Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Remarks arriving at the White House

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: The White House, South Lawn, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive
Editorial comments: The text is marked "as delivered" - a claim confirmed by checking against BBC Radio News Report 1800 26 February 1981. MT was the first Western leader to visit to new President. "Trumpeters on the White House steps, a marine band and a Guard of Honour. It was an impressive, imperial welcome to the first European Head of Government to visit the president" (Clive Small, BBC Radio News Report 1800 26 February 1981).
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 422
Themes: Conservatism, Economic policy - theory and process, Foreign policy (USA)

Ronald ReaganMr. President, I count it a double joy that I am once again in the United States and as I'm being greeted here by you, Mr. President, newly in office, after a splendid victory but long since for me a trusted friend. Your warm welcome in this deeply moving ceremony will strike a chord in the hearts of British people everywhere.

Mr. President, these are not easy times in which to assume and to bear the responsibilities of national and international leadership. The problems are many, the dangers real, the decisions difficult. Indeed, weaker spirits might even be tempted to give way to gloom. But others like you, Mr. President, are stirred by the challenge. And that's why I value so greatly the opportunity to come to Washington to talk with you and to discuss the way ahead on so many of the problems of which you've spoken this morning.

We start from a common basis of understanding. For generations our two countries have cherished the same ideals. We've defended the same causes. We've valued the same friendships and together we've faced the same dangers. Today, once again, our sense of common purpose and common resolution is being tested. It will not be found wanting.

The message I have brought across the Atlantic is that we, in Britain, stand with you. America's successes will be our successes. Your problems will be our problems, and when you look for friends we will be there. [end p1]

Mr. President, the natural bond of interest between our two countries is strengthened by the common approach which you and I have to our national problems. You have mentioned some of the relevant things. Beginning of section checked against BBC Radio News Report 1800 26 February 1981:

We're both trying to set free the energies of our people. We're both determined to sweep away the restrictions that hold back enterprise. We both place our faith not so much in economic theory but in the resourcefulness and the decency of ordinary people. End of section checked against BBC Radio News Report 1800 26 February 1981.

Mr. President, you've spoken of a time for renewal. If we are to succeed in the battle of ideas, if we are to hold fast and extend the frontiers of freedom, we must first proclaim the truth that makes men free. We must have the courage to reassert our traditional values and the resolve to prevail against those who deny our ideals and threaten our way of life.

You, Mr. President, have understood the challenge. You've understood the need for leadership. In Britain you will find a ready response, an ally, valiant, staunch and true.