Remarks Following a Performance of the Lipizzaner Horses of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria

November 19, 1982

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, I think all of you join me in thanking our friends from Austria in bringing this wonderful group here.

As you know, they are touring the United States with these magnificent Lipizzaner horses. And we have only seen just a tiny bit of what they actually do in their exhibitions, partly due to the soft ground here. Mr. Sallinger, who's the president of the Chamber of Commerce in Austria, is responsible for not only this display, but that magnificent stallion, Amadeus, is a gift to the people of the United States by way of Mr. Sallinger and will remain here when they have finished their tour and go home. Ambassador, Mrs. Klestil, we are pleased and proud to be a part of this.

I don't know how many Americans realize, but the Ambassador and Mr. Sallinger just reminded me a few moments ago, and you should know, maybe it is -- well, it is particularly fitting that this is the first time this has ever happened on the White House lawn.

[At this point, the President was interrupted when the horses whinnied.]

Just a minute! [Laughter] I know I'm talking too long. I'll make it short.

But we did play a part in the continuation of this ancient institution, this school of riding, and the continuation of the Lipizzaner horses. And in the great tragedy of World War II, it was the late General Patton, knowing of them and being a lover of the horse himself, who smuggled these horses away and saved them, preserved them so that they could then be given back to Austria when the war was over, and that this great institution would continue.

We're grateful to all of you for being here, for this fine exhibition, and more grateful than I can say for this gift to the people of America, symbolic of the great friendship between our two peoples.

Amadeus, you keep your ears up there and you can go ahead and shout all you want to now. [Laughter]

Thank you.

Mr. Sallinger. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, as representative of the Austrian economy and of Austrian business, it's a great pleasure to me to have brought this white horse to the White House. And this horse symbolizes the gratitude that the Austrian economy owes to the United States for your generous support to bring us freedom and to bring us a free and efficient economy after World War II.

I also recall fondly how these horses were saved by General Patton. And, Mr. President, this horse is a personal gift to you, as well as a gift to all of the American people.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. In his remarks he referred to Dr. Thomas Klestil, Austrian Ambassador to the United States. Rudolph Sallinger, president of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, spoke in German, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.