Remarks at the Welcoming
Ceremony for Prime Minister IngvarCarlsson of Sweden
September 9, 1987
The President. It is a pleasure to
welcome Prime Minister Carlsson and Mrs. Carlsson to the United States. I welcome you, Mr.
Prime Minister, with great warmth and respect, as the representative of a
country with whom Americans share many fundamental values: We're both deeply
committed to the system of democracy; we are both committed to the protection
of the fundamental rights of the individual; and we're both committed to
pursuing a world that is prosperous and at peace.
shared values reflect historical bonds and the fact that Swedes and Americans
have mingled for centuries. Next year will mark the 350th anniversary of the
founding by your countrymen, Mr. Prime Minister, of a small colony named New Sweden near what is now Wilmington, Delaware. Those brave settlers
helped turn a wilderness into a great nation. Even more, they brought with them
the hardy virtues and pioneer spirit that became so much a part of our national
Swedish pioneers of Wilmington, Delaware, were followed by over
a million Swedes who came here between the 1840's and 1930's. And today some 5
million Americans proudly claim Swedish origins. History suggests our countries
have always been close politically and also in spirit. When this was still a
very new nation, in 1783, a treaty of commerce and friendship was signed with Sweden. It was among the very
first treaties of the United States of
America. Over the years since, our governments have
always remained on amicable and cooperative terms, and our peoples have
developed and maintained commercial and personal relationships that have
strengthened both our nations.
this reflects a commonality of spirit and a shared sense of decency of which we
can take great pride. Americans will never forget that, by a special act of
Congress, our country has officially adopted a remarkable Swede, a hero of
moral and humane people the world over. I refer to Raoul
Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat, who in the Second World War saved hundreds of
thousands from the Nazi terror. That Wallenberg is now a citizen of both our
countries is a bond between us and should be an inspiration to our peoples. Let
us join in insisting that, if there is a new openness in the Soviet Union, the Soviet leadership
give the world an accounting of this moral giant, Raoul
our friendship with Sweden is especially vigorous.
Many thousands of our countrymen visit back and forth each year, conducting
business, pursuing the arts, studying -- and often competing successfully in
sports, as Mr. Borg can testify. The late Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige visited Sweden in May, where he
announced that the United States is eliminating the
export license requirements for high-technology goods bound for Sweden. This summer, Swedish
Trade Minister Gradin came to Washington for a positive round of
discussions on global and military trade issues -- or, pardon me -- on
bilateral trade issues. And in June, my wife Nancy, visited Stockholm, where for 3 days she
exchanged views with those who plan and run Sweden's enlightened programs
to combat drugs.
visit now, Mr. Prime Minister, renews our political, bilateral discussions at
the highest level. Dialog between our governments has improved and deepened in
recent years, and we're determined to ensure that it continues to improve. I
look forward to discussing with you, Mr. Prime Minister, the major issues of
the day and examining how, as modern industrialized democracies, we can meet
the challenges we will face in the future. Sweden and the United States face similar challenges,
though we've chosen different paths to meet them. Yet, as friends, we value
each other's views and our talks today will be of great value.
particularly looking forward to our exchange of views on issues concerning
world peace and nuclear arms reductions. The people of the United States maintain defense
spending at levels necessary to preserve peace and to safeguard freedom in the
world. We have, in recent years, taken a decisive lead in seeking balanced and
verifiable arms agreements with the Soviet Union, agreements that will
reduce both the level of nuclear weapons and the threat of their use. Our
strength and our determined search for peace go hand-in-hand. Much progress has
been made as of late, and we remain optimistic.
a neutral nation, Sweden is not an ally of the United States, but it is a partner in
our pursuit of a free and peaceful world. We recognize and appreciate that Sweden provides amply for its
own strong defense and works vigorously for the cause of peace. We respect that,
Mr. Prime Minister, even though on some issues we may differ in views. The
great Swedish leader and a renowned international statesman, DagHammarskjold once said: ``Only he who keeps his eyes fixed on the far horizon will
find his right road.'' Well, today, the people of the United States and Sweden have their eyes fixed
on the far horizon. We're on the right path for a better tomorrow.
look forward to our discussions, Mr. Prime Minister. We appreciate your visit
and bid your wife -- you and your wife -- valkommen
[welcome]. Your visit here is most welcome.
Minister Carlsson. Mr. President, Mrs. Reagan, ladies
and gentlemen, let me, first of all, express my thanks
for the warm and friendly welcome you have given us in your magnificent Capital
and here at the White House. I'm convinced that the talks we will have here
with you, Mr. President, with members of your Cabinet, with Senators and
Congressmen as well as with other of your fellow Americans elsewhere in the
country, will strengthen the solid friendship and cooperation already existing
between Sweden and the United States. And I'm proud to say,
Mr. President, that I come here as a representative of a nation which is one of
America's oldest friends.
Sweden was, in 1783, one of
the very first countries to enter into a formal relationship with the newly
independent United States. And as far back as in
the 17th century, the colony of New Sweden was established in what
is now the State of Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Next year, a
celebration of the 350th anniversary of this first Swedish settlement in America will take place
throughout the United States.
Swedes who then settled in the DelawareValley were the forerunners of
more than a million immigrants from Sweden who later came to this
country of promise, who helped build the land, and who set out to create a
future here for themselves and for their children. But the relationship between
our two countries is not only a historical one. It's firmly anchored in the
present. We share the same democratic values, believing in a just society with
freedom for the individual. Our two nations are among the most privileged with
a high standard of living. This is partly because of our level of technological
development. It gives us a potential not only to strengthen our own economies
but also to contribute to international development and greater economic
justice also between nations.
one should expect in a relationship between friends, it's seldom plagued by
political problems. We play, of course, different roles on the international
scene. From time to time, as is natural for two democratic governments, we
certainly assess international events differently. On other matters, we are in
agreement. We both favor free and fair trade between nations. And coming, as I
do, from a nation which is more dependent upon exports and imports than most
others, I can assure you that we support all efforts to strengthen the open
multilateral trading system.
Mr.President, Sweden is not a big country.
Our ability to influence world events on our own is limited. What one cannot do
alone, one may be able to do in cooperation with others. We believe that we
have a right to participate actively in world affairs. The rationale for this is
simple: Any international conflict which leads to global war will affect all
the people on Earth, no matter how far they are from the conflict. As you have
stated yourself, Mr. President, together with Mr. Gorbachev, a nuclear war
cannot be won. Such a war has only losers, and we will all be among them.
That's why we in a nation not possessing nuclear arms feel that we also have a
responsibility to promote peace and avoid a nuclear confrontation.
let me therefore, Mr. President, bring your special message from the Government
and the people of Sweden on the verge of
important meetings between representatives of your administration and the Soviet Union. We will support every
measure with you, Mr. President, and Secretary General Gorbachev will take in the
process of reducing nuclear arms. The agreement on intermediate nuclear weapons
now being negotiated has our full backing. Your signatures on such a document
would be regarded as an historic achievement all over the world. East and West,
North and South, it will be hailed as a first step toward the ultimate goal of
a world without nuclear weapons.
President, I came here with my wife to this country for the first time in 1960
to study here, like so many other Swedes have done. We have all cherished the
warmth, the friendship, and the openness which we have encountered here. These
many contacts have indeed strengthened the close ties between our two
countries. So I am sure with this week's visit, on behalf of the government and
the people of Sweden, I wish to express our best wishes for the happiness and
well-being of you, Mr. President, of Mrs. Reagan, and of the American people.
Note: The President
spoke at in the East Room at the
White House, where Prime Minister Carlsson was
accorded a formal welcome. Following the ceremony, the President and the Prime
Minister met in the Oval Office and later in the Cabinet Room for an expanded
meeting with Swedish and U.S. officials.