Toasts at the State Dinner
Honoring Prime Minister IngvarCarlsson
September 9, 1987
The President. Prime Minister Carlsson and Mrs. Carlsson,
ladies and gentleman, welcome to the White House. Nancy told me much about the
warmth and good will that was so evident in Sweden during her June visit.
We both have looked forward to this opportunity to express our appreciation and
to return the hospitality so graciously extended to her.
welcome you, Mr. Prime Minister, as long-overdue friends. Sweden, while quite some
distance in miles, has never seemed very far away to me. As a boy in northern Illinois I had neighbors with
names like Hansson and Lund. This morning in the
course of our discussions, I realized anew what I have long known: that Sweden and America share the same basic
values and the same hopes for a more peaceful and prosperous world. We often
pursue our similar goals through different means, but our democratic traditions
have bred in us both an appreciation for diversity and an understanding that
there is often more than one way to achieve a goal.
we welcome our guests with special warmth because this is not merely the visit
of a Prime Minister on an official trip but also somewhat of a sentimental
journey. In 1960, Mr. Prime Minister, early in your married life, you went to NorthwesternUniversity in Illinois, where you attended
graduate school and Mrs. Carlsson worked in the
university library. A hard-working young couple building a
future together. I'm happy to note that the still-young Carlssons next month will celebrate their 30th wedding
anniversary. [Applause] You've heard this, and let me add the warm
congratulations of both Nancy and myself. I understand you'll be visiting
Northwestern again this Saturday, and I wish you a most pleasurable return to
this special place.
Prime Minister, our countries have been friends as long as the United States has been a country.
Today we've had the opportunity to reaffirm the bonds of affection between our
peoples and to talk of the issues we, as the leaders
of two free nations, face in the world. Prime Minister and Mrs. Carlsson, I raise my glass to you and to the Swedish people
in friendship, and I ask all of you to join me in this toast and in a hearty skal.
The Prime Minister. Mr. President, Mrs.
Reagan, ladies and gentleman, this beautiful dinner in the White House is the
culmination of a day of intense and interesting talks with our American
friends. The splendor of this evening and the opulent beauty of the Washington summer highlight the character
of the Swedish-American friendship.
several respects, no comparison between our two countries is possible. We're
obviously a different size. We're certainly a different influence. We have
different histories, and we sometimes voice different views. But in many other
respects our two nations are very similar. What has been called the American
way of life has a great attraction for many Swedes, not least for the young.
American trends in art, music, and sports seem to reach our shores faster and
stay longer than in many other countries.
some of the influence has also been in the other direction. During the last
century, more than a million Swedes came to this country, and most of them came
to stay and start a new life here, bringing with them a part of Sweden to this land. You will
still remember many of them. One is Carl Sandburg, the son of a Swedish
immigrant who became one of America's greatest poets.
Another is Jenny Lind, a much-loved Swedish singer who toured this country for
several years in the 19th century. The aviator Charles Lindbergh was the
grandson of a Swedish farmer. And if we look at the most recent wave of
immigration, we find that there are no less than 22 Swedish players in the
teams of the National Hockey League. [Laughter]
is still great interest among Swedes in traveling to the United States. This interest is
encouraged, for instance, by an extensive student exchange program and is,
above all, supported by the generosity of American colleges and universities in
admitting students from overseas. I'm one of the Swedes who once studied in
this country. The year which my wife, Inga, and I
spent at NorthwesternUniversity in Illinois was one of our most
memorable. We very much look forward to returning there this weekend to revive
President, during our talks today, we agreed that the close and friendly
Swedish-American relations are in a dynamic phase, with intensified contacts in
many fields. One very good example is, of course, the visit which you, Mrs.
Reagan, made to Sweden in June. Permit me to
add, Mrs. Reagan, that your knowledge of and your dedication to the grave
problems of drug abuse made a profound impression on your Swedish hosts.
days ago I had the privilege of personally visiting the U.S.S. Constitution, a
very fine ship in the port of Boston. We were there again
reminded of the forthcoming bicentennial of the American Constitution to be
celebrated in Philadelphia next week. We are proud
that Sweden is one of five
countries singled out to be honored there for having had diplomatic relations
with the United States for more than 200
years. Next year we will see another celebration of the 350th anniversary of
the first Swedish settlement in America. We deeply appreciate
it that you, Mr. President, on this account, have proclaimed 1988 as the Year
of New Sweden.
spoke initially about the differences and the similarities between our two
countries. We are both engaged by and concerned with events beyond our borders.
This is natural for the United States as a major partner in
several military alliances. But it's also the natural course for Sweden as a neutral country,
since we, too, are affected by international developments. In particular, we
know that we all run the risk of annihilation in a nuclear exchange.
me, therefore, Mr. President, in conclusion, again assure you that Sweden will
support every effort by you and your Soviet counterpart to begin a process of
reducing nuclear arms. I understand that you are near an historic breakthrough
in the endeavor to start dismantling nuclear weapons. There are millions of
people around the world who share your sentiments, Mr. President, about the
immorality of a nuclear war. The fact that an agreement is near which may make
such a war so much less likely is a signal of hope to all mankind.
I finally ask you all to join me in a toast of the President and Mrs. Reagan,
to the American people, and to the friendship between Sweden and the United States.
Note: The President spoke
at in the State Dining Room at the White House.