June 10, 1984

The President. Mr. Ambassador and Mrs. Price and members of the Embassy staff, the Navy, and the students from the American school, Nancy and I are grateful that so many of you could be here today. And we would like to express our heartfelt thanks for your warm welcome and for all that you've done to make our visit a success.

Now, you could have stopped short of organizing that crowd that turned up in the streets yesterday, but -- [laughter] -- and if you get too lonely maybe you could find how to put them together again. But somehow your Embassy always rises to the challenge, no matter how many demands you have to contend with. Your good work and cheerful hospitality are legend in Washington, and I'm sure that helps explain why you see so many of us so frequently. And I don't mind telling you that we're also delighted with the job that is being done by Ambassador Charlie Price and his very talented and lovely partner Carol.

Charlie, as I look out on this beautiful lawn, I can appreciate what a delight living here must be -- especially for a fine golfer like you. But then, as I look behind me at all these windows, I'm reminded that you hit one that went astray. And forgive me for asking, but how was that paid for, or did we add it to the deficit? [Laughter]

I know how much you all must enjoy working and living in this wonderful city. Great Britain and the United States are kindred nations of like-minded people. We defend the same values; we face the same dangers and cherish the same friendships. We look to our British cousins with a very warm and special affection. These bonds must never be broken, and I don't believe they ever will be.

We've had a wonderful and, I think, very productive 10 days -- visiting some of my ancestors' homeland in Ireland, commemorating the 40th anniversary of D-day at Normandy, and then meeting with my fellow leaders at the economic summit here in London. We leave today with renewed confidence that we can and will strengthen the freedoms, prosperity, and peace that we share.

But I cannot say goodbye without thanking our Foreign Service nationals, who serve us so well. As American diplomats come and go, it's your professionalism that keeps everything running smoothly. All of you make an invaluable contribution to our Anglo-American partnership, and nobody knows that better than Miss Joan Auten. Miss Auten, would you please join me up here for a minute?

Ms. Auten. Mr. President, how nice to see you.

The President. Nice to see you.

Miss Auten's distinguished career spans nearly 44 years. She has served 14 American Ambassadors to the Court of Saint James. And during World War II, when London was under siege, she helped evacuate children to the safety of our shores in the United States. Since those early days of service, Joan Auten has played a leading role in promoting friendship and dialog between our two democracies.

And, Joan, I'm delighted to honor you with the Presidential Special Award for Exceptional Service.

Ms. Auten. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The President. Well, thank you, for all those years.

Well, we return to the States with gratitude for all you've done. We've had a good visit. And for all that you'll continue to do, we thank you. And we'll take with us warm and lasting memories of your friendship.

I can't help but go without telling a little incident that I've told to some of the people we've been meeting with here. When we had the summit in Williamsburg, in Virginia, last year -- that was the British capital at one time of the Colonies -- and the first dinner meeting between the seven leaders was around a dinner table in what had been the residence of the British Colonial Governor. And I thought I was all set with quite a witticism. When we finally sat down, I would say to the Prime Minister, "Margaret, if one of your predecessors had been a little more clever, you would be hostessing this gathering.''

I underestimated her. I got out -- of my line, I said, "Margaret, if one of your predecessors had been a little more clever'' -- -- She turned to me and said, "Yes, I know. I would have been hosting this gathering.'' [Laughter]

I learned then that -- I'm very careful. You're very fortunate, and she conducted magnificently the meetings that we've had for the last few days, and they were productive.

And now, again, I know that you'll have to rejoice a little, because we must have caused you a great deal of trouble; but, we're most grateful to you. And we'll now go -- and fly away.

Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:08 a.m. outside Winfield House. Following his remarks, he left London for the return to Washington, DC.