June 4, 1982
Mr. Secretary and Mrs. Haig, Mr. Ambassador and Mrs. Galbraith:
Nancy and I are so grateful that so many of you, staff members and families, could be here today. I just wish that we had the time to greet each one of you personally, but the schedule doesn't permit that. I think we've been a little behind schedule ever since we took off in Marine One from the lawn at the White House two days ago.
You know, you belong to a pretty special group. You're doing a very important job and living an experience which many of you will never forget. Maybe some of you feel a little bit like Gertrude Stein when she wrote, ``America is my country and Paris is my hometown.'' [Laughter]
Well, I just want you to know that you're never forgotten back in the States, and we appreciate very much your hard work and, now, more recently, your hospitality. The success of the summit and this visit to Paris will be, in great measure, due to your efforts.
If I may, I'd like to speak for a moment on a subject which concerns me greatly and each one of you in a very personal way -- terrorism. All of us have been moved by the tragic events of the past months, especially with the death of Colonel Ray on the streets of Paris and the attack on Chris Chapman.
I know that some of you here today were colleagues of Colonel Ray. You have our deepest sympathy. From experience, I know it's no fun being a target no matter where on Earth you're standing -- even outside the Hilton Hotel. But the safety of our diplomats is of paramount concern to us. President Mitterrand has also put in motion steps to control the threat of terrorism. We're encouraging him, as are the other world leaders who share my concerns, encouraging him to continue this effort.
You know your jobs are not easy. The delicate nature of diplomacy makes many demands upon you. But France and the United States are old friends and close partners. And if our partnership is growing stronger, which I'm convinced it is, that is certainly a tribute to your professional skills, which I'm convinced is equally true about not only growing stronger but due to your skills.
We salute you for all that you're doing. We urge you to keep up the good work. And Nancy joins me, I know, in expressing to you our thanks for your very warm welcome here.
I wish there was more time. I wish we could have a dialog instead of a monolog, and we could tell you whether things still looked the same at home. They do; Congress is still in a state of confusion. [Laughter] But we are grateful to all of you and welcome just this opportunity for a brief moment to be able to come by and say hello and thank you to each one of you.
God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 4:58 p.m. in the Embassy.
Earlier that afternoon, the President met with Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki of Japan at the U.S. Ambassador's residence. Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and members of the White House staff also participated in the meeting. The President then met privately with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom at the residence.
Following his appearance at the Embassy, the President went to the Hotel de Ville, the Paris townhall, for a meeting with Mayor Jacques Chirac. He then flew by helicopter to the grounds of the Palace of Versailles and was met by President Francois Mitterrand at the Grand Trianon, where he stayed during the Versailles Economic Summit Conference.
The two Presidents met briefly at the Grand Trianon and then attended a reception for heads of delegation in the Salon de Famille. The President later attended a dinner for heads of delegation in the Salon de Jardin at the Grand Trianon.