Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1970

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Author: Richard M. Nixon  | Date: September 30, 1970

313
Remarks on Arrival at the NATO Southern Command in Naples, Italy.
September 30, 1970

Admiral Rivero, all of the officers, the distinguished guests, and the others associated with the NATO Southern Command:

I am very honored to be here on this occasion. And before I begin my formal remarks, if I could be permitted to say that I am very happy to see so many from the United States, the dependents, the wives, the children, and the rest, and I bring you the best greetings from all of your friends back home in the United States.

I know that you must have been as impressed as I was, and as moved as I was, by the pageantry that we have just witnessed, of the great nations that were represented by the forces that we saw pass in review.

I know, too, that you realize that that pageantry has something behind it. NATO is 21 years of age. In fact, most of the people here in this audience were born since NATO came into being.

And when we consider NATO, we must realize that because of its strength and its purpose, Europe has enjoyed a generation of peace since it came into being.

Now, at the present time, we live in a period of change. A period of change can be welcome. It can mean to this part of the world, to Europe, that we move from a period of confrontation to one of negotiation; that we move from a period in which Europe seems to be permanently divided by rigid blocs to a period in which the nations and the peoples of Europe join together in cooperation and communication.

A period of change also, however, can be one of very great danger, because in a time of change there is turmoil; there is also the lack of confidence that comes when instability seems to be the order of the day.

The great question before us in NATO and in the free world today is whether in this period of change in Europe and in the world we shall be masters of change and masters of our fate or whether we shall be the victims of change.

That brings me back to this pageantry that we just saw and what it represents-what it represents not just to us from the United States, but from our friends in Europe and to our friends in Europe.

What we must realize is that in a period of instability, of uncertainty, and of possible lack of confidence, that what is needed is an institution that people can believe in, an institution that is strong, an institution that is stable, that men and women can hang onto; and NATO is such an institution.

It is strong, it is united, it represents the best of all of our people. It has power, but it is a power that exists for the purpose of peace; and because it exists for the purpose of peace, it serves the very best ideals of all of the great peoples that are proud to be members of the NATO organization.

My trip as President of the United States to this NATO Command underlines the American commitment to a Mediterranean that will not be our sea speaking of an American sea, but a sea that will belong to all people.

My trip, also, to this NATO Commandrepresents a firm American commitment to this great institution, to which the credit must be given over these past 21 years for a period of peace in this continent, in Europe, which has suffered so much from war in the past.

And I say particularly to all of you today—but if I could direct my remarks especially to the young people here today from America—in our country we in America in this century have not known a full generation of peace: World War I, World War II, Korea, and now Vietnam.

The great goal that we have is to develop the policies that will provide the opportunity for your generation to experience that full generation of peace. I think it is possible. But it will be possible only if the United States remains strong and firm in its commitments to its alliances and particularly strong and firm in its commitment to the great alliance of NATO, perhaps the most successful in its purpose of any alliance in the history of the world.

I am proud to be here standing with our NATO allies and friends, and I say that this trip and my presence here speaks for a United States of America, united behind a great principle of strength, strength which exists for peace in Europe, and as it exists for peace in Europe which can contribute to that peace in the whole world that all of us want for ourselves and, most of all, for our children.

ADMIRAL RIVERO. Mr. President, on behalf of the Allied Forces, Southern Europe, I would like to present to you a small memento of your visit here, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, Admiral.

I would like to say that I wish that our schedule permitted the time for meeting all of the people that are here. It isn’t quite possible because we have a meeting first with the NATO Command and then with all of our ambassadors from the Mediterranean area.

But I do want you to know how very good it is to come to a country, a great, friendly country like Italy, and see so many friendly Americans right here abroad.
Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9: 40 a.m. in the Allied Forces, Southern Europe Headquarters Building in Naples. Admiral Horacio Rivero, Jr., USN, Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe, presented the President an inscribed sterling silver plate.

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Chicago: Richard M. Nixon, "313 Remarks on Arrival at the NATO Southern Command in Naples, Italy.," Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1970 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168 787. Original Sources, accessed August 8, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=51IG6WFR2LLR5VT.

MLA: Nixon, Richard M. "313 Remarks on Arrival at the NATO Southern Command in Naples, Italy." Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1970, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, page 787. Original Sources. 8 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=51IG6WFR2LLR5VT.

Harvard: Nixon, RM, '313 Remarks on Arrival at the NATO Southern Command in Naples, Italy.' in Public Papers of Richard Nixon, 1970. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1970 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1168, pp.787. Original Sources, retrieved 8 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=51IG6WFR2LLR5VT.