[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 5, 1998]
[Pages 173-174]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Welcoming Prime Minister Tony Blair of 
the United Kingdom
February 5, 1998

    Thank you very much. Mr. Prime Minister, Mrs. Blair, members of the British delegation, welcome to America 
and to the White House. We apologize for the rain, but the Sun is 
shining in our hearts today because you are here. Today we celebrate the 
unbreakable bond between our two nations. It led the fight for freedom 
in the 20th century, and we set our sights now on renewing our alliance 
for a new century with all its promise and challenge.
    At the heart of all we have done and all we will do together in the 
future is the unshakable conviction that our people have the inalienable 
right to pursue their dreams in peace, security, and freedom, and the 

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knowledge that we can always depend upon each other to stand for that 
conviction together.
    These are good times for the people of the United States and Great 
Britain. Freedom and democracy are taking hold around the world. In both 
our nations, a vibrant new economy is growing, rooted in new ideas, new 
technologies, new scientific breakthroughs, changing the way we live and 
learn, the way we work and compete, the way to relate to each other and 
the rest of the world.
    In both our nations we have moved to build a government for the 21st 
century going beyond the dogmas of the past, focused on giving our 
people the tools to make the most of their own lives: a world-class 
education, the ability to move from welfare to work, a system of 
retirement security as strong for our children as it has been for our 
parents. In this new era, a new Britain and a new America, true to our 
oldest and most cherished values, can blaze new paths for the world.
    Our 21st century alliance, by example and exertion, must protect the 
promise we are working so hard to secure. We will stand together for 
peace, as in Bosnia where our troops are working side by side to secure 
the Dayton accords. We will search the new solutions to stubborn strife, 
as in Northern Ireland, where the Prime Minister's courageous leadership 
and the determined efforts of the Irish Government are clearing a 
pathway to peace. We will stand against those who defy the will of the 
international community, bringing terrorists to justice in the case of 
Pan Am 103, maintaining stability in the Persian Gulf, where the British 
aircraft carrier Invincible is patrolling the waters alongside our U.S. 
Fleet, something that our men and women in uniform find great strength 
in, Mr. Prime Minister.
    Our 21st century alliance embraces the idea of a Europe strong, 
prosperous, democratic, and undivided for the first time in history. So 
as Britain maintains its friendship with America, it is playing a 
leading role in shaping that new Europe: a healthy European Union, 
reaching out to new members; a strong NATO taking in new allies; 
practical partnerships with new democracies, including Russia and 
Ukraine, all important steps on the road to a more peaceful 21st 
    Mr. Prime Minister, the earliest English settlers who came to this 
country had the vision to see over the horizon. Like them, you have 
shown the foresight, the imagination, the daring to envision a new world 
and the determination to make that vision real. You have invigorated 
Britain, issued an exhilarating challenge for a proud people whose best 
days, clearly, still lie ahead.
    T.S. Eliot, who has been variously claimed by both our countries, 
once wrote in the ``Four Quartets,'' ``The end is where we start from.'' 
At the end of a century of friendship, let us pledge to connect our 
storied past to the unwritten promise of our future. Mr. Prime Minister, 
welcome to the United States.

Note: The President spoke at 11:09 a.m. in the Grand Foyer at the White 
House, where Prime Minister Blair was accorded a formal welcome with 
full military honors. In his remarks, the President referred to the 
Prime Minister's wife, Cherie. The transcript released by the Office of 
the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Prime Minister Blair.