Menu for the 1974 State Dinner for Canada:
Good Friends Discussing Their Differences
After finishing their hazelnut mousse and coffee the two leaders exchanged toasts.
President Ford shared an anecdote about his first trip outside of the United States to Windsor and commented on how he enjoyed skiing in Canada. Although he did not mention it during his toast, his prepared remarks also included the fun fact that he and Prime Minister Trudeau were probably “the only two heads of government ever to be photographed on trampolines in the same year.”
In a more serious vein, President Ford noted how cordial relations between the countries remained even when discussing their differences. “We often say in the Congress that you can disagree without being disagreeable, and that is the way I think our relations between your country and ours has proceeded in the past, and I hope will proceed in the future,” he said.
Table settings for the 1976 State Dinner for France—
Tables of Lights
Inspired by the idea of the Sound and Light Show at Mount Vernon that was France’s Bicentennial gift to the United States, Mrs. Ford chose an illuminating theme for the state dinner honoring President Giscard d’Estaing.
The centerpieces were designed around items from the early American lighting collection on loan from the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. These included a variety of lanterns, candelabra, and candlesticks made of tin, pewter, brass, and wrought iron.
The accompanying floral arrangements featured anemones, the favorite flower of Mrs. Giscard d’Estaing, as well as sweet william, lilacs, rubrum lillies, sweetheart roses, and heather. More flowers appeared in the “Summer Flora” pattern on the tablecloths. The design was a reproduction of an original French textile dating from around 1775 from the Textile Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When planning what dishes to make, the White House took into account that the French had indicated that they would serve lobster and duckling at the reciprocal dinner at their embassy the following evening. Mrs. Ford approved a menu of Columbia River Salmon, Sauce Verte, Filet of Beef, Artichokes Saint Germain, Mushroooms Provencale, Bibb Lettuce Salad, Brie Cheese, Basket Grand Marnier, Petits Fours, and Demitasse.
A State Dinner for France, 1976
Common Dedication to Freedom
President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France arrived at the White House for a state visit on May 17, 1976. As at the previous arrival ceremonies that year, the speeches referenced the celebration of America’s Bicentennial. “We welcome you today with the warm recollections, Mr. President, of France’s aid to a struggling young republic,” President Ford said in his remarks.
Giscard d’Estaing responded with his view on the continuing friendship between France and the United States:
The real secret of our understanding springs from the principles which inspired it. Both countries have shown without a break and sometimes in dramatic circumstances an identical passion for independence and liberty.
Today, two centuries later, this principle remains at the center of the world’s problems, the independence of peoples and the freedom of men. This is the reason why I have come to tell you, Mr. President, that the France of 1976 is as much committed to the struggle in the defense of liberty as she was along your side two centuries ago.
JFK Proposes a Detroit Olympics
"The long established and much respected tradition of the Olympic Games exerts a powerful influence upon the character of men and nations."
-President Kennedy in a letter to members of the International Olympic Committee proposing Detroit, Michigan as the host city for the 1968 Summer Olympics, 9/3/63.
Pictured: President John F. Kennedy signs a joint resolution in support of Detroit’s bid to host the 1968 Olympic Games. Behind President Kennedy stand officials from Michigan (L-R): Senator Philip A. Hart, Representative Martha W. Griffiths, Representative Neil Staebler, and Representative Harold M. Ryan. Cabinet Room, White House, Washington, D.C.
-from the JFK Library
Meeting Her Majesty
Dinner guests passed through a receiving line on the South Lawn as they made their way to the tent in the Rose Garden. Among those Queen Elizabeth II greeted were actor Cary Grant, baseball player Willie Mays, and Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt.
With 224 guests in attendance this state dinner was the largest that President and Mrs. Ford hosted. The guest list once again included an eclectic mix of individuals: Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady; John Warner, head of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration; W. Averell Harriman and Walter H. Annenberg, former ambassadors to the United Kingdom; fashion designer Bill Blass; singer Ella Fitzgerald; evangelist Billy Graham; figure skater Dorothy Hamill, and actresses Hermione Gingold and Helen Hayes.
"After all, nobody can say that what happened on the Fourth of July 1776 was not very much a bilateral affair between us."
Queen Elizabeth II began her toast at this state dinner by recognizing how appropriate it was she visited the United States during the main week of the Bicentennial celebration. Her remarks reflected on the Anglo-American relationship since America gained its independence:
Mr. President, history is not a fairy tale. Despite the good intentions, hostility soon broke out between us and even burst into this house. But, these early quarrels are long buried. What is more important is that our shared language, traditions and history have given us a common vision of what is right and just.
Both our peoples believe in the worth of the individual and the family, in freedom of religion and expression, in the right to change a Government by the ballot box rather than the gun, perhaps the best definition of democracy.
That is why time and time again, in the testing days of war, and the constructive years of peace, we have stood together on the things that matter. The world has changed a great deal since that Declaration was signed in Independence Hall 200 years ago. Over the generations the British people have watched with admiration – and can I say with pride – how you, with ingenuity and resource, first peopled and settled the continent and then undertook a world role which has brought great and lasting benefits to humanity….
Mr. President, I raise my glass to you and to Mrs. Ford, to the 200th birthday of America and to the happiness of her staunch and generous people.
Ronald Reagan was born on this day, Feburary 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois.
Ronald Reagan was first called “Dutch” as a baby by his father who affectionately said that he looked like “a fat little Dutchman.” As a toddler, the nickname lasted because of the “Dutch boy” haircut, once popular for little boys, that his mother gave him.
Photo: Ronald Reagan (with “Dutch” haircut), Neil Reagan, and parents Jack and Nelle Reagan. Circa 1916-1917.
Happy 103rd Birthday Anniversary for Ronald “Dutch” Reagan!
As part of her visit Queen Elizabeth II presented a number of state gifts to the Fords. These included an ornate Bicentennial Commemorative tureen painted with red, blue, and gold. An image of the White House is painted on one side, while the other shows a side view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. For display the tureen came with a specially designed wooden base with an engraved plaque.
Queen Elizabeth also gave gifts to individual family members. Betty Ford received a custom designed gold and diamond star burst brooch, while Jack Ford was given a set of four gold-tone cuff links. The jewelry featured Her Majesty’s cipher “E II R.”
In return the Fords presented Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with the bronze statue “Two Champs” by Henry Jackson, which depicted a rider on a bucking horse.
August 8, 1930 - February 3, 2014
Our thoughts go out to Vice President Mondale and the Mondale family.
Photo: Walter Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Joan Mondale and Jimmy Carter at the Mondale’s home for dinner with the Vice President. 12/18/1977.
-from the Carter Library