For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 16, 2001
Remarks by the President
In Acceptance of Bust of Winston Churchill
the Oval Office
1:12 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr.
I think I casually mentioned to the
Ambassador, right after my swearing-in, that I lamented the fact that
there was not a proper bust of Winston Churchill for me to put in the
Oval Office. He's a man of great action, because here sits a
bust on loan from Her Majesty's government, that I accept gratefully;
and will place right here, where the flowers are, beneath one of my
favorite West Texas paintings. I accept gratefully and I
look forward to looking at Sir Winston on a daily basis.
People said, why would you be interested
in having the bust of an Englishman in your Oval Office. And
the answer is because he was one of the great leaders in the 20th
century. He was an enormous personality. He stood
on principle. He was a man of great courage. He
knew what he believed. And he really kind of went after it
in a way that seemed like a Texan to me: he wasn't afraid of
public opinion polls; he wasn't afraid of -- he didn't need focus
groups to tell him what was right. He charged ahead, and the
world is better for it.
He also had a great sense of
humor. There have been a lot of Churchill stories, some of
which you can repeat on TV, some of which you can't, Mr.
Ambassador. One that came to mind was after he lost office
in the election in 1945, King George VI offered him the Order of the
Garter. And here is what he said. "I could hardly accept
His Majesty's offer of the Garter, when his people have given me the
order of the boot." (Laughter.)
Churchill reminds me of two things -- one,
we need more humor in the public arena. He had a great
wit. He had a fantastic way of making people smile and
laugh. And secondly, he reminds me of the importance of our
relationship, the relationship between Great Britain and America.
As the Ambassador mentions, in a couple of
days' time I will go to confirm and renew that
relationship. Not only will I have the honor of meeting with
Her Majesty, I will also spend some quality time again with the Prime
Minister. We've got a strong personal relationship that is
most helpful to making sure our countries continue the tie that binds.
I'm looking forward to my trip
overseas. And a perfect way to begin is to stop off in
London, and then eventually go to Chequers, and then -- and have a very
constructive and honest and straightforward dialogue about areas where
we cooperate to make the world a better place.
In the meantime, Mr. Ambassador, I'm
honored that you came by. Thank you very much for bringing
Sir Winston. I look forward to visiting with
him. Sometimes he'll talk back; sometimes he won't,
depending upon the stress of the moment. But he is a
constant reminder of what a great leader is like.
So, thank you for coming, sir.
Q Mr. President, is
the special relationship as healthy today as it was in Churchill's
THE PRESIDENT: I think it
is. I do. We cooperate in the Balkans. The Prime
Minister and I talk quite frequently on issues that are of concern for
world peace. We don't agree on every single detail of
issues, but we do agree that the relationship is special and
unique. And I think it is very strong.
Q Are you expecting
criticism on your UK trip, of your policies on the Kyoto treaty and
THE PRESIDENT: You mean, from
whom? Editorial page writers? Oh,
perhaps. But on both issues I have made my positions
clear. People shouldn't doubt where the United States
stands. And I made those positions on
principle. In principle, it's important for us to develop a
new strategic framework to make the world more peaceful. The
Prime Minister, in his public statement at Camp David, understood exact
-- said to the people he understood exactly where I was coming from.
We will continue to consult with Great
Britain on the issue. I will keep him posted about my
dialogue with Mr. Putin. As a matter of fact, one of the
things I look forward to doing is sharing the conversations I had with
Mr. Putin and what my intentions are in Genoa, as well as in Shanghai,
when I meet Mr. Putin.
And I think the Prime Minister and others
are beginning to realize the Cold War is over. I know he
knows it's over. And the fundamental question is, how do we
deal with the threats of the 21st century. And on global
warming, the Prime Minister knows, as do the leaders of the EU, they
heard me say as loudly and as clearly as I can, we agree with the goal
of reducing greenhouse gases. But we don't accept the
methodology of the Kyoto Treaty.
So I look forward over time to detailing
our strategy with our friends and allies. And, again, I
repeat, it's with the goal in mind of making sure that we all work in
the world developing and -- developing nations as well as industrial
nations of reducing greenhouse gases.
Q Mr. President, on
a question that is of interest to Europe, do you plan to extend the
waiver of the Title III of Helms-Burton for another six months?
THE PRESIDENT: I do.
Q Mr. President, do
you have any initiative to suggest in Northern Ireland that might break
the deadlock between the parties there?
PRESIDENT: Where? Northern
Ireland? No, what I told the leaders of -- Prime Minister
Blair and Ahern, I said, call me if you need help. They're the folks
closest to the ground. They're intricately involved in the
situation, and the United States stands ready to assist. If
there's anything we can do to help bring peace to the region, my
government is more than willing to do so.
Q But you haven't
received a call yet?
THE PRESIDENT: I have not, but
I suspect that Tony Blair and I will discuss this issue. I
look forward to getting his perspective on the issue. And,
again, if he needs our help, we'll be glad to help.
Q You've been to
Britain before, Mr. President. What are you looking forward
to most on your re-visit?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm
looking forward to going to Chequers. The Prime Minister
told me when he came to Camp David that he thought I was -- would
really love to see Chequers. And my dad told me the same
thing; the ambassadors confirmed that, as well. I look
forward to going. I look forward to seeing Her Majesty, the
I had the honor of coming to a state
dinner here in Washington that my mother and dad gave for
her. And it's -- I found her to be a lovely, dignified,
smart lady. And I look forward to representing my country in
My first trip to overseas was a successful
trip. I'm confident this will be, as well. It's
such an honor to represent our nation in foreign capitals and to be
with foreign leaders. I look forward to -- but I really look
forward to making progress on key issues, such as missile defense and
world trade, working with nations who are less fortunate than Great
Britain and the United States -- nations in Africa.
We're going to have a very interesting
session in Genoa with the leaders of developing nations. And
the United States and Great Britain will take the lead in helping
convince all our friends and allies to provide support necessary to
help nations develop, starting with free trade.
Q Mr. President, on
energy, your Cabinet is out today, pushing your energy
plan. Is it a tougher sell now, given that gas prices have
come down, we're not seeing the rolling blackouts in California that we
were just a couple of months ago?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think
anytime there's not an immediate problem that's apparent to people,
it's tough to convince people to think long-term. But it's
clear that there are warning signs. It's clear -- it should
be clear to the American people that we're dependent upon foreign
sources of crude oil, when every quarter we worry about whether or not
OPEC is going to run the price of crude up. It should be
worrisome to people that the state that's had the best conservation
efforts is the state that's had brownouts. And even though
there may not be a brownout today, it's an indication that we need an
And so we're going to take a very strong
effort to convince the American people that we've got a plan that
couples not only sound conservation, but the need to develop new
sources of energy. And one of the primary topics that will
be on the agenda when the President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, comes after
our August recess, in the beginning of September, will be to continue
to talk about the hemispheric strategy to bring natural gas into the
United States, and to Mexico, for that matter.
I'm going to meet with Jean Chretien in
Genoa, and we'll be talking about energy, I can assure
you. Canada has got a lot of natural gas in the Northwest
Territories; we need to figure out how to get that gas into the United
And I think the American people will
listen to a rational, logical approach about how best to create energy
security and diversification, as well as how to promote conservation.
Q Thank you, all.
1:24 P.M. EDT