For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 20, 2001
Remarks by the President
And Prime Minister of United Kingdom Tony Blair
the Grand Foyer
8:12 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to
welcome my friend, and friend to America, Prime Minister Tony Blair to
the White House. I appreciate him coming to America in our
time of need. One of the first phone calls I got after that
terrible day was from the Prime Minister. He was reassuring
to me. He was -- he showed to be a true friend, and I
I'm so honored you're here. And
I look forward to giving a speech tonight. The Prime
Minister has kindly agreed to come and listen to it. So I'm not going
to answer any questions tonight. I'm going to let my speech
be exactly what I want to say.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister has
agreed to say a few comments, and then take a couple of questions from
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Thank you
Mr. President. It's my honor to be here, and also to pay
tribute to your leadership at this immensely difficult
time. I was in New York earlier today, and it's perhaps only
when you are actually there that the full enormity and horror of what
happened comes home to you.
And I said then, I would like to repeat,
that my father's generation went through the experience of the second
world war, when Britain was under attack, during the days of the
Blitz. And there was one nation and one people that, above
all, stood side by side with us at that time. And that
nation was America, and those people were the American
people. And I say to you, we stand side by side with you
now, without hesitation.
This is a struggle that concerns us all,
the whole of the democratic and civilized and free
world. And we have to do two things very clearly; we have to
bring to account those responsible, and then we have to set about at
every single level, in every way that we can, dismantling the apparatus
of terror, and eradicating the evil of mass terrorism in our world.
And I know that America, Britain and all
our allies will stand united together in that task. And I
give you, on behalf of our country, our solidarity, our sympathy and
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.
Q Mr. Prime
Minister, have you discussed what Britain's involvement in any military
action might be?
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, of
course, we've discussed the full range of issues. Now is not
the moment to go into the details of whatever response we
make. But I think that you can be in no doubt at all of our
determination to act, to make sure, as I say, that those responsible
for this event are brought to account. And in the talks I
had in Europe before I left, I believe that sense of solidarity is
echoed right round the world.
Q Prime Minister,
how are you prepared to go on supporting a full-scale war --
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: I believe
we have to go on fighting terrorism as long as it
takes. Because what happened on the 11th of September was,
of course, a brutal and horrific attack on America, but it was a
demonstration of what these people are capable of in any part of the
world. And the important thing to realize is that there is no limit on
what they would do that is moral. They have no regard for
the sanctity of human life. They don't share the values of
democracy or freedom or justice. The only limits on what
they do are practical or technical.
And that is why it is our duty -- I
believe this -- it is our duty to take action to make sure that at
every level we can -- how these groups are
financed, how they operate, how they move about, the weapons that they
acquire -- at every single level, we have to take the action necessary
to put an end to it.
Q Prime Minister,
the President said tonight that countries have to choose between being
with you or being with the terrorists. How many
countries do you believe are making the choice to be with
terrorists? And what are the consequences to countries still
not sure which side they're on?
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I
just wanted to say this to you in conclusion to that
question. I believe right round the world there is support
for firm action now. And I believe the coalition of support
for that action is growing. It is strengthening; it is not
diminishing. And that is the impression that I have had from
many of the conversations I've had with world leaders in all different
parts of the world. Because this struggle is something that
should unite people of all faiths, of all nations, of all democratic
political persuasions, and I believe it will.
PRESIDENT BUSH: We've got to