Public Papers

Remarks at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney


Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Well, it is a pleasure for Barbara and me to be here, and I will speak to her afterward about her frankness here. [Laughter] I'm sure I can work it out. We've been married 47 years, and I haven't been able to work it out yet, but I will try. [Laughter]

Now, Prime Minister, to you and Anita, thank you for your hospitality. To the Premier, Nick Greiner, and Kathryn, thank you for yours, sir. To Minister Fatin, the Minister for Arts and Tourism in the Territories, we are grateful to you for your leadership in this field.

I want to salute our own Ambassador, Mel Sembler, who came up from Canberra here, and Betty, who are with us; thank chairman Peter Doyle for his comments. I have to tell you, though, you can tell he's an avid sportsman, and he loves fishing. And inside he said to me, ``The only time I see pictures of you, you are fishing. You must love fishing.'' Please don't repeat that for the people back in the United States. I think sometimes they think the only thing I like to do is go fishing. [Laughter] But nevertheless, I'm sorry we missed the opportunity on this particular trip. But I love it.

And may I salute Dr. Fewster, the director who is going to, I understand, show us around; say to your Ambassador to the United States how proud we are that he is with us, Ambassador Michael Cook and his wife, Catriona. They have many, many friends in the United States, and they are doing a first-class job for your country in the United States. And then, of course, I want to salute Dr. Hewson and his wife, Carolyn, who came up to be with us today, too.

I am really thrilled to take part in this dedication, a gift from the people of the United States to the people of Australia, the U.S.A. Gallery of the Australian National Maritime Museum. President Reagan announced this gift in 1988 in honor of Australia's bicentennial. And now as we dedicate the new gallery, we mark another bicentennial, the Prime Minister referred to it, and that is the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first foreign trading ship in Sydney, an American vessel named for the City of Brotherly Love in our country, Philadelphia.

Never was a ship more aptly named. Brotherhood has linked the Australian and American people now for two centuries. And if anybody at home, if anyone in the States doubt it, I just wish they could have been with me and with Barbara when we came in from the airport or when we rode across to the bridge over here or wherever we have gone in this short period of time. You can just feel it. And I hope that they can feel that it is reciprocated because it certainly is. Our common ancestors endowed us with language and culture, the rule of law, a spirit of enterprise, and a passion for freedom that we still share today.

Australians and Americans have been together for many a maritime adventure, in peace and, yes, in war; in commerce and in sporting competition. And visitors to this gallery may see historical displays of the three Americans who were among the crew of Captain Cook's Endeavor on its voyage to Australia in 1770. Visitors will get a unique glimpse into life aboard a 19th-century trading ship. Other displays commemorate the common courage Australian and American naval forces showed half a century ago in the fateful battles of World War II.

Fraternal ties of culture and commerce between our two nations literally have never, ever been stronger. And I am proud that the United States and Australia are committed to open and robust world trade, trade that creates jobs and lifts the standards of living in both our countries.

And in this spirit and in this anniversary year, I am very honored to have been asked to take part in opening the U.S.A. Gallery of Australia's National Maritime Museum. Thank you. May God bless you all, and may you have a wonderful New Year. Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:25 p.m. at the dedication ceremony for the U.S.A. Gallery of the Australian National Maritime Museum. In his remarks, he referred to Australian Prime Minister Paul J. Keating and his wife, Anita; Nick Greiner, Premier of New South Wales, and his wife, Kathryn; Peter Doyle and Kevin Fewster, chairman and director of the museum; and Liberal Party leader John Hewson, head of the Federal Opposition Coalition.