I have received many kindnesses from the United States of America,
but the honour which you now accord me is without parallel. I accept
it with deep gratitude and affection.
I am also most sensible of the warm-hearted action of the individual
States who accorded me the great compliment of their own honorary
citizenships as a prelude to this Act of Congress.
It is a remarkable comment on our affairs that the former Prime
Minister of a great sovereign state should thus be received as an
honorary citizen of another. I say "great sovereign state" with
design and emphasis, for I reject the view that Britain and the
Commonwealth should now be relegated to a tame and minor role in the
world. Our past is the key to our future, which I firmly trust and
believe will be no less fertile and glorious. Let no man underrate
our energies, our potentialities and our abiding power for good.
I am, as you know, half American by blood, and the story of my
association with that mighty and benevolent nation goes back nearly
ninety years to the day of my Father's marriage. In this century of
storm and tragedy I contemplate with high satisfaction the constant
factor of the interwoven and upward progress of our peoples. Our
comradeship and our brotherhood in war were unexampled. We stood
together, and because of that fact the free world now stands. Nor
has our partnership any exclusive nature: the Atlantic community is
a dream that can well be fulfilled to the detriment of none and to
the enduring benefit and honour of the great democracies.
Mr. President, your action illuminates the theme of unity of the
English-speaking peoples, to which I have devoted a large part of my
life. I would ask you to accept yourself, and to convey to both
Houses of Congress, and through them to the American people, my
solemn and heartfelt thanks for this unique distinction, which will
always be proudly remembered by my descendants.