Speaker:Mr. President,ladies and gentlemen,history is more than thepath left by the past. It influences the presentand can shape the future. We meet today inWestminster Hall,a building begun 900 years agowhen the Vikings were visitingthe shores of what wouldbecome the United States,even if it was Columbus whowould subsequently demonstratethe politician’s artof arriving late,but claiming all the credit. This hall has witnessed grimtrials in the sentencing todeath of a king, coronationbanquets, ceremonial addresses,and the coffins of thosereceiving the last respects ofour people. Few places reach so far intothe heart of our nation. Yet until today, no Americanpresident has stood on thesesteps to address ourcountry’s Parliament. It is my honor, Mr. President,to welcome you as our friend andas a statesman. Statesmanship is the cementwhich seals our shared idealismas nations. It makes meaningful the unity ofambition, passion for freedom,and abhorrence of injusticethat is the call of ourclose alliance. It has fallen to you to tackleeconomic turbulence at home,to protect the healthof those without wealth,and to seek that preciousbalance between security whichis too often threatened, andhuman rights which are toooften denied. History is not the burden ofany one man or woman alone. But some are called tomeet a special share ofit’s challenges. It is a duty that you dischargewith a dignity, determination,and distinction thatare widely admired. Abraham Lincoln once observedthat nearly all men canstand adversity. But if you want to test a man’scharacter, give him power. Ladies and gentlemen, thePresident of the United Statesof America, Barack Obama. President Obama:Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. My Lord Chancellor, Mr. Speaker,Mr. Prime Minister, my lords,and members of theHouse of Commons:I have known few greater honorsthan the opportunity to addressthe Mother of Parliamentsat Westminster Hall. I am told that the last threespeakers here have been thePope, Her Majesty theQueen, and Nelson Mandela –which is either a very highbar or the beginning of a veryfunny joke. I come here today toreaffirm one of the oldest,one of the strongest alliancesthe world has ever known. It’s long been said that theUnited States and the UnitedKingdom share aspecial relationship. And since we also share anespecially active press corps,that relationship is oftenanalyzed and overanalyzedfor the slightest hintof stress or strain. Of course, all relationshipshave their ups and downs. Admittedly, ours got off on thewrong foot with a small scrapeabout tea and taxes. There may also have beensome hurt feelings when theWhite House was set on fireduring the War of 1812. But fortunately, it’s beensmooth sailing ever since. The reason for this closefriendship doesn’t just haveto do with our shared history,our shared heritage;our ties of languageand culture;or even the strong partnershipbetween our governments. Our relationship is specialbecause of the values andbeliefs that have unitedour people through the ages. Centuries ago, whenkings, emperors,and warlords reignedover much of the world,it was the English who firstspelled out the rights andliberties of manin the Magna Carta. It was here, in this very hall,where the rule of law firstdeveloped, courtswere established,disputes were settled, andcitizens came to petitiontheir leaders. Over time, the people ofthis nation waged a long andsometimes bloody struggleto expand and secure theirfreedom from the crown. Propelled by the idealsof the Enlightenment,they would ultimately forgean English Bill of Rights,and invest the power to governin an elected parliament that’sgathered here today. What began on this island wouldinspire millions throughout thecontinent of Europeand across the world. But perhaps no one drew greaterinspiration from these notionsof freedom than yourrabble-rousing colonistson the other sideof the Atlantic. As Winston Churchillsaid, the “. . . Magna Carta,the Bill of Rights, HabeasCorpus, trial by jury,and English common law findtheir most famous expression inthe American Declarationof Independence. “For both of our nations, livingup to the ideals enshrined inthese founding documents hassometimes been difficult,has always been awork in progress. The path has never been perfect. But through the strugglesof slaves and immigrants,women and ethnic minorities,former colonies and persecutedreligions, we have learnedbetter than most that thelonging for freedom and humandignity is not English orAmerican or Western— it is universal,and it beats in every heart. Perhaps that’s why there arefew nations that stand firmer,speak louder, and fight harderto defend democratic valuesaround the world than the UnitedStates and the United Kingdom. We are the allies wholanded at Omaha and Gold,who sacrificed side by side tofree a continent from the marchof tyranny, and help prosperityflourish from the ruins of war. And with the founding ofNATO — a British idea –we joined a transatlanticalliance that has ensured oursecurity for overhalf a century. Together with our allies,we forged a lasting peacefrom a cold war. When the Iron Curtain lifted, weexpanded our alliance to includethe nations of Centraland Eastern Europe,and built new bridges to Russiaand the former states of theSoviet Union. And when there wasstrife in the Balkans,we worked togetherto keep the peace. Today, after a difficult decadethat began with war and ended inrecession, our nations havearrived at a pivotal momentonce more. A global economy that once stoodon the brink of depression isnow stable and recovering. After years of conflict, theUnited States has removed100,000 troops from Iraq, theUnited Kingdom has removed itsforces, and our combatmission there has ended. In Afghanistan, we’ve broken theTaliban’s momentum and will soonbegin a transitionto Afghan lead. And nearly 10 years after 9/11,we have disrupted terroristnetworks and dealt al Qaeda ahuge blow by killing its leader– Osama bin Laden. Together, we havemet great challenges. But as we enter this newchapter in our shared history,profound challengesstretch out before us. In a world where the prosperityof all nations is nowinextricably linked, a new eraof cooperation is required toensure the growth and stabilityof the global economy. As new threats spreadacross borders and oceans,we must dismantle terroristnetworks and stop the spreadof nuclear weapons, confrontclimate change and combatfamine and disease. And as a revolution racesthrough the streets of theMiddle East and North Africa,the entire world has a stakein the aspirations of ageneration that longs todetermine its own destiny. These challenges come at a timewhen the international order hasalready been reshapedfor a new century. Countries like China, India,and Brazil are growing byleaps and bounds. We should welcomethis development,for it has lifted hundreds ofmillions from poverty aroundthe globe, and created newmarkets and opportunitiesfor our own nations. And yet, as this rapidchange has taken place,it’s become fashionable in somequarters to question whether therise of these nations willaccompany the decline ofAmerican and Europeaninfluence around the world. Perhaps, the argument goes,these nations represent thefuture, and the time forour leadership has passed. That argument is wrong. The time for ourleadership is now. It was the United States andthe United Kingdom and ourdemocratic allies that shaped aworld in which new nations couldemerge and individualscould thrive. And even as more nations take onthe responsibilities of globalleadership, our alliance willremain indispensable to the goalof a century thatis more peaceful,more prosperous and more just. At a time when threats andchallenges require nationsto work in concertwith one another,we remain the greatestcatalysts for global action. In an era defined by therapid flow of commerce andinformation, it is our freemarket tradition, our openness,fortified by our commitment tobasic security for our citizens,that offers the best chanceof prosperity that is bothstrong and shared. As millions are still deniedtheir basic human rights becauseof who they are, orwhat they believe,or the kind of governmentthat they live under,we are the nations most willingto stand up for the values oftolerance and self-determinationthat lead to peace and dignity. Now, this doesn’t mean wecan afford to stand still. The nature of our leadership willneed to change with the times. As I said the first time Icame to London as President,for the G20 summit, the daysare gone when Roosevelt andChurchill could sit in a roomand solve the world’s problemsover a glass of brandy —although I’m sure that PrimeMinister Cameron would agreethat some days we could bothuse a stiff drink. In this century, our jointleadership will requirebuilding new partnerships,adapting to new circumstances,and remaking ourselves to meetthe demands of a new era. That begins with oureconomic leadership. Adam Smith’s central insightremains true today: There is nogreater generator of wealth andinnovation than a system of freeenterprise that unleashes thefull potential of individualmen and women. That’s what led to theIndustrial Revolution that beganin the factories of Manchester. That is what led to the dawn ofthe Information Age that arosefrom the office parksof Silicon Valley. That’s why countries like China,India and Brazil are growing sorapidly — becausein fits and starts,they are moving towardmarket-based principles thatthe United States and the UnitedKingdom have always embraced. In other words, we live in aglobal economy that is largelyof our own making. And today, the competition forthe best jobs and industriesfavors countries thatare free-thinking andforward-looking; countries withthe most creative and innovativeand entrepreneurial citizens. That gives nations like theUnited States and the UnitedKingdom an inherent advantage. For from Newton and Darwinto Edison and Einstein,from Alan Turing to Steve Jobs,we have led the world in ourcommitment to science andcutting-edge research,the discovery of newmedicines and technologies. We educate our citizens andtrain our workers in the bestcolleges anduniversities on Earth. But to maintain this advantagein a world that’s morecompetitive than ever, we willhave to redouble our investmentsin science and engineering, andrenew our national commitmentsto educating our workforces. We’ve also been reminded in thelast few years that markets cansometimes fail. In the last century, both ournations put in place regulatoryframeworks to deal with suchmarket failures — safeguardsto protect the banking systemafter the Great Depression,for example; regulations thatwere established to prevent thepollution of our air andour water during the 1970s. But in today’s economy, suchthreats of market failure canno longer be contained withinthe borders of any one country. Market failures can goglobal, and go viral,and demand international responses. A financial crisis that beganon Wall Street infected nearlyevery continent, which is why wemust keep working through forumslike the G20 to put in placeglobal rules of the road toprevent futureexcesses and abuse. No country can hide from thedangers of carbon pollution,which is why we must build onwhat was achieved at Copenhagenand Cancun to leave ourchildren a planet thatis safer and cleaner. Moreover, even when the freemarket works as it should,both our countries recognizethat no matter how responsiblywe live in our lives,hard times or bad luck,a crippling illness or a layoffmay strike any one of us. And so part of our commontradition has expressed itselfin a conviction that everycitizen deserves a basic measureof security — healthcare if you get sick,unemployment insuranceif you lose your job,a dignified retirement aftera lifetime of hard work. That commitment to our citizenshas also been the reason for ourleadership in the world. And now, having come througha terrible recession,our challenge is to meet theseobligations while ensuring thatwe’re not consuming — and henceconsumed — with a level of debtthat could sap the strengthand vitality of our economies. And that will require difficultchoices and it will requiredifferent paths forboth of our countries. But we have faced suchchallenges before,and have always been able tobalance the need for fiscalresponsibility with theresponsibilities we haveto one another. And I believe wecan do this again. As we do, the successes andfailures of our own past canserve as an example for emergingeconomies — that it’s possibleto grow without polluting; thatlasting prosperity comes notfrom what a nation consumes,but from what it produces,and from the investmentsit makes in its peopleand its infrastructure. And just as we must lead onbehalf of the prosperity ofour citizens, so we mustsafeguard their security. Our two nations know what it isto confront evil in the world. Hitler’s armies would not havestopped their killing had we notfought them on the beachesand on the landing grounds,in the fields andon the streets. We must never forget that therewas nothing inevitable about ourvictory in that terrible war. It was won through the courageand character of our people. Precisely because we arewilling to bear its burden,we know well the cost of war. And that is why we built analliance that was strong enoughto defend this continentwhile deterring our enemies. At its core, NATO is rooted inthe simple concept of ArticleFive: that no NATO nationwill have to fend on its own;that allies will standby one another, always. And for six decades, NATOhas been the most successfulalliance in human history. Today, we confronta different enemy. Terrorists have taken the livesof our citizens in New York andin London. And while al Qaeda seeks areligious war with the West,we must remember that they havekilled thousands of Muslims –men, women and children— around the globe. Our nations are not and willnever be at war with Islam. Our fight is focused ondefeating al Qaeda andits extremist allies. In that effort, wewill not relent,as Osama bin Laden and hisfollowers have learned. And as we fight an enemythat respects no law of war,we will continue to holdourselves to a higher standard– by living up to the values,the rule of law and due processthat we so ardently defend. For almost a decade, Afghanistanhas been a central front ofthese efforts. Throughout those years,you, the British people,have been a stalwart ally, alongwith so many others who fight byour side. Together, let us pay tribute toall of our men and women whohave served and sacrificed overthe last several years — forthey are part of an unbrokenline of heroes who have bornethe heaviest burden for thefreedoms that we enjoy. Because of them, we havebroken the Taliban’s momentum. Because of them, we havebuilt the capacity ofAfghan security forces. And because of them, we are nowpreparing to turn a corner inAfghanistan by transitioningto Afghan lead. And during this transition, wewill pursue a lasting peace withthose who break free of alQaeda and respect the Afghanconstitution and lay down arms. And we will ensure thatAfghanistan is never a safehaven for terror, but is insteada country that is strong,sovereign, and able tostand on its own two feet. Indeed, our efforts in thisyoung century have led us toa new concept for NATO that willgive us the capabilities neededto meet new threats — threatslike terrorism and piracy,cyber attacks andballistic missiles. But a revitalized NATO willcontinue to hew to that originalvision of its founders, allowingus to rally collective actionfor the defense of our people,while building upon the broaderbelief of Roosevelt andChurchill that all nationshave both rights andresponsibilities,and all nations share a commoninterest in an internationalarchitecture thatmaintains the peace. We also share a common interestin stopping the spread ofnuclear weapons. Across the globe, nations arelocking down nuclear materialsso they never fall intothe wrong hands — becauseof our leadership. From North Korea to Iran, we’vesent a message that those whoflaunt their obligations willface consequences — which iswhy America and the EuropeanUnion just recently strengthenedour sanctions on Iran, in largepart because of the leadershipof the United Kingdomand the United States. And while we holdothers to account,we will meet our own obligationsunder the Non-ProliferationTreaty, and strive for a worldwithout nuclear weapons. We share a common interest inresolving conflicts that prolonghuman suffering and threatento tear whole regions asunder. In Sudan, after years ofwar and thousands of deaths,we call on both North and Southto pull back from the brink ofviolence and choosethe path of peace. And in the Middle East, we standunited in our support for asecure Israel and asovereign Palestine. And we share a common interestin development that advancesdignity and security. To succeed, we must castaside the impulse to lookat impoverished parts of theglobe as a place for charity. Instead, we should empower thesame forces that have allowedour own people to thrive: Weshould help the hungry to feedthemselves, the doctorswho care for the sick. We should support countriesthat confront corruption,and allow theirpeople to innovate. And we should advance the truththat nations prosper when theyallow women and girls toreach their full potential. We do these things because webelieve not simply in the rightsof nations; we believe inthe rights of citizens. That is the beacon that guidedus through our fight againstfascism and our twilightstruggle against communism. And today, that idea is beingput to the test in the MiddleEast and North Africa. In country after country,people are mobilizing tofree themselves from thegrip of an iron fist. And while these movements forchange are just six months old,we have seen them play outbefore — from Eastern Europeto the Americas, from SouthAfrica to Southeast Asia. History tells us thatdemocracy is not easy. It will be years before theserevolutions reach theirconclusion, and there will bedifficult days along the way. Power rarely gives up without afight — particularly in placeswhere there are divisions oftribe and divisions of sect. We also know that populism cantake dangerous turns — from theextremism of those who woulduse democracy to deny minorityrights, to the nationalism thatleft so many scars on thiscontinent in the 20th century. But make no mistake:What we saw,what we are seeing in Tehran,in Tunis, in Tahrir Square,is a longing for the samefreedoms that we take forgranted here at home. It was a rejection of the notionthat people in certain parts ofthe world don’t want to befree, or need to have democracyimposed upon them. It was a rebuke to theworldview of al Qaeda,which smothers therights of individuals,and would thereby subjectthem to perpetual povertyand violence. Let there be no doubt: TheUnited States and United Kingdomstand squarely on the side ofthose who long to be free. And now, we must show thatwe will back up those wordswith deeds. That means investing in thefuture of those nations thattransition to democracy,starting with Tunisia and Egypt– by deepening tiesof trade and commerce;by helping them demonstratethat freedom brings prosperity. And that means standingup for universal rights– by sanctioning thosewho pursue repression,strengthening civilsociety, supportingthe rights of minorities. We do this knowing that the Westmust overcome suspicion andmistrust among many in theMiddle East and North Africa– a mistrust that isrooted in a difficult past. For years, we’ve faced chargesof hypocrisy from those who donot enjoy the freedomsthat they hear us espouse. And so to them, we mustsquarely acknowledge that, yes,we have enduring interests inthe region — to fight terror,sometimes with partnerswho may not be perfect;to protect against disruptionsof the world’s energy supply. But we must also insist thatwe reject as false the choicebetween our interestsand our ideals;between stability and democracy. For our idealism is rooted inthe realities of history — thatrepression offers only thefalse promise of stability,that societies are moresuccessful when their citizensare free, and that democraciesare the closest allies we have. It is that truth thatguides our action in Libya. It would have been easy at theoutset of the crackdown in Libyato say that none of this wasour business — that a nation’ssovereignty is more importantthan the slaughter of civilianswithin its borders. That argument carriesweight with some. But we are different. We embrace a broader responsibility. And while we cannotstop every injustice,there are circumstances that cutthrough our caution — when aleader is threateningto massacre his people,and the international communityis calling for action. That’s why we stoppeda massacre in Libya. And we will not relent until thepeople of Libya are protectedand the shadow oftyranny is lifted. We will proceed with humility,and the knowledge that we cannotdictate every outcome abroad. Ultimately, freedom must bewon by the people themselves,not imposed from without. But we can and must standwith those who so struggle. Because we have always believedthat the future of our childrenand grandchildren will be betterif other people’s children andgrandchildren are moreprosperous and more free– from the beaches of Normandyto the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interestsand our ideals. And if we fail to meetthat responsibility,who would take our place,and what kind of world wouldwe pass on?Our action — our leadership— is essential to the causeof human dignity. And so we mustact — and lead –with confidence in our ideals,and an abiding faith in thecharacter of our people,who sent us all here today. For there is one final qualitythat I believe makes the UnitedStates and the UnitedKingdom indispensableto this moment in history. And that is how we defineourselves as nations. Unlike most countriesin the world,we do not define citizenshipbased on race or ethnicity. Being American or British is notabout belonging to a certaingroup; it’s about believingin a certain set of ideals –the rights of individuals,the rule of law. That is why we hold incrediblediversity within our borders. That’s why there are peoplearound the world right nowwho believe that ifthey come to America,if they come to New York,if they come to London,if they work hard, they canpledge allegiance to our flagand call themselves Americans;if they come to England,they can make a new life forthemselves and can sing GodSave The Queen justlike any other citizen. Yes, our diversitycan lead to tension. And throughout our history therehave been heated debates aboutimmigration and assimilationin both of our countries. But even as thesedebates can be difficult,we fundamentally recognize thatour patchwork heritage is anenormous strength — that ina world which will only growsmaller and more interconnected,the example of our two nationssays it is possible for peopleto be united by their ideals,instead of dividedby their differences;that it’s possible for hearts tochange and old hatreds to pass;that it’s possible for the sonsand daughters of former coloniesto sit here as membersof this great Parliament,and for the grandson of a Kenyanwho served as a cook in theBritish Army to standbefore you as Presidentof the United States. That is what defines us. That is why the young men andwomen in the streets of Damascusand Cairo still reach for therights our citizens enjoy,even if they sometimesdiffer with our policies. As two of the most powerfulnations in the history of theworld, we must always rememberthat the true source of ourinfluence hasn’t just beenthe size of our economies,or the reach of our militaries,or the land that we’ve claimed. It has been the values that wemust never waver in defendingaround the world — the ideathat all beings are endowedby our Creator with certainrights that cannot be denied. That is what forged our bondin the fire of war — a bondmade manifest by thefriendship between twoof our greatest leaders. Churchill and Roosevelthad their differences. They were keen observers ofeach other’s blind spots andshortcomings, if notalways their own,and they were hard-headedabout their ability toremake the world. But what joined the fates ofthese two men at that particularmoment in history was not simplya shared interest in victory onthe battlefield. It was a shared belief in theultimate triumph of humanfreedom and human dignity — aconviction that we have a sayin how this story ends. This conviction lives onin their people today. The challenges weface are great. The work before us is hard. But we have come througha difficult decade,and whenever the tests andtrials ahead may seem too bigor too many, let usturn to their example,and the words that Churchillspoke on the day that Europe wasfreed: “In thelong years to come,not only will the people of thisisland but. . . the world, whereverthe bird of freedomchirps in the human heart,look back to what we’ve done,and they will say ‘do notdespair, do not yield. . . march straightforward. ‘”With courage and purpose,with humility and with hope,with faith in thepromise of tomorrow,let us marchstraightforward together,enduring allies in the cause ofa world that is more peaceful,more prosperous, and more just. Thank you very much. Speaker:Mr. President, I think thatresponse describes far moreeloquently than any words ofmine could do how much that verymemorable and inspiring addresswas appreciated by everybody whoheard it here today. You spoke — You spoke with great warmthand great generosity about theBritish Parliament and theBritish people and about thelinks that bind us, thevalues and the traditionsthat we share. The history that we haveexperienced together. But more than that, youspoke too not just of therelationships of the past, butthe relationships of the future. And I think that was what madewhat you said so inspirational. It was a distinguished Americangovernor of New York whoremarked on the propensity ofpoliticians to campaign inpoetry, but to govern in prose. The world you described to ustoday was not just one that isprosaic; it was one where thechallenges are difficult andsometimes dangerous. One that is fastmoving, that is complex,sometimes contradictory. And that offers at least asmany threats as opportunities. But in the eloquenceof your address,you reminded us of theimportance of maintaining thepoetry in government. Because to lead, thatpoetry is necessary. Necessary not only toarticulate the challenges,as you did so masterfully. But also to bring otherstogether to face thosechallenges with commonprinciples and withshared purpose. Mr. President, it has been aprivilege for all of us to hearyou speak today. It is a privilege for me to havethe responsibility of thankingyou on behalf of bothHouses of Parliament,for coming to Westminster, andto wish you and Mrs. Obama avery happy and pleasantrest of your stay in theUnited Kingdom. Thank you so much.