Remarks by Vice President Harris and President Macron of France at State Luncheon
Department of State
2:55 P.M. EST
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Please have a seat. Please have a seat.
President Macron, Mrs. Macron — Emmanuel and Brigitte: On behalf of the administration, the American people, welcome to Washington. It is good to see you both again.
And Doug and I — the first Second Gentleman of the United States — thank you also for so warmly welcoming us when were recently in France.
I want to thank Secretary Blinken and Ms. Ryan for hosting us and co-hosting us today, and for all that you do for our nation.
And to our distinguished guests — Speaker Pelosi, members of Congress, leaders from the American and French governments, the private sector, and the arts: Thank you all for all that you do for our nation and this very important relationship.
In 1778, from Valley Forge, Marquis de Lafayette wrote to his wife on the alliance between France and America, wherein he said, “My heart has always been completely convinced that in serving the cause of humanity and America, I was fighting in the interests of France.” Indeed, our long, shared history has demonstrated the interests of America, of France, and of humanity are deeply interconnected.
There is no greater example of this than when our troops fought and died together on the battlefields of the two world wars.
Last year, Doug and I walked the solemn grounds of the Suresnes American Cemetery outside of Paris, the final resting place of thousands of Americans who answered the call to serve our common cause.
President Macron, I joined you the very next day on Armistice Day to honor the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at the Arc de Triomphe. And yesterday, you visited our Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington.
We will always honor the shared sacrifice of those who served and the freedoms they fought for — not only for the American and French people, but for millions of people around the world.
And, of course, our cooperation extends beyond the battlefield. Our connections span the arts and culture, business and technology, and science and medicine. In each of these areas, our work together has benefitted humanity.
For example, French researchers at the Institut Pasteur first hypothesized in 1918 that influenza was caused by a virus. This discovery helped American scientists develop some of the first flu vaccines. In the 1960s, French researchers collaborated with American scientists at Cal-Tech and Harvard to discover mRNA.
This work led to a range of scientific advances, including in the 1980s when my mother, Dr. Shyamala Harris, a breast cancer researcher, traveled to Paris to partner with the legendary French Professor Baulieu.
My mother and Professor Baulieu ultimately published their findings which identified a specific protein that is in — is present in mammary glands that helps kill cancerous cells.
The work that they did then is saving lives today.
And of — (applause) — and, of course, the mRNA discovery more recently led to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to the benefit of people around the world. Indeed, it was my great privilege on my recent trip to France to visit Institut Pasteur and meet with Professor Baulieu, who is well into his 90s.
President Macron, President Biden and I are very proud to work with you to build on this very long and important history. You and I have had numerous meetings and phone calls together over the past two years. We have discussed and advanced our cooperation on security and prosperity in Europe, the Indo-Pacific, and Africa.
We have worked together to support the people of Ukraine and to hold Russia accountable. And we have collaborated on issues including cybersecurity, climate, space, and global and gender inequality. And I have witnessed how your personal leadership has strengthened France’s global leadership
to the benefit, without any question, of the people of the United States and the people of the world. I thank you.
As we move forward, the relationship between the United States and France will be guided by our shared history and our shared vision for the future — a future where international rules and norms are strengthened and upheld, a future where we seize the opportunities of space to meet the challenges here on Earth, a future where we tackle the climate crisis and protect the people of our planet, and a future where we reduce global inequality.
I thank you, Mr. President, for being an extraordinary champion of this shared vision. And so, on the occasion of this first state visit of our administration, let us all remember the words of Lafayette: The fates of America and France are intertwined with each other and with all of humanity.
So, I offer a toast to our relationship and to those who have contributed to our long history of cooperation and to the billions more who will benefit from our future work together.
(Vice President Harris offers a toast.)
And it is now great honor to introduce President Emmanuel Macron. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT MACRON: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Madam Vice President, dear Kamala; Mr. Secretary (inaudible) Antony, thank you for (inaudible).
First, I do want to apologize, because we had a very long meeting with President Biden. (Laughter.) We almost fixed everything — (laughter) — so you will see a lot of big changes in your life — (laughter) — in the coming hours and days. So this is, at least, the argument I have to survive vis-à-vis you for the coming minutes and hours. (Laughter.)
No, thank you very much for your patience and sorry to make you wait.
Let me first thank you, Tony, for welcoming us here and organizing such a wonderful lunch. And thank you once again, Vice President Kamala, for your friendship. And thanks to both of you for your words.
I have to say, both of you mentioned Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin. I could add to this list Jefferson and so many others who built these incredible links between our two countries.
A lot of people ask President Biden, “Why did you choose President Macron to come for the first state visit?” (Laughter.) Obviously, I’m not the one to answer this question — (laughter) — but I can tell you why the U.S. and France, definitely.
I think because a lot of people in this world do believe sometimes we are too proud, too self-confident, and some — but it’s because both of us do believe that we can and we are, in a certain way, in charge of universal values.
And you just quoted this word from Lafayette. He had this in-depth feeling that he will fight for his own country and for liberty together.
And when your soldiers came during the First and the Second World War in our country, they had exactly the same feeling. And we will never forget that a lot of your families lost children on the soils they never knew before just because they were fighting for liberty and for universal values.
And I think this link in the current environment in our world is unique. And this is why I think we are here today and I’m so proud to be, indeed, with you.
(Inaudible) you have a wonderful delegation. We have our ministers and a lot of civil servants working hard on a daily basis for the bilateral relation.
We have business leaders, and we were very proud, two days ago, to have the first Franco-American Business Council. And I want to thank all those who contributed to this event.
We have a lot of members of our parliament, on both sides.
And we had a wonderful discussion yesterday with the caucus. And I will meet representatives and senators right after this luncheon.
I want to thank our delegation as well. For that, you have a lot of tech players, a lot of investors, a lot of people involved in culture, sports, because we are so much linked by all these sectors, so much linked by the strength of creativity on both sides and our common ability to convey our faith in science and knowledge and our appetite for talent and creativity.
And, indeed, we have a lot of common work and common challenge together. We are very much engaged together to help the Ukrainians in this war and to resist the Russian aggression. And I want to thank your country for the unique commitment and investment alongside the Ukrainian people and in great solidarity with the Europeans.
And we are, as well, very much engaged for climate change — more solidarity in this world. We will work hard for this new partnership between North and South in the coming months.
We are committed for climate and biodiversity. And yesterday, we had a wonderful discussion for some initiatives regarding better conservation and — and protect our rainforests and our oceans. And what we have in common is precisely to work very hard for these values and to make them concrete for our people.
We have huge challenges in our democracies, because our — our middle classes do suffer, and the recent years and decades were so, so tough. And within our countries, almost everywhere, the sort of resurgence of hatred speech, racism, divisions.
One way is to accompany this movement, to be a demagogue. You decided not to do so, and I want to thank you for that.
And we try to resist on our side as well to precisely deliver more and be efficient and provide concrete solution to our fellow citizens when we speak about health, when we speak about climate, when we speak about (inaudible) our country, when we speak about defense and security. And this is how our partnership has to work and deliver. And this is why this morning we had a very useful and fruitful discussion to work on — on this issue.
I was very happy as well to have very concrete discussion yesterday with you on space. And we are so proud of our astronauts and our common journey today and the future.
We had very good discussion on nuclear energy, on science and research, on quantic [sic], and so many different fields.
And tomorrow, I will go to New Orleans with a wonderful delegation to speak about green energy, climate change, culture, and Francophonie — as I can demonstrate it right now. (Laughter.) But I want to give you some time — also, I want to avoid translation.
But we will clearly as well launch a new program for French language. And you’re a perfect example, both of you, of this attachment for the French language.
But I come from a country where everybody knows that gastronomy and a good lunch is part of diplomacy. (Laughter.) And a lot of people presented that Talleyrand who was so successful because he was already with his cooker. And some people claim that, in fact, Talleyrand’s cooker is the actual diplomat. (Laughter.)
So I don’t want to be longer. I want you to enjoy this lunch, because I think it’s part of diplomacy. (Laughter.) And I — I think it’s the best way to share a very good moment.
But let me tell that in these challenging times, this history and the friendship between the United States of America and France, on both sides, is part of our soul, our roots, but, as well, part of our future.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Indeed.
PRESIDENT MACRON: And I will be committed to deliver concrete results for our fellow citizens on both sides of the oceans in this context, thanks to this common history and committed to this common destiny.
Thank you. (Applause.)
Let me now toast.
(President Macron offers a toast.)
END 3:11 P.M. EST