100 Years of Partnership
President Reagan’s Welcome Ceremony for President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, August 1981

On August 1, 1981, President Anwar Sadat visited Washington D.C. for his first summit talks with then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan spoke in the morning on the South Lawn of the White House, where President Sadat was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

During the welcome ceremony, President Reagan discussed the importance of Egypt and the United States’ partnership, stating, “It’s an honor and a very great pleasure to welcome President and Mrs. Sadat, those who’ve accompanied them here from their country, and for their family. Egypt and the United States enjoy a warm and a strong relationship, testimony to the honest good will of the people of both nations and recognition of President Sadat’s foresight and leadership.”

Further discussing the strength of unity and diplomatic partnership between both nations, President Reagan compared the importance of the friendship to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, “In 1799 the Rosetta Stone was discovered, a tablet that served as a key to the understanding of Egypt’s history. Well, like that famous stone, President Sadat serves as a key to understanding the depth and character of the Egyptian people, opening the eyes of the world to new opportunities for peace.”

In response to President Reagan’s welcome, President Sadat expressed his gratitude and shared the same sentiments on the importance of partnership, as well as the crucialness of peace and stability in the middle east and surrounding region, “No other goal is more pressing or crucial. At the same time, no other nation is more qualified to serve and safeguard the noble cause than your great nation. I’m confident that you will assume this responsibility with a sense of purpose and history, and I’m sure also that you will continue to play the role of the full partner willingly and vigorously.”

President Sadat further discussed looking ahead to the future and re-affirmed the role of both Egypt and the U.S. in common strategy for peace and stability, with the goal of strengthening peace in the Middle East, in Africa, and around the world; closing his remarks with, “Together, Mr. President, we shall overcome.”

It was also during this state visit that President Sadat presented President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan a gift on behalf of Egypt, the “Collar of the Nile,” an honor reserved solely to Presidents and Heads of State, in the Blue Room of the White House on August 5, 1981.

Photo: Series: Reagan White House Photographs, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989 Collection: White House Photographic Collection, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons