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President Nixon, with French Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Horizet, receives a letter written by President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France, July 10 1974.

On July 10 1974, President Nixon met with the French Ambassador to the United States Jacques Kosciusko-Horizet in the Oval Office. Among representatives of the American Bicentennial Commission, the President and Ambassador exchanged remarks about France’s gift for the United State’s 200th anniversary celebration.

Ambassador Kosciusko-Horizet acknowledged that though this was a special American commemoration, it was “also an anniversary for France, the anniversary of our relations between our two countries, the anniversary of our participation in the Independence War, and the celebration of a friendship, devoted, which has never failed for all of history and has been filled with comments and advice and mutual achievements.”

And, with letter in hand, he presented President Nixon with the French President’s letter.

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In the photo from left to right: Ambassador Jacques Kosciusko-Morizet, Mrs. Thomas T. Cooke of the Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Counselor to the President Anne Armstrong , and John W. Warner of the American Revolution  Bicentennial Administration, 

My dear President,

The forthcoming celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States stirs in France a popular and loud echo.

We treasure the memory of the historical events which associated closely our nation to the birth and the independence of the United States of America. The friendship which links our two peoples and which has been sustained and strengthened by so many ordeals we have been through side by side originated on the land and sea battlefields of the War of Independence.

As a token of this friendship, I am pleased to let you know that we have decided to offer to the American people a “sound and light” spectacle which would take place from the year 1976 onwards, in Mount Vernon, on the site of the historical mansion of George Washington, which numerous French people, including myself, have visited.

Please accept, my dear President, the assurances of my very high consideration.


Here is President Nixon’s reply:

Dear Mr. President:

I was greatly pleased to receive your letter of June 20 informing me that the people of France will present the people of the United States with a Sound and Light Spectacle for Mount Vernon in commemoration of the Bicentennial of the United States. It is especially fitting that this particular art form, which has been perfected in France for the purpose of dramatizing your country’s great historical treasures, be utilized to dramatize one of America’s most cherished symbols of its struggle for independence.

In acknowledging this generous gift on behalf of the American people, I join you, Mr. President, in a tribute to the bonds of friendship which have joined our two nations since the 18th Century, and which will continue to link them as we act together to. forge a structure of peace in the years to come.