In May 1977, Newcastle-upon-Tyne hosted an important guest: President Jimmy Carter. This visit was ground-breaking as no other U.S. president had ever visited the northern city, and was a once in a lifetime experience for many residents of Newcastle.
President Carter was met by a crowd of thousands at Newcastle Civic Centre, where he gave a powerful speech about the relationship between the United States and Britain. Carter showed appreciation towards Newcastle by starting with the words: ‘Howay the lads! I’m very grateful to be a Geordie now’, following being presented with an honorary freedom of the city. These words by the President echo a feeling of joy that many Geordies felt having such an influential world leader in the city and embracing their culture.
The visit was not only exciting for the people of Newcastle, but Britain as a whole. By Carter travelling to the U.K. after having been President for only a few short months, and travelling to diverse cities such as Newcastle, shows how much the President valued the relationship between the United States and Britain. During his visit, President Carter stated:
I’ve always felt in times of challenge for our own great country a sense of support and confidence because of the unshakable friendship between the people of the United Kingdom and the people of the United States of America.
These strong words portray a sense of unity between the two countries and reinforce the idea that it is a lasting relationship.
The way President Carter was accepted by the people of Newcastle, and the reception he was given at the Civic Centre shows how much influence the United States had on Britain in the past, an influence that is still strong today.