Main Content

  • 1825: The Marquis de Lafayette was one of the first notable international guests of the White House. President John Quincy Adams honored the hero of the American and French Revolutions with a party on the Marquis de Lafayette's 68th birthday. The square across Pennsylvania Avenue would later be named to commemorate Lafayette.
  • 1860: President James Buchanan hosted the first envoys from Imperial Japan. Two royal princes and a dozen noblemen came with many servants. They carried a box containing a commercial treaty that would be exchanged for similar documents from the United States.
  • 1874: The first ruling king to visit the White House was King David Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii). President Ulysses S. Grant hosted him. Royal food testers sampled the White House dinner for the king.
  • 1939: The king and queen of England came to Washington, D.C., and stayed one night at the White House. It was the first trip to the United States by a British monarch.
  • 1941: Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived secretly at the White House just before Christmas. During his 24-day stay the staff had to adjust to his eccentricities. Chief Usher J.B. West recalled, "We got used to his 'jumpsuit,' the extraordinary one-piece uniform he wore every day, but the servants never quite got over seeing him naked in his room when they'd go up to serve brandy. It was the jumpsuit or nothing. In his room, Mr. Churchill wore no clothes at all most of the time during the day."
  • 1945: Charles de Gaulle met with Harry Truman at the White House.
  • 1978: Jimmy Carter brought President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel to the White House to sign an historic peace treaty between the two nations.
  • 1979: The first Pope to visit the White House was Pope John Paul II, who came during the Carter presidency.
  • 1987: President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty, the first arms control agreement in history that reduced the number of nuclear weapons held by both countries, in the East Room.
  • 1993: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat celebrated the signing of an historic peace treaty by their representatives on September 13. President Clinton, numerous dignataries, and 3,000 visitors joined the event on the South Lawn of the White House.

President Roosevelt hosts Prime Minister Churchill at a White House war conference, 1943.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library

You Might Also Like