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  • April 10, 1973: Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and President Richard M. Nixon held discussions emphasizing continued close cooperation between the United States and Singapore and other allies in Asia and the Pacific.
    The State Dinner’s menu featured roast beef tenderloin aux champignons, seafood merlion supreme, béarnaise sauce, Bibb lettuce salad, brie cheese and crepe suzettes. Guests included ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, actor Glenn Ford and tobacco heiress Doris Duke, with entertainment provided by Metropolitan Opera soprano Mary Costa. The president introduced the Knoxville-born Ms. Costa as one who “has all the strengths of Ireland, Italy and Tennessee—and that’s something.”1

President Gerald R. Ford with guests including Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew, golfer Arnold Palmer, and actress Eva Gabor at a State Dinner Honoring Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, May 8, 1975.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum/NARA
  • May 8, 1975: Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — Menu items for this State Dinner for 114 guests included gazpacho, filet of beef, bouquet of vegetables, Bibb lettuce salad with watercress, Bel Paese cheese, vanilla ice cream with strawberries flambé, and demitasse. Among the celebrity guests were comedian Red Skelton, actress Eva Gabor and operatic soprano Beverly Sills. Entertainment was provided in the East Room by Edward Villella and Violette Vedry, both of the New York City Ballet. The pleasant evening weather allowed guests to have after-dinner drinks out on the South Portico overlooking the South Lawn. 2

President Ronald Reagan, First Lady Nancy Reagan, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, and Mrs. Lee stand on the North Portico, October 8, 1985.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum/NARA
  • October 8, 1985: Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — In their talks Prime Minister Lee and President Ronald Reagan discussed international economic issues and expansion of international free trade.
    In his remarks at the State Dinner, President Ronald Reagan remarked, “It was a great pleasure for me today to renew a valued friendship with Prime Minister Lee. I first met the Prime Minister on a trip that I took on behest of President Nixon. And when we stopped in Singapore, I was amazed at the dynamic society that I found there.” Soon after President Reagan’s remarks, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew spoke and said, “The Prime Minister. Mr. President, Mrs. Reagan, ladies and gentlemen, my wife and I are much honored and delighted to be here with you, enjoying your warm hospitality. We would like to express our special thanks to Mrs. Reagan, for we learned of her personal interest in the preparations for this splendid occasion. It is a rare and gracious First Lady who would personally settle and approve the menu, the wines, the floral arrangements, and the entertainment.”3
    One guest noted that First Lady Nancy Reagan, wearing a grape and gold silk dress, “looked gorgeous, so gentle, so elegant, so appropriate.”4 Notable guests included Raquel Welch, Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, and Michael J. Fox.5

Footnotes & Resources

  1. Richard Nixon: "Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore." April 10, 1973. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.; Diana McLellan, “The P.M. Makes His Point,” Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), April 11, 1973
  2. Anne Crutcher, “A Toast Tinged with Realities,” Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), May 9, 1975
  3. Ronald Reagan: "Toasts at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore," October 8, 1985. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
  4. Nina Hyde, “Fashion Plates at White House Dinner,” The Washington Post, October 13, 1985
  5. Jacqueline Trescott and Donnie Radcliffe, “White House Starscape,” The Washington Post, October 9, 1985