London is one of the world’s greatest capitals. People are drawn to this magnificent city from across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. London is a modern city offering incredible energy, innovation and opportunity. It is also a city rich in history. For Americans, that is a winning combination.
It is amazing for us to come to London and be surrounded by so much history that is often intertwined with our own. There are hundreds of places that are full of significance to us here: the Rotherhithe port where the Pilgrims embarked on the Mayflower, Benjamin Franklin’s house near Trafalgar Square, the memorial to American Second World War airmen in St Paul’s Cathedral — these are just a few examples.
But it is in Grosvenor Square that you will find the biggest window into America’s history in London.
John Adams, our first-ever US representative to the UK, began our association with the square back in 1785. In the centuries that followed, the American flag remained a common sight in Grosvenor Square. This was America’s home in the UK for most of the 20th century. General Eisenhower even commanded the Allied Forces during the Second World War from there. As the generations have come and gone, the square has become firmly established as London’s “Little America”. The traces of our history are all around — from the statues of former presidents in the square, to the giant eagle over the Embassy building.
I agree with President Trump that Grosvenor Square, in the heart of London, was a perfect location for our embassy. Security concerns after September 11 meant we had to move to a location that could better protect American citizens and our British neighbours. On Tuesday we will open the doors of our brand-new embassy to the general public in Nine Elms, a site selected under a previous administration.
Designed by Philadelphia architects KieranTimberlake, the new embassy is not just bigger, it is better and capable of meeting the complex challenges of the 21st century and beyond. It is the most secure, hi-tech and environmentally friendly embassy that the United States has ever built. Purchased and built from the sale of our London properties, the new embassy did not cost the US taxpayer a cent. Yet is one of the most advanced embassies we have ever built.
That’s not an accident. The United States is re-investing in the Special Relationship. President Trump has told me he views the UK as one of the closest friends and partners of the American people we serve. Our new embassy reflects not just America’s special history with the UK but the special future ahead of us as we advance the prosperity and security of both our nations.