Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Presidents abroad

Theodore Roosevelt in Panama, 1906

One hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to travel outside the United States. Roosevelt visited Panama to check on the progress of the Panama channel. Since TRs visit to Panama, presidents have traveled abroad 246 times (as of 2006).

The U. S. Department of State maintains a resource called Visits Abroad of the Presidents of the United States, 1906-2004.

Today, President Obama landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for his fourth trip outside the Untied States. This occasion has me wondering about the history of presidential trip to the Middle East.

According to the State Department resource all five (now six with Obama) recent presidents have visited Saudi Arabia.

June 14-15, 1974
Richard M. Nixon
Met with King Faisal.

January 3-4, 1978
Jimmy Carter
Met with King Kinlid and Crown Prince Fahd.

November 21-22, 1990
George Bush
Jeddah, Dhahran
Met with King Fahd and the Amir of Kuwait. Addressed U.S. and British military personnel in eastern Saudi Arabia.

December 31, 1992
George Bush
Met with King Fahd.

October 28, 1994
William J. Clinton
King Khalid Military City
Met with King Fahd.

May 16-17, 2008
George W. Bush
Riyadh, al-Janadriyah
Met with King Abdullah

Short article from Time Magazine on the history for presidential travel abroad.

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