House Receptions

"Members of the House of Representatives, I deem it a high privilege and a great honor to present to you..."

Congress has invited speeches by dignitaries throughout its history. Initially, the standard manner in which both the House and the Senate received addresses by foreign leaders was to invite dignitaries to a one-chamber reception. This procedure required either unanimous consent or resolution by the chamber that wished to receive the foreign leader. The Marquis de Lafayette was the first foreign leader to address a House Reception on December 10, 1824. Though typically used to receive foreign dignitaries, five notable exceptions included receptions to honor United States Major General William Tecumseh Sherman in 1866, United States General Jonathan M. Wainwright in 1945, United States General Lucius D. Clay in 1949, United States Senator Hubert H. Humphrey in 1977, and United States General H. Norman Schwarkopf in 1991.

These receptions are not associated with other informal, social receptions and lunches provided for foreign leaders on behalf of congressional leadership or individual committees. In the post-World War II era, the practice of using one-chamber receptions largely disappeared. The last House Reception to honor a foreign leader was held for Mexican President José Lopez Portillo in 1977.

 Date Dignitary House Reception or Address1
May 8, 1991     United States Army General H. Norman SchwarzkopfAddress
November 3, 1977United States Senator Hubert H. Humphrey2 of MinnesotaRemarks and Reception
February 17, 1977 José Lopez Portillo, President of MexicoAddress
July 26, 1961 Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of NigeriaAddress
June 22, 1961 Hayato Ikeda, Prime Minister of Japan Address
April 18, 1961 Constantine Karamanlis, Prime Minister of GreeceAddress
July 29, 1958  Amintore Fanfani, Prime Minister of Italy Address
July 25, 1958 Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana Address
June 25, 1958  Muhammad Daoud Khan, Prime Minister of Afghanistan Address
July 11, 1957Husseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Prime Minister of PakistanAddress

June 20, 1957 Nobusuke Kishi, Prime Minister of Japan Address
May 28, 1957  Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany Address
February 27, 1957Guy Mollet, Prime Minister of FranceAddress
March 15, 1956 John Aloysius Costello, Prime Minister of Ireland  Address
February 2, 1956 Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of the United KingdomAddress
May 30, 1955 U Nu, Prime Minister of Burma Address
May 4, 1955  P. Phibunsongkhram, Prime Minister of Thailand Address
March 30, 1955 Mario Scelba, Prime Minister of Italy  Address
March 16, 1955 Robert Gordon Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia Address
August 1, 1950 Robert Gordon Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia Address
July 31, 1950  Tokutaro Kitamura, member of Japanese DietAddress
May 4, 1950  Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan Address
October 13, 1949 Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of IndiaAddress
August 9, 1949     Elpidio Quirino, President of the PhilippinesAddress
May 17, 1949 United States Army General Lucius D. ClayAddress
September 10, 1945United States Army General Jonathan M. WainwrightAddress
January 20, 1944 Isaias Medina Angarita, President of Venezuela Address
June 10, 1943 Hininio Morinigo M., President of ParaguayAddress
May 27, 1943 Edwin Barclay, President of Liberia Address
May 13, 1943  Edvard Benes, President of Czechoslovakia Address
May 6, 1943 Enrique Penaranda, President of Bolivia Address
February 18, 1943 Madame Chiang Kai-shek, of China  Address
December 10, 1942 Fulgencio Batista, President of Cuba Address
November 24, 1942Carlos Arroyo del Rio, President of Ecuador  Address
June 25, 1942Peter II, King of YugoslaviaAddress
June 15, 1942 George II, King of GreeceAddress
June 2, 1942Manuel L. Quezon, President of PhilippinesAddress
May 11, 1942  Manuel Prado, President of Peru Address
May 8, 1939Anastasio Somoza Garcia, President of Nicaragua Address
January 1, 1937 John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada Address
October 7, 1929Ramsay MacDonald, Prime Minister of EnglandRemarks and Reception
January 25, 1928William Thomas Cosgrave, President of Executive Council of Ireland Reception and Address
October 28, 1919Albert I, King of the Belgians Address
August 27, 1918Dr. Baltasar M. Brum, Uruguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs Address
January 8, 1918 Milenko Vesnic, Head of Serbian War MissionAddress
September 5, 1917  Kikujiro Ishii, Ambassador from Japan  Address
June 27, 1917Baron Moncheur, Chief of Political Bureau of Belgian Foreign Office at Havre Address
June 23, 1917Boris Bakhmetieff, Ambassador from Russia Address
June 2, 1917Ferdinando di'Savoia, Prince of Udine, Head of Italian Mission to U.S.; Guglielmo Marconi, member of Italian Mission to U.S. Address
May 5, 1917 Arthur James Balfour, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Address
May 3, 1917 Rene Raphael Viviani, Minister of Justice from France; Jules Jusserand, Ambassador from France; address attended by Marshal Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre, member of French Commission to U.S. Address
June 10, 1912Dr. Orestes Ferrara, Speaker of the House of the Cuban CongressAddress
February 2, 1912Count Francis Luetzow, dignitary from BohemiaAddress
February 9, 1911Count Albert Apponyi, Minister of Education from Hungary Address
February 2, 1880 Charles Stewart Parnell, Member of Parliament from IrelandAddress
March 6, 1872 Tomomi Iwakura, Ambassador from JapanAddress
June 9, 1868Anson Burlingame, Ambassador from ChinaAddress
January 29, 1866United States Army Major General William Tecumseh ShermanRemarks and Reception
January 7, 1852Louis Kossuth, exiled Governor of HungaryRemarks and Reception
December 10, 1824Speaker Henry Clay; General Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, of France Address


1Chart based on a table in the Congressional Directory, 109th Congress, in the “Statistical Information” section on “Joint Sessions, Joint Meetings, and Inaugurations” (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2001).

2The event took place during an intra-day recess of the House of Representatives. It is the first known instance of the House of Representatives standing in recess to receive a sitting Senator in the House Chamber.