Foreign Leader Addresses Fast Facts

Including Kyriakos Mitsotakis's, Prime Minister of Greece, address on May 17, 2022, there have been 122 Joint Meeting or Joint Session Addresses by foreign leaders or dignitaries. There have been at least four unofficial addresses.

The Marquis de Lafayette, the French general and Revolutionary War hero, became the first foreign dignitary to address the House of Representatives in its chamber on December 10, 1824. This is often considered to be the first address by a foreign dignitary before a Joint Meeting of Congress, however, Lafayette met with the House and Senate separately a day apart during his visit to Washington, D.C.

Congress With Most Addresses

With eight addresses, the 86th Congress (1959–1961) had the greatest number of foreign leaders or dignitaries address Joint Meetings of Congress.

DateAddress
January 21, 1959Arturo Frondizi, President of Argentina, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 11, 1959José Maria Lemus, President of El Salvador, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 18, 1959Sean T. O’Kelly, President of Ireland, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 12, 1959Baudouin, King of Belgium, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 6, 1960Alberto Lleras-Camargo, President of Colombia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 25, 1960Charles de Gaulle, President of France, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 28, 1960Mahendra, King of Nepal, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
June 29, 1960Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Country With Most Addresses

With nine addresses, France has the distinction of sending the most leaders or dignitaries to deliver Joint Meeting addresses before Congress.

DateAddress
May 20, 1934Andre’ de Laboulaye, Ambassador of France addressed a Joint Session of Congress held to memorialize the centennial anniversary of the death of Lafayette.
April 2, 1951Vincent Auriol, President of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 25, 1960Charles de Gaulle, President of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
February 25, 1970Georges Pompidou, President of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 18, 1976Valery Giscard d’Estaing, President of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 22, 1984;François Mitterand, President of France, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
February 1, 1996Jacques Chirac, President of France, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
November 7, 2007Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 25, 2018Emmanuel Macron, President of France addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Families

Two different families have had multiple generations of descendants address the Congress. King George IV of England attended a formal reception at the U.S. Capitol on June 9, 1939, but did not deliver an address. His daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on May 16, 1991.

CountryFirst AddressSecond AddressThird Address
NetherlandsWilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed the Senate with the House as an invited guest in 1942.Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress in 1952.Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress in 1982.
JordanHussein I, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress in 1994.Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress in 2007. 

Most Addresses

Winston Churchill and Binyamin Netanyahu have made more addresses to Congress than any other foreign dignitaries. Churchill addressed an informal meeting of Congress in 1941, and Joint Meetings in 1943 and 1952; Netanyahu addressed Joint Meetings in 1996, 2011, and 2015. Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Yitzak Rabin of Israel also addressed Joint Meetings of Congress twice.

LeaderFirst AddressSecond AddressThird Address
Winston ChurchillWinston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, addressed an informal meeting of Congress on December 26, 1941.Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on May 19, 1943.Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on January 17, 1952.
Binyamin NetanyahuBinyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on July 10, 1996.Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on May 24, 2011.Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3, 2015.

Religious Leaders

The first religious leader to address a Joint Meeting was England’s Queen Elizabeth II on May 16, 1991. The British Monarch is also the head of the Anglican Church. Her father, King George VI, attended a reception in the Capitol Rotunda on June 9, 1939, but no address was given.

DateAddress
May 16, 1991Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
September 24, 2015His Holiness, Pope Francis of the Holy See, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Royal Leaders

The first royal to have addressed a Joint Meeting or Joint Session was King Kalakua of Hawaii  in 1874. Eleven monarchs or royals have addressed Joint Meetings of Congress.

DateAddress
December 18, 1874Kalakaua, King of Hawaii, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 3, 1952Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 28, 1954Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 12, 1959Baudouin, King of Belgium, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 28, 1960Mahendra, King of Nepal, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
June 29, 1960Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
June 2, 1976Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 21, 1982Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 16, 1991Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
July 26, 1994Hussein I, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 7, 2007Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.

Women Leaders

Beginning with Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 1952, 12 women have addressed Joint Meetings of Congress.

DateAddress
April 3, 1952Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 21, 1982Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
February 20, 1985Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
September 18, 1986Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Philippines, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
June 7, 1989Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
April 16, 1991Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, President of Nicaragua, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 16, 1991Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 15, 2006Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
June 7, 2006Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
November 3, 2009Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
March 9, 2011Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.
May 8, 2013Park Geun Hye, President of the Republic of Korea, addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress.