Your Imperial Highnesses, ladies and gentlemen:
In the past 8 years that it has been the good fortune of my wife and myself to entertain representatives of nations great and small at this table, one thing is certain, we have never entertained a couple who showed such youth, vitality, and charm as the couple that we are so fortunate as to have this evening.
Possibly they won the hearts of America as they have come across our continent partially because of their youth, because our country is a young country. But we must remember also that Japan, although a very old nation, is also young. Starting just a century ago, there began in that country a great renaissance. We are proud that we had a small part in bringing about its beginning.
Today it is flowering into a great production and prosperity that will certainly continue on into the future, and Japan stands again as one of the proud countries that values its independence and with us believes in the democratic ideal of life.
So I think all of us will deem it a great privilege, as we honor the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess at this table, to drink a Toast also to this country and its Emperor, His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.Note: The President proposed the toast at 10:04 p.m. at a state dinner at the White House. Prince Akihito responded as follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Eisenhower, and distinguished guests:
I am deeply moved, Mr. President, by the cordial words addressed directly to me and to the Princess, and through us, I believe, to the people of my country.
May I say, Mr. President, that you are held by all free peoples the world over in the highest respect and affection because of your candor and sincerity, your warmness of heart, and above all your love of peace.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to propose a Toast to the great friend and pre-eminent leader of the free world, the President of the United States and his gracious Lady.