President Somoza, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
I am proud to be the first President of the United States to visit your beautiful country during his term of office. The ties between our nations stretch over many years, and the strength of those ties is symbolized by the fact that the main street of your own capital is named for an American who played an important role in the history of my own country--and in the history of my own life-Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I know that Franklin Roosevelt would have been pleased and proud of the events of the past few days. You and the leaders of the other nations of Central America have completed a historic meeting in San Salvador--a meeting that demonstrated what President Roosevelt meant by a "good neighbor" policy among the American States. You pledged yourselves to even greater regional cooperation. You determined to use the strengths of each nation to promote the welfare of all.
Converting these commitments into accomplishments is not going to be easy. But your achievements during the past 7 years give promise that you can respond successfully to the needs and to the dreams of your people.
In our conversations during the past few days, President Somoza, I have welcomed the opportunity to discuss with you, in detail, the achievements and the plans of modern Nicaragua that you lead. This magnificent new airport, the growing network of your highways throughout this country, the new efforts you have made in education and public health and rural electrification, are signs of genuine progress. I congratulate you and the people for what you have done and what you are going to do. And I wish you Godspeed as you seek to multiply those achievements in the days ahead.
President Somoza, I know how proud you are of the rural electrification program that we announced yesterday. I know what it will mean to the families who live on the farms and in the rural villages.
Among the great assets of your country, Nicaragua, President Somoza, few are so important as the character, the experience, the personality, and the good judgment of the man that you have sent to Washington as your ambassador. Twenty-five years ago, your ambassador, on July 8th, went to Washington and he is now the dean of the ambassadorial corps. He is the dean of all ambassadors in our Capital. I want to pay him very special tribute here in his homeland, and to you, Mr. President, for this envoy to the United States and to the world, our cherished friend, Ambassador Sevilla-Sacasa.
Mrs. Johnson and I want to thank you for the opportunity to visit your lovely land-even for so brief a time.
Hasta la vista, and muchas gracias, mis amigos.