Your Imperial Majesties, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
It gives us great pleasure to welcome Their Majesties to this country today. Their Majesties are familiar visitors here. We take it as a compliment that they have come back to see us again considering the burden of responsibility which they bear and their dedication to the welfare of their people.
The occasion of this visit is a happy one for us, the inauguration of the exhibit "7,000 Years of Iranian Art" which will open here in the National Gallery and then tour our country. It will permit many Americans to see for the first time outstanding examples of the rich cultural history of Iran. I hope that as many Americans as possible will visit this exhibit and take advantage of this very great opportunity.
When we visited Tehran in 1962 we saw for ourselves the energy and the determination and the skill with which His Majesty and his ministers are carrying out great programs aimed at the welfare of his people. His leadership has been a vital factor in keeping Iran free and in modernizing this ancient land. So it gives me great pleasure and it is a high privilege today to ask those of you, our friends in this country, together with our guests to join in a toast to a reformist 20th century monarch, His Imperial Majesty and the Empress Farah.Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. The Shah responded as follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, ladies and gentlemen:
This time that I come to your country I find additional reasons to appreciate your kindness, your thoughtfulness, and also have additional affection for your people and your government. When you visited us 2 years ago it was our .privilege to get acquainted with yourself, your charming wife, and come to know all the qualities of statesmanship, of warmth of heart, of dedication to your own people, it is true, but also to mankind and to humanity.
You have, I can say, really won over the hearts of my people. That is why we always wish you and Mrs. Johnson and your people the best and the fulfillment of all your wishes, your dreams, that we know is for the good of humanity. We have undertaken reforms and we have been inspired by the wonderful achievements of the American people in all the fields of activity that is today so necessary to make the country progressive and a society happy and worth calling free.
So I can assure you again, Mr. President, that we will never fail in this spirit of remaining with our friends, our trusted friends, and with those who are doing such wonderful work and who are also giving so many programs of sacrifice and unselfishness for the preservation of the human freedom, the basic principles for which we want to live.
So once again I bring you the salutation of my people and our firm determination to remain your good friends. I would ask the distinguished audience to raise their glasses to the health of the President of the United States and of Mrs. Johnson.