Mr. Prime Minister and Mrs. Wilson, distinguished members of your party, ladies and gentlemen:
Mr. Prime Minister, your visit here this morning maintains a tradition that was begun by two great statesmen representing our countries.
One was a great Englishman. More than a quarter of a century ago, he had this to say:
"It is not given to us to peer into the mysteries of the future. Still I avow my hope and faith, sure and inviolate, that in the days to come the British and American people will for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together in majesty, in justice and in peace."
That was Winston Churchill. He spoke to the Congress of the United States only 19 days after Pearl Harbor.
I have never forgotten those words. Nor have I forgotten others spoken just 4 years earlier by a great American, who said:
"If we are to have a world in which we can breathe freely and live in amity without fear--the peace-loving nations must make a concerted effort to uphold laws and principles on which alone peace can rest secure.
"Those who cherish their freedom and recognize and respect the equal right of their neighbors to be free and live in peace, must work together for the triumph of law and moral principles in order that peace, justice and confidence may prevail in the world."
That was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He and Winston Churchill struck a common theme of peace and justice. They pledged our countries to a common commitment which we have honored ever since.
So we come here today in another time of trouble, when peace and justice are again in the balance. It is on occasions like this that the counsel of old and trusted friends is most welcome.
Mr. Prime Minister, we are so happy to have you and Mrs. Wilson and your party with us. We look forward with anticipation to a constructive meeting--a pleasant exchange of views on the future of our countries and the future of the world.
We know that your coming here is pleasing to the people of our country. We hope your stay will be a pleasant one.Note: The President spoke at 11:25 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Harold Wilson was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Prime Minister responded as follows:
Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Secretary, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
May I first, Mr. President, thank you for the very warm and colorful reception that has been given to my wife and myself here this morning and, Mr. President, for your own kind words of greeting.
I do not think that any words of yours or of mine are needed to underline what you have said, the gravity of the situation the world is facing at this time, nor the importance of the fact that our two countries at this time are able to have discussions on the way ahead. It is fully recognized in your country and in ours.
We have had a debate in Parliament this week that these talks today--as part of the wider talks and consultations going on throughout the world, above all the talks in which your representatives, ours, and our friends are concerned in the Security Council--are of vital importance in creating the conditions for a lasting peace.
Mr. President, I know you will agree when I say that however great the problem that has arisen with such dramatic and startling suddenness in these past 2 weeks, no consideration of that problem should allow or will allow us to be blinded to the continuing importance of very many other great problems that were in our minds and in our hearts before the recent crisis blew up.
This visit of ours was arranged some weeks ago. Even then, we were conscious that there were these great problems of peace and war in Asia, problems of cooperation, cooperation for peace, problems of cooperation for progress in economic affairs that will be taking our time today.
And urgent though the present situation is in the Middle East--and we shall no doubt give a proper priority), to it in our talks--both of us know that these other problems, these lasting and abiding problems, require a settlement and will be given the urgency which you and I know that they deserve.
Mr. President, I was heartened by your reminder of the close cooperation between our two countries in war and in peace--and above all in the struggle for peace.
That is what we are here to talk about today, Mr. President, and with you I look forward to getting down to work.
I thank you.