Lord Casey, Prime Minister McEwen, distinguished guests:
It is most gracious of all of you to meet us at this hour--and I thank you very much.
I come in sadness on a sorrowful mission-to pay my personal respects to a man who was my cherished friend and who led a nation which is the trusted friend of the United States.
I bring with me to all the people of Australia the sympathy of my countrymen, who wish you to know that your loss is not a loss you bear alone.
The gathering together, here in Australia, of leaders from north and east and west tells much of the kind of man that Harold Holt was---of the kind of leadership he brought so freshly and so forcefully to the community of free nations--and of the kind of world he was helping to shape.
He was steady. He was courageous. In deed, as in word, he embodied the resoluteness of the people he led. He was there when he said he would be there. He did not move across the stage of world affairs seeking a way out or a way back from difficult and demanding duty--Harold Holt moved among us seeking to find and to open the way ahead toward a saner and safer world.
While his days were cruelly short, his vision was long. He saw that we had to begin, we had to begin now, to build a new community in Asia and in all the Pacific-a community of nations dedicated together to the works of security, the works of progress, and the fulfillment of all their peoples.
A sense of that community already is coming into being among us. In the years and generations ahead, that community will grow and flourish as common purpose and common endeavor become the common cause of the Pacific's peoples. Other men, and other leaders, will carry that cause forward in this and all the other lands that rim this great ocean. But history is going to reserve a very honored place in its memory for the name and the role of Harold Holt. At a critical time, it was he who saw the vision, assumed the leadership, and imbued us all with a new spirit and a fuller faith.
Mr. Prime Minister, you have lost a leader. My country and I have lost a friend. The world has lost a very great man--but we have not lost and we shall not lose his vision and his inspiration.
This morning, the hearts of my people in America go especially to Mrs. Holt and to the members of the family in their hours of sorrow.
We wanted very much to be with you during this trial.Note: The President spoke at 4:40 a.m. at Fairbairn Royal Australian Air Force Base, Canberra, Australia. In his opening words he referred to Richard G. Baron Casey, Governor General of Australia, and John McEwen, Prime Minister of Australia. Preceding the President's remarks, Prime Minister McEwen greeted him as follows:
It is with great sadness in all our hearts that you come to Australia. But it is for me, sir, speaking for my Government and for the Australian people, to say what a tremendous tribute you pay to our colleague Harold Holt, your friend Harold Holt, your associate Harold Holt, in making this tremendous journey across the world to come to Australia to pay your tribute to Harold Holt.
For this, sir, I thank you for myself, for my Government, and for every Australian.