THE PRESIDENT. I would like to say to the press and to the American people that we are very delighted to have Dr. Julian Nava here, who will be our new Ambassador to Mexico. No one who understands international affairs, particularly with our neighbors, would underestimate the importance of this assignment.
Dr. Nava has devoted his entire professional life to studying the interrelationships among people in the North American continent. He's a specialist on Mexican-American affairs. He is, by the way, the first person of Mexican descent to serve in this capacity. And he will bring to this extremely important post not only a knowledge of the language but also a knowledge of the history that binds our peoples together and the importance of this relationship between two great countries.
We do have many problems that exist between our two countries and, of course, the opportunities outweigh the problems. Economically, politically, we are closely bound together. Trade opportunities are just beginning to be felt by the people of the two nations on an equal basis and, of course, Mexico is playing an increasingly important role in international affairs throughout the world. To have a strong and able and knowledgeable spokesman in Mexico City, representing our Nation, will be of great benefit to our own country. And I'm very grateful that Dr. Nava has agreed to take this important post.
Buena ventura y vaya con Dios. [Good luck, and may God be with you.]
AMBASSADOR NAVA. Muchas gracias, Senor Presidente.
THE PRESIDENT. Would you like to say a word, Mr. Ambassador?
AMBASSADOR NAVA. Thank you. I feel deeply honored by the selection made by the President of me as the United States Ambassador to Mexico. I have communicated to friends on this side of the border and on the other side of the border that, notwithstanding many of the unresolved questions and issues that lie ahead, the most important single question in my mind is: What is the real question to ask? And I believe it may very well be how in the Western Hemisphere sister republics, sister democracies, dedicated to an open life and government representative of and respectful of the rights of individuals, can advance each others' interests in a mutually respectful manner. And therefore, knowing Mexico well and knowing my own country well, it will be one of the most significant undertakings in my life to be the personal representative of the President of the United States in one of the most important countries with which we have relations in today's world.
Thank you very much, Mr. President-and my family, my wife, Patricia, Carmen and Katie and Paul, are all going to be representatives of the United States in Mexico.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY VANCE. Let me just say that we are fortunate, indeed, to have Dr. Julian Nava as our Ambassador to Mexico. This, as the President has said, is one of the key posts in the Foreign Service. It is one of the largest posts. It has a multitude of complex problems to deal with, and our relationship with Mexico is of paramount importance to us. So, the person that we have in this post is of the utmost importance to our Nation, and we are fortunate, indeed, to have Julian taking on this job.
AMBASSADOR NAVA. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you.