The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Lyndon B. Johnson
Toasts of the President and President Marcos of the Philippines.
September 14, 1966

Mr. President, Mrs. Marcos, ladies and gentlemen, and Mr. Valenti:

I have a confession to make tonight, Mr. President. I invited you here because I wanted to get to know you and to talk over with you many problems of interest to our two countries.

But there is also another reason for the invitation. It has been, until tonight, classified as top secret, known only to a handful of the highest American officials. It has been known to the Vice President, to the Secretary of State, to Senator Muskie, and to a former member of my staff, lack Valenti.

Mr. President, each of them, you may recall, has visited your country. Each of them met Mrs. Marcos. And each of them came back with a report that, as I remember was something like this: The Philippines are on the march. The Philippines have a great future. The Philippines have a great leader-and he has a beautiful wife.

And then they went on to say, each of them: We believe, Mr. President, that you should invite President Marcos to the United States. And each of them always added a postscript: Be sure to include Mrs. Marcos.

We are very fortunate, Mr. President, in the choice of our wives. There has been a lot of talk in my country recently about elections. When someone asked me my reaction to this talk, I pointed out that actually, after all, I am a very fortunate man. So far, the Republicans haven't nominated Lady Bird.

You and I, Mr. President, may win elections, but our wives win hearts.

We have much more in common, however, than just these wonderful helpmates.

Both of us served in the Pacific during the war. Both of us later served in the Congress-and both of us later had our difficulties with the Congress.

That may have sounded like a past tense. Both of us have had, and are having, difficulties with the Congress.

Both of us became the Senate leader of our parties. And both of us sometimes wish we were still there.

I hope you have an opportunity, Mr. President, to gain an appreciation of American politics while you visit us for the next few days. Let me assure you now that we are never as mad as we actually sound.

You are fortunate to be here before an election. You will probably understand very quickly what one of our philosophers once said about politics in our country. He said, "The Republicans have their splits after an election, and the Democrats have their splits just before an election."

I am sure you never have any problems like that in the Philippines. You are a most welcome guest in this house, Mr. President and Mrs. Marcos. To us, you are the symbol of an undaunted spirit in Asia that is enlarging liberty and enhancing the lives of human beings.

Our talks this afternoon were delightful. They were productive; they were good for both of our countries. We looked honestly and thoroughly at the problems that face our peoples and the world.

We both, I think, understand that if free nations that are small are to be the architects and guardians of their own destiny, they must be willing--and able--to discourage intruders.

As friends of your country, we are quite proud of the progress that you are making toward a free Pacific and toward a dynamic Asia.

As old comrades in arms, we have made plans to join in a new alliance. This time, the alliance is to fight the enemy which is hunger; the enemy which is disease; the enemy which is ignorance.

Already our work is underway. The new billion-dollar Asian Development Bank, which has its headquarters in Manila, offers the nations of Asia a cooperative pool of resources for the giant tasks ahead.

The dramatic work of the International Rice Research Institute, which is also located in your country, is proving that our capacity for discovery is really unbounded.

And these are but two of the specific steps of cooperation that we are taking together as willing partners in the future of the Pacific.

I hope, Mr. President, that you will be able to amend your itinerary, in the light of our discussions this afternoon, to visit other parts of this great land of ours.

We hope that you can visit some of our space installations. I think that our conversations this afternoon in that regard were quite fruitful. I look forward to the day when the Philippines and the United States can explore the stars together.

I look forward to the day when we can establish economic planning institutes in which we can work together in the field of oceanography and to the day when we can spend some time together attempting to determine what brings about the typhoons that cost the people of Asia $500 million a year.

Our thoughts were of the future. Our thoughts were of tomorrow. Our thoughts of what we could, what we should, and what we must do to meet these problems. But our thoughts were always together, as brothers in arms.

Mr. President, we recognize you as a man of courage and as a man of faith. Tonight we have assembled from all parts of this Nation our leading and most respected citizens. They have come here to honor you and your lady, Mr. President.

They have come to salute a hero in war who was on the Bataan Death March, who was wounded five times, who wears two Silver Stars and the Distinguished Service Cross--and who is a new voice of Asia and a leader for peace in the world.

So I should like to ask those of you, my friends, who have come here to meet with me tonight, to join in a toast to the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Citation: Lyndon B. Johnson: "Toasts of the President and President Marcos of the Philippines.", September 14, 1966. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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