Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Address to the Members of the Parliament of Iran

December 14, 1959

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, Members of the Majlis:

The honor you do me with this reception in your handsome new Senate building is a clear indication of the high mutual regard which the Iranian and American peoples have for each other.

Personally, I am deeply touched by your welcome.

We know that people, by meeting together, even if for a limited time, can strengthen their mutual understanding. To increase this mutual understanding has been one of the purposes of my trip to Iran; as it has been to the other countries in which I have stopped along the way.

My conversation this morning with His Imperial Majesty, this convocation, my knowledge of the state of relations between our two countries-and indeed, the cordial warmth of the reception that I received upon the streets of your beautiful city--have all been heartening assurances that our two countries stand side by side. This visit reinforces my conviction that we stand together. We see eye to eye when it comes to the fundamentals which govern the relations between men and between nations.

The message I bring from America is this: "We want to work with you for peace and friendship, in freedom." I emphasize freedom-because without it there can be neither true peace nor lasting friendship among peoples.

Consequently, Americans are dedicated to the improvement of the international climate in which we live. Though militarily we in America devote huge sums to make certain of the security of ourselves and to assist our allies, we do not forget that--in the long term--military strength alone will not bring about peace with justice. The spiritual and economic health of the free world must be likewise strengthened.

All of us realize that while we must, at whatever cost, make freedom secure from any aggression, we could still lose freedom should we fail to cooperate in progress toward achieving the basic aspirations of humanity. The world struggle in which we are engaged is many sided. In one aspect it is ideological, political, and military; in others it is both spiritual and economic.

As I well know, you, and the people of Iran, are not standing on the sidelines in this struggle.

Without flinching, you have borne the force of a powerful propaganda assault, at the same time that you have been working at improving the living standards in your nation.

The people of Iran continue to demonstrate that quality of fortitude which has characterized the long annals of your history as a nation. I know I speak for the American people when I say we are proud to count so valiant a nation as our partner.

Your ideals, expressed in the wise and mature literature of your people, are a source of enrichment to the culture of the world.

By true cooperation with your friends--and among these, America considers herself one--we can proceed together toward success in the struggle for peace and prosperity.

Through trust in one another, we can trust in the fruitful outcome of our efforts together to build a brighter future.

This future--the world we will hand on to our children and to our grandchildren--must occupy our thinking and our planning and our working. The broad outline of our goal is, I think, clear to everyone-to achieve a just peace in freedom.

But peace will be without real meaning--it may even be unattainable-until the peoples of the world have finally overcome the natural enemies of humanity-hunger, privation, and disease. The American people have engaged considerable resources in this work. I am proud of the many dedicated American men and women who have gone out into the world with the single hope that they can ease the pain and want of others.

Some of them are at work in Iran, and I have heard that the people of Iran have found these efforts beneficial.

Of course, their work is effective only because the government of Iran has sturdily shouldered its responsibilities for' the development of their country. There are reports of significant accomplishments throughout the length and breadth of your land.

America rejoices with you that this is so.

On the long and difficult climb on the road to true peace, the whole world must some day agree that suspicion and hate should be laid aside in the common interest.

Here, I think, is our central problem. I know that you, too, and all men of good will, are devoting thought and energy to the practical and realistic steps to this great objective.

One such step is, of course, an enforceable agreement on disarmament, or, to be more exact, arms reduction. To achieve this, the governments of the world have chosen a primary instrument, the United Nations.

It could seem that, as the realities of the awful alternative to peace become clearer to all, significant progress in the safeguarded reduction of the arms burden can be made. To such a realistic beginning, there is no feasible alternative for the world.

In the meantime, we cannot abandon our mutual effort to build barriers, such as the peaceful barrier of our Central Treaty Organization, against the persistent dangers of aggression and subversion. This organization, CENTO, has no ulterior or concealed purpose; it exists only to provide security.

Such an effort erects a shield of freedom for our honor and for our lives. With such a shield, we preserve the cherished values of our societies.

To be sure, the people of Iran need no reminder of these simple facts. Only yesterday you celebrated the anniversary of the day on which justice triumphed over force in Azerbaijan. The full weight of world public opinion, as represented in the United Nations, supported you in those difficult times. It will always support the tights of any people threatened by external aggression.

Justice--the rule of law--among nations has not yet been effectively established. But in almost every nation in the world there is a great awakening to the need for such a development. Certainly this is true among the free nations. Because there is such an awakening, the act of any government contrary to the rights of mankind is quickly resented and keenly sensed by people everywhere.

This is the wellspring of our hope. This is why we are right to believe as we do--despite centuries of human turmoil and conflict--that true peace can and will one day be realized.

The impulse toward justice, toward the recognition of the worth and dignity of each and every human being, will not be denied. This is the mainspring of the movement toward freedom and peace.

Now, may I offer my heartfelt thanks for the opportunity you have given me to speak to you, and through you, the representatives of the people of Iran, to your entire nation.

You have conferred upon me an honor which I shall always remember.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President's opening words "Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker" referred to Manuchehr Eqbal, Prime Minister of Iran, Mohsed Sadr, President of the Senate, and Reza Hekmat, Speaker of the lower house (Majlis).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Address to the Members of the Parliament of Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234978

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