Exchange of Letters With President de Gaulle of France.
[Released January 3, 1969. Dated December 29, 1968]
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the American people I thank you for your warm message of congratulations on the completion of the Apollo VIII Mission. Colonel Borman, Captain Lovell, and Major Anders join me in this expression of appreciation for your gratifying words.
As we come to the New Year, I also wish to tell you again of the warmth of my feeling for the people of France and of my abiding faith that the destiny of our two nations will remain closely linked in the years to come.
We have both faced serious problems this year in bearing our respective responsibilities. But standing back from these immediate problems, I trust you share with me the faith that the clouds of war are slowly beginning to lift from Southeast Asia and that by giving our full support to the Jarring Mission we can prevent them from enveloping the Middle East again.
In different ways, we each have borne governmental responsibilities for some thirty years. Recalling what our nations have been through in this time and the underlying prosperity and security they now enjoy, I would hope you, too, look with confidence on the future of our nations and the western family of which they are a part.
You have my very best wishes in carrying out the demanding tasks of leadership in the year ahead.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[The Honorable Charles de Gaulle, President of France]
Note: In his letter the President referred to the Apollo 8 astronauts (see Items 637, 645, 647) and to Gunnar Jarring, Swedish Ambassador to the Soviet Union and United Nations mediator in the Middle East dispute.
President de Gaulle's letter, received on January 3, follows:
My Dear Mr. President:
I sincerely thank you for the sentiments that you were good enough to express to me in the letter that you sent me through your Ambassador.
On the threshold of this New Year, my fervent wish is that the United States and France may work together to help jointly in solving the grave problems weighing over the future of the world.
Among these subjects of international concern, some stand out owing to their urgency and their importance. That is true of Vietnam, where, thanks to the courageous decisions that you have already taken, and the other decisions that doubtless will follow upon them, there is reason to believe that the hostilities are nearing an end, pending a political settlement of the conflict, followed by the peaceful work of reconstruction. It is also true of the Middle East, where it has become necessary to repudiate the events occurring nearly nineteen months ago, which have produced a series of reciprocal acts of violence.
The friendship linking our two peoples, their esteem for one another, and their awareness, on both sides, of their worth and strength, could not, I believe, be more fruitfully manifested than by joint action in the cause of detente everywhere, and of cooperation with all other peoples.
Allow me to tell you, Mr. President, how glad I am of these signs, which seem to indicate that an important part of your personal work consists in guiding the United States into the path where our two countries have the best possible opportunity of feeling at one with each other, and standing shoulder to shoulder.
Most sincerely and cordially,
C. DE GAULLE
Lyndon B. Johnson, Exchange of Letters With President de Gaulle of France. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/236328