John F. Kennedy photo

Exchange of Remarks in the Rose Garden With President Bourguiba of Tunisia.

May 05, 1961

WE ARE going to have a communique which will be ready in 3 or 4 minutes, which represents the views of the President and myself.

I do want to say, speaking personally, that as President Bourguiba's visit here in Washington comes to an end, and as he sets out for his visit to the Tennessee Valley, to Texas, to New York, that this country and the Government, Members of the Congress, and speaking as the President, have taken the greatest possible satisfaction in his visit here.

As I stated when the President arrived, he represents, personifies, and is in fact a national leader who has spent his life fighting for the freedom of his people. And now as leader and as President, their having achieved their freedom, spends his life fighting for their well-being.

It is the greatest source of satisfaction to me as an American who is interested in the spread of liberty, to be host over here to a man of President Bourguiba's quality and character. And we have developed extremely friendly personal ties during this visit. I have admired him for a great many years, and I must say that he leaves Washington with the full knowledge that he holds a memorable place in the hearts of all Americans who value fortitude, perseverance, and vision.

Note: President Bourguiba responded (through an interpreter) as follows:

I am most proud of the kind words just spoken by President Kennedy, proud of the esteem shown me by President Kennedy. This is something of which I can be proud, of which the people of Tunisia can be proud.

We have fought for liberty and we continue to struggle to obtain the conditions for the full exercise of that freedom. And in this second phase of our struggle, we have as a supporter President Kennedy and the people of the United States, whose welcome has gone straight to our heart. And we have gained in this work of rapprochement and friendship an agreement and a unanimity on the part of the executive and the legislative branches, and the people, so that this work cannot fail to Succeed.

We are sure of victory, since we share it--share in this task with the American people.

John F. Kennedy, Exchange of Remarks in the Rose Garden With President Bourguiba of Tunisia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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