Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Farewell Remarks at Kimpo International Airport, Seoul, Korea, Upon Departing for Alaska

November 02, 1966

Mr. President, Mrs. Park, distinguished Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Johnson and I leave for Alaska after 3 days in your wonderful land, meeting our friends, your people. We came here following the Manila Conference where the leaders of seven nations pledged their countries and dedicated their energies and talents to resisting aggression, to fighting hunger and illiteracy and disease, and conquering it, providing for order and progress and security in the world, and finally for extending our hand out and keeping our guard up in an attempt to reason out the problems of the world instead of fighting them out.

We expressed our great desire at any time, any place, to transfer our difficulties from the battlefield to the conference room.

We in America love and cherish our liberty and our independence and our freedom, and we do not try to impose it upon other people. But we are determined to preserve it for ourselves and for our children.

We at Manila listened and learned, and we did not try to dictate or to dominate. We realize all too well that no great power should try to force freedom and liberty on people who do not seek it or cherish it or desire it or demand it. But it was evident from our discussions that all the leaders, speaking for their people, thought about freedom as we did.

So I am returning to my country to tell my people that those who are nearest the demilitarized zone, that those who are nearest the borders the aggressor has crossed, that those who are closest to aggression itself fear it the most and are equally as determined to resist it as we are. And if their resistance is as determined and dedicated as I believe it to be, they will find in America not only a partner, but an ally who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in protecting and preserving their right to determination, their right to freedom of choice, their right to liberty and freedom for themselves and for their children.

I believe the hundreds of thousands of Koreans who died here in this land in the riffles to preserve freedom for Korea and its children realized how precious freedom is-not just in the fifties but in the sixties and in the seventies and all of the years to come.

And so long as you are determined to protect your own land and your own people and your own way of life from the aggressor's march, you will find your American friends ready to stand by you and to support you in that protection.

We have fallen in love with your country and with your people. We have great confidence in your future. Our stay here has been delightful. And, Mr. President, you and Mrs. Park have gone far beyond your duty in providing for our comfort and for a wonderful welcome.

Thank you and goodby.

Note: The President spoke at 11 a.m., November 2 (Seoul time), at Kimpo International Airport, Seoul, Korea. In his opening words he referred to President and Mrs. Chung Hee Park of the Republic of Korea.

APP Note: This is Public Papers of the Presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson: 1966, document #566a

Lyndon B. Johnson, Farewell Remarks at Kimpo International Airport, Seoul, Korea, Upon Departing for Alaska Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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