John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Finland.

October 17, 1961

THE PRESIDENT of Finland and Mrs. Urho K. Kekkonen were guests yesterday of President and Mrs. Kennedy at a White House luncheon. Following the luncheon the two presidents exchanged views with regard to current international developments.

President Kennedy paid tribute to the many common ties between Finland and the United States and the democratic ideals the two nations share. Regarding Finland's position on the world scene the American President took account of Finland's treaty commitments and expressed American understanding for the reasons why Finland follows a policy of neutrality. He stated the United States will scrupulously respect Finland's chosen course. President Kennedy emphasized that all nations must avoid interference in the affairs of Finland.

President Kekkonen expressed his appreciation for the long-standing friendship between Finland and the United States, and for the understanding shown in the United States for Finland. Asserting that the purpose of Finland's foreign policy is to safeguard the security and independence of the nation, the Finnish President reaffirmed his country's intention to remain neutral while maintaining the confidence and friendship of all nations.

Presidents Kennedy and Kekkonen discussed recent world events. They agreed it was essential for both countries to support the United Nations as firmly as ever, since that body offers all men their greatest hope for achievement of.-the noble causes envisioned in the Charter.

Presidents Kennedy and Kekkonen discussed economic and cultural relations. The outlook for European economic development and the implications for other countries of possible enlargement of the European Common Market were reviewed. There was agreement between the presidents that current exchanges of students, teachers, leaders in various fields, and cultural and artistic presentations should be fostered. Exchanges of this nature were commended as a fundamental aid in developing understanding of each other's problems as well as consolidating existing friendship between the peoples of the United States and Finland.

Presidents Kennedy and Kekkonen expressed their mutual hopes that peace and justice would prevail in the world. All nations, large and small, have a grave responsibility toward civilization in that they must constantly search for a formula to bring true and universal peace, said the two presidents. Only a sustained effort in pursuit of this great objective, using all available human talents and resources of nations, can assure progress toward realization of this goal, one of man's oldest and most basic desires.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With the President of Finland. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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