Jimmy Carter photo

Mexico City, Mexico Remarks at the United States Embassy.

February 14, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Fellow employees of the United States Government:

You and I are indeed fortunate to be partners in the service of a great nation, with the task of improving relationships among people who are bound together by intense and ancient ties of friendship, kinship, mutual problems, mutual opportunities, and a greater future.

It's no accident that this embassy here in the capital of Mexico is the largest United States embassy on Earth. This is because the relationships between the United States of America and the Republic of Mexico are so important to Americans, important not just to our own two countries and our two peoples but important indeed throughout this entire hemisphere.

You have a special challenge here. There are 20 million Americans who speak Spanish, most of them having come from Mexico or having their parents or ancestors having come from this great land. Your responsibility is to tie our two countries together economically, politically, and in matters of mutual interest and mutual security. But because of the unique relationship, because we share so much, your official duties, as I've just outlined so briefly, have important human concerns. Yours is not a sterile responsibility, and it's almost impossible in an embassy in this country, representing the United States, to separate matters of foreign policy from matters of domestic policy.

You, perhaps more than any other embassy representatives of our country, must be both diplomats and politicians—politicians in the finest sense of the word; understanding human needs, understanding the diversity that exists within this country and within our own Nation, understanding differences, and, more importantly, understanding similarities.

This special requirement for you is the reason that I was personally interested in asking my friend, former Governor Pat Lucey, to take on this important responsibility, because I knew that he and his wife, Jean, were fully capable of combining the finest in diplomacy with the finest in politics in human terms. I'm indeed proud of Ambassador Pat Lucey, and I'm indeed proud of every one of you.

I know that the visit of a President burdens you with greatly expanded duties, assignments, and responsibilities. It's a challenge when there are so many highly publicized issues which need to be resolved for you to make adequate preparations for a visit so important as this one.

I thank you for it, and I would also like to thank the members of the families of those who work here, because I know that you've been deprived of your wives or husbands, your fathers or your mothers, in preparing for my visit. And I'm sure that after I leave, having made my welcoming address at the airport and planning to address the Mexican Congress in Spanish, it'll take you 2 or 3 weeks to repair the damage that I will have done. [Laughter]

I would like to express special thanks to the employees here who are Mexican citizens. You understand much better than could a citizen of the United States the special needs and interests of the people of Mexico. Your closeness here within the embassy helps to ensure the closeness of the 220 million people who live in our country and the many millions of people who live here. In microcosm, you represent in the finest way the interrelationship between our two countries.

I want to say a word, too, to the young Americans who attend school here, and I'll combine them with all Americans who work here. I hope that you will take every possible advantage of this rare opportunity to learn what you can about an exciting, interesting, intriguing country and people. The culture, the history, the language, if learned about by you, will be an added value for the rest of your lives.

I hope that whenever your own duties permit, or consonant with your duties, that you will travel throughout this land, study its history, learn its people places, and absorb the consciousness the people who live in Mexico.

Yours is most important work, and I'm very grateful that our country has dedicated people like you, competent and professional, to represent our great Nation in this great nation.

Thank you very much.

And now, I would like to introduce to you my favorite First Lady, Rosalynn.

MRS. CARTER. I just wanted to add a word of thanks to you too for all you do for us. You are so important to us, you represent us so well. And sometimes I think in Washington we don't take time to adequately thank you for all you mean to us, or to adequately recognize how important you are and what you do to keep the relationship between our two countries stable and good.

And so, I'm just thankful that we could be here personally to say to you how much we do care for you and how much we do thank you for all you do for our country.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 5:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the embassy building.

Earlier in the afternoon, the President participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Independence Monument.

That evening, President Carter and President Lopez Portillo attended a performance of the Ballet Folklorico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.

Jimmy Carter, Mexico City, Mexico Remarks at the United States Embassy. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248732

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives