Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Arrival in Cairo, Egypt

June 12, 1974

Mr. President, our very distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

Mr. President, we have been greatly touched by your generous remarks, and we have also been enormously moved by the reception we have received as we passed through the streets of Cairo today. You have spoken of the fact that we stand here at a time in history which could well prove to be not only a landmark but which could well be remembered centuries from now as one of those great turning points which affects mankind for the better.

It has been too long that our two nations have been through a period of misunderstanding and noncooperation, and today marks the day when, by your meeting with the President of the United States--the two Presidents of Egypt and the United States meeting together--we cement the foundations of a new relationship, a new relationship between two great peoples, two great peoples who will dedicate themselves in the future to working together for great causes.

I speak first of the cause of progress for the people of Egypt and for our own people. As we traveled through the streets and saw hundreds of thousands of people greeting us--as you have said, from their hearts--it made us both realize what we owe to them and what we owe to future generations. And so, we want to work together for progress, economic progress for the people of Egypt, for all peoples in this area and in the world.

And the United States welcomes the opportunity to cooperate with you and your government in your programs for economic progress to which you are devoting and dedicating so much of your very great energies today.

And also, as we saw those hundreds of thousands of people, we thought of another great goal toward which we shall and will work together, that is, the goal of peace. We have already made progress toward that goal. Certain roadblocks along the long and difficult road toward permanent peace have been removed. The disengagement on the Egyptian-Israeli front and then later on the Syrian-Israeli front laid the foundation for further progress in the future.

Let us today recognize that as we meet then our goals are twofold: economic progress, progress in all fields for the people of your country, the people of this area; and peace, peace which is permanent and just and equitable, because without peace, there can be no progress and without progress and hope there can be no peace.

And, Mr. President, finally, I should like in the presence of your people to pay a tribute to you.

The historians years later will perhaps see all of these great events in perspective, but one fact stands out today: that without the wisdom, without the vision, without the courage, without the statesmanship of President Sadat of Egypt, we would not have made the progress toward peace that we have made, and the world owes him a great debt for what he has done.

And it is for this reason, combined with the reason that my wife and I have such pleasant memories of our previous visit to Egypt in 1963, where we met so many of your people--but it is for this reason that I have looked forward to this moment to meeting you, to talking to you personally and officially about the problems that we face in the future, in which our two great peoples now at last will be working together.

Progress at home and peace, not only in this area but for all peoples in the world, these are our goals, and together we are privileged to have the opportunity to work for such great goals.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 4:25 p.m. at Qubba Palace, following a motorcade from Cairo International Airport. He spoke in response to the welcoming remarks of President Anwar el-Sadat.

President Sadat spoke in Arabic. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

It is with great pleasure that we see among us President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon. It is an added pleasure that President Nixon has accepted my invitation to visit Egypt at this particular and crucial phase which the Middle East is going through.

Coming at this very junction when the Middle East crisis is geared towards a peaceful, honorable, and just settlement, President Nixon's official visit acquires a major significance. The role of the United States under the leadership of President Nixon is vital to promote peace and tranquillity in the area.

It is a great challenge, but I am convinced that with good will and determination, statesmen of the stature of President Nixon are apt to meet it. The challenge is whether to substitute this precarious situation of cease-fire by a just and durable peace so that our area would be ushered into an era of normalcy.

It is with vision, forwardness, and collective human efforts that the Middle East will be afforded, at long last, the proper opportunity to contribute positively to the various endeavors to build and cement the global strategy for peace and progress.

I am not only convinced but also confident that the visit of President Nixon will be a milestone in the shaping and evolution of American-Egyptian relations on a sound and solid basis and in such a manner that I hope would compensate for the long years of strain and lack of understanding.

As you will soon witness, Mr. President, the Egyptian people, who have given the world its first civilization, will express to you and, through you, to the American people, their sentiments and friendship. The recent efforts of the United States, exerted under your leadership and wise guidance, have led, in a very concrete way, to the consolidation of the cease-fire decisions of the Security Council, both on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts. And despite the fact that this is but one step, it is, however, a right one and in the right direction, and without it, no progress could have been achieved on the long road to peace.

As you have mentioned, Mr. President, on many occasions, starting by your inaugural statement, you have dedicated this era for peace through negotiations rather than confrontation.

I am fully aware that you share with me the belief that this is a unique moment and a major turning point which should not be lost, but rather, grasped with vigilance, persistence, and dedication to build a durable and honorable peace.

On my behalf and on behalf of the Egyptian people, and in my own name, I welcome you, Mr. President, and Mrs. Nixon.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Arrival in Cairo, Egypt Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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