Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Arrival at Djakarta, Indonesia

July 27, 1969

Mr. President, Madame Suharto, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

As I stand here in Djakarta on this beautifully brilliant day, I realize that this is a very special occasion for me and for my wife, and, in a sense, in the relations between our two countries.

Because it was 16 years ago that I first visited Indonesia, and Indonesia's was the first Asian capital that I visited as Vice President of the United States. I remember the warm welcome we received all over the country on that occasion, and we have always wanted to return.

Then again in 1967 I had the privilege of returning as a private citizen, and at that time, Mr. President, it was my privilege to meet you and to talk to you, and to others in your Government.

Now as I stand here today, I realize that for the first time in history, a President of the United States of America is visiting Indonesia. This is a privilege for me, to be the President at this time--at this time in the history of our country, of your country, and the history of civilization because this is a momentous time, a time that we will always remember.

We realize that just a few days ago the first men from earth set foot on the moon, and all of our ideas about the heavens and the limitations that we have on earth thereby were changed.

We have a saying in our country: The sky is the limit. And up until the time that these two men set foot on the moon, that was the ultimate that anyone could say-the sky is the limit.

And now no longer is the sky the limit. Because of what happened--not simply because two Americans set foot on the moon, but because two men who represented all mankind, all the people on earth, set foot on the moon--the sky is no longer the limit. And if we can soar beyond the sky, certainly we can find the way to bring peace and progress to those who live beneath the sky on this earth.

That is the lesson for all of us of this great adventure in which we have shared.

As I stand here in Indonesia today, I realize what a great part this country will play in that great adventure for the future, not only because it is a major country in Asia and in the Pacific, not only because it is one of the great and most populous democracies in all the world, but because this country has its future before it.

It has a great past--a past full of tradition, tradition which I was able to see along with Mrs. Nixon when we traveled over the country.

But as one that has moved from colonial status to independent status, and now looks to the future, as a nation with great numbers of people, with unbounded natural resources, Indonesia is a nation that excites the imagination of all the peoples of the world.

Mr. President, I want you to know, the members of your Government and all the people of your country to know, that the people of the United States wish to share with you in this adventure in progress-share in this way: We know you want to be independent, and we understand that. We know that you wish to be self-reliant, and we understand that. We know, too, that there is much in the way of resources that needs to be developed, and to the extent that we and other nations on a multilateral basis, or a bilateral basis, can be of assistance, we want to play our fair part.

So I look forward to the talks that we will have--talks that I trust will bring a better understanding between our two countries, between Indonesia and the United States of America--talks that will promote the cause of peace in the Pacific, and that means in the world--and talks that, above all, will provide for the future of this great country and of all the countries in the world the progress, the peace, the independence, and the right to choose their own way that all people want.

With these thoughts in mind, I thank you again, Mr. President, for your welcoming remarks. It is very good to return for the third time to this great country. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:48 p.m. at Kemajoran International Airport in Djakarta in response to remarks of welcome by President Suharto. On the same day the White House Press Office released an advance text of President Nixon's remarks and a translation of those of President Suharto, who spoke in Indonesian. The translation follows:

Your Excellency Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon:

First of all, in the name of the Government of Indonesia, of the whole people of Indonesia, and on my own behalf, allow me to extend to you, Mr. President, and to the distinguished members of your party, a warm welcome.

This moment and the recent past are extremely memorable to the relation between the United States of America and Indonesia, to the Americans themselves, and to the future of mankind.

Your Excellency has previously visited Indonesia, but today, for the first time a President of the United States of America pays a visit to the Republic of Indonesia.

A few days ago, three brave American astronauts, the first human beings, set their feet on the moon; they are now safe and sound back in this world. Once again, on behalf of the people of Indonesia and on my personal behalf, I would like to congratulate the United States of America for their extraordinary achievement and as a member of the community of nations, we take pride in your brilliant success. I am sure that in essence, the objective of the United States of America and other advanced countries is part of the efforts in attaining greater happiness for men in a peaceful world.

Likewise, I am convinced that your visit to this country and to several others is to pave the way towards the realization of men's welfare and to strengthen the foundations of that peaceful world.

We know the United States of America not merely as the richest country in the world, nor for their extraordinary technological potentiality, but rather as a nation which strives for equality of all mankind.

As a free nation, we are also very grateful to the United States of America, which left us a profound impression, because the United States of America is one among many other nations which comprehended our national aspirations at the time when the Republic of Indonesia proclaimed its independence almost a quarter of a century ago.

At present, we are implementing our development program as a sequel to replenishing it. We highly appreciate that during the difficult early stages of our development, the United States of America, as a friendly country has once again shown its understanding and provided Indonesia with the necessary assistance. Mr. President, I hope that during your present visit you may observe closely the determination and the efforts of the people of Indonesia in building their future.

I also expect that our forthcoming discussions will be extremely valuable in exchanging views relating various problems toward world peace and a more extensive people's welfare, precisely because today the nations in the world, particularly in Asia, are still alarmed by war, by the threat of war which menaces world peace. All of us, without exception, should safeguard mankind.

It is my ardent desire, and I am sure it will be also cherished by Your Excellency, that this momentous visit constitutes a new page to foster mutual understanding, strengthen friendly relations, and to expand cooperation between both our countries.

We wholeheartedly welcome Your Excellency, Mrs. Nixon, and members of your party, and we hope that you will enjoy your stay in our country among the people of Indonesia. I thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Arrival at Djakarta, Indonesia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives