Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Arrival at Lahore, Pakistan

August 01, 1969

Mr. President, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

This is the sixth time I have had the privilege of visiting Pakistan. And, as I stand here, I am aware of some of the impressions that were deeply imbedded in my mind on those previous visits.

First, of a people with great courage; second, of a people with great vitality; third, of a people with a great idealism and great confidence insofar as their future is concerned; and, fourth, of a people in terms of hospitality who cannot be exceeded by any people in the world.

And I come, Mr. President, here today in a different capacity than on previous occasions; the first two times as Vice President of the United States, the next three times as a private citizen, and now, in an official capacity as President of the United States.

And as I speak today, I want the people of this country to know, and I want those with whom I will be talking to know, that I come not just as the political leader, the head of state of my country, but I come as a friend of Pakistan. I value the friendships that I have had here over the years, and that my wife has had on those occasions that she has accompanied me.

I know, too, that, as you have indicated, there have been some strains in our relationships over recent years. And I do not suggest that on one visit that all differences will be resolved.

But I do know this: that what we can do and what we intend to do on this visit is to restore a relationship of friendship based on mutual trust which is so essential to good relations between two countries. That is what we will do.

And so, in that spirit, I welcome the opportunity to visit this country again, to meet with you, and the colleagues, your colleagues in government, and to extend to all of the people of Pakistan from all of the people of the United States our warm good wishes and our friendship as a people from one great people to another great people.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:55 a.m. at Lahore International Airport in response to the remarks of President A. M. Yahya Khan which follow:

President Nixon, Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Your Excellency and Mrs. Nixon, and the members of your distinguished party, to Pakistan.

In your person, Mr. President, we are not only welcoming you as the head of a great and friendly country, but also an old friend, whose abiding interest in Pakistan and its people is demonstrated by several visits over the years. We still remember your first visit in 1953, when you came as your country's Vice President. That was the beginning of a new era of cooperation and mutual collaboration between our two countries.

The pattern of our relations has changed somewhat since then but there is no diminution in our mutual regard, nor, I am happy to say, in your country's interest in Pakistan's well-being. The United States' contribution to Pakistan's development efforts has been very substantial and will always be remembered with gratitude.

Your visit, Mr. President, is taking place at a critical time. It will provide us with an opportunity to get to know each other and exchange views on mutual interests.

The city of Lahore is happy to receive you on its historic soil and to share your joy at the most recent and the most memorable triumph of human courage, determination, and scientific skill which was achieved by your astronauts when they were the first to land on the moon.

I hope during your all-too-brief stay, Mr. President, you and Mrs. Nixon will have a glimpse of Lahore's unique character and its traditional hospitality.

I wish you and Mrs. Nixon, and your party, a pleasant stay, Mr. President.

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

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