Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Arrival at Manila, the Philippines

July 26, 1969

President Marcos, Mrs. Marcos, all of the distinguished guests who are assembled here, and all of the members of this tremendous welcoming party at the airport:

I have been deeply moved by the words that have been expressed by President Marcos in his welcoming and also by the numbers of you that are here today. And as one who has visited the Philippines many times, I can say that I have looked forward to this return visit, as every American looks forward to returning to the Philippines once he knows the people of this country, knows them and has the afection for them, and the respect for them and the admiration for them that I have is an American citizen.

I think it is significant to note that the first world capital that I am visiting, after having greeted the first men to have set foot on the moon, is Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

And that, it seems to me, is appropriate from a number of circumstances, but particularly so because now we speak not just of our world, but of the universe.

And I am not unaware of the fact that a very lovely lady from the Philippines, Miss Gloria Diaz, has been named Miss Universe.

Also, the first Asian capital that I am visiting on this trip which takes me around the world is very appropriately Manila and the country is the Philippines. The reasons for that have already been mentioned by President Marcos.

I would like to add to what he has said in 'just a few words.

As we think of that great venture into space, as we think of the first man setting foot on the moon, we realize the meaning that that has, clearly apart from the technical achievement, we realize that if man can reach the moon, that we can bring peace to the earth. And that should be the great lesson of that great space journey for all of us.

This mission, which begins here, is in the quest of peace, peace in the Pacific, peace in Asia, peace in the world.

I come here because the Philippines-the leaders of this country have played and will play a great role in bringing that peace. And, it seems to me, that we must think of the Pacific and of Asia in terms of the past, of the present, and the future.

I noted, for example, that the commander of the honor guard, which I just had the privilege of reviewing, was one of the veterans of Bataan. He was the commander of the honor guard when I visited this country in 1956 on the 10th anniversary of the Philippines. That brought home to me the close relationships between our two countries, but particularly the stake that the Philippines and the United States have together in peace in the Pacific.

We went through World War II together. We have gone through Korea together. We now have a war in Vietnam. And when we look at the possibilities of potential war, down to the end of this century, perhaps we would have to say that the greatest danger exists in Asia and in the Pacific.

But that also presents the greatest challenge. And the challenge I think can be met--it must be met.

And I want to speak very candidly to my friends in the Philippines, because I know you like straight talk. I know that in your political campaigns you have a lot of straight talk, just as we have in the United States.

But if peace is to come from Asia-and I emphasize this point--the United States will play its part and provide its fair share. But peace in Asia cannot come from the United States. It must come from Asia. The people of Asia, the governments of Asia, they are the ones who must lead the way to peace in Asia.

That is why I compliment the leaders of the Philippines in playing a role in Asian cooperation, economically, politically, and otherwise, to bring about the peace that we all seek.

And then in another vein, we realize, as we look at that great venture into space, the larger meaning that it has for all of us in terms of seeking peace.

A great French philosopher once said that true friendship comes not when we look at each other, but when we look outward together in the same direction. And for just a few moments, the whole world looked outward together in the same direction toward the moon. And as we did that, we were brought closer together.

Your own great President Quezon1 put it very eloquently when he said that nationalism can be a very constructive force in the world, but that nationalism is most constructive when we remember that we are all part of the great human family; that being part of that great human family, the greatest role that any nation can play is the role of serving the interests of all mankind and of, therefore, serving the interests of peace.

1Manuel L. Quezon, President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1941.

I speak in these general terms today because it is appropriate to do so on this first welcome after that historic exploit into space, on my first visit to an Asian capital [on a journey] that will take me clear around the world.

But, as I conclude, I want to speak very directly, too, about the relations between our two countries, relations that I have a very strong feeling about, as I am sure that everybody here, be he Filipino or American, has a strong feeling about. Let me be quite candid.

It is true that our relations with the Philippines go back further than that with any Asian nation. It is true that the people of the United States feel closer to the people of the Philippines than we do to the people of any Asian nation. This is because of those things that we have shared together.

It is also true that our relations have been strained, strained recently for a variety of reasons. We are still very good friends, but even among friends, it is possible to have strained relations.

And I want everybody here to know that as I come to the Philippines in this brief stay, I hope that we can initiate a new era in Philippine-American relations, not returning to the old special relationship, because the winds of change have swept away those factors, but building a new relationship, a new relationship which will be based on mutual trust, on mutual respect, on mutual confidence, on mutual cooperation.

That is what we want, and that is what I think the people of the Philippines and of the United States will support.

So, Mr. President, in that spirit and in the spirit of your very eloquent remarks, again, I thank you for this wonderful welcome.

In that spirit, also, I say from the bottom of my heart to all of our friends in the Philippines, mabuhay [greetings, good wishes].

Note: The President spoke at approximately 1 p.m. at Manila International Airport in response to welcoming remarks by President Ferdinand E. Marcos. An advance text of the President's remarks was also released by the White House Press Office on July 26, 1969.

President Marcos spoke as follows:

Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, members of his party:

In the name of the Filipino people, I bid you and Mrs. Nixon welcome to the Philippines, to this country which has welcomed you before with open arms, and to whom you are no stranger.

Gratefully we remember one of your previous visits. As Vice President of the United States you came to solemnly affirm your Government's recognition of Philippine ownership and sovereignty over the American bases on our soil.

Today you honor us again by coming to these shores as the President of the United States. And you come at a time when the imagination of the whole world has been fired by America's historic achievement in space exploration.

It is for us significant that the Philippines should be your first stop in your journey through Asia after witnessing two of three American astronauts on the moon and their return, a feat unparalleled in implications, in radicalism, and in the prospects of hope it promises man in the entire history of human achievement.

Your visit too makes us feel ourselves to be part of this meaningful triumph, vicariously a partner in the conquest of a new frontier, just as over 60 years ago the Philippines became the first major involvement of the United States in Asian affairs.

At that time we could not join in any celebration, but changing circumstances enable us today to stand straight and strong, thanks also to the great country, the United States of America, to join them in applauding this feat not of arms but of mind and fortitude. Even as we do this, we are mindful that yours is a triumph also of Asians as well as of all mankind. For today, every human being, every nation, all humanity, partake of the labor, of the hope, and of the responsibility that goes into the invention or discovery of whatever is new.

In recalling the beginning of the association between our two peoples on this, the occasion of America's victory in outer space, we are also reminded that many things remain to be achieved in the mutual relations between our two countries. But I am confident that in any future history, it shall not be said that America was a success in all its undertakings except in the sphere of human and social relations. I trust it shall not be said that America successfully breached the frontiers of space and technology, but failed in matters close to the heart and mind, the relations of man with other men.

I am certain this will not be so, because increasingly today, technology and science are bound up with the things that concern the welfare and the happiness of human beings, as the negative example of war has shown us. It is my hope, one that is shared by all of my countrymen regardless of partisan belief, that the powerful thrust of technology and science shall be applied, not only by the United States but by all countries, on unresolved problems of human misery and unhappiness everywhere. Let this present triumph be the springboard for a more vigorous attack on these problems in this region.

Your visit to the Philippines gives us the distinct honor of being able to be the first to personally congratulate you on this historic achievement, which we very much appreciate. It also affords us the opportunity, during your brief stay with us, to resume our discussions on outstanding issues affecting our two countries' relations in Southeast Asia, and to advance our countries' interests, but not at the expense of the others.

It is hoped that out of these discussions a new consensus can be achieved between us whose basis will be a dignified and self-respecting mutual regard for each other. For this I voice the hope of millions of my countrymen for the coming of a new era of peace and prosperity not only in the Philippines but for all of Asia, which they believe these great events which you lead portend.

Let your coming, therefore, signal the start of a new series of constructive breakthroughs in the relations between us and among the countries of the Pacific and Asia, and let your courageous astronauts symbolize our quest for peace and partnership for global welfare and prosperity among all peoples, a goal worthy of our utmost dedication. On the ethics of generosity and of responsibility, America's record is clear that it has been exemplary both in its commitment and its fulfillment.

In the list of Presidents who have flashed through the brilliant pages of America's history, you are to us in Asia the most knowledgeable about the problems and the aspirations of the countries and of the peoples of Asia. To Asia you are no stranger; to the Philippines you are more than a friend, for you first came as a guarantor of the sovereign rights of the Filipino people. By a fortunate coincidence this triumph of American science and spirit comes at a time, during your administration, when the United States is anxious to reexamine her national purposes in relation to the rest of the world.

Thus, as you commence this visit, its manifold meanings will not be lost to Asia and to all who long for peace and prosperity. For you come, we trust, not only to reinforce the traditional guarantees that bind your world to ours; you come also to proffer new gifts that science can bring to all mankind; and you come, we are certain, to forge in the smithies of the world, because of your courage, your vision, your statesmanship, a brilliant new role for America, and history will remember you as its wise and far-seeing architect.

In this spirit, I bid you once again welcome to the Philippines and to Asia.

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

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