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Remarks on Departure From the Philippines

July 27, 1969

Mr. President, Mrs. Marcos, distinguished members of the diplomatic corps and of the Philippine Cabinet, other distinguished guests:

I begin by saying that the eloquent remarks that President Marcos has just uttered are ones that I subscribe to, because they, in a very definitive way, sum up the conversations that we have had during the period that we have been together.

I would also say that if this trip--which will take me to several other Asian nations as well as to two European nations--if this trip were to have included only the Philippines, our coming here, the conversations that we have had, the welcome that we have received, would have made it all worthwhile. We are deeply grateful to those of you who have welcomed us so warmly, and also to the President and to Mrs. Marcos for their very gracious hospitality.

I believe that, as one who has been here in that period of time when so many changes have occurred in Asia, I can really evaluate what has happened, and what will happen in the future.

When I was first here in 1953, the countries of Asia were moving out of a period of colonialism. They had a new sense of independence--a new sense of independence but not the ability and, in some instances, not the means, the desire, to use that independence to create the self-reliance which true independence requires.

Then after moving from the period of colonialism to independence there came an uneasy period of dependence upon others for their security, and also for their progress.

Now we reach a new period--a period in which there will continue to be assistance and cooperation, particularly from the United States of America as a Pacific power, and the economic and other developments that are going forward in this exciting part of the world, and in which there will continue to be, insofar as any intervention by major powers, a military presence as far as the United States is concerned so that these nations can have that independence which they have fought so hard to get--where our desire is like the desire of the people of the Philippines, and I am sure of the other peoples of the other great nations that we will visit, that each of them can now acquire a new sense of independence in the most complete sense that we can describe it.

I mean the independence that comes with economic strength, with political stability, and also with the means insofar as any threat internally that may occur in those countries--the ability to handle those internal problems without outside assistance, except that kind of assistance which is limited to material support and which, of course, would therefore exclude the kind of support which would involve a commitment of manpower.

This is a goal. It is a goal that we can now achieve. It is a goal that all the nations of Asia want to achieve, and it is one that we, the people of the United States and the Government of the United States, want to work with them to achieve. Certainly there is no country in Asia, than the country which I am now leaving, which more symbolizes the truth of what I have said than the Philippines.

We have a special relationship with the Philippines which will always be in our hearts. But we also recognize that the Philippines, which was once in a colonial status as far as the United States is concerned, and then in a dependent status, is now feeling, as it should feel, that sense of self-reliance, that sense of constructive nationalism, as President [Manuel] Quezon has described it so many years ago, which is so, it seems to me, the wave of the future in Asia, and also in all of the world in which nations have gone through these same phases.

It is good that we came here first, good that we saw our oldest friends and our closest friends first; got their advice as we did on these subjects that I have described, and also on the complicated problems of Vietnam, bringing peace to Vietnam, how that peace then can be achieved in the balance of Asia, what U.S. policies should be in Asia after Vietnam--all of these, as well as the many bilateral subjects, were those that were covered in our conversations.

Finally, I would like to add one personal note. At the magnificent dinner that was given last night for us and the members of our party, Mrs. Marcos pointed out that the room in which it was held was one which previously had been used for various offices, and that she had had reconstructed so that they would have the room for such a large gathering. And she pointed to one comer of the room and said that in that very corner President Eisenhower, as a young officer, once had his office.

I thought of all of the history that was implicit in that remark. The young Major Eisenhower of that period, serving under General [Douglas] MacArthur, developing here in the Philippines understanding of military tactics but, beyond that, even more important, of the great political forces which move the world, and I thought, too, of his return to this country in 1960 and what he said before the Philippine Congress.

He said then he felt that he was returning to his old home, because he had lived here for 4 years with his wife, and his son had gone to school here, and they had so many pleasant memories.

I cannot say that Mrs. Nixon and I have lived here for any length of time, but we have had the privilege of being here before; we have had the privilege of knowing many, many friends in the Philippines; and every time we return, the welcome we receive makes us feel as if we were returning to our own home.

We thank you for that, and we will carry from this visit many memories--the memories of our conversations and the constructive activities that will come from them. But above everything else, we will remember yesterday, that drive into the city, the hundreds of thousands of people that lined the streets, and particularly the faces of the children, the children of the Philippines, the children of Asia, the children of all mankind, smiling, happy, looking to the future.

The President and I share one thing in common. We are both lawyers. Today I would say that we could say, as Woodrow Wilson once said, that we have only as our clients the children of the world, the children of this country, of our country, and of all the others of the world, because what we do in these years ahead will determine the future of those wonderful children that we saw yesterday.

This is the sentiment that I take away in my heart today. We thank you for giving us that warm welcome and this great send-off on the balance of a trip that will take us on around the world.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 11 a.m. at Manila International Airport in response to farewell remarks by President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who spoke as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Nixon, members of the party of the American President, Your Excellencies and members of the diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, my friends:

The time has come for us, the Philippine people, to say goodby to our friend from the great American Nation, their leader and President, President Richard Nixon. It is with a heavy heart that we do say goodby.

But we have, I hope, been able to present to them a country that, since the beginning of the century, has welcomed them with open arms.

I believe you go to your other destinations, Mr. President, with the same thought that we have, that is, that there are no friends like old friends.

We are indeed honored and pleased that you came to visit with us. More than the importance of the subject or the specific issues that may have been taken up in the conversations between the two heads of state, is the fact that there have been consultations, and that the leader of the greatest power on earth, at the height of its greatest triumph, the success of space exploration, should see fit to come and consult with the nations .of Asia, not only about policy but about the future of Asia.

We must, indeed, say that the candor, frankness, and the openness being shown in these conferences and consultations have led us to clear all the doubts that we had about the policies of the United States of America; for before you came, Mr. President, I was not alone in feeling dread and doubt about the emerging policies of the United States in Asia. You have met us with frankness, and from these conversations I can now announce to our people that while before we dreaded the possibility that the United States was going to abandon Asia completely, and on the other extreme that there might be, again, reestablished the policy of colonial dominance over the Asian countries, the President of the United States has made it clear, first, that he encourages nationalism in each and every Asian country, including that of the Philippines.

We are happy to note that in accordance with the libertarian traditions of the United States of America, he recognizes the need for the treatment of his Asian allies and friends with dignity. It is, indeed, gratifying to note, too, that while treating Asia with the policy of encouragement of nationalism, independence, and freedom, he does not intend to abandon Asia; that while we are moving toward what we have always hoped for, through political and economic independence, he supports the idea of Asian countries being able to defend themselves alone if necessary, and helping them and supporting them with whatever aid he can extend to them in these particular tasks.

We are happy, Mr. President, that you have come to us, to consult with us on matters that involve Asia. I have said before that the Philippines feel that the greatest danger to it is not external aggression but internal subversion.

Our history indicates that we are capable of meeting internal subversion with our own troops, and that we do not intend to call upon any foreign power to help us with foreign troops. We have demonstrated this in fighting the Hukbalahaps [Communist guerrillas], and we intend to protect and defend our free institutions with our lives, alone if necessary. But we are happy that you guarantee to us that the treaties that we have entered into shall be complied with, and that you are an ally, indeed, who understands our problems.

So, Mr. President, may I repeat what the Asians say in saying goodby. I die a small death, we die a small death, as you go and we say goodby; but it is our hope that we shall live continuously in the friendship and affection that we have for each other.

We hope, Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, that you have a happy voyage and happy landings, and that your trips to other nations will be as productive as your trip to the Philippines. Thank you.

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

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