Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on Departure of President Echeverria of Mexico From Tucson, Arizona

October 21, 1974

Mr. President, it has been a very great privilege and an extremely high honor for me to have had this opportunity early in my Administration to meet with you and your very distinguished delegation, to have visited Nogales and Magdalena de Kino in your very great nation, and to have had the honor of your hospitality in Tubac. Let me say that the reception received in Magdalena, in Nogales, was unbelievable, and I can say to all of my friends here in Arizona we could not have had a warmer greeting and a friendlier reception.

Now, Mr. President, the time has been all too short, but what we have shared together has been most valuable to me in the handling of the problems that we see down the road. It provided a very opportune moment for a warm welcome, to know you personally, to be able to establish a close personal friendship--the friendship between the Presidents of two great countries--a neighbor to the north for Mexico and a good neighbor to the south from the United States. This opportunity provided us the establishment of a first-hand dialog which is so important in the understanding and cooperation of our peoples and our Governments. It provided a chance, Mr. President, to hear your points of view representing your great country and your great people on matters of mutual concern to our countries and to give me an opportunity to express to you the views of our people and our Government.

To me, Mr. President, the personal relationship we have initiated today is equal to the substantive discussions we have held. I am confident that the meeting beginning early today and ending shortly will be only the beginning of a close, personal relationship, an important link in the special relationship which unites our countries.

Mr. President, during my short visit to your side of the border this morning, you and the people made me feel very much at home, and I assure you that the warmth of this friendship by our people to you I hope equals that of your people to me.

As I say goodby and take leave, let me wish you a safe and pleasant return journey, Mr. President. I will not say goodby but rather, following the tradition of your country, I will say hasta luego.

I know there will be other opportunities in the future to meet, to discuss the vital questions, but more importantly, to get better acquainted.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to have had this opportunity on your border and ours.

Mr. President, I thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 5:35 p.m. at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

President Echeverria spoke in Spanish. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

President Ford, it is only due to the great spirit of friendship which unites our two countries that it has been possible in a few hours, and without any personal contact between the two of us previously-it has been possible, I repeat, to revise the enormous amount of matters that we have between our two countries.

We are practicing--and this is well for the people of the United States and for the people of Mexico to know--we are practicing a simple type of democracy, a democracy in which there is no secrets, a democracy in which there is nothing hidden, a democracy that is characterized by frankness.

I believe that this conference between the United States and Mexico can set an example, can set an example that should be followed by all--by the great and the small countries, by the industrialized nations and the developing nations.

I see that from here on in, with good will, with the study of our common problems, with mutual understanding, the relationship between our two governments will improve.

Mr. President, in expressing my gratitude for your personal acquaintance, Mr. President, and for the hospitality that has been shown to us by the United States and also this expression of good will on the part of the people of the United States, I, too, wish to say hasta luego, until we meet again, because we hope that we will have you in Mexico City so that the Mexican people will get to know you as I do.

Mr. President, in taking my leave, I do so with a warm handshake, with an abrazzo--Mexican style-with an embrace that we hope will travel to all the homes of the United States and convey the great affection of Mexico.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on Departure of President Echeverria of Mexico From Tucson, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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