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Remarks Following Meeting With Pope Paul VI in the Vatican

September 28, 1970

Your Holiness:

I want to express my deep personal appreciation and the appreciation also of the members of our party and of all of the American people for the words you have just spoken, and for the very generous reception you have provided for us.

Tonight after I leave the Vatican, I will be flying to sea and there I shall see the mightiest military force which exists in the world on any ocean.

Today, here in this room, we have had the opportunity to hear expressed a different kind of power--the spiritual power which moves nations and moves men.

I think that it is only appropriate to say that the conversations that we have had on several occasions--in 1963, 1967, 1969, and now today--have covered the whole range of world problems.

Your Holiness has expressed again your interest, which we also share, of working for peace among all nations, and we particularly appreciate the fact that you have noted the initiative that we have taken in the Mideast for peace in that troubled area.

You also have expressed your concern a concern we also share--for the well-being of the hundreds of millions of people on this earth who are poor, who live in lands that have very little hope. We will continue our policies of being as generous as we can in helping them, helping them so that they can help themselves.

We have appreciated also the fact that you have spoken out so eloquently for our prisoners of war, that this issue be separated from the other political issues that may be involved in the very difficult war in Vietnam.

But most important, I wish to emphasize that we appreciate the leadership that Your Holiness has given to the cause of good will between men of all races, of all religions, to the cause of peace among all men, even though those nations that they may live in may have different philosophies. We believe that such peace is possible; we work toward that end; and we appreciate the prayers and the good wishes that you have extended to us.

On this occasion, too, speaking for all of the American people, may I wish you well on your long journey to the Philippines. I know that you will get a very warm and great reception in that land so far away and yet so close to us in the United States because of our background and our history.

We remember your visit to the United States. And as we sit here today, I can only say that we hope that we shall have the privilege, if your arduous schedule will permit, of having another visit by you to the United States.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 4: 55 p.m. in the Papal Library in response to the remarks of Pope Paul VI.
The Pope's remarks follow:

Mr. President:

On the occasion of this journey of yours to Europe you have wished to pay us a further visit. We have welcomed the opportunity thus afforded us of having renewed personal contact with you and of expressing to you once again, with even greater insistence, our deeply felt paternal concern for the cause of peace--to you who are the leader of a nation on which weighs such a heavy share of responsibility for the present and for the future of the world.

Recent happenings have shown what special need there is at this moment to work for peace. The suffering which war inflicts not only on the combatants but also on innocent persons and on children who have no understanding even of the meaning of the word, has been brought vividly before the eyes of all of us, who, however distant we may be, feel almost that we are in the midst of it. Our heart has suffered with them, as it has always shared and continues to share in the sufferings of the victims of all the wars that disturb the life of mankind.

Our anxiety is now increased by the danger of such a conflict involving more and more countries and assuming the proportions of a vast and fearful conflagration.

This special need demands from all a special effort without reservations by any party and without any other aim than a just and honorable peace. That same God-given intelligence which enables man to destroy is capable also of finding a way of combating the dangers and even of insuring, insofar as is humanly possible, that they will not come to pass.

This duty belongs in a particular way to those who have a greater power in the world. We are, therefore, happy to have been able to convey to you, Mr. President, our thoughts on the most suitable means of seeking to reestablish peace where it has been upset and to strengthen it where it exists, among other ways, by favoring friendly and fruitful relations between peoples and the progress of the developing nations as is demanded by justice and human solidarity.

We would like to encourage you, Mr. President, in undertaking this task which, though difficult, is truly worthy of being pursued with decisiveness and generosity.

May God guide you and all who have responsibility for peace among nations, that good will may overcome enmity.
In the meantime, we give expression to our personal good wishes, and we invoke upon your your family, and all the people of the United States of America the favor and the blessing of the Almighty.

Richard Nixon, Remarks Following Meeting With Pope Paul VI in the Vatican Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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