John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to a Group of Economics Students From Abroad.

April 10, 1963

Good morning:

I want to welcome all of you to the White House and also to the United States. We appreciate very much your coming to this country and I am sure that you will teach us a good deal more than you can possibly learn here. I am interested that you have come, most of you, to work while you are here in the American business community. I am not sure it is possible to transfer the experience of any country to another country, particularly a country with inadequate resources and with inadequate skilled manpower.

Our growth, private enterprise system, the governmental relationship to it--particularly the governmental relationship which has developed over the last 50 years--represents a very special blend of our population, our skills, our natural resources. It is very difficult to transfer our particular circumstances to another country, but at least your coming here gives you a chance to understand how this country, which bears so many responsibilities around the world and which has had some success in its economic system at least, how this works.

What is applicable in our experience to your countries, I am sure, can be usefully transferred. But most of all, whatever differences there may .be, what we are interested in, what I am most interested in, is the commitment to individual freedom which our country and your country permits and the commitment to national independence working with other sovereign powers to maintain the freedom of all. The combination of economic development plus political freedom, political equality, all of which are extremely difficult to sustain, all of which are under attack, all these rather radical revolutionary doctrines and I believe ours-this concept of political equality and international fraternity--are under attack. I believe it is worthwhile for us to have the most intimate exchange of ideas and thoughts and hopes for the future.

So, we are very glad to have you here. I am confident I am talking to a number of future Prime Ministers, Presidents, and others, and I just want you to know that when you visit in that role a decade hence and the Kennedys are long gone, I am sure you will be equally welcome.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke in the Flower Garden at the White House. The group was sponsored by the Association for International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce, an international organization which places senior students majoring in economics, mostly in European universities, in vacation jobs in other countries.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to a Group of Economics Students From Abroad. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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