John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to a Group From the Second U.S.-Japan Conference on Educational and Cultural Interchange.

October 18, 1963


I want to welcome all of you to the White House, and I want to express my appreciation to all of you who have come so far to take part in this conference.

This is part of the arrangement which was agreed to about 2 years ago with your distinguished Prime Minister, that the United States and Japan would attempt to come to much more intimate understandings in the economic, scientific, and cultural fields. As a result of that agreement, we have had an exchange on two occasions of officers of the Cabinet; another one will take place this November.

We have had economic conversations, scientific conversations, and this meeting in the cultural field. We consider this very valuable in the United States because of historic reasons. Because of the places from whence the American people originally came, we have ordinarily looked east to Europe and south to Latin America. I think it is most important that we also look west across the Pacific, which can be a bridge rather than a barrier, and, particularly, that we look to the very vital, vigorous, progressive nation of Japan.

So the more that can be done to expose the American people to the very long and justly celebrated cultural tradition of Japan, the richer we will become. This is a new stream for us, and therefore it will invigorate our people.

So we are very proud to have you here. I want to express my appreciation to the Americans who have taken part in this activity. We are grateful to them for showing what we are, what we are trying to be, and to tell you that this happy commingling of America and Japan, I think, is a happy augury for the future.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 4:30 p.m. in the Flower Garden at the White House. The agreement to which he referred was announced June 22, 1961, in a joint statement following discussions with Prime Minister Ikeda (see 1961 volume, this series, Item 252). The first U.S.-Japan Conference on Educational and Cultural Interchange was held at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, January 25-31, 1962. The second met at the Department of State in Washington, October 16--22, 1963.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to a Group From the Second U.S.-Japan Conference on Educational and Cultural Interchange. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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