Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Luncheon for Members of the Joint U.S.-Japan Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs

July 14, 1965

Distinguished guests, gentlemen:

We are deeply grateful for the time that the Ministers of the Cabinet of Japan have given to this visit to our country. We have found our discussions to be both pleasant and productive.

It seems that it is very difficult to avoid some tragedy in meetings of this kind, because I remember almost 20 months ago when members of the American Cabinet were en route to Tokyo for discussions that we first learned of the death of our beloved President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

A few moments before this luncheon began today, I received word that the great and good man, Adlai Stevenson, had died in London.

Of course, my immediate reaction was to cancel this luncheon meeting. But after talking to some of the members of my own Cabinet and some of his friends, we all realized that Adlai Stevenson would not have had us do any such thing. He would want us to continue, because he was first, and he was foremost, concerned that the works of peace and the works of progress and, most important, the works of understanding, which have prevailed and predominated throughout this meeting, must go on.

So this, then, is our legacy from Adlai Stevenson--a charge to continue the quest for a decent world, for a better world order, for a life for man that is free of war and destruction and the oppression of his spirit.

So, this is our pledge to the memory of this great man who is really, as all of you here know, a true citizen of the world--a pledge to devote our energies and our talents and our resources and our wills to the cause for which he died.

We realize that America lost its foremost advocate and its most eloquent spirit and one of its finest voices for peace in the world. The world of freedom has lost, I think, perhaps its most dedicated champion.

So, I would like to ask each of you to stand with me in a moment of silent tribute to this great lover of peace, this great statesman, Adlai E. Stevenson.

[At this point there was a moment of silence.]

Note: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. Foreign Minister Etsusaburo Shiina of Japan responded as follows: "Mr. president, your Excellencies:

"I am deeply grieved to hear of the passing of a truly great American, Ambassador Stevenson. It was last December that I had the privilege of meeting him for the first time at the United Nations when I attended the General Assembly meeting. His life, I believe, symbolizes the conscience of humanity upon which the United Nations is built.

"He will be deeply missed by all those who seek peace. Let me express my heartfelt sympathy and condolence to the remaining members of his family and to the people of the United States.

"We are greatly pleased to be honored in this way, to be accorded the privilege of meeting and talking with you at this luncheon, and I should like to thank you very much for the words that you have spoken. I am reminded that at the beginning of this year, I and Mr. Miki, who is here with us today as our Minister of International Trade and Industry, had the honor to be present on the occasion of Prime Minister Sato's visit to you.

"One of my favorite expressions in classical Chinese, if I may attempt to translate it, is: 'To the same pole, but by a different route.' It suggests the fact that it is entirely natural for two countries with such different historical and geographical backgrounds to pursue their respective national interests in a different manner, but it suggests also that we ultimately seek the common goal of world peace and prosperity.

"This is the most natural mode of cooperation between our two countries, and is the basis of a permanent and positive relationship. The results of the conversations between you, Mr. President, and Prime Minister Sato, have been welcomed in Japan with nationwide support, and have been regarded as a demonstration that the relations between our countries have entered an era of cooperation on a higher plane, in the way I have just tried to suggest. And to borrow Secretary Rusk's expression at the time of those talks, that we have entered into a 'new chapter' of our relationship.

"Since the beginning of this year, we have witnessed various developments in the international scene, mainly in Asia. In certain areas, the efforts we have directed towards achieving freedom, peace, and prosperity in Asia are producing fortunate results, and they appear to be opening the way for new developments conducive to future advance.

"However, the general situation in Asia seems to be one of persistent tension and strain, and is growing more serious with each day. In such a continually changing international scene, the close cooperation between our two countries serves a very significant role in sustaining a measure of international stability and prosperity.

"This joint United States-Japan Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs, attended by Cabinet members of both Governments, and allowing a frank exchange of views to take place, is a unique arrangement which symbolizes our close and cordial ties. Our present session has nearly been completed, and we believe that this fourth meeting has been as productive as the past three meetings. I am confident that this session has not only served to create a better and deeper understanding of the problems we face in our respective countries, but has contributed also to the promotion of peace and progress throughout the world. "Thank you."

See also Items 356, 359, 373, 504.


The text of the remarks which the President had intended to deliver at the luncheon follow:

This is a great pleasure, and a welcome privilege, to welcome to this house in peace, friendship, and a common purpose, all of you who have come from across the great Pacific.

This is the fourth meeting of our two Cabinets, and the second such meeting here in Washington. For me, it is a meeting to which I have looked forward since the constructive and productive meeting earlier this year with your Prime Minister. I was most impressed with him at that time--and it confirms my estimate to know that he is able to conduct the affairs of your Government with so many members of his Cabinet so far from his side today.

Your presence here in Washington is a tribute to the importance which both you and we attach to the close friendship between Japan and the United States. These sessions between the Cabinet officers of our two countries are without precedent or parallel--and we can be very proud of them. Such meetings reflect to the world the importance our Governments and our peoples attach to our continuing ties as great nations of the free world.

Destiny has placed before us both great opportunities, responsibilities, and challenges. Together we shall meet them with enthusiasm, with courage, and--I am confident--with success.

On this day, when the genius of man has been able to probe the far-distant planet of Mars, I am privileged to pledge my country anew to explore with vigor and imagination the pressing problems which confront us here on earth.

As Pacific countries, we have different assets and-in terms of narrow economics--some different interests. But we share the common purpose of contributing to the peace and prosperity of that part of the world.

Mankind as a whole faces a great challenge in finding ways to restore and maintain peace in southeast Asia. We know that merely yearning for peace will not bring it about.

An international effort enlisting commitments from peoples in the area--and all the nations interested in peace in the area--is needed to assure progress within that great region.

I am confident that if Japan and the United States can share their wisdom, and share their endeavors side by side, we can contribute greatly to the realization of this noble purpose.

We in the United States welcome your thoughts, your initiatives, and your cooperation in seeking objectives which are not only in our mutual interest, but in the interests of peoples everywhere.

In particular, I believe that our two great countries should together strive, first: to engage a broad range of developed countries in the task of promoting the economic development of southeast Asia, to strengthen the foundation for stability there and for world peace everywhere.

Secondly, I believe our two countries should together strive to help foster regional cooperation and a sense of common interest in the economic field.

Finally, I believe we should strive to persuade all countries in the area, especially those which are now committed to encouraging or supporting aggressive wars of national liberation, that their own patriotic self-interests would be better served by participating with others in peaceful economic development.

The basic conflict of our times is not over economic ideas or between economic systems. We do not believe any one peoples--or any one nation--stand as the sole possessors of all the truth. We do believe, however, that men and nations must have the right to develop their own systems and their own societies without fear of neighbors, and without a return to the dangers and perils of the past.

To end aggression as an instrument of national policy would bring great opportunities for progress and better welfare to unhappy millions throughout all of Asia. That is our goal in the United States-and our only goal.

Between us--in your country and in ours--we have mutual problems and mutual concerns. But much more important are our great mutual opportunities.

Let us hope that this meeting serves well the common purposes which we share together as we look to a broader, better, more peaceful horizon for ourselves and for all mankind.

Now may I ask you to join with me in a toast to the Sovereign whose distinguished Cabinet Ministers we proudly and warmly welcome today. Ladies and gentlemen, His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Luncheon for Members of the Joint U.S.-Japan Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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