Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Luncheon Honoring Dr. Jose Mora and William Sanders on Their Retirement as Officials of the Organization of American States

May 10, 1968

Dr. Mora, Mr. Sanders, distinguished Ambassadors, Members of Congress, distinguished friends, ladies and gentlemen:

We have come here to the White House today to honor two of the outstanding public servants of this hemisphere.

Jose Mora and William Sanders have guided our Organization of American States through the most challenging decade in its history. Their stewardship has seen the launching of the Alliance for Progress and the Inter-American Development Bank.

They have witnessed and shared in the great movement toward economic integration that was reflected in the Central American Common Market and the Latin American Free Trade Association.

They stood in the front lines defending our hemisphere during the times of great peril, and they stood beside us as we adopted a new charter of promise and hope in the Americas in the Presidents' action program of Punta del Este.

For almost half of this decade, I have worked shoulder to shoulder with these two distinguished men. We have strengthened the security of our hemisphere beyond doubt. We have waged a successful battle for economic opportunity and social justice in Latin America.

In these years, just to cite a few facts, the average per capita growth in Latin America has more than doubled over the first 3 years of the Alliance, from nine-tenths of 1 percent in 1961 through 1963, to 2 2/10 percent from 1964 through 1967.

The United States has put $7 billion 700 million at the service of the Alliance for Progress. That is 35 percent higher per annum in the last 4 years than we did in the first 3 years.

The enrollment in our primary schools has increased by almost 7 million students, and in secondary schools by close to 2 million students. The number of cooperatives has increased by over 35 percent. A quarter of a million land titles have already been distributed, and tax collections, which rose $489 million in the 1961 through 1963 period, increased from $489 million to nearly $3 billion during the 1964 to 1967 period.

Our inter-American system has always been a trail blazer in the quest for a better world. We have pioneered procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes. There has been no armed conflict between the members of our community now for more than 30 years.

We have championed the principle of self-determination of peoples. We have acted to preserve it---collectively--when it was threatened in our hemisphere.

We have developed the modern concept of collective security. We are pursuing the goal of representative democracy. Elections held throughout the hemisphere during the last 2 years show that we are making great progress.

We are demonstrating that through the Alliance for Progress, by all of us working together, nations in a region can build economic democracy and Latin America recently gave the world a model for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

All of this could not have been achieved without the dedication of wise men--men who saw that in laboring for cooperation between all the nations of America, they would serve the interests of each nation and its people.

Mr. Sanders, we are very proud of your dedicated service to the inter-American cause.

Dr. Mora, I am reminded of Emerson's words: "An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." You leave your high office knowing that the OAS will carry the mark of your achievements throughout history. You leave with the deep gratitude of this Nation-of this Nation's President and of this Nation's people-for making the new world a better and a safer place for free men to pursue their destiny.

There is so much that is undone. There is still so much to be done. But it can and it will be done. If those who follow you in this institution cast the same shadow of solidarity and progress for our hemisphere, then we have many good years to look forward to.

I ask you to rise and join me in a toast to Dr. Mora and Mr. Sanders.

[Following the toast Dr. Mora spoke briefly. The President then resumed speaking.]

Dr. Mora, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to present you, for your services, this little box that has an inscription on it. We are very grateful for all you have done. This represents the feeling of all the people here.

I said something about divisiveness in my speech of March 31st. It doesn't mean that anyone here feels that way. It doesn't apply to this group. For instance, we have seated at this very table the Rockefellers and the Meanys. We come from the great open spaces of the cactus country of Southwest Texas, from one of the largest ranches in our country, to Mr. Hewitt over here from the Black Lands of Illinois.

We have the leaders of industry, the leaders of the press, the leading ambassadors from this continent. They are all here today.

We all join in this tribute to an outstanding man who has done a very constructive service for all of us.

This is a token of our appreciation.

Note: The President spoke at 2:13 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Dr. Jose A. Mora, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, and William Sanders, Assistant Secretary General. During his remarks he referred to William A. Hewitt, Chairman, Deere and Co., Moline, Ill.

Dr. Mora's remarks are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 4, p. 778).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Luncheon Honoring Dr. Jose Mora and William Sanders on Their Retirement as Officials of the Organization of American States Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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