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Remarks at a Luncheon With Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia

June 06, 1974

Your Royal Highness and all of our distinguished guests from Saudi Arabia and from the United States:

It is very appropriate that we are having this luncheon, the last social function ,at the White House prior to a visit to the Mideast by the President of the United States. This visit is one that comes at a time that we are developing a hopeful, new relationship with the nations in that area, and particularly with the Arab nations, some of which we have not had very helpful or, shall we say, close relations with in the past because of events on the international scene.

But as we welcome our friends from Saudi Arabia, it seems to me very important to say to this company, and also to say it to all of those who may hear or read these words in America and in the world, that America's interest in the Mideast is not solely and not even primarily dictated by what we call those pragmatic selfish concerns that usually are the factor most important in foreign policy.

For example, there are those who might say we receive our Saudi friends here in this company and the President of the United States welcomes the opportunity to go there because Saudi Arabia is the greatest producer of oil in the world, and we buy some oil from them. But a relationship between two countries bound together only by oil would not last very long.

Our very distinguished guest, His Royal Highness Prince Fahd, brought this home to me in our constructive discussions this morning when he said, "The friendship between Saudi Arabia and the United States goes back many years before we discovered the enormous oil reserves of that country."

And it is that friendship which binds us together; it is that friendship that we honor today; it is that kind of friendship that we wish to develop with the nations we will visit on this trip and the other nations in that area.

And I can only say, speaking personally, that while I have not had the privilege of being to Saudi Arabia before, I have valued for over 20 years a very close, personal friendship with King Faisal, with many members of this company who are here today, and I know whereof I speak when I say that, yes, we have interests which bring us together, but even more important, we have friendship that will last long after any interests might disappear.

And to that friendship between two great countries, it is in that spirit that I propose a toast today to His Royal Highness.

Gentlemen, will you rise to His Royal Highness Prince Fahd, and friendship between the Saudi Arabian and the American people.

Note: The President spoke at 2: 05 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House at the luncheon for Prince Fahd Ibn Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Saudi Arabia, and other Saudi Arabian officials.

Prince Fahd responded to the President's remarks in Arabic. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President, distinguished guests:

It is a great source of pleasure for me to find myself here in this great country, among my American friends, headed by President Nixon.

The sentiments so eloquently expressed by the President, when he said that what binds us is an age-old friendship, is exactly the sentiment I would like to reiterate and to emphasize, that it is this kind of friendship that we have always sought, that we will continue to seek, namely, the friendship that is not based on just things material but that springs from the heart.

Mr. President, the great role that you, aided by your very able Secretary of State, played in trying circumstances in the Middle East for bringing about the achievements that have so far been brought about, will be immortalized by history, will be chalked up as an excellent, commendable, brilliant mark for the United States as such, for the United States President, United States Government, and the United States people.

This is precisely the great role that we feel is tailored for the United States of America to play, because it is this country that has sounded for many a year the clarion of freedom, of independence, stability, and prosperity for the whole world.

The Arab world, particularly those countries that you, Mr. President, will be visiting, those countries are looking forward to the days of your visits because of the symbolism unfolded on that day, the symbolism of friendship, of your United States efforts to work for peace and prosperity, not only for the Near Eastern area but for the world at large.

Therefore, I beseech Almighty God to guide your steps, to grant you divine guidance and the power and the will to achieve those things, to reach those goals that we know you cherish for the good of humanity and for the world.

We realize that the future is never smooth, the future will probably hold some difficulties, but we do not consider them insurmountable because, given the stout heart and the great will that you have, Mr. President, that the American people are famous for, there is nothing that you cannot vanquish to the good of mankind.

Therefore, permit me to propose a toast to the President of the United States and His Majesty King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at a Luncheon With Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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