Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to Members of the NATO Parliamentarians Conference.

September 18, 1964

IT IS a great pleasure to welcome to the White House this morning the NATO parliamentarians.

They are concerned with a project that is of vital importance to all of the free world in the Atlantic Alliance, and I am pleased that I was able to spend a few moments with them in the Fish Room.

I know, from what Congressman Wayne Hays of Ohio has told me, how much the parliamentarians have done to plan to ensure that this great instrument of the defense of freedom will flourish and continue to keep the peace.

The parliamentarians not only understand the problems of the alliance but they have the capacity and the ability to translate constructive ideas into effective and practical policies. The alliance owes a great deal to the vigorous and constructive leadership that these parliamentarians have provided.

We are proud of NATO's accomplishments. It has been tested many times, and each test has brought new confidence, new strength, and new stature for this great organization.

I participated in its formation, and I have contributed all I could to its support and maintenance.

NATO has done more than provide an effective system of defense. In President Truman's words, it has permitted us "... to get on with the real business of government and society, the business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all of our citizens."

I think it would be very dangerous for us to take this alliance for granted. Danger is less apparent now but it certainly has not disappeared. The building of an effective defense system is and must be a continuing task for all of our countries.

There remains a great challenge, of course, to move on to the closest partnership. This requires understanding and cooperation. There will be differences between us at times on tactics and procedures. But over those differences, all of which are a part of the democratic alliance, we really have built a fundamental unity.

We are all determined to preserve our freedom. We are all committed to give further substance and purpose to the alliance. And here the parliamentarians play a very important role. Their legislative experience and their political role give us a special opportunity to insure that the goals of the alliance are achieved.

The United States has made certain commitments both real and substantial, and we will meet them all. Let no one, ally or adversary, ever doubt America's determination to fulfill its role in the alliance, to live up to its obligations.

We are grateful for your contributions. Your studies and your actions, your recommendations and, most of all, your firm commitment to the purposes of NATO are invaluable as we seek to build a deepening partnership of free nations within the alliance.

I am delighted that you could come here and exchange viewpoints with us. You have my best wishes for your every success.

Note: The President spoke at 1:25 p.m.. in the West Lobby of the White House. Early in his remarks he referred to Representative Wayne L. Hays of Ohio, United States member and a vice president of the NATO Parliamentarians Conference.

Members of the Conference, an organization consisting of one member from each of the 15 NATO countries, were in the United States to visit various military installations.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to Members of the NATO Parliamentarians Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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