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Remarks by Telephone With President Leoni of Venezuela Inaugurating a Submarine Cable Linking the Two Countries.

August 03, 1966

THANK YOU very much, Mr. President.

I am sitting here in the White House with the Vice President and your distinguished Ambassador to our country, the Assistant Secretary of State, and the Chairman of our Communications Commission.

It is a great pleasure to exchange views with you through this medium. The underseas cable to Venezuela dramatizes, I think, the great community of interest between North and South America in general and certainly between the United States and your country in particular.

Moreover, it represents a very important step forward in improving global communications which have made rapid advances in the last few years. For years our two peoples have worked very closely together in political, and cultural, and economic pursuits.

We have added a new dimension to our endeavors now by undertaking the work of the Alliance for Progress.

In all of these enterprises we share an abiding concern for the freedom and the dignity of man, and our number one objective in the world is peace for all mankind.

So now as this cable opens a new era of improved communications between our countries, we can look forward to even closer friendships and associations between Americans and Venezuelans.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to you, Mr. President, and to all of your fine countrymen on this most significant occasion. I send you the best wishes of our Vice President and Secretary Gordon and I look forward to meeting you personally in the near future.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:03 a.m. in the Fish Room at the White House. During his remarks he referred to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Enrique Tejera-Paris, Venezuelan Ambassador to the United States, Lincoln Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs and U.S. Coordinator, Alliance for Progress, and Rosel H. Hyde, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

President Raul Leoni's remarks, to which President Johnson responded, are as follows:

"I welcome the opportunity to greet you through this direct telephone service that we now use for the first time. In this manner, Venezuela joins the huge communications system by which, with the progress made by science and technology in establishing such an efficient manner of communications, people and nations become closer.

"This submarine cable, which today offers us the facility to talk, will stimulate and make more fruitful for both nations the cultural, economic, and political exchange which each day grows stronger between Venezuela and the United States, particularly, our economic activities which are so intense. This service will enable us now to communicate with countries outside of our hemisphere with which Venezuela also maintains close ties. It is a great pleasure for me, Mr. President, to hold this brief conversation which I hope to resume personally during the forthcoming conference of American Presidents. I take this opportunity to express my best wishes for your happiness and that of the people of the United States."

On the same day the White House announced that the 500-mile cable system, built at a cost of $6 1/2 million, extended from Maiquetia, the port city of Caracas, and ran through the Virgin Islands to Miami, Fla., to link Venezuela telephonically with the United States and the world. The release stated that the system originally would provide for 33 separate communications channels between Venezuela and the United States with an ultimate capacity of 150 channels; and that the cable was constructed by the American Telephone and Cable Company under contract with the Venezuelan Telephone Company, both of which would operate and administer it.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks by Telephone With President Leoni of Venezuela Inaugurating a Submarine Cable Linking the Two Countries. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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