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Remarks at the Conclusion of Discussions With President Thieu

June 08, 1969

Mr. President:

As we complete our talks, I wish to express my appreciation to you for your frankness and candor in discussing the problems that we mutually face in Vietnam, and I know that you share with me the sentiments that were expressed in our communiqué which has already been distributed to members of the press.

I believe that that communiqué indicates the progress that has been made and the progress we can expect in the future toward a resolution of this struggle which has torn apart the people of North Vietnam, which has cost your people so much in men, in lives, and has cost our people as well.

I would like to say, finally, this one personal word. You have a long journey. You will be back in Saigon tonight because of the time change. You will be speaking to the people of South Vietnam when you arrive.

Would you extend to the people of South Vietnam from the people of the United States our good wishes. We know how they have suffered. We share with them the tragedy of war. We want for them what we have for ourselves--the blessings of peace within our own country and within your own country.

We know--and I speak personally in this respect--that the people of your country are a peaceful people, a hardworking people; that if only you have the opportunity, Vietnam can be one of the most powerful, constructive forces for peace and progress and economic development in all of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

This is what I feel from having been there many times before. This is what your people are fighting for. It is the goal which we all seek.

We wish you well, personally; more than that, the people of the United States wish your people well. We look forward to the day when they can live in peace together.

Note: The President spoke at 3:49 p.m. at the base theater on Midway Island.

Following the remarks of the President, President Thieu spoke as follows:

Mr. President, I thank you very much for your very comfortable words. I can say that our first meeting here in Midway is very useful. It is not like some speculation before I arrived here that there would be some difference between President Nixon and President Thieu and I had to come here to dissipate or to discuss again those differences. It is not true.

I come here for more understanding and closer cooperation, for more common position between President Nixon and I; not for difference, because we have had no difference before.

You may mention about the eight-point program of President Nixon for peace. I ask you to remember that immediately after President Nixon had his speech, I said it was consistent with the position of Vietnam and very consistent with my six points.

So, we have close consultation before, and we have a very close understanding on that. So I come here to discuss with President Nixon, to have better cooperation, and to have a better common position.

I think in the future, when the circumstance demands and when we have an opportunity, we may agree together to meet again, so I think this is the best way to have closer cooperation between two governments and two people.

Now, for you ladies and gentlemen of the press, I think that this morning President Nixon and I, we have announced--and what I consider good news for the American people---that the Vietnamese forces replace the U.S. combat forces to an equivalent of one combat division.

I would like to emphasize again, it is a constant duty of Vietnamese people to take over more responsibility and to alleviate the burden of U.S. people to support us to defend the freedom in Vietnam.

We never forget that the blood and human life are precious to anyone, to any people, at any time.

So I think, once again, we are very grateful and the whole Vietnamese people are very grateful for the sacrifice that the United States people have accepted and continue to accept to join us in defense of freedom and defend the common cause of the free world.

But, once again, I say that we will do our best--our best from now on to alleviate the burden of the American people. We have to do our best to deserve the noble sacrifice that the American people have accepted for Vietnamese people.

Once again--I hope you understand well my English--I am ready to leave for Saigon and I sincerely thank President Nixon for the useful talks, for the heartfelt welcome, the hospitality of the people in Midway Island. It is the first time I know this island and it is very interesting.

I think you may join us to share the success of this meeting. Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Conclusion of Discussions With President Thieu Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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