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Remarks at the Conclusion of the Visit of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.

July 09, 1969

Your Imperial Majesty:

As you leave the White House I want to thank you for coming to the United States and for giving us the opportunity to meet with you again. I thank you first personally as an old friend and I appreciated the chance that has been provided to renew our personal acquaintance.

I want to thank you, too, because it provided the opportunity to discuss the bilateral problems that we have between our two countries. Certainly those were easy problems to discuss, easy because our traditional friendship led to the constructive type of solutions which we both expected when our conversations began.

But beyond that, I want to express to you my appreciation for your coming to this country because you gave the opportunity for all of us who met you to see not only the relations between Ethiopia and the United States in a better light, but to see the problems of the continent of Africa and of the whole world from the long perspective of history which you have and also from the understanding of the whole world which has always been yours.

Our discussions covered, as you know, the problems of the new nations of Africa and U.S. policy toward those nations, the agony of Nigeria and Biafra and what steps might be taken by this country and steps that could be taken by you to bring a solution to that problem, and also the problems of the Mideast which are so much in our minds as well as in yours.

This type of opportunity that it has provided, for discussion at the highest level of problems that affect the future of both of our countries, but beyond that, the future of a whole continent and the whole world, is one that made this visit very worthwhile, certainly from my standpoint and from the standpoint of my colleagues in government, and I hope from yours and your colleagues'.

As you leave, I say again, as I said last night, that perhaps the most appropriate words are the words from a greeting from your own language which, as I understand, literally translated to the English means, "May you live long for our glory."

We all feel that. We feel it in our hearts. May you live long, live long not just for yourself, not just for your people, but for the greater service that you can render to the cause of peace and progress in the continent of Africa, in the Mideast, and in the whole world.

Note: The President spoke at 12:20 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Following the President's remarks, His Imperial Majesty spoke in Amharic. His remarks were translated from notes by Ambassador Minasse Haile of Ethiopia, as follows:

Mr. President, as I have already said, this is not the first visit I am paying to the United States. Each time I have come to this country I have been impressed by the friendship that has been manifested to me by responsible American officials as well as by the people in all walks of life that I have encountered.

I am happy to have gotten another opportunity to come to the United States with a view to discussing problems of common concern with the President of the United States and other distinguished officials of this Government.

In our discussions, Mr. President, as you have indicated, we have considered the possibility of expanding the relations between Ethiopia and the United States on a bilateral basis. We have also considered problems affecting our region as well as problems affecting international peace and security.

I am confident that as the result of the discussions I have had that the relations between our two countries will be strengthened further. There are many matters regarding which we have achieved a measure of understanding, and the details about how to implement specific ideas will be left to officials, both of Ethiopia and the United States Government, who will be working on the details.

Mr. President, I also wish to take this opportunity of publicly extending to you an invitation to visit our country for a third time. This is an opportunity which I, myself, and the people of my country will be looking forward to.

I am sure that in accordance with the general understanding and views we have expressed and understanding we have achieved, the detailed consideration of problems will also be satisfactory. The discussion has been most rewarding to me, and I am satisfied with the opinions which have been expressed and with the meeting of minds that has been achieved.

Mr. President, may God bless you, your family, and may God bless the American people. Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Conclusion of the Visit of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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