Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on the Departure of Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel

September 26, 1969

Madam Prime Minister:

It seems that you have just arrived and, of course, your visit has been a short one. But in the brief hours you have been in Washington we have had very extended talks, private talks, on the relations between our two countries and, beyond that, I want the members of the press to know, on problems in the world generally.

This is the first opportunity I have had to talk to the Prime Minister, although I have known of her work in the field of diplomacy and in other areas over many, many years. She is, naturally, an expert and an advocate of the great principles that concern her own country, but she has a very deep understanding of those issues that divide the world.

And it has been very valuable for me to have the benefit of her counsel on those problems all over the world, including even the problems of youth, which we discussed at some length last night, although we found, I must admit, no solutions.

I would like to say, too, that in these talks we have discussed all of those matters that have been speculated about in the press. We will not announce any decisions at this time. There is no formal communiqué.

This was a meeting where we thought it was very important for us to have a direct discussion of, first, our past relations, where we are now, and what course of action should be followed in the future.

I think we have a very good understanding as to the positions that we both take, and I think growing from this meeting could come some progress toward a solution of the terribly difficult problems we confront in the Mideast. I say "could" because I want to be very realistic. Because I find that one thing the Prime Minister and I have in common is that we are "no nonsense" kind of people. We talk very directly, and we cover a lot of subjects in a very brief time.

The problems in the Mideast go back over centuries. They are not susceptible to easy solution. We do-not expect them to be susceptible to instant diplomacy. On the other hand, we must try--and I was glad to find a willingness on the part of the Prime Minister and her colleagues-to try to find a way to peace.

We have no new initiatives to announce, but we do think that we have a better understanding of how we should move from here on out in attempting to meet this very difficult problem.

I can only wish you well on the balance of your trip. I know you will receive a wonderful welcome every place you go, and particularly in Milwaukee. Milwaukee lost the Braves, but they got you back.1

THE PRIME MINISTER. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. As a matter of fact, the Braves could use you as a pinch-hitter right now in order to win.

THE PRIME MINISTER. They lost that opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT. They are in Atlanta. You know that.2

THE PRIME MINISTER. I only want to express my extreme appreciation for the opportunity that I have had to spend so much time with the President. It was an exceptional opportunity for me personally. The President says he knew about me. You would be surprised, I suppose, if I said I knew about you, Mr. President.

Also, representing my country, speaking to the President of the United States, I am happy that I can go home and, without any announcement of news, say that I found in the President of the United States a friend of Israel, and found full understanding for our problems and difficulties; and that there is something that we share in common: and that is, that everything should be done that is possible to bring real peace in the area, knowing that the interest of peace is for the welfare of all in the area--not only Israel but the tens of millions of Arabs and others in the various Arab countries.

It is good to know that in the search for peace, both of us, both of our countries, the populations in both of our countries, are deeply interested and dedicated to this quest, not something that is makeshift, but something that is real peace in the area of the Middle East and all over the world.

Mr. President, I don't know how to thank you for the time that you have taken, for the privilege that I have had to discuss many problems with you in an atmosphere of friendship and frankness, for the opportunity that you gave me to place upon your shoulders, that are carrying such a heavy burden for the entire world, also the burden of a little country somewhere put away in the Middle East, but that you have made me feel means something to you and to your people.

Thank you very much.

1 Prime Minister Melt was born in Kiev, Russia, came to Milwaukee as a young girl, taught school, and married there before emigrating to Israel.

2 As a result of franchise changes in the National Baseball League, the Milwaukee Braves became the Atlanta Braves in 1966.

Note: The President spoke at 5:12 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

See also Items 371 and 373.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on the Departure of Prime Minister Golda Meir of Israel Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives