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Remarks at the LBJ Ranch at the Swearing In of John A. Gronouski as Ambassador to Poland.

November 03, 1965

General Gronouski and members of his family, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Johnson and I deeply regret our lack of influence on the weather, but we are happy that we could be here together. And even though we may have inconvenienced some of you, we have done the best we could under the circumstances.

We are particularly delighted that we should have here with us this morning some of our most cherished friends and some of the best executives of the Johnson administration.

I am very pleased that Mrs. Gronouski and the Gronouski children could be here, in this living room in front of this aged fireplace, while we administer the oath of office to what I consider to be one of the best public servants and one of the best human beings that I have known.

I did not know General Gronouski when he came to Washington, but his performance as Postmaster General and his counsel to me on other matters have been what I would say is exemplary.

I asked the Postmaster General to talk to Mrs. Gronouski and his advisers and to give some thought to follow in the steps of, I guess, Justice Goldberg, to consider ways and means that we might try to find a breakthrough to peace in the world, and to convince the peoples of 120 nations that we meant what we said--that we wanted to live in the world together and have peace and goodwill among men.

I said that to him because of his peculiar and particular attributes and qualifications that I had observed, and I did so only after it had first been suggested to me by the distinguished Secretary of State.

We cannot predict today what the results of that conversation will be, or how successful the new Ambassador will be with his mission as the spokesman for this country to the country of Poland. But we do have more hopes this morning for Eastern Europe and for that area of the world, and better belief that we will be better understood than I have had at any time since I have been President.

If for any reason the Ambassador does fail--and I would not anticipate that at all-or if Mrs. Gronouski prefers to return and enjoy the beautification campaign that she and Lady Bird began some time ago, I have assured them that there are a number of more important positions that await their doing.

But as I see it now, Ambassador Goldberg is doing a very fine job at the United Nations and we need to have the type of work that he is doing carried on all over the world. And this is not only the second, but it will be only one of several more that will unfold in the months to come that will be calculated to give the world a true picture of this country.

Poland is celebrating 1,000 years as a Christian nation next year. In that time she has made contributions to Western civilization, of which she is such a distinguished part.

Behind the legendary figures of Polish champions are scores of other Poles who have illuminated the path of freedom and learning for mankind. So, this morning, we honor them as brothers in the quest for liberty.

Our ties with Poland began two centuries ago, when Pulaski came to our shores to help us in our struggle for independence. As so often happens, the gift was returned almost at once. The Polish Constitution of 1794 drew heavily on America's charter of government, and since that day Poles and Americans have understood one another without difficulty when they spoke of man's yearning to be free.

The future of our relations is bright with hope.

So, as I told you, I have asked John Gronouski, my friend and my colleague, to report to me often, directly, on the ways by which he feels that we in America could multiply the relationships through travel, particularly through trade, through scholarship, and just through better understanding between the peoples of America and the peoples of Eastern Europe.

The new children's hospital in Cracow, built with funds that are being derived from our farm community's sales in Poland, is just one of the many opportunities that I see lie ahead.

So, it is very satisfying to me that one of the great products of our Polish-American citizens, John Gronouski, should be willing to go to Warsaw in this year of remembrance and hope.

I take great pride in reading every day some of the letters from some of the boys in their teens--18, 19, 20 year olds--who are willing to leave and go into battle and give their lives in order that you can enjoy the freedom you have this morning. And I am glad that there are other people in the Government who are willing to go where their President thinks they should go, and could go, and be helpful. John Gronouski and Mrs. Gronouski and their little ones belong in that group.

He is an economist. He is a great administrator. But above all, in my months of association with him, I have found him a decent man, a human being, a fellow with ideas, with initiative, with imagination, and I think he is ideally suited for what I am going to ask him to do.

He will be an Ambassador first of peace and goodwill, whose mission is to build new bridges not just to Poland but to the people of Eastern Europe.

So, he carries with him not only the official papers of an Ambassador, but he carries with him my great personal confidence and my deep desire for peace with those that we really feel are our oldest friends.

And we are going to do our part to try to find a way to live in the world together a little better, a little closer, and, we hope, a little more peacefully.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:13 a.m. at the LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Tex. In his opening words he referred to John A. Gronouski, former Postmaster General. During his remarks the President referred to Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representative to the United Nations and former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to Dean Rusk, Secretary of State.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the LBJ Ranch at the Swearing In of John A. Gronouski as Ambassador to Poland. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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