Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks by the President at a Dinner Given in His Honor by President Bayar

December 06, 1959

Mr. President, distinguished guests:

On this visit, as on my first more than 7 years ago, the unmatched hospitality of our Turkish allies and friends has been for the members of my party and myself a most heartwarming experience. The leaders and people of Turkey have extended to us a welcome that makes us feel more like friends returning to pleasant and well-remembered scenes rather than like strangers in this land.

For myself, it is in truth a return to a land I cannot forget. In March of 1952, I came here to inspect the troops which Turkey had committed to the common defense of the Atlantic nations. Here through a 3-day visit, along with the encouragement and inspiration I got from your armed forces and your leaders, I absorbed evidence of the beauty, the progress, the growth of Turkey. I developed a real admiration for both your military and civil leaders and for the great people they represented.

As tenacious defenders of your land and independence, you of Turkey have achieved a worldwide reputation. From two experiences with you, I can testify that you deserve an equal prestige as gracious hosts. For all of my party, it is indeed a high honor to be welcomed as partners of your nation.

All Americans who know you have a tremendous respect for your courage and your vision of a Republic dedicated to the good of its people, their freedom and their prosperity. You Turks, by your own efforts and by deliberate decision, resolved a generation ago to build a modern nation, free from aggressive intent on its neighbors, at peace with all nations of good will, but resolved never to be cowed by any threat.

Under the outstanding and farsighted leadership of the founder of Modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, you of this country have wrought revolutionary changes. In government, customs, and traditions these changes were breathtaking in scope. They were remarkable for the swiftness of their achievement. They are an inspiration and a guiding light to all newly independent nations, determined on progress, prosperity, and peace.

No nation of today encounters greater obstacles to progress than you faced when you made your great national decision. You had just emerged from the ruin and devastation of the first World War. On every side, you were plagued with problems that seemed beyond solution. But you were rich in your spirit and in the idealism and vitality of your leaders. In them you had a wealth and strength beyond money and machines.

You, the people of Turkey forged steadily ahead on the path to industrial development and social progress. You made your country a modern proving ground that democracy and stout hearts are a people's best instruments for the achievement of greatness.

Much, I know, remains to be achieved. But I am impressed--even amazed--as I return to Turkey to see all around me the results of the past 7 years' progress and the evidences of determination and of dynamic growth.

The United States is proud of your achievements--very proud of our increasingly close friendship and associations. The American people understand your desire for progress and for higher standards of living. They are happy that they can provide some measure of assistance to help you realize the goals you yourselves have established.

I am confident that the United States, with other friends and allies, will continue to help in your economic development and security. And no power on earth, no evil, no threat, can frustrate a people of your spirit.

We of America as you in Turkey are much concerned today with the economic progress and political stability of the world's newly emerging nations. We believe that all free nations should cooperate in a great combined effort to achieve increased levels of free world economic strength. But alongside this purpose and because both of us are also concerned with our security and that of our friends we are joined with others in NATO to insure the safety of all of us. Here, my friends, I might as well have brought in CENTO, but since Turkey and ourselves are both full partners of NATO, and we are merely an associate of CENTO, I confine my remarks to NATO.

NATO is a defensive alliance, solely and simply for our mutual security. We know that we are building defenses only against the possibility of an emergency, an aggression, a catastrophe which will never be of our making. Those who say otherwise speak for their own ulterior motives.

The peoples of Turkey and the United States seek peace. But the peace we are striving to achieve, as free, God-fearing nations, must be a just and enduring peace based upon individual freedom and human dignity. These values, the Koran and the Bible teach us, are fundamental to man's life on earth. We will not deviate from our goal nor compromise our principles.

We will continue in our search for peace and in our efforts to reach mutually enforceable agreements with the leaders of the world Communist movement.

With steadfast adherence to our principles, and with faith in Almighty God, we will do our best to achieve the goal we are seeking.

To all our Turkish friends, I express again on behalf of the American people and the members of my party my deep appreciation and sincere thanks for your exceptional welcome and hospitality. In closing I should like to say:

Long live Turkish-American friendship.

Long live the Turkish and American Republics.

Long live world peace, justice, and human freedom.

And in this spirit I propose a toast to your distinguished Head of State-President Bayar.

Note: The dinner was held at President Bayar's palace.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks by the President at a Dinner Given in His Honor by President Bayar Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234711

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