Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Signing of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Agreement.

January 22, 1964

Mr. Prime Minister and distinguished guests:

President Roosevelt would have approved of what we are doing here today. He approved of anything that advanced, however small, the general well-being of human beings. So it cheers me to join with Prime Minister Pearson in taking the first step toward establishing Franklin Roosevelt's Campobello summer home as a memorial park.

I want to publicly thank Dr. Armand Hammer and Mr. Harry Hammer and Mr. Victor Hammer for their most generous contribution in President Roosevelt's memory, and to his deeply held love for the Canadian people. I think that President Roosevelt would be pleased that this is a new and very special project. It is, as you know, the first jointly owned U.S.-Canadian park. This is ample evidence of a close tie between the United States and Canada.

This involves land and people. This is the heart of human concern and national kinship. Canada and the United States are not only good neighbors, but we are good partners. We are going to stay good partners. Each will help the other to stay strong, to stay solvent, to stay stable, and to stay compassionate.

We have no problems that cannot be solved. We have no differences that cannot be settled. We have no future that cannot be shared. That is why I am happy, in concert with the distinguished Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Pearson, to sign this agreement.

I hope that Campobello Park will live eternally as a symbol of our friendship that cannot be shaken or diverted. President Roosevelt would want it this way.

Prime Minister Pearson: Mr. President, may I tell you how deeply I appreciate the privilege of joining you today in signing the agreement which will make possible the establishment of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Campobello International Park.

I recall last May when I was in Hyannis Port when this idea was advanced and we were able to proceed with it at that time through the generosity of Dr. Hammer and his brothers. And through the understanding support and cooperation of the members of the Roosevelt family, the process which began then has now come to the stage of completion insofar as the signing of this agreement is concerned. I am very happy, indeed, to be a part of it.

As you say, Mr. President, this is something of which Mr. Roosevelt would have approved. We cherish this action in Canada not only because it will establish another link in the friendship between our two peoples across our border, that border which is so easily crossed, but also because it will be an eternal memorial to one of the great and towering figures of our age, a man who had done so much for human freedom and one whose memory is as imperishable in Canada, a country which he loved, and in which he spent so much of his time, whose memory will be as imperishable in Canada as it is in the United States.

My colleagues and I are very proud, Mr. President, to be able to take part in this ceremony today.

THE PRESIDENT. To some of you here for the first time I would like to point out that the beauty of this room is made possible because of the great, dedicated effort of Mrs. Kennedy. She had just completed the decoration of it. It is known as the Treaty Room. The Indian Treaty was signed here, a number of other treaties. We have had two agreements and one treaty signed since November in this room ourselves.

President Andrew Johnson's first Cabinet met in this room for the first time. It has many things of historical importance here, including its chandelier that hung in my office in the Capitol for a number of years. It had originally been in the White House. But when President Theodore Roosevelt became President, in the days before air conditioning, he would have to open the windows in the evening to let the breeze come in to keep cool, and the chandelier glass would tinkle and keep him awake. So he told the butler one evening to get that chandelier out of here and take it down to the Capitol. The frustrated butler said, "Well, where do I take it to the Capitol?" He said, "Take it to the Vice President. We need something to keep him awake." So it stayed there, Mr. Prime Minister, for many years, and I guess Mrs. Kennedy finally concluded that I was wide awake and she told me she wanted that chandelier brought back to the White House where it belonged, and her wish was my command.

Note: The signing ceremony was held in the Treaty Room at the White House at 3 p.m. Among those present were the Hammer brothers who had earlier purchased Campobello, summer home of President Roosevelt, from his son Elliott. Dr. Armand Hammer, of Los Angeles, president of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and co-owner with his brothers, Harry and Victor, of the Hammer Galleries in New York City, donated Campobello Island to the United States and Canada in the hope that it would be used as a meeting place for conferences to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

The text of the agreement is published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 50, p. 206).

On August 12 the White House announced that Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Lester B. Pearson, wife of the Canadian Prime Minister, would visit Campobello Island, New Brunswick, on August 20 to participate in ceremonies establishing the Roosevelt Campobello International Park. The release further stated that implementing legislation had now been passed by the legislatures of both countries, and that final steps were being taken to establish the Park, which would be operated by a commission of three Canadian members and three United States members.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Signing of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Agreement. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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