John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremonies for deLesseps Morrison and Robert F. Woodward.

July 17, 1961

I WANT to express our great pleasure-of everyone here, particularly the citizens of Louisiana, the two Senators, Senator Ellender and Senator Long, and the Members of Congress and the other friends of our new Ambassador to the Organization of American States, at his assumption of this responsibility.

Ambassador Morrison left a most significant position as Mayor of New Orleans, a position he's occupied for a number of years. He did so only because he considered it in the vital interests of the United States to assume his present position. The fact that we were so anxious to have him become our Ambassador to the Organization of American States and the fact that he was willing to do so indicate the extraordinary interest which this country has in the relations in our hemisphere, and also the great hopes we put in the Organization of American States. This Organization of sister Republics, which has been built and developed in order to maintain the security of the hemisphere, will face responsibilities and problems of greater importance in the coming months and years than it's ever faced in the past.

And it is for that reason that I'm particularly glad to have as the representative of the United States a valued public servant who has served his city, his State, and his country on many occasions, and who brings to this new position of trust great energy and great interest in the welfare of our entire hemisphere.

So, Ambassador, it is a great pleasure to welcome you into the sacred ranks of Ambassadors, and to express the hope that it will serve our country and also our hemisphere.

[The President spoke in the Cabinet Room following the taking of the oath of office by Mr. Morrison as Representative to the Organization of American States with the rank of ambassador. After Mr. Woodward took the oath of office as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs the President resumed speaking.]

It is a great pleasure to participate in the assumption of responsibility by the new Assistant Secretary of State. He felt that he was safely hidden from all attention in Chile, that he was many thousands of miles away, and that the long hand of the Government would fall on someone else besides him and he would be permitted to live out his years in seclusion. But nevertheless I think we are most fortunate to have him. This is a most demanding post.

It is a matter of primacy to this Government that our relations with the countries of this hemisphere should be increasingly intimate and increasingly fruitful, and therefore we now have as our Assistant Secretary a valued officer of the Foreign Service, who brings to this position long experience, understanding, and also a great acquaintance with all of the leaders of Latin America and all of the powerful forces that run throughout our hemisphere.

So, Mr. Secretary, I'm sure I speak on behalf of the Secretary of State, your colleagues in the ambassadorial group from this hemisphere, the Members of Congress, in welcoming. you as the center of responsibility for our policy in this area of the world.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremonies for deLesseps Morrison and Robert F. Woodward. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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