Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines

September 16, 1982

President Reagan. Mr. President, Mrs. Marcos, it gives me special pleasure to welcome you to the United States. Mrs. Reagan and I have been long looking forward to returning the hospitality you showed us on our 1969 visit to your country.

Our two peoples enjoy a close friendship, one forged in shared history and common ideals. In World War II, Americans and Filipinos fought side by side in the defense of freedom—a struggle in which you, Mr. President, personally fought so valiantly.

The values for which we struggled-independence, liberty, democracy, justice, equality—are engraved in our constitutions and embodied in our peoples' aspirations. Today our ties remain strong, benefiting each of us over the full range of our relations. Politically, we tend to view many world issues the same general way. Yours, Mr. President, is a respected voice for reason and moderation in international forums.

The Philippines with its ASEAN partners has taken the lead in search for self-determination for the people of Kampuchea. In that vein, let me also pay tribute to you and Mrs. Marcos' personal leadership and commitment to the care of refugees in Southeast Asia. Under your direct sponsorship, the Philippines' refugee processing center has become a model of its kind in encouraging the development of self-sufficiency and the restoration of human dignity.

The Philippines and you, Mr. President, play an important role in addressing the problems of economic development in the world. At Cancun, we made a new start toward a more effective and practical dialog and improved cooperation among industrial and developing countries. Your leadership in that area, Mr. President, is vital and widely respected. Under your leadership at home, the Philippines can boast a record of solid economic growth over the past decade, attributable in significant part to its hospitable attitude toward free enterprise and private initiative.

Your country's dedication to improving the standard of living of your people is an effort in which we've been delighted to participate through bilateral and multilateral economic assistance. Your continuing interest in better nutrition has led the Philippines to achieve self-sufficiency in food grain production.

You can also point with pride to the success of your rural electrification program, now bringing benefits to an increasing number of remote regions. And I find it a matter of personal satisfaction that your country and my home State of California are both pioneers in developing geothermal power to replace expensive energy imports.

The United States remains the Philippines' leading trading partner, and American firms are the largest foreign investors in your country, reflecting their confidence in your progress and prospects for economic growth.

We have welcomed the growing two-way trade between our nations and have been pleased that we've been able to keep our markets for the products of your growing manufacturing and industrial sector the most open of any country in the industrialized world.

America considers itself especially fortunate to have nearly one million persons of Filipino heritage now residing in our country. They bring with them their energy and their talents, and they contribute enormously to the rich diversity of American society. Similarly, thousands of Americans, enchanted by the beauty of your nation and by its people, have chosen to live in the Philippines.

Our security relationship is an essential element in maintaining peace in the region and is so recognized. This relationship, one of several we have in the Western Pacific, threatens no one but contributes to the shield behind which the whole region can develop socially and economically.

Mr. President, under your leadership the Philippines stands as a recognized force for peace and security in Southeast Asia through its bilateral efforts and through its role in ASEAN, which is the focus of our regional policies in Southeast Asia.

Mr. President and Mrs. Marcos, the United States deeply values its close friendship and alliance with the Philippines. We seek to use this visit to further strengthen our ties with your country.

Nancy and I are personally delighted that you are here. And we say, "Welcome to the United States. Welcome to our national home."

President Marcos. Thank you very much, President Reagan, Mrs. Reagan, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, my friends:

On behalf of the 50 million people of the Philippines, Mrs. Marcos and I express our gratitude for your warm welcome to Washington and to the United States of America.

This great and beautiful city that is one of the few cities that was built as a capital for a great nation is, indeed, as has been written, the key to knowing the secret of America, and this house of the American people, an American frontier that never vanishes. Your beautiful city with its grand memorials, its monuments, its walks, is indeed a city that memorializes the great achievements of your people for the past two centuries. But more than that, it keeps offering to the enterprising and the talented, the courageous and the strong, the rewards of effort and of initiative.

At the same time as I stand here on American soil, I realize that I stand on what may be the center of the Government of the United States of America—here, where, as I have often stated, the future is being born. The future is being born depending upon the man who is in the White House. And the man who is in the White House today certainly is creating a new future for our world.

For, Mr. President, I come from that part of the world wherein the poorest of the world's population live. I come from that part of the world that cherishes an image of America with its ideals, its dreams, its illusions. I come from the Philippines, a part of Asia which has been molded along the principles of American democracy. We learned to love these ideals and principles, and we lost a million of our people righting for them in the last war.

We have always stood by these ideals. We shall continue to do so, whatever may be the cost—at the risk of our fortunes, our lives. But more important of all, our honor will stand for the ideals of democracy that is our legacy from the United States of America.

I did not come to burden you further with additional problems, Mr. President, for I know that, as I have said in many a speech before my own people and before the world, fate and destiny has decreed that the United States of America be the trustee of modern civilization against the threat of a possible second Dark Ages. And America cannot fail. And therefore, we, the Filipino people, come and bring to you a prayer that God, in His divine providence, may grant you guidance, strengthen both your heart and hand, so that that hand may be strong on the lever of power and save our humanity.

If America fails, then the world is lost. And thus, Mr. President, I can assure you that throughout all of Asia, there is nothing but a reservoir of good will for you, the American people, and the United States of America.

Once again, may I say thank you for your warm welcome and your hospitality, which I know we will never be able to reciprocate. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:15 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House, where President Marcos was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. Following the ceremony, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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