John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, Rome

July 01, 1963

Mr. President:

I want to express my appreciation to you for your generous welcome.

I come to this country and to this ancient city for a good many important reasons. Millions of my fellow countrymen left these shores. They occupy positions of the highest responsibility in the United States-member of the Cabinet, Members of the Congress, Governors; and most importantly, perhaps, of all, they have raised large families and have been productive and responsible citizens.

I am glad to be here also, Mr. President, because Italy occupies a position of strategic importance, vital to the security of Europe, vital to the security of the United States. In the heart of Europe, reaching down into the Mediterranean towards Africa, the maintenance of a free democracy here in Italy is of great interest, of vital interest, not only to your own people, but also to all of us who believe in freedom.

I come, Mr. President, to this very ancient country, but I come on the most modern business, and that is how the United States and Italy can continue in the important and changing years of the sixties to maintain the intimate friendship, the intimate association, the intimate alliance, which has marked our affairs in the last 15 years. Through NATO we are allies. Through necessity we are joined together. Through friendship we find that union to be most harmonious.

It is our task, I think, Mr. President, to make sure, in the interest of both of our countries, that that association remains as strong in the future as it has been in the past. We regard that of the first importance to my country.

And I am also glad, Mr. President, for personal reasons to be your guest. You have been to the United States since my incumbency. We value highly your leadership and, therefore, I feel myself not only in a country with which the United States has cordial relations, but also among friends.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. His opening words "Mr. President" referred to Antonio Segni, President of Italy.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Arrival at Fiumicino Airport, Rome Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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