Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Arrival at the Honolulu International Airport.

October 17, 1966

Governor and Mrs. Burns, President and Mrs. Abe, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Cravalho, the Chief Justice and Mrs. Richardson, Lt. Governor and Mrs. Ing, Acting Mayor and Mrs. Ellis, Congressman Matsunaga, Admiral and Mrs. Sharp, Commanders of the Joint Pacific Command, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of Hawaii:

It is always a very great pleasure for me to come to Hawaii for any purpose. It is especially good to come here on the first part of a trip whose purpose is peace and whose destination is a conference of seven free nations of Asia and the Pacific.

Six months ago we met here in Honolulu with the leaders of South Vietnam.

You have every reason to be very proud of your contribution to the constructive steps that brought about that conference and that have come out of that conference.

We resolved here, then, to hasten the coming of representative government in South Vietnam.

Since the Honolulu conference, more than 80 percent of the registered voters of South Vietnam have elected an assembly to draft a constitution.

We resolved here in Honolulu to combat the ruinous inflation that was eating the heart out of South Vietnam's economy. Since then, the Government of Vietnam has taken very brave measures to control runaway prices. And working with them, we have increased the flow of essential goods coming through the ports for all the people of Vietnam.

We resolved here in Honolulu to carry the blessings of education to the remotest area of South Vietnam.

Since then, 3,200 new teachers have already been trained for their rural schools, and more than 2 million additional textbooks have already been distributed.

We also resolved here in Honolulu to invite those that were fighting with the Communists to leave their jungle hideouts and join the efforts to build a nation through peaceful and democratic means.

Since then, more than 10,000 Vietcong have responded to that call--a far larger number than for the equal period last year.

Some of the learned commentators and distinguished speculators who practice instant judgment concluded that nothing really happened at Honolulu. They were not only premature, but they were dead wrong.

I believe that you will have the satisfaction of knowing that history will record the Honolulu conference as a vital and a productive steppingstone toward a free and independent Vietnam.

Now we have come here today on our way to another conference. We do not expect to pull any rabbits out of any hats at Manila, notwithstanding any speculations you may hear or see.

There are no surprises to spring on anyone, for we know that the most important weapon in Vietnam is patience among our people and unity behind our program.

Manila will help us in our planning, it is true. It will give us a firm grasp of the realities that we face in resisting aggression; the problems we face in seeking peace and in rebuilding Vietnam.

From our talks, we do expect to enlarge the area of understanding which already exists between those nations directly assisting South Vietnam, and that in itself, we think, will be worth the effort.

Some have predicted that this and that will happen in Manila. They have said-and I don't want to recount the accuracy of speculation--that we may develop some new strategy of war, or come forth with some spectacular form for peace.

Neither prediction will prove out.

Our military strategy is already quite clear. I have been briefed by General Westmoreland just in the last few weeks.

It is to resist aggression with the maximum force that is necessary and the minimum risk that is possible. As for the other prediction, let me remind you that the leaders who will sit down together in Manila have already signed a petition for peace.

Not one of the men who will be there enjoys asking the sons of his people or his nation to risk their lives in war. But the question of peace is not one that we can answer alone. The men who can, who can make peace, the Communists in Hanoi who are using force against South Vietnam, are not coming to Manila. And they are the ones who, if they would reason with us, could help produce a formula for peace.

We intend to explore every possibility and every proposal that has been advanced for a solution to the Vietnam conflict and the rehabilitation of that great little country.

We will be ready for the day when the Communists will want to join us at the table, from which they will be missing at Manila.

I will also be visiting five other nations in the next 17 days. Since I have been President, I have had visitors come to Washington from more than 100 countries, and now I am going to have a chance to repay at least six of their visits.

I intend to go into those countries not to tell them what they should do, but to tell them how proud our people are to be their friends.

I intend to tell them that our foreign policy is simply the outreach of our domestic policy. What we seek for the people of the United States--good jobs, enough to eat, a chance to learn, the opportunity to be all that they can--is what we also hope and seek for other people.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not only our hope for America; they are what we hope for all the world.

I also intend to tell the people of Asia how very, very proud we are of our new State of Hawaii. For this State is a model for what the world should be, a place where different cultures and different races, different colors and different religions, come together to make one united people.

I am proud to have had a part in making Hawaii the 50th State in the Union. I am proud to have offered the bill that created the East-West Center, which I am going now to visit.

Hawaii can be proud, too--proud of your Governor John Burns, who, as a delegate, helped to bring all of this about; and proud of all the other patriotic men and women that you have sent to serve you so ably and patriotically in the Congress.

When it is all finally said, it adds up to this: I am so happy to be back here with you. I am happy to take with me to Asia the message of all of Hawaii, the message of a free and a proud and a prosperous people that are living here and are cooperating with their neighbors.

It is that kind of an Asia that we believe will serve the peace of the world, and that is so much what all of us want to do.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:54 p.m. at the Honolulu International Airport following brief remarks by Governor John A. Burns of Hawaii and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson (see 2 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 1634). In his opening words he referred to Governor Burns and his wife, Kazuhisa Abe, president of the Hawaiian Senate, and his wife, Elmer Cravalho, Speaker of the Hawaiian House of Representatives, William Richardson, Chief Justice of the Hawaiian Supreme Court, and his wife, Andrew T. F. Ing, Lt. Governor of Hawaii, and his wife, Robert Ellis, Acting Mayor of Honolulu, and his wife, Representative Spark M. Matsunaga of Hawaii, Adm. U. S. Grant Sharp, Jr., Commander in Chief of U.S. Forces in the Pacific, and his wife. Later he referred to Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Commander, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

For the Honolulu conference of February 1966, see Items 53-56.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Arrival at the Honolulu International Airport. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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