John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to Vice President Johnson on His Departure for Southern Europe and the Near East.

August 22, 1962

I WANT to express our very warm welcome to the White House to the Ambassadors of the countries which the Vice President is visiting, the Ambassador from Italy, the Charge from Greece, the Ambassador from Cyprus, the new Ambassador from Lebanon, the Charge from Turkey, and the Charge from Iran. The other Ambassadors are all on vacation, is that right?

In any case, we want to express our warm appreciation to them and my very great thanks to the Vice President for undertaking this trip. He visits five countries which are key in the great struggle to maintain the freedom of important segments of the world. Several of the countries which he is visiting we are formally allied with--Italy, Greece, and with Turkey. We have very intimate and special relations with Iran. We are valued friends of Lebanon and Cyprus.

The Vice President takes messages to each of these governments. He is going to discuss with them the mutual relations, the bilateral relations, which the United States has with them. He is being accompanied by an experienced team from the United States Government, and I think that his trip can produce the same kind of fruitful result which his previous trip to southeast Asia produced in affecting American policy and have the same kind of impact which his trip a year ago to West Berlin at a critical time had for our common interests. So I want to express our very great appreciation to him for undertaking this trip. I think that it will be a reminder, though I hope no reminder is necessary, to the people and the governments of the countries involved of our very strong interest in them, of our desire to maintain the most close and cordial relations with them. And this visit will give him an opportunity to speak for the United States Government in carrying on discussions with the responsible people in each of those countries on those matters which affect our common security.

So we wish him well, and extend to him all of our hopes and look forward to his happy and speedy return.

Note: The President spoke at 3:30 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

In his opening remarks the President referred to Sergio Fenoaltea, Ambassador of Italy to the United States; Aristide N. Pilavachi, Charge d'Affaires from Greece; Zenon Rossides, Ambassador of Cyprus to the United States; Ibrahim Husayn, Ambassador of Lebanon to the United States; Ilter Turkmen, Charge d'Affaires from Turkey; and Mohammad Behnam, Charge d'Affaires from Iran.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to Vice President Johnson on His Departure for Southern Europe and the Near East. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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