John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to Archbishop Makarios, President of the Republic of Cyprus, at the Washington National Airport

June 05, 1962

Your Beatitude, members of the Government of Cyprus:

We want to express our very warm welcome to our distinguished visitor who comes from a most ancient country, representing a most ancient people, and also a young country. We salute him particularly because of the long and difficult fight he conducted for his country's independence, involving the most sensitive interests, involving his own persistent, courageous, and far-seeing view of his country's future. It is a particular source of satisfaction to me to welcome him here, because he spent some time in my own State of Massachusetts, both at the university there and also as a parish priest in one of our communities.

So we feel that you have come to a country which you know well and knows you. You are most welcome here. Your country occupies a most significant, strategic position in the world today. Your own efforts to maintain the independence and viability of your country are well known here, and you come to the United States with the warmest best wishes of all of our people who admire a courageous fighter for freedom.

Your Beatitude, we are honored to have you here in Washington.

Note: Archbishop Makarios responded as follows:

Mr. President, I wish to express my warm thanks for the kind words of welcome. I am very happy to visit in the United States, having the honor to be your guest. Although I come from a long way away, I feel that I am in a country so close to Cyprus. The common belief in the ideals of freedom and the friendship that exists between our two countries have brought our people very closely together. From the first moment when I stepped on this friendly land, I felt that the warm welcome which I received is an indication of the feelings of the American people towards my country. For this I express my deep appreciation, and I take this opportunity to convey, on behalf of the people of Cyprus, to you and to the American people a message of good will and sincere friendship.

My country, Mr, President, follows with particular interest your great endeavors to secure world peace based on the principles of freedom and democracy. We greatly appreciate this effort of the United States for the creation of better conditions of life and for a happier future. In this great and noble effort, I wish to assure you that Cyprus considers it its duty to play its own part within the limits of its possibilities.

I have been looking forward to meeting you, Mr. President, and I am grateful for the kind invitation you have extended to me which affords me this opportunity.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome to Archbishop Makarios, President of the Republic of Cyprus, at the Washington National Airport Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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