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Remarks of Welcome to Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky Upon Their Arrival in Guam

March 20, 1967

Chairman Thieu, Prime Minister Ky, most distinguished officials from the Republic of Vietnam, and the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen:

Once again I am very pleased to welcome two brave Vietnamese leaders to American soil.

We met in Hawaii a little over a year ago. Then our talks were of plans and hopes.

Today, we meet in a time of progress. It is our common task to extend that progress in the days ahead.

Ever since our conference last fall in Manila, your country has traveled far on the road to democracy. Your assembly has hammered out a new Constitution. I am informed that I will see a copy of that Constitution during our meeting here.

It is the foundation stone of a freely and popularly elected government. You are the leaders of 16 million courageous and dedicated people who are determined to forge a free nation from the fires of war.

Your people look to a Vietnam that is unencumbered by a foreign presence on its soil, unhindered by acts of terror and aggression, free to determine its own destiny.

I hope that this conference will be of value to both of us in charting the course for the future of the struggle for freedom in Vietnam.

I am also delighted and particularly anxious for you to get to know Ambassador Bunker, who will shortly succeed Ambassador Lodge in Saigon.

I know that you will find him an able and understanding Ambassador, as you will his associate, Mr. Locke.

I know you will find him a worthy successor to a very brave and distinguished patriot.

Last week I reassured my own people that America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated.

I renew that pledge to you today. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:25 a.m. at Guam International Airport. In his opening words he referred to Lt. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu, Chairman of the National Leadership Committee, and Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky, both of the Republic of Vietnam. Chairman Thieu responded as follows:

Mr. President, thank you very much for your kind words of welcome.

I am happy to set foot again on American soil in the midst of the Pacific, and have this opportunity to meet again with you, Mr. President, and the distinguished members of your Government.

As we pointed out last year following our meeting in Honolulu, we must maintain close contact. There is no adequate substitute for exchanging ideas than face to face across a table.

At that Manila Conference last October we had again agreed upon the principle of close consultation for review of what we have done and for candid and thorough discussions of the various problems confronting us in the defense of freedom in Vietnam.

I am grateful that you have found it possible to cross the major part of the Pacific Ocean for this meeting to be had, an important juncture in our effort in Vietnam to stem off the Communist aggression from the North, and to give substance and solid foundations to democracy in the Republic of Vietnam.

Thanks to your help, we are now throwing a line against Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese people will long remember that at this crucial moment of their history, their freedom is preserved, thanks to the solidarity of millions of people around this Pacific Ocean.

Vietnamese soldiers are especially proud to fight side by side with valiant soldiers of the United States of America in this great struggle to defend freedom and to secure a long-lasting peace in this part of the world.

The Republic of Vietnam will do her best so that all the brave soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifices in the defense of freedom will not have given their lives in vain.

Vietnam is the crucial test case on which will hinge not only the fate of Southeast Asia, but also of many other areas in the world, where newly independent nations are groping for a path towards the future.

Together we will win this war not only against the Communist aggression, but also against the immemorial enemies of mankind--hunger, disease, and ignorance--to launch a society in which everyone will find a rightful place in establishing a meaningful democracy under the sign of progress and social justice.

In the spirit of the Manila Conference, the Republic of Vietnam spares no effort to explore all possible avenues which may lead us to a just and honorable peace.

When such a peace is restored, a general reconciliation among all Vietnamese will be possible to put an end to the sufferings and ravages of the war, and open a new era in which all Vietnamese of good will can participate in the building of a free and peaceful nation.

With these hopes, I look forward to fruitful discussions at this meeting.

Thank you very much.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome to Chairman Thieu and Prime Minister Ky Upon Their Arrival in Guam Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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