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Remarks of Welcome at Coronado, California to President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico

September 03, 1970

Mr. President, Your Excellencies, all of our distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a very great honor, Mr. President, for me in my capacity as President of the United States and also as a native son of the State of California, to welcome you to this State and to this Nation.

It is significant to note that it was just 2 weeks ago that you welcomed me and the members of my party to Puerto Vallarta, and the heartwarming reception we received will be something we will always remember.

For another state visit, a return visit to occur within 2 weeks after one that we had made to your country. is unprecedented in the history of our country. But that is as it should be, because the friendship between our two countries is not one that is dictated by protocol. It is one that is much deeper, much deeper and much more lasting.

As I speak of that friendship today, I think of the heritage of this Nation and of this State--the over 200 years for example-rich in the history and tradition of the State of California which we share together, Mexicans and Americans.

And as I think of Mexico and the United States, I think of the present, of the great contribution that Mexican-Americans have made to our country and are making. I think of that contribution and of the debt we owe to them--an obligation that we have not adequately fulfilled in the past and that we hope that we can more adequately fulfill in the future so that all Mexican-Americans can play their equal part in the progress of this Nation.

And on such an occasion, Mr. President, I particularly think of you as you near your term, the end of it, as Mexico's President. In the streets of Puerto Vallarta I heard the people of your country speaking from their hearts, "Long live Diaz Ordaz." The name of Diaz Ordaz will always be honored in Mexico as one of Mexico's great Presidents.

I can assure you that this reception today is meant to tell you that the name of Diaz Ordaz will always be honored, too, in the United States. Because you, as President in your 6 years, have made perhaps the greatest contribution of any Mexican President to the goal that we all want of true and lasting American friendship, with the border between us not as a barrier, but as a bridge of friendship over which we shall always cross together.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 12: 13 p.m. at North Island Naval Air Station, where President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

President Diaz Ordaz responded in Spanish. A translation of his remarks follows:

Mr. President:

On standing for the first time today on the soil of the United States, my first words are dedicated to greet with cordiality you, the President of the United States, and the people of the United States, and especially the people of California and those of San Diego.

In this land, Mr. President, of fond and old memories for Mexico, live many whose near or far ancestors came from Mexico, and as you have said, who have given their love and their efforts to their native or adopted land, as the case may be.

For those Mexican citizens who have retained their nationality, and for those American citizens, Mexican-Americans who have dedicated themselves to their country, to them we bring our greeting.

I, too, am sure, as you are, that they all will receive a just recompense for their efforts and that they will all do their best to love their country and respect its institutions.

I want again to express my appreciation, Mr. President, for this gesture of inviting me here after our last meeting, and especially because after having first considered it should be an informal meeting, you gave it a great deal more formal nature, but within this formal nature you have broken protocol in order to make it as cordial as possible.

I agree with you, Mr. President, that it is quite significant that only a few days after having met by the sea at Puerto Vallarta, we again meet by the sea at San Diego.

The old sagacity of China says that the road of friendship must be traveled often so that grass will not grow on the path.

This is what I have come for, Mr. President, to travel the road of friendship. I have done my best to make even stronger the friendship between our peoples, and I know that millions and millions of Americans, as well as millions and millions of Mexicans, wish to be friends, and we who govern in our countries do not have the right to oppose this friendship. Quite the contrary, we should do our best to encourage it.

It is very significant for Mexico and especially for me, that when only a few days are left before, according to our Constitution, I cease to be President, President Nixon should be so generous and so friendly with me.

Perhaps it is in order to correspond to the heartfelt welcome that the people of Puerto Vallarta gave you and Mrs. Nixon that you are doing this, and perhaps it is because you don't speak Spanish that you thought that the people in Puerto Vallarta were saying, "Viva Diaz Ordaz," because in truth, they were saying, "Viva Nixon."

What took place in Puerto Vallarta was that the people there, who have suffered many adversities and who have yet to overcome many difficulties, wish to express to you the feeling of all the people of Mexico who wish to live in peace and friendship with all the world.

In the same manner, Mr. President, I want to present my best efforts, together with the people of the United States, so that our countries may live in mutual respect and friendship, and that together we may search for peace and justice.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome at Coronado, California to President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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