Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome in Honolulu to President Thieu of South Vietnam

July 18, 1968

President Thieu, welcome to the United States.

I welcome your proposal that we come here to meet for 2 days of talks, Mr. President.

The success of our joint cause requires us to consult closely on matters of war and peace. I look forward to your state visit in quieter times.

I am glad that we could meet once again in this crossroads of the Pacific, among the good people of Hawaii.

At our last meeting here, you affirmed your country's determination to embark on the road towards constitutional, representative government.

Today, we pay tribute to what you and your countrymen have done to achieve that vital goal. A constitution has been drafted and ratified. The institutions it provides have been established through free elections. That is truly remarkable progress--almost unprecedented progress in a country that is torn by war and victimized by aggression.

At all of our meetings over the past 2 1/2 years, you have stressed your country's policy of reconciliation and peace. Since we met in Canberra last December, formal talks have begun in Paris. We devoutly hope that they are the first step on the difficult path to peace--an honorable peace under which the people of your country will determine their own future.

Mr. President, our pledge to help your people defeat aggression stands firm against all obstacles and against any deception.

We want you to take back to your countrymen our hope and our conviction that their courage and their faith will be rewarded with a just peace with full freedom.

America and South Vietnam have different histories and our cultures spring from different roots.

But the blood of our countrymen has flowed together in the defense of ideals and in the pursuit of goals that have united us in ways that are far more important than those that divide us.

Mr. President, we are so glad that we could meet again. We all look forward to our talks with you during the next 2 days with great anticipation and with great pleasure. I feel fully confident that these talks will contribute to our common cause.

We are glad to have you with us.

Note: The President spoke at 5:12 p.m. at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu. Following his remarks President Nguyen Van Thieu spoke briefly as follows:

Mr. President, Governor Burns, ladies and gentlemen:

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

I am very happy to come again to this beautiful land which is a concrete link between the continental United States and Asia, not only in the geographical sense, but in the human sense as well, in view of a large portion of Asians among the population of your 50th State.

This eloquently indicates that the United States is fully a member of the Pacific community having many things in common with the Asian nations on the other shore of the Pacific Ocean. This makes me feel more at home for being here aside from the fact that our two nations serve the same ideals of freedom and justice, and that we are united in the same struggle whose outcome will determine, in no small measure, the future of the countries around the Pacific Ocean and of the free world at large.

I deeply appreciate, Mr. President, your thoughtfulness in accepting to come halfway to meet with me here and to provide an opportunity for the leaders and members of our two governments to review together the accomplishments as well as the problems which lie in front of us in facing the Communist challenge in Vietnam, and in seeking a just and honorable peace.

Much has happened since the first conference which we held here in 1966. In every field, in terms of political stabilization in the Republic of Vietnam, progress in our defense efforts against Communist aggression, and the concrete steps taken in our search for peace, I feel that we have every reason to look to the future with confidence.

Again, I wish to thank you wholeheartedly, Mr. President, for your warm hospitality, and I look forward to fruitful exchanges of views with you which, I am convinced, will be constructive steps toward peace and freedom for Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Thank you very much.

On July 17, 1968, at Austin, Texas, the White House Press Office issued a list of members of the American delegation to the Honolulu talks, as follows: President Johnson, Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, Clark M. Clifford, Secretary of Defense, Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam, Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Walt W. Rostow, Special Assistant to the President, George E. Christian, Special Assistant to the President, and William P. Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

On July 18 Secretary Rusk held a news conference at 10:30 a.m. upon his arrival in Austin to accompany President Johnson to the Honolulu Conference (4 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 1126).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome in Honolulu to President Thieu of South Vietnam Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives