Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks of Welcome to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran

May 15, 1975

It is an honor to welcome our distinguished guests, His Imperial Majesty, the Shahanshah of Iran, and Her Imperial Majesty, the Shahbanou, once again to our National Capital.

The visit of Your Imperial Majesties reflects the cordial, personal, and close governmental relations between the United States and Iran through many administrations. Ours is an old and tested friendship; it will continue to be so in the future.

Since Your Imperial Majesties last visited Washington, the world has seen many changes. But throughout this period, the United States commitment to peace and progress for the world has remained firm. Our commitment to a continuity of relations and constructive cooperation with friends such as Iran has remained constant, even while the world has changed.

We continue to build on the longstanding foundation of our mutual interests and aspirations. The United States and Iran have expanded and intensified cooperation on many fronts. Together, we can create an example for others to follow in the new era of interdependence which lies ahead.

Iran is an amazing country--an ancient civilization that through the centuries has retained its distinctive national identity and culture. In recent years, Iran has achieved remarkable progress, serving as a model of economic development. Its extraordinary achievements have been inspired by one of the world's senior statesmen, our distinguished visitor, His Imperial Majesty.

I look forward, Your Imperial Majesty, to the talks which we shall have during your visit to review what has been accomplished by our two nations and to explore new dimensions for harmonizing the interests of our two nations and increasing the cooperation between us in the cause of peace and prosperity for our two peoples and for the world.

On behalf of Mrs. Ford and the American people and our Government, it is my pleasure to welcome Their Imperial Majesties to Washington.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where the Shah was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Shah responded as follows:

Mr. President:

It is indeed an honor for the Shahbanou and myself for being the guests of President Ford and Mrs. Ford. This is not our first visit to your country-it dates back a long time ago when, for the first time, I set foot on this land of the free and the brave.

Since that day, and even before, very solid relations of friendship existed between our two countries. In the old days, we were looking to America as our friend and also the friend of all people who were striving for liberty and dignity. That feeling of my country towards yours and your people is today stronger than ever.

We would like to let you know that this friendship will never change on our part, because it was based not on selfish interest, but more on the basis that we share common ideals. I am sure that you will stand for those ideals as we will stand by them.

As you mentioned, Mr. President, the world is changing, and very rapidly--sometimes for the better and sometimes, I hope not, for the worse. But in that changing world, those who remain faithful to the principles of human dignity and human liberties will have, in a spirit of interdependence, to try to, if necessary, create that new world.

The new world must not be created by just a succession of events, but it must be created by the good will of countries deciding to create that world on a basis of more equality and justice.

My country will be alongside the United States in the creation of that new world. I am sure that during the privilege of my meetings with you, Mr. President, and the talks that we will have, we shall forge the way for this better world in the most harmonious possible way between our two countries.

I bring the greetings of the people of my country to the great people of America, wishing you the best of luck and ever more prosperity and happiness.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your very kind invitation.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks of Welcome to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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