John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at Otis Air Force Base, Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Prime Minister Pearson of Canada

May 10, 1963

Prime Minister, Governor:

It is a great pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister of Canada to the United States and also to my native State of Massachusetts.

We share a neighbor's pride in the distinguished career which the Prime Minister has carved out in the service of his country and in the cause of peace, and we welcome him as an old friend of the United States. As a former Ambassador to this country in the difficult days of the Second War, as a distinguished international leader in the cause of amity between nations, as President of the General Assembly, and, in 1957, as the result of the culmination of his work for peace, the winner of the Nobel Prize. We, therefore, are most happy, Prime Minister, that we have this opportunity to meet with you and to discuss those matters which concern our two great countries. We share more than geography--a history, a common commitment to freedom, and a common hope for the future, and it is my strong conviction and that of my fellow countrymen that in this great cause, Canada and the United States should stand side by side. So we are very glad to welcome you here, Prime Minister, as the leader of our neighbor and friend, and also as an old friend of the United States.

Note: Prime Minister Pearson responded as follows: "Mr. President, Mr. Governor:

"May I thank you, Mr. President, for your words of welcome and tell you how happy I am that my first visit outside Canada as Prime Minister should have been to that State which has so many unique and historic ties with my own country--Massachusetts. I am looking forward, Mr. President, to my talks with you. In your own characteristic naval fashion, you referred to them as covering the waterfront, and I am sure we will have lots to talk about. We will be discussing matters of interest to our two countries in the context of world peace and better relations between all peoples, and we will be discussing problems of special interest to our two countries, and I am sure we will discuss them in that frank and friendly way which characterizes relations between two peoples who speak the same language, even when they differ, as they are bound to differ from time to time.

"I am sure, Mr. President, that after our talks and my brief visit to your summer home in Massachusetts, that we will have a better understanding of each other's problems, and that we will set a course which will further strengthen the friendly and durable good neighborhood between our two peoples.

"Thank you again, Mr. President. I am happy to be here. There is only one thing I enjoy more than a visit to the country where I spent so many happy years myself, and that is the return to my own home in Canada.

"Thank you."

The President's opening words referred to Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada, and Endicott Peabody, Governor of Massachusetts.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome at Otis Air Force Base, Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Prime Minister Pearson of Canada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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