John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to President Arosemena of Ecuador at the Washington National Airport

July 23, 1962

Mr. President, it is a great honor to welcome you and Sefiora Arosemena, and your son and daughter here to the United States again. It's a great source of satisfaction to us that you know our country well, having served here at the Embassy of your country in the late forties, and since that time having maintained happy relations with a good many Americans who are your friends. It is a great pleasure to welcome you here as President of your country, and it does give us an opportunity to reaffirm and restate the great interest which this Government and country has in the development of mutually beneficial and satisfactory relations between the countries of Latin America and the countries of North America, between Ecuador and the United States.

We are aided in this by your knowledge of the United States. Your wife has been quoted as having said that you could name all the Presidents of the United States in order, which not even some Presidents of the United States can do. So we are delighted to have someone who knows our country as well as this come here.

But we are also anxious, as a result of your visit, that the people of this country know your country, that they recognize how linked as we are by nature, linked as we are in a sense by the future as well as the past, that Ecuador and the United States, the people of Ecuador and the people of the United States, realize that they want for each other what we want for our own countries, and that is a better life for the people, and a life of peace. So, Mr. President, you come at a most opportune time, and you are most welcome.

This country has committed itself along with Ecuador and our sister republics to a great Alliance for Progress, which is a common effort by all of us to provide a decent life for the people of our hemisphere, an opportunity to work, to be educated, to find jobs, to find security. This is your objective as it is ours, and I want you to know, Mr. President, that this Government, and certainly I, as President, are doing everything to provide for realization of these ideals. It will take time, but time is not necessarily our friend. So I think that it is very appropriate that you should come here and we should consider together how best we can make this hemisphere an inspiration for all those who wish to be free.

Mr. President, you are most welcome here, back to the United States, back to Washington, and we're especially glad that you are accompanied by not only the Senora, but also by two distinguished future citizens of your country.

Mr. President.

Note: President Arosemena responded as follows:

Mr. President:

Thank you for those warm words of welcome. As President of Ecuador, a free and sovereign nation, in you I salute the people of the United States of America. It was for me a great pleasure to accept the kind invitation that you extended to me to visit your country, and I nourish the hope that this visit will extend cordial relations that have always existed between our nations.

To return to Washington, a city where some time ago I spent some of the best years of my life, is indeed a special pleasure to me.

Let me assure you, Mr. President, that you can always count on the cooperation of Ecuador in your struggle to achieve greater justice for all men within a framework of peace, freedom, and progress.

In connection with your joke, maybe I can name the name of all of the Presidents of the United States, but you must be sure that I cannot name all the Presidents of Ecuador, because Ecuador has had many.

Thank you again for your welcome.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome to President Arosemena of Ecuador at the Washington National Airport Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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