John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to President Ayub Khan of Pakistan at Quonset Point, Rhode Island

September 24, 1962

Mr. President:

I want to express, in behalf of the people of the United States, our very genuine pleasure in welcoming you once more to the United States. And we're especially glad that on this occasion you have an opportunity to visit at an airbase which has played a major role in sustaining the United States Navy in peace and in war, in World War II, during Korea, and today as part of a great infrastructure along the Atlantic coast.

This airbase and the base at Newport play a significant part in maintaining our sea strength which contributes to the defense of freedom around the world. I think that in these critical days it's most appropriate and important that close allies who are separated by nearly half the globe should have the dearest and most intimate understanding of each other's problems and challenges and opportunities.

And, therefore, Mr. President, both as a distinguished leader of a great ally of the United States, and also for the warmest personal reasons, because of your very generous hospitality to Mrs. Kennedy on the occasion of her visit to your country, it's a pleasure to welcome you to Rhode Island--a small State, but a large one in many ways--and to the United States.

Note: President Ayub Khan responded as follows:

Mr. President and ladies and gentlemen:

I am most grateful to the President for his very warm welcome to me, and also for the very kind words he said. Furthermore, I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity of meeting him on this very famous military base, naval base. And being myself a military man, there could be no greater honor for a person like me than to be given the opportunity to come to a place like this, with such historical background and perhaps a great future ahead.

I am also thankful to you, Mr. President, for finding time to receive me here in the United States. Perhaps I am impinging on your very valuable and busy time. But having gone as far as Canada, I thought it would be the height of discourtesy if I did not come and pay my respects to you. I am most grateful to you, indeed, sir, for receiving me here.

I am going to be here only for a short time. I know you are busy. I am looking forward to my stay with you and having the pleasure of your company, which I always enjoy.

Thank you very much.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome to President Ayub Khan of Pakistan at Quonset Point, Rhode Island Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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