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Remarks of Welcome to President Joseph Desire Mobutu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

August 04, 1970

Mr. President, Madame Mobutu, the distinguished members of your party, and our guests:

Mr. President, it is a special privilege for me to welcome you today to the White House. You are a young leader of a young country. In fact, the Congo is the youngest country of all those that have been represented by state visits since I have been President of this country.

I have the privilege of knowing your country and of knowing your people, and I can tell the American people that while your country is young---only 10 years of age---that it has had a period of progress in that period which has been an example for nations throughout the world.

You have moved forward economically, you have established unity in your country, and you have a vitality which impresses every visitor when he comes to the Congo.

I have been looking forward to this visit so that the people of the United States could know you and, through you, know your people and your country. We know that you will be meeting with our Government leaders and also later with business leaders in New York, who may be interested in making an investment in the Congo.

My advice to them very simply would be this: The Congo is a good investment not only because of its natural wealth but because of a wealth even more important than its natural resources, a strong and vigorous and progressive people, and a stable leadership.

You come from the heart of Africa and I can assure you that the hearts of all Americans go to your country and to you as you go forward in a program of progress and peace for your people and for all the people of Africa.

Note: The President spoke at 10:50 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where President Mobutu, was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

President Mobutu responded in French. A translation of his remarks follows:

Mr. President, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

I am deeply touched by the very kind words, the very touching words that you have just spoken for my country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for my wife, and the members of my party.

Mr. President, you have stressed that my country, in the heart of the African Continent, has resolved its economic problems and restored stability and order.

I will tell you when we meet later to explore the bilateral questions between the United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but I should like to tell you now also that in coming here I bring you a message from the people of the Congo, a message to your people, to thank you for the aid that the American people have given to my country for the last I O years.

There is a saying in my country that it is in times of need that you know your friends and, indeed, the United States has stood by us and this we shall never forget.

Mr. President, thank you for your welcome. Thank you, Mrs. Nixon, to whom I present my most respectful homage. Thank you, to you and the members of your Government, for this welcome extended to me and to my wife.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome to President Joseph Desire Mobutu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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