Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks of Welcome to President Lopez Mateos of Mexico at the Washington National Airport

October 09, 1959

Mr. President:

The people of the United States extend a very warm welcome to you, to Mrs. Lopez Mateos, and to your lovely daughter.

We feel that we are more than merely your geographical neighbor. We are proud to call you our friend. And we devoutly hope that you feel in that same fashion toward us.

We have very much in common--more than a common boundary of sixteen hundred miles in length; we live by the same values; we believe in human dignity and human rights and human freedom. We have the same objectives in our countries, of protecting and furthering the interests of each citizen, the humble and the great.

Through the years there has developed between our two countries a greater understanding, a greater affection, and for these things we are exceedingly grateful.

Moreover, one of our great objectives is that in search for peace. We are determined between ourselves to handle our problems that inevitably occur between friends and neighbors, on the basis of fairness and justice to both sides.

Now, for you today, I hope as you start this visit, you will experience, every minute you are here, the same warm feelings of cordial friendship on every side that I experienced when I was your guest in Acapulco--one of the brightest and most cherished memories that I have in my entire tour in this Office--they are those days that I spent with you.

And if the American people can make you feel that same deep satisfaction that comes from being surrounded by cordial friendship, I assure you, sir, they will try--there is no question about that.

So again, "bien venido."

Note: President Lopez Mateos' response (as translated) follows:

Mr. President, distinguished fiends:

Your Excellency's cordial welcome to the beautiful capital of the United States of America and the friendly words which with characteristic warmth you have addressed to Mexico, its people and its President, have moved me as a Mexican. As such, and Chief of State, I thank you for this kind reception.

Once again Your Excellency has shown your friendship toward my country. On your visits to Mexico you have had occasion to come into contact with the Mexican people. You thereby became better acquainted with the history of my country, its character and aspirations. You know, consequently, that the Mexican, through pride in his heritage and courage in the defense of his country's sovereignty, to him not merely a legal concept but an integral part of his historical make-up, has developed a mental attitude favorably disposed towards peaceful relations with the other peoples of the earth. Especially is this true with the United States of America for whom Mexico in this new era of mutual respect and of increasing reciprocal understanding has feelings of friendship in which we can justly take pride. It is a friendship untarnished, pure in its simplicity, free of the bitterness and misunderstandings of the past, free of burdening commitments in the present, and free to determine a future which shall be rich in joint accomplishments, all within the dignity and respect which enhance every truly friendly relationship.

Because of this existing friendship between Mexico and the United States of America, and because it is a living, tangible fact, you were able during your trips to my country--and especially in the course of your visit to Acapulco--to perceive that the people of Mexico appreciate and admire the great people of the United States, whose immense creative spirit and high moral virtues they fully recognize.

Thousands of Mexicans live in the United States. Two or three hundred thousand come every year to work temporarily in your agriculture. On my arrival to the United States, I salute them with affection.

Thousands of your citizens also live, study, work, and travel in Mexico. Both of these groups of Mexicans and Americans, through their cooperation, their efforts and labors, constitute living testimony that relations between our countries are an example of genuine good-neighborliness.

You know, Mr. President, and I know, that between us there are no secrets. This is because the friendship between Mexico and the United States is crystal-clear. No problem exists or can exist between our governments capable of weakening or jeopardizing this friendship. Our two countries surged into independence and live in freedom, inspired by identical ideals of justice and liberty.

We have problems, undoubtedly. No two countries as large as ours, with a common boundary of three thousand kilometers in length, and with so many and so diverse contacts, can fail to have problems. Some of these are intrinsically difficult; and others are made difficult by the conflicting interests involved. All of these problems are entrusted to diplomatic channels, and eventually, though sometimes after brief periods of stagnation, follow the course toward a solution in a normal manner.

I am ready to talk about these problems and about all matters which our advisers may consider appropriate to bring to our attention. I firmly believe that in the conversations between the Chiefs of State of the United States and Mexico, that is, in talks between friends, the most important subject always will be: the United States and Mexico, our present-day relationships, our capacity for growth and our place in a world with respect to which the necessary economic and social changes should be foreseen.

Those who govern are in essence nothing more than the lookouts who during the dawn of Greek civilization manned the watchtowers of their primitive cities. From a height they were able to encompass a larger portion of the surrounding territory. Even if other factors were not present, this position by itself endows the meetings between Chiefs of State, as you have so successfully maintained, with great possibilities for fruitful progress.

It is particularly gratifying for me to assure Your Excellency that I return your visit in Acapulco with the greatest satisfaction. In fact, through me, the whole people of Mexico are returning the visit of the man they admire, as the soldier of World War II, who never knew defeat, and as the wise statesman who with clarity of vision has dedicated his best efforts to strengthening the bonds between our countries. They recognize you as their friend.

Being at the service of the people of Mexico, I ask Your Excellency to accept the expression of their friendship toward the people of the United States, and their best wishes for the prosperity and happiness of your country and its citizens.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks of Welcome to President Lopez Mateos of Mexico at the Washington National Airport Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234456

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