John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome to President Nkrumah of Ghana at the Washington National Airport

March 08, 1961

I want to take this opportunity to welcome again to the United States, which he knows so well, the first citizen of Ghana, President Nkrumah.

Yesterday, in his speech at the United Nations, he quoted a common hero, I believe, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson also once said, "The disease of liberty is catching."

It has been the object of our guest's life to make sure that that disease of liberty spreads around the globe. He has fought for it in his own country. He fights for it in Africa--he fights for it in the world.

We share the same basic aspiration for the United States as he works for his own country. We share the same basic aspiration for Africa that he wishes for--and for the world.

It is therefore a great honor and a great pleasure for me, as President of the United States, to welcome a distinguished citizen of a friendly country, and also a distinguished citizen of the world, the President of Ghana, President Nkrumah.

Note: The President greeted President Nkrumah at 4 p.m. at the Washington National Airport. President Nkrumah responded as follows:

Mr. President:

As this is our first meeting since your assumption of responsibility as President of the United States, may I be permitted to offer you my personal and hearty congratulations and those of the Government and people of Ghana. We all look forward to a period of continued cooperation and understanding between our two countries.

I hope that our meeting today will strengthen our relations and contribute towards the establishment of lasting peace and stability in Africa and in the world.

These are troublous times. They are also times of opportunity for action. Let us, therefore, emphasize and consolidate the very many things that unite us, and from that starting point tackle the problems which confront us in our time. I am sure, Mr. President, that success will crown our efforts.

I thank you and the people of the United States for the warm welcome that has been accorded to me.

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

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