Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome in the East Room to President Senghor of Senegal

September 28, 1966

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

For me this is a very special occasion this morning--a time to repay hospitality that is long overdue.

I deeply regret Mr. President, that we could not offer you better weather, but what we have lost in the weather we will try to make up in the warmth and friendship of our people.

Five years ago I visited Senegal to attend your inauguration as first President and to celebrate the first anniversary of your nation's independence. It was a trip I shall never forget.

I remember the excitement of your people as they began their journey toward nationhood. I remember the enthusiasm they expressed toward the poet-statesman who serves as their great leader.

I did not remain only in your great capital of Dakar. I explored your country, just as I hope you will be able to explore ours.

I remember the many faces of your wonderful people. We traveled the countryside to the small village area of Kayar and I met the village chief there, a man whose tremendous strength and dignity spoke through our separations of language.

Mr. President, I believe that we understand each other. I came away from your country with a profound respect for you and for your deep commitment to your people and to your country. We are quite delighted that you are giving us this chance to know you better, to meet our people, and to show you our Nation.

In your official capacity, Mr. President, we welcome you as the head of a very friendly and vigorous African nation. Of course, we know the hardships you have endured. We admire the progress that you have made and we share with you a partnership in this noble venture of free men.

We can have no illusions about the difficulties of the road ahead. To wage a peaceful war against hunger, disease, and illiteracy will take all the strength and imagination that all of us can muster. The United States of America intends, Mr. President, to be a good friend and to be your strong ally in this effort that we will make together.

Mr. President, your presence among us today is a most happy event, not only for all of those who are present here this morning, but to those eyes in the Nation which will follow your visit, recognizing an old friend who has come to share with us his warmth, his humor, and his very wise counsel.

So I should like you to know that you are among friends. We bid you a most cordial welcome. And we trust that your visit to our country will be a pleasant one and that you will enjoy your stay among us.

Note: The President spoke at 11:50 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. A formal welcome with full military honors had been scheduled to be held on the South Lawn. Because of rain, President Johnson greeted President Senghor on the North Portico and proceeded to the East Room for the welcoming ceremony. President Senghor responded as follows:

Mr. President, I am very sensitive to your welcome. I am very happy and very honored to be your guest today here in Washington, because, first, you were our guest, the guest of the Senegalese people in 1961 on the occasion of our first independence day.

I am honored to be your guest, secondly, because you are at the head of the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world.

Indeed, I admire your material power, but I much more admire your spiritual power, the power of your democracy, of your creativity.

Since you were elected, we are very aware of your policy and we know that you have made much for all Americans for white and for Negro--on the road to the Great Society.

Long live the United States of America. Long live the friendship between the U.S.A. and Senegal.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome in the East Room to President Senghor of Senegal Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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