Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the LBJ Ranch to the President-Elect of Mexico

November 12, 1964

Senor and Senora Diaz Ordaz, Governor and Mrs. Connally, Governor and Mrs. Brown, distinguished guests, my friends:

I should like to, before I make a few very brief observations, introduce some of our most honored guests who thrill us by their presence here today.

First of all, I want to introduce the distinguished Ambassador from Mexico, Ambassador Carrillo Flores; and our distinguished Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Freeman; one of the truly great American public servants, our own Tom Mann, Assistant Secretary of State from Laredo, Tex.

It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce to you one of the men who served Texas probably longer than any other Governor, the Honorable Allan Shivers, Governor of Texas; and the Honorable John Burroughs, former Governor of New Mexico; and Judge Reynaldo Garza, from Brownsville; our distinguished Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. John White; our own able and popular Congressman, Henry B. Gonzalez.

And this is one fellow that we really wanted to see come in, Congressman and soon-to-be-Senator Joe Montoya--and maybe already Senator; I am not sure. A longtime friend, Congressman Kika de la Garza.

We welcome here today to this peaceful Texas hill country President-elect Diaz Ordaz and his lovely, gracious wife.

Mr. President, I have not discussed this matter with you, but as one who has just finished a campaign, and will be installed formally in my office 1 month and 20 days after your inauguration, I can only say that it is much more cheering here after a campaign than before one.

Mr. President, I am pleased to tell you that I received no support from anyone that was greater, or perhaps more unanimous, with warmth, than that given me by the many thousands of Americans of Mexican ancestry who live in the United States of America.

And so today, at the end of the long, long trail, after more than 44 States, Mr. President, I speak the beautiful sound of the words I heard so often throughout America, "Mr. President, viva Mexico."

It is part of the feeling of kinship between the great Republic of Mexico and the United States that the two Presidents should meet and should talk and should counsel and should be friends. Our border is long and it is friendly. We have no armed men on either side patrolling the river. So it is our tradition to be neighbors.

Mr. President, you and I share common purposes and similar objectives for both of our countries. Our countries are enjoying today very prosperous times. We want them to keep that way.

Both our countries look to the other country for tourists and for travel, and we want to keep it that way.

Trade between our two countries is at an all-time high level, more than $1 ½ billion in 1963. But you and I are meeting here to discuss ways and means to increase that trade, and we have already begun the explorations this morning.

But you and I are never going to be satisfied with the course of either of our countries as long as there is a single man who wants to work and cannot find work; so long as there is a single child without a school or a teacher; and so long as there is a single family without a home.

So we are meeting here to talk together and to work together, and to take up arms together against the ancient enemies of mankind--disease and poverty and hunger and ignorance. So, Mr. President, in all that you do and in all that I do we try to preserve the freedom of our people, to protect the treasures of our society, and to always enhance the dignity of our people.

In both of our countries we seek to give everyone an opportunity to achieve his highest aspirations. We have found in your country and in mine that if we give our people the incentive to invest their energy and their income, we can achieve much higher rates of economic growth.

Mr. President, we both know that it is not our vast resources or even our geography, or even our arms that have made our nations great. The thing that has made them great has been the genius of our people and the political and most importantly the economic systems that our people have created.

Americans have invested in Mexico, and we think we have contributed greatly to Mexico's growth.

Many billions have been invested in this country, the United States, by wise and by good and by thrifty and honorable people from many other nations in this world in which we live, and both of our countries have been the beneficiaries.

As Mexico becomes stronger and wealthier, Mexico will be able to help others just as Mexico is helping others today in Central America. For, Mr. President, the alliance is not just governments; it is the will and the desire and the noble ambition of people-people who give opportunity and incentive, and they can make this Western Hemisphere and, indeed, they can make the entire world, a better, a healthier, a more peaceful, and a much safer place to live in.

We have problems. We are here to discuss them. And in the days ahead we will resolve them in peace, with reason, with justice to each other.

So, Mr. President, it gives me and Mrs. Johnson the greatest of pleasure to welcome you here today and to welcome your lovely, gracious wife. You make us very proud to be in our home and on our land and to have you in our presence. As they say it so beautifully in your land, your country, where 30 years ago my lady and I spent our honeymoon, we say to you today, mi casa es su casa.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President-elect of Mexico, Diaz Ordaz.

[At this point President-elect Diaz Ordaz spoke. The President then resumed speaking.]

Eighty percent of the Americans of Mexican ancestry that live in the United States of America live in the largest State in the Union from the standpoint of population-California--and the once largest State in the Union from the standpoint of area-Texas. We are highly honored today to have the two great leaders of those two great States come here and lend dignity by their presence.

I want to remind all of you that a few weeks ago we started out a long campaign in Atlantic City, and these two great Governors started with me and finished with me. It is my great honor to present the Chief Executive of the great State of California, Pat Brown, and his lovely wife, Bernice Brown.

And I know that all Texans share with me the pride and affection that we all feel for our own beloved and able and honored Governor, John Connally and his darling wife Nellie. John said he is just glad that the election is behind him. All he wants to say is thanks to everybody, and so do we. Thank you all for coming.

Note: The President spoke at 3:25 p.m. at a barbecue at the LBJ Ranch at Johnson City, Tex. In his opening words he referred to President-elect and Senora Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico, Governor and Mrs. John B. Connally of Texas, and Governor and Mrs. Edmund G. Brown of California. Later in his remarks he referred to Antonio Carrillo Flores, Ambassador to the United States from Mexico, Fulton Freeman, Ambassador to Mexico from the United States, and Thomas C. Mann, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, United States Coordinator for the Alliance for Progress, and Special Assistant to the President for Inter-American Affairs. He also referred to former Governor Allan Shivers, Reynaldo G. Garza, U.S. district judge of the Southern District, State Secretary of Agriculture John C. White, U.S. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez, and U.S. Representative-elect Eligio (Kika) de la Garza, of Texas, and to former Governor John Burroughs and U.S. Representative Joseph M. Montoya, of New Mexico.

The text of the remarks of President-elect Diaz Ordaz follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, officials and friends:

First of all, I want to express to you my deep satisfaction in being able to visit you as a representative of my people and receive the overwhelming hospitality that has been given to me by the Johnson family.

I am very happy to be here and spend these hours with you in this beautiful place, and I am especially grateful to President Johnson and the distinguished First Lady because they did not issue to me a cordial invitation to visit them in their official residence, but rather, were good enough to invite me so that we could be together in the sweet intimacy of their home, the place where they come to rest.

This I want you to know is a tremendous honor both for Mrs. Diaz Ordaz and myself, and something for which I am profoundly grateful. This visit of mine to you has a specific purpose which is to establish a personal knowledge between President Johnson and myself. We are two men who have the greatest responsibilities entrusted to us by our respective people.

It is vitally important that President Johnson and I, as heads of our two respective Governments, be able to know each other personally so we can work together in the future to solve any existing problems and any possible problem that might arise in the relations between our two countries.

So I am here to seal a friendship with a warm handshake with President Johnson from me and the Mexican people, and to him and through him to the American people. I hope and I know that we will be able to work together with reciprocal respect and joint cooperation to maintain the principles that have inspired our two peoples.

Our own history is not a brilliant one in that we have obtained spectacular victories, but it is a history that we cherish because throughout the years, at the cost of great sacrifice and great effort, we have won our independence, we have won the freedom of our people, and we are working to increase the prosperity of the people of Mexico. I can assure you that in the future, all the men and women of Mexico are going to redouble their efforts to maintain our freedoms, to maintain our independence, and to increase the well-being of all of our citizens.

It is a pleasure for me to come here to restate and reiterate the bonds of friendship that unite our great people. It is sometimes easy to be friends from a distance, but it is also very difficult, sometimes, to be friends with your neighbors, and this is a friendship that we have achieved.

We have a long border, a very long border, which does not divide us but, rather, brings us together, and we have come here today, crossing this border, in order to study some of the problems that have come up and to be able to work them out together.

Mexico and the United States have given an example in just the past few weeks of how one of the most powerful nations in the history of the world has yielded to justice with a country which economically and militarily is very weak by solving this very old problem on the basis of fairness and reason and justice. This could well be a lesson that we could give to people throughout the world who want to be friends, one with another. This is what we have come here to reinforce and to strengthen, the example that we have given in the solution of this problem.

Our relationships have been friendly and warm for many years and have grown to this state in spite of the adverse conditions that have existed at one time or another. But we have now found bonds of friendship and of closeness that unite us and have become very great friends and neighbors with the people of the United States.

As I was saying, we have shown to people throughout the world how differences can be eliminated through mutual respect, through the sharing of common ideals, through good faith, and with a spirit of justice. I say to you, Mr. President, and through you to the people of the United States, that I come extending the hand of friendship from the Mexican people that I am honored to represent during the next presidential period.

I want to come to you and speak to you with the same frankness and fairness and nobility of spirit that has always characterized the exchanges between our two peoples, and I know as you said a while ago that neither you nor I nor our people will rest as long as there is a family in this hemisphere that does not have a roof over its head or bread to eat, as long as there are any children that have no schools to attend, as long as there are any ill people that have no medical attention to take care of their ills.

We will continue to work together on the basis of this personal contact we are making here in these hours that we will be together, on the basis of reciprocal respect, one for another, to fight very strongly and energetically together to keep the peace of the world, to fight with equal energy and strength to maintain all of the freedoms of our respective peoples. That relationship is going to be based on democracy which, in turn, is going to be based on all of our freedoms.

Thank you very much for your kindness.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the LBJ Ranch to the President-Elect of Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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