Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to King Hassan II of Morocco

February 09, 1967

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, distinguished friends:

Your Majesty, I am very happy--on behalf of the people of the United States--to welcome you once more to these shores. This is not your first visit, but this is the first time that I have had the pleasure as President to welcome you. I am very honored.

It has always seemed to me that our two countries have much in common. Our history and our cultures are very different. Yet in all matters that are vital to human dignity and to happiness, we speak with one voice.

Both nations are dedicated to the ideals of freedom--freedom for ourselves and freedom for all others. Both nations are devoted to orderly progress and to equal justice for all people.

Your nation was one of the very first to give formal recognition to our young country when our success was still in doubt, and there were many who hoped to see us fail.

In modern times the American people have followed with great interest your Majesty's own effort on behalf of the people of Morocco. We have watched intently your nation's struggle for progress in the decade since regaining your independence.

So we meet here today in the White House as friends. I hope that in all of our talks we will reaffirm our common desire to improve the lot of all men. Certainly I am pleased at the opportunity to discuss with you the great issues of our day.

The greatest of all such issues is the question of peace and of reconciliation among nations and peoples.

Not peace at any price; not peace where one nation dominates another; but peace where all nations accept the rule that their differences shall be settled by discussion and compromise, and not by force of arms.

And a peace where they turn from hostility to working together--working together on behalf of their own peoples and the other people of the world.

You in north Africa have a chance in the days and the years ahead to turn this corner. I understand that, despite other problems you may have, your economic ministers are meeting regularly to explore what you can do together to develop your nations. I know the path of regional cooperation is never an easy one; but I have seen with my own eyes in Asia how old quarrels and suspicions can subside and can give way to joint ventures-joint ventures to teach the young, to improve the people's health, to raise the standards of living for all. I know the same healing process is underway in this hemisphere.

In many parts of the world it is being demonstrated that it is by this route that nations--loyal to their culture and tradition-loyal to their own ambitions--yet can find a place of dignity and strength in the modern world.

We look forward with great pleasure to knowing Your Majesty better. May your visit be the symbol of our people's determination to walk together, to pursue together an entire world of peace and abundance.

Note: The President spoke at 12:39 p.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 for the King, who was accompanied by his brother Prince Moulay Abdallah and his sister Princess Lalla Aicha. Because of inclement weather the President greeted his guests on the North Portico and the party proceeded to the East Room for the welcoming ceremony. King Hassan responded as follows:

Mr. President, I thank you most cordially for the words of welcome you have just spoken on the occasion of my arrival in Washington.

The very mention of the word "Washington" brings back to my mind the image of the great hero who liberated his country and made possible the emergence of his people's genius, that genius which has greatly influenced human civilization.

My family takes pride in the fact that George Washington and my ancestor, Sultan Sidi Mohamreed Ben Abdallah, were close friends. We take pride, also, in the fact that they both, together, laid the cornerstone of the friendship between our two peoples--that friendship which has become strong and which, as the years go by, only grows in strength and becomes increasingly characterized by truthfulness, sincere cooperation, and mutual respect.

Despite my tender age at that time, I continue to retain in my mind the most glorious recollections of my late father's meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt at Casablanca in 1943.

I also remember their discussion of the various problems of that critical hour in the history of the human race. The most outstanding of the problems they discussed were those of peoples eager to achieve their independence and eager to shake off the yoke of slavery and exploitation under which they had long suffered.

Ever since that day, when I was still of tender age, I have been sure that the United States cherishes lofty ideals and upholds the highest principles and is motivated by a true and sincere desire to see nations become free and equal and willing to cooperate in all endeavors serving their mutual benefit.

Fortunately, many of the ideas and ideals which my father and the President of the United States discussed at that time were achieved at the end of the war, or shortly thereafter. It is also fortunate that my father was able to visit the United States as King of the fully sovereign state and that I have since visited the United States once, and here I am again at this time in order to continue discussions and consultations within the framework of our strong friendship on matters that concern both our countries in particular, and matters that concern the international community in general.

You have mentioned, Mr. President, that you have not as yet become personally acquainted with my country, although you have undoubtedly heard much about it. There is a proverb that says, "He who has seen is not the same as the one who has only heard."

We hope, therefore, that you may soon find it possible to visit Morocco and to become personally acquainted with its people.

Mr. President, speaking for myself and on behalf of my people and government, I wish to express, again, our gratitude for your welcome to us and for the kind reception you accorded us. We also wish to address to the people of the United States-through you, Mr. President--our warmest greetings, together with our affection and respect.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to King Hassan II of Morocco Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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