Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Marcos of the Philippines

September 14, 1966

Mr. President and Mrs. Marcos : We welcome you.

Mr. President, you come to this house and to this Nation as the captain of a great country and you bring more than your credentials as a chief of state. For your people and mine have shared suffering and victory. So we are not only friends; we are brothers.

You have also brought us rain--and that endears you to us.

More than anyone here today, Mr. President, you know the price of freedom. You were wounded five times in freedom's cause; you survived the Bataan Death March, and for 2 years you led a force of guerrillas with great and legendary courage. You wear two Silver Stars. And you carry the Distinguished Service Cross--one of the highest awards that a grateful United States can give to its heroes.

Our people take pride in the independence and the progress of the Philippines. Your nation of islands is an exhibit for history's claim that the future belongs to those who champion freedom and who labor unselfishly for it.

I think it is particularly fitting this morning that we observe that the new billion dollar Asian Development Bank will soon have its headquarters in Manila, because your nation symbolizes the promise of this new venture. So from the ruin of war, you have built an economy which gives your people great hope, and you are an example to all nations that economic and social progress can be achieved without abandoning individual freedom.

We know that what your nation has, it has earned.

What you yearn for, you work for.

And what you work for--you are ready to defend.

And for that, Mr. President, we are very grateful.

Last Sunday, on your 49th birthday, more than 2,000 Philippine troops began their journey to Vietnam. In the field they will take their place beside Australians, Koreans, New Zealanders, Americans, and South Vietnamese.

I think I can understand your own feelings about this.

As commanders in chief, you and I know that it is never easy to commit men to battle. But we know that if a leader is to pass along to the next generation the treasure of liberty, he must do what must be done.

During the next 2 days we will talk of a day when the Pacific will be truly what its name implies: a place of peace. We will look to the time when the nations who live by the side of that great ocean need no longer fear their neighbors; to a time when plenty, not poverty, is every man's reward for his labor.

Two decades ago the Filipino and the American were joined in the cause and blood.

Today we are joined in our hopes for a peaceful and a prosperous world.

You yourself, Mr. President, have set as a goal for your nation "the attainment of a higher level of life for our people." That goal is our goal, too.

So this morning it gives me great pride and pleasure, Mr. President, to see you and Mrs. Marcos here in our house, the first house of this land.

And I want you to know that the welcome comes from all the people of this land who respect the work and sacrifice of your great nation.

Thank you for being here.

Note: The President spoke at 11:40 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 and Mrs. Johnson greeted President and Mrs. Ferdinand E. Marcos on the North Portico and proceeded to the East Room for the welcoming ceremony.

President Marcos responded as follows:

President and Mrs. Johnson:

Mrs. Marcos and I wish to extend our gratitude to you for your gracious welcome.

We have come to your great country many times, but this is the first occasion on which I can extend to the American people, through you, a message of good will and friendship, of comradeship and amity, from the Filipino people, whose destiny and fate you once decided in a historic moment, 20 years ago, when on July 4, 1946, you dismantled the American colonial machinery in my country, declared it free, and thus set into motion one of the greatest glories of our age, the extension of the frontiers of freedom and the emergence of sovereign nations all over the world.

If the historians' verdict be true that our age will be remembered not so much for military or scientific achievements, but for the ideal and the principle of the acceptance of international responsibility for the entire human family, then America, under your leadership, Mr. President, can claim a major share of this pioneering work in implementing this radical principle that the rich nations must help the poor nations, not only because they are interdependent in an irreversibly one world, but because it is right.

I have come in the hope that in my own modest way I shall be able to strengthen the ties that bind us and deepen the relationship that has existed between our two peoples.
For we have shared the community of the spirit, a commonness of ideals conceived in peace, strengthened in war. For over 7 decades your nation and mine have walked the path of democracy. We have followed you. And we do not regret it.

For we are happy today to be known as an independent country seeking to identify the ancient springs of our national identity, participating in all that is Asia, and hoping to help mold its ultimate destiny, but remembering that in this country lies the fountainhead of most of our liberties and that in this kindly land came the generous impulse that allowed the birth of a new republic in the Pacific.

This new republic, I represent. It has only 32 million people and so perhaps the question should be asked: What can a small nation that was once a colony of the United States say to the President of the strongest nation ever known in the world?

I can only say, Mr. President, that we have come humbly and in all modesty to offer the fearless resolution of the spirit of the Filipino. For you have strength of body and we can only tell you that on many occasions we have survived on fortitude alone.

What can we offer to this partnership with a great nation? You are perplexed by many problems that come from Asia and Africa. We come to offer you the intimate knowledge that we have acquired of Asia, from whence we come.

We come to offer you a heart and mind dedicated to the same objective: peace with justice.

This is all that we can offer you. But we offer it with a full heart. Accept, therefore, our gratitude, again, Mr. President, for your benevolence and your enlightened colonial policy as far back as 1902.

For the image of America that you have created in the disenchanted eyes of the Asian countries at the beginning of this century, we thank you as a nation on which we can depend for the salvation of mankind.

For in your strong hands lies the awesome responsibility that you discharge as the first and foremost nation that is a nuclear power.

We thank you for utilizing your powers with restraint and wisdom. We have watched the leadership of President Johnson and we can only say, as the Orientals say: Leadership is the other side of the coin of loneliness and he who is a leader must always act alone. And acting alone, accept everything alone.

We have seen you accept everything. The compulsion of the timorous you have discarded; the importunings of friends you have rejected. But staying close to the image that you knew of America and your vision of what is America, you have insured the security of my part of the world.

And in insuring the security of my part of the world, you have given to them a vision, too, perhaps of prosperity. Because in addition to the fact that you have become the guardian of the hopes of Asia, you have assured them that your ultimate motive is peace.

Your plan for the Asian Development Bank, which soon shall be established; the Mekong Lower Basin Project, to which go many of the taxes of the American people; the Honolulu Declaration, which in ringing terms calls upon the whole world for a social revolution without violation of human rights; and your own move within your country--all this Asia watches and can only say: God grant that this leader continue in health that he may attain the final noble objectives that he envisions and we all dream about.

Thank you again.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Marcos of the Philippines Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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