John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Radhakrishnan of India

June 03, 1963

Mr. President:

I want to express a very warm welcome to you to the United States.

I am glad to have you here for many reasons. First, you are the President of the largest democracy in the world, a country which sent an electorate to the polls of nearly 200 million people; a country which has occupied a position of moral leadership during the difficult days which have followed the end of the Second World War; a country which is on the other side of the globe but with which we fed bound by the closest ties of a common commitment to the independence of our countries and the integrity of our individual citizens.

We are glad to have you here also, Mr. President, because of your own long and distinguished record as a teacher, as an interpreter to all the world of the values of your civilization and its religious and cultural traditions.

And, personally, I am glad to welcome you here, Mr. President, because of your own kindness to Mrs. Kennedy during her journey to India.

The President is a noted philosopher. When I commented on the weather this morning, he said, "We cannot always control events, but we can always control our attitude toward events."

This is only the beginning, I am sure, Mr. President, of a good deal of wisdom which we will derive from your visit. So I speak on behalf of all of my countrymen in welcoming the distinguished President of a great country to the shores of the United States.

Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke on the North Portico of the White House. In his response President Radhakrishnan expressed gratitude for American "sympathy and support" reaching back to the administration of President Roosevelt and spanning the years of India's struggle for independence. "Latterly," he continued, "when we had this challenge from China, the assistance which you so promptly and readily rendered to us can't be forgotten." President Radhakrishnan referred to the United States as "an understanding and sympathetic friend," aware of India's efforts to build a liberal democracy. "I hope," he said in conclusion, "that in the few days I stay here I will be able to know the attitudes, objectives of our two countries a little better."

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Radhakrishnan of India Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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