Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Sunay of Turkey

April 03, 1967

Mr. President, Mrs. Sunay, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Mrs. Johnson and I are especially happy to see you, Mr. President. Your presence in America will give us a chance to return some of the warmth and the friendliness that we received from the people of Turkey on our visit to your country almost 5 years ago.

Your people won our hearts, as they had already earned the respect and the admiration of all the American people.

Our century has been greatly enriched by the goals and the achievements of the Turkish nation. More than four decades ago, the emergence of modern Turkey, under the guiding genius of Kemal Ataturk, was one of the great revolutions of our age. It remains an inspiration to all who have since won their independence or who still seek to unshackle the fetters of the past.

You have proved, by your example, that free men can create strong and independent institutions. Inscribed as a reminder to all who enter the halls of your parliament are the words: "Sovereignty belongs to the people."

Your citizens have demonstrated repeatedly their commitment to constitutional government. Your vigorous parliamentary democracy is a tribute to that dedication. You have jealously guarded your freedom of conscience and protected your independence. Free men are also natural allies.

Turkey has been one of the most active members of the United Nations. It has served on the Security Council as well as on other United Nations bodies. A member of the Council of Europe and of the United Nations Palestine Conciliation Commission, Turkey was one of the first countries to answer the United Nations' call for troops for Korea. In 1952 Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, officially committing its strength to the cause of preserving peace.

Between Turkey and the United States there is a bond, a special sense of fellowship which can be known only to those who belong to the strong fraternity of free men.

It is in this spirit that we meet here today, Mr. President. I am looking forward to exploring with you the great issues of the day and the paths we might together follow to bring greater harmony among all of the nations of the world. And, too, I am looking forward to learning more about the impressive and the exciting progress that is being made in Turkey towards a more abundant and creative life for your people.

There is a vigor and a momentum in Turkey today which your friends in America have long and enthusiastically applauded.

We know that the future belongs not merely to the strong, but to those who will labor hardest at the constructive works of peace. And, as so often in this century, Mr. President, we see Turkey leading the way.

Mr. President, we are delighted to have you and your gracious lady with us today.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where President Cevdet Sunay was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Turkish President responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, ladies and gentlemen:

I am very grateful for this most cordial and warm welcome.

As I come to Washington to pay a state visit to the United States upon your kind invitation, my memory goes back to 1962 when we had the pleasure and the privilege of greeting you and Mrs. Johnson in Turkey. We were all, at that time, very much impressed by your powerful personality, your statesmanship, your dedication to the cause of peace and human progress.

As the President of the United States you have devoted all your boundless energy to the ideals which are dear to you.

My visit coincides with a very happy anniversary. That anniversary is the anniversary of the Truman Doctrine, under which the United States undertook for the first time a commitment towards the free world. The implementation of this doctrine opened the way for a lasting solidarity and partnership between Turkey and the United States.

We have so much in common with you. We share the same love of freedom and the same dedication to democracy. We are equally attached to the objective of a just peace and to the building of a community of free and equal nations. Our nations have proved throughout history how much they are determined to safeguard their liberties and how much they can meet with courage and determination any challenge.

The cooperation we inaugurated 20 years ago is as strong as ever. This association has been sealed and reinforced by our ties of alliance within NATO which we both consider as an indispensable element of equilibrium, security, and peace. We value deeply this partnership and we are equally convinced of the need to work relentlessly to strengthen peace and promote mutual understanding and confidence among the nations of the world.

Mr. President, I am looking forward to meeting and discussing with you the matters of mutual interest, and I also rejoice at the prospect of meeting other good friends of Turkey in the United States.

It is my fervent hope and expectation that our personal contacts will serve to strengthen further the ties of friendship which bind our two countries and to promote a greater understanding between our peoples.

Thank you.

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

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives