John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Tito of Yugoslavia

October 17, 1963

Mr. President:

I take great pleasure in welcoming you to the United States. I hope during this visit we can reciprocate some of the hospitality that you have shown to members of the United States Government, both members of the Cabinet and most recently Members of the Congress, in your own country.

This is a difficult and dangerous world in which we live. I think it is most important that we have--across the distance of water and across perhaps a difference in political philosophy--that we have an understanding of the basic policies and objectives of the countries through the globe so that danger may be lessened.

We are very glad to have you here, Mr. President, so that you can see something of the United States. I am glad you are going to the South and then to the West. This is a vigorous and progressive people that you will see. Nature has been very generous to us, and I think that your visit here, where I am sure you will be warmly and hospitably treated and welcomed, will give you a greater understanding of the policies and objectives and meaning of the United States of America.

So this visit is very welcome. We are very glad to have you here at the White House, and I hope as a result of your visit that the relations between our two peoples will become stronger and that our commitments to national independence will be strengthened.

So, Mr. President, we are very glad to welcome you and your distinguished wife, the members of your government, here to the White House.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where President Josip Broz Tito was given a formal welcome with full military honors.

In his response President Tito expressed his thanks for the friendly reception and his pleasure at the prospect of discussing with President Kennedy questions of concern to both countries. He looked forward also, he added, to seeing at least a part of the United States and to observing at firsthand "some of the great achievements of the hard-working American people."

Speaking of the United States and Yugoslavia as nations linked since the end of the First World War by their common devotion to the ideals embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, President Tito said his government had always wished to maintain good and friendly relations with the United States. "I believe," he concluded, "that our exchanges will contribute both to the stability of our good relations and our mutually beneficial cooperation, and will also reflect our common interest in the preservation and strengthening of peace in the world." President Tito closed by conveying the "friendly greetings of the people of Yugoslavia to the people of the United States of America."

In his closing remarks President Kennedy referred to President Tito's wife, Jovanka, who accompanied her husband.

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

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