Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to President Tsiranana of the Malagasy Republic

July 27, 1964

Mr. President:

Your country and my country are both young, but friendship between our peoples is old.

Even before we gained our independence, Americans were engaged in peaceful commerce with your people. We are proud to welcome you here today in friendship and in independence.

Independence is the great trust of this century. Never before have so many men had in their own hands the privilege and the responsibility of determining their own destiny.

We of the United States rejoice in this. We rejoice especially, Mr. President, when nations such as yours and leaders such as you emphasize the responsibility of independence as well as the privilege of independence.

In our 188 years of independence we have learned that liberty is not license; freedom is not a favor; security is not to be had without sacrifice.

In your nation's 4 years of regained independence, you have impressed these same lessons upon those that you lead. Your statesmanship speaks eloquently as an example of the new leaders of the new nations on both continents between which your country is an ancient bridge. In Africa and in Asia the will for independence, freedom, and peace runs strong. We welcome and we applaud the courage of men on every continent who stand against the efforts of any to turn that tide or stem its flow.

Mr. President, the United States does not seek to dominate any friend and does not seek to destroy any foe. But where men stand up for their own freedom, we will stand with them. Where men strive to make life better for their children, we will strive with them. Where men are ready to seek sincerely after peace, we welcome them to join with us genuinely in its pursuit.

In the 1860's our two countries solemnly declared that peace and friendship should exist between them forever. In these 1960's, 100 years later, it gives me great pleasure to reaffirm that declaration.

It is my high privilege this morning to welcome you here, to welcome you as the leader of free and independent friends of these free and independent people of the United States for whom I speak.

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

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson:

I am most grateful to you for welcoming us, my wife, the members of my party, and myself, in this very high and lofty place of the American history.

I am most grateful to you also for giving me the occasion to get better acquainted with your huge country. Up to now I had only visited New York City and Washington.

Owing to the very close relations which have already existed between our two peoples and owing to the present international situation, it behooves me to meet with you at this point and to have meetings and talks with the high officials of your government.

These considerations were not the only ones which caused me to decide to accept your friendly invitation. The feelings of Madagascar toward the United States as well as my own personal feelings led us very naturally to strengthen the already important action of our respective embassies in the field of friendship.

Lately, the Government of the United States has been of great service to Madagascar and has effectively contributed to our development policy. But the Government of the United States has done even more in preparing and in enacting the bill on civil rights, and I was most happy to be able to congratulate personally Secretary G. Mennen Williams on the very day of the enactment of this historic bill after sending a telegram of personal congratulations to you, Mr. President.

The administration which was led first by the much beloved President Kennedy and which was led then by Your Excellency, Mr. President, has displayed itself as a human and courageous administration. The Nation which you are leading is favored among all nations, and it has the greatest of destinies promised to it.

The Malagasy people will never forget the unity displayed in this noble endeavor by the representatives of the American people and by its leaders.

On behalf of the Parliament and of the people of Madagascar, and on behalf of our Government, I salute you, Mr. President and Mrs. Johnson, and I bring you the assurances that the great Malagasy Island counts firmly the United States of America among its greatest friends. Long live the United States and long live Madagascar.

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

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