Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda of Iran

December 05, 1968

Your Excellency, Mrs. Hoveyda, Secretary Rusk and Mrs. Rusk, distinguished guests:

We are honored by your arrival and I look forward to my discussions with you, Mr. Prime Minister, and Mrs. Johnson and I are delighted to welcome you and Mrs. Hoveyda to our home.

I am always eager to hear more of Iran's progress. Our visit to Tehran in 1962 convinced me of Iran's great potential. My friend, His Imperial Majesty, has told me much of what Iran has achieved since then. Today we shall learn more from the Prime Minister, who has contributed much by his own energy, competence, and dedication.

A nation's progress--as you know so well, Mr. Prime Minister--hinges on the ability to marshal its energies and its resources for the good of all of its people.

We in the United States have a great tradition of relying on the initiative of the individual. Yet we have learned that government-speaking faithfully for the people of a nation--can multiply the opportunities for individual success.

Together, government and the people--in a partnership for progress--can do things that neither could do alone.

Your government has learned this too, Mr. Prime Minister. And the leaders of Iran deserve praise for their wisdom in attracting individual citizens to the cause of a great nation. How they are doing this is one of the truly exciting stories of our time. Imagine these scenes:

--Several thousand Literacy Corpsmen leave their training centers and go by train, and then by bus and then perhaps by horse into distant villages in order to teach.

--A shepherd boy learns to read and write and to help his parents, who cannot read, in ways an older generation never dreamed possible. That boy's father now owns the land that he tills.

--New agricultural extension agents visit distant villages. Educated young people help in applying new scientific methods to farming and to husbandry.

--Almost 2,000 Health Corpsmen ride the circuit from one village to another, bringing medical care to people who have never known it.

--Members of Iran's Development Corps work on those small but critical projects that contribute to the health and the well-being of rural Iran.

--Imagine, too, councils of justice meeting in the towns and villages, helping to create bonds between the governed and those who govern.

--New industries are rising over the length and breadth of this ancient land, built with Iranian investment and run by Iranian managers and Iranian technicians and skilled Iranian workers.

--And, finally, picture a Prime Minister who has traveled throughout his country to stimulate progress and to cut red tape. His improvements in public administration have helped create a new confidence in the conduct of the people's business.

Mr. Prime Minister, we Americans take heart from what is happening in Iran. We know that success lies ahead for the nation where government and people are willing to work side by side.

Mr. Prime Minister, we are so glad to bid you a hearty welcome.

Note: The President spoke at 11:40 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda of Iran was given a formal welcome with full military honors. In his opening words the President also referred to Secretary of State Dean Rusk and his wife.

The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, distinguished guests:

Thank you, Mr. President, for your most cordial words of welcome. If I seem to accept unhesitatingly your very generous reference to my country, my sovereign, and myself, it is because I regard them first and foremost as a tribute to the deep rooted friendship and understanding that has always characterized the association of your great country with mine.

I come today as a representative of a country who shares with you an identity of values with regard to social justice and human dignity.

In our national quest for the realization of a better life, your country has so often proved a great and fertile source of inspiration to us.

Iran today, united under the courageous and progressive leadership of our sovereign, is rapidly and confidently walking down the road to industrialization and social advancement and it reassures and encourages us to see that our good and trusted friends in America realize and appreciate our endeavors.

In the troubled seas of the Middle East, Mr. President, Iran stands as an island of stability and progress. We must progress to sustain our stability and we must have stability in order to achieve progress.

So, if changing circumstances in the world impose upon us today added responsibilities in working for the preservation of peace in the world at large, and especially in our own immediate area, we accept our share of these obligations willingly in the firm conviction that we possess the indubitable right, the economic capacity, and the political ability to do so.

And I am confident, Mr. President, that in the performance of our role, which can only serve to promote the cause of peace, progress, and prosperity, we can rely in the future as we have in the past on the support and the understanding of the United States of America.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda of Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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