Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan

November 19, 1969

Mr. Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen gathered here on the South Lawn of the White House:

It is a very great honor for me, not only in my official capacity representing the American people, but also personally, to welcome you, Mr. Prime Minister, to the United States again.

This is your third visit to the United States but this is indeed an historic day. As we meet here this ceremony is being carried live by television to millions of people in Japan as well as people in the United States.

And at this same moment millions of people all over the world can see two Americans from earth walking on the face of the moan.

The magnificent welcome which was given to our astronauts when they visited Tokyo just a few weeks ago is an indication of the ties that bind our two peoples together. Today, as we look to the future of the Pacific, we recognize that whether peace survives in the last third of the century will depend more on what happens in the Pacific than in any other area of the world. And whether we have peace and prosperity and progress in the Pacific will depend more than anything else upon the cooperation of the United States and • Japan, the two strongest and the two most prosperous nations in the Pacific area.

In this period, Japan, which has the fastest growing economy of any major country in the world, will play a key role. That is why our talks are so important, because we must discuss those areas of cooperation where our two peoples and our two Governments can work together for our common goal of peace and prosperity for the whole Pacific area.

Mr. Prime Minister, I believe that these talks will very probably be the most successful talks that have been held between representatives of our two Governments going back over many years. I say this not only because the talks have been well prepared by both sides but also because we have the good fortune not only of being official friends but personal friends.

Just a few yards to the south of us at the Tidal Basin, we can see the cherry trees that were presented by the people of Tokyo to the people of Washington many years ago. There is a Japanese proverb that "There are no strangers under the cherry blossoms." This is not cherry blossom time, but I can assure you that as we meet today we meet as friends-official friends, personal friends--working together for the peace, the friendship, and the prosperity that both of our countries want.

Note: The President spoke at 10:13 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Eisaku Sato was given a formal welcome with full military honors.
See also Items 449, 452, and 453.

The Prime Minister responded in Japanese. A translation follows:

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

I am deeply touched by your kind words, Mr. President. Having visited Japan six times, you understand our country as she really is better than any previous American President, and I am heartily delighted to have this opportunity to call on you at the White House.

The timing is perfect for me. I am grateful for my good fortune to be able to stand on this platform right after the successful landing on the moon of Apollo 12, which has so closely followed the historic feat of Apollo 11, and express my profound respect and heartfelt congratulations to you and to the American people.

The relations between Japan and the United States are becoming increasingly closer in recent years, and it is my earnest desire to strengthen further the relationship of mutual trust and friendship between our two countries through my talks with you.

The purpose of my present visit here is, as you already know, to solve the Okinawa problem, the biggest issue pending between Japan and the United States, and thereby lay a foundation for the new Japanese-American relations of the 1970's. I am convinced that the ties of mutual trust and friendship binding the peoples of our two countries are strong enough to make it possible for us to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to this problem.

Cooperative relations between Japan and the United States are assuming ever greater importance for the maintenance of world peace and stability in the fluid international situation. Especially in Asia, where there are a number of developing countries, our two countries are expected to play a role of their own in concert with each other for the economic independence and stabilization of people's livelihood of these countries. I would like to take this opportunity to have an unreserved exchange of views on various matters of common interest to our two countries with you, Mr. President, and with other leaders of your administration.

I am confident that the talks between our two countries, with a similar social system and a common conception of values, at this time when we are about to greet the 1970's, will bring about a substantial effect upon the peace and progress of the world.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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