Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Maiwandwal of Afghanistan
Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
I am very happy, on behalf of all Americans, to welcome you back to our country, Mr. Prime Minister, and to this Capital City that you know so well.
All of us will remember that you came here before as the Ambassador from your country. Today you return as Prime Minister. We are very .proud that a good friend who lived among us has found time to pay us a cordial visit in the position of great trust and distinction which you now hold.
Mr. Prime Minister, Afghanistan is far from us in miles and hours as we meet here this morning. But for us it is no longer a distant, far-off, remote place.
Countless Americans have come to know your country and to know your people.
President Eisenhower was your guest. Their Majesties King Zahir and Queen Homaira are warmly remembered by all of us for their visit here in 1963.
Ambassador Pazhwak is our good neighbor in New York where he now serves as President of the United Nations General Assembly.
So we meet today as friends. We live on opposite sides of the globe, yet we have much in common:
--Your land, like ours, has a strong tradition of freedom and independence.
--Your people, like ours, cherish diversity while they seek unity in mutual respect and justice.
--You, like us, are experimenters in the art of government and social reform.
--And we share a common dedication to peace, and to the ideal of a world community based on freedom.
Mr. Prime Minister, these are only a few of the ties which bind our nations and our peoples together. Historically, the relations between our countries have been very close and cordial. Today they are warmer than ever before. It is a very great honor and privilege to have you with us to discuss an even more productive future.
We are so happy that you could come to our land.
Note: The President spoke at 11:38 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Prime Minister responded as follows:
I wish to thank Your Excellency most sincerely for your warm words of welcome and kind expressions of friendship towards Afghanistan.
First, I have the honor to convey the heartfelt greetings of my sovereign, King Mohammad Zahir, to you personally and, through you, to the Government and the people of the United States of America.
His Majesty recalls with the greatest of pleasure and satisfaction the cordial hospitality accorded to him and Her Majesty, Queen Homaira, during their memorable state visit to the United States in September 1963.
For my own part, I wish to thank you for inviting me to make this visit to the United States which I remember so fondly from my two previous official assignments in this country.
It will afford me a welcome opportunity to meet and talk with you, Mr. President, as well as other officials and citizens of the United States, including many old friends.
Although a considerable geographic distance separates our two countries, our common belief and devotion to liberty and respect for the inherent dignity of man has bridged this distance.
I am confident that my visit will serve to strengthen and promote the friendly and cultural relations which so happily have prevailed between Afghanistan and the United States since the establishment of formal ties in 1943.
I find it an interesting and noteworthy coincidence that the day before yesterday, my first full day in the United States on this visit, marked the anniversary of the signing of the historic agreement in Paris 31 years ago establishing diplomatic and consular representation between our two countries for the first time.
It was during these years that Afghan students began coming to the United States for higher studies, and the flow has increased steadily through the years since then.
Also over the past 20 years many Americans have been coming to Afghanistan to assist our country in its economic development, along with specialists and technicians of other countries and the United Nations.
Afghanistan is engaged in an all-out effort to develop its economy while at the same time modernizing its political and social institutions.
Our people deeply appreciate the assistance which the friendly countries, including the United States, have contributed to these goals.
Afghanistan follows a policy of active nonalignment, and is determined to exercise its free judgment in international affairs.
It endeavors wherever possible to serve the cause of international peace and the rights of nations and peoples in the firm belief that only in peace can the progress of all nations, including Afghanistan, be assured, and that international understanding is the best way of insuring human prosperity throughout the world.
My Government is strongly dedicated to working for reform in the economic, political, social, and cultural affairs in the country.
I am looking forward, Mr. President, to friendly exchanges of views with you and other members of your Government in the hope that they may contribute to the achievement of the peace and prosperity for which we and our peoples strive.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Prime Minister Maiwandwal of Afghanistan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237812