Lyndon B. Johnson photo

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

January 12, 1965

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Secretary of State:

On behalf of the American people it is a great personal pleasure for me to welcome you to our country and particularly to our Capital City.

For our land and for yours and for all lands everywhere this new year is a year of high hope and a year of rare opportunity. It is for that reason that we are especially glad to welcome you as our first visitor of this year.

In nearly half of the nations of this earth, Mr. Prime Minister, new leaders even as you and I are beginning a time of new service. In the last 14 months more than 50 governments have had a change in leadership of their governments.

This is a rare and hopeful moment for mankind and certainly its promise must not be lost. Together the world's leaders must serve the will of the world's peoples by working for lasting peace and by working for meaningful progress in the development and the improvement of all humanity.

Here in the United States as we look to the east and to the south we are reassured and sustained by our membership in the Atlantic community and the community of the Americas. Yet today, Mr. Prime Minister, I want to tell you and I want you to carry this message to your people: we look equally to the west, to the Pacific family of man and to the goal of Pacific partnership. Our investment in Pacific trade, in defense, in development is vast and that investment is growing each day. Our most populous State happens to be now a Pacific State.

Japan is a keystone of Pacific partnership. The people of Japan whom you represent have combined what we think are extraordinary economic successes with a fierce devotion to the democratic processes. In honoring you and honoring your people we pledge afresh our commitment to that partnership.

First, partnership in the challenging tasks of nation building and international cooperation.

Second, partnership in the defense of free nations that seek our assistance.

Third, partnership in the unrelenting pursuit of peace for all mankind.

Under conditions of conflict the full promise of the Pacific is denied to all its people. Under conditions of peace that promise is boundless.

Mr. Prime Minister, I want to assure you this morning that the United States of America has no higher goal on its national agenda than the achievement of lasting peace with freedom for all the nations of the Pacific. We have much to discuss together in the next few days while you are here as our guest.

For 20 years the United States and Japan have forged bonds of common purposes. Now this morning you come to America when historic forces of change are at work in the Pacific region. Those forces will of course affect the destiny of both of our nations and that is why I think your visit is so well timed and that is why your visit is so deeply important.

Our opportunity is to build out of our common past a new understanding between our respective peoples with which to approach our common future together.

So in this spirit, with the hammers of the inauguration in the background and in the snow in the frontground, all America welcomes you to this first house most warmly.

Note: The President spoke at 11:23 a.m. on the North Portico at the White House. Prime Minister Eisaku Sato responded as follows:

"Thank you very much.

"Mr. President, Mr. Secretary of State, distinguished participants in this very warm welcome on a brisk winter's day, thank you for the cordial reception you are extending to me and my party and for the privilege of this early opportunity to meet and discuss with you matters of mutual concern.

"The fact that I have come here at this time at the beginning of the new year when the demands of public office are exerting their greatest pressures for you, Mr. President, as well as for me, is eloquent proof of the importance and necessity of our present encounter.

"We meet, Mr. President, as leaders of nations in search of new approaches to our common goals. During the past few months certain events of significance have occurred on the international scene. The force they exert on the course of world affairs compels us with fresh urgency to address ourselves not merely to the matters of our mutual relations but to issues of global import as well.

"On my present visit, Mr. President, we shall be exchanging views upon wide ranging subjects of vital mutual concern. I shall hope to take up with you many of the problems in United States-Japan relations and I shall hope to consider them with you not simply on a bilateral basis but also from the broader perspective of the positions of our two countries in the Far East and in the total world context.

"I anticipate a very close, free, and forthright series of discussions. It is my belief that only through direct personal exchanges of this kind between friendly nations can we hope to deal adequately with the rapidly changing world in which we live. With this in mind I seek to present to you, Mr. President, my frank assessment of the recent events affecting world stability and world peace.

"I feel confident, Mr. President, that we shall emerge from our discussions with a better understanding of what is at stake and where the guidelines for our future course may lie.

"Thank you very much."

The President's opening words referred to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato of Japan and Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

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

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