John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to the King and Queen of Afghanistan

September 05, 1963

Your Majesties:

It is a great pleasure for me on behalf of the people of the United States to welcome you to this country for the first time.

You have borne the responsibility of leadership in your country for many years, and it is a great source of satisfaction to all of us that you should journey halfway around the world and visit the United States.

Even though Afghanistan and the United States are separated by a good many thousands of miles, by history, by culture, by religion, I do think, Your Majesty, that we share one great, overriding, overarching conviction, and that is the strong desire of both of our peoples to maintain their independence, to live in freedom, and to look to the future with hope.

You have committed your country, as it has been throughout its history, to the maintenance of that national independence and sovereignty, and it is a source of pride to us that it has been possible for the United States in some small ways to join you in that great effort.

So, Your Majesty, though the rain may come down, I can assure you of a very warm welcome in the hearts of all of my countrymen.

Note: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where King Zaher was given a formal welcome with full military honors. In his response King Zaher expressed appreciation for the warmth of the President's greeting and for his kind and friendly thoughts concerning Afghanistan, Queen Homaira, and himself. He conveyed his countrymen's greetings to the President and to the American people who, he said, shared with his people "our love of liberty and our belief in the inherent dignity of man."

The King concluded by expressing the hope that his visit, to which he had long looked forward, would "serve to strengthen the already friendly ties between our two countries, which I assure you are highly regarded by our people and by the Government of Afghanistan."

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to the King and Queen of Afghanistan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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