John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to the Prime Minister of the Somali Republic

November 27, 1962

Mr. Prime Minister:

I want to express our very warm welcome to you, both personally and also welcoming you as head of your country. This is the first visit of a head of state from Somalia since your independence in 1960, and it is also, Prime Minister, a particular pleasure to welcome you, who played such a significant role in winning the independence of your country and maintaining that independence in the inevitably difficult days that follow the transition from foreign rule to self-rule.

We're glad to have you here, Prime Minister, because your country occupies a most important strategic area on the horn of Africa. It faces the same kind of problems that we faced in the early days of our independence, and we are anxious that the relations between the United States and Somalia be as intimate and close as possible.

Separated as we are by geography and history, we also find a sense of kinship to your government which, in its separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature and the Judiciary, bears a resemblance to the balance of powers which we have felt in this country best insures the liberty of the individual, democratically elected and maintained government. Naturally, as the leader of that government, you find a particularly warm welcome, I'm sure, Prime Minister, here in the United States.

We are very proud to welcome you, and I want you to know, Prime Minister, that in these days when all of us are concerned with the maintenance of national sovereignty and the opportunity of a better life for our people, we are particularly heartened to have you visit us. Prime Minister, you are welcome.

Note: The President spoke at 11:45 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Prime Minister Abdirascid All Scermarche was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President, I have the great pleasure to convey to you and to the people of the United States the warmest greetings from the President of my country, from the government, and the people of the Somali Republic. I wish, sir, to thank you for your kind invitation which made it possible for my mission to be here today, and I am looking forward to our meeting, which I am sure will contribute to the creation of good relations between our two countries.

This is, as you said, Mr. President, my first visit to the United States, but I knew a great deal about your Nation since my earlier days. In fact, it is common knowledge in my country that the United States obtained her independence by prevailing against colonialism. This has endeared us to you, for we, too, have had to struggle from colonialism.

I wish to thank you once more, Mr. President, for the great hospitality with which we have been received since our arrival in the United States.
Thank you.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to the Prime Minister of the Somali Republic Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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