Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Vice President Yen of the Republic of China

May 09, 1967

Mr. Vice President, Mrs. Yen, honored members of the Chinese Government, distinguished guests:

We welcome you today, Mr. Vice President, as a leader of a very gallant and resourceful nation.

We always value our exchanges with your Government. We welcome this new opportunity to benefit from your views on world affairs, especially on the developments in East Asia.

The example of the Republic of China encourages and inspires us all.

We all know how you have staunchly maintained your independence far out on the frontier of aggression. Less well known is how constantly and how vigorously your people have worked to achieve that economic level which alone can make long-run freedom a reality.

Once the economic outlook for Free China was very dim. But your people were determined to apply their wisdom and their skill, and the United States was prepared to offer assistance.

Today an admiring world witnesses these results:

--Since 1952, your per capita gross national product has doubled.

--Since 1960, your exports have tripled

--Today, you have one of the highest standards of living in all Asia.

History will surely note, Mr. Vice President, your impressive personal role in these achievements and your nation's role in helping the family of nations upward to new dignity and to new hope.

You have given vital substance to one of your oldest and wisest proverbs:

"Give a man a fish, and he will eat a meal. But teach him how to fish, and he will eat forever."

That philosophy, that wisdom, and that compassion have made the Republic of China a model for many lands. Your people have taught men of different cultures many valuable lessons--particularly in those regions where there is yet no winner in the grim race between population growth and food supply.

They can look to Free China for evidence that this race can be won for humanity. In the past 10 years, your population growth rate has dropped from 3.5 percent to 2.7 percent, while your food production has increased by almost 6 percent.

Mr. Vice President, your successes have been many and have been great, and it has been our privilege to share some of them. But our sense of common achievement was greatest when, in 1965, I was able to tell the Congress that Free China no longer needed American economic assistance.

The Republic of China, strong itself, is now able to contribute to the development of other countries. Through your Project Vanguard, some 500 agricultural technicians are now assisting 23 nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Another 100 technicians are helping South Vietnam with its agricultural, electrical power, and medical problems. You are also doing your part in the Asian Development Bank, which promises so much for all the people of Asia.

Mrs. Johnson and I shall never forget the delightful visit we had to your country 6 years ago. We are delighted that you could come here and be with us today.

Your great philosopher said what is in our hearts when he asked, "Is it not delightful to have a friend come from a far place?"

So, Mr. Vice President and Mrs. Yen, we take great pride and pleasure in welcoming you to our land. We hope that your visit here will be one that you will enjoy and remember.

Note: The President spoke at 11:40 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where Vice President C. K. Yen was given a formal welcome with full military honors. In his opening words he referred to Vice President Yen, who also serves as Prime Minister of the Republic of China, and Mrs. Yen. Vice President Yen responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson:

First of all, allow me to express my appreciation for the honor that you, Mr. President, have done me, in inviting me to visit your great country. I again thank you for all the complimentary remarks you have made on me and also on my country, the Republic of China.

My wife and I are deeply grateful to you, Mr. President, and to Mrs. Johnson, and to all those who are here today.

I have brought with me the very warm greetings of President and Madam Chiang Kai-shek and of the people of the Republic of China to you, Mr. President, to Mrs. Johnson, and to all the people of the United States of America.

The people of my country still cherish with very endearing remembrances the visit which you, Mr. President and Mrs. Johnson, made to my country in 1961.

It was during the course of your visit that your country and my country reaffirmed their common determination to fight for and to extend the frontiers of freedom and democracy in Asia.

Ever since that time, while the dark forces of communism have been stemmed in some parts of Asia, it was this great country of the United States of America which has chosen to honor its commitments by responding very resolutely and very heroically against aggression and for the preservation of peace and freedom in my part of the world.

As an ally and a free nation, the Republic of China is proud to pledge its support to the noble cause which the United States is upholding.

The traditional ties of friendship between your country and mine have had a very long standing and have withheld many trying times and many trying events.

The present visit of mine to your country, I hope, will afford me the opportunity of learning from the wisdom of your thinking, Mr. President, and also of discussing with you many problems of common interest, with particular reference to those problems which are now existing in Asia.

I also am looking forward to the opportunity of meeting with many leaders in your administration, with Members of your Congress, and with citizens of your country in many walks of life.

I am sure this visit of mine will further cement the very strong ties which have already existed between our two countries and will also serve to enhance our mutual understanding and strengthen our friendship.

Again, Mr. President, I take this opportunity to thank you for your kindness and for the honor that you have bestowed upon me.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at the White House to Vice President Yen of the Republic of China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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