Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks of Welcome at Union Station to President Segni of Italy

January 14, 1964

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson and I are delighted to welcome you, Madame Segni, your distinguished Foreign Minister, Mr. Saragat, and other members of your party to the United States.

You, Mr. President, are no stranger to this country. indeed, we are not strangers to each other. The United States has had the honor of welcoming you before as a leading Italian statesman who served with distinction as the Italian Republic's Premier and Foreign Minister.

Personally, I will never forget the warm hospitality that we received on my visit to Rome in the fall of 1962 and then again last summer when I attended the funeral of Pope John.

Our ties with the Italian people go back several centuries--to the discovery of America itself. The close association of our governments and our peoples is an important political fact of life in this half of the 20th century. There are living today in our country millions of citizens whose blood is Italian and whose contribution to the building of this Nation has been large.

Together, our governments and our peoples share many common interests not only in fighting poverty but in improving the lot of ordinary men and women everywhere.

So we join also in strengthening the security of the free world and in seeking to brighten the prospects for world peace for our time and for all time to come.

So, again, Mr. President, let me say how pleased we all are that you have been able to come here at this time and what a great personal pleasure it is for Mrs. Johnson and me to receive you, your wife, Foreign Minister Saragat, and the other members of your party as our guests and as our friends.

Note: President Antonio Segni responded as follows:

"Mr. President, it is with deep emotion that I return to this great country which is united to Italy by so many ties of history, civilization, and blood.

"A great Italian, less than 5 centuries ago, united the American Continent to the Christian civilization of Europe. From that day, the histories of the two continents have been interwoven through many events which have brought into being this country, which is great because it is free, and because it has been faithful to the principles of freedom through the entire course of its history, ever since the representatives of the young American States, on the fourth of July, 1776, signed the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington took the lead in the war of liberation.

"George Washington not only was an outstanding statesman in war and peace, but above all he was the champion of all those American statesmen who by their deeds have constantly shown their faith in liberty--embodied in the fundamental acts of this great people--and a spirit of personal self-denial for the sake of the community.

"Therefore, my thoughts go to the late President Kennedy who gave his life for the defense of those ideals. His generous and bold image is among those that left a mark on our times and brightly enlightened our future. In remembering him with deep emotion, we renew our pledge to continue along the path which he has shown us, and to carry on his task in the defense of liberty, social progress, and peace,

"This solemn pledge lends a special meaning to my meeting with President Johnson whom I am extremely pleased to see again after the talks I had with him and his distinguished aides in Rome.

"This meeting takes place at the beginning of a year in which we will be confronted with old and new problems, almost invariably not easy to solve; but in solving them we must not forget that, first and foremost, our task is to insure the advancement of our common civilization. This makes it necessary, therefore, to intensify the amplest consultations between the governments of the countries which are inspired by the principles of freedom, justice, and democracy, and which defend these principles on a common frontier of ideals and policies.

"I believe that the talks we shall have on this occasion will be devoted, above all, to the two everlasting problems of peace and liberty and to the means to assure our peoples that peace shall not mean surrender of the essential principles of our liberty, and that liberty shall be based upon the respect of the dignity of man. These are the ideals to which the peoples of the United States and Italy are especially dedicated.

"The practical problems of the strengthening of the Atlantic Community will find their place in this framework, together with those concerning the casing of international tension, the development of European unity, the expansion of economic relations between free countries, and the assistance to new nations.

"It will be an open and friendly exchange of ideas from which we may expect an ever-growing coordination of our entire action aimed at safeguarding peace, domestic and international freedom, and an increasing prosperity for all peoples.

"In this spirit, I wish now to extend my warmest thanks to the President of the United States who, through his invitation, has enabled me to return to this hospitable American soil for a visit that takes place under the auspices of the closest friendship and the full solidarity of our two countries."

In his opening remarks, President Johnson referred to Italy's Foreign Minister, Giuseppe Saragat.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks of Welcome at Union Station to President Segni of Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives