Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's Toast at a Dinner for Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag of Denmark

April 27, 1966

One of my countrymen has said that although he never really expects to see Heaven, it is all right--because he has seen Denmark.

Mr. Prime Minister, I have not seen Heaven either. But I, too, have seen Denmark. So I know what to look forward to. Or, at least, what to hope for.

We have a saying in this country that good things usually come in small packages. This is not easy for a native of Texas to admit. But when we look at your own country, it just can't be denied.

What most of the human race still seeks and prays for in the future is already part of Denmark's history.

In so many ways, you in Denmark have been a shining example for the rest of the world to follow. We in America are proud of our free public schools. But Denmark's public schools were a reality while ours were still only a noble ideal.

We are proud of our recent achievements in caring for our sick and providing for our aged. Yet, we are really only acquiring today what you have had for nearly a century.

We are today engaged in a great national effort to improve our American cities. We want to make all of them places of health and beauty, as well as convenience. And when the doubters and the critics tell me that it can't be done, I say to them: Go look at Copenhagen.

Above all, your countrymen--the descendants of the Viking warriors--are now leaders in the world's desperate search for lasting peace.

One of your Danish authors has rightly written: "Look at us, follow our example; learn from our peaceful civilization . . . See how we, who not so many centuries ago were at war with each other, have reached the point where we consider war an absolutely ridiculous and antiquated method of settling disputes. But as a rule no citizens of the great nations • • • listen to these shouts because practically speaking nobody there understands our language."

Mr. Prime Minister, let me assure you that we Americans do understand your language. For it is also ours. It is the language of peace. And it calls for a world where men can say of every nation what they now say of yours--

"And her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace."

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you King Frederik and Queen Ingrid.

Note: The President spoke in the State Dining Room at the White House.

As printed above, this item follows the advance text released by the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's Toast at a Dinner for Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag of Denmark Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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