Harry S. Truman photo

The President's Toast at a Dinner in His Honor Given by the Foreign Ministers of the Latin American Republics

April 07, 1951

Thank you very much. I can't begin to express to you my appreciation for your courtesy and kindness in honoring me tonight at this wonderful dinner. I don't think I have ever seen a Statler Hotel dining room set up in a more beautiful and perfect manner than it has been set up for this occasion this evening.

I want to pay tribute to the orchestra. They played those Viennese waltzes, and one of my daughter's songs, "Cielito Lindo," which she sings at nearly every concert. Tonight she is in Corpus Christi, Tex., and will sing a program there on Monday afternoon. I also enjoyed that tango immensely.

Now, Your Excellencies, it is difficult for me to express the full measure of my gratitude for the tribute to me. And I take it that this tribute is to the country and to the President of the United States, and not to me as an individual. You will have to remember that the President of a great country--and all your countries--represents the people, and that you honor him not as an individual--as a private individual--but as the head of a state. And I appreciate that. I thank you in all sincerity on behalf of the people of the United States.

I say to you that our Nation is profoundly appreciative of the honor and the great privilege of having you as distinguished guests on this great and historic occasion.

I thank you, Doctor, for your moving tribute to the spirit of my country. There is little I can say to amplify Dr. Tello's eloquent statement of what our Americas stand for. As your spokesman, the doctor is my spokesman, too, in expressing the spirit of the Americas, that "permanent, moral reservoir of the human race, always available to all the free peoples of the earth."

Tonight, I think that all the free peoples of the world will feel that they can draw even greater strength from this Western Hemisphere reservoir. The work which you have completed today in your Fourth Meeting of Consultation, exemplifies the ability of free nations to recognize the grave threat to their common security, and to take measures to meet it.

International communism, by subversion, threats, and aggression, seeks to crush and undermine and finally destroy the independence of the Americas, and to impose an alien rule on our lands. We can't let that happen here.

In recognition of that evil intent, we have come together. And today, in the signing of the final act of your meeting, you have proclaimed that the American Republics and their peoples will act in concert to mobilize the moral and spiritual, military and economic strength for the defense of this hemisphere. Further, you have affirmed our common determination to aid freedomloving peoples everywhere who work for the defeat of Communist tyranny.

That is proof of the vitality of free men and their institutions. All of us must carry out the programs of emergency cooperation which you have so promptly and wisely advised. It should be carried forward in the same way they were conceived, in an atmosphere of good will and equality.

And, with God's help, we shall and we will persevere until we attain victory in a world where free men can enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live together as good neighbors.

And good neighbors we are. And good neighbors we will continue, from now henceforth; and we hope that we can set an example for the rest of the world, and make all the world good neighbors, with not a single enemy in it.

May I offer a toast to all the American Republics, and to the heads of all those American Republics, and those of you who are gathered here tonight.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a dinner at the Statler Hotel in Washington on the evening of the final day of the Fourth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of American States. Dr. Manuel Tello, Acting Foreign Minister of Mexico, delivered the principal address of the evening.

Excerpts from Document 145, the Final Act of the Fourth Meeting, are published in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 24, p. 606).

Harry S Truman, The President's Toast at a Dinner in His Honor Given by the Foreign Ministers of the Latin American Republics Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230390

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