Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's Toast at a Dinner in Honor of General Ne Win of Burma

September 08, 1966

Chairman Ne Win, Madame Ne Win, distinguished guests:

Today every man--no matter where he stands--stands in the center of the world. And we Americans, who want to reduce the distance between friends, believe that no man comes from so far off that he cannot find a welcome among us.

So today we welcomed you as a guest in our country.

And tonight we welcome you as a guest in our home.

About you tonight, Mr. Chairman, though you have come from halfway across the world, you see old friends--and you see others who have a deep interest in your country and want to know it better.

For most of us, Burma has traditionally been a land of beauty and serenity, of golden temples, elephants, deep forests, and precious gems. But we know that behind that exotic exterior, your country is a land of hardworking people whose goals are very similar to ours.

We are both family people. We love our children and we believe in living in peace with our neighbors--provided they stay on their side of the fence, and out of our melon patch.

As nations, too, we share common dedications: to national independence, to progress, and to peace.

Both our countries emerged from a colonial past and treasure independence all the more for that. Both have been blessed by Providence with a bountiful land.

On the world scene, we both place high value on the just resolution of international differences and on the search for universal peace. This search has led us along different paths--for our situations and our responsibilities have not been the same.

But the ultimate goal is there--one in which we both can share.

For our part, I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that just as we shall never shirk our responsibilities, so shall we never fail in our efforts to find a secure and just peace.

For the present, the problems of our world place burdens upon us all. And we must be prepared to live with them until all nations have finally become convinced that aggression and terror have no place in human society.

The day of peace will eventually come-a day when all nations will be able to live in their own way, free from threat and fear. When that day arrives, we shall be able to devote all our talents and resources to the war against the real enemies of mankind-poverty, sickness, and illiteracy--in a vast cooperative effort.

Thus shall we raise the hopes and enrich the lives of people throughout the world.

Meanwhile, tonight in this room, we are among friends. And we should, for the moment, put aside our cares and. concerns and enjoy each other's company.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to rise and join me in a toast to His Excellency, General Ne Win, Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of the Union of Burma.

Note: The President spoke in the Family Dining Room at the White House at an informal dinner honoring General Ne Win.

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

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's Toast at a Dinner in Honor of General Ne Win of Burma Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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