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The President's Toast at a Luncheon Honoring Visiting Danish, Italian, and British Leaders

June 22, 1967

Mr. Prime Minister Krag; Mr. Prime Minister Moro; Mr. Foreign Minister Fanfani; Foreign Secretary Brown; Mr. Vice President; Mr. Chief Justice; Members of the Court and the Cabinet; distinguished Members of the Congress; Senator Fulbright, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Mr. Morgan, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; General Wheeler; ladies and gentlemen:

Senator Mansfield has asked me to request the Senators to leave in time to be at the Senate Chamber at 3 o'clock. So in order to avoid any misunderstanding, I don't want to create the impression that the reason that Senator Dirksen leaves my table rather abruptly is because he doesn't like what I am saying or he doesn't like what I feed him.

But I am going to depend on Senator Dirksen--as the coleader of the Senate-at the appropriate time to give the signal. I am sure, as you usually do, all of you will follow him.

We are very grateful, though, that the Members of the Senate would join us on such short notice. I did not know until yesterday that we could have this group here together today. It has been hurriedly arranged.

I apologize for not giving you more time, but I know you can understand the problems of a grandfather.

But the pace of change in our time is almost too swift for men to comprehend or to really adjust to it. Two days ago, I was a parent--only a parent. Yesterday, my role changed drastically; I became a grandfather.

I did not seek that high office, but now that I have been chosen, the path of duty is dear--and I shall serve.

And at this moment of great and critical change, I am blessed with the presence of good friends and strong partners in this house. My own happiness is the greater because you have come here today to share your strength and your friendship with us.

I recognize that other events, Mr. Prime Ministers, Mr. Foreign Ministers, have brought you here--events that threaten the peace and challenge the intelligence and forbearance of all nations.

This is not the first time we have faced a crisis together and it will not be the last. We have weathered past storms, because we have consulted and because we have acted together, and we shall weather this storm for this very same reason.

Each of us must play his part in helping to build a permanent peace in the Middle East. I said on Monday that the main responsibility for the peace of the region depends upon its people and its own leaders.

What will be truly decisive in the Middle East will be what is said and what is done by those who live in the Middle East. There may well be helpful roles for others--the United Nations or outside mediators--but I said that we are ready to see any method tried. We believe none should be excluded altogether.

I have appealed to all to adopt no rigid view. For our own part, we have promised that the Government of the United States would do its part for peace in every forum at every level at every hour. I know that you share our eagerness to help find the path to peace in the Middle East. We value this chance to hear your views on how it may be found.

Our responsibilities are very great and so, of course, are our opportunities. We think-and we work--and we act, not only for the millions whom we serve at this moment, but for their children and those who will come after them.

I can tell all of you that I am more acutely aware of this now than ever before, now that I have achieved grandfatherhood. I would like to help make a world for young Patrick Nugent and his contemporaries--in every land--that will be safer, more prosperous, more hopeful, and certainly, more peaceful by far than the world that I have inhabited.

So working together--and reasoning together-and planning together--being patient and understanding together, I believe that we can achieve such a world.

So just as I am grateful to you statesmen who have come from across the waters, I am grateful to the leaders in the field of foreign affairs and relations in our Congress, in our courts, in our press and others who have come here today to help me honor these leading spokesmen of great nations.

So now I should like to ask you to join me in toasting the King of Denmark, the Queen of England, and the President of Italy. The King, the Queen, the President.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 2:19 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Jens Otto Krag, Prime Minister of Denmark, Aldo Moro, Prime Minister of Italy, Amintore Fanfani, Foreign Minister of Italy, George Brown, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States, Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States, Senator J. W. Fulbright of Arkansas, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Representative Thomas E. Morgan of Pennsylvania, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As printed this item follows the text released by the White House Press Office.

Prime Minister Krag responded as follows:

"Mr. President, allow me--first of all--to express my gratitude, sir, for giving this luncheon today.

"All our guests around these tables know how hospitable you are. Once again, we enjoy the honor and pleasure of being with you in the White House. It has been a period of some very hectic weeks in international politics for all of us, but inevitably, the burdens fall most heavily on the shoulders of the great powers.

"We all marvel at the way in which you carry your great responsibilities, Mr. President.

"I should like to say that it is a great comfort for all of us to know that the United States, under your leadership, is steering a course of moderation and reconciliation in the present situation in the Middle East.

"No doubt the coming months will present us with a multitude of international problems. It is our hope that the climate of good will and common sense will prevail eventually.

"I can assure you, Mr. President, that the three European governments represented here will do whatever is in our power to bring this about.

"We all know that yesterday was a very important and happy day in your life and for Mrs. Johnson, because your daughter Luci gave birth to your first grandson. I am sure he will have the same high qualities as his grandfather.

"On behalf of the three European nations being guests here, I would like to propose, ladies and gentlemen, that we all toast the President of the United States."

During the day the President met for discussions with Prime Minister Krag, Prime Minister Moro, Foreign Minister Fanfani, and Foreign Secretary Brown. A report on the meetings was given to other correspondents by Forrest Boyd of the Mutual Broadcasting System (3 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs., p. 909).

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's Toast at a Luncheon Honoring Visiting Danish, Italian, and British Leaders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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