Gerald R. Ford photo

Toast at a Dinner Hosted by President Park Chung Hee of the Republic of Korea in Seoul

November 22, 1974

Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I am greatly honored by this occasion and appreciate the gracious hospitality you have accorded us this evening.

The warmth shown by the Korean people exceeds even that which I remember from my previous visit to Korea--this very hospitable land.

I am very, very much impressed by the dynamism of the Korean society, the energy and vitality of the Korean people, and the charm and the beauty of the Korean women.

Mr. President, I wish that I had more time to see not only the impressive landmarks of the Korean miracle of material progress but also the famous historical shrines of your great country. On another day perhaps, Mr. President, my wife and myself and our family can come, and certainly we would like to return.

Mr. President, it was a great pleasure to meet the leaders of many sectors of the Korean society here tonight. In particular, I am pleased to see the Speaker and the other members of the National Assembly, including representatives of the various major political parties.

Having spent, Mr. President, a quarter of a century of my life in the parliament, or our Congress, I place a great value in the legislative process of a representative government.

I came to your country, Mr. President, to demonstrate America's continued determination to preserve peace in Korea, in Asia, and throughout the world.

Koreans and Americans were friends in war. We will remain friends in peace. America seeks world peace for the good of all and at the expense of none. Today, Mr. President, I enjoyed a rewarding and a very inspiring visit with your people. I also drew great encouragement by meeting with the armed forces of our American troops in which all of us take such great pride.

I pledge to you, Mr. President, that the United States will continue to assist and to support you. Our .relationship and our dialog will continue.

We live in a time of new international realities and new opportunities for peace and progress in Asia and elsewhere. President Park, your statesmanlike initiative in opening a dialog with the North contributed constructively to efforts to find a peaceful and just solution to the Korean problem. With the perseverance and with the courage so typical of the American (Korean) people, I trust you will prevail in this effort.

Let us recognize the new world in which we all live. Let us envisage the interdependence of all nations--large and small. When we plan for such new international problems as energy shortages and financial crises, the United States considers the interests of all nations. We will continue to consult with you in common interests and in common problems.

America has great confidence in the people of Korea, just as we have great confidence in ourselves in America.

Mr. President, I am here on a mission of peace. It is my deepest hope that the entire world will lift its gaze and broaden its vision. I have said before, but I repeat here tonight, I would rather walk a thousand miles for peace than take a single step for war.

Mr. President, the relationship between our two peoples was first formalized as long ago as May 22, 1882. The preamble to that treaty spoke of permanent relations based upon amity and friendship. We have proven that by more than diplomatic phrases. Our relationship has endured through war and through peace.

The welcome you accorded me today is symbolic of our very close ties. It demonstrated the great strength of the friendship between our two peoples. I was greatly touched, Mr. President, by the outpouring of good will from the countless thousands and thousands of people who greeted me so warmly. Their cheers, I am sure, were not only for me as an individual but for the United States of America and our 213 million of which I have the honor to represent.

I wish to thank every Korean that I saw today on behalf of all of the American people.

Today, I visited a very beautiful cemetery and the monument to the brave Koreans who fell in battle. They fought side-by-side with Americans. And let the continued friendship of our two nations pay tribute to the memory of the supreme sacrifices of your courageous men and our own.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to rise and to join me in a toast to my distinguished host, President Park, and to the great people of the Republic of Korea.

Note: The President spoke at 9:12 p.m. in the Banquet Hall at the Capitol Building. No transcript was issued of President Park's toast.

Gerald R. Ford, Toast at a Dinner Hosted by President Park Chung Hee of the Republic of Korea in Seoul Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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