Gerald R. Ford photo

Toast at a Luncheon Hosted by Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan in Tokyo

November 19, 1974

Mr. Prime Minister, Excellencies, gentlemen:

The reception that I received upon arriving in Japan and the warm reception received during the day today is further proof of the great hospitality that the Japanese people have for the Americans.

This very kind and gracious hospitality, this warm reception is typical of the attitude of the Japanese Government and the Japanese people. When I stopped in anchorage on the way to Japan, the last words I said to my fellow Americans were that although Japan and the United States were separated by the broadest of oceans, they were, on the other hand, the warmest of friends.

Mr. Prime Minister, you spent many years in your parliament, and I spent better than 25 years in the Congress of the United States. I have a great liking for the Congress. I called it my home outside of the home.

I can't speak with any personal relationship to the Congress a hundred plus years ago when they were alleged to be lacking in civilization, but I would have to say in defense of the Congress today: Whether I agree with what they do or not, they are better behaved. [Laughter]

Let me assure you, Mr. Prime Minister, that Mrs. Ford deeply regrets that she is not with me on this trip. She had long looked forward to visiting Japan, meeting the Japanese people, and she is terribly disappointed that it is impossible for her to be here on this occasion. I spoke with her on the telephone this morning. That didn't help any, because of her desire to be here. But I can say that she is here in spirit if not in person, and she will come on some other occasion.

Mr. Prime Minister, the United States is a nation of citizens with many backgrounds, many ancestries. Some of our very finest citizens have a Japanese ancestry. We are proud of the tremendous contributions that they make to a better America. We are proud of them because of the significant contributions they have made to our culture, to our industry, to our trade, to our education, and to our government.

Mr. Prime Minister, the dialog that we began in Washington and which we have continued here in Tokyo indicates that we have many, many basic ties and many areas of common purpose. We have many problems, but the frank and open discussions that we have had and will continue to have involving areas of prosperity on a worldwide basis and peace on a global basis are beneficial to your country and to ours and to the world as a whole.

Our two countries, by working together, can significantly contribute to world peace, and we will. Our two nations, cooperating with one another, can make a significant contribution to prosperity in both of our countries and to the world at large.

Mr. Prime Minister, we must discuss and coordinate our economic policies in an era of energy shortages and some international monetary crises. We must work together in order to produce and distribute, make available the need of mankind for food throughout the world.

Mr. Prime Minister, we must join together in helping those nations throughout the world that are less fortunate than we. We have in the past, and we will expand those efforts in the future.

In contemplating these problems, the expansion of peace and the betterment of the world economically, it is good to know that we can discuss the issues and problems in an attitude and an atmosphere of mutual understanding in a spirit of good will.

Mr. Prime Minister, let us join in a toast which honors the friendship and the collaboration between our people and our nations. This is a characterization of what is good for all and in the best interests of each.

To Japan.

Note: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. No transcript was issued of the Prime Minister's toast.

Gerald R. Ford, Toast at a Luncheon Hosted by Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan in Tokyo Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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