Gerald R. Ford photo

Toast at a Reception for Nongovernmental Dignitaries

November 20, 1974

Mr. Tashiro, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a very high honor and a very rare privilege for me to have the opportunity of joining with all of you on this occasion.

The trip by me as the first American President in office coming to Japan has been a memorable one--one that I shall never forget. The opportunity to meet with Their Majesties, the opportunity to meet with your high government officials, the opportunity to share some thoughts with the members of the Diet, the opportunity to have a governmental exchange at the highest level is, of course, of great significance.

It has been my experience in 25 years of political life, when I served in the House of Representatives, to work hand-in-glove with other Members of the legislative branch and, of course, in later years as a member of the leadership, to work with the legislative and the executive branch. And of course, in the last 13 or so months, I have had the opportunity of serving in two offices in the executive branch.

I have learned, over a period of 26 years serving in the Federal Government, that all wisdom, all support for policies doesn't necessarily come from government, but primarily from people in nongovernmental organizations and individuals who are not directly connected with government itself.

And as I understand it, this group here on this occasion is a nongovernmental group of Japanese and Americans who have spent a great deal of your time working together in a nongovernmental capacity to support a greater unity between our country, the United States, and your country, Japan. I compliment you, and I thank you. Your contribution is of tremendous significance.

Governments, themselves, can't do it. Decisions can be made at the government level--and in our societies, that is essential. But if those decisions are not supported, if those decisions are not explained by people in positions of responsibility in nongovernmental areas, it is impossible for those decisions to be successful. I learned that early in my career in politics. I always could be more successful in working to find a solution if I had the support not only among politicians but by those people, whether they were in management, in labor, in education, in local government.

So, I am deeply grateful for what you have done in the past, and I strongly urge that you continue these efforts in the future, because the Japanese Government and the United States Government, after the 2 days of talks we have had, yesterday and today, are embarking on a stronger unity, a stronger program of helping both in the maintenance of peace and the stimulation of prosperity. And this is what we want in Japan and in America and what we want for the rest of the world.

And so, what you do is of tremendous significance. What you do in explaining to the thousands of Americans who are here in Japan, what the Japanese who are here can do to explain to the millions of Japanese will not only be better for Japan and the United States but will be better for the world.

And I congratulate you, I thank you, and I wish you well. And may I offer a toast at this point to the Government of Japan and the millions and millions of Japanese.

Note: The President spoke at 5:08 p.m. in the Heian Room at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo. In his opening remarks, the President referred to Shigeki Tashiro, chairman of the board of the Toyo Rayon Co., Tokyo.

Gerald R. Ford, Toast at a Reception for Nongovernmental Dignitaries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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