Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toast by the President at a Dinner Given in His Honor by President Garcia

June 15, 1960

Mr. President, Mrs. Garcia, and distinguished guests:

There are some of you at this dinner that attended a somewhat similar occasion in this very spot just a bit over 20 years ago. There was a despedida given to my wife and me by President Quezon. It was both a joyous and a sad occasion. Two things had happened. Europe was at war, and most of us believed that the United States could not prevent itself from getting embroiled. So by agreement with President Quezon, I went back to the United States, and I was very happy that I was to be given the opportunity to help prepare, Mr. President, our country and its forces for the coming struggle.

The occasion was also sad, because we were leaving so many other friends that we had formed through 4 years of intimate association with them, working with them and playing with them.

Now I want to call your attention to those 20 years, not to review merely the record that history has written about them in science, in literature, in construction, and all the marvels of men's genius that we now enjoy. I want to point out the pace at which we are now moving.

We had already achieved trans-Pacific air transport in 1938 or something of that kind, but those boats were flying boats and they could move only in daytime, they tied up at night and they were nothing at all like the later transports--the Constellations and the DC-7's and so on. They were followed in turn by the jets. And now the companies advertise that their jet is faster and faster--and possibly soon we will be going from breakfast to one spot in order to have dinner the night before in another, because in such fashion we will outrace the earth's movement.

Electronics was something only discussed in the laboratories by scientists. Our whole system of communications, of transport, and aids to aviation have all been developed in these 20 years.

And now let's think for a second of the time from Cleopatra to Napoleon. In all those centuries the pace of transportation never once moved forward. The ancient Egyptians had chariots, and while sailing ships had achieved some improvement, we were still dependent upon the wind to get across the oceans, and the horse or the camel was our best transport on land.

I think we should stop and recognize how this pace let's say the curve of civilization--has leaped forward in leaps and bounds in these very few years. Even if we go back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, we still have a pace that, compared to the prior years, was like taking a race horse and comparing it to a snail.

This means, I think, that the years in front of us are going to be just as dramatic and are going to witness the same kind of changes we have in the past 20. I think that any individual here would have to have a bold imagination to sit down this evening and try to write out for himself what are going to be the achievements in the several sciences and arts in the coming 20 years.

President Garcia spoke of the need for preparation, and of the people he pointed out that won't fight and who are never prepared. We must fight. But above all we must be prepared. And I do not mean to fight wars as we have understood that.

Weapons have now come upon the scene that make war as we have understood it in the past a complete absurdity and really impossible and preposterous. They mean, in short--if used in the profusion that prophets sometimes predict--really the destruction of civilization as we know it. This cannot be.

And yet, with all of these changes certain to come upon us, we must keep a steady mind and a steady heart. We must keep a steady purpose. We must look forward to those next 20 years, and we must be ready with every reasonable idea and conviction and faith that we can bring to bear, as we confer with our friends and even those that are hostile to us, to make certain that this world does not become so badly out of balance that only catastrophe can result.

When I talk about these dire possibilities, I do not mean to be pessimistic. I am quite sure that there was never in war a battle won by a pessimist. We must be optimists. But optimism by no means should beget complacency.

I believe that the time for working harder, more thoughtfully, in more dedicated fashion, is now with us. We must strengthen our spiritual powers in a deeper faith in the Almighty. We must dedicate ourselves more to the ideal of peace, not a peace of surrender, not a peace of appeasement--a decent, reasonable peace, permanent and with justice for all.

We must train ourselves--we must look to our educational processes, and in this way, though we may not in those 20 years--since that is the space I have chosen to speak about this evening--we must not for one moment give up this effort to induce those hostile to us to see things in a better light and to follow with us the path of reason.

But at the very least, we must make certain that associations among us--and by among us I mean all friends of freedom, the people that believe in the dignity of man and his rights under and given to him by the Almighty--these are the ideals in which we must bind ourselves closer together than ever before. And if the mighty forces that are available in all the free world will so bind themselves, will so dedicate themselves, will so work unremittingly, then no matter whatever may betide, we cannot be in danger. It is merely, as I see it, up to us.

Now the point of my remarks is this: over these 60 years we have gradually achieved better and better relations between our two countries-between the Philippines and the United States of America. Today I think they are stronger and better than they ever have been before. But I think they are not yet good enough. Because we must work as brothers, not as two people sitting across the table and arguing to the point that we can say there can be no agreement. We must have agreements, and they must be achieved in such a way as to satisfy the sense of reason and logic of both sides. Then we will go further and further forward, and we will be one element in that mighty team in the free world of making certain that peace with justice and in freedom will be a reality.

I cannot tell you how deep my faith is that this will come about, and one of the greatest factors in the development of this belief and this conviction and this faith is our association, our work with and our friendship between the United States and the Philippines.

So it is with a sense of, really, obligation to a great nation and its head that I ask this company to rise with me to drink a Toast to my friend, the President of the Philippines.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 9:48 p.m. at a dinner at the Malacanang Palace.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toast by the President at a Dinner Given in His Honor by President Garcia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234698

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