Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toast of the President at a Luncheon Given in His Honor by King Mohammad Zahir.

December 09, 1959

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Gentlemen:

First of all, Your Majesty, I should like to thank you very sincerely for the graciousness and generosity of your remarks concerning my country and me personally. More than this, I should like to say a word of thanks for the invitation that made it possible for me to come here to meet Your Majesty, members of your government, and these gentlemen.

So, before I propose a toast to Your Majesty and to your people, I should like to express a few thoughts that are on my mind at this moment.

First, I must express my tremendous respect for the Afghan people; for their integrity, courage, and hardiness, well-proven by history and renowned throughout the world. These qualities, more than anything else, ensure the independence of the Afghan nation.

Second I should like to take note of the desire of the Afghan people for peace and harmony among nations. When all are of a like mind, men will be able to dedicate themselves, not to the building of weapons of destruction but to the ennoblement and enrichment of life.

I wish also to express my admiration for the industriousness and enterprise of the Afghan people. They are determined to share in the dynamic achievements of our time; to enjoy the life which modern science and engineering makes possible today.

The peoples of America and Afghanistan share a steadfast determination to protect and defend their independence and heritage. Because we respect your independence as we do our own, we participate with you in mutual security measures.

We Americans are proud of your advances on the path of economic, educational, and social progress. We are happy that we have been able to assist you even in a small way.

Most importantly, we share with the Afghan people a sense of the great spiritual values deriving from our respective religious heritages. We are drawn together in devotion to the abiding values of religion.

From these values, Afghans and Americans derive a full appreciation of the dignity of man. Without this appreciation, we cannot cope with the problems of our time. With it, we shall be able together to advance the cause of freedom and peace among nations, now and in the future.

And so, I propose a toast to the King--may he continue to enjoy good health and well-being and the benign guidance of the Almighty; and to the people of Afghanistan, may they never falter in their steadfast determination to maintain their honor and independence. May they march ever forward in peace, progress, and prosperity.

Note: The luncheon was held at Chilstoon Palace.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toast of the President at a Luncheon Given in His Honor by King Mohammad Zahir. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234834

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