Harry S. Truman photo

Toast of the President at the Dinner in Honor of the Shah of Iran

November 16, 1949

We are very happy this evening to be hosts to His Majesty the Shahinshah of Iran--a wonderful country historically, and a wonderful country in the modern sense. That country was our ally in the late world war. Had not Iran opened its gates and given us the opportunity to assist the Russians at the proper time, there is not a doubt in the world but what the whole burden of World War II would have eventually been on the United States of America.

We are very grateful for that assistance which your great country furnished us at that time.

We have always been friendly to this cradle of history, this country about which Daniel said, "The laws of the Medes and Persians they are not altered." By that Daniel meant not that the laws were unalterable, but that the Medes and the Persians believed in keeping their contracts.

We have been dealing with a great power that does not believe in keeping its contracts. Iran believes in keeping its contracts. The United States of America believes in keeping its contracts. When we make a treaty it is not a scrap of paper. It is intended to do just what it purports to do. It is an agreement which we expect to carry out. And that is the tradition and the theory of your great country.

I have just been having a conversation with His Majesty, in which he has been discussing a fair deal for Iran. It sounds like my St. Paul speech!

I want to say to you, Your Majesty, that the Government of the United States is represented here at this state dinner tonight. We have every cross-section of it. We have the Cabinet, and the Foreign Relations Committees of the legislative bodies of the Government. You are now looking at the people who make the clock tick in the United States.

I hope you will have a pleasant and an enjoyable visit in this country. We all want to contribute to your pleasure and to furnish you with every information you may desire. You are at liberty to talk with anybody you please. You are at liberty to see anything you want to see. You will not be hampered by a police guard, unless you want it. And you will have to ask for it, if you do want it. We will try and make it most pleasant for you in all our great cities, and I hope you will have the opportunity to see whatever you want to see in the United States of America.

Ladies and gentlemen, to His Majesty, the Shahinshah of Iran.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a state dinner held at the Carlton Hotel in Washington. The text of the Shah's response was not released by the White House.

Harry S Truman, Toast of the President at the Dinner in Honor of the Shah of Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/229773

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