John F. Kennedy photo

Toasts of the President and Crown Prince Hasan of Libya

October 16, 1962

I want to express our very warm welcome to our distinguished guest who has been kind enough to come from his country to ours on his first visit to the United States. He proceeds from here to San Francisco, and then to New York. No distinguished visitor to this country ever asks to go to Boston or Austin. The Vice President and I are getting reconciled to that, with some difficulty.

Your Highness, though I suppose most of us here have not been to your country it has played a part in our history. The "Shores of Tripoli" are well known to all of us. And I think it's a source of historic interest that your country and people, which are probably the most ancient in the known world, should also be in a sense the oldest people and the youngest country.

The country of Libya and the United States have enjoyed the closest of relations. They've been very fast friends of ours. And I want Your Highness to know that in these very difficult days we're very appreciative to those who are our friends. The hospitality which you've shown my countrymen, those who serve in the military forces as well as those in civilian capacities, has been very-is well known here, and is warmly appreciated.

So we regard the visit of Your Highness as of both symbolic and real importance, symbolizing the friendship between Libya and the United States, and also giving us an opportunity to discuss those matters which concern both of our countries. Your Highness, we're very glad to welcome you here, to welcome the Foreign Minister, the Minister of Development, other members of the government. We're particularly glad to have your Ambassador here, who has been a distinguished member of the diplomatic corps and who is highly regarded by us all.

I hope that all of you will join in drinking with me to the prosperity of the people of Libya, to our warm welcome to our distinguished guests, to His Highness, and to the good health of his majesty the King.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his response (through an interpreter) the Crown Prince assured the President that the relations between their countries were strong. "We hope," he added, "that as a result of my visit to your country these relations will be further strengthened and that the affection which exists between our people and your people as well as the cooperation which exists between them in the different and various fields of endeavor will continue to grow stronger."

He concluded by expressing hope that an exchange of views with the President would play a significant role in further establishing the principles of justice and peace throughout the world.

In his remarks the President referred to Wanis Qaddafi, Foreign Minister of Libya; Abdullah Sikta, Director General of the Development Council of Libya; and Mohieddine Fekini, Ambassador to the United States from Libya.

John F. Kennedy, Toasts of the President and Crown Prince Hasan of Libya Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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