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Toasts of the President and President Diaz Ordaz at a Luncheon in Mexico

September 08, 1969

Mr. President, Senora Diaz Ordaz, Your Excellencies:

On this occasion I first want to express the grateful appreciation of all of the members of the American party for this superb luncheon that you have extended to us.

We came here for what was described simply as a ceremony, the dedication of a dam. But with your flowers, the music, the dancing, and also with your words, you have touched our hearts.

We want you to know that as we meet here in Mexico, this happens to be the first visit that I have paid as President of the United States to any of the countries in Latin America. It is right that this should be so, because of our long association in the past and also because it has afforded an opportunity for us to discuss some of the problems on which our mutual thinking can be helpful to find solutions.

This is the first occasion that I have had to meet and talk with the President of Mexico, and I found in him a kind man, a compassionate man, and a very wise man in his understanding of the problems of the people of the world.

I hope that this will be only the first of many discussions that we will have on the problems on which we can work together.

Now, on this very happy occasion and very festive occasion, I would like to add a personal note. One of the songs that was presented a few moments ago by the group that presented the record to us was composed on the Both wedding anniversary of President and Senora Diaz Ordaz just 2 years ago. Two days from now they will celebrate their 32d wedding anniversary in Mexico City, and on that occasion their son will be married.

Mr. President, we appreciate your taking the time to come here to greet us on this occasion, but with the wedding coming up, even where it is the mother of the groom, we particularly appreciate Senora Diaz Ordaz coming here. I can only say, from recent experience, had it been the mother of the bride, that would not have been possible at all.

That allows me to refer to the fact that in the official background that was prepared for me for this visit, it was pointed out that I had visited Mexico on three previous occasions: in 1952 as Vice President-elect when I attended the inauguration of [Adolfo Ruiz] Cortines as President; in 1955 when I was on a visit to Mexico and to Central America, when I traveled as Vice President; and in 1967 when I was received very warmly and graciously by several of those here, including Mr. Carrillo Flores1 as a private citizen.

But the official background left out the two most important things. In 1940, my wife and I visited Mexico for 2 weeks on our wedding trip. In 1965 we returned again on our 25th wedding anniversary with our two children, and again spent a week in Mexico.

I say this only to indicate that from all the words that we have spoken to date, you can be sure that the new administration has a strong feeling of affection for the Government of Mexico, and for the people of Mexico.

But on my part, and speaking also for my wife, that feeling is not just official; it is very personal for reasons that I have now described. Mexico has a special place in our hearts and you can be sure that in all the years ahead we shall look forward to more visits like this, either here or in Washington, or perhaps even in California.

Now I would ask you all to rise and to raise your glasses to the continued friendship of the people of Mexico and the people of the United States, and even more important, to the President of Mexico, to Senora Diaz Ordaz, to their happiness in all the years ahead and to the happiness of their children.

1 Antonio Carrillo Flores, Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Mexico since 1964.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:30 p.m. in the Banquet Room at El Mirador, Coahuila, Mexico, in response to a toast by President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz. President Diaz Ordaz spoke in Spanish. The translation follows:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

In the very real conversation President Nixon, Mrs. Nixon, and myself have had, President Nixon has been kind enough to accept the invitation we have made to the three astronauts who went to the moon to start their trip around the word in Mexico.

Thank you very much, Mr. President. We will make our best efforts to receive these three intrepid heroes as they deserve to be received.

Thank you also because you permitted us to participate in a way, because the astronauts definitely left the messages of other countries-among them Mexico--which now remain forever in this natural satellite of ours.

I repeat our heartfelt congratulations to the Government and to the people of the United States for this most extraordinary of all time and epic voyage, and our warmest homage to those three men who went to the moon, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins, whose names will be repeated by schoolboys throughout the rest of time.

The United States gave proof of its greatness when it achieved this great triumph, but it became even greater when they understood it and accepted it as a triumph of all humanity.

In that moment, in millions of men throughout the earth, a new sentiment of human immortality was born, when Armstrong put his foot on the surface of the moon.

It is impossible to understand today individual feats such as Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic alone. Behind these three men there were those of others, scientists, technicians, workers, and not only the efforts of those who directly participated in making this trip possible, but when they were alone up in the heights, they were accompanied by a sentiment of solidarity by humans throughout the world.

I toast to the people who made this feat possible. I toast the people of the United States on their road to liberty and prosperity in my own name and that of Mrs. Diaz Ordaz and that of the Government officials and visitors who accompany me. I toast this great people in the person of President Nixon, who is here beside me, and Mrs. Nixon.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and President Diaz Ordaz at a Luncheon in Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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