Gerald R. Ford photo

Toasts of the President and President Echeverria of Mexico at a Luncheon in Tubac, Arizona

October 21, 1974

Mr. President, distinguished guests, friends:

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to have our distinguished guest here in Tubac, Arizona, and to reciprocate on this occasion for the warm welcome that he and the people of Mexico gave to me and to the American people during the day, which was an unbelievably pleasant, warm, and just a wonderful opportunity to be together.

I am most grateful to you, Mr. President, for having suggested that we meet in Magdalena de Kino for the meetings that we had during the day. Your sense of history, your understanding of the great role that Father Kino played in the history of this part of the world, made it an ideal setting for the discussions that we had on very important matters.

Mr. President, the Jesuit priest whose statue is in the United States Capitol and whose statue is in the state capitol of Sonora and the capitol of Arizona, lived and worked here almost three centuries ago. His efforts gave the first great stimulant to progress among the people of this part of the North American Continent, and we are all proud of his contribution to this flourishing part of our Nation as well as yours.

Mr. President, with the horse, the cross, and the plow, he explored this area of your country as well as ours. He not only served his faith, Mr. President, but he also introduced agriculture, livestock to the inhabitants of this area. And all of these ingredients, Mr. President, are vital to the progress of your country as well as ours.

Father Kino lives in the memories of those in the town that we visited this morning. On both sides of the border we owe him a very great debt of gratitude. The heritage of Father Kino is an inspiration for all of us to continue the work that he started three centuries ago.

Mr. President, as I am sure you realize, I am a great believer in personal dialog. I believe that the straight talk that you and I had today contributed significantly to a better understanding, greater cooperation, and greater potentialities for your country as well as ours.

Mr. President, we had straight talk today with openness and candor, and as a result, it seems to me that the relationship between your country and mine has increased very significantly.

Your great patriot, Benito Juarez, said over 100 years ago, and I quote: Respect for the rights of others is peace.

And this relationship that has been built between Mexico and the United States is built on that foundation which is solid rock.

Mr. President, we have discussed a number of very important issues and we have done it with openness and candor, and the spirit that we discussed these matters, I think, will be the foundation upon which we can continue the dialog-a dialog that will be beneficial to Mexico as well as to the United States, to Latin America, and to the world as a whole.

Mr. President, we are greatly honored to have on the soil of the United States the President of Mexico and his official party. We believe that the relationship between us will grow from this beginning under my Administration and during your time as President, and we will work together to build a better and better world in this hemisphere as well as throughout the globe.

May I offer a toast to the President of Mexico and to the people of the great country of Mexico and to the growing and improved relationships between our people, our country, and you and myself.

Note: The President spoke at 4:20 p.m. at the Tubac Country Club.

President Echeverria spoke in Spanish. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President of the United States of America:

I believe, Mr. President, that among the many important points of agreement that we have reached during this very brief visit, but a very intensive one, we can mention the enormous success of this visit.

The cordiality, the expressions of welcome and affection with which you have been received in Magdalena and in Nogales, we all know would have been the same whatever part of the country you would have visited.

It is not only the fact of the coexistence between Mexicans and North Americans and United States citizens that intensifies the bonds that bring our two countries together. It is not only the relationship that exists on the two sides of the border. It is the fact that throughout all our history, the American history and the Mexican history, we have been able to bring up our problems very openly, we have been able to foster and foment our friendship.

When you and I, Mr. President, explored the different possibilities of meeting along the border area, we decided to meet in this vast region which was at that time a desert and which Father Kino discovered and civilized.

Father Kino's untiring work, Father Kino's great foresight and vision and all his dedication are examples that are to be followed in the work that needs to be done in this very vast desert area in which we are at present.

In researching the work that was done by Father Kino, many students of the United States and many students of history of Mexico participated, and similarly, to the way in which they joined forces and participated, we can join forces in order to solve the problems of the United States and of Mexico.

May I say out loud, Mr. President, that to deal with you personally is very gratifying; that, very simply and very directly and fully informed, you take up the most complex matters; that you do not elude the problems with a great many high sounding phrases: and that it is easy to perceive that you are embued with good faith in our bilateral relations, and that this will be beneficial for an international life which every day becomes more complex throughout the world and which makes it necessary for political leaders to contribute with the greatest intelligence and experience and all of their good will.

We know that the world is living through very difficult times and that it is only through the spirit of understanding, of frankness that we can transcend these difficult times so that they will not become too long.

And Mr. President, I do believe that if in the future the problems and all other matters that should come up are to be dealt with as we have dealt with our problems today in this border area, we will have done a great deal to lighten our burden and to solve these problems.

Mr. President, it has been a great pleasure for me to meet you personally, to dialog with you, Mr. President, in the direct and clear manner in which you speak, not only from conviction but also because this is your way. And in Mexico, we have no doubt that this is a very, very favorable sign so that the friendship between the two countries will become deeper and will continue into the future, strengthened, vigorous, and without ever being blemished.

Gentlemen, I offer a toast to the health of the President of the United States and of the friendship of the two countries.

Gerald R. Ford, Toasts of the President and President Echeverria of Mexico at a Luncheon in Tubac, Arizona Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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