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Toasts of the President and President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico at a Luncheon Honoring President Nixon

August 20, 1970

Mr. President, our distinguished guests, Your Excellencies:

I wish to express on behalf of all of us who are the guests of you, Mr. President, and your Government, our appreciation for the words you have spoken and for the welcome you have given us.

We were particularly touched by the welcome we had as we drove through the streets of this very old, but very unique city, one that I am sure will be an attraction for tourists all over the world.

What particularly impressed us was not simply the numbers, which certainly were very great when we consider the size of this city, but as the President said, it is sometimes possible to order people to come out. It is not possible to order them to smile.

We feel that when we come to this area, with the great capital city of Guadalajara, that we come in a sense to the heart of Mexico. The music, the dance, all of the other art, that is to many of us related to Guadalajara, reminds us of how much this State means to Mexico and to the world.

Mr. President, I am sure that all the members of my party would agree that of the many countries in the world which we have visited--and Mrs. Nixon and I have now visited over 60 countries officially and unofficially--we have never had entertainment, dance, music, and song which could surpass what we heard here which came from Guadalajara and from this State.

Mr. President, we know, too, how much effort went into the arrangements for this visit, the flags along the street, and we noted particularly the little donkeys along the street on either side of the road.

There are some who believe that a trip by the President to a foreign country might have political overtones, as we approach an election. Your welcoming us with a few donkeys shows that this is a completely bipartisan trip.

I can assure you, Mr. President, in that spirit, speaking both officially and speaking on behalf of the people of the United States, that I bring from the heart of America, from people of my party, of the other party, from all Americans, their deep affection, their respect for this great country with which we share a border of 2,000 miles.

We deeply regret that Senora Diaz Ordaz could not be with us, but we remember our meeting a year ago, and we are so delighted that your daughter could be with us here today. I would naturally expect that she, being your daughter, would have very great political sensitivity. But I had it brought home to me when I showed her the delightful and unique place card, which I had at my place, and I asked her what it was, whether it was a donkey or a horse. She said it was a horse.

I understand from Foreign Minister Carrillo Flores that all effort was made, of course, to be sure that there were no partisan overtones in this fact. He said a call was made to the American Embassy to see if there could be some proper balance, and the American Embassy couldn't furnish any elephants for the line of route.

Mr. President, these facetious references to our political battles in the United States allow me to emphasize again the point that I have mentioned earlier. We in our country are deeply grateful for the friendship that we have had with not only this nation as a government but the people of Mexico.

The thousands of Americans who each year come to Mexico come back with a very warm place in their hearts for this country and its people, just as my wife and I have had such a place in our hearts since we were here 30 years ago.

The fact that we are good friends, however, does not mean that this should be taken for granted. And the opportunity that we have had, and will have now, on two occasions within the space of a year, to talk about matters in which we have a mutual interest and work them out in a friendly way is one that should always characterize the relations between the United States and Mexico.

The relations between our two Governments are friendly, but those relations are even more friendly, Mr. President, because the personal relations between the two men who serve as President of our two countries are friendly on a personal basis.

Mr. President, as you near the end of your term, I think you should be very gratified by the crowds that were on the streets today. As I heard them shout your name, as I saw them smile, as I saw their affection, I realized that the people of Mexico were trying to tell me, as well as you, that they had been fortunate to have as their leader, as President of this country for 6 years, one of the great men of this hemisphere.

Mr. President, in the last 6 years I think it can be said that never have the relations between the United States and Mexico been more close, more cooperative, more friendly with mutual respect. And for that reason, I think it is most appropriate that all of us rise and raise our glasses to the continuation of friendship and respect and cooperation between these two great countries in the Northern Hemisphere and to the health of the President of Mexico and Senora Diaz Ordaz.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 4 p.m. in the Hotel Delfin in Puerto Vailaria, Mexico in response to President Diaz Ordaz' toast.

President Diaz Ordaz spoke in Spanish. A translation of his remarks follows:

His Excellency, the President of the United States of America, Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

These people that you have had the opportunity to see in the streets of Puerto Vallarta are but the representation of the people of Mexico.

You have landed in Mexico on the soil of Jalisco, the State chosen by the father of our country to abolish slavery in 1812 this State that gave a General Santos Degollado and a General Ramon Corona to fight against the intervention of a foreign army and to reinstate the Mexican Republic; this land which gave brave and loyal soldiers to the revolution, which gave an Orozco to painting and an Azuela to literature; this land of men, hardworking men, who work with enthusiasm and live with joy; this land which gave us our national dance, El Jarabe Tapsrio, the Mexican Hat Dance, its songs, and whose artisans have such hands that can shape clay as very few others can; men who have worked hard and have managed to place their State among the first in the development of our country and who are proud of their great capital, the city of Guadalajara; these people of Jalisco, as I said before, are but the representatives and the representation of the characteristics and of the qualities of this noble land of Mexico, these noble people of Mexico, and people who have one of those qualities of which we are proud, manliness, which is translated into loyalty and virtue.

It was this people who went out on the streets of the beautiful Puerto Vallarta to welcome you, Mr. President, and you, Mrs. Nixon, with an open heart, with open arms, and with a smile of friendliness; this people that know how to be friends and ask from their friends in turn only loyalty and reciprocity. And straggling against all sorts of adversities we have managed to, little by little, overcome some of the traditional obstacles that we have had and we are about to join the current of progress. We are considered susceptible but we know how to live in peace with the rest of the countries of the world. We ask to be respected because we know how to respect others, but we hope that we will be loved because we know how to love other peoples.

To this people of which I form but an insignificant part and which has so warmly greeted you at the airport, I want you to know, Mr. President, that I feel unworthy of their warm greeting and I feel that you are most worthy of it.

In the ride into town, I expressed to you, Mr. President, that you had been far too generous with me when you have made me the object of expressions which I really did not deserve. When you came here 30 years ago--and from that visit fond memories were born for you today--when you came here, I say, as you told us at the airport, two important things were brought home to you. You told us that you noticed the difference in development between the Mexico of today and the Mexico of 30 years ago--and it is true we are a different people.

But you also pointed out to us that there is one thing that had not changed, and that is the cordiality with which visitors were received, and with that same cordiality we want to send to the people of the United States, through you, Mr. President, our own cordial salutations. With this salutation goes our confidence that these myriad of problems which necessarily exist between two neighboring countries can be always solved within the bounds of mutual respect and mutual confidence which are so necessary.

Respect, right, friendship: These are the three pillars on which our relations can be ever more cordial. These are the pillars that can permit a constant dialogue so we can understand the problems of each other and solve them within the spirit of friendship which is so necessary for the relations between our two countries.

As an expression of this friendship, I ask you to rise and toast to the prosperity, to the felicity of the peoples of the United States of America and of Mr. and Mrs. Nixon personally, who we hope will ever be our friends and will someday again return to Mexico as our friends.

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

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