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Toasts of the President and President Nyerere of Tanganyika

July 16, 1963

Mr. President:

I want to express our very warm welcome to you, Mr. President, and to the Foreign Minister, to your representative at the United Nations, to the other members of your Government to the White House and to the United States.

I think that history will record this past decade in Africa as really one of the most astonishing bursts of human energy, human initiative, and responsibility that I think the world has ever known. Empires which were built up over hundreds of years were liquidated in a compressed period of time, and the leadership which arose out of those old colonial empires has proved to be a progressive and in nearly every case attempting to develop in their own countries a better society and more productive life for their people.

The President of Tanganyika has been one of the leaders in that astonishing movement, and he has kept in mind three or four objectives and purposes which he has either seen materialized or he is confident, I think, with good historical backing will materialize. The freedom of his own country in which he was the leader, a liberal society in his own country open to all, nonracial and forward-looking, he has worked for the unity of East Africa and he has worked for a free Africa from the North to the South. All of these great historic trends with which he has been so identified are moving towards fruition, and while the task before him and the other leaders of Africa are monumental-building a new, free society, educating their people, providing jobs for them, doing all the things which are necessary in this very changing and dangerous world--I think the President of Tanganyika deserves a high place not only in his own country and in Africa, but among all of us who wish to see the United States associated with what has been this great trend towards national independence and within each national sovereign unit personal independence.

So, Mr. President, we are very glad to have you here. The guests at this lunch come from all parts of the United States. Their presence here, I think, indicates the strong commitments that I think all Americans feel about self-determination, about individual liberty, about national independence, and about progress for all people. This is what the United States stands for in the best sense. We are short of our goals, but it is where we are going, and we are proud to welcome from the other side of the waters and almost from the other side of the world a leader who is doing in his own country what we are trying to do here.

I hope all of you will join me in toasting to the good health of the President of Tanganyika and the people of Tanganyika.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House at 1 p.m. In his response President Nyerere expressed his appreciation for the understanding the United States had always shown for Tanganyika's problems. He associated the United States with freedom, he said, and with great leaders of the world who, like Abraham Lincoln, have influenced many African leaders. "Your country was built... on great idealism," he said. "So are the countries that we are trying to build in Africa .... "

"We have been engaged," he continued, "in a great revolution. It has taken an incredibly short time to free Africa. At the end of the last World War, nobody would have imagined that by 1963 we would be talking about the problems of southern Africa, but now we are talking about merely the remaining problems of southern Africa. The rest of Africa is free, and we are now engaged in the next task which must follow ... and that is the raising of the standard of living of our people."

President Nyerere stated that he was aware that the leaders of countries like the United States and the U.S.S.R. had great responsibility for the maintenance of the peace of the world. "When we come and add more problems, it is not because we don't realize that you have a lot of responsibility," he added, "but it is because we know that you shoulder that responsibility with understanding, and that we know that you are doing the very best you can to see that freedom is respected everywhere."

In his opening remarks, President Kennedy referred, in addition to President Nyerere, to Oscar Kambona, Minister for External Affairs of Tanganyika, and Chief Erasto A. M. Mang'enya, Tanganyika's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

John F. Kennedy, Toasts of the President and President Nyerere of Tanganyika Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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