John F. Kennedy photo

Toasts of the President and President Somoza of Nicaragua at a Luncheon at the Ambassador's Residence in San Jose, Costa Rica

March 19, 1963


I want to again express, on behalf of all of us, our great appreciation to our hosts, the Presidents of the Central American Republics, and the President of Panama.

If there is anything that has been made clear by this visit, it is the strong sense of interdependence which must exist between all of these countries of Central America and Panama, and between the United States. Last night, President Ydigoras said that the economy of Central America had not fully recovered from the recession of 1960. Every difficulty or every success we have in our negotiations on the trade bill with Western Europe will affect either for good or for bad the economy of this section of the hemisphere. Every action we take through the world has its implications for the life of the people who live here, and so do the efforts which you Presidents of Central America and Panama make to improve the life of your people and to solve the social problems which press upon you. Every success you have increases the security of the United States and the hemisphere.

So if there is any theme which I think this conference best expresses, it is the common dependence we have one upon another. And I must say, speaking, I know, on behalf of all the Americans who came here, that sense of dependence is also strengthened by a sense of confidence as a result of these meetings, and a realization of a common viewpoint we all have towards the challenges we face.

Now, we will leave tomorrow and go back home and continue our work. In the meanwhile, I would ask you all to join with me in expressing our warm esteem and appreciation to our guests, the people of Costa Rica, to our hosts, the Presidents of Central America and Panama, and our very best wishes for their continued good health. Mr. Presidents.

Note: Responding in English, President Somoza welcomed President Kennedy to Costa Rica on behalf of the Presidents of Central America and Panama. "Yesterday," he stated, "you saw thousands of people cheering for you, for your country, and what your country represents to us, the Central American people. In the hearts of those people you could not see the hearts of the people of Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Panama, but all our people were there also, cheering for the United States and what the United States represents in the free world."

President Somoza added that the Central American Presidents had found President Kennedy to be friendly and humane. "We believe," he continued, "that all the problems put forward to him will be solved . . . because President Kennedy has the same spirit which accompanies us, the spirit to try to solve something in favor of our free people."

In his remarks, President Kennedy referred to President Miguel Ydigoras of Guatemala.

John F. Kennedy, Toasts of the President and President Somoza of Nicaragua at a Luncheon at the Ambassador's Residence in San Jose, Costa Rica Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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