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Toasts of the President and President Suharto at a State Dinner in Djakarta

July 27, 1969

Mr. President, Mrs. Suharto, all of these very distinguished guests this evening:

I first wish to express on behalf of those who are your guests from the United States our grateful appreciation for this beautiful dinner and also for the kind remarks that you have just made about our country, and particularly about our astronauts whose great feat, as I mentioned earlier today, we considered as one that was beyond the achievement of a nation, but which belonged to all mankind.

Also, on this occasion I realize that the position that I am in is a unique one-one that will not come again--because since I am the first American President ever to pay a state visit to Indonesia, the next American President who comes here will not be in the position I presently find myself in.

Consequently, I would like to respond to your very gracious remarks by trying to relate our policy as I understand it to the hopes and desires of your great people.

You have spoken very properly of the fact that we in many ways have similarities in background; the fact that we both were once colonies and had revolutions.

Ours is older than yours by almost 200 years, but we went through many of the same problems that your nation has gone through and is going through today. And because we are a nation that has an immense interest in all the developments in the world, we have followed what has happened in Indonesia. We have followed it because this is one of the major countries of the world. What happens here, the future of the 115 million people of Indonesia, will have an enormous effect on the future of peace in the Pacific and, therefore, on peace in the world.

We, therefore, are interested in Indonesia for that reason, but we are also interested in Indonesia for another one, because those of us who have had the privilege--a privilege that I have had---of visiting this country, of knowing your people, realize how rich this country is in its resources and, more important, how rich it is in its people.

Today, again, we were reminded of that wealth as we visited the Djakarta Fair. We saw many, many people. But we saw represented there, too, all of the country, the customs and the culture of the past, and the diversity of this country which gives it such wealth.

But we saw also the plans for the future--the exciting 5-year plan which your Government has initiated.

As I thought of those things, the past and the plans for the future, I realized that our country is privileged to play a part with you in helping to achieve those plans, those ideals, and those goals. I say privileged, because sometimes we think of the assistance that we provide to other countries as being a burden. I do not consider it that way.

As I see it, only when it is mutually helpful to us both is such assistance something that either of us would want.

As I consider Indonesia and all that it means to peace in the Pacific and in the world, as I consider the possibilities for progress in this country in the years ahead---possibilities that probably are as exciting as for any nation in the world today--then I realize that the United States of America should welcome the role of being of some assistance in achieving that goal.

Let me be also quite precise in another respect.

You referred in your remarks to the fact that when our astronaut first set foot on the moon that he uttered the historic words that it was: "... one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." And so it was.

But you also very appropriately referred to the fact that here on earth too often the steps for mankind are very, very small, if at all.

That is why, as we consider your country, all the countries of Asia that I will visit, we will be thinking of how those steps can be larger; how they can become, finally, a giant leap for mankind on earth at a time that we have made a giant leap for mankind in expanding his knowledge beyond the earth--toward the heavens.

I would like to say in this connection that we have admired, Mr. President, your policies--admired them because, as we study 'the history of nations, it can truly be said that while a revolution is very difficult--difficult and costly in men, in treasure, and in lives--that many times the more difficult part of a nation's development is what comes after a revolution: that hard, daily drudgery of building again after the revolution has necessarily destroyed some of the institutions of the past.

So we see you engaging in that task, you and your colleagues represented in this room today. We saw evidences of it at the fair, and your 5-year plan.

I have seen it quite precisely in an issue that we are trying to deal with in the United States. I noted that 3 years ago Indonesia had one of the highest rates of inflation in the whole world, and today it is one of the lowest.

If you would tell us the secret, that would be very helpful for me to take back to the United States.

But as we look at that achievement, as we look at the stability, the strength, the political stability, the economic stability, that you have provided to this country during the time that you have been present-you and your colleagues--we have confidence that Indonesia now is ready to move forward--move forward not with just small steps, but bigger and bigger steps, so that in the end it will mean a giant leap forward.

We want to be with you. We want to assist you in any way that you think is appropriate--we along with other nations who have the capacity to do so.

For that reason, it is a very great privilege for me to return to this country for the third time, to return in an official capacity as President of my country, and to reaffirm the ties of friendship which sometimes, as you have indicated, have been strained, but which, fortunately, today are very, very strong.

If there is one goal that the administration, which I now heard in Washington, will have, it will be to see that the ties of friendship, and cooperation, and mutual trust and assistance between Indonesia and America will be stronger and stronger, because this is in our interest as well as in yours. It is in both of our interests because what happens here, as I have indicated earlier, may well determine whether peace and independence survive in the Pacific and, therefore, in the world.

And so I ask all of you to join me in raising your glasses to the President and Mrs. Suharto, and to the great Indonesian people, to their prosperity, their progress, their independence, and the peace that we will all enjoy.

Note: The President spoke at 9:58 p.m. at Negara Palace in Djakarta in response to a toast proposed by President Suharto, who spoke in Indonesian. A translation of his toast follows:

Your Excellency Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, Excellencies and distinguished members of the Presidential party, ladies and gentlemen:

It is for me a great privilege that this evening I have the opportunity of holding a banquet in honor of the President of the United States of America. But beyond this formal banquet, leaders of both our countries assembled here at this moment are delegates representing the friendship of our two countries.

Mr. President, although this is not your first visit to Indonesia, as I stated earlier this afternoon, your present visit is very important to us and also to the relation of both our countries. In addition to being the first American Presidential visit to Indonesia, it also coincides with the early stages of the implementation of our Five Year Development Plan. I hope that Your Excellency will discern the differences, the alterations, and the spirit of the Indonesian people today as compared to 2 years ago.

The target of our development is very simple indeed. This is not owing to our lack of higher aspirations, but because we have to admit our limited potentiality. This does not reflect a lamentation either, but rather a consciousness coupled with full responsibilities. This reality and potentiality are still far away from our ideals. The Indonesian people, through a planned and progressive development, are working hard to change the present shortcomings, which hamper us in realizing our high aims.

Food, clothing, infrastructure, building materials, the extension of labor facilities and spiritual welfare are the prime targets of our Five Year Development Plan. It aims at raising the people's standard of living and at the same time at establishing solid bases for subsequent developments.

We have labored and lived tightly for almost 3 years, so that we are now able to create the basis of future developments on the remnants of a deplorable past. Lamentable, owing either to the negligence of economic problems, or to aberrations of political ideologies, reaching their climax with the G-30-S/PKI [30th of September movement of the Indonesia Communist Party (PKI)] putsch in 1965, which was quelled by the Indonesian people themselves.

We believe that we will be successful in our great tasks to develop our country, because we have already succeeded in our great struggles, which are full of sufferings in the past, that is, to maintain Indonesia's independence based on a solid political ideology, the Pantjasila.

Similar to the American Nation about two centuries ago, this national independence represents our very capital and our greatest honor. Based on this asset, we have to attain physical and spiritual welfare for the 115 million inhabitants of Indonesia, the number of which increases annually, and which stretches from Sabang to Merauke, possessing a democratic way of life, politically and economically, based on the Pantjasila. Our national ideals go beyond the boundaries of our territory. As a member of the community of nations, we are responsible in establishing a lasting peace in the world, in a friendly atmosphere, based on mutual respect and assistance, in order to create a veritable welfare of mankind.

We do not neglect our responsibility toward world peace; however, in order to give effective contribution to it, we have to be strong at home, we have to possess national endurance in all fields, in ideology, politics, social-economy, in defense and security. We are now concentrating on the economic potentiality, which is indeed very pressing. We fulfill our other obligations, internal or external, in harmony with our potentiality in this economic field.

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, our world today seems to be dotted with controversial realities, toward annihilation on the one hand, and toward welfare on the other. On the one side a strong spirit of nationalism and independence is flourishing, on the other, wanton wishes of certain forces to impose their will on other nations.

Aspirations toward peace are contending against a limited war, which is terrifying and threatening world peace. On the one side, a number of nations owing to their backwardness have to strive to build their countries, but due to their limited potentialities, they feel that they have made but a slow progress; whereas on the other, capital, energy, and other elements in large quantities are utilized for an armament race which obviously will lead to disaster.

Mankind, the world over, is actually for peace and prosperity. However, it seems that there exists a widening gap between nations in this world.

The synchronization of efficiency, with advanced technology, capital, and extraordinary courage, has enabled American astronauts to land on the moon. Man is now able to pass a tremendous distance in the outer space and to surmount delicate journeys. But, ironically, our hearts in this world are still far apart and sometimes the distance stretches even further. The gap between advanced countries and the developing ones is still great. On the one side there are nations living in abundance furnished with computers; on the other, millions of people lead an existence full of fear, work with primitive implements; there are even those who still live in a stone age.

Mr. President, I underline Mr. Armstrong's momentous enunciation, when he, as the first human being, put his feet on the moon, declaring: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." This leap has occurred in the outer space, a very expansive space full of mysteries, but it has not taken place in this world of ours, which seems to be contracting and is relatively simpler. The flags of all nations, representing peace and unity of mankind, have been planted on the moon. It is the task of all nations in this world to realize peace and unity.

I believe that your visit to our country, and to other countries having different social and political systems, will promote world peace, close in the relations among nations, master their rupture arising from bias and prejudice, enhance closer cooperation among nations in order to flatten this gap between advanced and developing countries, and create instead a more equitable prosperity.

Yesterday all men followed anxiously and prayed for the safety of three American astronauts. Today the world is witnessing very closely your steps during your journey and further measures which will be taken by the great American people.

Mr. President, during our struggle for independence in 1945, we were set afire by the American spirit and independence. In the course of our patriotic war, slogans like "A government from the people, by the people and for the people," "For existence, for freedom and for happiness," were written. everywhere-on walls, trains, vehicles in Djakarta up to the remotest villages; they are even rooted deep in our heart. I see similarities between the Declaration of the Independence of America and the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia. Both contain a promise and solemn determination of free and responsible nations, either to ourselves or to the world at large.

The relations between our two countries have indeed passed through delicate periods; it was even very tense several years ago. Thank God that we have passed those difficult moments. We have opened a new page in our friendly relation full of expectations.

I earnestly hope that your present visit constitutes the zenith of a friendly manifestation, of a mutual understanding and assistance beneficial to both our countries or to the welfare of mankind, We will not stop at this pinnacle, because there is quite a lot to do and our aims are still distant.

On this occasion, on behalf of the people of Indonesia, I would like to express our highest appreciation and our heartfelt thanks for the understanding and the effective assistance rendered to us by the Government and the people of America. Those aids are very significant and of great use to our efforts in developing Indonesia's economy.

Once again, I wholeheartedly welcome you and members of your party. Your visit is a great honor to us.

In conclusion, allow me to invite you all to raise our glasses and propose a toast to the health and happiness of Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon and to the welfare and glory of the people of America.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and President Suharto at a State Dinner in Djakarta Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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