Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Toasts of the President and President Sukarno of Indonesia

May 16, 1956

We are gathered here, of course, to do our part in extending to the President of Indonesia and his party a welcome to this land.

Mr. President, gathered here are many members of the Executive Branch of our Government, the Chief Justice of the United States, distinguished members of the United States Senate and of the United States House of Representatives, as well as representatives of our industrial and educational life.

This representative body, I assure you, expresses the thought of America in saying to you; you are truly welcome and we hope you have a wonderful time in this country.

There are, of course, some parallels between your country and ours. Both of us were colonies. And both of us in our early years of freedom had some difficult problems to solve.

It happens that when we were in our eleventh year of independence, as you are now, the man whose portrait is on the far wall over there--John Adams--was President. One of the stories told about John Adams in this house--he was the first man to live in this house--was that his wife, Abigail, hung her laundry, done by her own hands, in the East Room--where we shall have coffee.

I tell this little story merely to show that in our time, in our eleventh year, we were going through a period where it was indeed difficult going. But we had friends on the earth, as you have. And I think it is to the credit of the human race that when they see an individual--or a nation--working or struggling to go higher in life so that men may realize more of their material and spiritual ambitions, there is always somebody ready to help them. Of course, there's always someone ready to step in our faces, too, but I think friendship is stronger than the jealousies and the hatreds.

At least this is my hope: During your visit here in America, you find much of interest that you can carry back and possibly even apply--or find some adaptation--to your own country. Above all, we hope--all of us here--that you will carry back with you a sense that the American people are truly interested in Indonesia and you and your efforts to raise the standards of all your people, to make for them a better life.

Gentlemen, would you rise with me and drink a Toast to President Sukarno. The President of Indonesia.

Note: The President proposed this toast at a luncheon given for His Excellency Dr. Achmed Sukarno at the White House. President Sukarno responded as follows:

Mr. President, Gentlemen:

Twice today I have expressed my admiration for the great American nation, and I hope to have still more opportunities not only during this visit of mine but in my whole life to express again and again my admiration for the great American people.

This lunch, which I feel as an honor rendered to me, gives me an opportunity to express my admiration--my great admiration--for your great President, President Eisenhower

May I ask you to rise and to join me in drinking a Toast to the health of President Eisenhower.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toasts of the President and President Sukarno of Indonesia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232872

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