Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Rahman

July 22, 1964

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Ambassador, Governor Harrison, ladies and gentlemen:

In this house none are so welcome as those leaders who have chosen the path of freedom and democracy. Our guest today is such a leader. He guided his native Malaysia to independence. He led his people to a decisive victory over Communist guerrillas.

He took the lead in the formation last year of the nation of Malaysia. In all of this, he has kept faith with democracy.

He has sought for his people food instead of bullets, clothes instead of uniforms, homes instead of barracks.

Malaysia's success shines as an example for many lands.

Mr. Prime Minister, you and your people have our respect and our faith. We are very glad that you are here today. There are many choices for the world today. There is the choice of perpetual war or permanent peace. There is the choice of order or chaos. There is the choice of the rule of law or the rule of the jungle.

The American people have made their choice--for peace, for order, and for the rule of law.

We are proud to support those whose choices are the same. We support our friends with all the resources of our Nation. We of this generation are determined that men shall live in a world where aggression will not go unpunished, where terror will not go unchallenged, where irresponsibility will not be left to run rampant.

Our course--the course of the United States--has been chosen freely. It will not be lightly changed.

The people of Malaysia have likewise made their choice freely and it likewise will not be changed.

Your Excellency, we of the United States extend to you our congratulations. We wish for your people a future of peace and progress.

Now I should like to ask all of you to join me in a toast to His Majesty, the King of Malaysia, and to the friendship between the Malaysian and American people--long may it endure. To His Majesty.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. Prime Minister Rahman responded as follows:

"Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

"I wish to thank you, Mr. President, very much indeed for the glowing compliments you have paid to the nation and the people of Malaysia and to me, sir. This is a most pleasant luncheon in my honor.

"It is always heartwarming to know that the successes we have achieved during the short years of independence both in overcoming the Communist terrorism that plagued our country for nearly 12 long years and in being able to build a democratic and, as you say, a prosperous nation are admired and appreciated by other countries of the free world. To win praise from the United States --the redoubtable champion of democracy, the bastion of strength in the free world--is to me praise indeed.

"Malaysia may be small--and it is small in size and population--but our people, as you know, are great in heart.

"We know, however, that success cannot feed upon itself; otherwise, it dwindles and dies. So, success must always be with basic ground for greater efforts, and that is what we are endeavoring to do in Malaysia today despite external difficulties and troubles.

"We are well aware that although we have won the struggle against communism in our own country, the menace still exists and may strike us again.

"I think it is true to say that Malaysia has proved two important truths: first, that through unity and cooperation democracy can and does work in Asia; second, that a truly successful democracy, prosperous and progressive, thinking first and always of the welfare and well-being of the people is the only effective answer to insidious intrusion of communism.

"From our own experience we have learned that it is not practical to be neutral in this struggle. In our view the state is made for men and not men for the state. That is why we are proud to belong to the free world.

"My last visit to the United States coincided with the election campaign. This time I have arrived between national conventions and at a time when you are so preoccupied.

"I can only thank my stars that Malaysia's elections are not on so vast a scale as yours. Nevertheless, we have just emerged from the elections and are not quite yet recovered from the effects of it. I can well understand that with your huge country and with voters by the millions what you will have to go through in the next few months.

"When I was here last I came to know what American presidential elections mean, and all I can say is that I am a happy man that I don't have to stand for the elections.

"I wish you all the luck. However, the whole world will be waiting and watching the elections in the United States. I shall say no more for fear of treading on dangerous ground, so I will content myself by wishing every success to the voters.

"The great interest the United States has shown in our progress and development in Malaysia is a source of satisfaction to us. I appreciate very deeply the help that you have given us in various ways and in various forms such as providing technical assistance in the form of experts under the Colombo plan and for the excellent work being done by dedicated men and women of the Peace Corps.

"In fact, I would like to see more members of the Peace Corps serving in Malaysia, especially doctors and engineers. Those whom I have had the pleasure of meeting have said to me, and I think they are sincere, that they are very happy to be in Malaysia--so why not, Mr. President, send more of them?

"We were getting on very well indeed with our tremendous plans for development since the struggle against the Communists, and the help we obtained from our friends has proved most valuable to us.

"As you said, Malaysia has been a beacon to other lands and a beacon that does shine but, unfortunately, it can also attract insects and pests. Some of these are harmless but others are very harmful. Unfortunately, the glow from our beacon has attracted quite the wrong kind of attention as well where both the Communists and now our next door neighbors, the Indonesians, who plainly consider us a tasty morsel to tempt the appetites of the giants. I think they are doing just a little bit more than just that, but I would not like to bore you, six, in our pleasant company by telling all that was happening.

"As far as I am concerned we have done everything humanly possible to humor them, but nothing can satisfy them until, I am afraid, they have devoured us.

"But I know I can trust you to stop them from devouring us and getting the help from our friends in the free world. I hope that the beacon can then continue to shine in order to guide others to safety, security, peace, and happiness.

"In the meantime we must push ahead with development, because this is an essential element in our effort to provide higher standards of life and a richer future for our Nation.

"So, we look to freedom-loving people for understanding and support, and that is why I am so especially glad to hear your warm praise today.

"Mr. President, in conclusion, I do most sincerely appreciate both your kindness and your hospitality and all of the nice things you have said about my country.

"Your Excellencies, to the President, Mrs. Johnson, I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, to join me in a toast to the President of the United States and to the lasting friendship between America and the Malaysian people."

The president's opening words referred to Prime Minister Rahman, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Darn Ong Yoke Lin, and Governor Albertis S. Harrison, Jr., of Virginia.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Rahman Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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