Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and Prime Minister Sato of Japan

November 14, 1967

Mr. Prime Minister, Mrs. Sato, Mr. Vice President and Mrs. Humphrey, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Tonight we open our hearts and our home to two friends from a great neighbor of the Pacific.

The first Japanese mission to America arrived here more than a century ago--at a time of great conflict and discord in the United States.

Civil war threatened. A fierce election raged. In February of 1860, a candidate whom they called "the prairie statesman" dosed a speech in New York with a call for national courage.

"Let us not be frightened from our duty," said Abraham Lincoln, "by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and... let us... dare to do our duty as we understand it."

In that speech--and really in all of his life--Abraham Lincoln gave us a faith that no time or crisis can ever kill. It took time and a great deal of patience but Lincoln won peace at home and saved the Union. It is taking time and patience today to try to win peace in the world. But it will be won if we have the faith to uphold Lincoln's first principle.

All men must know what it is to be emancipated: to be emancipated from hunger, from sickness, from want, and from fear of aggression.

The hope that Asia will come to know this freedom, Mr. Prime Minister, is much stronger today than it was when you last came here to see us. In great part the nations of Asia are now beginning to realize the importance of working together to try to develop that part of the world.

You said this morning here when you spoke in the White House Garden that the need for us to work together to that end has never before been greater. We must look beyond the dangers that we all face in Asia now, to the day when our trust in each other--when our common sense of responsibility to all humankind--will finally open the road to peace, to stability, and to prosperity for all humanity.

America welcomes a partnership in responsibility. It is good to go forward knowing that as we share an ocean, Mr. Prime Minister, we also share a duty.

We know that that road is not going to be an easy one. The road of responsibility really never is easy. But let us, Mr. Prime Minister, take courage from Lincoln's words, when he said to his Cabinet in that other tragic period:

"I am here, I must do the best I can, and bear the responsibility of taking the course which I feel I ought to take."

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a toast to the partner of our hopes--Japan and His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 10:11 p.m. at a dinner in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Prime Minister Eisaku Sato and Mrs. Sato and to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and Mrs. Humphrey. As printed this item follows the text released by the White House Press Office.

The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Johnson, Vice President Humphrey, airs. Humphrey, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I wish to thank you, Mr. President, from the bottom of my heart for this extremely cordial and warm reception accorded to us at this splendid dinner tonight. My wife and I are especially grateful for the thoughtful and kind hospitality of our gracious hostess, Mrs. Johnson.

Almost 3 years have passed since I last visited your country shortly after I had become Prime Minister. On that occasion, the President and Mrs. Johnson welcomed us here at the White House at a dinner such as this one tonight.

I also had the opportunity during that visit to have frank talks with the President Happily, in the years that have followed, the ties of cooperation between our two countries have been greatly strengthened. Especially in Asia a trend toward greater economic development and cooperation has made itself evident, built around the joint efforts and collaboration of our two countries. Thus I believe a new and fruitful era is opening before us.

Japan's basic position is to seek its own security and development within the framework of peace and prosperity of the entire world and especially toward Asia. From this stems our constant hope that the relations between our two countries will grow even closer and become more rewarding so that we can cope more effectively with the changing situation in Asia and in the rest of the world.

Our two countries are partners which share common goals in international society.

I firmly believe, Mr. President, that my talks with you this morning were most beneficial to both of us. I also believe that from a long range point of view our frank exchange of views will help to place the relations between our two countries on a much more secure and lasting peace.

I wish to express my profound respect and admiration to you, Mr. President, for your firm determination and your untiring efforts in seeking the establishment of stability and peace with justice in the world.

As head of government myself, I am keenly aware that the position of a leader is often a lonely one and often filled with tribulations and hardships. However, it is most heartening and encouraging that the people of the United States, true to the principles of democracy, are carrying out their responsibilities as a great nation in the Pacific region under your able leadership.

Since this past summer I have made a series of visits to the countries of Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Through these visits I have discovered how highly the peoples of this region appreciate and regard the efforts of the President and the people of the United States.

Recognizing that the common goal of our two countries is the attainment of peace and prosperity in the world and especially in Asia, it is my earnest hope that mutual cooperation between us in all fields of endeavor will be further developed and strengthened in the years ahead.

Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you now to join me in a toast to the good health of the President and Mrs. Johnson and to the continuing progress of the United States of America.

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

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