Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Toasts of the President and the President of Pakistan

December 14, 1965

Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

There is no need to say how very pleased we are, Mr. President, to welcome you to this house this evening. The President of Pakistan comes on a new visit, but he is a very old friend. This is his third journey here as head of a young State already grown to world importance.

Mrs. Johnson and I want to thank you, Mr. President, for honoring us with your distinguished Ambassador Ahmed and his charming wife, whom we enjoy very much.

We are also particularly pleased that we could renew acquaintances with your former Ambassador, your present Foreign Secretary. I observed that perhaps when he was Ambassador and I was Vice President we were doing a little better job with our relations than we are in our new positions. But it just shows you what happens to people when they get promoted!

President Ayub and I have a great deal in common, just as our peoples share many values and many dreams.

President Ayub is a rancher as I am. His home district is a country much like Johnson City, Blanco County, where I live. He also has a special bond with Mrs. Johnson, and for that matter, all lovers of beauty in this land. President Ayub is building a new capital for his country, just as we are trying to rebuild and beautify ours.

With so much to share it is not surprising that President Ayub and I found our talks today fruitful. They will continue in the evening and we hope for more extended sessions tomorrow.

We share the basic values and beliefs: man's fundamental dignity and worth, a love of liberty, a pride of excellence, pursuit of beauty and truth, a vision of a better and a fuller life for all human beings.

I have recalled a courageous and a compassionate appeal made by President Ayub in a broadcast back in 1963. He said then-and I quote: "Hatred and anger fan the fires of hell in human minds. Why not put them out? It is nobler and better for one's own happiness to live on terms of friendliness with others."

And so tonight we share the greatest hunger and the most burning thirst of all. We want so much to find peace in the world. We want so much to bring peace to Asia and peace to all the other countries that are troubled. We want peace not only in our time, but peace for all time.

We want peace. And we shall work every minute, day and night, for peace.

President Ayub visits us as the architect of his country's inspiring struggle for economic emancipation. And nowhere have we observed a better administrative effort. Today Pakistan surges forward in a very great adventure. And Dave Bell will talk to you about it for hours if you will listen to him because we are very thrilled to observe the economic advances and the other results that the leadership of President Ayub and his associates provides and inspires. We all must rededicate our very best efforts to conquering the curses of poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy: the human and physical problems that, as President Ayub has said, and I quote him again, "cannot be resolved by the magic wand of just freedom alone."

So, Mr. President, with your permission, I am sending a very high level team of medical teachers and scientists shortly to your country of Pakistan. This team will be led by the President's Science Adviser, my own trusted counselor, Dr. Donald Hornig. Its mission will be to work with your own medical authorities in instituting a very broad improvement in medical training, and in working with all of your fine people in the attempt to improve rural health and public health among your fellow countrymen.

This will be a beginning. If our purposes are as one, we can continue and expand the dynamic partnership that we have had in the past. Together we can press the battle against waterlogging and salinity; against devastating cyclones, cholera, heart and eye disease. Together as friends, working shoulder to shoulder, we can improve weather forecasting and improve flood warnings, and multiply housing programs such as the Korangi project that I visited in 1961 when I met my good friend the camel driver. He came to this country and he spread good will from one end of it to the other, and he is remembered most affectionately by all who met him. We can speed in many ways the transition from a subsistence economy to a life of plenty and a life of purpose for every Pakistani.

This has been a stimulating and inspiring day for me. It is always so when I am in your presence.

So tonight, here in this, the first house of our land, I would like to ask those friends of mine whom I have asked to come here from various parts of this country--from California to New York--to raise our glasses to salute the spirit and the success of the Pakistan nation, and the dedicated leadership of the great President of Pakistan, Mohammed Ayub Khan.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 10:15 p.m. at a dinner in the State Dining Room at the White House. During his remarks the President referred to Ghulam Ahmed, Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Ali Bhutto, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, David E. Bell, Administrator, Agency for International Development, and Donald F. Hornig, Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology.

President Ayub Khan responded as follows:

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

I am deeply touched by the warm reception given to me and my party and by your great hospitality tonight You are a generous man. I am only talking to a friend now. May I have the liberty of doing so with a great heart.

I am so very happy that this great country has a man like you, sir, at its head, and that is how it should be. It is only people with large hearts, broad understanding, forgiveness, and so on, that can tackle the sort of responsibilities that devolve on you. Not only responsibilities on behalf of your country, but, in fact, on behalf of the world even, because you are the head of the mightiest country in the world.

As far as Pakistan is concerned--the people in Pakistan are concerned--there has been very friendly and warm relations between our people.

Lately--and I would be less than honest if I did not admit it, since I was largely responsible for this friendship and understanding between our two countries--it hurts me to say that our relations have, to a certain extent, been soiled, and I think that has happened because of a lack of understanding of each other's difficulties and problems.

You have certain obligations and certain problems which you are facing, of which we are aware. We have certain difficulties in the location and the situation in which we live.

You have been very generous and kind to invite me to come to your country to see you and talk to you in heart-to-heart fashion. And I have with all sincerity and honesty put to you our problems, and you have been good enough to tell me your problems.

I think that in countries like yours and mine, situated so far away, with different sorts of obligations, locations, and so on and so forth, friendships can be maintained--and they must be maintained. And the way to maintain them is to bear friendship with friendship and understand each other's difficulties, and don't do anything which is against the interests of a friendly country.

I have no doubt in my mind if that principle is observed--we certainly will observe it, sir-there is no reason why our friendship should not continue.

Your country and your people have in many ways been assisting us, and I am the first one to admit it. Not only do I do so in my heart, but I do so in front of my people. And it has been a very stimulating experience for our mutual relationship.

We regained our independence after a long time. In a period when the world has shrunk, peoples' expectations have risen. They want the good things of life quickly. Demands on government, therefore, have increased enormously. After all, it takes time with the best will in the world and the best effort in the world to produce results.

The people are not prepared to wait. They are impatient. Therefore, there is great pressure, tremendous pressure, in our country to produce results to the satisfaction of the people. We have been, in our humble way, trying to improve the conditions of our people, and remove sufferings and wants, and so on.

I think we made a considerable success in that. One lesson I learned from that was that the people really try to improve their lot once they are given the right direction and the opportunity.

Lately, unfortunately, we have been bedeviled with a major conflict. My own hope and prayer is that we shall be able to overcome. My endeavor always has been to live in peace with our neighbors, especially with our big neighbor, India. They have tremendous problems and we have tremendous problems.

We need peace. We need peace not only for the sake of peace but also for the sake of doing a very noble task of improving the lot of our people.

In that connection, I am very grateful to you, sir, for sending this mission out. I am sure that it will be appreciated, and I am sure that they will get the fullest cooperation from our people and they will benefit by their experience.

The last time I was here President Kennedy and I had long discussions. I mentioned to him about this problem of waterlogging and salinity in West Pakistan. Those of you who are familiar know the circumstances there. Our agriculture is totally artificial in West Pakistan. It is dependent on artificial irrigation. I think--I don't know whether I am right in saying--but it is probably the biggest, shall we say, artificially irrigated area in the world in one block--some 32 million acres of land.

And through this process of irrigation the water table has gone out, the salts have come up, and we were facing tremendous problems. And he was good enough to send a team of scientists out, and they have done, in conjunction with our people, a tremendous job. I am sure if your set of people come they will have a second look at these things. We made a start in this project and we made a great success.

So, I am very grateful to you for this offer. Our effort really is to do the very best we can for our people.

We also find that our population is growing at a rate which is not acceptable, and which can create serious problems. That is another thing that we are putting our major efforts on.

Similarly with our agriculture, and so on, results have been very heartening. And so any advice and assistance of that nature will be most welcome, in keeping with the wishes and the desires and endeavors of the people.

I am glad to see that after your major operation-apparently it has been a very serious one--you are looking so well and regaining your health. I hope you will regain your full vigor.

May I say that the talk we had together has been very exhilarating for me. You have been patient enough to listen to me and I do hope that you will be convinced of my sincerity. I may be wrong in my approach but you can be assured of my sincerity of approach.

I have no doubt that if we understand each other's difficulties there is no reason why our friendship can't last forever.

So, I thank you for all the understanding you have given me and us all, and this warm welcome and great hospitality, and also given me the opportunity of meeting you again. It has done my soul a lot of good.

So, in return for that, may I ask you ladies and gentlemen to join me in drinking to the health and happiness of the President of the United States of America and to the well-being and happiness of the people of the United States of America. Mr. President, sir.
See also Items 648, 650.

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

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