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Toasts of the President and the Prime Minister of Malaya

October 26, 1960

Mr. Prime Minister and gentlemen:

We are gathered here today to honor the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya. Malaya is an independent nation of 3 years of age. In spite of its youth, it is one of our staunchest friends, and one of the partners that we value highly. It is a staunch defender of freedom in the world and individual liberty for its people. This is why I call it our partner because we are dedicated to the same principles.

To give you something of the Prime Minister's spirit and heart as he interprets it for his own people, I would hope that each of you could obtain from the State Department a copy of the speech he made when he sent the Malayan contingent to the Congo to take its part in the United Nations' efforts in that country, and to prevent communism from taking it over. In his speech, you will read his exposition of the evils of colonialism in the past, and which he pointed out, were of the past. Now, he continued, we all face a Communist colonialism far greater in its threat to freedom and to civilization than any we have known in the past. His country, he said, is dedicated to the defeat of that kind of colonialism and to the support of freedom and peace and justice in the world.

He is the Prime Minister of the Federation. I have been receiving an explanation from the Prime Minister and from the Ambassador of just how their Federation is formed. They have a parliamentary form of government--and what we would call a President they call a King. But, their King does not have any hereditary rights; he is elected for 5 years and then his term is over. It's a little bit unique, but the principle is there: a self-governing people, people that are developing themselves economically. By the same token they are developing their self-respect, their self-confidence and their determination to be what they are now-a free people.

So, it is a great pleasure to ask you gentlemen to join me in a Toast to the King, the Supreme Ruler of the Federation of Malaya.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a luncheon at the White House. The Prime Minister responded as follows:

Mr. President and gentlemen:

I thank you most warmly for your very kind words and your account of my little country and our contribution towards the peace of the world. I do appreciate it most heartily.

I have come here, sir, at your very, very kind invitation. I and my friends are overwhelmed with the kindness and the warmth of your welcome. When we arrived yesterday, we were received most royally. Today, sir, you have given a banquet in my honor, with a fine gathering of gentlemen whom it is a pleasure to know. Last night, Mr. Secretary of State also gave me a most enjoyable banquet, and we had a most enjoyable evening. All these kindnesses which you have shown me, I feel have been done not only for me but for my little country.

I have said, and I repeat it here, that when I return to my country, there is a lot that I could tell my people about your American people and the kindness which you have shown us and also their appreciation of the situation at home. As I said, and as you have rightly said, we are always happy to make a little contribution towards what you are trying to do--that is to maintain peace in this world. Therefore, in spite of our smallness and in spite of the very small army we have, and having just emerged from the 12-years' war which we had, we still find time to send a little force to the Congo. I hope the action on our part is accepted in the form in which it is given, and with the intention of the aid or the idea behind it, that is, to show how much we value peace.

I realize that you have, under your constitution, to leave your office. I would like to tell you that your name is, of course, a household word even in the small and primitive houses we have in our country. The example which you have set to the world, the guidance and the leadership which you have shown and proclaimed to the world, is very, very much admired by every person, not only persons of intellect but even persons in their primitive state. And let me tell you, sir, that we feel that the example which you have set has come to stay. I feel whoever comes in your place can't help but carry on the good work which you have done.

I can only say that I wish you all the happiness in your retirement, and I wish you all the good health and all the best in the days to come.

Gentlemen, may I ask you to rise and join me in a Toast to the President.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Toasts of the President and the Prime Minister of Malaya Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234302

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