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Toasts of the President and the Shah of Iran at a Luncheon in Tehran Honoring Their Imperial Majesties

May 31, 1972

I would just like, informally, to say a word to His Majesty and our guests--very informally, because we spoke last night.

First, we were very glad to come here after our visit to the Soviet Union, which was important, and which we will always remember because of what we saw and what may have been accomplished.

It was good to come to a country where we saw so many friends and people who have been longtime friends, and where we felt not only the fresh air blowing off the mountains but the freshness of the people and their attitudes as we went through the streets.

We will always be grateful for that little respite after our 8 days in the Kremlin. And while the Kremlin is a great palace, to be there for 8 days is a long time.

The other thing that I would say is that we are grateful for the fact that all of our party has been received so hospitably and that His Majesty has made available this beautiful summer palace, as it is called, I understand, for our use and for this luncheon.

It is very unusual for me to stand up in a house that is not my own, or one which the Government allows me to live in for 4 years at a time, and be able to act as the host.

But this, of course, is typical of the hospitality which is legendary here, which we have learned to know over almost 20 years, and which is enriched each time we come.

Perhaps the best way it can be said-and I am not a language expert, unfortunately, and most everybody here is, being from a world of diplomacy and the rest-but the way I feel now in this position of being able to offer the informal toast to Their Imperial Majesties is the way the Spanish say it. In our country whenever we invite anybody into our house, when somebody comes in, we say, "Make yourself at home." That is the phrase. But the Spanish say it in two different ways. They will say, "Estan en su casa," or "Mi casa es su casa," which means, "My house is your house," or, "You are in your own house."

So because His Imperial Majesty and Her Majesty have been so kind to say "Mi casa es su casa," we have had a memorable 24 hours here.

We aren't able to pay the rent, but on the other hand we hope that we can show our appreciation in a very easy way for us--through that continued, deep friendship which has characterized our relations for so many years and that, perhaps, is worth more than the rent.

So I suggest we all raise our glasses to Their Imperial Majesties.

Note: The President spoke at 1: 08 p.m. in the Saadabad Palace. He spoke from a prepared text.

The Shah responded as follows:

It was a long time since we were expecting you, Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, to come to this country--although you have been here before--but in your present capacity as President of the United States. And this is for many reasons.

But the first one, and foremost, because we have established friendship with you and your country at one of the greatest moments of our history. It was almost a question of touch-and-go. And at that time we found you and your country right at our side. And, obviously, we cannot forget these things.

So I personally followed the career of the man who in those hours came to see us also in an important capacity as Vice President of the United States.

And I could not hide it from you that I was personally very happy to see this man be elected as the President of his country.

And since his election, standing to all the highest standards that anybody could show during his tenure of office, which was heartening for us because it came from a friend, but also the head and the President of a country whose friendship we value so high and also we need so much. And I don't think that we are the only people who need that friendship and those high standards of conduct and model; many others do. Some say it openly; some others just profit by it without saying something. Some others profit by it by even kicking you.

But be sure that we are not one of those. By sticking to our principles, we are sticking to our friends also at the same time.

In first of all congratulating you on what you have achieved internally in the United States and what you have achieved in these two historic trips abroad, I say that we fully agree with everything you have done and you have said. We wish you Godspeed, happy return to your country, very happy and successful future. And we regard your success very much also as our own success, because we know that this success represents something on which we can count and something with which we are familiar and that we can trust.

So thanking you once again for having accepted this heartfelt invitation, we wish you, on behalf of my wife, of our people that you saw yesterday in the streets, the actual generation, and especially and fortunately on behalf of the future generation, all the best in the world for yourself, Mrs. Nixon, and the very good people of America, which I am sure the tremendous majority are sound, reasonable, good-hearted, humanitarian people. God be with you.

Would you please raise your glass with me to drink to the health of the President of the United States and Mrs. Nixon.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and the Shah of Iran at a Luncheon in Tehran Honoring Their Imperial Majesties Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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