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Toasts of the President and Vice President Chen Cheng of the Republic of China

July 31, 1961

I want to express our great pleasure at being honored by the visit of the Vice President of the Republic of China and his wife, the Foreign Minister, and the members of his party who are here with our good friend, their Ambassador and his wife.

We are delighted to have him for several reasons. First, because he represents a distinguished country, a leader with whom this country of ours is most intimately associated in very difficult times and also because in his own right, his own character, his own qualities of leadership in good times and bad in his country's fortunes have won him the admiration and respect of all of my countrymen who have seen him. His own military leadership on the mainland, the efforts he has made to maintain the life of his country during recent years, the great contribution which he has made, which was described to me by our Vice President on his recent trip there to rebuild the economy of the island, all these things have won for him a special position in the minds and hearts of all of us.

So we are glad to have him for what he is himself, and we are glad to have him also because he represents and has the complete confidence of the President of his country.

His country and ours are intimately associated. I believe that the visit of the Vice President can do much to make sure that both his country and ours move on parallel lines in the difficult days and months and years ahead. So for every reason, Mr. Vice President, we are very proud to have you here. You are surrounded by friends. Some Members of the Congress had to leave, though they are coming back. But they left to vote for a cause in which all of us are committed, and therefore they serve us better on the Hill than they would here.

The Vice President informed me that Congressman Judd came from a part China which is known for its tight hold on the dollar, where some of the most famous financiers of China come from, which illuminates the scene you have here today.

So we are glad to have you, Mr. Vice President, and I know that all the people here today are devoted to you and your country. You have also sent to us three of your children who have come before you who are, I think, the most obvious indication of your regard for us.

I know that you will all join 'with me in drinking a toast to the President of the Republic of China who has sent us this fine emissary.

Note: The President proposed the toast at a state luncheon in the East Room at the White House. Vice President Chen Cheng responded (through an interpreter) as follows:

"Mr. President, it is my great honor to be invited to visit the United States. This is the high point in my personal life, especially this morning in the conversation with Your Excellency, that left me with a very deep impression that this will be a great contribution to our national policy so determined to fight against international communism.

"I am very much impressed by the remarks you made, but I would like to say at this time that whatever progress the Republic of China, my country, has achieved, an important factor is the encouragement and the aid given by the Government and the people of the United States.

"With our two countries together, we can march toward our common goal, and with your leadership over the entire free world, Mr. President, I am sure that the future of the world will be greatly benefited.

"All actions taken by our country will be coordinated with the leadership of you, Mr. President.

"Last May, Mr. President, when you sent the able Vice President to Asia, it was a very important and lasting event in Asia, because it not only constituted a stabilizing force so far as Asia was concerned, but it gave tremendous encouragement to the people of Asia.

"I would like to propose a toast at this time to your health, and to the continued prosperity of the United States of America."

In his opening remarks the President referred to Shen Chang-Huan, Foreign Minister of the Republic of China, and George K. C. Yeh, the Chinese Ambassador.

John F. Kennedy, Toasts of the President and Vice President Chen Cheng of the Republic of China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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