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Toasts of the President and Vice President Yen

May 09, 1967

Your Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of China and Mrs. Yen, members of the Cabinet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

There is an old American proverb that says, "An hour's intelligent conversation is worth a thousand memos."

This morning I have had the privilege of such a conversation with a wise and devoted friend of the United States, Vice President C. K. Yen of the Republic of China.

Mr. Vice President, we are delighted that you and Mrs. Yen could be with us, both for personal reasons and because your presence is symbolic of a long and cherished bond between our two peoples.

When China sought a leader for its first diplomatic mission to the West a hundred years ago, it chose Anson Burlingame, the first American Minister to reside in China's capital, as its trustee. Our relationship has grown more intimate, more meaningful, over the intervening century.

Our countries are joined by a treaty of mutual defense. But our alliance goes far deeper. It is an alliance that has been tested in times of war. It has been tempered by our struggle against forces that would have destroyed both of us.

We were loyal to that alliance then. We are loyal to it today.

We are firmly committed to the defense of Taiwan, and to upholding your rights as a member of the United Nations.

Mr. Vice President, we in America admire what you have done to bring economic prosperity to Taiwan. We are proud to have worked with you.

--Taiwan's land reform program is outstanding in Asia--a model for countries around the world.

--In the past 15 years you have doubled your per capita gross national product so that your people now enjoy one of the highest standards of living in all Asia.

But the Republic of China has gone far beyond any selfish concern with its own fortunes--you have helped other countries to help themselves.

As valiant soldiers in the war against hunger and want--the war on which the future of civilization depends--farmers and technicians from Taiwan have traveled to other countries, other continents, to offer help, knowledge, and technical ability to less fortunate peoples.

Mr. Vice President, I have witnessed some of these miracles with my own eyes. I hope that your visit here will further encourage your people--and will give us the opportunity to, in part, try to repay the warm hospitality which Mrs. Johnson and I enjoyed in our visit to your country 6 years ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, I should like to ask you to please join me in a toast to the President of the Republic of China, and to lasting friendship between the Chinese and the American peoples.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 2:35 p.m. during a luncheon in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Vice President C. K. Yen of the Republic of China and Mrs. Yen. As printed this item follows the text released by the White House Press Office.

Vice President Yen responded as follows:

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

My wife and I feel overwhelmed by the kind comments that have been made by President Johnson. I think it is an honor which has been done not only to my wife and myself but also to my country as a whole.

The traditional friendly relations between the United States of America and my country have been long-lasting and, as the President has already indicated, such friendship will go on and on forever and forever in the common cause of peace and of righteousness in this world.

When Mr. Burlingame came to my country about 100 years ago, both the United States and my country were already partners in the international scene. It might be interesting that at one time or another Americans have been representing my country on many occasions.

Subsequently many events happened in the world, and those events have testified to the unfailing friendship and strong ties between the two countries.

I think those ties have already undergone such trying events and such trying times that we are sure in the future these ties will be even stronger.

But we have to be conscious of the changing world as it is and as it will be. We know that probably in the future more challenges will be posed against the freedom-loving countries, especially the United States of America and the Republic of China.

We know that only international cooperation can withstand all these challenges, but I believe the wisdom of the American people and the wisdom of President Johnson, together with all the conscientious efforts made on the part of my country, will combine to turn the tide of world events so that eventually righteousness, peace, freedom, democracy, and human dignity will win.

I have just been talking to Mrs. Johnson about the great antipoverty program that the President is now sponsoring. I consider this not only a program of the United States; I consider that as a program for the whole world in which the United States will play a leading role and, in that role, my country will very fervently join.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I ask you to join with me in a toast to the continued health of our host and hostess, the President of the United States and Mrs. Johnson.

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

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