Jimmy Carter photo

Visit of President Daniel T. arap Moi of Kenya Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony.

February 20, 1980

PRESIDENT CARTER. This morning we are particularly pleased to have President Moi of Kenya come to visit our country. He's the first President of that great nation to be an official guest of the United States, although President Moi has been here in the past before he assumed his present position of national leadership.

He and I have gotten to be good friends through our frequent communications with one another as we met the increasing challenges and dangers of people who are determined to live in freedom. We share moral values, we share religious faith, and we share political values as well, not only on a personal basis but among the people of our two countries.

We've been particularly grateful to see the leadership shown by President Moi and the people of Kenya, along with the nonaligned countries throughout the world, in condemning the brutal invasion by the Soviet Union of Afghanistan, and the staunch demand by others, led by President Moi, that these invasion forces be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

President Moi and the people of his country led the entire continent of Africa, on their own initiative, in announcing that the athletes of Kenya will not attend the Olympics in Moscow this summer because their invasion forces occupy a freedom-loving country. This is particularly significant, not only because of the leadership shown by President Moi but because of the superb competence of the athletes of Kenya, world renowned for their prowess in past Olympic games.

We are also particularly grateful as a nation to the people of his country and to President Moi for their unswerving support for us in the trying times since the innocent American diplomats were captured by militants in Iran and held hostage. President Moi has used his influence on a political basis to intercede for those hostages held captive and has also led other deeply religious nations, on his own initiative, in calling for a day of prayer and personally led a prayer meeting in his country for the safety and wellbeing and the freedom of the American hostages. This is particularly important to us, and I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart, as the leader of our Nation, for this initiative on his part.

We value, as do the people of Kenya, the worth of one individual human being, and we also value, as do the people of Kenya, the freedom of each individual human being.

We share a political process. It has been extremely significant in Africa and throughout the world to see the democratic processes performed so well in Kenya during this past year, when in open and free elections President Moi received an overwhelming mandate from his people to assume the position of President for a 5-year term. This will inspire others down the path of self-determination and democracy, and it is certainly an inspiration for the people of our own country, who believe so deeply in the same political concept and policies and processes. To see democracy in action in his region is a significant act indeed.

I'd like to say, in closing, that we have long admired the inspired and benevolent leadership of the late President Kenyatta. And as the people of Kenya and the world well know, President Moi is filling those shoes of a great leader in an inspired and benevolent and effective way.

We depend upon Kenya and its leadership to help preserve peace and stability in east Africa and in the western part of the Indian Ocean.

I'm indeed grateful that President Moi has come to meet with me, to make an official visit to the people of our country. And it is extremely reassuring to us to have a strong partnership at the official leadership level and among the people of the United States of America and the great nation of Kenya.

President Moi, we welcome you to our country.

PRESIDENT MOI. Mr. President, Mrs. Carter, members of the United States of America Cabinet, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

For me and my people of Kenya, this occasion marks an important stage in increasing understanding and cooperation between our two governments and our people. I feel greatly honored as I stand here to receive, on behalf of the people of Kenya, the greatest honor that your country can bestow on another nation through its head of state.

Our feelings of friendship and respect are based on many factors, including identity of views in many fields. My country, Kenya, shares with you the commitment you have for constitutional and democratic form of government. But above all, we share a common reverence for individual freedoms and human rights.

You, Mr. President, have distinguished yourself in Africa and in the whole world today by your staunch support for human rights. We admire and respect you for this unyielding support for human rights. We also admire and respect your great forbearance and courage at times when it is so easy to panic.

Our nation, like yours, is guided by well-founded ideals and principles, and we know that amongst other factors which have made the United States a great nation in the community of nations is the great moral commitment to justice, equality, and freedom of expression. At a time when the world is faced by diversity of serious problems, many people in the world will continue to look up to this great Nation to provide leadership in the ideals of democracy and respect for territorial integrity.

We in Kenya made our decision, not guided by anybody; but we felt it was just, fair, and right that human dignity must be preserved. Those people living in Afghanistan have the same rights, like any other, to live and lead a peaceful life. So, we did it because of the conditions created by the Soviet Union. We've made it impossible for Kenyans to participate in the Olympic games. And I assure you, Kenya would have secured medals—gold medals, silver medals. There are others who may speak, but may have no prospects for medals.

I also know that the Nation is capable of continuing to provide leadership, not only in technological fields but also in the basic task of making the life of humanity throughout the world better, through elimination of mass poverty and all its degrading consequences. In this connection we are heartened, Mr. President, by your decision to establish the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. But this is but one indication of the determined effort by you and the United States to provide leadership in working for the welfare of all peoples, in the comprehensive sense of that term.

Once again, Mr. President, I thank you for this warm reception, and I look forward to fruitful discussions with you and the members of your Government during my short stay in this beautiful and important nation.
Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:08 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of President Daniel T. arap Moi of Kenya Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250217

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives