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Visit of President Jose Lopez Portillo of Mexico Remarks of the President and President Lopez Portillo at the Welcoming Ceremony.

February 14, 1977

PRESIDENT CARTER. First of all, I want to welcome to our country Mr. Jose Lopez Portillo and his beautiful wife, Carmen.

This is the first foreign head of state who has come to visit the United States since I've been President. It's an indication of the importance that we attach in our own country to our neighbors to the south. For many years--decades, generations-we have been close friends with our Mexican neighbors.

Recently, when President Lopez Portillo was inaugurated, my wife went to Mexico City to represent me there, early in December, and last month, when I was inaugurated President of the United States, President Lopez Portillo's wife, Carmen, came to be with me during that ceremony.

This exchange of personal friendship, I think, has been apparent to all of our people, and it's just the first stage of an increasingly close relationship that President Lopez Portillo and I, and the people .of Mexico and the United States of America, will enjoy in coming months.

I believe that the basis of our own economic and social and political progress, as we seek harmony among the nations of the world, has to have as a basis a close, continuing consultation and sharing of opportunity in the solution of problems between natural allies and friends, and particularly neighbors.

Just a few days after my own inauguration, Vice President Mondale took an extended trip to Europe and to Japan, and shortly after this visit from the Mexican President, we will welcome to our country the Prime Minister of Canada. And I believe that this first demonstration of our friendship is obvious to the world, a demonstration of importance.

We also feel that we have an opportunity now to correct some of the long-standing economic problems of our two nations, because we know that when Mexico makes economic progress, the United States is aided in our own effort to make economic progress. There is no way to separate our own Nation's future from the future of our allies.

This happens to be the first time in more than 25 years when Mexico and the United States have both elected new Presidents at the same time. And I believe it gives us a unique opportunity for the close, personal friendship to show that there are new ways to deal with old problems.

Immediately after this ceremony, President Lopez Portillo and I will meet in the Oval Office to begin long discussions about many items that are of mutual benefit and interest to our countries. And before and after that meeting, President Lopez Portillo and his Cabinet officers will be meeting with the leaders of our own country, other than myself.

Recently, we had a very serious problem with an energy shortage, and in an almost unprecedented demonstration of concern, President Lopez Portillo called and offered to us an extra allocation of oil and natural gas to tide us over a temporary energy crisis. I've expressed to him already my personal thanks for this demonstration of sensitivity and friendship and concern.

Our problems are mutual. Our future must be shared. And I pledge to you, President Lopez Portillo, that in the coming months and years, I will go even further than is required through diplomatic courtesy to work closely with you on a personal and an official basis to tie our countries together in an unprecedented and continual demonstration of common purpose, common hope, common confidence, and common friendship.

Welcome to the United States, one of my close friends. I look forward to strengthening this friendship in the future.

PRESIDENT LOPEZ PORTILLO. President Carter, I know that it is a great honor to be the first official visitor to be received in this country. I know that there is recognition of the circumstances that are brought about by our neighborly position. To be neighbors means to share everything--the good things and the bad things, too.

We are absolutely convinced that it would not contribute to enhance the bad things that life brings on its own. On the other hand, friendship makes it possible for us to make progress by deepening and enhancing all good things. Therefore, it is advisable for good neighbors to be good friends. And we, the Mexicans, wish to be very good friends of the American people.

We had the great privilege of receiving Mrs. Carter in Mexico on the occasion of the inauguration of the President of Mexico. I wish to thank you deeply for this personal gesture of friendship in sending to us such a distinguished visitor.

I also wish to thank you for the many kindnesses you dispensed my wife when she came to Washington to be present at all the events of the inaugural session for the inauguration of President.

These are some of the many coincidences that prevail in our two administrations. I, too, for the first time am on a state visit. I would like to deepen our coincidences and, therefore, our friendship.

During our coming meetings, no doubt, we shall analyze many subjects. I am absolutely convinced that if these conversations take place within a framework of good faith, we shall be able to overcome and transcend and solve many of the problems which it is natural should exist between neighbors.

The prudent, wise, and good men of our two countries, no doubt, want us to pose our problems in an adequate manner and solve them well. I am sure that it depends on us for the men that are awkward and are not good intentioned not to avoid the possibility of solving our problems. That is why I am greatly interested in cultivating our mutual and good friendship.

I wish to win your respect in order to be able to bring up our problems as they are, and I want for us to find solutions to these problems together. My country accepts and expects a great deal from this visit. We want to make progress in the solution of the problems, and these are problems that will affect one side and the other.

I wish to convey my gratitude, President Carter, for this magnificent reception. I also wish to state that I will lead our relations within a spirit of good faith and good will. I am certain that we can solve our problems and consolidate our friendship based on this framework of good faith and good will.
Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. President Lopez Portillo spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of President Jose Lopez Portillo of Mexico Remarks of the President and President Lopez Portillo at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243474

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