Jimmy Carter photo

Visit of President Kenneth D. Kaunda of Zambia Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony.

May 17, 1978

PRESIDENT CARTER. It's a great honor for me as President of the United States to welcome to our country a great man and a friend, Kenneth Kaunda, the President of Zambia.

The last time he was here was 3 years ago. His wife, Betty, was with him. And they captured the hearts of Americans by an impromptu musical performance that was brought back to my own memory by his singing of the words of the national anthem, a few minutes ago, of his fine country.

Since that visit, in 3 years, a lot has happened. Momentous changes have occurred and are presently taking place in the southern part of Africa.

His neighbors are standing in admiration of his leadership and using the example set by this great man as a vision of what might be accomplished in the countries still in turmoil, where human rights have not been achieved, and where many black people are deprived of the right to vote, to participate in the shaping of their own government's policy, their own destiny, and are also deprived of the right of equality of opportunity and life.

President Kaunda is a deeply religious man. And the principles of his Christian beliefs have shaped his private and his public life. He's an idealist. He's a man of great integrity which has never been questioned. He's a man who has provided, among the frontline state leaders, a constant vision or perception of what might be in his neighboring state of Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia. He's a good partner for us.

I think it's accurate to say that our hopes for a future life in Rhodesia is the same as his. We want to see a community in peace. We want to see a government that is fair, where the rights of all citizens might be protected and ensured; the right to participate in government is open to all on an equal basis; that elections might be held that are open and free, and each person has one vote. We want to see a nation where majority rule can be instituted for a change.

The same thing applies to Namibia the entire southern part of Africa.

I look forward to these conferences that I will have with President Kenneth Kaunda with a great deal of anticipation and pleasure. He's a man who is a senior statesman, who understands the overall principles and the details of the complicated interrelationships that exist among the tribes of southern Africa, the unique qualities of the people of each nation, and the failures that have up until this moment been experienced in bringing freedom and a life of hope to many people in his region.

Zambia is a nation that has been close to us. And it's with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome to our country this statesman, and with a great deal of regret that we note that his wife, Betty, could not be with him on this visit.

President Kaunda, on behalf of the people of our country, we welcome you as a friend.

PRESIDENT KAUNDA. Mr. President, Madam Carter, sisters and brothers:

I welcome this opportunity of visiting the United States this year. Your words of welcome are most touching, and your thoughts about me and my country, very kind indeed. The warm and friendly reception extended to me, two of my children, and my entire delegation, is memorable. I bring friendly greetings from the people of Zambia to the people of the United States.

This is not my first visit to this great country, but being in the United States today is not the same thing, is not the same thing as being here a few years ago. There is an air of freshness which is invigorating to all those who are committed to the cause of man the world over. This new atmosphere which has brought America closer to many nations, nations which hitherto had been estranged, is the product, is the product of President Carter.

His spirit and principles have brought inspiration to many nations, particularly in the Third World and among the oppressed. He has given new hopes for improved relations and cooperation between America and Africa and the rest of the Third World.

In consequence, the opportunities for increased cooperation between the peoples of our two continents are now greater, greater than ever before. Our task is to strengthen this happy trend by removing the remaining obstacles in our way. We must consolidate our achievements in the last few months.

Since coming into office, President Carter has played host to a number of African leaders. His epoch-making visit to Africa signifies a new recognition of the importance of Africa to America, just as we have always recognized the importance of America to Africa.

We welcome this new approach to Africa's problems. Naturally, Africa expects more from a great country like America, for the challenges of the future are too serious to be ignored, too great, too great to be left to chance, too urgent, too urgent to be left to time.

Africa is growing stronger by the day. Through the development of her vast resources, Africa's contribution to peace and the well-being of mankind is growing. The people of Africa are now a decisive force in the maintenance of international peace and security.

So, Africa is no longer of interest only to multinational corporations but is also important in the maintenance of peace the world over. President Carter's Africa policy reflects a new realism on the part of the American Government in dealing with issues concerning Africa.

We in Zambia will always, Mr. President, support any efforts aimed at creating greater understanding, unity, and cooperation among various peoples of the world without regard to race, color, creed, or station in life.

We therefore look forward to a very fruitful visit, not only to Washington, D.C., but to the various States in the next few days.

Once again, Mr. President, I thank you for this memorable and touching reception. May God bless you and all the good people of your country and thank you.

Note: President Carter spoke at 10:35 a.m. in the East Room at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of President Kenneth D. Kaunda of Zambia Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244706

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives