Remarks of Welcome to the Shah and the
Empress of Iran at the Washington National Airport.
April 11, 1962
I speak on behalf of all of
my fellow Americans in welcoming you to the United States. We regard your
visit here as most valuable to our country, and I hope the cause of freedom
I have said on other occasions,
Your Majesty, that I thought the strongest force in the world today was
the desire for national independence, reaching well beyond any ideology
or really any national power.
I do not think the history of
any country proves that more clearly than the history of Iran. All of us
are familiar with the centuries-long struggle, beginning in the centuries
before the birth of Christ, of the people of Persia to maintain their national
sovereignty. Occupying as you do in Iran a most important strategic area,
surrounded as you are by vital and powerful people, your country has been
able to maintain its national independence century after century, until
we come to the present date where under great challenges you, Your Majesty,
lead that historic fight.
We look, in welcoming you here,
not only to the past but also to the future - your great desire, evidenced
by the work that you have so intensively carried out, to make a better
life for your people, to permit them to share in a more fruitful existence,
to permit them to be free. And therefore, Your Majesty, on your shoulders
hang heavy burdens and heavy responsibilities.
We are glad that you have come
halfway around the world, and that from your ancient country you come to
this young country in the New World. The interest of both of us is the
same: to maintain our freedom, to maintain the peace, and to provide a
better life for our people. That is the purpose of your visit, Your Majesty,
as to how we can jointly concert that effort.
And we are particularly glad
to welcome to this country, I believe for the first time, your wife - whom
we are particularly glad to have here on this occasion.
This is one of our wonderful
spring days, for which we are justly celebrated, and we are glad to wish
you and send to you the greetings of the city and the country.
NOTE: The Shah responded as follows:
It is a most pleasant opportunity
for the Empress and myself to be able, thanks to your very kind invitation,
to visit your great and beautiful country.
Today the name of America has
a magic meaning for the most distant communities of the world. It is associated
with freedom, progress, love of humanity, and justice. As I am well acquainted
with your country and your gallant countrymen, I can truly endorse this
I am glad that my present visit
gives me the occasion to meet you and to greet Mrs. Kennedy, whose stop
in our capital was only too brief.
I am aware, Mr. President, that
you have assumed responsibilities in the greatest country of the world
with new ideas and a dynamic personality which will prove of utmost importance
in the shaping of a new world.
I bring with me the heartfelt
greetings of my countrymen to your people, with the expression of their
sincerest feelings of friendship.
And I extend to you, Mr. President,
my warm wishes for the happiness and prosperity of your great and noble