Toasts of the President and the Shah of
April 11, 1962
Ladies and gentlemen:
I know that you all join with
me in welcoming our distinguished guest to the United States. His Highness
and I have a "burden" that we carry in common; we both paid state visits
to Paris last year, and from all accounts we might as well both have stayed
at home. We are glad to have him come to the United States again.
It has never been easy to be
a Persian, from the oldest times in history till today. But I must say
that all history records what all of us know, and that is the determination
of the people of his country to maintain their freedom.
His people did it against the
Romans, against the Ottoman Empire, against friends from the south and
enemies from the north - and he does it today.
Under the American Constitution
a President is finished after 8 years, or 4 years by the voters, but he
has carried the burden for 20 years, and may have to carry it another 20
years. He not only reigns and deals with the ceremonies of office, but
also is a vital force in maintaining the independence of his country.
We are quite aware that were
it not for the leadership that he has given, in identifying himself with
the best aspirations of his people - whom he is bringing out of an entirely
different historic period into today, of surrounding himself with able
and dedicated Ministers - we are quite aware that this vital area of the
world, which has been as Mr. Molotov made clear, a vital matter of concern
to the Soviet Union, for many, many years, would long ago have collapsed.
So, when we welcome the Shah
here, we welcome a friend and a very valiant fighter.
We do not live in easy times
ourselves. But we do not live in the belly of the bear. But he does - and
has done it for years, and his country is still free.
So I hope you all will join
me in drinking a toast to his country - and to a very distinguished participant
in this struggle.
NOTE: The President proposed the toast at a dinner in
the State Dining Room at the White House. The Shah responded briefly and
then read a prepared speech in which he reviewed the history of U.S. relations
with Iran, and outlined some of the problems and goals of the Persian people.
The full text of the Shah's remarks was released by the Iranian Embassy.