August 22, 1967
Your Imperial Majesty, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It is an honor and a very real pleasure to welcome you again to our country.
When Your Majesty was here in Washington 3 years ago, you spoke of Iran's determination to build "a society in which men may prosper and feel happy and secure, a society in which the benefits of a sound education and a healthy economy are shared not by a few, but by all." We have admired Iran's steady progress toward that goal which you announced.
The changes in Iran represent very genuine progress. So far as economic growth rates tell the story of a nation's achievements, Iran's recent record--an annual growth of about 10 percent--is surpassed by very few countries on this earth. In the 5 years since we visited Iran, 6,500 village schools have been established by your new Literacy Corps. In 1962 only 8 percent of your rural population went to elementary schools. Now--a short 5 years later under your leadership--the figure is more than 20 percent and still rising.
Iran has risen to the challenge of new times and new generations--through its land reform--through a drive against illiteracy-through a sharp increase in private investment-- and through so many other vital reforms, all of which you discussed with me in your planning when I was privileged to visit there.
Iran is a different country now from the one that we saw in 1962. The difference has sprung from Your Majesty's dedicated, inspirational, and progressive leadership.
I see another difference--another lesson that your leadership provides for all who prize real progress. Because you are winning progress without violence and without any bloodshed--a lesson that others still have to learn.
To destroy the existing order--to dismiss the past without a plan for the present and the future--that is never enough.
We Americans challenge every propagandist and every demagogue--whether he speaks on the radio waves of the world or in the streets of our own cities--to demonstrate his commitment to progress with the facts and the figures. The people of the world cry out for progress--not for propaganda. They hunger for results--knowing they cannot eat rhetoric.
Progress in Iran has not meant discarding the past; it has meant keeping the best of the past and forging it to a brighter future.
Your Majesty, we understand this kind of progress. We are proud to have seen you make it and we are pleased that we could help along the way. But the accomplishments are yours.
You and your people we think have sown good seed. I hope to hear a great deal more about that harvest after we go to the office. I hope also to draw on Your Majesty's very wise counsel--so valuable to me in the past-as we discuss our common interest in building peace and security, particularly in the Middle East.
Mrs. Johnson and I are very pleased that you are with us here again. We hope to return now--with special warmth--the welcome that you have so generously extended to many Americans over many years, and particularly to us on our cherished visit to Tehran 5 years ago.
NOTE: The President spoke at 5:08 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was given a formal welcome with full military honors. His Imperial Majesty responded as follows:
Mr. President, I am overwhelmed by the warmth of your words and your welcome.
Since the day I first met with you and Mrs. Johnson, I developed a very special sense of admiration for your personality, your ideals, and what you stood for.
I can say now that it is always a source of inspiration to see someone defending his principles and his ideals with such reserve, with such steadfastness, which creates confidence in the present and in the future.
I would like to thank you for the very kind words you have had towards my country; what we have realized. We believe that what we do is for the sake of the majority of our people.
That is why the economic steps are taken. They present results of this magnitude, because this is done not for a few but for the majority of the people.
Our fight is against illiteracy; our fight is against disease; and now in the future we hope to be able to contribute to the fight that the whole world--the community of nations--must undertake against these same evils and shortcomings-illiteracy, shortage of food, and diseases.
In many ways we have always found inspiration in your great country, the ideals that you have always represented, the humanitarian aspects of the characteristics of your people, of your policies, the wonderful principles of freedom, equity, that you have always upheld with valor and dignity.
We also try to inspire ourselves in the betterment of the life of the individual. We put a great deal of importance to the betterment of the life of the society--but a society in which the individual counts.
We shall try always to inspire ourselves by the wonderful technology of your people--your breakthroughs in agriculture, science, and technique.
We shall always remember that your country and your office, yourself, Mr. President, have stood for truth, for the principles of justice and international equity--but also for the special friendship that you have always had for us.
The only way we can repay you this debt of gratitude is to remain true to the same principles for which you are standing and defending.
I would like to thank you once more for affording me the opportunity of seeing you again and visiting your wonderful country. I am sure that during our exchange of views we can discuss so many things of interest to both of our countries and maybe to the world at large.