I arrive in France on the eve of a moments meeting for which France has graciously afforded facilities. This meeting will, we hope, be remembered as a the first step on the road to peace in Vietnam.
It is appropriate that the meeting between the representatives of the United States and North Vietnam should take place in a country which so well understands and prizes peace among nations. I recall it was just 23 years ago today that the document signed at Rheims went into effect to close the long night of war and bring the dawn of peace to Europe. That historic event could not have occurred without effective cooperation between our countries.
Today it is again possible that France and the U.S. can accomplish a great deal in the world in the way of common enterprise. We have been closely associated for almost two hundred years, a fact which previous passing differences between us need not create divisions in our friendship. Just as France and the U.S. have often been allies in adversity, it is my belief that we must now be allies in opportunity.
I intend to work as hard as I can and in every way I can, to further and strengthen our friendship and cooperation. Together we must combat the evil problems of war, poverty and injustice which plague the world. We must strive together for the dignity of man.
Remarks Upon Presentation of Credentials
Mr. President, it is a high honor to present to you the Letter of Credence by which the President of the United States of America accredits me to the Government of the French Republic.
I take up my duties at a time of volatile movement and profound change throughout much if not all the world. The recovery of all nations from the effect of World War II, which we fought together; the emergence of many, new, independent nations, a process in which France has played a vital part; the ending of old ideologies, the restlessness in many countries, the universal search for new structures offering more freedom to individuals, all these have contributed to the creation of the present, fluid situation, within which the evaluation of a new world can already be perceived. At such a time it is more important than ever for countries such as ours, with our history of friendship and cooperation, our motility of interests, our similarities in heritage, and our common goals, to work together. Our consultations will not always result in similar evaluations. But it is important that each of our two governments be fully aware of the other's outlook on the problems of our times and how to deal with them. To this end I intend to continue in my predecessors' tradition of close and frankly consultation with the Government of France, and I look forward to meeting with you whenever appropriate, Mr. President, so I may be in a moisten to inform my Government and my President to the fullest extent possible and to explain to the Government of France at all levels the policies of my Government.
In this task, Mr. President, I expect to be greatly aided by the friendship which has existed between France and the United States since the birth of our republic. The relations between our two countries have happily remained largely unmarred, over nearly two centuries; our friendship and cooperation in peace, our metal efforts and sacrifices in war, have created between our two peoples a special bond for which I can only be truly grateful as I take up my duties here.
In closing, Mr. President, I bring to you the greetings of President Johnson who personally requested me to convey to you his warm regards and the assurances of his high esteem. He has greatly appreciated the hospitality and efficient arrangements provided by the Government of France for the talks on Vietnam now taking place in Paris and your particularly timely support for his efforts toward the restoration of peace. In pursuit of such noble objectives, France and the United States should never floater, fail or separate.