Speeches given by the President of the United States
to visiting AFS students, at the end of their stay

* * * * *

1955

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Well, youngsters, it is really good to see you. Years ago I saw some of your predecessors on the steps at Columbia, I remember. We had a big morning at that time. You have just completed your year in the United States, and I am sure that you have learned a lot here, as we have learned a lot from you, because that has been the history of these expeditions.

I understand that now 600 of our own young Americans are in your countries, sort of paying a return call. We are delighted.

It seems a hit of a fortunate coincidence that I should have an opportunity to see all of you just as I am about to depart for Geneva, where, with others, we will try to explore the reasons why this world does not seem to get closer to peace, and to try to find roads that, if the world follows, all of you may live a little hit more tranquilly than have the people of my generation.

History, of course, has left us a rather tangled network of prejudices and hatreds and suspicions that are not easy to eradicate; and these are intensified by differences in ideologies---doctrinaire positions that seem to set men one against another and make it difficult for us to live like we should like to live.

Now people don't want conflict---people in general. It is only, I think, mistaken leaders that grow too belligerent and believe that people really want to fight.

I hope that you have learned in your year here that this country does have certain basic principles---beliefs---that though not often expressed in the home and in the schools are nevertheless a very basic part of our existence.

We believe in the individual. We believe that every individual is endowed with certain rights---to worship as he pleases, to think as he pleases, to speak as he pleases, to work at the kind of profession that he himself wants.

So if we live true to these principles, we are bound to have a government---country---that does not want to fight. Because it is one truly of the people and for the people.

And so, as we go to Geneva, trying to interpret this belief and this conviction, we are hopeful that there may be some way in which all of you can live out your lives tranquilly, helping over the years to promote the kind of understanding that you have gathered in the past year, that you will help to spread in your own countries when you go home, helping to spread the understanding that will lead to the peacefulness of your own lives and those that come after you. It is possible that the kind of conventions that you people have been having among yourselves, with those you have visited, and that our young Americans are having in your countries, may be far more important in the long run than the kind to which I am going.

Never forget, you have got a long time to live in this world, and so you want to make certain that you do your part with a full comprehension of the facts and with an open-minded, conciliatory attitude toward the other fellow's viewpoint. But never sacrifice the basic principle that the human being is the important thing on this planet.

I am not sure, youngsters, why I got so serious just as I came out here to see you all, but possibly it is because I have spent so much of my life with young people---young soldiers, young people. I like them and trust them. And honestly, my confidence in what you---this group---those like you---those that come after you---can do in this world is unbounded.

Don't ever let anyone tell you you are licked.

Good luck to each of you.

[12 July 1955, Rose Garden]


1957

Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Since 1948 I have had the privilege, I think every year except one which I was in Europe, of greeting representative bodies of foreign students---young people brought over by the American Field Service. The finest thing about the whole event is that each year the group seems to be growing larger.

I don't know of anything more worth while today than for young people of our several countries to visit each other. And you have had the opportunity of visiting us truly because you have come to our homes and you have stayed here long enough to decide for yourselves whether most of us wear tails or horns or whether we are on the average sort of good people that want to live and work productively just like any other decent people does.

So I think that you have had not only an opportunity of very great value but I believe when you go home you have a certain responsibility to make known as widely as you can: what are your impressions of another country in which you have been privileged to live for this time.

I speak rather feelingly on this matter. I think I have spent some 13 years of my life in different foreign countries. I have never yet come back from one of them that I didn't feel I had learned a lot, and I am quite certain that that feeling is shared by every one of you here this morning.

I would hope that the groups that come after you will constantly grow in size, that this will finally become not a matter of 764---I admire the Director for his ability to remember numbers---but that it would be seven thousand and even more. And that we in turn will find ways of sending our young people to your countries, to learn about you, to bring back to us better understanding of your cultures, your religions, your histories, your traditions, your hopes, your aspirations, so that we can be a little wiser, a little more understanding, in the dealings we have with all the world.

So, when I say from my heart it is a privilege to welcome you here to the Nation's Capital, I mean it just as sincerely as I possibly can. I hope that you will have a good time in the Capital and that you will go back home with the finest of memories of this country, and that possibly some of these days I call meet at least a few of you again and talk over in detail the experiences you have had here and the subsequent usefulness you found in this trip.

God bless you. Good luck to you.

 


1961

John F. Kennedy

 

Mr. Galatti: Mr. President, may I introduce to you 1,827 boys and girls from 50 countries who have been attending high schools in this country and living with their families the life of the community. They have brought with them their culture. They have won here friends, and they have received from our country love and affection. I promise you on behalf of each one of them that they will never forget this country.

The president: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to express our great pleasure in welcoming you to the White House. I was just informed that you had brought your culture with you here. I don't know whether your families are going to be pleased or displeased, but looking from up there I thought you were 1,800 American students standing on the steps of the White House lawn. I wonder if we can find our where you all come from. Could we have everybody hold up their hand who comes from Europe. And then if we could have everybody who comes from Latin America. And then everyone who comes from Africa. And then everyone who comes from Asia. And then Australia and New Zealand. And the United States. And Canada. What about Canada? Well we didn't have them this year.

I want to first of all say that I am a great admirer of the American Field Service. A good many young Americans who I knew in the days of the Second World War served with distinction, showed the hand of---I hope---compassion, certainly friendship, to those on both sides. And, what is more important, they learned from that experience a valuable lesson, and because of that, and their continued interest in our country and the cause of peace, you are here.

I hope that your experience here has taught you a valuable lesson, and that is that there are no simple problems, that as we look in the United States around the world at so many different people and so many different countries, we build up in our minds stereotypes and prejudices and sympathies and affections, and I am sure you have learned how far removed we may from our real understanding of the life of your people. You will go back to your countries, and they have stereotypes and prejudices and ideas about the United States.

It is going to be your destiny, I hope, to serve in the interest of peace as a bridge between the best parts of my country and your people. I hope that you go from here not merely as a friend but understanding our faults and our assets, but most of all understanding what we're trying to do and what we're trying to be, and that we recognize that we have in this country great unfinished business.

[The White House, July 1961]


1962

John F. Kennedy

 

I had understood that we had 2,000 foreign students, but I am afraid that your year's stay in the United States has made you at least on the surface look like 2,000 Americans. Whether that is a good thing or not only time will tell, but I am glad that all of you have come here to the United States and taken a long look at us. I am sure that when you go back to your own countries, you will find yourselves like all those who have studied abroad, defending, I hope, this country, and also serving in a sense as a bridge between your own countries and the United States.

As André Malraux said when he was here, this country has been thrust on the world scene after a long isolationist tradition stretching really to the beginning of the Second World War .... Events have compelled this country to assume heavy burdens, and I for one feel that we should assume them. But I hope that when you go back to your own countries you will attempt to interpret where we are in this country, where we have been, what we want to do, and that you will understand that our practices do not always reach as high as our ideals and our speeches, but that we are endeavoring as a nation to establish a more happy society here and also to shoulder our fair share of the burden around the world of assisting others to move forward and upward. That is and it will continue to be the objective of the United States, I am confident, in the days that come.

[The White House, July 1962]


1963

John F. Kennedy

 

I hope that after you go back to your country and read terrible things they write and say about the United States you will occasionally remember that they are talking about a family in Davenport, Iowa, in Massachusetts, or in California. In any case, I hope you will remember that the United States is not just a unit but 180 million people who are going through the same experiences that your people are going through, who suffer the same concerns, who I think live with the same idealism, who recognize that they fall short of their goals but at least are attempting to carry out the very difficult and responsible task of self-government.

This effort to bring you to the United States has not been made merely to give you an interesting year. It has been made because a judgment has been reached that you will be among the future leaders of your country, that you carry with you a sense of responsibility and commitment, and that when you go home you will not be a friend of the United States but rather a friend of peace, a friend of all people, that you will desire to see good will among all nations, and that you will stand in your community, in your state, and in your country for those principles which motivate us all around the globe, a fair chance for everyone and also for a world in which we have some hope for peace. If we are able to do that, this will be the most remarkable generation in the history of the world.

No generation has passed without a war. War has taken up most of the time of the human race, and now we have the terrible responsibility at a time when we have weapons which will destroy the human race of working out a means of living together. That is a difficult task, and that is what you should spend your life doing .... We hope that your visit to the United States will serve not only to provide a link with us but also to broaden your horizons so that in your own country you can be the kind of citizen of whom they are proud and to whom they will look for leadership.

So we are glad to welcome you here today. I hope that you will write to some of the families when you have gone home and that they will write to you, and that some day you will come back to the United States, when I am old and gray, as president, or even more important, as first lady of your country.

[The White House, July 1963]


1964

Lyndon B. Johnson

 

I suppose I should introduce myself. I am the father of Lynda and Luci Johnson---and I am known as the man who is the White House dogs' best friend.

It is good to have you with us. Nothing makes a house happier than young people, and this house is a very happy home right now with you on hand. I know that during the past year each of you has made life much happier, much more rewarding for the American families with whom you have lived. I hope you will take back to your own lands even half as much enrichment as you are leaving behind in our land.

You have been in the United States during a year history will never forget, and you will always remember. You have seen our system and our people tested by a terrible tragedy. But you have also seen that system and this people respond nobly, with great courage and great common sense. I believe there is an example in this for all the world.

People in other countries sometimes forget what we in America can never forget: that America has been built by sons and daughters of every continent and every country. Men may try to tell you that peace among nations and neighbors is not possible, that old animosities can never he forgotten, that old suspicions and prejudices can never be overcome, that old rivalries and struggles can never be laid aside. When any tell you that, you tell them of America.

Here in this diverse land of 190 million people, people with the blood of your own ancestors in their veins, have forgotten and overcome and laid aside divisions of the past. We live together in 50 states as one people, one people united and indivisible. If such unity can be accomplished here, it can be accomplished everywhere. And we believe that you will in your own times be leaders for peace and justice around the world.

I don't know what impressions you may have brought here, or what impressions you may be taking away now. But I hope you will convey to your families, friends and fellow countrymen one fact about America: almost nobody in America thinks that much in America is as good as it should or could be---even, sometimes, including its President. Free expression, self-criticism, constant self-examination are the great strengths of free peoples, and great sources of the energy from which progress comes.

You have seen this process at work this year. We have been dealing with problems in our society which have existed one hundred years or more. But we are making progress toward fulfilling the rights of all people, toward opening greater opportunity, toward building better cities, toward building a more prosperous economy, toward making life better. America is not an old, contented, complacent land reads to stand still. America is young, as you are young, with its future before it, as your future is before you. Your land and this land have much to do together. I am sure you will be leaders in those great works.

On this happy evening. I know there is in the hearts of all of us one note of sadness. One week ago today the man who had done so much for forty years to foster and nurture this program passed away in his sleep: Director General Stephen Galatti. Mr. Galatti was a remarkable American and a remarkable citizen of the world. Through the fruits of this program, his influence will live on for many generations.

Tonight I would like to announce that I am conferring upon Mr. Stephen Galatti, Senior, a Presidential Citation which reads as follows:

Trusted Counselor, Friend, and Inspiration for Young People Throughout the World, he selflessly devoted his life to the cause of Peace by laboring tirelessly to foster understanding today among the youth who will lead the nations of the world tomorrow.

If Mr. Galatti's son, Stephen, Jr., will come forward, I would like to present this Presidential Citation to him at this time.

[JULY 20, 1964]


1965

Lyndon B. Johnson

 

"We are very proud to welcome you here to the White House today. This is the house of all of the American people.

You have made this a very memorable year and a happy year for the families with whom you have lived in the United States. I hope this year will live as a happy memory for all of you, too.

You leave behind understanding of yourself and the countries you have so well represented. I trust that you take away as well understanding of our people and our country.

We have no dogma, no doctrine, no discipline to impart to you. I hope none have tried to persuade you otherwise. We want you only to take with you a new vision and a new confidence in what you can be yourself and what you can help others to be in your own land.

While you have been here I am sure you have seen things that you don't like, things that you would like to change. If you have, then you can know that you have seen America as Americans themselves see it.

For we are a people who wake up every morning determined to go out and change what we may think is wrong, change what we believe should and could be better.

For all of our nearly 200 years as a nation. America has been drawing her energy and her vitality and dynamic progress from this devotion to changing the conditions of man. If there is one secret to America's strength and success, I think it is the respect that we foster and try always to protect for the right of citizens to criticize what deserves criticism and to change what really needs changing.

I hope that you find that same spirit present in our own lands, for I think it is the spirit that is vital to the progress of all people in this dynamic and exciting century in which we are privileged to live.

The American people and their elected leaders are peaceful in their purposes always, but never forget of us, when you return to your homes, that we mean to win the wars that we have declared: the wars of poverty; the wars against ignorance; the wars against disease; the wars against discrimination and bias and bigotry.

We are fighting those wars in the development of our Great Society program and already we have taken more legislative action in this session than one could suspect almost in a century-certainly in a decade.

So, whatever your country, you may always know that we in the United States stand ready to work with you in these same endeavors so that some day all mankind may stand taller and may stand straighter in a world of peace and a world of justice and a world of equality among men.

In your time here you have come to know Americans as a people who are open and unguarded and I hope, unafraid. We are not a formal people. We are not a people governed b' tradition or custom. We are not a people so much concerned with the way things are done as by the results that we achieve. Since the frontier opened we have been this way.

We have been concerned more with how our children shall live than with emulating how our fathers and how our grandfathers lived. So this spirit of America, I think, is present in our policies and our purposes toward other peoples of other lands as we meet here this afternoon.

Some people believe that it is better if the peoples of the world hold each other at arms length and deal with each other in the most formal way. They sometimes ridicule informality. They like to believe that this prevents friction and misunderstanding and even the disillusionment that may come when people see each other's shortcomings.

That is the way people used to deal with each other back in the days of the clipper ships and the coach and the horse and buggy days. But I don't believe, and I am sure most Americans don't believe, this kind of relationship is what we want in the 20th century.

We really want all mankind to live together with purpose to accomplish the great things within the reach of us all. We believe that people must respect one another; respect each other's rights; respect each other's ways; respect their just dreams and respect their honorable aspirations.

But we want such respect to be that of a lively and affectionate family, open, frank, trusting, rather than the stiff, chilly and even suspicious formality dictated by the protocol of ancient principalities.

So, in this America-this lively, stirring, exciting America of today-our hearts, as well as our homes, are open to you, open to you always.

We have been enriched by having you here this year. We hope that you will return many times through the many years ahead for you. And we hope that wherever you go you will work always, as we work, to try to change, to try to improve the life of mankind on this earth, and, most of all, to try to win peace for all peoples.

Thank you very much."

[THE WHITE HOUSE, July 20, 1965 (12:26 PM EDT)]


1969

Richard M. Nixon

 

THE PRESIDENT. We were delaying because we understand that there were about a thousand more who were expected to attend but apparently there is a bus strike and they could not get here. But I understand that in this great audience here on the South Lawn of the White House there are 2,000 students from 60 countries.

THE AUDIENCE. Three thousand.

THE PRESIDENT. Two thousand here. One thousand are in the buses. But we know that there are 3,000 who are in this great program and I want you to know that in the 6 months that I have been in the White House, I have been in many occasions welcoming Chiefs of States, Heads of Governments, Prime Ministers, Kings, Emperors here on this South Lawn, but no group has been more inspiring than yours.

Incidentally, I expect, and I say this with great conviction, that as I look at this group, as you come from all of the 60 countries represented and will be going back to your own countries, and I know, too, that you would not meet here unless you had a great interest in political affairs, and I am very sure that from this group at some time a future President will be welcoming a Prime Minister or a President, I am sure, to the White House.

I see we have plenty of candidates.

Also, could I say, as you know, I am leaving tonight on a trip myself, one that will take me around the world, not to all of the 60 countries---and I think I have visited 50 of the 60 that are represented here---but to many others. Just to get an idea, I wonder if there are many here today from the first country that I will visit, which will be the Philippines.

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. Anybody from Indonesia? How about Thailand?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. How about India?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. Pakistan?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. I will also be in Britain.

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. That is an indication of the countries that will be covered.

THE AUDIENCE. Brazil!

THE PRESIDENT. That is a future President of Brazil right there.

THE AUDIENCE. Chile!

THE PRESIDENT. I have been there, too.

THE AUDIENCE. Peru!

THE PRESIDENT. Right. How about Romania?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes! Honduras!

THE PRESIDENT. Well, if I mentioned Honduras, how about El Salvador?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. Costa Rica, San Jose; Afghanistan, Kabul?

THE AUDIENCE. Yes!

THE PRESIDENT. Denmark, Copenhagen? Yes. Vietnam? Yes, I have been there. Colombia? Yes.

Well, you can see if I called the roll that we would take all the time.

Could I speak seriously to you for just a moment as I welcome you to the White House and in effect say goodbye to you as you return to your own countries?

I want to say first that my only regret is that our family could not have had some of you visit us in our home during this last year. Of course, in this last year I have been a little busy, but nevertheless, we have so many friends who have had the privilege of having students from this group in their homes and many of them have said that it was really the best thing that ever happened in their lives.

We thank you all for giving so many Americans the privilege of knowing your countries through you, the youth of your countries. This is a great privilege, it is a privilege that many American families have never had before and we are grateful for that.

Second, I want you to know that as I meet you and realize your ages and all the years ahead of you, I think what a wonderful time it is for you to be alive. I suppose that that sounds rather strange these days when we read of some of the problems in the world---problems in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Mideast, and the like, a war in Vietnam, all of these problems---but let us look at it, if we can, for a moment, without being Pollyannish, but look at it with the true realism that an idealist must have, looking at the facts, but also looking beyond them as we really should, to the future, which you can help build.

You could not find a more exciting time to be born; you could not find a more exciting time to finish high school and then go on to college and then pick your profession, because when you are my age or perhaps a little younger than I am, in the year 2000, and you celebrate the new year that comes once in a thousand years, look at what you look back on and look at what you will see then and what you will look forward to in the 21st century.

We think of those men who are returning from the moon. Wasn't that a great thing to see? In the year 2000 I believe, and I am sure that those in this audience who are so young and so full of life and so full of optimism, will agree with me, in the year 2000 we will, on this earth, have visited new worlds where there will be a form of life.

I know this will happen, and I want to tell you as I look forward and dream about that future, as I am sure you look forward to it and dream about it, this is the kind of world I would like to see and the kind of exploration of that new world that I know all Americans want.

I hope that when the next great venture into space takes place that it will be one in which Americans will be joined by representatives of other countries so that we can go together. I know from the telegrams that I have received around the world that the spirit of all the people of the world was with those three brave men. They are not just Americans, they represented all of mankind.

That is why as we look at the future adventures into the free world, let them not be adventures of conquest, but adventures of exploration which tend to unite us all into one people which we truly are, and we feel this way.

What those new worlds will be like, whether on Mars or Venus or any of the other areas we may be able to explore, no one can presently say, but let me say a word about what this world can be like and what you can make it like.

Sometimes we get very pessimistic about problems. We see the population curving up. We see the food production not going up as fast and we look at great areas of the world in Asia and Africa and Latin America and wonder if those two curves are going to pass, and the dire prediction of Malthus may prove true in our time. I don't think so, because I am convinced that we have the genius, genius represented by young people in this group, and by people all over the world so that we can produce the food and the clothing, the health care, the housing, the shelter, all the things that we need to keep ahead of population and continue to progress.

That is the challenge you have; it is the challenge you are going to meet.

I think, too, that as we look to the future that we think of the possibilities not only of the new worlds, what may not be or may be on the moon or Mars or Venus, but we think of what that moon achievement means in terms of what we can do on this earth.

So often we hear, "This cannot be done. The problem is too great." But when I saw, or at least heard and saw the simulation of those two space vehicles traveling at 4,500 miles an hour, coupling together in space, let alone landing on the moon, and the takeoff on the moon, but saw that take place out there in outer space, as I realized all of the scientific genius and the technical ability, let alone the human factors that went into that, I realized that this is no time for the pessimists; this is the time for the optimists, and idealists.

Be optimistic and idealistic about the future. I realize the kind of teamwork, the kind of scientific achievement, the kind of idealism that we saw in that space shot, that landing on the moon, if we could just bring all that to bear on the problems here on earth, the problems of our environment, the problems of adequate food, health, and shelter, and progress, a fair share for everybody in this earth, if that can be done, what a world we can create.

Let me look just a little further ahead in another way. I thought one of the, shall we say, rather sad things about that great day on Monday when man first stepped on the moon was that while most of the peoples of the world saw it on television or participated in lit on television or radio, that there were approximately one-half the world that did not see it, the whole of Communist China, and the world of the Soviet Union.

I thought how sad that was, sad not in terms of East-West conflict, because this is no time to discuss that, but sad in terms of the people involved, because you see I know the Russian people. I have visited them. They are a great people.

And I know the Chinese people. I have never seen them on the mainland of China, but I have seen them in Taiwan and in Manila and in Indonesia and Thailand and New York and San Francisco and I want the time to come when the Chinese people and the Russian people and all the peoples of this world can walk together and talk together.

I want to say to you that in the time that I am in this office, however long it will be, that the major goal that I will have will be to bring peace to this world, real peace, and also to hasten the day when we can have a truly open world, open cities, open borders, open countries, open minds, open hearts, open eyes. That is what we want. That is what you want.

Now I suppose that when we look at the world today and those great political differences that divide us and the war that goes on, we sometimes perhaps would be pessimistic and say, "Well, you are just dreaming." I don't think so. I want you to know that as I see you today, as I realize the experience that you have, as I know the spirit you will carry back to your own countries, you are going to help to make these dreams come true, and I would simply add to that great slogan that I understand all of you have of walking together and talking together, let's dream together, too.

I know of no group of young people in the world who can help more to make those dreams come true than all of you, and I ask all of you as you leave the United States of America, remember, of course, the differences that you saw here, have in mind the problems you saw here, and try to avoid them in your own countries.

But remember above everything else, the American people are with you in their hearts, they want for you what we want for ourselves, the right to be free, the right to move ahead, the right to talk together and walk together and to dream together.

All of these things you believe in and all of these things, I am sure, the world believes in, if the leaders of the world simply have the ability to allow the people of the world to let their views be felt, and their views to prevail.

So, to my good friends, and some of you I hope to meet in some of my future journeys around the world, I can only say, thank you for coming to America. As one who was born in this country, I love my country and I think it is a great country, but I can tell you as one who has visited over 60 countries in the world, I think every people in this world is a great people, and a great country. If we think that way we are going to go a long way.

[ July 22, 1969]


1976

Gerald Ford

 

Dr. Rhinesmith, our very welcome and special guests from foreign lands, and American students, ladies and gentlemen:

Let me extend to each and every one of you on behalf of Mrs. Ford and myself a very warm welcome here at the White House this afternoon. It is a special privilege for me to see so many happy faces and to welcome so many wonderful people here at the White House in our Nation's capital.

The American Field Service deserves congratulations for bringing all of you, the representatives of 62 nations, to the United States during the past year to study, to see what life in America is really all about. American Field Service has devoted over 25 years to building a network of international communication and cooperation at a very personal level.

We must remember that many thousands of host families and community volunteers make this program and others like it possible in the United States of America. Their dedicated support springs from the very best traditions of American generosity and international idealism.

You have seen through personal experience how this way of sharing life can promote harmony among people of different traditions and different cultures. The spirit of seeking understanding through personal contact with people of other nations and other cultures deserves the respect and support of all.

It is a work that goes on in many ways through private efforts in ongoing Government-supported programs of educational and cultural exchange. In 1959, Dwight D. Eisenhower talked to an earlier group of students visiting our country under the auspices of the American Field Service, and he said at that time he felt nothing could improve the program more than to multiply its numbers.

On that July afternoon, President Eisenhower spoke to approximately 1,100 students. Today, your group numbers 2,700 or more students, and, more importantly, an equal number of American young people whose homes and family life each of you has experienced. I am positive that you will agree that the best hope of making the world a better, more peaceful place is to seek even greater exchanges of persons of different backgrounds and different nationalities.

There are many compelling reasons for this program, which brings you to the United States and brings American students to countries around the world. The exchanges are educational. By living here, you grow to understand us and we learn to understand you. False impressions are corrected. In a very real sense they help to relax international tensions. They are enjoyable for all concerned. The best reason for you being here is the promise that you represent the future leaders of your countries, and I know that you do.

Over the years while I was in the Congress and while I was Vice President and while I have been President, I have had the great pleasure of visiting many of the countries that you represent. In each of those countries I have met men and women in positions of high leadership who have experienced American life through the American Field Service program, and I expect you to do the same.

Here at home in the United States, in our Congress and our Statehouses, in the State legislatures and local government, I meet many, many young men and women now serving our country who have lived abroad under the auspices of the American Field Services. The result is, and will continue to be, the development and fostering of an increased awareness of our interdependence.

As we in America enter our third century as a free nation, we are ever cognizant of America's leadership responsibilities in global affairs. We, in the United States, are totally committed to the cause of cooperation on an equal basis between all nations, whatever their stage of development. The United States bears a heavy, heavy responsibility to promote the stability upon which freedom and peace depends. Therefore, we must provide you and young people everywhere the hope of a better future by mastering the great economic and social problems --- the social and economic challenges of building a new, equitable and productive relationship among all nations.

The problems faced by each of our countries have never been more interrelated. We must unite in understanding that our greatest concerns cannot be resolved by hasty actions aimed at short-term solutions. Instead, we have, and we will continue to follow, a sure and steady course aimed at producing and providing long-range answers in dealing with such vital concerns as the economy, the environment, energy, population growth and arms reduction.

You have visited us here in America as we celebrate our Nation's 200th birthday. You have seen the fireworks, you have listened to the patriotic speeches, you have watched the parades and looked on as we all considered the meaning and the significance of our two centuries of independence.

But fortunately you have seen much more than displays and bell ringing. You have seen a more important display --- the reaffirmation of the traditional American spirit of unity and solidarity. We have rediscovered that America has inherited a great, great trust. The founding of our nation was an act of faith, a promise to Americans and to the entire world.

The commemoration of our Bicentennial proves that people can govern themselves, that they can live in freedom with equal rights, that they can respect the rights of others. A great French philosopher once said, "Once you declare for justice, you have declared an unending revolution."

By living among us at the time of America's Bicentennial, you have participated in the reaffirmation of our pride and in our confidence that our unending revolution has just begun. We live in an age where awareness of mankind's common humanity among and within nations is an absolute necessity.

As you return to your homelands, I know you will carry with you an expression of our hope that the friendship and love that has grown between you and your American hosts will continue to flourish, that we will be bound together by our appreciation of the high values of personal liberty, freedom and dignity.

Working together, all of us --- all 5,000-plus of you and millions and millions of people all over this great globe --- by doing what we know is right and working with one another, let us light the way to a new century of peace and freedom for all mankind.

Thank you very much.

[13 July 1976]