July 8, 2013
JFK WELCOMED AUSSIE PM TO WHITE HOUSE 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy welcomed Australian Prime Minister Robert G. Menzies* to the White House 50 years ago today, July 8, 1963.
President Kennedy hosted a luncheon in honor of the PM in the State Dining Room.
“I don’t think that there is any visitor that has more friends in the United States than the Prime Minister of Australia. (He has) been a source of encouragement to President Roosevelt, President Truman, President Eisenhower and now to me.”
The President made note of the PM’s recent visit to Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I think our confidence in Australia was built during two world wars…and in the days that have followed when the United States and Australia have moved in such concert together.
At the close of his remarks, JFK proposed a toast to Her Majesty, the Queen.
The Prime Minister said…
“We are engaged in a joint enterprise for mankind. And nothing can impair our belief in the significance of the United States in that enterprise.”
Mr. Menzies concluded his remarks by saying…
“If you were a Scotsman instead of being an Irishman, I would say ‘Lang may your lum reek.'”^
^This is a Scottish saying which means LIVE LONG AND HAPPILY!
*Sir Robert G. Menzies (1894-1978), Australia’s longest serving prime minister, was born in Jeparit, Victoria to Scottish immigrants. He graduated from the University of Melbourne Law School in 1916 and became a successful barrister in the city.
As PM, Menzies supported both the Monarchy and traditional ties to Great Britain. He died at the age of 83 in Melbourne.
**Jeparit is located on the Wimmera River in western Victoria, Australia. The following inscription appears on the Menzies Spire…
“This spire has been erected by the people of Jeparit and district to honour Sir Robert Menzies. The spire symbolizes the rise to world recognition of a boy who was born in Jeparit and who rose by his own efforts to become Australia’s Prime Minister and a statesman recognized and honoured throughout the world.”