Remarks on Arrival at Guam International Airport in Agana

April 25, 1984

Governor and my fellow citizens and honored guests, thank you, and a warm hafa adai [hello].

I'm delighted to be here on Guam where you're fond of saying that the rays of each sunrise first touch the Stars and Stripes, and that's a great way to start the day.

It's an honor to be with all of you who've worked so hard to make this visit possible. My special thanks to Congressman Won Pat, to Governors Bordallo, Coleman, and Tenorio, and to President Nakayama of the Federated States of Micronesia, President Kabua of the Marshall Islands, and President Remeliik of Palau.

It's good to see that Assistant Secretary of the Interior Richard Montoya, High Commissioner Janet McCoy, and Ambassador Fred Zeder are also here today.

Guam, the hub of the Pacific, is easily within range of almost all major cities in the Far East. For many people, Guam is a convenient stop on the way to someplace else, but for us, Guam means a great deal more. We may be nearly 9,000 miles from our Nation's Capital, but it's a real pleasure to know that we're among fellow Americans.

Governor and Mrs. Bordallo, thank you very much for such a warm and wonderful welcome. There has been so much history and greatness on this sparkling island of democracy. And this July, Guam will commemorate the 40th anniversary of its liberation. Together, we returned peace and freedom to this beautiful land; and together, we'll keep it that way.

The men and women who serve on Guam are carrying on in the finest tradition of those before them. At Andersen Air Force Base and Agana Naval Air Station and on bases and ships all over the world, Americans in uniform are going about their duties with dedication, valor, and skill. And their mission is peace today, tomorrow, and for always.

This morning as we left the base in Honolulu -- Hickam Airfield there -- and I had the pleasure of speaking to those young men and women of ours in uniform -- and there are so many here today -- and I reminded them that at a time -- and I thought it should be said to them, that at a time when there are people who would link the uniform and the military with the other causes of war and say that that is one of the reasons for war, let it be said here and now that those who wear the uniform are the peacemakers. And blessed are the peacemakers. And the better they perform their tasks, the greater is our chance of not seeing war again. There have been four wars in my lifetime -- none of them started because America was too strong.

Incidentally, I might say, of all the things that go with the position I now hold, nothing, nothing has made me more proud than the young men and women, the people that are in the Armed Forces of all our branches. I am so proud of them, I can't look at them without getting a lump in my throat.

The United States is proud to be part of the Pacific community. Pacific Americans have always lived up to the values that make us a good and worthy people, values that begin with the sacred worth of human life, religious faith, family, community spirit, and hard work.

I see some of you expected this. They told me that it really doesn't get you wet when it rains out here -- [laughter] -- so I'll just keep on going.

In times of crisis, few Americans have been more steadfast in the defense of our shared values and few have made more sacrifices to preserve them. Together, we have built an enduring partnership for freedom, peace, and prosperity. And once again, America's new strength, confidence, and purpose are carrying hope and opportunity to people far from the mainland.

While each island is proud of its own culture, economy, and history, all share the desire for a brighter future for their people. We have a natural interest in the progress of all the island peoples of the Pacific. We want to help the development of their economies, and we will help keep the region free from tension and rivalries. With our partnership, much can and will be accomplished.

We're looking forward to expanding and improving our ties with the island nations of the Pacific. We've reached an important milestone in the relationship between the Trust Territory and the United States. You're right, Governor, 14 years of negotiations on the future political status of the Trust Territory are drawing to a close.

In 1975 the people of the Northern Marianas voted for commonwealth status with the United States. And last year, the people of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau voted for a compact of free association, defining a new relationship with the United States. Because the compact reflects the will of the people, I hope that both the United States Congress and the international community will recognize that complete self-government for the peoples of the Trust Territory should not be delayed.

We have submitted the compact to the Congress and have urged full consideration and approval as soon as is feasible. In the meantime, we will continue negotiations in order to resolve the constitutional issues holding up resolution of Palau's future political status.

The United States Government will work closely with the Micronesian Governments as they move forward in their new direction. We want to build on our shared values and develop an even better relationship. We're your close friends, and we will be reliable partners.

In closing, let me echo the noble sentiment expressed in the Constitution of the Federated States of Micronesia: ``The Micronesian nation is born in an age when men voyage among stars; our world itself is an island. We extend to all nations what we seek from each -- peace, friendship, cooperation, and love in our common humanity.''

Well, I know that those eloquent words express the feelings of all Americans. And again, Nancy and I, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your very beautiful welcome here. God bless you all. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 3:49 p.m. in response to remarks by Gov. Ricardo J. Bordallo.