Mary Jean Eisenhower, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, distinguished guests, today is a good day. We are here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty.
Mary, our grandfathers played golf together at Burning Tree Club, Bethesda, in June 1957, fostering a friendship between the two.
Only a dozen years had passed since the end of the war, and the Prime Minister of Japan had come all the way from Japan to play what kind of golf exactly? My grandfather would tell me that the reporters and everyone around him showed tremendous curiosity in their eyes.
“All right, the honor of Japan will hinge entirely on my very first shot,” my grandfather thought, his palms sweating. However, he would later tell me very proudly, the shot that made him most nervous in his entire golfing career turned out to be also the very best and most beautiful shot he ever took.
Wow. There was a stir in the gallery, which erupted the next moment in thunderous applause, giving him a sense that Americans were fair, as he would also tell me later.
KISHI Nobusuke was the first Japanese Prime Minister ever to play golf with the President of the United States. And the second? That would be… me.
Four times. I’ve played golf together with President Trump no less than four times thus far. Although in my heart I consider that too to be evidence that the U.S.-Japan Alliance has deepened, never, of course, would I ever claim such a thing aloud. And our scores? We made a promise they would remain state secrets.
The friendship Eisenhower and Kishi developed at Burning Tree, would come to bear fruit after 30 months of ripening, bringing about the new Security Treaty.
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On January 19, 1960, at 2:40 PM Washington time, the signing ceremony began in the East Room of the White House, packed with a huge number of people, including of course the President and the Prime Minister.
During the toast he made at the lunch just prior to the ceremony, President Eisenhower had said that it would have been a bit more productive to have had these conversations on the golf course, making Prime Minister Kishi smile. But the President began the ceremony more seriously, getting right to the crux, declaring the treaty indestructible.
That was absolutely true. Today, more than ever, the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty is a pillar that is indestructible, a pillar immovable, safeguarding peace in Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and in the world, while assuring prosperity therein.
My deep appreciation goes to all those people whose efforts have enhanced our alliance, day in and day out.
To all the young Americans in uniform who dedicated their lives for the peace in Asia, whose numbers are countless, and whose names no one remembers, to all the officers and service personnel of the U.S. military who shared tears together with the victims when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan…
To all those, including generations of people in the JSDF uniform, who have spared no effort in making the alliance robust, all the people in both our countries, those heroes unnamed and unsung, I dedicate my appreciation.
The efforts and the sacrifices they made gave us peace and prosperity. They made the bond of trust that binds our alliance steadfast and unwavering.
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It was a happy dispensation of history, wasn’t it? Preceding the signing ceremony by a century, in the year 1860, the First Embassy of Japan was in the same East Room, meeting President Buchanan to give him a letter of credence. Thus began the U.S.-Japan relationship.
One hundred years later, Prime Minister Kishi, shoulder to shoulder with President Eisenhower, stood at the turn of one century to another. “I hope,” Kishi said in his remarks, “that in the coming hundred years we will achieve even more progress toward a new relationship based on trust and cooperation.”
As I have now turned the same age as my grandfather was at the time, I hereby make the same pledge.
We have elevated the relationship to one in which each of us, the U.S. and Japan, protects the other, thereby giving further force to the alliance. Going forward, it is incumbent upon us to make it even more robust, to make it a pillar for safeguarding peace and security in both outer space and cyberspace.
Let us keep and enhance the U.S.-Japan Alliance, while making it even more steadfast, shall we not, to make it a pillar safeguarding freedom, liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, one that sustains the whole world, sixty years, one hundred years down the road.
The two leaders envisaged one hundred years to follow when they gave life to the U.S.-Japan Alliance, which, may I say, even at its outset, began as an “alliance of hope.” There shall be only one way for us to walk onward.
Our alliance being one of hope, it is for us to let the rays of hope keep shining even more.
Thank you so much.