President Nixon addresses a welcoming audience at the South Lawn of the White House upon his return from his journey of peace to the Middle East.
As President Nixon stood on the South Lawn of the White House following his return from the Middle East on June 19, 1974–addressing the public and a Washington brass disconcerted with Watergate–he spoke only of the mission with which he embarked on and the success with which it bore. His journey of peace had planted the seeds of peace in the Middle East. He asked the American people to help him continue his work as the framework for negotiations had been established.
I would say, as we conclude this part of this very long journey, we must not let these people down. We must help, because America must play and will play the crucial role in continuing the progress toward peace and continuing also to build on the foundations of these new relationships with nations where those relationships have been broken in times past.
Waging peace is, in fact, more difficult than waging war because it is more complex-the goal sometimes one loses sight of as he becomes involved in the tactics that are necessary to achieve that goal.
In his memoirs, President Nixon reflected on a diary dictation he made upon his return, reiterating the need for America’s participation in the Middle East and implying that there were no favorites to be had, only friendship and peace to be sought for. In the Middle East, it would begin with America’s new relationship with the Arab world.
The most important thing, of course, is to keep working to make sure the trip bears the fruits of peace–or at least of progress. Sadat constantly emphasized the point that it was unnatural for the Egyptians and the Americans to be enemies, and natural for us to be friends. It was this theme that we heard in Saudi Arabia and also in Syria and Jordan: natural and unnatural, normal and abnormal, etc. This to me is the most significant benefit from the presidential trip as distinguished from all the negotiations. The Arabs really want to be friends of the Americans, and now it’s up to us to be their friends and also to prove that friendship with America is worthwhile. RN, The Memoirs
President Nixon greets an enthusiastic crowd upon his return from the Middle East.
This week marks 40 years since President Nixon’s trip to the Middle East in June of 1974. President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger worked together with President Sadat to push Soviet influence out of the Middle East, thrusting the United States into the leadership role as mediator of peace.