Remarks on Arrival at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii

April 22, 1984

Governor and Mrs. Ariyoshi, Admiral and Mrs. Crowe, and fellow Americans, Nancy and I want to thank you for your warm and very generous welcome. To all the people of Hawaii, we want to convey our thanks for the aloha spirit of your greeting and to say how thrilled we are to begin a long journey for peace in this place of overpowering beauty and tranquillity.

It is also appropriate that this journey should begin on Easter Sunday -- a day of peace proclaimed, a day of triumph over evil and suffering. In a short time, we will be worshiping at St. Andrew's Cathedral, and I can assure you that our prayers this afternoon will not just be for the success of this mission, but for an enduring peace among the peoples of all nations.

On this Easter, in the year of our Lord 1984, I ask for the prayers of all Americans and the peoples of the world for peace among men and peace among nations. Let the nations and the peoples of the world renounce war, and let us pledge ourselves to its permanent abolition. Let us forsake its anguish and agony and live in love with one another.

Like all Americans, the people of these islands cherish peace. Unlike most of their countrymen, the people of Hawaii have known firsthand the destruction wrought by nations that take up arms against each other. As we passed over Pearl Harbor this afternoon, I don't have to tell you of our silence as we reflected on the Arizona Memorial beneath us. The building that is now the Pacific Air Force's headquarters is still pockmarked with bullets from that fateful Sunday almost 43 years ago. And 32 years later, it was here to this airport that our first prisoners of war returned from an awful captivity in North Vietnam.

The American people have never sought war nor the test of arms. And yet in my lifetime I have seen four such wars -- none of them because the United States was too strong or too ready. The United States is resolved to avoid war, pursue peace, and to do so by remaining strong and remaining ready.

Hawaii remains key to this resolve and readiness. To our men and women in uniform today, I bring the greetings and gratitude of your country. In these islands there is testimony to the heroism and courage of others who've worn their country's uniform before you. And today you continue in that valiant tradition. Your vigilance makes peace possible; your readiness protects freedom and brings closer the day when mankind will renounce forever the use of force.

It's our fervent hope that the events of this coming week will also bring us closer to that day. One of the critical developments in our country's postwar foreign relations is our opening to China and the establishment of diplomatic relations with that nation of a billion people. Today in the economic, educational, and cultural areas we have a wide range of agreements with the Chinese, and the United States is now China's third leading trade partner. And we share similar concerns on many critically important geopolitical situations, such as our disapproval of the aggression waged against the peoples of Kampuchea and Afghanistan.

Our shared progress did not happen instantly; it took more than a decade to build. This week, we hope to continue the process of reconciliation. I believe the mission that we undertake is another careful yet sure step toward peace and friendship between the Chinese and American people.

While our friendship is vital to the cause of world peace, we should also acknowledge that our vital national interests are at stake. The Pacific Basin is one of the fastest growing markets for American goods, services, and investments. To a great extent, our nature's [nation's] future is in the Pacific.

And this is why we're especially glad to begin our journey here in Hawaii, the crossroads of the Pacific. All Americans are proud of Hawaii, proud of her 25 years of statehood, proud of her history, her people, and proud of the role that she's played in the struggle for progress and human freedom. In the years and decades to come, Hawaii's importance will continue to grow. And it is America's great, good fortune that Hawaii is her 50th and youngest State. We're grateful to you for your hospitality, for this chance to rest and relax, to enjoy Hawaii's beauty and the warmth of her people.

So, again, I'll just say Happy Easter, and thank you, and God bless all of you. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:05 p.m. at the base. He was greeted by Gov. George Ariyoshi, and Mrs. Ariyoshi; Adm. William J. Crowe, Jr., Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, and Mrs. Crowe; and Sfc. and Mrs. Gregory Lee Emfinger.