I wish to express on behalf of my delegation, and on my own behalf, our grateful thanks to our hosts for the warm and generous reception accorded to us. I also wish to place on record our deep appreciation of President Johnson’s message of hope and confidence which was read out to us this morning. We have found the President’s observations illuminating as well as inspiring. This augurs well for the future of the Alliance.
As we gather here today for our deliberations we are reminded of the late President John F. Kennedy whose tragic death has removed a leader and a world statesman of high courage and determination. My delegation and I wish to pay homage to his memory.
We are passing through challenging times. Momentous international developments, some of which have a significant and direct impact on the CENTO countries, have taken place since we met last, a year ago, in Karachi. These developments have brought home, more than ever before, that peace and stability are not a self-perpetuating phenomenon. Nations wishing to preserve them have to give demonstrable proof of their determination to do so. Peace in an area presupposes that the fear of domination by one country over another shall be banished; that the rights of the weak shall be protected against the strong; that peoples living in bondage shall be free—free to order their present and free to determine their future. This places special responsibilities and burdens on the great powers. The big powers cannot stand unconcerned and let situations develop which may have within them potentialities of disturbance of international peace. In the complicated world of today, no power, however great, can stand apart or act on its own. The big powers and small are interdependent and must work in concert for the preservation of the ideals they cherish.
This in sum is the thinking behind collective security arrangements such as our alliance. CENTO is defensive in character. Its vital function is the preservation of the independence and integrity of its members whom it is pledged to protect against all aggression.
CENTO is an effort in regional cooperation, which, besides defence, extends into the field of economic welfare. Over the years CENTO has established close cooperation among the regional members for the furtherance of their economic growth. It is through technical assistance and economic development that we can build a firm foundation on which peace and security of the region can be based.
It is a matter of satisfaction that encouraging progress has been made in the economic field. Several important joint projects such as the microwave link, the high-frequency telecommunication links between London and the CENTO regional capitals, and regional railroad and port facilities, are nearing completion. Economic assistance in various other fields is underway and will bring benefits not only to individual member countries, but also to the region as a whole. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that increased attention is paid to the economic purposes of the Treaty and their implementation. The various cultural projects launched under the aegis of CENTO will also undoubtedly bring appreciable returns. It is our hope that the economic, technical and cultural activities of CENTO will continue to gather momentum and will forge a unity of purpose and action among the peoples of the region. How well do leaders of the member countries of CENTO realize that the uplifting of living standards of the people, waging war against ignorance, hunger, poverty and disease are among the most challenging tasks facing them. They are dedicated to these ideals and the realization is ever present with them that peace and security of the region will not rest on secure foundations till their people have been enabled to overcome these social evils.
Mr. Chairman, before I conclude, I wish to associate myself with the tributes that have been paid to Dr. Khalatbary, the Secretary-General of CENTO, who has carried out his responsibilities with commendable vigor and efficiency and who has been responsible, along with members of his Secretariat, in making these excellent arrangements for this meeting.