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Address by Lieutenant General F. T. Unger

at the Investiture Ceremony for the

New High Commissioner of the Ryukyu Islands

Fort Buckner Theater, 2nd November 1966


Civil Administrator Warner, Chief Executive Matsuoka, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I consider it an honor, a privilege, and a solemn responsibility for me to accept the post of High Commissioner of the Ryukyu Islands. This ceremony and the attendance of so many prominent persons representing all elements of life on Okinawa underline the importance of my mission here. I am deeply moved to see for the first time so many who are virtual strangers to me now, and to realize that I will be working intimately with many of you from now on. I felt similar emotion when I arrived at Kadena this morning, and I feel it even more keenly on this ceremonious occasion. I look forward to mutually favorable and cordial relations with you and trust that they will lead to our learning to know and work with each other in a harmonious and mutually effective relationship.

This investiture ceremony serves two purposes for me. First, it is an official rite, reflecting the significance and gravity of the High Commissioner's mission; secondly, it gives me the opportunity to outline publicly my concepts of my official responsibilities.

Upon being installed as High Commissioner, I assume many duties, the foremost among which are: 1) to maintain the effectiveness of the U. S. military base here in the Ryukyu Islands, and 2) to work unceasingly to further the economic and social welfare of the people of these islands. In carrying out these complementary duties, problems are bound to arise, but I am confident that through careful planning, close coordination, and friendly cooperation, these problems can be solved. I believe the key to the attainment of our common goals is mutual understanding and a willingness to work effectively together. I realize there are some differences between Ryukyuan and American aspirations, and they undoubtedly will continue to exist. But I also believe that mutual respect and true cooperation, earnestly sought and honestly achieved, will minimize such differences so that an ever-closer and continuingly effective relationship, satisfactory to all, may be achieved in all fields.

For my part, I intend to help achieve this mutually satisfactory relationship by carrying out, to the limit of my energy and ability, policies already well established here. I shall continue to encourage the development of an effective and responsible Government of the Ryukyu Islands by delegating to that government ever-increasing authority as fast as it creates the necessary laws and means to exercise such authority. I shall promote the further expansion of the present healthy growing economy and endeavor to insure that this expanding economy is truly reflected in every individual's standard of living. I shall also endeavor to actively promote social betterment in all areas.

All these aims have likewise been the goals of those who have preceded me in this office. I wish to pay personal tribute to my predecessors and express my sincere admiration for the important contributions they have made to the welfare and well being of the Ryukyuan people. The legacy of successful accomplishment they have left to me is a worthy example to emulate, and a strong foundation on which to build. Much has been accomplished by the U. S. Civil Administration and by the Ryukyuan people during the past two decades, and much remains to be done. There will be no relaxation and no hesitation on my part in pursuing the progressive measures needed to reach our mutually desired goals.

To this end, I will work closely with the Ryukyuan people in all fields of human endeavor; political, economic, and cultural. I intend also to become personally familiar with the island and its customs in order to assure myself at first hand that the hopes and aspirations of all the people are being fulfilled, to the extent possible.

As a military man, I am well aware of the dual responsibility of my office. I have a duty to the people of the United States whose uniform I em proud to wear, and a duty to the Ryukyuan people whose welfare I shall promote. I sincerely believe that these two responsibilities do not conflict and that both can be effectively performed, simultaneously and harmoniously. The vital need. to achieve this most necessary and desirable goal will be my primary guide for action.

The United States Ambassador to Japan, U. Alexis Johnson, said recently "...We are more and more becoming neighbors united by the Pacific, rather than strangers separated by a broad ocean. As neighbors, I am sure that we will continue to work together to build in the Pacific the kind of community in which our people want to live."

If, as Ambassador Johnson and most Americans sincerely believe, people can be neighbors across several thousand miles of ocean, how much more reason we have to believe that we Ryukyuans and American. who live and work so intimately together are truly neighbors.

Let us resolve here today, to continue to work together to build in the Ryukyus the kind of community in which free people want to live.



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