Recently, I was one of a family party of New Zealanders driving ourselves through California, Nevada and Arizona. As we've moved around we were lucky to meet a wide cross section of American people, both town and country, and talk to them about life both here and in New Zealand. While there are many similarities between our two cultures, one area where we envy you is the fierce national pride exhibited by all we met, including ethnic minorities. The sight of the Stars and Stripes fluttering at a flagpole is a common sight here.
Everywhere we have been met with courtesy, patience and tremendous good will. Some people, on hearing we're from New Zealand, express puzzlement over our government's attitude toward visits by U.S. nuclear-armed naval vessels and its effect on our involvement in the ANZUS defense treaty. As one whose older friends fought among U.S. GIs in the Pacific during World War II, let me assure the people of America that the majority of New Zealanders do not want to sever our ties with America, either in trade or military cooperation.
Like Americans, we in New Zealand have no desire for nuclear conflict, but we also believe that security lies in a strong military presence and a continuing dialogue between the United States, Russia and the other nuclear powers. May I, on behalf of our party, express our thanks to all those who have helped make our stay such a happy one.