[Read by Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon]
IT IS an honor to send greetings, for the first time, to forty-nine State Governors at this Annual Conference. And I will shortly sign a proclamation officially admitting the fiftieth State. I am equally pleased that you are assembled in San Juan, heart of the great Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
We Americans introduced to the world a new concept by which local and national interests form a partnership for self-government. The admission of Alaska and Hawaii to the Union reaffirms our belief in this Federal system. It is further strengthened by our unique and special relationship with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which stands as a shining symbol of friendship and cooperation.
A gathering of the Governors of our States is an occasion on which to voice our pride in the wisdom of our Founders. It should also be a time to look ahead to present and future problems, searching for solutions that are in accord with our great heritage.
Last October 16th the population clock in Washington registered 175 million people. As each second is ticked off we have new lives to think of; with each year we, in effect, admit to the Union another State whose population is about that of Kentucky.
We are dedicated to meeting the governmental needs of this expanding nation within the finely balanced Federal framework. We know that heavy-handed centralization, the loss of local responsibility, leads to the loss of local authority and finally of individual freedom. In your efforts to guard against this centralizing tendency, and to lead the way to ever-rising standards of governmental excellence, I again extend my fraternal cooperation to you, the Chief Executives of the forty-nine States of the American Union, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Territories that are represented at this Conference.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER