President Udall, and ladies and gentlemen:
I have been talking to your President about this group, about the hour that you had to get up this morning in order to be at breakfast on time, and about the work you are doing. I noticed that he kept stressing that this is bipartisan. He apparently was afraid I was going to make a political speech. And you know, I am, because I am going to try to convince those people who are of another persuasion--so far as political parties are concerned--that what President Udall has been talking about and that what I have been talking about is to their interest. I should like to see them all banded together, and therefore, as they go out the door this morning, I would like to see them take another little oath of allegiance to the proper party and get behind these things.
One of the reasons that I was anxious to come is because I know of your work in the great effort to prevent the debasement of our currency. But I am not going to talk about that kind of program and the ones that are related to it particularly. What I want to talk about is something a little broader and a little deeper.
I know you people know all the risks there are to inflation because of excessive Federal spending. If we indulge in fiscal irresponsibility and irresponsible debt management, you know what it means. Therefore, I am not going to waste your time. What I am going to try to talk about is this: our mission--as people who do understand--is to inform others who are going along in a sort of cloud, believing that one party or another has all the virtues and the other none, or who are completely uninterested, particularly if registering and taking part in political action interferes with their golf or their shooting or any other recreation.
I believe the greatest problem in America today is not simply keeping our currency from being debased and eroded. It is the need of understanding, the understanding of the United States about the issues that we face.
People who oppose budgets that are balanced say, "Well, you think more of a balanced budget than you do about the education of some poor lad out in Kansas."
If you say anything about America's responsibility for giving real leadership in the world in order that we may have an opportunity to see people follow the course of freedom--living in freedom--and maintain themselves against any kind of incursion from an atheistic philosophy, we see it attacked by saying "giveaway programs."
To my mind there is nothing that can be more futile, and nothing that can be more indicative of an abysmal ignorance--if there is no demagoguery in it at all, but just ignorance--than to say that the programs the United States carries out in the world are "giveaway programs."
Do we want peace? Do we want the free world strong, or do we not?
I was reading a history of the United States by a man named Muzzey, and he talks about the amount of investment capital that flowed into our country in the fifties to seventies which was largely responsible for the tremendous expansion in our continent during those years. In 1873 there was a sudden money panic in Austria, and it spread in Europe, and suddenly there was no capital coming into the United States. This country was in a panic. From 1873, really, to 1879 it never came out of it.
We in our turn have the chance to help people invest properly, in their own freedom, in their own dignity, in their own security. If we don't do something like this, those people are going to be abandoned, and we are going to pay the bill in a very, very much higher currency than the mere dollars that we lend to them--or indeed at times grant to them--in order to keep this kind of peaceful program working and operating in the world.
We need, of course, other countries--other industrial countries. What I am getting at is this: do you learn the facts? And, as you talk the facts, supporting the Government in economy, in efficiency, and preserving our dollar, are you taking these other great issues and getting your friends--all of the other realtors in the world that you can get hold of--and letting them see what the issues are?
That is the biggest problem today, because if the United States is informed--even if you have to do it by injection--our people will make the right decisions. There is no question about that.
We have had some of the difficult questions in the last few years brought to the people through the help of bodies such as this--for example, economy last year, and before that, the reorganization of the Defense Department. As quickly as people became aroused, there was no question about what Congress would do.
So, first, I think my message is: congratulations for what you are doing--and the expression of the hope that you will go even a little deeper into the relationship of the United States Government with you, with your community, with your State, and with other nations. It isn't good enough to say, "Oh, well, so and so is Secretary of State, or so and so is Director of the Budget, or Secretary of the Treasury, so we can just forget it."
We have to know.
You have to give your honest convictions, not because a man is a Democrat or a Republican or even a Populist or anything else. You have to do it because you believe something. And if you believe it on the basis of facts--and you can make enough other people believe those same facts--you will have in your hands the mightiest force there is in the United States: an informed public opinion.
I come here because I know your record up to this point, and I hear your program being discussed as to what you are going to be doing next year. So I just come here to ask you: work harder, deeper, wider, for one cause only--the United States of America.
I am very proud that I have been asked to come to see you this morning. I am really, truly complimented that I find so many ladies have found it possible to get up this time of the morning to come to such a meeting.
Thank you all very much indeed.