Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)
I have the honor to forward today to the Congress--with my strongest urging that it be enacted promptly--a draft of a bill to assure the continuing leadership of the United States in the purposeful pursuit of peace.
Four years ago, the United States became the first nation in the world to establish an Agency for Arms Control and Disarmament. The record of achievement since has refuted the doubts of those who questioned whether there was effective work for such an agency to perform. While the journey toward peace remains long, we have begun to take the first steps--and we have found others of the family of nations willing to walk with us.
In the last year and a half, we have concluded the nuclear test ban treaty now joined by over 100 other nations. We have established a direct communications link between Washington and Moscow, joined in a United Nations resolution against weapons in space, and initiated cutbacks in the planned production of fissionable material-a step which the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union have announced that they intend to take also.
We have, in addition, placed before the 18-nation Disarmament Conference in Geneva a number of important, concrete proposals for the control and reduction of armaments on which agreement has not yet been achieved.
In our times, as always, vigilance remains the price of liberty and we stand today as a strong, ready and vigilant nation, prepared and determined to defend our freedom and the freedom of those who stand with us. But as a nation vigilant to danger, we must also be vigilant for opportunities for improving the hopes for peace. The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency helps us keep this most vital vigil.
Since existing authorization expires on June 30, 1965, I am asking the Congress to extend that authority for four years. I do so because it is my purpose to intensify our efforts in this critical area. I am determined to work in every way that I can for safeguarded agreements that will halt the spread of nuclear weapons, lessen the risk of war and reduce the dangers and costly burdens of armaments. This effort--as much as our continuing preparedness efforts militarily-is essential to our security for a continued increase and spread of modern weapons can actually decrease our security.
The first legislation creating the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is a proud and honored memorial to the initiative and vision of President John F. Kennedy. It is also a living tribute to the responsibility of the Members of Congress and, in particular, to the dedicated leadership offered through the years by the Vice President-elect. Such legislation so clearly reflects the spirit and the will of the American people that I hope the Congress will act with all dispatch to give approval to this extension of the Agency's valuable role.
The background and justification for my recommendation are amplified in the accompanying letter to me from the Director of the Agency, William C. Foster. I share Mr. Foster's conclusions fully and confidently trust that the action of the Congress will impressively reaffirm to the world the dedication of this generation of Americans to the untiring quest for peace for ourselves and all mankind.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON