Miss Furness, Members of the Cabinet, Members of the Congress, distinguished ladies and gentlemen:
Often I find it very useful at a swearing-in exercise to have a lot of biographical information.
Somehow I don't believe that's going to be necessary this morning.
Betty Furness has, however, never held Federal office before. But she is known to millions of people in this country.
Now she is about to embark on a public career. She is about to become the advocate of the American consumer in the highest councils of her Government.
She will speak for the housewife in the marketplace, who must provide her family with good food at reasonable prices.
She will speak for the mother who must protect her children from unsafe products.
She will speak for the father who must buy for his family on credit, and who should be told what that credit is costing him.
We have made great strides in the safeguarding of the rights of the consumers during the past 3 years.
Consumer was a word that was hardly known in our American language 3 years ago. Today it is on everyone's tongue.
It is something that everyone is interested in. It is something that we have concentrated on in trying to make everyone in America aware of.
We have made great strides, I think, in safeguarding the rights of the consumer during the past 3 years. I want to acknowledge and express appreciation not only to the American people for their support, but to the American Congress for their foresight and their willingness to endure criticism, even editorial comments at time, in passing measures for us.
We have put on the statute books the Truth in Packaging Act, to require that products carry clearly and carry honestly information about their contents.
We have put on the statute books the Child Protection Act--normally we talk about these things on their 50th anniversary or their 100th anniversary, as we did about the Commissioner of Education the other day, but I think this morning Miss Furness would like to have me recount just some of the duties she will have--to keep our children safe from the hazardous toys.
We have put on the statute books the traffic and highway safety acts, to help us reduce the shameful toll of lives that have been lost on our highways.
We have put on the statute books greater insurance protection for the savings on deposits made by our citizens.
There is still much more to be done and Betty Furness has agreed to help us do it.
We still have to secure a law that will give the installment buyer a clear statement, honest statement, of the interest charges that he will pay.
We still have to guard those who invest in tracts of underdeveloped land against sharp and sometimes dishonest practices.
We still have to safeguard the public by insuring that natural gas pipelines are just as safe as we are capable of making them.
We still have to strengthen our protection of the public's interest in private pension and welfare plans, and in mutual funds.
We still have to protect consumers from hazardous fabrics, and to reshape our laws that deal with dangerous household products.
These efforts may not seem so dramatic as many great foreign and domestic programs that we have had. But they are, I think, absolutely vital to the health and safety and to the security of the American family.
Betty Furness has been traveling throughout this country. She has been learning what is most on the minds of the homemakers and the individual consumers. She has been talking to both the consumers and the producers.
I think since her announcement she has been visiting some grocery stores and buying some clothing.
She knows that a healthy relationship of mutual trust and respect is critical in everything that we do. In doing these things she is going to be wearing three Easter bonnets, three different hats: she will be Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs to the President; she will be Chairman of the President's Committee on Consumer Interests; she will be Executive Secretary of the Consumer Advisory Council.
Now, to help her wear those hats as effectively as possible, I have had the lawyers draft an Executive order that we think will greatly strengthen the Committee on Consumer Interests, including on it for the first time the principal officers of the Cabinet of the President of the United States, and the principal agency heads of this Government.
This will give the Committee increased authority in carrying out the consumer program.
It will strengthen the voice of the consumer in the councils of Government.
Betty, I know we are not giving you much time to catch your breath. Before the week is out you are going to have a real baptism. You will be testifying before a Senate subcommittee.
I never wake up in the morning but what I am not thankful to George Washington for setting a precedent and making it very clear that Presidents would not have to do the same thing.
So we are glad to welcome you aboard. We appreciate the fact that you were willing to respond to your President's call.
We drafted you for this place. We know we didn't make a mistake.
We are looking forward to working with you. I predict that some day we will meet in this room on an anniversary date and point with pride to the leadership that you have provided.