Acting Secretary Trowbridge, distinguished Members of Congress, welcomed guests, ladies and gentlemen:
It has been said that the road to trust between nations passes through the marketplace.
Today we gather here in the Rose Garden at the White House to honor 10 American companies whose worldwide efforts are helping us to prove that observation.
By developing new markets for American products, these companies have served their country and they have served it well. You gentlemen have advanced your own profits-but you have also furthered the cause of international cooperation. That, I think, is "enlightened self-interest" at its best.
This ceremony takes place during World Trade Week when we affirm some basic principles of economic and foreign policy.
We believe that it is very much in our interest and is necessary to expand world trade.
We know that it speeds the pace of economic progress.
We know that it promises a better life for all men.
We know that it sustains our greatest hope--the hope of all people that there can be peace in the world.
Last year, two-way trade between the United States and our free Asian partners amounted to $12 billion. Certainly that is good business--and it's also, I think, good international policy.
Today, we are doing our best to bury our ancient differences--we are doing our best to achieve better relations among all nations. Part of that search is our effort to build new bridges between the East and the West.
The flow of peaceful commerce across those bridges could bring lasting benefits to both sides.
The barriers which fell at Geneva last week clear the way for great advances in mutual trade. The Kennedy Round will open a new era of world commerce.
We are entering that new era with an excellent record in export expansion.
Last year, our United States merchandise exports soared to more than $29 billion.
That is a 50 percent increase since 1960.
Unfortunately, we have not achieved the balance of payments gains we hoped this expansion would bring, because imports have grown much more rapidly than exports.
That is a problem that we just must overcome.
The way to solve it is not to limit imports, but rather to dedicate ourselves to doing our best to increase the things that we produce and to increase those exports.
To accomplish that end, I have consulted with the new, I trust soon-to-be--Senator Magnuson and the rest of you Senators willing--Secretary of Commerce. Mr. Trowbridge, and the Cabinet Committee on the Balance of Payments are going to undertake a far-ranging export study. We'll even try to get it underway before the confirmation is made.
Specifically, I have asked him to give me his recommendations and his advice on these questions. I think the answer to most of the questions, like the answer to most questions, is yes, but I want him to study it and report as quickly as possible. The first question is:
--Should we increase the U.S. trade and industrial exhibitions overseas?
--If we should, to what extent, and what do they think should flow from this effort?
--Should we open new trade centers abroad? Should we undertake more trade missions? Should we have more mobile trade fairs?
--Should we modify our export financing system? How can we improve the financing to help sell the products that our industry and our labor make?
--How can we make the U.S. industry-and the people who make up and contribute to it--more export minded?
I would like, this morning, to thank Mr. John R. Kimberly and Mr. Thomas Miner for the reports from the National Export Expansion Council. They will be used by us. We anticipate that they will be very helpful and of great value.
So this is somewhat of a meeting to thank all of you and to say to you that your country is grateful.
You deserve the recognition you are receiving. I am glad to welcome you here and I am glad to present the flags that we will give you that will be symbols of your achievement.
One of the most ambitious goals we have for the months ahead is under the direction of this youngest Cabinet member--to try to fire up the producers and the manufacturers of this Nation to attempt to make a substantial increase in our exports and to find new ways and means of bringing about that result.
We welcome the advice and suggestions of Members of Congress and of industry and labor generally.
Thank you very much for coming here and being a part of this ceremony.Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Alexander B. Trowbridge, Acting Secretary of Commerce.
The National Export Expansion Council, composed of business, labor, and professional leaders, advises the Secretary of Commerce on export matters. "Action Committees" deal with specific fields and present reports relating thereto. The President referred to the chairmen of two of these committees: John R. Kimberly, chairman, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Neenah, Wis., who headed the Action Committee on Export Promotion, and Thomas H. Miner, president, Thomas H. Miner & Associates, Inc., of Chicago, who was chairman of the Action Committee on Trade and Investment in Developing Countries. Their reports are entitled "Export Promotion" (March 10, 1967, 25 pp., processed), and "Trade and Investment in Developing Countries" (Feb. 15, 1967, 36 pp., processed).
The 10 American companies honored at the awards ceremony were Armco Steel Corp., Middletown, Ohio, Beckman Instruments, Inc., Fullerton, Calif., Drico Oil Tools, Inc., Midland, Texas, Elco Corp., Willow Grove, Pa., Mays Manufacturing Co., Inc., Warwick, R.I., Nordberg Manufacturing Co., Inc., Milwaukee, Wis., Pacific Pumps, Inc., Huntington Park, Calif., Scott Aviation Corp., Lancaster, N.Y., Washington State International Trade Fair, Seattle, Wash., and Zenith Radio Corp., Chicago, Ill.
The President's "E" awards were established by Executive Order 10978 of December 5, 1961, entitled "Establishing Presidential Awards for Significant Contributions to the Export Expansion Program" (3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 498). The order states that the awards "may be made to persons, firms, and organizations engaged in the marketing of products who make significant contributions to the expansion of the export trade of the United States. It shall consist of a flag having a field of white upon which will appear a blue 'E.'" A Department of Commerce release made available following the May 23 ceremony states that the "E" Award Citation had been presented to 793 export firms and organizations since its establishment in 1961.