The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Message from Senator John F. Kennedy to Chinese-American Businessmen's Committee Meeting, Chicago, IL
September 9, 1960

It gives me real pleasure to greet the Chinese people of Chicago, and I regret that I cannot be with you in person at your dinner, because of engagements made some time ago.

The friendship between the people of China and the United States is too firmly founded, and too deeply rooted, to be interrupted by the acts of the totalitarian government which temporarily rules the Chinese mainland.

The Chinese people, by long tradition, are devoted to ideas of freedom and self-government. In the words of our Democratic platform, "we reaffirm our pledge of determined opposition to the present admission of Communist China to the United Nations" - a pledge we have made both to the people of the United States, and to the people of China. May the day come in our lifetime when the people of this great and ancient race are freed from the evils of dictatorship, and resume their rightful place as a part of the world of free men.

We are fortunate in having, in the United States, a number of Chinese-American communities, and I take this occasion to commend them for their devotion and patriotism. They have, in time of war, contributed far more than their proportionate quota of young men to our Armed Forces, and they have sacrificed to aid our count in time of need, through every kind of financial assistance. It is only stating a fact to say that their patriotism has been demonstrated so thoroughly, in these ways, that the United States as a whole owes them recognition.

In our Democratic platform we have also taken note of unfair discriminations under which some of our people suffer, in securing access to housing, jobs, education and other community opportunities. We have proposed the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Intergroup Relations, to help solve such problems of discrimination, and I believe that this will be a real step forward in developing better understanding between the Chinese-American community and their neighbors, and help move toward the ideal of a country in which every citizen receives the same opportunities as every other citizen, regardless of his race or his origin.

In achieving this ideal, the advice and cooperation of the Chinese-American communities will be invaluable, and I shall hope to be able to call upon you for such help.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Message from Senator John F. Kennedy to Chinese-American Businessmen's Committee Meeting, Chicago, IL", September 9, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25721.
 
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