The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Remarks Upon Signing the Peace Corps Bill.
September 22, 1961

WITH THE ENACTMENT of this legislation, an avenue is provided by which Americans can serve their country in the cause of world peace and understanding and simultaneously assist other nations toward their legitimate goals of freedom and opportunity.

I want particularly to express pleasure at the bipartisan effort and support in the shaping of this new agency.

Already more than thirteen thousand Americans have offered their services to the Peace Corps. By the end of the year almost one thousand will be serving overseas or completing their training in the United States. By July of next year we hope to have twenty-seven hundred in training or abroad.

These men and women are going overseas at the request of the host nations. They will be doing specific, needed jobs. They will be working at a level and living at a level comparable to the citizens of the foreign nations. They will be farmers and teachers, craftsmen and nurses, doctors and technicians of all kinds. They will be a cross-section of the finest men and women that this Nation has to offer.

The sure sign of a good idea is that you can follow it, and I am pleased that several other nations have decided to establish Peace Corps agencies of their own.

Much credit for what has been done must go to congressional leaders like the men and women in this room, and the scores of other dedicated Americans who have given their advice and counsel.

Also I want to express my esteem for the most effective lobbyist on the Washington scene, Mr. Sargent Shriver.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks Upon Signing the Peace Corps Bill.", September 22, 1961. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=8345.
 
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