|The American Presidency Project|
|• John F. Kennedy|
|Special Message to the Congress on Free World Defense and Assistance Programs.|
|April 2, 1963|
To the Congress of the United States:
"Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war", wrote Milton. And no peacetime victory in history has been as far-reaching in its impact, nor served the cause of freedom so well, as the victories scored in the last 17 years by this Nation's mutual defense and assistance programs. These victories have been, in the main, quiet instead of dramatic. Their aim has been, not to gain territories for the United States or support in the United Nations, but to preserve freedom and hope, and to prevent tyranny and subversion, in dozens of key nations all over the world.
The United States today is spending over 10% of its Gross National Product on programs primarily aimed at improving our national security. Somewhat less than l/12 of this amount, and less than 0.7% of our GNP, goes into the mutual assistance program: roughly half for economic development, and half for military and other short-term assistance. The contribution of this program to our national interest clearly outweighs its cost. The richest nation in the world would surely be justified in spending less than 1% of its national income on assistance to its less fortunate sister nations solely as a matter of international responsibility; but inasmuch as these programs are not merely the right thing to do, but clearly in our national self-interest, all criticisms should be placed in that perspective. That our aid programs can be improved is not a matter of debate. But that our aid programs serve both our national traditions and our national interest is beyond all reasonable doubt.
History records that our aid programs to Turkey and Greece were the crucial element that enabled Turkey to stand up against heavy-handed Soviet pressures, Greece to put down communist aggression and both to recreate stable societies and to move forward in the direction of economic and social growth.
History records that the Marshall Plan made it possible for the nations of Western Europe, including the United Kingdom, to recover from the devastation of the world's most destructive war, to rebuild military strength, to withstand the expansionist thrust of Stalinist Russia, and to embark on an economic renaissance which has made Western Europe the second greatest and richest industrial complex in the world today--a vital center of free world strength, itself now contributing to the growth and strength of less developed countries.
History records that our military and economic assistance to nations on the frontiers of the communist world--such as Iran, Pakistan, India, Vietnam and free China has enabled threatened peoples to stay free and independent, when they otherwise would have either been overrun by aggressive communist power or fallen victim of utter chaos, poverty and despair.
History records that our contributions to international aid have been the critical factor in the growth of a whole family of international financial institutions and agencies, playing an ever more important role in the ceaseless war against want and the struggle for growth and freedom.
And, finally, history will record that today our technical assistance and development loans are giving hope where hope was lacking, sparking action where life was static, and stimulating progress around the earth" simultaneously supporting the military security of the free world, helping to erect bartiers against the growth of communism where those barriers count the most, helping to build the kind of world community of independent, self-supporting nations in which we want to live, and helping to serve the deep American urge to extend a generous hand to those working toward a better life for themselves and their children.
Despite noisy opposition from the very first days--despite dire predictions that foreign aid would "bankrupt" the Republic-despite warnings that the Marshall Plan and successor programs were "throwing our money down a rat-hole"--despite great practical difficulties and some mistakes and disappointments--the fact is that our aid programs generally and consistently have done what they were expected to do.
Freedom is not on the run anywhere in the world--not in Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin America--as it might well have been without U.S. aid. And we now know that freedom--all freedom, including our own-is diminished when other countries fall under Communist domination, as in China in 1949, North Vietnam and the northern provinces of Laos in 1954, and Cuba in 1959. Freedom, all freedom, is threatened by the subtle, varied and unceasing Communist efforts at subversion in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. And the prospect for freedom is also endangered or eroded in countries which see no hope--no hope for a better life based on economic progress, education, social justice and the development of stable institutions. These are the frontiers of freedom which our military and economic aid programs seek to advance; and in so doing, they serve our deepest national interest.
This view has been held by three successive Presidents--Democratic and Republican alike.
It has been endorsed by a bi-partisan majority of nine successive Congresses.
It has been supported for seventeen years by a bi-partisan majority of the American people.
And it has only recently been reconfirmed by a distinguished committee of private citizens, headed by General Lucius Clay and including Messrs. Robert Anderson, Eugene Black, Clifford Hardin, Robert Lovett, Edward Mason, L. F. McCollum, George Meany, Herman Phleger and Howard Rusk. Their report stated: "We believe these programs, properly conceived and implemented, to be essential to the security of our nation and necessary to the exercise of its worldwide responsibilities."
There is, in short, a national consensus of many years standing on the vital importance of these programs. The principle and purpose of United States assistance to less secure and less fortunate nations are not and cannot be seriously in doubt.
II. PRESENT NEEDS
The question now is: what about the future? In the perspective of these past gains, what is the dimension of present needs, what are our opportunities, and what changes do we face at this juncture in world history?
I believe it is a crucial juncture. Our world is near the climax of an historic convulsion. A tidal wave of national independence has nearly finished its sweep through lands which contain one out of every three people in the world. The industrial and scientific revolution is spreading to the far corners of the earth. And two irreconcilable views of the value, the rights and the role of the individual human being confront the peoples of the world.
In some eighty developing nations, countless large and small decisions will be made in the days and months and years ahead-decisions which, taken together, will establish the economic and social system, determine the political leadership, shape the political practices, and mold the structure of the institutions which will promote either consent or coercion for one-third of humanity. And these decisions will drastically affect the shape of the world in which our children grow to maturity.
Africa is stirring restlessly to consolidate its independence and to make that independence meaningful for its people through economic and social development. The people of America have affirmed and reaffirmed their sympathy with these objectives.
Free Asia is responding resolutely to the political, economic and military challenge of Communist China's relentless efforts to dominate the continent.
Latin America is striving to take decisive steps toward effective democracy--amid the turbulence of rapid social change and the menace of communist subversion.
The United States--the richest and most powerful of all peoples, a nation committed to the independence of nations and to a better life for all peoples--can no more stand aside in this climactic age of decision than we can withdraw from the community of free nations. Our effort is not merely symbolic. It is addressed to our vital security interests.
It is in this context that I hope the American people through their representatives in Congress will consider our request this year for foreign aid funds designed carefully and explicitly to meet these specific challenges. This is not a wearisome burden. It is a new chapter in our involvement in a continuously vital struggle--the most challenging and constructive effort ever undertaken by man on behalf of freedom and his fellow man.
III. OBJECTIVES FOR IMPROVEMENT
In a changing world, our programs of mutual defense and assistance must be kept under constant review. My recommendations herein reflect the work of the Clay Committee., the scrutiny undertaken by the new Administrator of the Agency for International Development, and the experience gained in our first full year of administering the new and improved program enacted by the Congress in 1961. There is fundamental agreement throughout these reviews: that these assistance programs are of great value to our deepest national interest--that their basic concepts and organization, as embodied in the existing legislation, are properly conceived-that progress has been made and is being made in translating these concepts into action--but that much still remains to be done to improve our performance and make the best possible use of these programs.
In addition, there is fundamental agreement in all these reviews regarding six key recommendations for the future.
Objective No. 1: To apply stricter standards of selectivity and self-help in aiding developing countries. This objective was given special attention by the Committee to Strengthen the Security of the Free World, (The Clay Report), which estimated that the application of such criteria could result in substantial savings in selected programs over the next one to three years.
Considerable progress has already been made along these lines. While the number of former colonies achieving independence has lengthened the total list of countries receiving assistance, 80% of all economic assistance now goes to only 20 countries; and military assistance is even more narrowly concentrated. The proportion of development loans, as contrasted with outright grants, has increased from 10% to 60%. We have placed all our development lending on a dollar repayable basis; and this year we are increasing our efforts, as the Clay Committee recommended, to tailor our loan terms so that interest rates and maturities will reflect to a greater extent the differences in the ability of different countries to service debt.
In the Alliance for Progress in particular, and increasingly in other aid programs, emphasis is placed upon self-help and self-reform by the recipients themselves, using our aid as a catalyst for progress and not as a handout. Finally, in addition to emphasizing primarily economic rather than military assistance, wherever conditions permit, we are taking a sharp new look at both the size and purpose of those local military forces which receive our assistance. Our increased stress on internal security and civic action in military assistance is in keeping with our experience that in developing countries, military forces can have an important economic as well as protective role to play. For example, in Latin America, in fiscal year 1963, military assistance funds allocated for the support of engineer, medical and other civic action type units more than doubled.
Objective No. 2: To achieve a reduction and ultimate elimination of U.S. assistance by enabling nations to stand on their own as rapidly as possible. Both this nation and the countries we help have a stake in their reaching the point of self-sustaining growth the point where they no longer require external aid to maintain their independence. Our goal is not an arbitrary cutoff date but the earliest possible "take off" date--the date when their economies will have been launched with sufficient momentum to enable them to become self-supporting, requiring only the same normal sources of external financing to meet expanding capital needs that this country required for many decades.
For some, this goal is near at hand, insofar as economic assistance is concerned. For others, more time will be needed. But in all cases, specific programs leading to self-support should be set and priorities established-including those steps which must be taken by the recipient countries and all others who are willing to help them.
The record dearly shows that foreign aid is not an endless or unchanging process. Fifteen years ago our assistance went almost entirely to the advanced countries of Europe and Japan--today it is directed almost entirely to the developing world. Ten years ago most of our assistance was given to shoring up military forces and unstable economies today this kind of aid has been cut in half, and our assistance goes increasingly toward economic development. There are still, however, important cases where there has been no diminution in the Communist military threat, and both military and economic aid are still required. Such cases range from relatively stabilized frontiers, as in Korea and Turkey, to areas of active aggression, such as Vietnam.
Objective No. 3: To secure the increased participation of other industrialized nations in sharing the cost of international development assistance. The United States is no longer alone in aiding the developing countries, and its proportionate share of the burden is diminishing. The flow of funds from other industrialized countries--now totaling on the order of $2 billion a year--is expected to continue; and we expect to work more closely with these other countries in order to make the most effective use of our joint efforts. In addition, the international lending and technical assistance agencies--to which we contribute heavily--have expanded the schedule and scope of their operations; and we look forward to supplementing those resources selectively in conjunction with increased contributions from other nations. We will continue to work with our allies, urging them to increase their assistance efforts and to extend assistance on terms less burdensome to the developing countries.
Objective No. 4: To lighten any adverse impact of the aid program on our own balance of payments and economy. A few years ago, more than half of U.S. economic aid funds were spent abroad, contributing to the drain on our dollars and gold. Of our current commitments, over eighty percent will be spent in the United States, contributing to the growth of our economy and employment opportunities. This proportion is rising as further measures are being taken to this end. I might add that our balance of payments position today is being significantly helped by the repayment of loans made to European countries under the Marshall Plan and by the Export-Import Bank. I am confident that in the future, as income in the less developed countries rises, we will similarly benefit from the loans we are now making to them.
Our economy is also being helped by the expansion of commercial exports to countries whose present growth and prosperity were spurred by U.S. economic assistance in earlier years. Over the last decade, our exports to Western Europe and the United Kingdom have more than doubled, and our exports to Japan have increased four-fold. Similarly, we can look forward to a future widening of trade opportunities in those countries whose economic development we are currently assisting.
In addition, our Food for Peace Program is increasingly using our agricultural commodities to stimulate the economic growth of developing nations and to assist in achieving other U.S. foreign policy goals. As the economies of developing nations improve, we are encouraging them to shift from foreign currency to cash sales or to dollar credit sales for these commodities.
The relative burden of our assistance programs has been steadily reduced--from some two percent of our national product at the beginning of the Marshall Plan to seven-tenths of one percent today--from 11.5 percent of the Federal Budget in 1949 to 4 percent today.
Although these figures indicate that our aid programs cost, in relative terms, considerably less today then they did ten or fifteen years ago, we are continuing our efforts to improve the effectiveness of these programs and increase the return on every dollar invested. Personnel, procedures, and administration are being improved. A number of field missions have been closed, scaled down or merged into embassies or regional offices. These efforts toward greater efficiency and economy are being accelerated under the new Administrator.
Objective No. 5: To continue to assist in the defense of countries under threat of external and internal Communist attack. Our military assistance program has been an essential element in keeping the boundary of Soviet and Chinese military power relatively stable for over a decade. Without its protection the substantial economic progress made by underdeveloped countries along the Sino-Soviet periphery would hardly have been possible. As these countries build economic strength, they will be able to assume more of the burden of their defense. But we must not assume that military assistance to these countries--or to others primarily exposed to subversive internal attack--can be ended in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, while it will be possible to reduce and terminate some programs, we should anticipate the need for new and expanded programs.
India is a case in point. The wisdom of earlier U.S. aid in helping the Indian subcontinent's considerable and fruitful efforts toward progress and stability can hardly now be in question. The threat made plain by the Chinese attack on India last Fall may require additional efforts on our part to help bolster the security of this crucial area, assuming these efforts can be matched in an appropriate way by the efforts of India and Pakistan.
But overall, the magnitude of military assistance is small in relation to our national security expenditures; in this fiscal year it amounts to about 3% of our defense budget. "Dollar for dollar," said the Clay Committee with particular reference to the border areas, "these programs contribute more to the security of the free world than corresponding expenditures in our defense appropriations... These countries are providing more than two million armed men ready, for the most part, for any emergency." Clearly, if this program did not exist, our defense budget would undoubtedly have to be increased substantially to provide an equivalent contribution to the Free World's defense.
Objective No. 6: To increase the role of private investment and other non-Federal resources in assisting developing nations. In recent months, important new steps have been taken to mobilize on behalf of this program the competence of a variety of nongovernmental organizations and individuals in this country. Cooperatives and savings and loan associations have been very active in establishing similar institutions abroad, particularly in Latin America. Our land grant and other universities are establishing better working relationships with our programs to assist overseas rural development. Already there are thirty-seven U.S. universities and land grant institutions at work in Latin America, for example, with a substantial increase expected during the coming year. Public and private leaders from the State of California are exploring with their counterparts in Chile how the talents and resources of a particular state can be more directly channeled toward assisting a particular country. Labor unions, foundations, trade associations, professional societies and many others likewise possess skills and resources which we are drawing upon increasingly-in order to engage in a more systematic and meaningful way, in this vital nation-building process, the whole complex of private and public institutions upon which our own national life depends. For at the heart of the modernization process lies the central problem of creating, adapting and improving the institutions which any modern society will need.
IV. PRIVATE INVESTMENT
The primary new initiative in this year's program relates to our increased efforts to encourage the investment of private capital in the under-developed countries. Already considerable progress has been made fostering U.S. private investment through the use of investment guaranties--with over $900 million now outstanding--and by means of cost-sharing on investment surveys, loans of local currencies, and other measures provided under existing law. During the first half of this fiscal year alone, $7.7 million in local currencies have been loaned to private business firms.
I believe much more should be done, however, both administratively through more vigorous action by the Agency for International Development, and legislatively by the Congress. Administratively, our Ambassadors and Missions abroad, in their negotiations with the less developed countries, are being directed to urge more forcefully the importance of making full use of private resources and improving the climate for private investment, both domestic and foreign. In particular, I am concerned that the investment guaranty program is not fully operative in some countries because of the failure of their governments to execute the normal inter-governmental agreements relating to investment guaranties.
In addition, the Agency for International Development will also strengthen and enlarge its own activities relating to private enterprise-both its efforts to assist in the development of vigorous private economies in the developing countries, and its facilities for mobilizing and assisting the capital and skills of private business in contributing to economic development.
Legislatively, I am recommending the following:
(a) An amendment to the Internal Revenue Code for a trial period to grant U.S. taxpayers a tax credit for new investments in developing countries, which should also apply to some extent to reinvestments of their earnings in those countries. Such a credit, by making possible an increased rate of return, should substantially encourage additional private investment in the developing countries. The U.S. businessmen's committee for the Alliance for Progress has recommended the adoption of such a measure.
(b) Amendments in the investment guaranty provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act designed to enlarge and clarify the guaranty program.
Economic and social growth cannot be accomplished by governments alone. The effective participation of an enlightened United States businessman, especially in partnership with private interests in the developing country, brings not only his investment but his technological and management skills into the process of development. His successful participation in turn helps create that climate of confidence which is so critical in attracting and holding vital external and internal capital. We welcome and encourage initiatives being taken in the private sector in Latin America to accelerate industrial growth and hope that similar cooperative efforts will be established with other developing countries.
V. THE ALLIANCE FOR PROGRESS
In a special sense, the achievements of the Alliance for Progress in the coming years will be the measure of our determination, our ideals, and our wisdom. Here in this hemisphere, in this last year, our resourcefulness as a people was challenged in the clearest terms. We moved at once to resist the threat of aggressive nuclear weapons in Cuba, and we found the nations of Latin America at our side. They, like ourselves, were brought to a new awareness of the danger of permitting the poverty and despair of a whole people to continue long anywhere in this continent.
Had the needs of the people of Cuba been met in the pre-Castro period--their need for food, for housing, for education, for jobs, above all, for a democratic responsibility in the fulfillment of their own hopes--there would have been no Castro, no missiles in Cuba, and no need for Cuba's neighbors to incur the immense risks of resistance to threatened aggression from that island.
There is but one way to avoid being faced with similar dilemmas in the future. It is to bring about in all the countries of Latin America the conditions of hope, in which the peoples of this continent will know that they can shape a better future for themselves, not through obeying the inhumane commands of an alien and cynical ideology, but through personal self-expression, individual judgment, and the acts of responsible citizenship.
As Americans, we have long recognized the legitimacy of these aspirations; in recent months we have been able to see, as never before, their urgency and, I believe, the concrete means for their realization.
In less than two years, the 10 year program of the Alliance for Progress has become more than an idea and more than a commitment of governments. The necessary initial effort to develop plans, to organize institutions, to test and experiment has itself required and achieved a new dedication--a new dedication to intelligent compromise between old and new ways of life. In the long run, it is this effort and not the threat of Communism--that will determine the fate of freedom in the Western Hemisphere.
These years have not been easy ones for any group in Latin America. A similar change in the fundamental orientation of our own society would have been no easier. The difficulty of the changes to be brought about makes all the more heartening the success of many nations of Latin America in achieving reforms which will make their fundamental economic and social structures both more efficient and more equitable.
Some striking accomplishments, moreover, are already visible. New housing is being expanded in most countries of the region. Educational facilities are growing rapidly. Road construction, particularly in agricultural areas, is accelerating at a rapid pace. With U.S. funds, over two million text books are being distributed to combat the illiteracy of nearly half of the 210 million people of Latin America. In the countries of the Alliance for Progress, the diets of eight million children and mothers are being supplemented with United States Food for Peace, and this figure should reach nearly 16 million by next year.
In trouble-ridden Northeast Brazil, under an agreement with the State of Rio Grande do Norte, a program is underway to train three thousand teachers, build one thousand classrooms, ten vocational schools, eight normal schools, and four teacher training centers. A $30 million slum clearance project is underway in Venezuela. In Bogota, Colombia, the site of the old airport is becoming a new city for 71 thousand persons who are building their own homes with support from the Social Progress Trust Fund.
This year I received a letter from Senor Argemil Plazas Garcia, whom I met in Bogota upon the dedication of an Alianza housing project. He writes: "Today I am living in the house with my thirteen children, and we are very happy to be free of such poverty and no longer to be moving around like outcasts. Now we have dignity and freedom . . . My wife, my children and I are writing you this humble letter, to express to you the warm gratitude of such Colombian friends who now have a home in which they can live happily." Of even greater long-range importance, a number of beginnings in self-help and reforms are now evident.
Since 1961, eleven Latin American countries-Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela-have made structural reforms in their tax systems. Twelve countries have improved their income tax laws and administration.
New large scale programs for improved land use and land reform have been undertaken in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and two states in Brazil. More limited plans are being carried out in Chile, Colombia, Panama, Uruguay and Central America.
Six Latin American countries--Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela-have submitted development programs to the panel of experts of the Organization of American States. The panel has evaluated and reported on the first three and will soon offer its views on the balance.
Viewed against the background of decades of neglect--or, at most, intermittent bursts of attention to basic problems--the start that has been made is encouraging. Perhaps most significant of all is a change in the hearts and minds of the people--a growing will to develop their countries. We can only help Latin Americans to save themselves. It is for this reason that the increasing determination of the peoples of the region to build modern societies is heartening. And it is for this reason that responsible leadership in Latin America must respond to this popular will with a greater sense of urgency and purpose, lest aspirations turn into frustrations and hope turn into despair. Pending reform legislation must be enacted, statutes already on the books must be enforced, and mechanisms for carrying out programs must be organized and invigorated. These steps are not easy, as we know from our own experience, but they must be taken.
Our own intention is to concentrate our support in Latin America on those countries adhering to the principles established in the Charter of Punta del Este, and to work with our neighbors to indicate more precisely the particular policy changes, reforms and other self-help measures which are necessary to make our assistance effective and the Alliance a success. The Clay Committee recommendation that we continue to expand our efforts to encourage economic integration within the region and the expansion of trade among the countries of Latin America has great merit. The determination of the Central American Presidents to move boldly in this direction impressed me greatly during my recent meeting with them in San Jose, Costa Rica; and the Agency for International Development has already established a regional office in Central America, is giving support to a regional development bank and has participated in regional trade conferences.
A beginning has been made in the first two years of the Alliance; but the job that is still ahead must be tackled with continuing urgency. Many of the ingredients for a successful decade are at hand, and the fundamental course for the future is clear. It remains for all parties to the Alliance to provide the continuous will and effort needed to move steadily along that course.
VI. THIS YEARNS AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION
Translating the foregoing facts and principles into program costs and appropriations, based on the application of the standards set forth above and affirmed by the Clay Committee, yields the following results:
First, upwards of $200 million of economic assistance funds now available are expected to be saved and not used in the present fiscal year, and upwards of $100 million of these unused funds will remain available for lending in the future;
Second, in addition to the savings carried forward into next year, close review has indicated a number of reductions that can be made in the original budget estimates for economic and military assistance without serious damage to the national interest.
Together these factors permit a reduction in the original Budget estimates from $4.9 billion to $4.5 billion. This amount reflects anticipated reductions in military and economic assistance to a number of countries, in line with these standards and recommendations, and unavoidable increases to others. The principal net increases proposed in 1964 appropriations are the following:
--an additional $325 million for lending in Latin America--$125 million through the Agency for International Development and $200 million through the Social Progress Trust Fund, administered for the United States by the Inter-American Development Bank (for which no appropriation was needed in fiscal year 1963 because a two-year appropriation had been made the year before);
--an additional $85 million for lending elsewhere in the world, mostly in countries such as India, Pakistan, and Nigeria which are meeting those high standards of self-help and fiscal and economic progress which permit our aid to be directed toward ultimate full self-support;
--an additional $80 million for military aid, including the increased requirements for India (but still far below the fiscal 1961 level); and
--an additional $50 million for the contingency fund, which provides a flexibility indispensable to our security. We cannot ignore the possibility that new threats similar to those in Laos or Vietnam might arise in areas which now look calm, or that new opportunities will open up to achieve major gains in the cause of freedom. Foreign aid policy can no more be static than foreign policy itself.
I believe that it is necessary and desirable that these funds be provided by the Congress to meet program needs and to be available for program opportunities. Funds which are not required under the increasingly selective program and performance standards of our assistance programs will, as in this year, not be spent or committed.
The legislative amendments which I am forwarding herewith carry forward the basic structure and intent of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. No fundamental changes in this legislative structure now appear to be required.
One relatively minor change I am proposing is for a separate authorization for the appropriation of funds to assist American schools and hospitals abroad. A number of these schools sponsored by Americans have been most successful in the developing countries in providing an education built upon American standards. Until now some assistance has been made available to these schools from general economic aid funds, but this is becoming increasingly inappropriate. Separate authorization and appropriations would be used to help these schools carry out long-term programs to establish themselves on a sounder financial footing, becoming gradually independent, if at all possible, of U.S. Government support.
Finally, I am requesting the Congress in this legislation to amend that section of the Trade Expansion Act which requires the denial of equal tariff treatment to imports from Poland and Yugoslavia. It is appropriate that this amendment should be incorporated in this Bill since it is my conviction that trade and other forms of normal relations constitute a sounder basis than aid for our future relationship with these countries.
In closing, let me again emphasize the overriding importance of the efforts in which we are engaged.
At this point in history we can look back to many successes in the struggle to preserve freedom. Our nation is still daily winning unseen victories in the fight against communist subversion in the slums and hamlets, in the hospitals and schools, and in the offices of governments across a world bent on lifting itself. Two centuries of pioneering and growth must be telescoped into decades and even years. This is a field of action for which our history has prepared us, to which our aspirations have drawn us, and into which our national interest moves us.
Around the world cracks in the monolithic apparatus of our adversary are there for all to see. This, for the American people, is a time for vision, for patience, for work and for wisdom. For better or worse, we are the pacesetters. Freedom's leader cannot flag or falter, or another runner will set the pace.
We have dared to label the Sixties the Decade of Development. But it is not the eloquence of our slogans, but the quality of our endurance, which will determine whether this generation of Americans deserves the leadership which history has thrust upon us.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
|Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Special Message to the Congress on Free World Defense and Assistance Programs.", April 2, 1963. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9136.|
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