Richard Nixon photo

Excerpts From Remarks by the Vice President, Town Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA

September 19, 1960

What do I mean by maturity?

Mr. Khrushchev is just visiting this country at the present time at the United Nations. He's going to say a lot of things while he is here. He may do some things while he is here that people who are rash and immature will react to by saying: "Oh, my, something is wrong with the United States because Mr. Khrushchev is saying these things."

And I'm going to suggest this: Whatever Mr. Khrushchev says, whatever he does while he's attending the United Nations, remember, we are strong. We are stronger militarily, stronger economically, stronger morally and spiritually, and we are not to be shaken and we are not to lose our nerve or be knocked off balance by anything he says or does.

I say that is important because there has been a tendency recently in America for us to blame ourselves for what the Communists do. When they staged riots in Japan, but kept President Eisenhower from going there, some Americans threw up their hands and said, "We must be at fault." But we kept our heads. We didn't change our policy toward Japan. Result: Today, the people of Japan are stronger on our side than they've ever been, and the Government as well.

That is what I mean by maturity.

So, I say a policy that is firm, one that will always be willing to negotiate with Mr. Khrushchev or anybody else, on fairer terms, but one that will always stand for our freedom and for the freedom of others throughout the world, is the kind of policy that America needs in these critical years of the sixties and it is the kind of a policy I believe in because I know this man and I know this is the kind that works with him, and a policy of softness, a policy of rashness, a policy of immaturity would play directly into his hands and would not serve the cause of peace.

Now, if I might add to that just two other thoughts, and I will be finished. What I have said up to this time will simply hold the line. It will keep the peace, as we have been keeping it; but, my friends, we must do more than that. America must stand for extending the cause of freedom, of winning the battle for freedom that is going on all over the world, and that battle, my friends, is one that's taking place in a number of areas, and one of them is economic.

In this economic area, America is ahead of the Soviet Union today. We outproduce them two times to one. But, in order to stay ahead we've got to move ahead and, in order to move ahead, may I say that America cannot afford for any Americans to stay behind or for any section of the country to stay behind. Not only must America move ahead economically as a nation, but all Americans, regardless of their backgrounds must move along as well and all sections of the country must move.

That brings me to a point I want to mention here. As I came in I noticed some billboards saying: "VOTE DEMOCRATIC. THE DEMOCRATS CARE." If they cared about Wilkes-Barre, about the depressed area conditions, here, they would not have played politics with that issue. They would have thought of the people and we would have had a bill that would have done something about it. I say to you today, and I pledge to you, that America, first, cannot afford to allow any pockets of unemployment to exist. We cannot afford not to use the tremendous human resources that are here in this area that are not being used. We cannot afford not to use the natural resources that are not being used and, as I shall develop in my speech at Scranton tonight, in the next session of Congress, if I have the opportunity to lead this country, I can assure you we are going to get a bill and we are going to do something about it in the next session of the Congress.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts From Remarks by the Vice President, Town Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project