Excerpts From Remarks by Vice President Richard Nixon, Lloyd Center, Portland, OR
I would like to speak to you about the decision that you are going to make, with regard to the Presidency of the United States. I don't think I need tell you this is a tremendously important decision, important because you will be deciding not only the question of leadership for America; you will be deciding the question of leadership for the free world as well.
I must say that, as a candidate of my party, I feel, indeed, very much aware of the responsibility that is mine to present the case of my party, but particularly the issues for which I stand, as ably as I can, as honestly as I can, so that you, the people of this State and the Nation, can make the best possible decision for America and the world on November the 8th.
So, I would like to talk to you on that plane today, and that means that I am not going to begin by saying to those who are Republicans in this audience, "Vote for me because I'm a Republican and you're a Republican."
I believe that when we select a President of the United States that our history tells us that the American people look not just to party labels. They look behind them. They look to the man. They look to what he stands for, and they try to determine what kind of leadership America needs, and they say, "Will this man provide the leadership America needs, and does he stand for those positions that I believe in?"
So, today, to all of you here - and I realize there are Republicans here and Democrats here. I realize that there are Republicans and Democrats as well listening on television - to all of you I say: Consider both of the candidates for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency as well; consider their records; consider their backgrounds and their experience, and then on November the 8th make the decision that you feel will be best for America - not simply on a party basis, not on some collateral issue that should not affect your decision, but on the issues that will best affect the future of America and the free world
We, of course, do not have time to discuss all the issues you should consider in making that decision, but there is one that stands out above all the rest, and you know, that is true in all the States I have visited. It's true in Hawaii, the 50th State, in Maine, in North Carolina and Alabama, in Georgia and in Texas, in Indiana, in Maryland, in Washington, where I was a few moments ago, and true in Oregon. The crowds will be different, the forums will be different, but I find as far as the American people are concerned the major issue of this election campaign is a very simple one, and of vital importance, and it's this: Which of the two candidates for the Presidency, by experience and background, can best lead the United States and the free world and keep the peace for America and the world without surrender? There is another issue related to that: Not only which man can keep the peace, but which man can furnish the leadership that will not only keep freedom for America but extend freedom throughout the world, because the two go together as far as freedom is concerned.
Some of you may raise a question here when I say this is the most important issue, but I am sure when you consider it you will agree with me. Other issues are important - whether or not we have a good job, the kind of social security that we have for our old age, the kind of medical care that we get, the development of the right kind of school system and all the other things in which all Americans are interested, but you know, we can have the best social security, the best housing, the best jobs that we could possibly imagine, and it isn't going to make any difference if we're not around to enjoy them.
So, this is the issue of our time. In discussing that issue, it would, of course, be presumptuous for me to mention my own qualifications. Those you will have to judge. You will have to compare them with those of my opponent, and I urge you to do so, but I would like to say this about my running mate. I am proud that he is on the ticket with me. He will be a partner with me, and I say that Henry Cabot Lodge is a man who is without a peer in the world today in the ability that he has displayed in working for peace and standing up against the representatives of the Kremlin as he has represented the United States in the United Nations. I look forward to the opportunity of working with him in this cause in which we all so greatly believe.
Now let me turn to the things for which we stand. Why do I believe that our case is better than that presented by our opponents? First, I am proud of our record. Oh, you've heard a lot of things are wrong with the foreign policy record of this administration, and it hasn't been perfect. We've made mistakes, but let's consider what is right about it. All of the criticisms in the world can't obscure the fact that President Eisenhower got the United States out of one war, has kept us out of others, and that we have peace without surrender in America.
And now what of the future? Because it isn't enough to stand on a record. You must build on it, and we must remember that as long as communism is on the loose in the world there will be a threat to the peace and security of the world, and for the future there are some simple, very important policies that we must follow. First, America must maintain its military strength at the level which it presently enjoys, second to none. Military strength so that, regardless of what a potential enemy has, if there is a surprise attack we will have enough left to knock out his warmaking capabilities.
Why must we have this strength? Not because we want war but because we don't want it.
I pledge to you that in the next administration, if I have the opportunity to lead it, this will be the first consideration - that America will maintain strength militarily which will deter aggression by whoever may be a potential enemy of the United States or a threat to peace in the world.
Now, with that strength, we also have to have the right kind of diplomatic policy, and by that diplomatic policy I mean one that can be best described in simple terms - that is firm on principle, that recognizes that in dealing with a dictator you must never allow appeasement or concessions to be made that will only whet his appetite and never satisfy it, but at the same time a diplomatic policy that will be non belligerent.
I could give you many examples to prove the point. I think the best example I can think of was the President's conduct at the conference in Paris. You remember the U-2 incident that occurred. You remember Mr. Khrushchev insulted him in words that had never been used by one chief of state against another perhaps in history, and President Eisenhower was criticized by some on both sides on two different grounds. There were some who said: "He should have answered back. He should have told that fellow off."
I say the President was right in what he did on two counts: One, when you are confident of your strength, when you know you are right, you maintain your dignity. You do not answer insult with insult, as President Eisenhower did.
Then he was right on another count that may have occurred to you. You know, it is awfully easy to lose your temper, to shoot from the hip, to slip from the tongue in a moment of anger, but you can't afford to have anyone who is going to be President of this United States who might do that because, may I say, in President Eisenhower's case we must remember again that it would have been easier to heat up the international atmosphere, to engage in a war of words with Mr. Khrushchev, and many people at home would have said, "Bravo, Ike, you're doing the right thing." But he was right in restraining himself, because here again he could not afford the luxury of losing his temper and running the risk of heating up the international atmosphere so that a nuclear disaster would have been set off in the process.
So, in the future then, we need military strength. We need a firm diplomacy, one that is firm without being belligerent. We need also a national maturity, one in which the American people and the American Government will not fall into the error of blaming ourselves for what the Communists do, for example, stimulating riots in Tokyo, or in Caracas, or in some other part of the world, one where we're not knocked off balance by their tactics, where we maintain the strong, firm, intelligent leadership which will keep the peace, and keep it without surrender of principle or character.
But these things by themselves, also are not enough. Because all of this could just hold the line, and we must not just hold the line for peace and for freedom. We must extend freedom throughout the world. We must win the struggle which all people on both sides of the Iron Curtain are trying to win and want to win - a struggle in which men can be free and live in peace with their neighbors, with justice, and we must win it without a war. To win it, what do we have to do?
First of all, we're engaged in competition - not only military competition but economic competition with the men in the Kremlin.
You've heard a lot about the position of the United States in that competition. Some have suggested that while we're ahead now, we're losing our grip and we may fall behind. Let me say this: I've been in the Soviet Union and I've seen the United States, and anybody who says that the Soviet is going to catch up with the United States economically just doesn't know what he's talking about
They say the United States has stood still over the last 7½ years. Anybody who has said that hasn't been traveling around the United States.
If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world, the Lloyd Shopping Center right here?
You see, too many people who judge progress in the United States are thinking only in terms of what government does. They fail to think that in America, remember that in America, the greatest source of progress is not what government does, but the creative energies of 180 million free individual Americans.
Does this mean that government has no part to play? Of course not. Government has a tremendously important part to play.
Fred Seaton, the Secretary of the Interior, is sitting here and he will tell you of the progress that we have made in the past 8 years in the field of reclamation and flood control, in the case of irrigation, the preservation of our wildlife and the like, and with all the criticisms of our policies, just let me say this: One-third of all the dollars spent in the 60 years that we've had reclamation projects, we're proud to say, have been spent during this administration. There has been more progress during this administration than in any previous 8-year period in our history - and that isn't standing still, I submit to you, as far as America is concerned.
When I speak of progress, it means that we must have cooperation not only with the Federal Government, but with our State and local governments. It means that America must move ahead to stay ahead, not only in the private sector, but also in seeing that government, where it can, open the way for individual enterprise to move in. What I am really trying to say is there is room for government enterprise at the State level, at the local level, at the Federal level, in reclamation, and also for private enterprise as well, and the reason why I say we will have greater progress under our administration than others, the theories advocated by our opponents, is simply this: They put too much stress upon the role of the Federal Government. We say the way to the greatest progress is to tap the best of all three, but primarily to put responsibility upon individuals rather than take it away from them, to remember that this is the way to progress.
I have mentioned that if we are to maintain peace without surrender we're going to have to have a firm policy, but a nonbelligerent military strength, policy, and diplomacy; we are going to have to have economic progress with the Federal and State and local governments stimulating the individual enterprise, but we're going to have to have something else that is more important than all these, and that is, my friends, a flaming idealism, an idealism which recognizes that America has something more to offer the world than simply military strength and gross materialism, such as the Communists offer, that we offer freedom, that we offer moral and spiritual values that have made America strong from the time of our foundation 185 years ago.
This we must never forget.
Will we win?
Is the next President going to be able, with the help of the American people, to lead the forces of freedom toward peace and toward greater freedom throughout the world?
My answer is: I have faith that we will win, and I have faith, one, because I have seen America and I know its strength as I see it today, but I have faith, too, because my wife and I have seen the world. In 50 countries of the world I have seen in the faces of thousands of people a desire for peace and friendship, even in the hearts of the Soviet Union, and I have seen in 50 countries of the world a desire for freedom and a belief of freedom. There was no question but that that desire exists, not only in America, not only in the free world, but in Poland, where I saw on the faces, one Sunday afternoon, of a quarter of a million people shouting and cheering with tears streaming down their cheeks, "Long live the United States."
My friends, we shall win this struggle for peace and freedom not because we are militarily stronger than the Soviet Union, as we are, not because ours is the most productive economy in the world, because it is, but because America has the moral and the spiritual strength, because our ideals, the ideals of the American Revolution, are the way to the future, not the Communist ideals which are presented in contrast to them. Finally, then, I leave the case with you. I leave it in this way. I say: Consider what I have said. Consider what my opponent will offer. Determine then, in your own hearts, whether you are Democrat or Republican, which men, which two men, can best lead the world to peace with freedom. But once you have made that determination, may I ask you to do something. Once you have made your choice, then go out and work for the candidate of your choice, and work for him and vote for him on election day, but work and vote, having in mind this major objective: That you're not just working for a man, that you're not just working for a party, but that you are working and voting for America and for all that it stands for. If you do that, America and the world will be a better place in which to live.
Richard Nixon, Excerpts From Remarks by Vice President Richard Nixon, Lloyd Center, Portland, OR Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273885