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Excerpts From Speech of the Vice President of the United States Prepared for Delivery at the Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA

October 24, 1960

The gyrations of the London gold market are flashing an important message to Americans: We must keep the dollar sound.

Several factors have clearly been at work in driving the speculative price of gold well above our official figure of $35 an ounce. But there can be no doubt that a major contributing factor has been widespread fear growing out of the ill-considered proposals and suggestions made by my opponent concerning the fiscal and monetary policies of our country.

Up to now, I have spoken almost wholly of the domestic consequences of these dangerous proposals. But with concern growing abroad as evidenced by press reaction, I feel impelled to alert the American people to the widespread irresponsible course the Senator is marking out.

After major London newspapers published reports last week that attributed to my opponent the idea of devaluing the dollar, his press secretary issued a categorical denial.

That was a prudent thing to do.

It does not, however, remove the fears over the future of the dollar generated by his platform spending proposals, his pronouncements, and his subsequent spending promises.

The Times of London said on October 21 that the dollar "* * * has hardly benefited from the implication throughout Mr. Kennedy's election campaign of higher Government expenditures." Inquiries in principal money centers of the world confirm this ominous fact.

As Americans, we know how a weakening of the dollar at home will cut our savings, dilute the buying power of our a checks, and reduce the value of our pensions and social security.

But why should Americans be concerned with what people in other countries think about the future of the dollar?

There are two reasons:

First, we have become the world's banker. Since the end of World War II, foreigners, other than international institutions, have accumulated more than $17 billion in short-term claims against us. They owe us much more, but what they owe us is due over a long term.

Of course, we can carry out any policies that we, as a people, choose to pursue. But, if we pursue policies that tear away confidence in the value of the dollar, foreigners may choose to redeem their short-term claims against us by withdrawals in the form of gold - just as you would withdraw your deposit from your bank if you believed it was not soundly managed. We must not allow anyone to create a suspicion that would, with all its grim consequences in effect lead to a run on the bank.

Second, we must be concerned about reaction overseas because the dollars other countries hold serve as backing against which they issue their own currency. If the dollar should lose its soundness, then a shadow could likewise be cast on these other currencies.

To anyone willing to look and listen, it should be crystal clear that the ability of our own country and of the whole free world to maintain high levels of economic activity, to provide jobs and goods and services for all our people, to sustain a strong defense over long periods of time - all these depend in a critical way on the integrity of the U.S. dollar; loss of that integrity would be an irreparable blow at U.S. prestige.

The London Times well says that the Kennedy campaign is not benefiting the dollar. That is the British flair for understatement in its finest form.

Consider these aspects of the opposition campaign and you see how each one strikes at confidence in our currency:

Spending proposals of such vast scope have been made as to force huge, new, inflation-breeding deficit financing in peacetime or such tax increases that the economy would stagnate.

Clear indication has been given that the independence of the Federal Reserve System would be compromised through the use of Presidential influence in order to carry out my opponent's platform pledges.

Saving of interest charges on the national debt by at least $1 billion a year has been proposed, a result which could be attained - since the debt is not to be reduced - only by an inflationary, forced expansion of the Nation's money supply.

This program of flagrant fiscal and monetary irresponsibility is giving cause for grave alarm at home about the future of the dollar. It is not hard to see why it is generating alarm among people abroad who also have a great stake in the dollar.

Nor can my opponent's press secretary wave these deep-lying apprehensions aside by merely issuing general statements or by easy reference to the Senator's "conservative" speech to a group of business paper editors in New York - a speech which used many reassuring words but, somehow, just doesn't fit at all with the Senator's platform or his campaign dialogue on fiscal and monetary matters.

For the opposition now to demand very easy credit, artificially low interest rates, a subservient Federal Reserve System, and huge new spending programs - without provision for paying the bills can only continue to generate fears about the dollar at home and abroad.

Our economy is strong and the dollar is strong. It would be dangerous in the extreme to tamper with the strength.

Neither this Nation - nor the free world - can afford a debasement of our currency. I am determined to fight and win this election to remove the possibility of any such threat from becoming a reality. I am determined to arouse my fellow citizens to the perils that lie ahead if the counsels of the opposition are accepted. I am confident the judgment of the American people will support our cause.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts From Speech of the Vice President of the United States Prepared for Delivery at the Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, PA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273810

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