Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting the National Oceanographic Program.

March 02, 1965

Dear Mr. President: (Dear Mr. Speaker:)

I am very happy to transmit to the Congress my oceanographic program for fiscal year 1966.

For tens of thousands of years--ever since man has possessed the power to sense and reason--he has been aware of the seas around him. This awareness has varied from disdain to superstition, as man alternately sailed and fished the sea on the one hand, and worshipped it on the other.

But never until recently did man seek great understanding of the oceans, because he saw little necessity. There was always a new frontier, an unexplored land, unexploited territory.

Now our view of the seas has had to undergo a drastic change. We have always considered them as barriers to invasion; we now must see them as links, not only between peoples, but to a vast new untapped resource.

It is becoming increasingly clear that there are large mineral deposits under the oceans. But before this treasure becomes useful we must first locate it and develop the technology to recover it economically. We must also learn much more about marine biology if we are to tap the great potential food resources of the seas.

Our oceanographic research fleet is now the finest and best equipped in the world. Since the turn of the decade, our nation has been engaged in a program of building for oceanic development. We have designed and constructed the first new ships for oceanography, which, together with our conversions, have added 42 hulls, more than doubling the fleet size.

We have added several new laboratories and supporting activities, fitted out with modern instrumentation. Classrooms in over fifty colleges and universities throughout our land are occupied by over triple their former numbers of students--who in a real sense represent our greatest resource of all.

The challenge now is to expand our utilization of these resources. Our ship construction program is nearly complete so that although the Federal budget of $141 million in oceanography is only 2% greater than requested last year, it includes a significantly greater proportion for research and oceanic surveys than in previous years. I believe that the total amount is an absolute minimum if our nation is to use its capabilities well and to progress toward its objectives in oceanography.

We are looking forward to a period where our investment in ocean research may bear fruit in terms of faster and more comfortable transportation, more highly developed exploitation of our marine mineral and fisheries resources, increased pollution control, more accurate prediction of storms and tides that endanger life and property, and the strengthening of our national defense.

I especially invite your attention to the manner in which the individual Federal agencies' programs have been blended toward the attainment of common goals. I consider this coordination, achieved under the guidance of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, to be essential if we are to exploit the seas in an effective manner.

However, it is just as essential that the Congress view this program as a unified thrust seaward. I therefore urgently recommend that when the various committees of the Congress review their portions of this program they keep its entirety in mind. We will all thus be enabled to see, together, that this important aspect of our national interest proceeds toward fulfillment.

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Hubert H. Humphrey, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable John W. McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The letter was made public as part of a White House release announcing the President's transmittal to Congress of a document entitled "National Oceanographic Program, Fiscal Year 1966." The document was prepared by the Interagency Committee on Oceanography of the Federal Council for Science and Technology (Government Printing Office, 73 PP.).

The White House release stated that the Federal Council for Science and Technology was composed of officials of policy rank from eight departments and agencies having major interest in research and development, together with official observers from three other agencies. Donald F. Hornig, Director, Office of Science and Technology, served as Chairman of the Federal Council for Science and Technology, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy Robert W. Morse, as Chairman of the Council's Interagency Committee on Oceanography. The Foreword to the National Oceanographic Program document points out that it is one of several Government-wide programs planned and coordinated by the President, with the advice and assistance of the Office of Science and Technology.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House Transmitting the National Oceanographic Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives