Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Fair Grounds Pavilion, Tulsa, OK
There are so many things I would like to talk to you about, but as we move across the Nation - we were in Phoenix this morning; we are at Tulsa today, at this time; we will be in Springfield in a couple of hours for a meeting there, Springfield, Ill.; we end up at Hartford, Conn., tonight at midnight for an airport rally there. So, you can see we have to crowd a lot of stops into a day. But I do know that of all the issues in which you are interested there is one that stands out above all the rest. It is the one which certainly was the great issue of 1952. It is the one that was also the great issue of 1956. Putting it very simply, it is the issue of the survival of the Nation and of the freedom which we cherish. Putting it another way, more important than all the other problems confronting the voters in this election is a decision you will make on November the 8th which answers this question: Which of the two candidates for the Presidency and which of the two candidates for the Vice Presidency can furnish the
leadership for America and the free world that will keep the peace for ourselves and our children without surrender throughout this period ahead.
We submit our candidacy to you today, to you, to those of you listening on television. We submit it on the basis of our record. We submit it on the basis of our experience. And we submit it on the basis of our program for America.
And first the record. Both Cabot Lodge and I have been part of this administration for the past 7½ years and we're proud of that administration and what it has done, and particularly in the field of foreign policy. We think the people of Oklahoma were right when they voted for President Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956. We think they were right not only because he restored dignity and integrity to the top office of this land, but we also believe they were right because he gave them the leadership they wanted in this great issue of foreign policy. Oh, I know there are those who criticize, and they have a responsibility to say those things that are wrong, but we have the responsibility to correct them when they say things that are not right. You've heard all the stories - how we failed here and we failed there, and America has gone to pot here and is second rate there. Just let me say this, my friends: All this election-year chatter cannot obscure the truth that the American people know - and that is they will be eternally grateful to Dwight Eisenhower for getting this Nation out of one war, keeping it out of others, and giving us peace without surrender today. But then people say: "But, Mr. Nixon, that's the past. What about the charges of the present? What about the charges that the U.S. prestige is slipping and that we aren't doing as well as we should and that we're losing the struggle for the world?" Well, I think perhaps those charges were best summed up by my opponent the other day in New York when he made this rather fantastic statement - and I quote him exactly, without notes. Incidentally, I think you should know that I, this morning, instructed my representatives in Washington who are working out the arrangements for the fourth debate that, while the rules in the first three debates were that neither of us should have notes, I am willing to say that the rules will be changed so that either of the candidates may have notes. He can bring them, but I'll still do without them on the fourth debate, as I have in the first three. But what did he say? Well, he said: "I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing. I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Castro is doing. I want to be able to read in the paper what the President of the United States is doing."
Now, listen, if he'd just stop talking and start reading, he'd find out what President Eisenhower has been doing.
I'll have to admit a couple of things. He hasn't been doing some of the things that Mr. Kennedy wanted him to do. He hasn't been apologizing or expressing regrets to Mr. Khrushchev for defending the security of the United States. He also hasn't been doing some of the things Mr. Khrushchev has been doing. He hasn't been making a fool of himself at the United Nations either - and we can be thankful for that. But what President Eisenhower has been doing, and what Cabot Lodge and I will continue to do, is standing firmly for the right, keeping America strong, recognizing that the way to peace is not through weakness militarily, diplomatically or any other way, but through strength, through holding the line. That is the policy that has worked, and it is the only policy that will work with the kind of men that we deal with in the world today.
So, I now come to the next point - not only our experience, but our own background - and, in this connection, both my colleague and I know Mr. Khrushchev. We know the Communists because we have had an opportunity to sit across the conference table from them. We know how they react. We know that you can't be naive, that you can't assume that they are going to follow the rules of the game that statesmen of the free world would follow. We know, and I can tell you today that I know, that when you're dealing with a man like Mr. Khrushchev in Russia or Mr. Mao Tse-tung, the dictator of Communist China, or any one of the Communist leaders in the world, they have only one objective - and that is to conquer the world. They want to do it without war - at least Mr. Khrushchev, if he can - but they will use any means, if necessary; and, therefore, if America is to retain its freedom - but, more than that, if we're going to keep peace - we must recognize these men for what they are and develop our policies accordingly, and these are the things we must do, and these are the things we will do, if you give us the opportunity on November 8: First, when you've got a man like this, you've got to be sure that you're always stronger than he is militarily. Why? Because he threatens the peace of the world. We don't. With our strength, we would never use it against anybody else. We don't want anything from anybody else, except our own independence, and their right to have it as well. But he does not look at it that way. This man is determined, therefore, to use his strength to conquer the world; and that's why I say to you that America, first, is the strongest nation in the world militarily, despite what you may have heard to the contrary, and, second, we're going to stay that way and we will see to it that the American people support it.
Now, let's look at the field of diplomacy, and here we have a grave problem of what the President of the United States does in international conferences, the grave problem of what he does with regard to developing the policies and statements that have been issued by the President and Secretary of State during the period when no war is occurring, as has been the case for the last 7 years; and here again I say that the attitude that we must follow is the one that we have been following; one of firmness for the right, one that is nonbelligerent, because we can always remember that when you know you're right, when you're confident of your strength, you don't lose your dignity by getting down to the level of insult like the man Mr. Khrushchev is. President Eisenhower has set a fine example, and we will continue to follow that example, I can assure you; but, beyond that, it means firmness in the face of tremendous provocation. You had an example of it recently in the debate you heard the other night; the example that the President has followed in dealing with our problems out in the Pacific, and there for 5 years, by congressional resolution support, the President of the United States has had the power, and he has announced it to the world, that we would resist the attempt of the Communists if they were to attempt to attack our ally Formosa, or an area which might be preliminary to an attack. And we also notice that as far as this particular policy is concerned that the Senate 5 years ago rejected the very position that my opponent now advocates, that we draw a line and say: "We will turn over a couple of free islands at the present time; we won't defend those, but we will eventually defend Formosa, itself, because it is an ally." I say the Senate rejected that. A majority of the Senators of his own party voted against that amendment. The majority of Republicans voted against it. The policy has worked. It has avoided war, and I say now is not the time to change it and to surrender that position to the Communists because that is the way that leads to war. It does not lead to peace.
Of course, I realize that there are those who will say, "But, Mr. Nixon, wouldn't it be better if we were to indicate that this island or that one or the other one will not be defended? Wouldn't that mean we wouldn't have war?" And my answer is: Look at history. Look at Hitler, for example - Danzig, Sudetenland, Austria, all the rest - and each time it only whetted his appetite and he asked for more and more and more, until eventually we had to tight. Look at Korea: Dean Acheson indicating no, we wouldn't defend Korea. Did it result in peace? No. It resulted in war.
When you're confronted with a ruthless dictator whose objective is not a couple of little islands, but the world, you must never make the mistake of surrendering at the point of a gun, because he'll use the gun again, and, therefore, that is why we must not allow this kind of policy.
And, so, it is our policy of firmness that has kept the peace and that will keep the peace in the future. It is only a policy of
weakness diplomatically that will lose the peace, and I say the American people know and they will support our position and the position of the President, and do not want a change in it, as our opponent has advocated. Now, the next point that I make is one that seems very far from military strength and diplomatic firmness. When I was in the Soviet Union, I remember Mr. Khrushchev speaking to me about the economic race in which we're engaged. He said, "Mr. Nixon, I'll admit that we're behind you now economically, that you produce more than we do, but," he said, "it isn't going to be for long." he says, "Our system is better than yours. We're moving faster than you are, and we're going to catch you, in about 7 years, and," he said, "when we do, we're going to pass you by, and I'm going to wave, and then I'm going to say, 'Come along; follow us, and do as we do, or otherwise, you'll fall hopelessly behind'."
And I'll tell you what our answer is to mm, and all the other dictators who say they are going to pass the American economy. They are not going to catch us in 7 or 70 years, if we remain true to the principles that have made America the richest and the best country in the world today.
Let me tell you something else I saw when I was in the Soviet Union. I saw there an amazing development. In this country with its tightly controlled government, with everything centered in Moscow, I found that they had to go for decentralization of power in order to get increased production. I saw something else. In this country, where the rule is supposed to be that everybody receives the same pay, that everybody contributes according to his needs, that in order to get production they had to reward incentives, that they had to pay more to those who produced more, and that they were moving in that direction.
In other words, what I found in the Soviet Union - that they, in order to even stay in the race, have had to change their Communist policies and had to turn our way.
And I say to you, my friends, at a time when we find them having to turn our way, this is no time for us to turn their way. Let's stay with our way and show them our way.
Now, what does this mean? This means that we do want progress in this country, and want it to increase, but, my friends, the way to get it is to recognize that the engine of progress in the United States is not the Federal Government, but 180 million free individual Americans inspired by Government.
Our opponents say they want progress and they'll produce it, but you know how they say they're going to get it? They're going to set up a huge new Government program in everything, whether its medical care or schools or housing or anything else, turn it over to the Federal Government, and they say this proves they care more for progress, that they will produce more.
But, my friends, the record shows they're wrong, because those are the same policies we found under Mr. Truman. They didn't work then. They won't work any better now. We don't want to go back to what we left in 1953. We're going to go forward.
In other words, they say the way to progress is what? They say the way to progress is through starting with the Federal Government on every program and working down to the people, and we say the way to progress is just the opposite - start with the people and work up to the Federal Government.
And whether it's a school program or a housing program or a farm program, we say that in every area ours will produce progress because it's based on a sound principle.
Let's take one example to show the great difference in approach: this matter of oil depletion that was discussed the other night in the debate. Here they indicate the possibility of a change in this allowance, and it must sound awfully popular to a lot of people because, as people have said to me, "Look, there's a lot more people that buy oil and gas than produce it and sell it," and they've also said, "Mr. Nixon, why don't you advocate sticking these rich oilmen? After all, there's just a few of them. Why don't you reduce the depletion allowance? Why worry about them becoming rich?"
But, as I said the other night, my friends, what I am concerned about is not making a few oilmen rich, but making America rich, and the way we do it is to inspire the creative activity of people in every area in this country and not to discourage it, as they would, through their tax policies.
I would also point out that the consumer has an interest here, an interest because as we increase production, that means that we also have the competition which keeps prices in line, and as we depress production, it means we have a scarcity which will raise prices to the consumer, and the Nation has a stake in this, because if we become involved in any kind of a conflict, America is going to need maximum production in this country, and the only way you can get it is to encourage t hose to go out and explore for it.
Here is just one example of a difference in approach. I could give you many others, but to sum it up in a nutshell: In essence, they say, "Give us your money, and we will take care of your problems."
And we say, the Federal Government, yes, has some things to do, but whenever a dollar can be spent better by the individual than it can be spent in Washington, we say, leave the money with the people and let them build America.
And now one other point. In addition to this economic struggle that I have been talking about and the military struggle, there is another phase of it that is more important and perhaps more decisive - I believe more decisive - and that's the struggle for the minds and the hearts and the souls of men. I know that when you think of a man like Khrushchev or Mao Tse-tung, a man who does not believe in God, a man who has no ideals, you think: What in the world will it do for us to talk about the things we believe in in the world? How can ideals stand up against military might and economic productivity?
And my answer, my friends, is that the militarists and the materialists throughout history have always underestimated the power of ideals. They have underestimated moral and spiritual strength, and I want to tell you today I know that power because I have seen it around the world. I have often described the experience we had in Poland a year ago, coming into the streets of Warsaw on a Sunday afternoon, no signs along the streets, as there were today in Tulsa, indicating where we were going to go, but a quarter of a million people, learning by word of mouth in this totalitarian country, that we were coming, visitors from the United States, and they were shouting that day at the top of their voices "Neich Zyje America" - "long live America." They were also throwing flowers into our cars, hundreds of bouquets of them, and when the cars were stopped in the middle of the city, I looked into their faces and some were laughing with joy, but grown men and women, hundreds, thousands of them, crying, with tears streaming down their cheeks.
Now, why? Not because they thought America was rich, which we are - they knew that - but not because of that alone; not because America was strong militarily - Khrushchev had bragged of that kind of strength and he had been there the week before. No; but because they knew that America stands for something more than military strength, more than economic strength; that we stand for ideals that caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago, and that means to all the world America and its hope for generations to come.
What are those ideals? Our faith in God; our belief in the dignity of all men; our believe that the rights that men have to equality of opportunity and freedom; that those rights come from God, that they cannot be taken away from men, by men; our belief that nations have a right to be independent, that people have a right to be free. These things America came into the world to preserve. These things and these ideals America stands for in the world today, and this strength you, the people of America, must give to our Nation because it must come not just from leaders talking about it; it must come from the hearts and the souls of our people, and that means it must be instilled in our young people, in the churches, in the schools, in the homes of America.
And, so, I conclude by saying this: I have faith in the outcome of this struggle in which we are engaged. We will keep the peace and we will keep it without surrender.
We will extend freedom.
We will do it not only because we are strong militarily, which we will be, not only because we will be strong economically; but because America will be strong in its soul, strong in its heart, believing in the right things.
And, so, you, I say, keep America strong at home; keep our young people filled with the patriotism and the love of country that we need, and America will win this struggle.
We will win it without war. We will realize our great destiny that we came into the world to, of course, preserve, but also to extend.
Thank you very much.
Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Fair Grounds Pavilion, Tulsa, OK Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273945