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Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Knott's Berry Farm, Long Beach, CA

October 12, 1960

I am sure that all of you will be interested in hearing an indication from me as to how I have found the campaign in California to date. I want to say that in San Diego yesterday, also in Burbank late yesterday evening, where we had a tremendous reception at the airport, and then today in Long Beach, tonight here, we have had four of the greatest meetings of the whole campaign, and I make this prediction: I see a tide running in the State of California. I have never seen greater enthusiasm in a campaign, and we're going to carry this State in November for our ticket.

And I'll tell you why we're going to carry it; not only because people have come not only from Orange County, but all over southern California - hundreds of miles some of you have driven to this very meeting - we're going to carry it because of your enthusiasm, but also we're going to carry it because we're going to have the support, in addition to Republicans, in the State of California, of hundreds of thousands of Democrats and independent voters, as we had in 1952 and in 1956.

In fact, all over America this is something I have noticed. I have noticed that not only are the Republicans fired up, but that in greater increasing numbers over and over again Democrats and independents are joining with us. And why is this the case? I will tell you why. It is because Americans generally realize that this is one of the most important decisions as far as an election campaign is concerned that they will ever make, a decision that involves not only the future of the United States, but a decision that involves the future of the whole world. As a matter of fact some of you who may recall our last television debate will recall that Senator Kennedy and I had a little disagreement on several things, but particularly on one matter toward the end of the debate. The question was asked: "In this election this year, what should be the primary test - the party or the man?"

And, in essence, he replied, the party, and I replied, as I say here tonight, that in this year, 1960, with the stakes as high as they are in America and throughout the world, it is not enough to vote as your fathers did or as your grandfathers did. It is not enough simply to vote on the basis of a party label. It is not enough to vote simply as somebody else tells you how to vote. This is the year when, instead of voting the party, we must vote and put America first, and that is what I ask all of you to do as you vote in this election this November the 8th.

I call upon all of those who are here, Republicans, Democrats, and independents. Consider the qualifications of the candidates; consider the problems facing the country, and make the decision on the basis of which of the candidates, regardless of party, can best provide the leadership that America needs, because, my friends, America can settle for nothing but the best that either party may be able to produce.

And now, having answered that question, let us turn to the next one which I find is on the minds of people throughout this country. You know, you often hear about how different we Americans are, North, East, West, and South, but I've campaigned now in 35 States, and I find that the people are thinking about the same issues and that particularly they are concerned about one great issue above all the rest, and it is this: They recognize that the most important decision we will be making this November is: Which of the two candidates for the Presidency can best lead America and the free world and keep the peace without surrender of principle or territory?

This is the great issue that Americans are thinking about in this year of 1960. Why that issue, some might ask, rather than others? Why would people be more concerned, for example, with keeping the peace and keeping freedom than they would be about having a good job or better schools or better housing?

And may I say, my friends, all of us want progress in those fields that I have mentioned, and we shall have it; but, my friends, we can have the best housing and the best schools, the best highways that we can image, and the best jobs, and I know you realize it won't make any difference unless we're around to enjoy them.

So, tonight, then, I address myself to that question, the question of how America can keep the peace, how we can do it without surrender, and why I believe that our ticket offers the kind of leadership that can accomplish this particular purpose.

Now, the first point that I would like to make is this: How must you judge us? You must look first at our record? my colleague's and mine. We are part of the record of this administration. For 7½ years we have sat in the high councils with President Eisenhower. We have participated in the discussions on Quemoy and Matsu, the other great decisions that have been made that have avoided war on the one side and surrender on the other. And, so, therefore, you must judge us by this record.

Now, my friends, we've heard a lot about this record that hasn't been too complimentary lately in this political campaign. We've heard that American prestige has been slipping, that it's reached an all-time low. We have heard that our strength has been slipping. We have heard that this has been an administration of retreat and of defeat. We've heard a lot of things which we're going to hear more about, I am sure. But let's never forget this: All the criticism in the world of the Eisenhower administration cannot obscure from the American people the truth, and the truth they know. They know that under the leadership of President Eisenhower we got the Nation out of one war; we've kept it out of others, and we do have peace without surrender today - and that's the kind of leadership we want to continue.

And, while I'm talking about it, I just read a news report before coming to this platform to the effect that Senator Kennedy said in a speech earlier today that the trigger-happy Republicans, as he calls us, by reason of the stand we have taken on Quemoy and Matsu, have indicated again that they are the ones who are going to endanger the country and possibly lead us to war.

Well, now, let's look at history just a moment, since he has brought it up. In the last 50 years, I suggest that he name one Republican President who led this country into war, and I can name three Democratic Presidents who have done so.

The question, of course, is not which is the war party and which is the peace party. All of us, Democrats and Republicans, want peace. The question is: Which leaders, Democrat or Republican, in a particular period of history can best do the job, which can best keep the peace?

So, I say on the record, we think we have a great deal to offer to the American people. We proved that we can keep the peace. And I can say also that on the record we found a war when we came in, and we got rid of that one, as I pointed out.

Now, the second point that I would make is this: In addition to our record, how else must you judge us? You must judge us by our backgrounds, by everything that we believe, by everything that we've done, by everything that we know, and my colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I in addition to sitting in the high councils of this administration have had an opportunity to know the men who threaten the peace of the world. We both know Mr. Khrushchev and the American people know how we will react to Mr. Khrushchev, because we have shown that we will not be fuzzy minded or woolly headed in dealing with him, and that we will stand up for the United States of America in dealing with him.

And it's because we do know Mr. Khrushchev that we believe that we offer the kind of leadership that can keep the peace and keep it without surrender. What are the things that I say to you tonight that, on this knowledge and based on this knowledge, we believe Americans must do and shall do to keep the peace that we all want and to retain the freedom that we all cherish? Well, first, let's look at this man. I have seen him. I have often described him. I describe him for you now. Tough, ruthless, knowing no rules of international diplomacy whatever, respecting none, respecting no morality, a man who believes in only one thing. He respects strength, and he respects firmness. And, so, if you're going to deal with a man like this, if you're going to deal with his colleagues, Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai, who are just like him, because the Communists all think in the same rigid patterns, there are certain things that I know inevitably we have to do, and the first is this: If we are going to keep the peace, my friends, America must be the strongest nation in the world militarily.

Now, what is the situation today? You have heard a lot about the military weakness of this country, and I want to set the record straight tonight for all of our listeners on television and radio and all of you in this great audience. Make no mistake about it, because Khrushchev knows it, America today is the strongest nation in the world - and we're going to stay that way under the leadership that we're going to give in the next administration. The fact that we are the strongest, of course, does not mean that we can rest on our laurels, because the threat is great, and, as I have said over and over again, America must constantly increase her strength, taking advantage of new inventions for breakthroughs, seeing to it that we're never in a position where we are weaker than the Communists and those who threaten the peace.

Now, why do I emphasize strength? Again let me remind you, not because we want war, but because we want peace, because, you know, and we must realize, that the only way America can be the guardians of peace is to be stronger than those who threaten the peace and who are against it.

So, strength, I pledge, we will see that America will have. What else do we need? We must recognize, my friends, that this is not only a military struggle in the world, but that it is one that is economic in character.

I remember Mr. Khrushchev telling me in Moscow. He said, "Mr. Nixon, we're behind you now economically, but," he said, "we're traveling faster than you are. We're going to catch you. We're going to pass you." He says, "As a matter of fact, we re going to pass you in 7 years and," he said, "when we go by you, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to wave and I'm going to say, 'Come on now; follow us; do as we do or you're going to fall hopelessly behind.'"

My friends, I want to tell you what our answer is to him. He isn't going to catch us economically - not in 7 years, not in 70 years - if we remain true to the great principles that have built America and don't stray from them in the years ahead.

We are ahead of the Soviet Union today. We produce over twice as much as they do, but again we cannot be complacent. We must develop our resources to the full. That is why I have advocated programs in the field of education, in the field of urban development, in the field of distressed areas, in the field of health, all of these areas, which will see to it that America continues to move forward, and that we even increase the growth that we already have, because, my friends, America can never stand still. We must all move ahead together, and no one must be left behind.

And I pledge to you that under the leadership we will provide, America will move ahead, move ahead and stay ahead in this great race for survival. We will see that America's schools continue to be the best, and they will be better than they have ever been before. We will see that America's young people who have the ability have the opportunity to make their contributions to America's greatness.

We will see to it that all of our citizens have the opportunity in health and other fields for a rich and better life in this country. And now some of you might well ask the question: "But, Mr. Nixon, isn't everybody for that?" And the answer is: I would assume so. Certainly we all want a good life for our people, and I say that my programs will produce it, and my opponent says his programs will. Why do I tell you tonight, as I do, that ours will produce more progress than his? First, because of the record. I've been amused by the fact that he has said on several occasions that America has been standing still for the last 7½ years. Well, let me say this: Anybody who says America has been standing still the last 7½ years hasn't been traveling in America. He's been traveling in some foreign country, and it isn't this one, I can assure you, because, by any index you want to take - we have built more schools; we have built more dams; we have increased the power potential of this country; we have built more hospitals and highways; we have had a greater increase in the productivity, in the wages, the real wages, of our citizens than we have ever had in any administration, and far more than in the previous administration.

So, first, America has not been standing still. She has been moving. But, she must move faster, and we will move faster.

And again I ask the question: How will we move faster than our opponents will move? And I'll tell you why. Because our systems and our programs are based on the philosophy that will work, and theirs are not.

Let me point out the difference very briefly.

They say whenever there's a problem, if they want progress in this country, turn to the Federal Government. Set up a huge, big Government program, collect the money from the people, send it all over to Washington, take the responsibility from the people, from the States, from the local government. Washington will do the job.

But our answer is exactly the opposite. We say that the way to progress in America is not by starting with the Federal Government and working down to the people, but by starting with the people and working up to the Federal Government. We say, because our programs will tap and stimulate the great energies of the American people, that they will produce progress where our opponents' will not.

Look at this great establishment in which we are meeting. They call it Knotts Berry Farm. I remember it many, many years ago, 30 years ago, when it was just a roadside stand, a man and his wife selling very, very good boysenberry pies, and I've seen how it grew. How did it grow into this tremendously successful establishment which has brought thousands of jobs and which has brought good food and entertainment to millions of people? How did it come? The Government didn't build this. An individual built it - and that's what's going to build America in the future.

My friends, it's because we have faith in individual enterprise and our opponents lack it; it's because we have faith in Americans - and unfortunately, our opponents seem to lack it too often - it's because we are going to stimulate individual enterprise that America will move under our direction as she will never move under theirs.

But then again a question may come into your minds: "Mr. Nixon," I've often been asked ''how can you say that you are more for progress than your Opponent is when he says he will spend more than you will? Doesn't this prove he's more for progress?"

And you know what my answer is? Consider for a moment - whose money is he spending? It isn't mine, and it isn't his, but it's yours - and that's the answer to it.

And, yes, I agree, and you must all realize, and everybody listening on television and radio must recognize, that if you vote for our opponents you're voting to raise your taxes; you are voting to raise your prices, or both, because they have a program that would add billions of dollars and would spend billions more than would ours. But the sad tragedy of it is, with all of their spending, they would not produce the progress that ours would; and I say to you, as far as these programs are concerned, when Americans can get more progress by spending less of their money they're going to take that program rather than voting for another program that will spend more and produce less - and that really is the issue they are going to decide in this particular instance.

And let me say in that connection, too, that, as we consider this whole problem of how much the Government spends, of what our prices are, I think that one of the major responsibilities of whoever is President of this country is to be the guardian not only of the Federal budget, but the family budget. Millions of families have difficulty in making both ends meet, and I say that it is our responsibility to spend every dollar we need to spend for America's defense, but not $1 that we don't need to spend either for our defense or for other purposes - and that's why again America will support us and not our opponents, because they say the answer is always: Money will buy everything. And it won't - and that is certainly the answer.

Now I turn to another point. If we are going to have peace, we not only must keep America the strongest nation in the world militarily; we must not only stay ahead of our potential opponents economically, but, in addition, my friends, we need the diplomacy that is just as strong to go along with it.

What do I mean by diplomacy? This is what happens in the great councils of state, at meetings at the summit. This is what happens where the Secretary of State sits down with his opposite number, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. This is what happens where the President of the United States sits down opposite Mr. Khrushchev or some other leader.

What kind of diplomacy do we need in this period?

I want to talk to that point for just a moment, if I might.

In the first place, we must recognize, as far as our diplomacy is concerned, that the only kind that has ever worked in dealing

with the Communists or with any dictator, is to be firm on principle, not belligerent, always willing to go the extra mile, to negotiate for peace, but never making a concession to a Communist or any other dictator without getting one in return. This we must have or we shall not have peace.

And now I want to talk to you about a very serious problem, one that has arisen in recent days, one that was discussed again in our second debate, one which Senator Kennedy referred to again today - two little islands out in the Pacific, Quemoy and Matsu. They are islands of free men today, and Senator Kennedy has suggested that these two islands should be turned over to the Communists, that we, in effect should force our allies---- (cries of ''No'')

This is your answer, and let me tell you why your answer is correct. Because, as we consider these two little islands, remember, what he suggests is, first, they may be indefensible, but, my friends, you can make that same kind of an argument for Berlin. Does this mean that we are going to desert the 2½ million people in Berlin? No; it doesn't.

You can make this same argument, as it was made, for Korea, and yet did this mean we did not have to go into Korea? No. We had to go in.

No, my friends, the argument of indefensibility does not stand up.

What else stands up? Senator Kennedy has suggested: "But Mr. Nixon and the Republicans, as he calls us, the Eisenhower

administration, are going to go to war over these islands. They are leading us into war."

And what is his implication? That if he goes in he will turn over these islands and we won't have war.

My friends, the lesson of history he forgets. Whenever you deal with a dictator and make a concession to him, it does not lead to peace. It inevitably leads to more demands and inevitably to war.

You remember Hitler? We tried to buy him off. First, they gave him Danzig. Then they gave him other parts of Europe. Each time the answer was: "This is all he wants, and we will have peace." But every time they gave him something he asked for more and more and more, until at last it was war, and the worst war in history.

And then came Korea, and Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State, you recall, indicated Korea was outside the defense zone of the United States, and we thought this might, of course, not result in war over Korea, but the Communists took him at his word. They marched in and 30,000 American boys paid the price of folly diplomatically.

And, so, I say to you, my friends, as far as the previous administration is concerned, 600 million people were lost to communism. We did become involved in a war. It was an administration of retreat, and it was an administration of defeat. But we left that policy of retreat and defeat behind in 1953, and we're not going to go back to it in 1960, as Senator Kennedy has asked, because as we stand firmly for freedom we serve notice to all the dictators in the world that they will not be able to blackmail us, that they will not be able to force us into war by eventually asking for more than we will be able to surrender.

And, so, I say: If America wants peace - and we all desperately want it - if we also want freedom, the only answer is not a policy of weakness, not a policy of surrender, of territory or people, but a policy of strength - and that's where I stand and that's where I will fight throughout this campaign and throughout my life, because I know the men with whom we are dealing in this instance.

And now I turn to one final point: America can keep the peace. We can keep it without surrender if we're strong militarily and strong economically and are firm diplomatically, but we must do more than that. We must win the struggle for peace and for freedom. We must not have freedom retreat. We must extend the cause of freedom.

And how do we do this? And here what will count is what America believes m. Here is where our faith is what will prevail, and I speak of the faith that all Americans must have in the basic ideals that have made America great. You know what they are? Our faith in God; our belief in the rights of men to be free; our belief that these rights come not from men, but from God and cannot be taken away by men, and our belief in our faith that America came into the world not simply to have these rights for ourselves alone, but to stand for them and to extend them to all people.

This is what the world wants to hear. This is what America stands for. This is the kind of leadership that America needs, and may the people of the United States, in your hearts, through our churches and through our homes and through our schools - may you instill in the American people a burning faith in freedom, a belief in it, so that we can lead the forces of freedom to victory without war. It can be done because, my friends, we're on the right side.

That is my case. If you believe that this is the kind of leadership that America needs, if you believe that we stand for the principles that America has always stood for, then we ask for your support in this election campaign - and we thank you for coming tonight.

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Knott's Berry Farm, Long Beach, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project