Partial Transcript of Remarks by the Vice President, Municipal Auditorium, Bangor, ME
On an occasion like this, as you can imagine, a candidate for the Presidency has a real problem to determine just what issues to talk about - a problem because you people have taken so much trouble and time to come here, a problem because we have not too much time to spend in each one of the 50 States, but we've got to make this rather backbreaking schedule that we're making over the next 6 weeks, and in determining before coming to Maine what we should talk about - I, of course, had an opportunity to know something about the background of this State - I consulted with your Senator. I consulted also with the Governor and others. I said: "What are the people of Maine thinking about? What are they most interested in?"
You know - an interesting thing - I found the same answer here that I find throughout the country. You would think that Hawaii, which is so far away from Maine, as far away as you can get from Maine and still be in the United States, so different in its background, that Hawaii, the newest of the States, the people there, would be thinking very different things from the people of Maine; but, as a matter of fact, the differences are not nearly as much as the similarities.
I find that all over the Nation people are concerned about the things we would expect. As people with families, we want a government under which we can have good jobs and good wages, in which we can plan for our future, in which we can have progress, better schools and housing and health. All of these things we want. We want America to move forward, and we want all of America to move together. We want no section of the country left behind. We want no part of our people left behind.
These are things that people want in Maine, in California, in the North, the East, the South, clear out in Hawaii as well.
There is something else that they want, something else that unites Americans, all over this great land of ours. They want the kind of government which will insure that whatever progress we have toward better lives, better jobs, better housing and health and schools, whatever we have in these respects, we're around to enjoy the progress we make. In other words, we find that the great issue which overrides all the rest all over the Nation is: Which of the candidates for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, by background, by experience, by program, can best provide the leadership which will keep the peace without surrender for America and the world.
Now, it goes without saying, of course, that all the candidates, the four of them, for these offices to which I refer, want peace. We want it without surrender. The question is your choice, your decision, as to which of the candidates is best qualified.
Now. obviously I am a bit prejudiced on that point, but I would like to discuss it for just a moment if I might.
First, how do you judge us? And I'm going to suggest something in this Republican State of Maine which may surprise you. I'm not going to ask those who are Republicans to vote for me and my colleague because we're Republicans, too. I'm going to suggest that you forget, while I discuss this issue, whether you are Republicans or Democrats and think of the country. Think of America. What leadership does America need? And then we will abide by the decision, because we know that decision will be best for the Nation.
Why do I say this? Because whether or not America develops the leadership that will keep the peace without surrender, whether we develop the leadership that will extend freedom, is going to decide not only the future of America, but the future of the world. So, this means that, regardless of party, we have got to leave the best. Regardless of party, you must put me, you must put my opponent and our colleagues to the test, the sternest test you can think of. And, so, I say: Examine our records; examine our backgrounds; examine our programs, and then decide: Is this the leadership America needs? Is this the best we can do in the choice that we have?
So, first let's look at the record, the record of which Cabot Lodge, my running mate, and I have been a part. For 7½ years we have sat in the Cabinet, in the National Security Council. For 7½ years we have consulted with and we have helped to advise the President on the great decisions that he has made in the field of foreign policy. So, we are a part of this record. You must hold us accountable for it, and to an extent, of course, you must give us credit for it.
What is the record? Well, you get mixed views on it. Obviously, our opponents say it is a bad record. They say there are so many things wrong. The United States has made this mistake, that mistake, and the other. The President has made mistakes, they say. They suggested that at the Paris Conference, for example, some of them thought he hadn't been tough enough with Khrushchev and others thought he should not have been as tough as he was and he should have expressed regrets in order to save the conference. All these criticisms we hear. We hear American prestige has been slipping over the past 7½ years. We hear it is at an all-time low around the world, and, therefore, they say it is time for a change in the field of foreign policy.
These things we hear, but now again look at the record. Look at the performance - not all the words, not at the partisan comments, but at the performance - and I say to you it is a good record, and I'll tell you why. Because, in a sentence, it can be summed up in this way: All the criticism in the world can't obscure the truth, the truth that under the leadership of President Eisenhower we ended a war we were in; we've kept out of other wars, and we do have peace without surrender today.
Now, you know, it would be a very easy thing for me just to stop there. You obviously approve of the record. We have a fine record. We stand on it, let the other side say what they want about it. But I don't stop there because that isn't good enough. It isn't good enough for the world. We are faced with a terrible problem in this world today, not of our choosing, not of our creation, but the men in the Kremlin, the men in Peiping - you've been seeing the men in the Kremlin recently - Mr. Khrushchev at his worst, and to an extent at his best, as he sees it, in the United Nations - and, as you see him, you have seen this implacable hatred he has for the ideals for which we stand. You have seen his determination to conquer the world by any means - without war, if possible, if he can accomplish it that way. When you have an opponent of that nature, it means you can't stand
still. You're never satisfied with the record. You must move forward, move forward in all areas, move forward so that we can continue to maintain what we want, the kind of a world in which men can be free and nations can be independent and peoples can live together in peace.
And, so, going from the record and going to the future, what must you look to? How should you judge the candidates?
Well, first, you must look at our backgrounds, personally and otherwise.
I, of course, cannot comment on my own - that wouldn't be appropriate - but I can say something about my running mate's, and I do today. You've seen him up here in Maine, in the United Nations, over the last 7½ years on television, and I can say this: I don't think any man in the world has had more experience or could have done a better job than Cabot Lodge in defending the security of the United States.
Now, why does that matter? You know, there was a time when Vice Presidents didn't matter too much in the conduct of foreign policy - or any other policy, for that matter - but times have changed as a result of President Eisenhower's leadership. They will continue to change because Cabot Lodge and I will be partners in this enterprise. Because of his vast experience, I intend to give him duties which will enable us to work as partners, first, in strengthening the instruments of peace like the United Nations so that we can deal even more effectively than we have with situations like the Congo; second, strengthening regional organizations like the Organization of American States so that we can again extend the cause of peace and freedom; third, developing such new organizations as we may need which will keep the peace without surrender and extend freedom.
These things we will do together, and we submit to you his experience, his background and mine together as a team. We believe it's a good team, but again I say: You judge us, and we think your judgment will be best for the Nation.
Now, let's go to the third point. The third point I want to make is with regard to the future insofar as program is concerned.
What do we stand for? What do we believe is necessary if we are to keep peace, if we are to extend freedom? Well, I indicated a moment ago that we cannot simply rest where we are, no matter how good the record is, and, above everything else, the United States must start with power. Why? Because we are dealing with men who respect power and who have contempt for weakness. This means that the United States must continue to maintain what she has today - an advantage militarily which is so great that no one who threatens the peace of the world dares to start anything anyplace in the world. We
must continue to maintain that strength - and, with the kind of leadership, incidentally, which we will get from people like Margaret Smith, who is one of the experts in this field, as you know, America will continue to be, and we will continue to pay whatever price is necessary to be, the strongest nation in the world so that we can be the guardians of peace for you and for people everywhere.
Power, militarily - the third ingredient. What else do we need? We need economic strength; economic strength because if we have this military power, which discourages a potential aggressor, it means that the battle will then be launched by him, as it already has been in other areas - and so, in effect, Mr. Khrushchev has declared war on us economically. He has said: "Were going to beat you." He said, "We don't have to beat you by war, through the traditional devices of aggression. We are going to beat you economically, because we're going to outproduce you." And over and over again he repeated that to me when I was in Moscow. The question is: Can he win? Can he beat us? Can he catch us, as he has indicated, in 7 years? The answer is: He isn't going to catch us in 7 or 70 years if we stay true to the principles that have made America the most productive nation in the world today.
Let me tell you what has happened in the Soviet Union in its economy. Decentralization of the control of the economy. Why?
Because they found, as they had everything centered in Moscow, it lead to inefficiency and they had to decentralize.
You know what else is happening? Reward of incentives. In this country which you are supposed to have under the Marxist ideology of everybody receiving according to his needs and producing according to his ability, what do you find? The greatest reward for incentives of any nation in the world, paying more to those who produce more, paying more to those who are more creative.
In other words, what are we finding in the Soviet Union?
They, in order to compete with us, have had to depart from their traditional theories and turn our way, and I say to you, the way to stay ahead of them is not to make the mistake of turning their way. We have got to continue in the American way of strengthening the creative abilities and enterprise of 180 million free Americans. This is the way to progress. Why do I emphasize that? I emphasize that because there is too great a tendency at the present time to think in the United States that, because we are in an economic race, what we have to do is turn over our problems to Washington; what we have to do is to have a massive increase of expenditures in Washington, and what we have to do is to have Washington have more and more control over the business enterprises and more interference in the activities in this time.
This is a well held belief. The people who hold it are well intentioned, but I believe they're wrong, because that kind of thinking will not bring the great progress America needs.
What is our philosophy on the other side? We say that Washington has responsibilities. We have a program for schools, for housing, in health, in all of these areas that will produce progress, not just promise it, but produce it, as Margaret Smith emphasized in her speech last night.
But our program is one that produces progress not by taking responsibility from people, from the States, but by strengthening individual enterprise, by strengthening the States. Ours is a program which does not turn over all the problems to Washington, but says Washington shall do those things that the individuals and the States cannot do.
Now, why does this make sense? Because you get more out of your country that way. You tap all the energies of the people. You have individuals doing everything they can. You have the States making every contribution they can. You have the Federal Government doing what it can.
That's why our program will work and why theirs, on the other hand, will not.
Of course, I realize that there are those who might say, "Well, now, just a minute Mr. Nixon. We see what your opponents say. They've come into this State and they say, 'We're really for schools and for progress and for housing, for all these other projects that we're interested in, but we will spend more for these.'
They say, for example, they have programs in all these areas which would cost a great deal more than our programs, and I want to say right here and now, they're right. Their programs would cost billions more than ours, but who's going to pay for these programs? Putting it in a nutshell, not Jack, but you. You're going to pay for these programs.
Now, I return to Margaret Smith. I return to Cliff McIntire. Both of them have records for economy. Margaret, I understand, has the best one in the United States or one of the best of all the Senators. Now, you would think: Now, she's voting for economy. Is she voting against the interests of people when she votes against the spending of your money in Washington or votes to spend it more usefully or constructively? Is that against your interests? Of course not. I say: When you have a choice of one program that will do a job that costs less and another program that's designed to do the same job and won't do it as well and will cost more, we'll take the one that costs less and will do the best.
So, whether it's military strength, economic power, we believe ours is the way to progress, ours is the way to strength.
What else do we need We need diplomacy that is firm, without being belligerent, diplomacy that will always go the extra mile, as President Eisenhower has so eloquently indicated, in negotiating to reduce tensions, but diplomacy that will never be taken in, never be gullible, that will never presume - and this is the key point - that the Communists will react like other world leaders.
When you get into trouble, you see, when dealing with the Communists, is when you assume that apologizing or expressing regrets for something that is right is going to have some effect on them. It doesn't. Whenever you make a concession to a Communist that isn't matched by a concession on his part in return, it simply whets his appetite for more. This is true of any dictator. It's especially true of Mr. Khrushchev.
And that's why in the case of Cabot Lodge and myself, knowing this man as we do, knowing his colleagues as we do, we say to you: We will go an extra mile. We will always work for peace. We will take the initiative on disarmament and every other field, but we will never make a concession. We will never reduce America's strength without getting a reduction in strength on his part, as well.
One other point: Military strength, economic power, a firm diplomacy, strengthening the instruments of peace - all these things are important, but the most decisive power in using that term in its highest sense is neither military or economic. That power comes not from a President. He can talk about it, but it comes from you.
And I speak of the power of America's ideals. What are they? What do they mean? Why will they be decisive?
I've often recalled our trip to Poland, a trip in which there were not notices in the papers as to when we were going to come and arrive or where we were going to go, and yet a quarter of a million people were on the streets, on a Sunday afternoon, cheering and shouting, throwing flowers by hundreds of bouquets into our cars, and hundreds and hundreds of them crying, with tears running down their cheeks. Why? Not because America was strong militarily and economically. They knew that. And not because we were famous, because we weren't to them, as President Eisenhower would have been, but because they respected America behind the Iron Curtain in a Communist country, as America has been respected since the time of her foundation, because she has stood for more than might makes right. She has stood for more than atheistic materialism. America has stood for the right of all men to be free.
We stand for faith in God, for recognition that the rights of man, rights that belong to all our people, regardless of their race or their origin or their creed, cannot be taken away by any man and must be guaranteed because they come from God.
These things America stands for. This is what we must emphasize to the world, and this is what you can do, students here, others in this audience: Strengthen the moral and spiritual fiber of this country. Go back and see to it that our young people learn about this country's ideas, that they respect them. Let's make patriotism a fashionable word. Let's be proud of our country. Let's see to it that America, as far as her President is concerned, is backed by a united country, confident of its ideals, mature in its reactions to the great crisis with which we will be confronted. If you will do that, we can lead and we will lead the world, as we should, to peace without surrender, and we shall lead also to the extension of freedom throughout the world.
And now this brings me back to why I came here. We are here for your support, but again I say: Test us. Test us not only on the basis of labels we wear, partisan or otherwise. Test us not on the basis of even what I say, but test us on the basis of our experience, our background, our program. If you think that Cabot Lodge and I are the ones who can lead America, if you think that our other colleagues on this platform are the ones who can provide the leadership that this State needs, if you believe, for example, in the State of Maine that John Reed is the type of dynamic leader that this State needs in the State house - and I submit to you that I believe all these things - if you believe it, then I can ask you in good conscience: Go out and work in this State, and let's carry it for our Republican ticket from top to bottom. You can do it.
Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks by the Vice President, Municipal Auditorium, Bangor, ME Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273988