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Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Sussex Avenue Armory, Newark, NJ

October 31, 1960

We have, as you know, a number of great issues that will be decided in this election a week from Tuesday. There is none that is more important than the decision that the people of America will make as far as their foreign policy leadership is concerned. I think that I am speaking with some degree of experience and also objectively when I say, first, that the American people as far as their foreign policy leadership over the past 7½ years are concerned will be eternally grateful to the man who has been the President of the United States for getting this Nation out of the Korean war, for avoiding other wars and for keeping the peace without surrender for America and the world. [Cheers and applause.]

I think, too, that you are all aware of the fact that both Cabot Lodge and I have been part of this administration in that field as well as in others, that we have participated in the discussions leading to the great decisions of these past 7½ years.

Now, a great deal has been said about experience and inexperience in this campaign. In fact, my opponent made the statement that - yes, we had experience my colleague and I, but experience in policies that have led to defeat and retreat and stagnation. Well, just let me say this: He was describing an administration all right, but it wasn't ours. It was Harry Truman's. [Cheers and applause.]

There has never in the history of this country been an administration whose foreign policies were most disastrous to the cause of freedom than Harry Truman's administration which preceded ours. [Cheers and applause.]

Six hundred million people went under communism in that period. At the end of that administration we were in a war, a war which it was necessary to go in at the time we went in, but a war which, without question, was brought on because of diplomatic policies which failed to recognize what Cabot Lodge has already described here - a fundamental truth that when you deal with dictators, be they of any kind, Nazi or Communist, or whatever they may be, that the greatest mistake you can make is to draw a line and say: "Come on in; you can have this, assuming you want no more." That was tried in Korea. That was why President Eisenhower refused to follow that line on Quemoy and Matsu. That's why he was right on that and Senator Kennedy was wrong, as he has been wrong m so many other things [Cheers and applause.]

And, my friends, certainly it is rather, I would say, inconsistent to talk about what we are going to do about new frontiers when we are willing to surrender the frontiers of freedom that already exist around the world. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, of course, I recognize that he has indicated that now he's changed his mind, that now he thinks he's supporting the President's position on that, and with regard to the President's conduct at the summit conference, and with regard to the President's policies in Cuba and in the other areas where he's been critical; but I can only suggest this: As Cabot Lodge has already implied, and as he and I both know from experience, when a President speaks, when a President makes a decision, it's for keeps. He doesn't get a second chance. He can't call the bullet back after he shoots from the hip. It goes to the target.

And, so, under those circumstances, the American people this year, as they make this decision, have to judge whether they can use the White House, in effect, as a training institution for giving experience to a President at the expense of the people of the United States of America. [Cheers and applause.]

And all that I can say on that score is that had those mistakes been made, had he been President, it would have been disastrous for America.

And, so, we have that record, and we have our record, and the American people have a choice.

Now I want to look to the future in this particular field of foreign policy. I notice that this meeting is sponsored by our nationality groups. I know, too, that there are none who have a greater affection for, a greater devotion to America, and particularly the American ideals of freedom, than those who came to this land or whose parents came to this land from other countries. I know this from having visited the countries abroad - some of which still have their freedom and some, like Poland, that have lost it - and I can only tell you that, as I look to these next 4 years, it will be the responsibility of the President and the Vice President of this country, and of all the American people, not just to hold what we have; not just to defend freedom for ourselves; not just to be concerned when the battle is going on all around the world and to be concerned when we believe our own interests will be involved - what we must remember is this: That when freedom is denied any place in the world we care. What we must remember is this: when freedom is threatened any place in the world, we care - and we care because we know that freedom is indivisible. It was indivisible in this Nation a hundred years ago - and that was why Abraham Lincoln became a great leader not only of America, but of the world. It is indivisible today in the world, and that is why, just as President Eisenhower has stood for peace without surrender, that we stand today for extending freedom, without war, to the whole world. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, it will be a difficult task at best, difficult because we are confronted with antagonists who are ruthless, fanatical, and who are determined not of course, to extend freedom, but to conquer the world for communism; but I can only tell you, based on my travels abroad, based on what I have seen in the United States, I have supreme faith and confidence in the outcome of this struggle. I have it because I know that the people of the world are on our side. I mean on our side at its best. The people of the world want peace. The people of the world want freedom. The people of the world, despite what their leaders may stand for, want friendship with America, with all people, and want it with justice and freedom. And, therefore, it is we who are riding the wave of the future, not they. It is we who must give the leadership to this great feeling that exists on both sides of the Iron Curtain, a desire for freedom, a desire which can be realized, and realized without war, if we can provide the moral leadership that is expected, from America in this hour of decision, in this hour when we prove that we are either a great nation or a nation that will fall by the wayside for failing to meet this challenge.

This is the challenge we face in the years ahead. It is this challenge that Cabot Lodge and I ask for the permission of the American people to represent, to articulate, to lead. We can only say that we know what the challenge is, that we know who our enemies are, that we have the experience of having dealt with them in the past and that, with your help, we believe we can mount a great offensive for freedom, for justice, for peace which will sweep the world and which will build a new world in which all men can live together in peace and justice and freedom. [Cheers and applause.]

It is that cause that we ask you to enlist in tonight. It is that cause that we ask you to enlist in for the balance of this campaign, for the balance of your lives because it is not enough simply for a President and a Vice President to articulate these ideals of which I speak. This must represent the whole of our people. Our offensive must be total if it is to be effective.

I can only say, as I conclude, that, looking over this great audience, thinking of the people that I have seen already in 47 States across this country, I have no lack of confidence in the outcome. I am not one of those who thinks that America is second in education, that it is second in science, that it's second in other areas, that our prestige is tumbling around the world. [Cheers and applause.]

I am not one of those who believes that the American people have lost their sense of purpose, that the American people have lost their idealism, that they are only interested in tailfins and deodorants and all the other things we heard about at the Democratic Convention.

I say that the American people are a great people, and I only hope that Cabot Lodge and I can be worthy of their greatness in this campaign. [Cheers and applause.]

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Sussex Avenue Armory, Newark, NJ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project