Richard Nixon photo

Partial Transcript of the Remarks of the Vice President, City Hall, Beverly Hills, CA

October 14, 1960

Now, in speaking of the issues, obviously when we have a crowd like this you have been standing; you are all jammed together - I cannot talk at great length and I have to pick those things that are of greatest interest to the greatest number. I want to give first of all; the index that I would like all of you to apply in judging what I say today and in judging how you should vote for President of the United States.

I do not agree with those who say that what counts in a presidential election is to vote your party. I believe in my party. I am very proud of it, but I think that when we elect a President, particularly in this year 1960, what we need to do is not to vote as our fathers did or as our mothers did or just for that reason, not to vote simply on the basis of the party label, because mine happens to be the same as yours, as it is. What we have to do is think of America and vote for whomever is the best man for America and the free world in this critical year 1960 and that is the basis on which I present the ease to you today.

And so that, then, brings us to America, what we want, what we want for our country. Well, of course, we want different things. I suppose that with this kind of a crowd, particularly with some young people in front of me, my thoughts would naturally turn to their future, and all of us are thinking of the future of America.

I know my father always used to say when the five of us were growing up, five boys in the family - he never used to say, as some do, "I want to talk about the good old days." He said, "In this country we never want to go back, and we're never satisfied with the present. We always want to go forward into a better future."

And that's what we want to do. We want a better future for these young people even than we have had for ourselves. And let me say in that connection we're very fortunate to live in this country. We have had magnificent leadership, in my opinion, in President Eisenhower in the last 7 years. We have made great progress. We have made great progress, and I want to say particularly in this instance that, having made that progress, that I want to answer a charge that has been made by our political opponents, and answer it squarely right at the outset.

The charge has been made that America has been standing still during the Eisenhower years. Well, I've just been traveling around Los Angeles County and Orange County, and if this country is standing still, the people that are saying that aren't traveling around America. They just haven't been seeing what's been happening, because America has been growing. They've been traveling in some other country. And also on the President's birthday - as you know, today he's 70 years of age, and I would say he is the man, as you know, who is the oldest man ever to be in the White House in terms of years, but the youngest in spirit still today. That's the wire I sent to him, and so I would say that on this day there's one thing that I particularly resent that I want to reply to. I noticed that my opponent, in speaking in upper New York a few days ago made this statement in regard to our foreign policy. He was pointing out that he thought our prestige was low, as he did last night and then he went on to say - he said, "I'm tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing." He says, "I'm tired of reading in the paper what Premier Castro is doing." He said, "I want to read in the paper what the President of the United States is doing."

Let me tell you something, my friends. If he would just stop talking and start reading, he'd find out what President Eisenhower has been doing.

Now, he hasn't been doing some of the things that Mr. Kennedy has suggested. He hasn't been apologizing or expressing regrets to Mr. Khrushchev for defending the United States against surprise attack.

And also he hasn't been doing what Mr. Khrushchev is doing. He hasn't been trying to muscle into the Congo and try to take over that new country. He's been working through the United Nations, trying to save independence and freedom for that country and all others.

He hasn't put up a phony disarmament scheme, but he's been working for atoms for peace and for real disarmament. He has stood for great moral leadership in the world, and this has been good for America, and it has meant that our prestige, rather than being at an alltime low, as people have suggested, is high today, and in the United Nations it's particularly high, and if we have any doubts about it, look at that vote on the Congo a few days ago. The Soviet Union on one side; we were on the other side, and the vote was 70 to 0. That's pretty good in any game. It's very good in international diplomacy, and President Eisenhower certainly is the man who deserves a great deal of credit on his 70th birthday for a 70-to-0 vote.

But all of this is the past. All of this is the present. We want to look to the future. As I say, I'm proud of the record we've made, a record in international affairs that has ended one war and kept us out of others, a record domestically that has moved America forward, built more schools, more houses, more highways, better employment in jobs and wages than in any 8-year period in history, more progress in civil rights than in 80 years.

I'm proud of this record. But, good as it is, it isn't good enough. We must move forward, move forward from here, because we're in a race, as I indicated last night, a deadly race for the survival of our country, and in this race we have an antagonist, a number of antagonists, but symbolized by Mr. Khrushchev.

I remember when I saw him in Moscow what he said to me. He said, "Mr. Nixon," he said, "you're ahead of us now, I have to agree, economically; but," he said, "you're not going to stay ahead." He said, "We're moving faster than you are and we're going to catch you, and when we catch you about 7 years from now," he said, "I'm going to wave and say, 'Come along; follow us; do as we do or you're going to fall hopelessly behind.'"

In other words, what Mr. Khrushchev is trying to tell us is that communism is the way of the future. He tells us our grandchildren will live under communism. He tells us this because he believes it, because he believes his system is superior and the world will choose it in the competition - what he calls peaceful competition - between the two systems.

And so I say to you: We must not make - we must not allow - any opportunity for his ambitions to come true, and the way that we must meet him is not simply to hold the line against communism. It isn't simply to say that we in the United States are satisfied with things as we have them, because they are good. We've got to tell all the world that our answer to him is that we will extend freedom, that it is not communism, but freedom, that is the way to the future, and that as far as our grandchildren are concerned and his too, that they will live in freedom because this is the right thing and the world will choose it, and it's our responsibility to lead the world in the right way, and that's the message that I bring you in this campaign.

I bring it to you because only if we stand affirmatively for what is right can we hold those things that we cherish so much today.

Now, let me just give you a few illustrations. How can we make progress? We have to make progress in the economic area, first. We have to make progress which will mean more jobs, more production, better schools better housing, all the things that spell a better life for the American people, and also an example for the world to see, so that they choose our way rather than the Communist way into the future.

Now, I say to you that my programs will produce progress. I say to you they're better than those of my opponent. This leaves you in somewhat of a predicament, because he says the same thing.

Now, what do you decide and how do you decide? Well, you know, you don't have to take our word for it. You look at the

record - 7 years of the Truman administration; 7 years of the Eisenhower administration. His policies, the ones he wants to go back to, were in effect for 7 years, and they didn't work. More schools built, more houses built, better jobs, higher wages, less inflation in the Eisenhower years than in the Truman years. So, let's go forward in this way and not go back to what we left 7 years ago. That's the first point I would make.

Now, I have to make an admission, and here again I want to speak to these young people here. Some of them say, "Now, Mr. Nixon, you say your programs will produce more progress. They're better, but we note that your opponent says his are going to cost more and, therefore, that must mean that they will do more and that he's more for these things that spell progress."

But, my friends, did you ever stop to think of this? Who's going to pay for those promises that he makes and that I make? Not me. Not him; but you. It's your money.

And, so, I say to you that American people today want progress, but they also are people who want to be sure that we have progress in which we develop to the full the individual enterprise of this country, in which the Government activity is all that is necessary, but no more than is necessary; because, remember this: Every time we spend a dollar in Washington it comes right from you. Every time we spend a dollar which we don't get back in taxes, your prices go up.

And I know that his programs, because they would spend billions more than mine, would do exactly that. And that's why I say our programs, which will produce progress, produce it because we tap the unlimited energies, we have faith in individual enterprise - I say they are the ones that will move America forward, and I say they are the ones we want, and we do not want to turn to programs which start with the Federal Government and say that it is the answer to all progress.

Now, if I could turn to one other point, the most important one, and I will be finished. What is more important than jobs and progress and these things that I have been mentioning? Well, of course, you know what it is. It's just being around to enjoy it, because we can have the best jobs and medical care and housing and all that sort of thing that we can imagine, and if we aren't around, we're not going to know it, so, the most important qualification of the next President of the United States must be this: Is he the man best qualified, by experience, by judgment, by background, to keep the peace, keep it without surrender of principle or territory?

This is the great test, and I ask you to apply it.

Now, looking at this issue, let me tell you that if we're going to keep the peace, we must understand the men who threaten it. Now, my colleague and I, Cabot Lodge, know Mr. Khrushchev. We have sat opposite him at the conference table. We know what kind of a man he is. I believe we know how to deal with him and how not to deal with him. I can say, too, that looking at this man - and I use him as an example, because Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese, the other Communists are like him - their philosophies are all the same - there's one thing we must remember above everything else.

If we want peace, if we want peace without surrender, we must remember that in dealing with the Communists, they understand only strength and firmness. They have contempt for weakness militarily, and they have contempt for weakness diplomatically. And if you want peace, there must be strength.

Let me spell it out. First, then, this means America has to be the strongest nation in the world militarily. We are today, and we're going to stay that way, and we've got to pay whatever is necessary, and I pledge that we will do this, because we must never be in a position where the enemies of peace can say: "We're looking down the throat of an American President. We can blackmail him at the conference table."

So, one, America must be strong militarily.

Two, we must be firm diplomatically. You heard an argument last night on the television about the situation out in the Formosa Straits, about Quemoy and Matsu, a very complicated situation, it would seem, but not as complicated as it really appeared when you analyze the facts.

Five years ago a resolution passed by the Senate of the United States, a resolution giving to the President of the United States the discretion and the power to use the Armed Forces of this country to defend Formosa and to answer and retaliate against any attack which was directed to Formosa, an ally of the United States.

During the course of the debate, an amendment was introduced by well-intentioned people, one supported by my opponent. Only 12 Senators voted for it, a minority of even the Democrats, as well as a minority of the Republicans, an amendment which said: Defend Formosa, Mr. President, but we say draw a line. Don't include two free islands, Quemoy and Matsu. You can't use the forces of the United States to defend those islands. You must draw a line and say only use the forces of the United States when Formosa itself is under attack.

Walter George, the great Democrat, who was the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, in the last word in that debate said: "We cannot tie the hands of the President of the United States. We cannot say to him that the forces of the United States have to wait until the Communists have set foot on Formosa."

As he well pointed out, we must never be in a position where we invite an attack by the Communists by surrendering to them at the point of a gun territory which is free. Now, let me give you a lesson of history. The lesson of history is this: Where a dictator is concerned - and this is true of a Fascist, a Nazi, a Communist, a bully, any kind of a dictator - you must never surrender to him at the point of threat, because when you do, it doesn't satisfy him. It just encourages him to ask for more. Remember Hitler? First, it was the Rhineland; then it was Austria; then it was Danzig; then it was Sudetenland, and all over the world people said, "Don't fight for this; don't fight for that; this is all Hitler wants."

And he said that was all he wanted, and yet, eventually, every time we gave in he wanted more and more and more, until finally he wanted something that we had to fight for, and war resulted.

So, the well-intentioned people who said, "Look, we won't defend this; we won't defend that; we'll bring on war" - they were adopting the policy that led to war, rather than the one that avoided it.

It's the same today. Whenever a President of the United States, whenever the people of this country say to a Communist dictator, "Look, we rule out this part of the free world; we will not defend this part of the free world; we're going to telegraph in advance and tell you, 'Look, don't worry about this; if you will just leave this alone,'" what's going to happen? It's going to encourage them to say, "Well, if we got away with blackmail and threats in this case, we might try it again," and they will back up again and again and again.

I say to you, my friends, we tried that in Korea. You remember Secretary Acheson? He said we won't defend Korea, and a lot of people, I know, thought in January of 1950 this means we're not going to get in war in Korea, but the Communists took him at his word. They marched in in June of that year, and 35,000 American boys died and paid the price of diplomatic stupidity and blundering, and we're not going to do it again. We're not going to make that mistake again.

What I am saying here today is that when we stand firmly against the blackmail, against the threats of a dictator, we are standing for peace. We are not taking the course of war. And that's exactly the point we have got to have in mind.

And when the well intentioned, but the naive, people say, "Turn this over; turn that over," they say, "because we want peace," remember, they think they're for peace, but actually they're advocating the very policy that will bring war, because it encourages the dictator to ask what he wants.

I was just in the police station in here, incidentally talking to various people. I saw on the wall a little line, not new. You've heard it. "Crime doesn't pay." That's true of criminals domestically. In other words, if crime paid, the criminals would be encouraged to do more and more and more, but because we've got police stations that say crime doesn't pay, the criminal is discouraged.

Now, in international affairs, it's exactly the same thing. The Chinese Communists at the present time are international criminals. They're threatening us in Formosa. They're threatening free people in Korea. You know what they did to Tibet. And, so, we have got to tell all of those who are international criminals, and that is who use force to extend their aggression, that crime doesn't pay; because, if it does pay, they're going to use it. It's just as simple as that.

So, that's really what we're talking about here. We're announcing to the world that America, a strong, free country, does not want war. We're strong because we want peace, not because we want war. We're firm, not because we want to fight over a couple of islands, but because we know that if we indicate that crime will pay, we're going to get into blackmail and into threats and if we let them have it, this is going to lead to war.

So, I say to you today: We have learned our lesson. We learned it with Hitler. We learned it in Korea, and, therefore, the kind of policy that Cabot Lodge and I stand for is the kind of policy that the President has followed, it has worked for 5 years, and we say this is not the time to change the course that the President has followed, in which the President has, in effect, said: "We will defend this area and we are not going to write off any part of this area in advance, and we will defend Formosa and will answer any attack directed toward it."

So, there, in detail, is the answer to the question which we've discussed. The last point that I would like to make, a very simple one: We have been talking about economic strength and military strength, but I do not want this opportunity to go, particularly with so many young people here, without reminding all of you that most important in this struggle is going to be what America believes in. It's our faith that will count. I have seen that around the world, yes, and our wealth is respected, but what America stands for the most in the world is the fact that we believe in the right things - our faith in God; our belief in the dignity of all men, regardless of their background; our belief in the rights of men to be free and of nations to be independent; our belief that these rights belong to all nations, not just to us alone. These are the things, the ideals, that caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago. These are the ideals that America came into the world to preserve, and these are the ideals that it is our destiny to extend, and these ideals must come not just from a President, because he can only be as great or as strong as the people are great or strong. They must come from the very soul, from the very heart of our people.

So, I say to all of you: Remember, the churches, the schools, the homes of America are the places where this idealism, this faith in America, in her ideals, this must be instilled in our young people. This is a great country. All you have to know to realize it is to travel around it, as I have. All you have to know to realize it is to go somewhere else, as I have. All you have to do really to appreciate it is to go to the Soviet Union or to Poland, as I have, and see what it is not to have freedom.

This freedom is something worth everything that we have done to preserve it, and we can keep it. We can keep it without war, but it's going to take strength; it's going to take courage; it's going to take leadership, and it's going to take a stouthearted people with a flaming patriotism, which will outwork the enemies of freedom throughout the world. And to that task we certainly call upon you, the people of this area, to give your best efforts. Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of the Remarks of the Vice President, City Hall, Beverly Hills, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project