Remarks at Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thank you very much for being here and introducing us as you have to this wonderful crowd in Albuquerque. As you know, we started this morning from Washington, D.C. We were first in North Carolina for one of the record crowds of the campaign, and then arriving here this day in Albuquerque. I saw in advance that it was the opening day of hunting season and the homecoming game for the university, and I wondered if anybody would be here. Thank you for coming.
And although the Lobos1 lost today, speaking as one who knows how it is to lose and win, they will come back. They will win next time.
Also, may I say to you that it is a very great privilege to be here on this platform with the other candidates who stood here a moment ago, because this is truly a team effort. We often think of the President of the United States sitting in the Oval Office making the great decisions that affect the Nation and the world. But as you all know, he can only do the job that needs to be done with your help, the help of millions of Americans and also with the help of Members of the House and Senate.
For that reason, I am stopping here, because we are interested in what you, of course, will do, and how you will vote on election day, at the top of the ticket, but also, in asking for your support for the men we need in the House and in the Senate, so that we can do what America wants done over these next 4 years that you have been talking about.
If I could say a word, now, about Manny Lujan; Manny was one who seconded my nomination. I was not there, because, you know, the tradition is that the candidate is not supposed to go to a convention until after he is nominated, and I had to wait to make sure, but I remember seeing it on television. As I think of all the seconding speeches, the one that gave me the biggest charge was Manny's. I think it is the first time that a seconding speech has been given in both English and Spanish, and I understood the Spanish as well as the English.
As we went down the line and shook hands with the wonderful young people in the band and the other people, and received the welcome that we did, I must say that you made us feel very much at home. But I would like to put it in another way. We, I know in this State just like in my home State of California, have a great tradition, a background of Spanish speaking Americans, as well as people of all other backgrounds, and so, consequently, we pick up a little language here and there, even though we may not be of that particular background ourselves.
I remember, however, that when we, in English, say we want to welcome somebody someplace, we say, "Make yourself at home." But those who speak Spanish have a much warmer way of saying it. They say, "Estan ustedes en su casa"-you are in your own home--and that's the way we feel today.
That allows me to say something that in all the years I have been in the Oval Office has meant more to me than almost anything else in terms of telling me what America really is. I remember one day Manny was in and we were talking about people of various backgrounds. Manny, of course, is, as he should be, very proud of his Spanish-speaking background. But he said, "You know, Mr. President, we shouldn't talk about hyphenated Americans," and he is absolutely right.
So often, I know, we go around, you hear people say "He is Italian," or "He is a Pole," or "He is a Mexican," or "He is black," or whatever the case might be. Let me say every one of us is proud of our background, whatever it is, but most of all, we are proud to be Americans. That is what we are, and I speak to you in that vein today.
There were many reasons for coming to New Mexico today--the sentiment, the feeling, the fact that we have always had such a wonderful welcome here. But I wanted the opportunity as President of the United States to pay a bipartisan tribute to one of the great Americans of our time.
My daughter was here just a few weeks ago to participate in that tribute. I was unable to come. He is unable to be with us today, but Senator Clinton Anderson was our neighbor when we were in Washington and when I served in the Senate and later as Vice President. He was a Democrat. I was a Republican. But Clinton Anderson, during the years that I knew him in the Senate, was an American first and a partisan second--and a great American he was.
He was also like so many from this great State of New Mexico, these great Western States independent. That is a tradition of Senators from this part of the country--independent. A team player, but whenever he felt the interests of his State or the interests of his Nation required him to take a different position than the other people in the party did, he would take it. And he was known for that.
As I think of Clinton Anderson, he was a very big man, and it is going to take a very big man to fill his shoes. I have been thinking of whether there is a man who can fill those shoes--and there is one. It is Pete Domenici. He is the big man who can fill those shoes. I have known him, of course, when he has campaigned before. One time he lost. But again, having lost then, this time he is going to win, I know. I know that is what is going to happen.
But let's look at Pete for a moment. He is a Republican. But he is an American first. Second, speaking of that independent tradition, I have talked to him quite often about the problems of this State, the problems that he is interested in and he is a man who makes up his own mind. When he comes to Washington he is going to speak up for the people of New Mexico. He is going to speak up as he thinks the interests of the people of this State require, and that is the kind of a man you want, one who is independent, but one who above all, when the chips are down, when the great issues are involved, is going to speak up for America, and that is what Pete Domenici will do.
That brings me to the theme of what I would like to touch upon today, the fact that this is not one of those campaigns where it is party against party or one individual against another on a personality basis. This is one of those campaigns where there are great overriding issues that affect the future of this country and the future of the world, in which there is a great gulf between the two candidates for the highest position in this land, in which there is complete disagreement between the two as to what America ought to do, as to where we ought to go.
I want to state my position today. I want to say it not in terms of being against--let's understand what we are for. I want to start right out with the issue that I know is closest to your hearts as it is to that of every American, the issue of bringing peace to the world and for the United States to lead the way to peace in the world.
I begin, of course, with the progress that we have made in bringing to an end the war in Vietnam. It has been very significant. Most important, as you know, we have made a major breakthrough in the negotiations. We have already agreed, in the settlement, to the principles that I laid down in my speech of May 8, which you may recall was made at the time that I ordered the bombing of North Vietnam and the mining of Haiphong, at the time that the Communists were invading from the North. I said then that these were the three principles that we would have to have to have a negotiated settlement: First, that there should be a cease-fire. Second, that there should be a return of all of our prisoners of war and accounting for our missing in action. Third, that the people of South Vietnam should determine their own future without having a Communist government or a coalition government imposed upon them against their will.
Those three principles are agreed upon, and that is a major breakthrough in these negotiations. There are some details, as I pointed out on television 2 nights ago, in terms of the agreement, that are still in the process of negotiation. Those details, in my belief, I am confident will be worked out. We will have a negotiated settlement and a negotiated end to this war.
But let me tell you why details are important. They are important because what we want is not just peace now. Peace now is important. What we want is peace now and for the generations ahead, and we must have the right kind of peace. You may recall back in 1968 when, with the very best of intentions, the previous Administration entered into a bombing halt of North Vietnam and everybody thought we were going to have peace now. But we didn't have it down. We didn't have it understood. We are not going to make that mistake again.
We are going to have the kind of agreement which will end this war and build the foundation for a lasting peace that we can enjoy in that part of the world and all over the world. And that kind of peace, my friends--and let us understand what the issue is, and this is the basic difference between the two candidates--I say it shall be peace with honor and not peace with surrender for the United States of America.
Beyond that, when we speak of peace, let us remember that is one small part of the world. Our eyes have been upon it because of the long and difficult war that we have been engaged in, a war that started 5 years before I became President of the United States, and that we are now bringing to an end. But there is much more of the world, and you have seen that world, all of you, on television, more than you have ever seen it before, in this year 1972.
Why the trip to Peking? Why the trip to Moscow? The first time that a President of the United States has ever been in those two capitals. I will tell you why. It has to do certainly with my generation and all of you who can say you are in my generation. But it has even more to do with their generation and their generation over there.
Let me tell you what the world would be like if I had not taken the trip to Peking. One-fourth of all the people of the world live in the People's Republic of China, one-fourth of all the people. They are among the ablest people in the world. Their government is a Communist government. I do not agree with their philosophy. We will continue to have differences with their government. We will have disagreements with their philosophy. But if a billion people in the world, 10, 15, 20 years from now, were lined up in confrontation against the United States of America it would be a dangerous world.
I had to take the steps now to reduce that danger. We have done it so we have a better chance for a generation of peace for our young Americans.
The trip to Moscow was taken for similar reasons. The Soviet Union is also a nation that has a government that is different from ours. Their interests are different. Their philosophy is different. But they are a fact of life and a very important fact of life. They are, in nuclear terms, as strong as the United States of America. They are basically one of the super powers in the world. We were going down a track, a track in which we would inevitably confront each other at some time in the future and war might be the result. We couldn't let that happen.
So, on both sides--and it was on both sides--the leaders of the Soviet Union and the leaders of the United States met in Moscow. We didn't settle all of our differences, but we made agreements with regard to trade, we made agreements with regard to the environment, we made agreements with regard to cooperation in space, we made agreements--this one will not seem important perhaps when we think of the last one I am going to mention, the one with regard to the control of nuclear weapons--we made agreements, for example, with regard to exchange and cooperation in the field of health.
Let me tell you just what that means to this younger generation. We consider, for example, the dread diseases that afflict mankind. They don't just afflict Americans. They afflict all people, wherever they are. One of them is cancer. Did you know that last year more people died of cancer in the United States than were killed in action from America in all of World War II? So we are out to find an answer to that. There may be many answers, but my point is where it is going to come from. It may come from an American. It may come from a man or a woman. But it might come from a Russian or it might come from a Chinese. It may come from somebody in Africa or Latin America. What we must do, whatever our differences may be between governments, is to work together with other people in working against common diseases that afflict mankind, and that is why we have taken this giant step in both the Soviet Union and the United States to work together on that particular problem.
But perhaps most important, and most remembered by all of you, is the agreement that we entered with regard to the control and particularly the limitation of nuclear weapons. It was a first step and a very important one.
But now comes the second step. It is to get your approval and get your support for that second step that I come here today, for that second step and the second step we will take in so many other directions.
For example, we are now going to have negotiations beginning in late November with the Soviet Union to further limit nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of war. They will make this first agreement seem important, but they will not make it look nearly as important as it was, because it will cover more weapons than previously had been the case. It will be another great step forward toward reducing the burden of arms on America and on the Soviet Union, but, more important, in reducing the threat of war that hangs over us all.
I want you to know that in these next 4 years, whether it is in dealing with the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China, or in bringing peace to the Mideast, a real peace, or in building better relations with our friends in Latin America or in Africa or wherever the case might be, we have made a good beginning. The chances for real and lasting peace in the world are better today than they have ever been at any time since the end of World War II. We ask for a chance to continue that job and to build that lasting peace, a generation of peace for all Americans.
Now, to build that, there are some things we are going to need. We are going to need a strong America, and here, again, we have a basic difference between the two men who seek the Presidency. I will tell you where I stand. I have sat across the conference table from the men in Moscow and Peking. I simply want to say to you, never send the President of the United States to negotiate with any power in the world as the head of the second strongest nation in the world. Let's keep America, in that respect, with the power that it has.
That is why I have to oppose, I have to oppose those who would make us have the second strongest navy, the second strongest air force, the second strongest army in the world, because when that day comes, it means that the threat of war in the world would be infinitely greater because the United States is the only nation in the free world that can deter aggression in the world.
It also means that any chance for reduction of arms or limitation of arms in the future is gone, because if you have already given it away unilaterally, they have no reason to give anything to you in return.
So let us be strong, let us be for peace, but let us be for peace through strength and not peace through weakness. That is what we stand for, and what Pete Domenici and Manny Lujan and all the rest stand for.
One other point that is related to this: We are moving, fortunately, to something that has been an ideal of mine, and I know of Manny Lujan's and Pete Domenici's and all of us here for many years, and that is, we are going to have a volunteer armed force starting in the middle of next year. In order to make that volunteer armed force work, however, it is necessary not only that they be paid enough, and they will be; it is necessary that those men and women in uniform in peacetime have the respect of their fellow countrymen.
In that respect, I simply want to say that as the long war in Vietnam comes to a conclusion, I, of course, think of those 2½ million Americans who served there. It was a hard choice for them, as it is for any who have to go to war. But they chose to serve their country when they had to make that choice. Many gave their lives for that choice. A few hundred, when they were faced with that choice, chose to desert their country, and they have to pay a penalty for their choice.
And so that there will be no misunderstanding on the differences between the two candidates in this respect, when the war in Vietnam is over, there will be no amnesty for draft dodgers or deserters, because it would not be fair to those who have served, and it is not the basis on which we could develop the new volunteer armed force, with the respect that we want, for developing the strength that America needs.
I have talked about this problem particularly because I know it is so close to all of your minds. Let me say, having reached the era of peace that we want, we want to have also with it what we have not had since President Eisenhower was President, and that is prosperity without war, without inflation. We are moving toward it. We need your help to continue in that direction. We want progress, but we want the kind of progress--programs for progress--that can be undertaken without increasing the tax burden on the American people. Your taxes are already too high, and that is why you are not hearing promises that are going to raise your taxes from me on this occasion.
And above everything else, we want opportunity for Americans, opportunity for every American--those first Americans that I had the opportunity to meet over here a few minutes ago, those who have come from other countries, those who are proud Americans who are more recently citizens--we want every American, whatever his background, every child, to have a chance to go to the top, ceiling unlimited. That is our ideal. We are working toward it. We can and will achieve it.
These are some of the goals we have in mind and today I come here to our friends in New Mexico and ask your support of those goals. It is on that basis, then, that I present the case. Not Republican versus Democrat, not one individual against another, but I say to you that when we talk about peace with honor, when we talk about strength for America, when we talk about opportunity for all, when we talk about prosperity without war, without inflation, when we talk about holding the line on taxes, those are issues that transcend partisan politics.
That is what America needs and that is what you are going to help us give America by your support in this campaign.
This morning I made a call to a distinguished Senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith. I wished her well in her campaign for reelection. As I spoke to her, I thought of the fact that it used to be said in politics that as Maine goes, so goes the Nation. However in 1936 that proved to be untrue. As you remember, in that year Mr. Roosevelt carried all the States except Maine and Vermont. So Maine did not go the way the Nation went.
I did a little studying before getting off the plane today. I found that since the time New Mexico became a State of the Union in 1912 that New Mexico has never voted for a loser. Let me say, you are not going to vote for one this time.
1 University of New Mexico football team.
Note: The President spoke at 5:03 p.m. at a rally at the Albuquerque International Airport. He spoke without referring to notes.
Richard Nixon, Remarks at Albuquerque, New Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255654