Richard Nixon photo

Remarks on Announcing Appointment of the White House Fellows for 1969-1970

June 16, 1969

Dr. Flemming and all of our distinguished guests here in the State Dining Room at the White House:

We are very honored at this occasion because it marks one of those historic opportunities that a President has--to announce the new White House Fellows.

I say "historic"--this program is only 5 years old.1 But I think that Dr. [Arthur S.] Flemming would agree that the man who was one of his successors in the position of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Dr. John Gardner, showed tremendous foresight and perception in developing this program.

At the time that it was developed 5 years ago, it was generally thought that those who would be selected as Fellows from around the country would have an opportunity to broaden their perspective; having been scholars in their particular fields, they would now have the opportunity to work in various agencies dealing with those subjects which they had studied.

What we have found--I think this has been true certainly of this administration and I would imagine it has been true of the other administrations as well--what we have found is that the presence of the White House Fellows in the departments has broadened our perspective.

I can give you a very good example. A few weeks ago we were considering, in the Cabinet Committee on Urban Affairs, the problem of hunger in America. It was a very big meeting. All of the members of the Committee were there and there were staff members and experts completely surrounding the members of the Committee and filling the room to its capacity.

During the long discussion, which took about 3 hours, one of the major problems which had to be considered was the problem of nutrition, the problem of proper diet, to what extent that contributed to the general problem not only of the poor but of all Americans insofar as their health was concerned.

I noted that participating in the conversation on several occasions, not simply voluntarily but because she was often called upon by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, was a woman who was sitting immediately back of the Secretary of Agriculture, a young woman, obviously very intelligent and obviously the one in that room who knew more about nutrition than all the people in government and all the others in the back. She was one of the White House Fellows, a graduate of the Harvard Medical School.2

And afterwards I spoke to her and I found that in this particular area there is a need in the medical profession for far more emphasis than we presently have. So my perspective was broadened as a result of having her participate in that meeting. She made a contribution that might not have been made had not she been in Washington at that time serving in that year's program. That is an idea of what all of the Fellows can contribute in their various fields, not perhaps as dramatically as she did but certainly in every way.

I simply want to say that today it is a very great privilege for me to stand here with the new members of the Commission and Dr. Flemming, the Chairman of the Commission. I understand they worked practically the whole weekend, day and night, in making these selections because the competition was so keen.

I understand, too, that in addition to those who are the winners, we also have those who were the finalists.

I asked what the difference between a winner and a finalist was and apparently a finalist is one who came in second. I imagine they feel something like Deane Beman and Bob Rosburg3 must feel today. [Laughter]

Having come in second a couple of times myself, I know how you feel, too. [Laughter]

If I can paraphrase the Biblical injunction: The second shall be first. Who knows?

I also want you to know that I recognize that among those who have been selected we have the great universities, prestigious institutions from all over this country represented. I note that such great, prestigious universities as Harvard, Columbia--and Whittier--are in the group.

I have spoken long enough and now I know that you are all most interested to know who are the White House Fellows for the year 1969-1970.

Dr. Flemming will present them to you.

DR. FLEMMING. Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I know that I express the feelings of all of the members of the Commission and all who have participated in this program when I say to you, thank you so much for being with us in order to greet the winners.

I think that I should warn you, however, that I have discovered today that there has already been organized an alumni association of White House Fellows. I understand they have already passed a couple of resolutions which are to be presented to me. But you helped a great deal because in appointing 'the Commission you did appoint one of the graduates of the White House Fellows program.

THE PRESIDENT. If I could interrupt you, Dr. Flemming, being a member of an alumni group connected with the White House is a very great responsibility. If I know alumni groups, you will have to, each year, be dunned to help us with our deficit. [Laughter]

DR. FLEMMING. Now it is my pleasure to present to you, Mr. President, the winners.

[At this point Dr. Flemming introduced each of the White House Fellows by name. He then resumed speaking.]

That is the group, Mr. President, and I know that the members of the Commission feel that the persons who have just been presented 'to you will render very outstanding service to the Government in the months that lie ahead.

At this time I would like to introduce the members of the Commission who are here.

First of all, one Mr. Patrick J. Buchanan [Special Assistant to the President].

Dr. W. Glenn Campbell, director of the Hoover Institute for War and Peace at Stanford University.

Francis L. Dale, president and publisher of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

You know Secretary Finch could not be with us for this weekend. He is a member of the Commission also.

Mrs. Vera Glaser, Washington bureau chief of the North American Newspaper Alliance.

Dr. Mason W. Gross, president of Rutgers University.

Mr. H. R. Haldeman [Assistant to the President], who was unable to, be present, but was ably represented by Mr. Kenneth Cole [Special Assistant to the President] over the weekend.

Miss Doris Kearns, assistant professor of government, Harvard University and a member of the White House Fellows Alumni Association.

Mr. Roy E. Lieuallen, who is chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education from Eugene, Oregon.

And finally, Hobson R. Reynolds, the Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks.

We regard it as a real pleasure and privilege to serve in this capacity and thank you for the opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, Dr. Flemming. I again want to congratulate collectively all of the winners who are standing behind me. Some of their superiors--we should not call them that, but some of those who will be giving them their assignments--the Cabinet officers are here and the Under Secretaries and Deputies in the various Cabinet positions. That is an indication of the importance we attach to the work they will be doing. We know you will have an interesting year in Washington, and we hope when you leave next year things will be better than they are today. Thank you.

1 See "Public Papers of the Presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963-64," Book II, Item 622.

2 Caro Elise Luhrs, a White House Fellow in 1968-69.

3 Runners-up in the 1969 U.S. Open Golf tournament.

Note: The President spoke at 3:07 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.

An announcement listing the 1969--70 White House Fellows is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 5, p. 866).

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Announcing Appointment of the White House Fellows for 1969-1970 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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