Remarks on Arrival at Grand Forks, North Dakota
Congressman Kleppe, Congressman Andrews, Mr. Chairman, all of the distinguished guests, and all of this great audience here in Grand Forks:
I first want to express my great appreciation to you for this wonderfully warm welcome and to tell you that I have been to North Dakota more times than Tom Kleppe has mentioned. I started campaigning this State when I was not a candidate for national office back in the year 1948. You'll remember, Mark.1 And I am very proud to say that during my political career, as all of you who have studied politics know, I have won a few and I have lost a few. But I am proud to say that every time I have been on the national ticket, I carried North Dakota.
Thank you very much.
Today, I am not here in my own behalf. I am here in behalf of the United States of America. I am here in behalf of those things that I think you stand for, all of you stand for, Democrats, Republicans; and incidentally, let me say that I welcome the fact that we have some who express disagreement here. You have every right to be here. I can handle it. Don't worry about it. Go right ahead.
I simply want you to know that our great system, that is what gives it life. The only thing that we have to bear in mind is that if you want to know the facts, you have got to listen. When it is your turn to talk, then you talk, but sometimes, listen and don't try to shout the speaker down. That is all we ask.
And on that score, I have some things to say to you today, not just about the candidates that I am here to speak in behalf of, and I am proud to be here, not only for Tom Kleppe, but for Bob McCarney running for the House of Representatives, our fine congressional candidate in the other district. But I want to talk to you about what this election means in terms of where America is going to go, where it is going to go these next few years, in terms of the things we want. I am not speaking what Republicans want or what Democrats want, but what we as Americans want.
And we begin with something that is tremendously important to everybody here. We begin with what those young people are talking about--peace.
I want you to know that when I campaigned 2 years ago in 1968, and when I went into the Presidency almost 2 years ago, this is what I found: I found 550,000 Americans in Vietnam. I found our casualties at 300 a week. I found there was no plan to end the war. I found that Americans were going out there rather than coming home. So we went to work on it.
And you know what we have done? After sending Americans, as was the case in the previous administration, to Vietnam for 5 years, we are bringing them home, and we are bringing them home by the hundreds of thousands.
Second, after casualties of Americans going up and up and up, we have wound down the war and they have gone down, and if you will look at the records, they are the lowest in 4 ½ years, and they are going to go lower.
Third, instead of the United States standing there with no peace plan, those of you who heard on television a couple of weeks ago, you heard what we offered, the most generous peace settlement in the whole history, certainly, of international diplomacy: a cease-fire without conditions, the willingness to negotiate on a political settlement, to negotiate for all of Indochina, and also the vitally important issue, we said let's exchange the prisoners of war. We have far more than they do, but we said, "We will give all we have. You give up yours as well."
That peace offer is on the table. We are bringing home Americans, and I say to you we are on the road to a just peace in Vietnam. And I say to you further that in order to get that just peace in Vietnam, we need support. We need it in the House of Representatives where people like Mark Andrews have given us such great support along with his colleagues. We need it particularly in the Senate of the United States.
And listen to this, a majority of one at this time--even before we control the Senate--in vote after vote determines whether the President is going to be supported in his plan for a just peace or whether he is going to be rejected.
Let me be very precise on this point.
As I speak here in behalf of Tom Kleppe, I am not here to speak personally against his opponent. I know him. I respect him as a man. They have a difference of opinion. One man opposes the President and the other man is for the President. You have got to decide which you are for.
I think that North Dakota should think not in terms of whether a man is for the President or against him on a personal basis, but again on the great issues.
Let's look at the peace issue. Here is the question: These young people say, "End the war." I agree. Let's end it. But my friends, let me tell you, I see some older people here. You know that we have had in this century four wars. We ended World War I. We ended World War II. We ended the war in Korea and yet, we have not yet had a full generation of peace. I say it is time to end the war in a way that we win a peace and that is what we are doing in Vietnam.
I say that what we need to do is to end this war in a way that will discourage those who would start another war, and that is why I say, my friends, that we are on that road. We are ending this war. We are training the South Vietnamese so that they can defend themselves against those who might start another war and it means that these young people--and we think so deeply of their future and what we want for them--they will have a chance that none of us have had in the older generation, a chance for a full generation of peace.
That is what we are for. That is what Tom Kleppe is for and that is why we need his support in the United States Senate for that kind of quality.
There are some other issues that you are interested in. This is one that covers the whole country. It is a question of what everything costs. You go to the grocery store, you go to the clothing store, you go down and buy farm equipment and farm machinery and I know that North Dakota is the State that has the greatest percentage of agriculture in the whole country, at the present time. You can be mighty proud of that. It is one of the great strengths of America, this great productive State of North Dakota in the farm field.
But I know from talking to farmers, to workers, to housewives across this country, in 1968 and now, they say, "What can we do to stop the rise in prices?" I will tell you what you can do.
You can send people to Washington, D.C., who will stop spending more and more money in Washington, so that you will have more and more money to spend right here in North Dakota.
Here there is an honest difference of opinion. I realize it is honest. On vote after vote in the United States Senate, where Milt Young has stood with us and other Members of the Senate have stood with us, we have had the situation where Tom Kleppe's opponent--and I know he honestly believes this--has voted every time for more and more and more spending. I say we need a Senator who will vote to stop the runaway spending in Washington, D.C., so that we can stop runaway spending here in North Dakota.
Now I want to say something about the farm program. I know that I am among experts here. I am proud to say that among those that advise me on the farm program are Mill Young, who, as Mark Andrews has well pointed out, will be the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the most powerful committee in the Senate, if we can elect Tom Kleppe and six more like him. A vote for Tom Kleppe is a vote for Mill Young to be chairman of that committee. And I am for that.
But I can tell you that Mark was in my office with Milt and Tom Kleppe a few months ago. They talked about the farm program. And we have attempted to work on that program.
We have not yet got it through the Congress. It is not our fault. The fact is that the Congress has delayed until after the election to move on it.
But there is one important thing that you should know: There is a critical amendment in that farm bill. It provides for 100 percent parity for wheat. The man who recommended it, the man who came down to the White House and talked to me about it, the man who got it in the farm bill is Tom Kleppe. He ought to be in the United States Senate so that he can speak for the farmers of North Dakota.
He is a man that can get things done. He is a man I will listen to, because I know what he is talking about, because I know that he speaks for the farmers, speaks for North Dakota, and he speaks for America. I respect him for that.
Let me say another thing: You live here in North Dakota and I know you are aware of the fact that under the latest census something has happened, something that, incidentally, to me, is not welcome in this country. It is a shift in population. North Dakota may lose one Congressman. The reason that it will lose one Congressman, as you know, is simply that because farm production has become more and more efficient, there has been a movement from the farms to the cities. That is why this administration has an exciting new program, a new program in which we recognize that what was once the old frontier of America, this great Midwest with all of its hope and its promise and its beauty and its strength, becomes a new frontier.
You know what it is? It is North Dakota and South Dakota and Wyoming and Montana and all the rest. This is good country. It is beautiful country. It is great country to raise a family in. And we ought to have programs that will provide the jobs that will bring new people into this country.
That is what we are for and that is what Tom Kleppe is working for, and Mark Andrews and the rest: a program to revitalize rural America, to see that the counties of America that are emptying out of people and promise then attract by reason of the fact that they offer those job opportunities to the people that would like to live here if they had the chance. That is why in the future in this administration as we locate airports, as we locate defense installations, as we locate government buildings, as we do the planning that could have effect on the development in this country, rather than concentrating it more and more in great cities which are already too overcrowded, we say go into rural America and build it up and that is, I think, a program that you in this great State will appreciate and will support in McCarney and Tom Kleppe.
There is another area that I feel very strongly about with Tom Kleppe. He is a man of progress. He's a man that looks to the future. He is a man that believes that we have to clean up the environment in this country, the air and the water and retain the open spaces and develop them for our future, for our children.
He is a man also, that believes in those programs that are essential for our older people. He supports the program that is not yet through the Congress, but should go through it, where those on social security will have an automatic escalation or increase in their social security, if there is a rise in prices. You know people that are on social security. You see them try to make their bills time and time again. The prices go up. Their social security stays the same. And it is time that we show concern for those people. We are doing it. Tom Kleppe is that kind of a man. He is one that understands it. He is one that is for people, believes in people, as you believe in them and I do.
And now, there is one other point. This is a subject that I am sure needs not to be discussed in this fine city in North Dakota, the home of a great university. May I say, however, it is one that should be discussed, it seems, at every city in this land, due to some of the events that we have been reading about in months and in the past weeks and, as a matter of fact, the past days.
Yesterday, I called our neighbor to the north, the Prime Minister of Canada. I expressed my sympathy to him for what had happened there--you remember reading about it in the paper and hearing about it on the television--where a government official was kidnaped; the cause had something to do about the liberation of Quebec. That is not the important thing. But the government official was kidnaped; ransom and blackmail was demanded. The Prime Minister refused to pay it and the government official was killed.
That was a terrible tragedy. That didn't happen in some faraway country. It happened in Canada. And that also happens in the United States. All over this land we see a new doctrine developing in recent years, that if the cause is one you believe in, and if the cause is right, any means is right to serve that cause. You can bomb a building. You can burn a building. You can engage in illegal conduct. You can not only demonstrate peacefully, but you can shout four-letter obscenities in a crowd. You can do all these things and the cause justifies it.
And we also see a rising rate of terrorism and crime across this country. I have been trying to do something about it, but I need some help. I want to tell you why.
I submitted a crime control bill, the whole package, to the Congress 18 months ago. And only one of them, the only major one, the organized crime bill, came to my desk just a week ago. But the one that would stop the flow of obscenity and filth into the homes where children are living, that isn't there yet. The one that would allow me to deal with, as it must be dealt with, the dangerous traffic in narcotics and dangerous drugs, it still isn't on the President's desk. And there is something else, too.
If we are going to stop the rise in crime in this country, we not only have to have laws, we have to have judges in the courts of this land who will enforce the laws, and enforce them effectively and fairly.
My friends, the President of the United States can ask for the laws and the President of the United States can appoint judges. But the Senate of the United States has to approve those laws and it must approve those judges. And I know where Tom Kleppe stands, not just in election, but all year round. He is strong for law and order and justice. And we need that kind of man in the United States Senate representing North Dakota.
Finally, I come to the key point that I think we all have to realize. I do appreciate the fact that in this audience there are those who disagree, those who agree. I appreciate your courtesy in listening to what I have had to say. We have had some rather interesting experiences in the last couple of days. They don't particularly bother me. After all, I have been heckled quite a bit during my political career, not just here but abroad as well. Saturday in Vermont, they threw a few rocks. In New Jersey, they shouted a bit. And so it was today earlier in Columbus, Ohio.
And so, the impression gets around the country, a false impression, that young Americans are all like that, that young Americans express their disagreement, not by courteously listening and then arguing their point of view, but that they always have to try to shout down a speaker, use four-letter obscenities, or even engage in violence.
And the reason that that is the impression across this country is that on our television screen night after night, you see it, you know, a building burned here, demonstrators shouting here, throwing rocks at the President there, or whatever the case might be.
Let me tell you something. I have news for you. That isn't a majority of young America. I have faith in young America, and I will tell you why. Because the majority of young Americans, they want progress for this country, they want peace for this country, they may not agree with every program that we have, but they also recognize that the way to progress and the way to peace is not through engaging in violence. And they also recognize that you are not going to learn anything unless you listen.
I simply want to say this: People will tell me; I have been asked, "What do you do? How do you answer those who throw rocks, shout their four-letter obscenities? Do you do it, do you answer in kind?" The answer is no, not at all. I will tell you what you do. You have got an answer. It is the most powerful answer in the world. It's time for the great silent majority of this country to stand up and be counted, and the way you can stand up and be counted is on election day. Go to the polls and vote.
Remember, the four-letter word that is most powerful of all the four letters in the world is vote--v-o-t-e.
And so there is your issue, my friends. Two men running for office in the Senate in this State. Both men are what I would call in personal terms good men, but deeply believing in different philosophies. One man, Tom Kleppe, will support the President in his efforts to bring not just peace now but peace we can keep, not just peace for the next election but peace for the next generation for these young people. That is what we want.
One man, Tom Kleppe, will vote for that strength that is necessary for America to have if we are going to be able to deter those who might start war, peace for the next generation.
One man will vote against those spending programs that will raise your prices and raise your taxes.
One man will vote for those programs of reform of our welfare system and reform of our environmental programs.
And one man will stand firmly for action, action on laws and action on approval of those judges who will enforce the laws that will stop the rise of crime in this country. That is your issue.
And I say that is bigger than whether you are a Republican; it is bigger than whether you are a Democrat. It involves the future of America, because I believe the future of America requires that kind of leadership, that kind of policy that I say the people of North Dakota should give their votes on November 3d to Tom Kleppe, a man who will stand with the President for what is best for America and best for North Dakota.
1 Representative Mark Andrews of North Dakota.
Note: The President spoke at 3:44 p.m. at the Grand Forks International Airport.
Jack Huss was chairman of the North Dakota Republican State Committee.
Richard Nixon, Remarks on Arrival at Grand Forks, North Dakota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/239958