Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at Ceremony Marking the Entry Into Force of the Outer Space Treaty

October 10, 1967

Mr. Secretary of State, Ambassador Dobrynin, Ambassador Dean, Excellencies, distinguished Members of the Cabinet, of the Congress, and of the Supreme Court, ladies and gentlemen:

The age of space began just 10 years ago last Wednesday. I am sure Ambassador Dobrynin does not have to be reminded of that date--nor do any of us.

The world will never forget the intelligence, the determination, and the courage that placed Sputnik into orbit, and launched man's great adventure into space.

That adventure has unfolded, during the past decade, with miraculous speed and scope. Man has probed the moon; he has reached out to other planets in the solar system. And he has done all of this in the spirit of peaceful exploration.

We are here today in the East Room to proclaim the intention of 84 nations that this exploration shall remain peaceful. By adding this treaty to the law of nations, we are forging a permanent disarmament agreement for outer space.

--It outlaws the weapons of mass destruction from man's newest frontier.

--It forbids military bases and fortifications on the moon and other celestial bodies.

--It prohibits the testing of weapons in space.

--It means that when man reaches the moon, he will land in a field of peace-not a new theater of war.

The spirit of international cooperation that has achieved this agreement is a beacon of hope for the future. It is a credit to all peoples. If we had sought for excuses to postpone agreement, we could have found them, I assure you, with the greatest of ease. Instead, we expended our efforts in achieving agreement--and we have succeeded.

The treaty was negotiated in less than 6 short months. For this, I gratefully thank our distinguished Ambassador Arthur Goldberg--who represented our country--and all the wise and constructive statesmen of the other lands who shared in that accomplishment.

The Senate of the United States gave its unanimous consent--and I can assure all of our distinguished friends from abroad that this is not something that happens here every day.

That unanimous action testifies, I think, to the depth and sincerity of the American people's support for the purposes outlined in this treaty.

This unity is not new. As the Secretary of State remarked, it was 9 years ago, when I was serving in the Senate, I appeared at the request of our very able then President, President Eisenhower, before the General Assembly of the United Nations. And upon that occasion, among other things, I had this to say:

"Until now our strivings toward peace have been heavily burdened by legacies of distrust and fear and ignorance and injury.

"Those legacies do not exist in space. They will not appear there unless we send them on ahead.

"To keep space as man has found it, and to harvest the yield of peace which it promises, we of the United States see one course--and only one--which the nations of earth may intelligently pursue. That is the course of full and complete and immediate cooperation to make the exploration of outer space a joint adventure."

That was our position 9 years ago. It is our position now. I want to renew, therefore, today, America's offer to cooperate fully with any nation that may wish to join forces in this last--and greatest--journey of human exploration. Space is a frontier that is common to all mankind and it should be explored and conquered by humanity acting in

We have urged cooperation:

--in exploring the planets, or any portion of the solar system,

--in the use of tracking facilities, so that our brave astronauts and cosmonauts may fly with much greater safety,

--in mapping the earth,

--in exchanging bioscientific information, and,

--in international satellite communications.

We again renew these offers today. They are only the beginnings of what should be a long, cooperative endeavor in exploring the heavens together.

Whatever our disagreements here on earth, however long it may take to resolve our conflicts whose roots are buried centuries-deep in history, let us try to agree on this. Let us determine that the great space armadas of the future will go forth on voyages of peace--and will go forth in a spirit, not of national rivalry, but of peaceful cooperation and understanding.

The first decade of the space age has witnessed a kind of contest. We have been engaged in competitive spacemanship. We have accomplished much, but we have also wasted much energy and resources in duplicated or overlapping effort.

The next decade should increasingly become a partnership--not only between the Soviet Union and America, but among all nations under the sun and stars. I have directed the distinguished Secretary of State and the distinguished Director of NASA to bear this in mind every day in connection with their labors.

The hard business of foreign relations requires a certain optimism. One must be convinced that, in time, men and nations can direct their affairs toward constructive ends.

And it is with this optimism this morning that, here with you, I greet this treaty. I see it as a hopeful sign that mankind is learning, however slowly, that wars are not inevitable; that national rivalry is not a permanent barrier to international understanding; and that a world of hostility and a world of hate need not be the abiding condition of mankind.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:25 a.m. in the East Room at the White House at a ceremony marking the signing of the Protocol of Deposit and the entry into force of the treaty. In his opening words he referred to Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the United States, and Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador to the United States. Later he referred to Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

The text of remarks by Ambassador Dobrynin, Ambassador Dean, and Secretary Rusk is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 3, P. 1427).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at Ceremony Marking the Entry Into Force of the Outer Space Treaty Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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