Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at a Ceremony Marking the First Commercial Communication Satellite Service.

June 28, 1965

THIS MOMENT marks a milestone in the history of communications between peoples and nations.

For the first time a manmade satellite of earth is being put into commercial service as a means of communication between continents.

The occasion is as happy as it is historic, and that is for many reasons.

This is, first of all, a very tangible and valuable realization of the promise and potential of man's exploration of space. On ahead, we shall take many more and, I think, many longer strides forward. But we can know, from this step today, that mankind's growing knowledge of space will bring growing improvement for life on this earth.

So, it is especially fitting that this historic step comes not as the achievement of any single nation--but as the work of many nations. This represents a joint venture of 44 countries, with still more participants in prospect. For us in the United States, that is especially gratifying. Since the earliest days of the age of space we have urged--as we still do--that all nations join together to explore space together and to develop together its peaceful uses.

Finally, for us--and, I am sure, for our friends in Europe as well--it is a particularly happy circumstance that this service is another bond in the many ties that join us together across the North Atlantic.

Other satellites, in days to come, will open new communications pathways for all the world. But we are especially pleased that this first service brings closer together lands and people who share not only a common heritage but a common destiny--and a common determination to preserve peace, to uphold freedom, to achieve together a just and a decent society for all mankind.

In these times the choice of mankind is a very clear choice between cooperation or catastrophe. Cooperation begins in the better understanding that better communications bring.

On this occasion, then, I am pleased to extend my congratulations to all the international participants in this system and to the Communications Satellite Corporation.

And I would express the hope that all nations may become willing to join in such great enterprises for the good of mankind, and that all of our labors may be blessed by a rich and a bountiful harvest of peace on this earth.

Note: The President spoke at 11:43 a.m. from the Cabinet Room at the White House. His remarks were addressed, via Early Bird satellite, to officials in six European nations. The ceremony marked the beginning of commercial operations by the Communications Satellite Corporation.

Immediately following his remarks, the President heard messages from Louis Jacquinot, French Minister of State, Ludwig Erhard, West German Chancellor, Hans-Peter Tschudi, Swiss President, Harold Wilson, British Prime Minister, and Ramon Gaspurl, Italian Undersecretary of Posts and Telecommunications.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at a Ceremony Marking the First Commercial Communication Satellite Service. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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