John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to Delegates to the Young Presidents' Conference.

October 24, 1963

IT IS a pleasure to welcome other relatively young presidents to this occasion, to tell you we appreciate very much your coming to visit us here at the White House.

While this is not an appropriate occasion for a speech, I do want to express my great pleasure that you have come to Washington, that you have given some of the members of this administration an opportunity to talk with you.

The old stereotypes which were developed a good many years ago about the relationship between business and Government, which must inevitably be one of hostility, I think have faded to some degree, particularly with your generation.

We bear under the Constitution as well as the statutes of the Congress, particularly the Employment Act of 1946, a very clear responsibility in the National Government for the state of the national economy. And I can assure you that in those times when the economy is not good or in those areas of the country where unemployment is high, the pressure comes on the National Government, not so much on each one of you individually. That being true, it is important that there be an understanding even though there may not always be a complete identity of immediate interest--that there be some understanding of what our policies are and of what we are attempting to do.

Our policies and our objective, at least, though the means of carrying them out are complicated, are quite simple--to assist in providing an atmosphere and environment for a steadily rising economy which can absorb the millions of people who are coming into the labor market, those who are being displaced by machines, by automation, and those who are unemployed. That figure adds up, as you know, in the next 2 1/2 years to 10 million people. We have got to find new jobs for that number, which is an extraordinary number, unprecedented in our history.

The primary effort falls on you, but I do think that in our monetary policy, our fiscal legislation, our social legislation, we have a good deal to do here in Washington. I would hope that that relationship would be, as I have said, as compatible as possible. There may be occasions when the interest of business and Government may be somewhat in conflict. There may be cases where investors in the stock market may wish, for example, to provide for the easy flow of capital, use of our capital markets all around the world. We have proposed a tax to limit it. That may disturb some businessmen in New York. On the other hand, we are attempting to protect our balance of payments position.

So, there may be areas where there is some conflict, but in the larger sense our interest is yours. Your success makes the country's success. As you succeed, you hire more people, there are more opportunities, and our job is made easier.

So, I welcome those of you who have made a success of your life and those of you who are interested in your country's welfare. We are particularly glad that you brought your wives to visit us in the White House. This house belongs to all of us. I am glad to tell you we are here only temporarily, and we look forward to your coming through here a few minutes and joining us.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke on the South Lawn at the White House to delegates to a conference of the Young Presidents' Organization, Inc. The organization is composed of men who have become presidents of businesses before they reach 40; its basic objective is to assist the members in enlarging and improving their management skills.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to Delegates to the Young Presidents' Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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