Remarks at a Luncheon of the National Citizens' Committee for Fairness to the Presidency.
Rabbi Korff, Secretary Simon, Secretary Butz, Senator Curtis, all of the very distinguished guests both here at the head table and in this audience:
Tomorrow, as you know, Mrs. Nixon and i will start a very long journey of 15,000 miles in which we will visit five nations, four of which have never been visited by a President of the United States before. This will be a long trip. It will be a difficult trip from the physical standpoint, the long journey as well as the many events that are planned. It will also be a difficult trip from the standpoint of the diplomacy involved, in attempting to build on the progress that has already been made as a result of the trips that have been taken there by Secretary Kissinger before and the negotiations that we have had.
But I can assure you that on this long, difficult, and very important journey, that when we sometimes may feel tired, that we will never be discouraged, and we will always be heartened by the memory of this luncheon that we are having today.
As Senator Curtis has implied, what we say here will probably be little noted by the media, but what you have done here and throughout the United States will be long remembered, not only by the President but by all future Presidents for whom you are working.
I think Rabbi Korff deserves special credit, not only for his magnificent leadership but for his designation of this group, which covers 49 of the 50 States, as being not simply one that supports a man but, even more important, that supports an institution, the Office of the Presidency. We are grateful to Rabbi Korff. We are grateful to each and every one of you and to the hundreds of thousands and millions throughout this country who recognize that what is involved, not only in what has happened over the past few months and years but what is involved in the future, is the American Presidency and what it can do for this Nation, what it can do not only for Americans but for all the people who inhabit this globe.
I want you to know that I realize you come from the heart of America, and you have touched our hearts.
I have visited--and on most of these trips Mrs. Nixon has been with me--but I have visited over 80 countries over the past 27 years. I have visited many countries that no President has ever visited before. And there is a tendency, of course, for all of us to assume that one journey means the accomplishment of a goal, but each of these journeys is one that simply contributes to a goal which is far in the future and one to which we must constantly rededicate ourselves, one which we must constantly work to achieve.
For example, on this trip to the Mideast, all of the problems that exist in that area will not be solved. We will simply build on the progress that has been made. We can give assurances to our friends, long-time friends in the area, that they should have. We can also give assurances to those who have been our adversaries in the area of what our goal is--not one of domination, but one of assuring for every nation in that area and every nation on the globe the right to independence, the right to security, the right to seek their own way to achieve their own goals.
This is the American foreign policy in a nutshell. It is one that we have sought, sometimes unsuccessfully, but it is one to which we have been dedicated throughout the years that I can remember.
What I want each and every one of you to understand is that as we talk about the Presidency and we think of the remainder of the term of this President, that we still have much to achieve. We have already achieved a great deal at home and abroad. Because of its timeliness, speaking only of what has happened abroad, in the past 5 years we have seen the whole world change and change for the better: the end of a long war in which the United States had been involved, and ending it with the respect and the honor which is essential for a great power if it is to be a leader after the end of a war; the opening of communication with the leaders of one-fourth of all the people in the world who inhabit the People's Republic of China; the opening of negotiations with the great super power, the Soviet Union, with whom we have, as we have with many other nations, basic disagreements in philosophy which will not be solved in our time or in theirs, but countries with which we are seeking to develop those means of communication so that we can see that the talents of the American people and the Russian people and the Chinese people, and wherever people may live throughout this world, are devoted to the works of peace rather than to the works of war.
This is the goal that Americans believe in--devoted, for example, to energy, speaking in the narrow sense, that Secretary Simon has had such great experience in, energy adequate for all people wherever they may be; speaking, for example, about food, which Secretary Butz is an expert in, in which the United States can provide the leadership which we, as the most efficient agriculture producer in the world, can provide so that hunger can be eradicated, not only here but throughout the world.
These are great goals, and they require total dedication, not to be diverted by war, not to be diverted by confrontation, but dedication to the challenges of peace. I say that in order to accomplish these goals, it will take everything in terms of dedication, in terms of hard work that we will be able to contribute in the balance of our term. But it will take far more than that.
Whoever is the American President, be he a Democrat or Republican, in the years ahead to the end of this century--we will not try to look beyond that--but whoever is the American President will hold within his hands the responsibility for building on the great initiatives that we have begun.
I can assure you that the hope for building a peaceful world rests in the leadership of the United States, and that leadership, of course, rests in the hands of whoever may be President.
And so, the cause you have worked for, my friends, is not simply for a man, but the cause you have worked for and are working for is much bigger than one man or one President. The cause you are working for is for this office, which is so important-actually which is indispensable to what we want to build, we as Americans: a peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren and for those of others who have been our friends, and even those who have been our adversaries and our enemies.
This, indeed, is a great goal. That is what brings us together. That is what inspires you. And we want to be worthy of your dedication, and we can assure you that we will do everything we can to deserve the respect, the hard work you have given, each and every one of you throughout this country, voluntarily, to that cause.
I can assure you, my friends, looking back over these past 5 years and looking at the American Presidency for that matter over the past 27 years when I have known it either as a Congressman, or Senator, or as Vice President, or out of office, or as President, that a strong American Presidency is essential if we are to have peace in the world.
I can assure you that with your support I shall do nothing that will weaken this office while I am holding this office. I make that statement not just for myself alone but, far more important, for all future Presidents, and far more important even than that, for the cause to which America is dedicated and which Presidents of the United States for the balance of this century are going to have to carry on their shoulders. They must be strong. They must be effective. They must have support whenever they are engaged in the great pursuits of peace and progress for all peoples to which we, as the idealistic people that we are, have always been dedicated in my memory.
One final personal thought. One of the stenographers in the Executive Office Building has a letter framed on her wall which was written to her from her boss who has been working with the Administration since we first came to Washington. The letter, as I recall, reads something like this. It says: We have been together ever since we came to Washington in 1969 as part of this great adventure, on January 20 of that year, and we shall leave together only when we have completed our service, and we shall leave heads high on January 20, 1977.
We have accomplished, we believe, a great deal that is good for this country as well as for the world over these past 5 years, but there remains much to be done. And believe me, with your help we are going to do the job.
Note: The President spoke at 3:05 p.m. in the Regency Room of the Shoreham Americana Hotel.
Rabbi Baruch Korff was president of the National Citizens' Committee for Fairness to the Presidency.
Richard Nixon, Remarks at a Luncheon of the National Citizens' Committee for Fairness to the Presidency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255698