Richard Nixon photo

Remarks to Members of the National Citizens' Committee for Fairness to the Presidency.

July 18, 1974


RABBI BARUCH KORFF [president of the committee]. Mr. President, good evening, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. It is good to hear your voice.

RABBI KORFF. Thank you so much, Mr. President.

If I may, just for a moment before you proceed, read to you the sentiments of this assembly.

Dear Mr. President, those who have admired you since your political youth can now only paraphrase Robert Frost: We do not find you changed from him we knew, only more sure of all you thought was true. Sure that your country has both the will and the resources to sustain its freedom at home and share its bounty abroad. Sure that any government of the people must be close to their supervision, bound by their frugality, and limited to their purpose. Sure that the people's rights can be protected only by a Constitution plainly read and strictly interpreted. Certain, despite your detractors, that history is shaped by the stalwart and vindicates the brave. Indeed, in your case, history's verdict is already clear.

Now, Mr. President, we are all ready to listen to you.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, first I want to extend to you, Rabbi Korff, and all of our very distinguished friends tonight, our appreciation not only for your warm words but also to each of you for attending this dinner.

I regret that Mrs. Nixon and I were unable to attend the Second Citizens' Congress, but I can assure you that the Nixon family will be well represented, because I talked to Julie a little earlier in Indianapolis, and she is flying in from her job there and will be there to represent the family.

And I think you will agree, all of you, after you hear Julie, that no President could have a better personal representative than Julie.

Your efforts to build a grass roots organization, Rabbi Korff, with 2 million members reminds me of something that General de Gaulle once said--it is one of my favorite quotations. He said that France is never her true self unless she is engaged in a great enterprise. That was true of France, of any great nation.

Here in America, we have all been guided by that same sense of national purpose, and what has made America the great nation it is today is that our people have always devoted themselves to great enterprise, enterprises greater than themselves.

In these difficult times, when world peace depends so fundamentally upon the strength and the unity of America, you have joined together, Democrats and Republicans, to support an office which is bigger than any party, the Office of the Presidency of the United States.

And I know that each one of you has made a personal sacrifice to further that great enterprise. I realize, from having talked to Rabbi Korff, that caravans have come all the way from California, from States in the Mountain States, the Midwest, the Northeast, and I am very grateful for the fact that all of you have done this on your own expense because you believe in something.

I am particularly indebted to you for personal reasons. But others will follow me in this office, beginning in 1977 when I shall have finished my term of office to which I was elected. And those future Presidents will thank you, all of you in this group tonight and your hundreds of thousands of colleagues across the Nation, for rallying behind the Office of the Presidency at this crucial time.

You have persisted under the most adverse and sometimes the unfairest sort of criticism. You have never wavered. You have not lost your faith when many would like to see you do so. And you have not quit when quitting might have been easier, and you are not going to quit, because we are going to continue until we win.

As long as you have this kind of strength in fighting for a cause you believe in, a cause bigger than yourselves, as long as America has this kind of strength, we shall never fail to remain, in Lincoln's words, "the last, best hope of earth."

I also want to express my appreciation for the tribute you are paying tonight especially to members of the White House Staff and others within the executive branch. The men and women you are honoring deserve the praise of all Americans, for they are unstinting but often unsung in their service to the country, service that most of them render at great personal sacrifice. And by your support for them and for the Office of the Presidency, you make it possible for all of us to carry out our responsibilities more effectively.

While I know Rabbi Korff would not want me to have this personal reference, I do think that all of those with whom he has worked will appreciate it, as I do. Rabbi Korff's eloquence, his intelligence, his dedication have been a great source of strength to me and all of us in these difficult times.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your friendship and support. I just wish I could be there to shake hands with each of you and to thank you personally.

And I say in conclusion, let us continue to work together, because together we shall keep America on its great mission of bringing a new era of peace with justice for the world and progress and opportunity for every American at home. Thank you very much.

RABBI KORFF. Would you listen, Mr. President, to the response of the people.

(Crowd chanting "We love Nixon.")

Mr. President, I am happy to tell you that more delegates than we expected have arrived, and the overflow had to be accommodated in additional ballrooms. We are very grateful for the spirit that unites us and very grateful for the leadership you have given us, and we love you dearly.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can't tell you again how very much I have appreciated all the work that has gone into not only this dinner but also the hours and hours and days and days of work that have gone into all of your efforts to date. And you can be sure that I shall do everything that I can to be worthy of your trust. And you can be sure I shall not let you down.

RABBI KORFF. Mr. President, may I, with your kind permission, as you pointed out your White House Staff, I would like to read to you our resolution in recognition of your staff. May I, Mr. President?

Without the slightest apology to those who have already preempted the phrase and distorted it, we honor all the President's men, especially those who, for performing their duty with loyalty and courage, have provoked the wrath of all his enemies. These men, and the women, too--as I look at Anne Armstrong--it should be noted, have defended not only their chief but also the prerogatives and independence of his office.

In so doing, they have aided both Mr. Nixon and his successors to the Presidency, whoever they may be. As the future generation recalls with horror this year's assault upon our constitutional heritage, it will remember, too, that the President was not alone in his ordeal, but was well and faithfully served by the young and not so young, in civilian and military dress, with accent Southern or Yankee or even more exotic.

As the President's bold determination strikes our admiration, so their steadfast sense of purpose must provoke our emulation.

Mr. President, may we take leave of you now?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, and our very best to everybody who is there again, and we will be hoping to see you all personally.

RABBI KORFF. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:31 p.m. by telephone from San Clemente, Calif., to the committee's meeting at the Shoreham Americana Hotel in Washington, D.C.

On July 16, 1974, Rabbi Korff called on the President at the Western White House to present him with a copy of a book he had written. On the same day, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Rabbi Korff on his visit.

Richard Nixon, Remarks to Members of the National Citizens' Committee for Fairness to the Presidency. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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