John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to Members of the National Conference on Cooperatives and the Future.

April 30, 1963

I WANT to welcome all of you. The Secretary of Agriculture told me something about this meeting and his high hopes for it.

I think it is particularly appropriate for representatives of six organizations which are here today to be concerned with the better life of the people who live on our farms who make it possible for this country to progress as it has, and the people who live in the whole rural areas of the United States, and those of you who are concerned with the well-being in Washington. It is of great concern to us. It is a great country with great resources. I don't think anyone is satisfied, whether on the farm or rural generally, in our great cities, and there are substantial millions of Americans who are denied the opportunity to participate in this life. There is no trend in this country that is more important than the better development of a life for our people.

I am very hopeful as a result of this meeting in Washington that you will develop programs for the sixties which will help improve the lives of our people and see also if we can transfer the experience we have had to other countries, particularly the newly emerging ones.

There are 40 Peace Corps people who are training in the cooperative technique--in Colombia, and three of your cooperatives have communities in Panama which have benefited from the cooperative experience.

I think what we have done here can be done all abroad. I am particularly happy to welcome you.

Thirty years ago only 1 out of 10 of our farmers had electricity--what we can do in this country can be done in other countries. So I can imagine no other group of citizens who are more welcome here.

You are used to being rained on, but whether it is summer, winter, cold, or hot we are happy to have you here. And there is no group that has a greater claim, for the contributions they have made, to come to this house which belongs to all of us.

Note: The President spoke at 10:30 a.m. in the Flower Garden at the White House. The conference, held in Washington April 28-30, was attended by representatives of the American Institute of Cooperation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the National Federation of Grain Cooperatives, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Cooperative League of the U.S.A., and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to Members of the National Conference on Cooperatives and the Future. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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