Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks on Presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Lewis L. Strauss, and Accompanying Citation.

July 14, 1958

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Lewis, we have met here this morning to mark the passing of a distinguished public servant from one office into another. It would be completely impossible for me to express the appreciation that I feel--and I am sure the country feels--of the work that you have done over these past years.

I believe you have been a world leader in the preparation of America for all eventualities that may arise. At the same time, you have not forgotten that the nuclear science can be mankind's greatest boon. If the political thinking of our governments will allow us to proceed in that way, I think you have marked very definitely the channels, the directions, that all of us should follow.

So, this is a little ceremony, as I say, to mark the dropping of that kind of work and then to take over--as my Special Assistant--more emphatically and more specifically this work of promoting the atom as a peaceful agency for the world. I am going to ask, first, Governor Adams to read the Citation that has been prepared.

[ Governor Adams read the following ]





To LEWIS L. STRAUSS for exceptionally meritorious service in the interests of the security of the United States

During a crucial period, he has provided leadership, resourcefulness, judgment and courage equal to the immense demands and promise of the atomic age.

His direct contribution to the security of the United States and other free world nations has been outstanding. He was an effective supporter of the development of thermonuclear technology at a time when a less determined and imaginative course might have resulted in severe damage to our security and that of the free world. He initiated a long-range detection system for atomic explosions which adds both to our safety and to our hopes for successful disarmament negotiations.

Equally significant has been his work in helping build the long-term security that comes of devoting the Atom to works of peace. Under his guidance, peaceful use of atomic energy for power, research, healing, agriculture, and production has made remarkable progress. He has played a great part in bringing to reality the International Scientific Conference on Peaceful Uses, and the Atoms for Peace program, now being put into effect through the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Through his wisdom and foresight, his country enjoys greater security today and greater hopes for genuine peace in the years ahead. In recognition of his distinguished service, I take pleasure in awarding the Medal of freedom to Lewis L. Strauss.


Note: The President presented the Medal of freedom to Mr. Strauss at a ceremony in the Conference Room at the White House at 11:45 a.m. Mr. Strauss served as Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission from July 2, 1953, to June 30, 1958. His response follows:

Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for this honor. I am grateful that so many of my friends have come here this morning to see me receive it. But particularly I want to say how much I appreciate the opportunity that I have had to serve under you in this connection and to testify to the inspiration which I have derived from service near your desk.

To be the recipient of this Medal and of the flood of letters and messages of goodwill that I have received has changed one concept of my attitude towards government service. It is not--I repeat not--a thankless task.
Thank you.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks on Presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Lewis L. Strauss, and Accompanying Citation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233724

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