Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at the City-County Building in Detroit

October 17, 1960

Mr. Mayor, members of the Common Council, and fellow Americans:

I am indeed proud to be here, to know that you have come out on a busy day to greet me and to have your Mayor and the Council present to me these mementoes which I shall cherish always.

I am delighted to come back to this city, which is of course known throughout the world as the motor capital of all the earth. I am delighted to come back because I have so many friends here and throughout the State, and I know that gathering at this convention this evening I shall have the great privilege of meeting many more of them.

Detroiters have a great right to be proud of their city, not merely because of its material accomplishments but because it is a city where people with good jobs have lived in self-respect, in decency, and in perfect awareness of the fact that all America wants to live in exactly the same way.

We are engaged in a great political struggle to determine which candidates and which parties will control Washington in the coming 4 years. I am not here as a proponent of either party or of anything else except for this one thing: I urge all our people to vote their own convictions, their own consciences, and not to be swayed by any kind of false or extreme propaganda--no matter what its source.

Along this time of a campaign, always there are extremists, people who think they can find an advantage in distorting America before the world, making it appear a people and a Nation that is evil, who do not know the truth, who do not have regard for the normal commitments of honor and decency.

I believe that anyone who is guilty in America of putting out any kind of document that tries to tear down our self-respect, which tries to make us believe that we are not trying to do the good and best things for ourselves and for the world, this is a disservice to the United States.

And I repeat, I care not from what source any such calumnies can come, but I say to the people of Detroit, as I should like to say it to all America: just be true to yourselves, and don't be misled by anyone who for any reason would seek advantage in distortions, falsehoods, and wrongdoing.

I realize that these things are only a drop in the bucket as compared to the entire program of speaking and talking and writing that is done and is accomplished in these campaigns. But anything that attempts to degrade America calls for something from me, as long as I live and no matter what my position may be. Because this country, above all in the world that I know of, has reason to respect itself, and by respecting itself it also respects others--and it respects those great virtues in which we all hope to live.

I came in here this morning just to thank you most sincerely for your kindness and for these presents. It is only because I am so jealous of the character of America, because America is her people and what they do, and I am so proud of that vast majority of great, hardworking Americans, that whenever there is any attempt to besmirch their record, I want to be on the side opposing it.

So I hope you will forgive me for turning a little serious in my talk when I intended, as I said, to thank you very much for your welcome, to express my pride in the invitation to come back to this spot where I was 8 years ago--and in any event, to all of you good luck and my best wishes for success and happiness ahead.

Thank you again.

Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. from a platform on the square in front of the City-County Building. Mayor Louis C. Miriani presented him with the key to the city; Marshall M. Fredericks gave the President a small replica of his statue "Spirit of Detroit."

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the City-County Building in Detroit Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235589

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