Remarks at the Luncheon of the Republican Women's Spring Conference.
THIS IS INDEED a very great, although somewhat terrifying, honor. The last time I can remember seeing this many women in one place was in St. Louis during the last campaign. I well remember the inspiration I got that night when suddenly the gathering displayed American flags. It was indeed a memorable sight.
There is, of course, another and very distinct reason for the feeling of honor and pride in addressing such a group. It has been proven, I think, that the average of intelligence among women--and their understanding--is a trifle higher than among men. And I can understand it, because there was a greater percentage of women who voted Republican last fall than there were men!
You will recall that three of the issues raised in that campaign were those that had some distinct, even special, appeal for women.
The first was the cost of government and its attendant inflation imposed upon every housewife in the land--the constantly increasing burden in bringing home a reasonable market basket to her family.
And so one of the promises made was that with a change in administration, there would be a trend toward the cutting of expenditures, particularly every unnecessary expenditure. We would eliminate waste, sheer waste, or a function for which the money demanded was merely desirable and not necessary.
The security of our Nation was promised over and over again, but because security ranked at the head of the list of all our requirements, the promise was also made that other expenditures would be brought within the proper relationship to that demanding one.
The second issue was the general subject of inefficiency, corruption, and subversion in government--things that had come about by reason of a long tenure of office of one political party, and then existing without proper measures being taken for their eradication. And the promise was made to go after that particular objective.
Third, there was raised the question of our foreign relations: the matter of pursuing peace in the world from a position of strength, security and unity in the free world, of trying to reason with potential enemies, and of bringing peace out of misunderstanding and chaos, if that were possible in any degree.
Now, I think it is only fitting, in front of such a body as this, to attempt some little bit of review of what has been accomplished.
Let us take, first, this area of costs.
From the day that the new administration came into position of responsibility and authority, every single proposed expenditure of government, indeed some of those already in progress, have been under constant examination by men who are experts in the business--by business men. These are men who believe that the soundness of your money is absolutely essential to our form of government. These are men who believe that unless you have a sound and stable value to your money, then there is no point in your taking out an insurance policy, or investing in a savings bond, or doing any of those other things which in the American way means putting aside some money for a rainy day, or against the time of danger. If that money deteriorates while it is in your bank, or in your bonds, or in your pocket, the incentive for saving is removed.
And so this very great issue has been tackled from every single standpoint. First of all, the new administration is trying to cut costs in the effort to get rid of recurring deficits in our national budget--in spite of the necessary and staggering costs of providing for security in this modern world.
Now, if we can work toward eliminating that deficit, one of the most terrific incentives for the cheapening of your money will have been removed. No one will pretend that the recurring deficits are the only reason for inflation, but they are an important one. It is not too much to say that with recurring deficits, you must have inflation, because the only way to meet the debt is to secure more money, which means cheaper money--printing press money.
I assure you that in every single direction that does not endanger the security and position of the United States in the world, that objective is being pursued.
This does not mean, of course, that any social gains of the past are being neglected; nor, indeed, does it mean that Republicans have forgotten their promise that the advantages of social security coverages will be extended to others that have been excluded in the past without any real reason.
The whole objective of bringing costs and income in balance is so that we may look forward with future savings to real reduction in taxes. That work is going ahead every day.
Second: inefficiency, corruption, and subversion in government. Since January 20th, these have been subjects that have never been absent from the discussions of any Cabinet meeting or the meetings of any other body of governmental officials--legislative and executive. They are constantly on the minds and hearts of everybody. And we are pursuing them, by trying to put into every important position men and women who know their job, and who are devoted to the public welfare.
I would be the last to maintain that no mistakes have been made. So long as we are human, of course there have been and there will be mistakes. But I do assure you that all of those in high position in the present administration have their hearts in the right place. They are searched for honesty and integrity, probity and devotion to the United States of America.
We believe that it is absolutely possible, and mandatory, that subversion shall be removed under methods by which every right thinking American will approve.
We believe the same thing with respect to even pecuniary matters.
We believe inefficiency must be eliminated, and in its stead we must have a government by people who not only are intending to do right by our 158 million people, but who have the capacity to do so.
In the field of foreign affairs, I made a talk a week ago yesterday--I think you were listening. As I recall, I was standing in this same spot. I want to point out this: that that talk was not an isolated incident, merely thought of out of a sudden inspiration and brought out as words, as phrases, and its meaning exposed to the public as sometimes my lawyer friends say "de novo," which means "for the first time."
What I am getting at is this: from last January twentieth, we have consulted together every day--the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Budget Bureau, the head of the new Department, Mrs. Hobby. All of us have sat together and tried to work out what is the position from which America should approach the rest of the world--both our friends, those who are not so friendly. How do we want to express ourselves, to ourselves; and how do we want to express ourselves to others. That has been the preoccupation of all of us.
Possibly it has been the most important subject that has been discussed day by day, and on which each of us has tried to contribute his bit. No matter what we are thinking about doing with our government, no matter what we are thinking in the ways of reducing expenditures and costs, of reducing taxes eventually, all of those problems are overshadowed by, and indeed greatly influenced by, our position in the world.
Moreover, in that subject is such an immediate and critical problem as the Korean war, a war bringing sorrow still, in this day and time, to thousands of American homes. Quite naturally, therefore, it is essential that we have a whole program of standing before the world--an America strong and unafraid, but nevertheless conciliatory and friendly, and firm in this one belief: that all people want peace.
This is opposed only by misguided governments, governments that believe that only when they are surrounded by enemies may they keep their positions of power, or governments who because of their lack of understanding believe that every other government shares their own thirst for power.
What we are trying to do is to show that America wants nothing from anyone else except the decency, the respect, the consideration that America herself is ready to accord to every other nation in full measure.
The one thing to say about all these problems is that no miraculous overnight accomplishment can be expected. These things affect not only all of our 158 million people; they affect the whole world--two and a half billions. Consequently, what happens is that trends must be set up, doctrines must be officially instilled, truth must be held up patiently before the world, until all of us understand that decency and justice are words that are still important to all humans and that greed and power, military strength, are after all only transitory, and cannot prevail over the spirit of man.
It is in these terms, ladies, and in this kind of incessant, endless work that your administration--the one that you sent here--is trying to discharge its responsibilities and to fulfill the promises made not only to you but to all the American people of all political parties.
Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at the Statler Hotel in Washington.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the Luncheon of the Republican Women's Spring Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231674