Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at the Meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers.

April 23, 1959

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a pleasant duty to welcome you here to the Nation's capital. I have been looking forward to the opportunity to come here, one reason being that I wanted to thank you in person for the work you have done in helping cut down Federal expenditures, and therefore sustaining a sound and good American dollar.

This business of trying to keep expenditures down and the budget balanced is of course criticized by some as meaning that an administration or a legislator or any other official is exhibiting more concern about a dollar than about some particular activity that the critic believes is far more important.

Now, a balanced budget in itself is not a sacred word, but on the other hand, it is not a bad word. And if it means that we are living within our means it gives, first of all, confidence to our people, the feeling that if the Government has to spend this much money, at least they are getting in that much in the coffers, and we are not going deeper in debt, paying more interest or putting out more money into circulation.

It also has a great effect on our friends. The Secretary of the Treasury told me, when he came back from New Delhi a couple of months back, that he was questioned by twenty-one different governments as to our ability to pay our bills and therefore to keep the dollar as sound as it needs to be if we, America, are to be secure in our alliances, and do our part in making certain that communism will make no inroads into the free world.

So in thanking you for the work you have done along this line, I want to make also a special request of you. You are employers of men and women, and I think one of the most important problems that the United States has today in its leadership--whether that leadership be political, whether it is business or it is labor, professional or anything else--is to have people that really understand the considerations and factors that come into the matter of fiscal integrity and to have the compulsion within themselves of informing others.

The strongest force in a democracy is an informed public opinion. And if that public opinion is informed, then that force will be exerted wisely. I can't conceive of a better and finer occupation, really a vocation rather than an avocation, for anyone who is employing others and dealing with others and advising with others than to use his influence in making certain that these basic considerations and factors of our great fiscal problems are understood.

I feel that it is not necessary for me to dwell upon the need today for our national security against the threat that is constantly posed, that I do not need to plead for support in making certain that our alliances are sound, that we do our proper part in making certain that we keep the opportunities open for trade, to defend ourselves, and to raise the standards of living that make for that kind of morale that freedom needs to have, if it is going to defeat communism.

I think those matters are understood well by you. And I merely want to say again, the fight that I am making for a balanced budget, for the soundness of the dollar, for combating inflation, is merely to make certain that one of the foundation stones of all of these necessary activities is there--that it is not destroyed--and thus makes it possible for us to build in this world intelligently and soundly, for ourselves and for our future.

And so I bring again not only thanks but congratulations and my very best wishes for a fine and enjoyable meeting while you are here.

Note: The President spoke at the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel, Washington, D.C. His opening words "Mr. Chairman" referred to Milton C. Lightner, Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the Meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235511

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