John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks to the National Advisory Council for the Peace Corps.

May 22, 1961

THE FOREIGN POLICY of the United States is founded upon concern for the welfare of man. The Peace Corps is a new dimension of that policy and I consider your presence in Washington today a demonstration of our moral purpose.

I am pleased to announce at this time the third Peace Corps project, which will be to send 300 teaching assistants to the Philippines. The Peace Corps already has stated it will send surveyors and engineers to Tanganyika and a group of community development workers to Colombia.

I believe Peace Corps volunteers will give a fresh personal meaning to our diplomacy. There can be no better evidence of our good will than days of honest work in behalf of our neighbors.

In the few months the Peace Corps has been operating it has received requests for volunteers from more than two dozen countries. Mr. Shriver, during his recent visit to Africa and Southeast Asia, received enthusiastic approval of the program from the highest levels of government.

I am delighted with this response abroad and I am equally delighted with the response from our own country. Next Saturday the first tests for Peace Corps volunteers will be given in cities throughout the Nation. I understand that more than 8000 applications for service have been received and that new applications are arriving at the rate of 500 a week.

These applications range through the whole spectrum of our culture and our skill. Doctor, farmer, mechanic, typist, teacher, engineer, student--all have asked to work with their fellowmen against poverty, disease and hardship.

In these days of international tension the response of these volunteers stands as a light to all who seek a peaceful world.

Note: In another release of the same date the White House stated that the group assigned to the Philippines would serve in the elementary schools. The release added that their primary task would be to assist in the instruction in general science and in English, and that they would work under Filipino supervisors,

John F. Kennedy, Remarks to the National Advisory Council for the Peace Corps. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives