Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Signing of the State Technical Services Act

September 14, 1965

Mr. Vice President, Secretary Connor, distinguished Members of the Congress and Governors, ladies and gentlemen:

The test of our generation will not be the accumulation of knowledge. In that, we have surpassed all the ages of man combined. Our test will be how well we apply that knowledge for the betterment of all mankind.

We are responding to this challenge.

Today we sign into law the State Technical Services Act. We are committing ourselves to an intelligent and an orderly application of the great technical and scientific breakthroughs of our time. We are recognizing that this Nation can no longer afford economic development on a helter-skelter basis.

Not very much has been written about this bill. But 20 years from now, Americans will look back on it as the "sleeper" of the 89th Congress.

This bill will do for American businessmen what the great Agricultural Extension Service has done for the American farmer. It will put into their hands the latest ideas and methods, the fruits of research and development.

It will result in the creation of new industries and the expansion of old ones.

It will speed the development of cheaper and better consumer products.

It will reduce the impact of technological changes on local economies.

It will help to diversify local industry.

It will assist in the retraining of workers whose skills are outmoded.

If we had had this legislation 25 or 30 years ago, we might have prevented the economic depression that today exists in Appalachia.

And if we use this bill effectively in the future, we can prevent more Appalachias from ever occurring.

But I want to make it clear this morning that the Federal Government does not want to run this program. We will provide matching grants. We will act, through the Department of Commerce, as a clearinghouse for the latest scientific developments.

But this must and will be a local program, spearheaded by local initiative and local imagination.

The vehicles for success will be 250 colleges and technical schools throughout the land. They will distribute the information. They will serve as the economic planning centers for their areas.

And the success or the failure of this program is therefore in the hands of the States and the local officials. I challenge you to take those tools of progress and to make them work.

I welcome those of you who have come here this morning to participate in this ceremony, and I thank those of you who helped make it possible.

Note: The President spoke at 9:50 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and Secretary of Commerce John T. Connor.

As enacted, the State Technical Services Act of 1965 is Public Law 89-182 (79 Stat. 679).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Signing of the State Technical Services Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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