Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks on the State of the Union Message, Key West, Florida.

January 05, 1956

[Recorded on film and tape and broadcast the same day] [See APP Note.]

My Fellow Citizens:

This morning I sent to the Congress my third annual message on the State of the Union. It is a long document and contains a review of the accomplishments of the past three years, as well as many recommendations for the further advancement of our country in the years to come.

Now those things that have been accomplished are important, and one of the chief ingredients in the achievements we have made is the cooperation that has existed between the Congress and the Executive Department in the Federal Government. Some of those results I will enumerate only briefly.

The first is the fact that we are at peace. The peace is not always the kind that we should like, one in which we have complete confidence, but still there is no shooting war. We have the best security posture we have ever had during years of peace.

Government spending has been cut more than ten billion dollars annually.

Taxes have been reduced. Taxes were reduced at a time when we were passing from a war to a peace economy, and the great tax reduction of that year was made so as to stimulate peacetime activity to take the place of the former wartime production.

The national economy, in the general picture, is in very splendid shape. The national income is at an all-time high, with the highest standards of living we have ever enjoyed.

The products of our great industrial plant are more widely distributed--and the profits from it. More people are working.

The only two things in this economic picture that seem to need immediate and drastic attention are, first, the depressed areas where peacetime activity has not caught up with past wartime activity, and the other is in the farm community where there is, of course, a serious problem existing.

Now, to mention only a very few of the recommendations that the message makes to the Congress, I want to point out that, first, we are governed by five major objectives.

The first of these is the discharge of our world responsibility. In discharging that responsibility we seek, first, a peace for all nations, well knowing that no nation can have peace by itself.

We of course must be very careful in watching the tactics of the communists. At times they smile, and at times they seem to threaten. Our own purpose is to remain steadfast in the pursuit of a world peace based on justice and not to be hysterical under their threats or to be beguiled too much by their smiles.

We intend to continue strengthening our allies, and we intend to continue the honest search for disarmament. We will not be satisfied with anything in the disarmament line, though, that is not mutual and a system in which we can have confidence.

We of course seek the constant improvement of our national security through the improvement and development of the most modern of weapons, through the saving of men; and as I said before, we have the highest level of national security we have ever had in this line.

Defense arrangements include not only our allies but our own continental defenses, and the power to strike where need be.

The next objective is to maintain the fiscal integrity of the government. This means that we must balance our budget. I have every expectation that June 30, 1956, will show a balanced budget for this fiscal year. Moreover, the Budget that I am sending to Congress will contemplate a balancing of the Budget also in 1957. All of this has been done without reduction of the security arrangements, or in the sums devoted to mutual aid throughout the world.

In this connection, I should mention our enormous national debt. We must begin to make some payments on it if we are to avoid passing on to our children an impossible burden of debt. And we will not talk about any reductions of any other kind until we have begun to make some modest payments on that.

The fourth objective of the program that we are submitting to the Congress is to foster an ever-expanding economy. I have already mentioned those directions in which we are achieving new standards in our productivity. But I also mentioned that we are behind in one or two phases of the economy, and the most important of these is agriculture.

I am sending a Special Message on this subject to the Congress on Monday next. It will contain many new proposals for expanding the program under which we have been operating in the agricultural field.

Particularly, new points will be the establishment of a soil bank which will help remove acreage from production and on a basis that will be of assistance to the farmers immediately.

We are going to help remove more controls from the farmer. We are going to go into a program of expanded research into the rural development program, to help low-income farmers, and there will be a new Great Plains program.

In this same field there will be new highway legislation proposed, and new plans for resources conservation, and protection against disasters in flooded and other areas. There will be an area development plan to assist those regions which are backward in their economy because of failure to make necessary changes in recent years.

Now there is one other field--and that is another principal objective--and that is a program that is designed to respond to human needs throughout the nation. These include school construction, Old Age and Survivors Insurance, medical research, health re-insurance; Labor laws for expanding the minimum wage laws and for correcting certain deficiencies in the wagehour law; for Housing, including a two-year program for public housing; and for immigration revision.

Now these are just a few of the items that are in the Message. You will see in your daily newspapers, if you care to look, a great detailed explanation of the things to which I am so hurriedly referring. But I do pledge the Administration to this:

We are going to foster the march of science in helping expand our economy and increasing productivity.

We are going to be certain about the security of the United States in this world of today.

We are going to continue to seek a just peace. And we are going to devote single-minded attention to the common good of America--all its citizens.


APP Note:  The President recorded and filmed these remarks at 9:05 a.m. on 01/05/1956 from his office at Naval Air Station Key West.  He was at Key West recovering from a 09/24/1955 heart attack suffered while on vacation in Colorado.  The remarks were targeted for broadcast on the evening news; thus his concluding words, "Good night." The text of the full State of the Union Message was read on 01/05/1956 to each house of Congress.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks on the State of the Union Message, Key West, Florida. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233900

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