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Remarks at the Swearing In of Admiral Raborn and Richard Helms as Director and Deputy Director, CIA.

April 28, 1965

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen:

Long ago in the infancy of this Nation Americans were told that their liberty and the price of it was eternal vigilance. In this 20th century that truth is stronger than ever.

We live in a dangerous world, a world which cannot be predicted, a world which moves and is shaped by great forces, forces which we faithfully believe can serve for good as well as for evil.

We were founded as a Nation upon an ideal. All through the ages Americans have been, first and last, idealists. Of all our generations none ever has been more truly idealistic than Americans of these times. Without thought of gain, without thought of conquest, without wish for aggrandizement, we have committed our lives, our property, our resources, and our sacred honor to the freedom and peace of other men, indeed to the freedom and peace of all mankind. We would dishonor that commitment, we would disgrace all the sacrifices that Americans have made if we were not every hour of every day vigilant against every threat to peace and freedom. That is why we have the Central Intelligence Agency in this country.

The purpose of this effort, like the purpose of all that we do, is to strive for an orderly, just, and peaceful world. In this effort more than in many others a high order of selflessness, of dedication, of devotion, is asked of men and women. The compensation of them comes not in fame, certainly not in rewards of salary, but in the reward of the sure knowledge that they have made a contribution to freedom's cause.

For the leadership of this vital agency this Nation has been very fortunate to have the services of outstanding Americans: Allen Dulles, John McCone, now today Adm. William F. Raborn. Both Mr. Dulles and Mr. McCone were Republicans. I have never inquired into the Admiral's politics but I have inquired and do know something of his talents and that is why he was selected for this particular task.

It was his phenomenal ability as a manager and as a leader and as an inspiration to his coworkers and as a dedicated patriotic man himself that gave America the great strength of the Polaris missile. His genius was proved in that task. It will now be tested in this new assignment that he has so willingly and voluntarily agreed to accept.

He follows a man who is hard to follow-Mr. John McCone. Mr. McCone has chosen to give this country some of the finest years of his life. We are greatly in his debt for all the public service that he has rendered to freedom in the field of the military, the field of atomic energy, and most recently in the field of world intelligence. We shall miss him but we wish him Godspeed.

Admiral Raborn's great strength as a leader and a manager is his respect and his reliance upon his coworkers. Admiral Raborn is a team-builder and he is a team player. At the Central Intelligence Agency he will have as his strong right arm one of the most respected career professionals in the Capital of this great Nation, Mr. Richard Helms.

Few career men in this Government are so highly respected as Mr. Helms. I find food for thought in the fact that a man so successful in Mr. Helms' present profession trained for this work in the newspaper profession-and Mr. Helms, if you need recruits, see me. I might commend some of these in this room to you now.

But I am very proud of this team and I am proud that we have been able in recent weeks to persuade many of our most outstanding career public servants to accept promotions and additional responsibilities in the Government, to assume more vital roles. The high positions of this administration are being filled today, yesterday, and tomorrow on the basis of merit without regard to politics, without regard to partisanship, and I hope this pattern can be permanent.

To Admiral Raborn, to Mr. Helms, I extend my congratulations.

To the other members of the executive branch, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the other agencies who must work closely with these men, I extend my congratulations. All of you have my confidence to the fullest for the responsible undertakings that are ahead of you.

Thank you very much.

Note: The ceremony for the swearing in of Vice Adm. William F. Raborn, Jr. (USN, Retired), as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Richard Helms, as Deputy Director, was held at 12:40 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. During his remarks the President referred to Alien W. Dulles, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and John A. McCone, the outgoing Director.

On the same day the White House announced that the President had awarded the National Security Medal to Mr. McCone at a private ceremony at the White House. The text of the citation accompanying the medal presented to Mr. McCone, who served as Director of CIA from November 29, 1961, to April 28, 1965, follows:

"As principal foreign intelligence officer of the United States and as senior intelligence advisor to the President since 1961, Mr. McCone has given distinguished leadership to the foreign intelligence effort of our Nation. During his years of service as Director of Central Intelligence, he has discharged the high responsibilities of his office with inspiration and idealism. To the service of the security of the United States, Mr. McCone has brought the wisdom and experience of a long career in business and government. His devotion to the welfare of our Nation and his unchallenged integrity in the performance of his duties have set an exemplary standard for the intelligence community. The service of Mr. McCone reflects the highest credit upon him and the Central Intelligence Agency."

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Admiral Raborn and Richard Helms as Director and Deputy Director, CIA. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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