Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Bernard L. Boutin as Administrator, Small Business Administration.

May 19, 1966

Mr. and Mrs. Boutin and family, General Clark, Members of the Cabinet, distinguished Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, ladies and gentlemen:

I am delighted to welcome you here this morning to this ceremony in the East Room. Small business is part of the American way of life. A man's desire to become his own boss has always been a part of our national dream. If we lose that, we will lose something that is very precious to all of us.

Even big business depends upon the 5 million small businesses, because they provide most of our services and they are a very vital source of new products and new ideas.

Small business is also very essential to this Nation's national defense. I am happy to note that small business' share of our defense contracts in this country continues to rise. It was $4.9 billion in 1965--an increase of 36 percent in only 4 years.

So you see, Mr. Boutin, this is a very important area. You go into this new assignment knowing that this administration is deeply interested in and concerned about all of the activities of the Small Business Administration. In operating your agency, I want you to keep in mind that there is really no such thing as a small businessman.

They are all outstanding Americans who are operating small businesses. But the owner of a corner grocery store has just as much right to the help of his Government as the president of a big supermarket.

I believe that you are the type of leader and administrator who will see that he gets it.

Mr. Boutin has served his Government with ability and distinction in two very important posts. He first served as Administrator of the General Services Administration and most recently as Deputy Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Before that he was mayor of a small New Hampshire town where he acquired firsthand experience with so many problems for which he is now going to be responsible for providing the leadership.

And we are going to work hard to help you. On May 2d I signed a bill which increased the ceiling for outstanding Small Business Administration loans and separated the business loan funds from the disaster loan funds. In this way, we ended the disruptions in the business loan program which have sometimes occurred when a major disaster would strike a community.

I said then that this was only step one. We are now trying to take step number two. We asked the Congress to allow the Small Business Administration, along with certain other Government agencies, to 'pool outstanding loans and sell participation shares to private business.

This will put private capital into effective partnership with Government programs to make more capital available to small business which badly needs it. Since October we have not had that money to lend to them.

Yesterday the House passed the Participation Sales Act which approves the method of financing that we had requested. A similar bill had already passed the Senate. As soon as the two houses resolve the differences in the bill, we will be ready to move.

I am very grateful to Senator Sparkman and Senator Robertson in the Senate, and Congressman Patman and all of those associated in the House, for helping on this small business legislation, as well as making it possible for us to provide the funds to finance these endeavors.

In anticipation of this, Mr. Boutin, I am today issuing my first directive to you. I want you, not later than the 26th of this month, to start accepting new small business loan applications in all your regional offices throughout the country.

Let's tell the Nation that the Small Business Administration has reopened its doors that were closed too long. In giving you the keys to those doors, Mr. Boutin, I ask you to remember the real value of the people who are going to come through them.

The father of the free enterprise system, Mr. Adam Smith, described the value of the small businessman in these words:

"A small proprietor . . . who knows every part of his little territory, who views it with all the affection which . . . small property naturally inspires . . . is generally of all improvers, the most industrious, the most intelligent, and the most successful."

Mr. Boutin, this administration and its leadership in the Congress, most of those men of both parties are here this morning, are interested in helping the improvers. We want them to succeed. We are concerned with the man who operates a small business.

Let's make small business one of the biggest growth industries in the country. We expect you to provide the leadership in the executive department that will bring unity in the executive branch of the Government, that we hope can bring support of both parties in the Congress, and that will bring the respect of all the people of America.

I believe that you are the type of man who can do that and we will be standing by to applaud you and to support you.

Note: The President spoke at 12:11 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Bernard L. Boutin and his wife and to Deputy Attorney General Ramsey Clark who administered the oath of office to Mr. Boutin. Later the President referred to Senator John J. Sparkman of Alabama, Senator A. Willis Robertson of Virginia, and Representative Wright Patman of Texas.

For the President's remarks on May 2 upon signing the Small Business Act Amendments of 1966, see Item 199.

The Participation Sales Act of 1966 was approved by the President on May 24 (Public Law 89-429, 80 Stat. 164).

On May 24 the White House made public three releases relating to small business: the text of Proclamation 3726 designating the week beginning May 22 as Small Business Week; the announcement of a report from Secretary McNamara on the share of prime contracts awarded by the Department of Defense to small business firms between July 1965 and March 1966; and the announcement of the presentation by the President of the Small Businessman of the Year award to Elfrain D. Vassallo of Ponce, Puerto Rico, a manufacturer of metal jalousies.

The three releases appear in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 2, pp. 685686). Proclamation 3726 is also printed in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations (31 F.R. 7551; 3 CFR 1966 Comp., p. 55).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Bernard L. Boutin as Administrator, Small Business Administration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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