Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of John H. Crooker, Jr., as Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board.

March 11, 1968

Mr. and Mrs. Crooker; my dearly beloved friend, Judge Crooker; Chairman and Mrs. Murphy; Members of the Congress; Judge Skelton; Members of the Cabinet; ladies and gentlemen:

Now that springtime is upon us and spring training seems to have begun around Washington, I am going to employ the language of baseball this morning to say that the lineup changes that we are here in the East Room to formalize--John H. Crooker to the Civil Aeronautics Board and Charles Murphy to the White House--are good for both teams.

I know them both as good Americans and as old and valued friends. John brings to the CAB his wide experience in the law, his very rare intellectual capacity, and a most perceptive and discerning judgment. I think he is, in every way, a most excellent successor to Charles Murphy.

As for you, Charley, you have been around somewhat longer. You are no stranger here today. We welcome you back to the White House. I am not forgetting our understanding that you will be here on more or less a part-time arrangement. Charley and other members of his family emphasized that to me as we discussed this matter. But I think, Charley, that you should know now that "part-time" is a rather relative term. And I believe anyone who has been in the White House and as close to it as long as you have should realize that.

The other day, one of my assistants was asked what were the working hours here at the White House. He had been here some time with me, so the answer came back-because he knew it-quickly. He said, "It varies somewhat, but generally, the hours are from nine to five--twice a day."

The Civil Aeronautics Board is 30 years old. In 1938, the unfolding wonder of aviation had taken hold of this country and had taken hold of the imagination of the American people. There was a new set of folk heroes that year. Among them were Howard Hughes, who flew around the world in less than 4 days, and another young man who, a week later, made his name a part of the language. It was "Wrongway" Corrigan who, flying alone, left New York for Los Angeles and wound up in Dublin.

Americans looked to the skies and saw their new highways. A new industry--air transportation--was coming of age.

Congress, that year, passed the Civil Aeronautics Act. We are delighted to see the distinguished leaders of aviation in the Congress, Senator Monroney and Chairman Staggers, and many others in our midst this morning, as well as Governor Rampton from Utah and Chairman Moss, and others.

That act was to assist the development of this fledgling industry, and to assure our people that these airways would serve their needs and would serve the people's convenience.

In 1938, our young airlines carried about a million and a half passengers. Last year, Americans flew--not a million and a half passengers--they flew on more than 120 million trips.

In 1938, the remarkable DC-3 was the workhorse of the air transport industry. Early this month--the other day, in Marietta, Georgia--Senator Monroney, Secretary Boyd, and others of us inspected the huge military transport. Its immense cargo area can carry a weight that is equivalent to more than 10 DC-3's.

The CAB will work with our airlines to see that aviation technology will be employed for the full benefit of all our people. I hope that they can work closely with our Congress and our trusted leaders who supervise the activities.

The CAB is looking ahead to the further development of vertical and short takeoff aircraft. And these may very well revolutionize travel between our major cities and could ease much of the congestion that plagues our major airports today.

We have come a long, long way since 1938, but the challenge of aviation is certainly not behind us.

I hope that Chairman Crooker and all the members of his Commission, majority and minority party members, will constantly counsel with and work with the Congress in a cooperative effort to fully take advantage of our potential.

I sometimes think that we have the power and the capacity and the strength to deal with any foe anywhere in the world except within our own boundaries. A great deal of our weaknesses are caused by pitting our strength against each other and chewing on ourselves.

So I hope that the members of the Commission, with the wise and sage advice of Chairman Crooker, can continue a partnership with the Members of the House and the Senate, the transportation industry in this country, and the Transportation Department in this country, to realize the full potential that is ours.

We really, in this country, have nothing-as President Roosevelt said one time--to fear except fear itself.

We have the strength. We have the resources. We have the ability. We have the imagination. We have the greatest system of government ever known to man, if we can only guard our vanities and suppress our ambitions and exercise patience and tolerance with our fellow man.

I knew Johnny Crooker as a boy in short trousers when he was defeating my debating teams and reflecting on my talents back in the Houston public schools.

I have observed him come from young manhood to a maturity and a position that any youngster would want to emulate. I have never known a person with more intellectual capacity, with a higher dedication and patriotism to his country, and a greater potential and capability to make a success of this job.

My prayers and my support will be with him every step of the way.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to John H. Crooker, Sr., senior partner in the law firm of Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman, Bates, and Jaworski of Houston, Texas, Charles S. Murphy, outgoing Chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board who was appointed as a counselor to the President, Mrs. Murphy, and Byron G. Skelton, Associate Judge of the United States Court of Claims, who administered the oath of office.

During his remarks the President referred to, among others, Senator A. S. Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, Representative Harley O. Staggers of West Virginia, Chairman of the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee, Governor Calvin L. Rampton of Utah, Senator Frank E. Moss of Utah, and Secretary of Transportation Alan S. Boyd.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of John H. Crooker, Jr., as Chairman, Civil Aeronautics Board. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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