Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Rear Adm. John Harllee and James V. Day as Chairman and Vice Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission

July 20, 1965

Members of the Congress, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

This is a very happy day here at the White House. We are glad you are present to join in these festivities with us and to share this pleasure.

For some years, the ideal of our country's policy has been that politics would stop at the water's edge. I am not always sure just which edge of what water, but it is a very fine sentiment to believe in. And I hope it is an idea that Americans will always practice as well as preach.

However, at the Federal Maritime Commission we want to take no chances. We have a Democrat as Chairman and a Republican as Vice Chairman and, between them, they have steered such a straight and steady course that we intend to keep them on the bridge together at all times.

Chairman John Harllee and Vice Chairman James Day, together with their very able colleagues, have done a fine job, and a difficult and demanding public responsibility. I am proud and very pleased that they have both accepted reappointment and that they will continue to efficiently serve in the posts that they now hold. We want--and we need--their experience and their leadership in the many challenges that we are going to face in the days ahead.

All through our Nation's history the prosperity of our people--as well as the safety of our people--has been tied very closely to the role that we play on the seas of the world. And that is a role that we can never wisely or never safely neglect.

Yet, I believe that we are all increasingly conscious of the fact that as a great Nation, we have been laggard and we have been neglectful in many areas of our transportation responsibilities and our transportation opportunities.

I am hopeful--greatly hopeful--that we can in the next few years shake off the effects of these neglected years and move forward to achieve the progress that we are so clearly capable of in every sector from the highways on which we travel to the high seas upon which we sail.

To do so will require much more than the answer of just money alone. So in all the fields of transportation, our future progress depends upon the willingness of many different groups and interests to cooperate in a manner to which they are not always accustomed.

Admiral Harllee, Vice Chairman Day, and their colleagues and staff have always placed cooperation ahead of control in their responsibilities, and the results have been most encouraging. As President, I very much welcome this type of approach.

The regulatory functions of the Federal Maritime Commission are unusually important to this Nation's economy and to this country's commerce, and they are now more so, perhaps, than any other time that we have lived in this century.

Expanding our overseas trade is a matter that this Nation must give the highest priority. It is very important to all of our economic well-being.

You know we began this Nation as a world of traders, and we still are. It remains surprising and even shocking that about 80 percent of our business firms have never yet entered into foreign trade. I think this represents a great wasteland of unfilled opportunity that is open. I hope that over the next 10 years we can increase three- or four-fold the number of American shippers who send goods abroad.

In all that must be done, the great Maritime Commission has a key role to play--and I am looking to these men to continue to assume that challenge in their leadership at this great Commission.

The Commission has my strongest support for the continuing efforts to eliminate all the barriers to United States trade now presented by discriminatory freight rates. Likewise, the Commission has my support for its efforts to convince our allied trading partners that we welcome them to our shores to share in the prosperity that our commerce helps create for the free world.

In world trade, this country seeks no special favoritism. But we do seek equality of treatment. We do seek the elimination of unfair or unlawful discriminatory prejudices or predatory practices.

The roads we walk and the lanes we sail lead toward a more prosperous world. But we never forget that the goal we seek in the harbor toward which we all sail, the hope toward which our compass points, is peace-peace among all nations, peace for all mankind.

I, just a few moments ago, made an appearance here and I asked a distinguished member of the United States Supreme Court to relinquish his lifetime job to lead this Nation and other nations in the United Nations as successor to Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. I am proud to be able to realize that Justice Arthur Goldberg is the new Ambassador to the United Nations--a man who loves peace, who is concerned with the plight of the new independent nations, who is anxious to demonstrate our compassion and our cooperation.

We covet nothing of other nations. We seek, as our forefathers sought, only friendship and peaceful commerce with all nations of the world. And that will always be America's dream and America's goal until it is someday the world's ideal and the world's reality. And for the great contribution that you distinguished citizens will provide in your leadership, a grateful Nation will welcome and will applaud.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:40 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

For the President's remarks upon announcing the nomination of Arthur J. Goldberg as U.S. Representative to the United Nations, see Item 370.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the Swearing In of Rear Adm. John Harllee and James V. Day as Chairman and Vice Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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