John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations.

September 12, 1961

WELL, Governor, I want to express my appreciation to all of you. This is, as you have said, a delegation with a good deal of experience. A good many of you have already been representing the United States at the United Nations.

I think this is going to be a most significant session, also one fraught with more responsibility, probably, for our country and the delegation than we have ever had before.

We are faced with--and have been, really, for the last few years, but certainly of a more intense kind--a different or differing situation than we faced in earlier days, with the admission into the United Nations of new countries with all their problems and all their hopes.

And it is therefore a particular source of satisfaction to me that this delegation of ours represents so much collective experience, and also that it is led by you, Governor.

I think that the United Nations will be called upon to play a key role in some of the vital areas in the next 2 or 3 months, involving not only the security of the United States and the free world but also possibly the peace of the world.

Therefore, I want you to know that our hopes very much go with you, and our confidence. And also, that we look to you not only to implement the policy of the United States, but also to participate in forming that policy. And I can think of no more important assignment for any American, especially now, in the field of foreign policy and in the field of our responsibilities around the world for the next 2 or 3 months, than in New York City at the United Nations.

So I congratulate you on the opportunity, really, that you have to serve the country, and also to say that we want to work in the closest and most intimate way with you--the Secretary of State, and Harlan Cleveland, and here at the White House. We want to make sure that it flows two ways, and that you will not merely be instructed by us, but also instruct us.

So that I appreciate your coming this morning. We look forward to swearing you in. I am very glad we have two distinguished Members of Congress, Church and Burieson, and I know that they will help a good deal. We are glad to have the supporting members of the cast here.

Note: The President spoke in his office at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Representative to the United Nations and former Governor of Illinois. Later in his remarks he referred to Harlan Cleveland, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; Mrs. Marguerite Stitt Church, U.S. Representative from Illinois; and Omar Burieson, U.S. Representative from Texas.

Other members of the delegation were Francis T. P. Plimpton and Arthur H. Dean. Alternate members of the delegation were Charles W. Yost, Clifton R. Wharton, Philip M. Klutznick, Jonathan B. Bingham, and Mrs. Gladys A. Tillett.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the Swearing In of the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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