Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Greensburg, PA

October 24, 1960

Vice President NIXON. Senator Scott, Mr. Mayor, all the distinguished guests here on the platform, and our friends in Greensburg and from Westmoreland and all the other counties, I want to say first that Pat and I always appreciate a crowd, but particularly one when it's snowing, so thank you very much for coming out. [Cheers.] And to the Greensburg High School Band. I give you our special thanks for having you play for us here today. [Cheers.]

As we were coming in I remembered our visit here 4 years ago and the wonderful reception we had. When I saw that the weather was like, I certainly did not expect so many of you would come out, but the fact that you have indicates (1) you're a very hospitable people - and also it indicates that you're tremendously interested in the great issues of this campaign. [Cheers.]

And seeing what kind of a reception you've given us - both 4 years ago and this - I can understand why Bill Mazeroski decided to live out here. [Cheers.] You know, if we can only hit in the clinch like that - in the clutch - why, we'll do all right. Right? [Cheers.] (I've got a special rooting section right down here - I'm going to take them along.) [Cheers.]

As you know, those of you who have had the opportunity to listen to our debates, there have been a great many issues discussed in this campaign and always the problem of the candidate is to select those that particularly the people in an area would like to hear discussed. I would like to say today that certainly the one we discussed in our last debate is most important, the most important because we can have, you know, all the good things that we can possibly imagine on this earth and it isn't going to make any difference if we don't develop the policies that will keep the peace for America and that will keep it without surrender of our freedom throughout the world. [Cheers.]

I feel very deeply about this subject because I have had the experience of traveling all over the world; I've been to 55 countries; and I have seen those that threaten the peace of the world. I have seen them firsthand. I have seen them not only in the Kremlin, but I have seen them on the streets of Rangoon in Burma; I have seen them in Vietnam; I have seen them in Korea and Formosa; I have seen them in Latin America - all over the world I have seen those that are working unceasingly for the wrong as America stands for the right. I know that this election is critical for that reason. I know that whoever is the next President of the United States is going to have to make some very, very [cheers] - some tremendously important decisions, decisions that will determine the future of the world as well as the future of our people. And it's for that reason that I speak so strongly to you today, speak to you in terms of what leadership will be required in these years ahead. And I want to tell you what it is.

We're going to have to be not only the strongest nation in the world militarily, not only the most productive nation in the world from the standpoint of our factories and our farms, but my friends, we're in addition to that going to have to have leadership which will not make mistakes when the chips are down. That is why we have been able to keep the peace for the last 7½ years; that's why President Eisenhower, over this period of time, when the great decisions had to be made, made them in a way that America has avoided war on the one side and surrender on the other. [Cheers.]

Now, Cabot Lodge my colleague, and I - as you know - have had the opportunity of being part of this administration; we have had the opportunity, in addition to that, of knowing those with whom we're going to have to deal. We've dealt with them; we've been across the conference table from them. And my friends, you know what we can do; you know what we will do. [Cheers.]

Also, in these past few weeks, you've had an opportunity to see what our opponent will do. And the question is not one of good intentions - everybody's intentions are good - we all want to keep the peace, we all want to avoid surrender, we all want to be sure that communism does not dominate the world * * * but my friends, good intentions are not enough. What you have to do is to have the firmness, you also have to have the ability, the judgment, the experience, which will deal with these problems effectively. In instance after instance, we've seen in these last few weeks - you have listened to these debates, as you've heard this campaign - that my opponent would make mistakes in the clutch, and this we cannot afford; this we cannot afford. [Cheers.]

Just let me give you an example. Suppose he had been at the Paris Conference, suppose he had been there and Mr. Khrushchev had come up to him (as he did to President Eisenhower) and said: "You apologize for those U-2 flights" (which the President ordered, as you know, to protect this country against surprise attack). He has indicated that he thinks the President of the United States could have done that. Let me tell you what would have happened if President Eisenhower had done that. It would have meant that Khrushchev, a man that I can tell you is ruthless, a man who in addition to that - the moment you give him an inch he takes not ust a mile but the whole world, it would have encouraged him to push more, to blackmail more; it would have been the wrong thing to do, not the right thing to do. [Cheers.]

And so it is down the line on issue after issue - we have this same problem. My friends, I say that in this critical period America has to have leadership which is firm, which is nonbelligerent, and that that kind of leadership can keep the peace, but we cannot and we need not take a chance on leaders who have indicated - certainly by their conduct and by what they would have done - that when these great decisions were made they would have decided another way, a way that would have not kept the peace as President Eisenhower has been able to keep it. And so that's the first point that I make.

The next one that I make is one that all of you will understand. We not only have to be strong in our diplomacy and strong as far as our military and economic strength is concerned, but my friends, we have to be strong in the ideals in which we believe. Let me tell you why that's important.

Too often we have a tendency to think that all that matters in this world in which we live is the great military strength that we have and that our opponents have, and the economic strength that we have as against theirs. This is important. But I can tell you this: in the long run what will decide whether we live in a world of peace and freedom or whether injustice and slavery, what will decide it is whether we believe in the right thing, whether our faith is stronger than theirs.

Let me tell you what I saw every place I was in the Soviet Union. Huge signs in the schools "Work for the Victory of Communism." Huge Signs in every factory "Work for the Victory of Communism." Huge signs on every billboard (not advertising anything) "Work for the Victory of Communism." And so these people - driven unmercifully by their leaders - are told "Work for the Victory of Communism." What does this mean? Not only there but all over the world, we find them working for the victory of communism. It's wrong, the world know it's wrong - once they know what communism is - but, my friends, the only answer to a false idea is the true idea; the only answer to a wrong idea is the right idea, and what we need is more faith in America than we've had before, we've got to quit thinking of America as being second rate in anything because we're not. [Cheers.]

We have to remember that our strength is the strength that came from our forefathers; it's the strength that came 180 years ago with the American Revolution; it's strength that is greater than missiles, and greater than productivity of factories; it's the faith that this country has in our God, in our ideals, in the belief that the rights that men and women have to freedom that we have in this country - that they belong not just to us but they belong to everybody in the world. This is why America means something in the world today. And if the next President of the United States can go into the great councils of the world and stand with the people united behind him - morally and spiritually strong - confident in their faith and their strength - my friends, we will build a world of peace, we will build a world of freedom, and that's what I ask - with my colleague, Cabot Ledge, for the opportunity to do. [Cheers.] This is the support that we ask of you today. [Cheers.]

And so, again, our appreciation for your kind attention. I can only add that I am proud, too, to be on the platform with my Republican colleagues, with Bill Batten, our congressional candidate, with our other State candidates. I commend them all to you, but let me say this: remember there is not one more important thing you will do this year than the vote you will cast on November 8. It will affect the peace of this world; it will affect the prices of the things you pay in the stores; it will affect the taxes you pay, because what our opponents would do would raise prices, raise taxes, and in my opinion would jeopardize the chances for peace to which I refer.

So if you believe this decision is important - and, believe me, it is - then I say don't just vote, but go out and work between now and election day as you never have before. Work for the victory, not just of a party and not just of a man, but work for the victory of the ideals in which you believe, and that will be right.

Thank you very much. [Cheers and applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Greensburg, PA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project