Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Tolono, IL

October 28, 1960

Thank you very much. Well, this is a very unexpected pleasure for Pat and me to see this crowd here. As you know, our train is stopping to switch to the Illinois Central here, and there was no rally planned. They said, "Well, there might be a few people out who knew we were going to do this," and now look at this.

Say, how many of you got out of school this morning? Well, in any event, we want to tell all of you that we do appreciate your coming, giving us such a wonderful welcome as we travel through Illinois, and also we do want you to know that when we see a crowd like this, of people who came just because they wanted to, who weren't urged to or anything of that sort, we just know how tremendously interested you are in your Government and the problems that we will be confronting in the years ahead.

I want to say there is nothing that gives my wife, Pat, and me more of a sense of responsibility than to see a crowd like this made up of people from all walks of life, but particularly a crowd that has some of our younger citizens in it. We naturally have a tendency to feel that way because, as you know, we have a couple of young daughters, one 12 and one 14.

Incidentally, yesterday, as we were traveling through Muskegon, one teenager called out to me and he says, "I want a date with Tricia."

Well, she's too young to date, we think. Of course, the 14-year-olds won't agree with that, but I think so.

But, certainly, as we see all these people, we realize that the main responsibility of whoever is President is to see that our children have a chance to grow up in a world of peace, with freedom, as we have had under Dwight Eisenhower for the last 7 years.

We want you to know, too, that, as we think of all these people who are here, that we recognize the fact that the problems we have in this country are difficult. I have been through them. I have been in 55 countries. I have been in Russia, in Poland, behind the Iron Curtain. I have been in India, in Afghanistan, in all of the nations you have been reading about in social studies, incidentally, down here, and I know that we're living in a changing world where a mistake, a mistake which might be perfectly well intentioned, from inexperience could plunge this Nation into war or which could also lead to surrender of principle or territory for the United States.

I'm not telling you that no mistakes will be made if Cabot Lodge and I are elected. I do tell you this: We've been through the fire. We've sat opposite Khrushchev at the conference table. We've learned that the only way to keep the peace in dealing with a dictator is to let him know well in advance that America will not be pushed around any place in the world.

Now, some of my friends might say, "Well, now, Mr. Nixon, how can you say that? Isn't that sort of belligerent talk? Wouldn't it be better, for example, to say - not that we won't be pushed around, but maybe we'll compromise here and there. Why don't we let Mr. Khrushchev have his part of the world, where the Poles and the Hungarians and the others live, if he will just leave us alone?"

First of all, may I say, anything that he would agree to, that it wouldn't be kept, beyond that, we've got to remember that America owes to all the people of the world never to write off people who want to be free any place in the world.

This is what we believe in. This is what America came into the world to preserve, and it's what we will always stand for, I can assure you. And others will say, "Now, after all, wouldn't it be better if, to avoid war, you would surrender this area or that area or abandon it to the Communists?"

Let me just say this: My friends, we have learned in dealing with dictators that that kind of talk, that kind of action, doesn't lead to peace; it leads to war. I will tell why. The moment a dictator learns that you're going to turn something over, the moment that he learns that he can blackmail you, the inevitable result is that he will push you, and he'll eventually push you to the point that you have to fight. And so what do you do? You let him know, very, very soon that this kind of action won't pay.

Let me put it another way: You know, I know all of you children here, like mine, see a lot of these programs - "77 Sunset Strip" - anybody seen that one? And all the others, for example, the Westerns, my girls like "Maverick" and things like that. Haven't you heard in those programs often the sheriff or the detective use the term: Crime doesn't pay? We've got to make crime so that it doesn't pay. You ask your chief of police here in this town - what's the greatest, you ask him - I don't mean when he drags you in and you see him, you know you ask him what keeps a criminal or somebody who might be a criminal from being one. You know what he'll tell you? He'll say, you've got to make him know that crime doesn't pay, and that's true in dealing between nations. The men like Khrushchev and the rest want to conquer the world. They want to do something that's wrong, because nobody should impose his rule on anybody else, and, so, the only way that we can keep him from doing the things that would result in war is to let him know in advance that international crime won't pay.

How did Korea happen? Many of you know of the Korean war. I imagine in here are some mothers who lost sons in that war. Korea happened because the dictators of Communist China thought that crime might pay, that they could walk in and get Korea and that we wouldn't react. If we had let them know in advance that America was not going to be pushed around there, they would not have moved, and that's what I am talking about.

And, so, I say to you, we know, my friend, Cabot Lodge, and I, what peace demands. We will never be belligerent. We're always going to be willing to go the extra mile to negotiate disarmament or anything, but we're never going to fall into the fatal error of what has got us in war in the past and that is let dictators think that we will not react.

So, this is the way to peace, and I want you to know that we will have no greater obligation than to keep the peace for ourselves, for our children, and also to see to it that our children have an opportunity to grow up and have a better life even than we've had.

And in that connection, every young person has a right to an education. Every person in this whole country - we want him to have a right to get a job, if he's willing to work. We also want to see that in this country of ours, that we progress in every field, but that progress is going to come, my friends, again in the American way, not in the way which says that individuals can't do things, but in the way in which Americans are inspired and are given the opportunity to do their best for their country.

This is what made America. This is the kind of spirit that I hope every young person here has. Remember, every one of you can go to the top, if you want to, the top in any field that you want to. This means if you have that kind of spirit that America is going to be a country that will always progress.

And, so, with that, I want to say again what a privilege it is to see you. I want to thank you for coming out, and I can assure you that Cabot Lodge and I and these candidates who have been introduced here at the State level, that we know what you want.

We know the kind of government you want, and we're going to do our level best to give you the kind of government that Americans want, regardless of what your party may be.

Thank you.

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