Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Arriving at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls, Montana

September 16, 1964

Mayor Erdmann and my Montana friend:

This is a bountiful and spacious State. But you have known the ravages as well as the rewards of nature. On June 9th I declared a "major disaster" caused by floods in northwestern Montana and allocated $2 million for disaster relief. Today I have approved another $4½ million to finish the job of reconstruction and rebuilding this great State.

We are now on our way to Canada to proclaim a treaty which will make possible the construction of the Libby Dam--bringing jobs and power and recreation to your State. Neither the treaty nor dam would be a reality if it were not for the work of your representatives of both parties in the Congress. I want to congratulate the people of this great section of the United States for the quality of the public servants they select.

I am happy to have been honored at the steps, when I descended from the plane, by many of your great Governors who will be introduced a little later. I came out with some of the leaders of your Nation in the plane--your own beloved Senators Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf.

I have come here today to make a report. This has been the greatest conservation Congress in the history of the United States. This has not been a partisan or a sectional work. It has been the achievement of farsighted men of every party and of every section, and your children will thank you for making that investment in their future.

Your State was once a remote and distant place. Today it is only hours away from Washington. We had breakfast in your Nation's Capital. We will lunch in our neighboring country of Canada.

The resources of Montana underlie the strength of America. The military might of Montana is a bulwark of the defense of freedom, and we must never forget that it is only minutes away from the missiles of our adversaries. Montana, thus, today is a vital link in a united country in a very shrinking world.

Everything we hope for, the greatness of America, the hope for peace, depends upon common partnership in common purpose.

When Captain Lewis first saw the Great Falls of Montana, he reported that in a few days he was attacked by a grizzly bear, a mountain lion, three buffalo bulls, and he woke up the next morning staring at a rattlesnake.

Those were truly impressive dangers, but today the people of Montana and the people of the world face far more towering threats. You live in the midst of the power that could destroy the entire world.

So let us work together so the day need never come when your peaceful soil must send forth instruments of destruction and death to the millions of human beings.

I know that this peace is your dearest wish. We will always keep our hand out and our guard up. As long as I am privileged to be a part of the leadership of this country, I want you to know that peace will be my fixed star. It will be my first objective, as it is your first goal.

Thank you for this warm welcome on this wonderful day under this great sky. May God bless each of you.

Note: The President spoke in midmorning at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls, Mont. His opening words referred to Mayor Marion S. Erdmann of Great Falls.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Arriving at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Great Falls, Montana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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