Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Amending the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945

March 13, 1968

Chairman Linder, Members of Congress, ladies and gentlemen:

Like a girl getting married, the Export-Import Bank is legally changing its name this morning. It used to be known as the Export-Import Bank of Washington. From now on it becomes the Export-Import Bank of the United States of America.

The change of the Bank's name is both symbolic and real. It will play a larger role in a cause of national importance that touches every citizen and will help increase the flow of exports and improve our balance of payments position, I hope.

The strength of our dollar, the soundness of the free world monetary system, really depend on the strength of that position.

Last year our balance of payments deficit reached $3 billion 600 million, the highest since 1960. To correct this requires an urgent and a concerted effort by all of us. Each of us can be blamed for it. But to correct it, all of us must make proper efforts--the business community, the leaders of labor, the leaders of the executive branch of the Government, the Congress of the United States, and finally, the public.

Unless we act now--and unless we act soon--we run a very grave and very unnecessary risk.

We have the responsibility today for world economic leadership. But we must exercise that responsibility. I think it is very essential to the national interest that we pass a tax bill now--that we move forward on the rest of the balance of payments program that we have recommended.

If we have not recommended all of the things that you would like to see considered, I would be glad to have recommendations from anyone else. But they need attention.

The law that I will shortly sign is a part of our total balance of payments program as we see it. This measure will enable a great institution--under a great Chairman--that has already done much for our country, to do even more, I think. I hope it does more.

So today we have come here to the Fish Room to give the Export-Import Bank some of the financial horsepower that it very desperately needs in order to carry out that important job.

I am going to ask every official in this Government--the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Agriculture, and all the other leaders-to concentrate their efforts on trying to stimulate our exports and to work in close cooperation with this bank and the authority that the Congress has wisely entrusted to it.

The Bank is now 34 years old--perhaps a little old for a girl to be changing her name. But sometimes they do--even at that age. It is better late than never.

I wish for her a very long, very happy, and very productive life.

Note: The President spoke at 11:51 a.m. in the Fish Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Harold F. Linder, President and Chairman, Export-Import Bank of the United States.

As enacted, the bill (S. 1155) is Public Law 90267 (82 Stat. 47).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Amending the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives