John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Communications Satellite Act

August 31, 1962

I am today signing H.R. 11040, the Communications Satellite Act of 1962.

By enacting this legislation, Congress has taken a step of historic importance. It promises significant benefits to our own people and to the entire world. Its purpose is to establish a commercial communications system utilizing space satellites which will serve our needs and those of other countries and contribute to world peace and understanding. This objective is to be accomplished through the joint efforts of private individuals and concerns, and agencies of the Federal Government.

The satellite corporation authorized by the act will establish and operate the United States portion of the new communications system. In a few days I will send to the Senate for confirmation a list of the incorporators of this enterprise.

The statute provides many safeguards to protect the public interest. No single company or group will have the power to dominate the corporation. The general public, the communications industry, and the Federal Government all will have a voice. All will contribute their resources and all may reasonably hope to benefit. In this way, the vigor of our competitive free enterprise system will be effectively used in a challenging new activity on the frontier of space.

The benefits which a satellite system should make possible within a few years will stem largely from a vastly increased capacity to exchange information cheaply and reliably with all parts of the world by telephone, telegraph, radio, and television. The ultimate result will be to encourage and facilitate world trade, education, entertainment, and many kinds of professional, political, and personal discourse which are essential to healthy human relationships and international understanding.

Better and less expensive communications, like better and less expensive transportation, are vital elements in the march of civilization. This legislation will, by advancing the peaceful and productive use of space, help to accelerate that march, and I extend appreciation to the Members of Congress who worked so hard to secure passage of a very effective piece of legislation.

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. in his office at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 11040 is Public Law 87-624 (76 Stat. 419).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing the Communications Satellite Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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