Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Vice President Nixon, New Haven Green, New Haven, CT

October 17, 1960

Senator Bush, all of the distinguished guests here on this platform, and our friends here in New Haven, I want to say first of all what a very great privilege it is for my wife, Pat, and me to be here and to have such a beautiful day and a wonderful welcome from you. [Cheers.] I want you to know, too, that we're very happy to have here those people who are our supporters. I'm also glad to see that there are some signs for my opponent. We want some people to convert. We're glad you came here too. [Cheers.] You know it's a funny thing. I saw some of the fellows carrying those signs. They looked like the same ones that were carrying Stevenson signs 4 years ago. [Cheers.] You know by this time I thought they would have

graduated. [Cheers.] Incidentally, I pay these guys. I bring them around with me just to get that line in. [Laughter.]

First of all, I want to say that the welcome that we have received we realize is one that comes not simply in the capacity of the candidate of the party that I represent because all of you are vitally interested in the problems of our country and for that reason, whatever we may be, Republicans, Democrats, or independents, we want to hear one of the candidates. For that I deeply appreciate your being here.

The second thing that I would like to say is this day in Connecticut is a very exciting one for us because it begins the third week before the end of the campaign. And for all of those who are here, I assume that there are some from Yale University [cheers] and the other schools here, all of those of you who are going into politics I want to give you a little advice. Remember the campaign begins in the last 3 weeks because this is the period when people get more interested, this is the period when they make up their minds. You'll find more undecided voters deciding then than ever before. That's why I was so glad that our campaign in Connecticut came on the beginning of this last third week because we've had magnificent crowds in Hartford and now here. This is a great inspiration and we thank you for coming.

I want to say, too, that the opportunity to be here again on the platform with our friends who are running for the House of Representatives is one that I have looked forward to and that I want to make special reference to.

Tony Sadlak, of course, who has been Congressman at large for so many years and will be back as Congressman at large. I'm glad to see Tony. [Cheers and applause.]

Seeley-Brown from the Second District. We're going to have him back. And then, of course, Al Cretella from this district.


Now I'm going to make a campaign promise. It's going to be awfully hard to keep. But Al Cretella about twice a year comes down to my office in Washington and brings me a hat. He tells me that the hatmakers up here in Connecticut believe that at least the top officials of this Government ought to wear a hat. The reason I don't wear a hat is I leave them in airplanes, in cars, and every place. But I promise to Al when we win this election I will wear a hat if you'll bring me another one. [Laughter.]

Now, if I could add one other personal note. I have just noted here and I particularly want to refer to Jim Patterson, our other Congressman. He's got his group right over here. The reason I feel so strongly about Jim and most of these other fellows is that we came to the Congress together in 1946. These are fine men and I want you to know that when you vote for a President of the United States, it is essential also to give him the support in the House of Representatives that he needs. We have a splendid group from Connecticut and I commend them all to you with my whole heart as I speak to you today. [Applause.]

Now, on an occasion like this, there is always the problem that the candidate has to determine those particular issues that will be of greatest interest to the people. There is always the problem of selecting those particular issues in the meeting of this sort where you're standing and where we have not too much time that will be of greatest interest to everybody concerned.

I have found in traveling around the country, whether we go north, east, or west, or south, that there is one issue that the American people are more concerned about than all the rest. The people of this country, of course, want a Government under which we can have jobs at high wages. We want a Government in which, as I noted one of the signs here, we can have our taxes within reason and our prices not skyrocketing. We want a Government in which we can have good medical care, and better schools, better housing. All of these things Americans want. But we also want, above everything else, to be around to enjoy the good things that we produce.

In other words, the major issue that I find unites Americans, whether you're in Hawaii, or in Maine, and this is the 46th that I have visited already in this campaign, the major issue is this: It is that the American people realize that the most important qualification of the next President and the Vice President of the United States must be, is he qualified by experience, by judgment, by background, to keep the peace, to keep it without surrender of principle or territory. This is the great issue of this campaign. [Cheers.]

I want to talk to that issue. I want to relate your other problems to it and I want to do it as concisely as I can.

First, you must examine me and my colleague Cabot Lodge. You must examine our opponents on the basis of our records. On this issue Cabot Lodge and I are part of the Eisenhower foreign policy record. [Cheers and applause.] For 7½ years we have sat in the Security Council; we have sat in the Cabinet. We have had the opportunity to participate in the great decisions and discussions on Quemoy and Matsu and Lebanon and others. So, therefore, you must judge us by this record.

Now I know that there are those here who approve that record. I know there are those who criticize as does my opponent. [Cheers.] Let's get one thing clear. All the criticism in the world of the Eisenhower record in the field of foreign policy isn't going to fool the American people because they know what it is and they like it. [Cheers.] They know that in 1953 when Eisenhower became President we were in a war. They know that in these last 7½ years we got this Nation out of one war, we've kept her out of others, and we do have peace without surrender today [cheers] and they want to continue that kind of leadership. [Applause.]

Of course that's past. There are those who say well, now, just a minute, Mr. Nixon, what about the fact that American prestige has been slipping. What about the fact that we have become second rate in education, and second rate in science and all those other things? What about these criticisms. I want to tell you what the answer is. As a matter of fact, I think I can sum up the criticism best in some exact words of my opponent and I will quote him from a speech he made in New York a couple of weeks ago. I'll quote him exactly without notes. [Cheers.] This is what he said.

He said, "I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing. I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Castro is doing. I want to be able to read in the paper what the President of the United States is doing." [Cheers.]

Well, just let me say this. If he would stop talking and start reading, he'd find out what President Eisenhower has been doing. [Cheers.]

Now he hasn't been doing some of the things that Mr. Kennedy wants him to do. For example, he didn't apologize or express regrets to Khrushchev for defending the security of the United States. [Cheers.] He also did not draw a line in the Pacific and invite Communist attack in the Quemoy-Matsu thing and as a result we have kept peace and we've kept it without surrender in the Pacific and we're going to continue to. [Cheers.]

And also he hasn't been doing some of the things Mr. Khrushchev has been doing. He hasn't been making a fool of himself in the United Nations and we don't want him to. [Cheers.] He hasn't been trying to muscle into the Congo unilaterally as has Mr. Khrushchev. President Eisenhower has done what all Americans want him to do. He has supported the United Nations. He has worked to see that this new country and all others can retain its independence and this all Americans are proud of. Yes; he has worked for disarmament but not a phony disarmament because this Nation must never disarm until we get absolute assurance that those who threaten the peace of the world, as we do not, are also disarming at the same time. And all Americans support the President in that I'm sure. [Cheers and applause.] So much for that record.

What can you expect from my colleague and me? Here, again, not only do you know our record but you know something about the men. We both know Mr. Khrushchev. We've had the opportunity of sitting down at the conference table with him. We have had the opportunity to know how to handle his insults and his boasts. I know that there are criticisms of how we've both done it. I won't say anything about my own record but I can about my running mate's in this respect. And I will say that I don't know of any man in the world today who has had more experience or who could have done a better job of fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than our candidate for Vice President at the United Nations, Henry Cabot Lodge. [Cheers and applause.]

Now why is this important? Because in our administration we shall be a team. We shall work, as I indicated in my speech in Los Angeles last week, to strengthen the United Nations, to strengthen the Organization of American States, to develop new instruments of peace and instruments of freedom which will do that. Which will extend freedom throughout the world, not just hold the line, but extend it. And this is a time and a job that requires not only the devotion of the President, not only the leadership of the President, but it requires also the full cooperation of a vice presidential candidate who is experienced, who knows, who understands what peace demands. And I say that on this score you know what Cabot Lodge and I will do. And we submit our record and we're proud of it in this respect as we come to the American people. [Applause.]

Now what do yon know we will do Because we know Mr. Khrushchev, because we know the men that threaten the peace of the world, we will first be sure that America is always the strongest Nation in the world militarily. Now America, despite what you have heard to the contrary, is the strongest Nation today and its' going to continue to stay it under our leadership. [Cheers and applause.]

Why do we have to have this strength? Some of my friends who have a great concern for peace, as everybody in this audience does, say Mr. Nixon, when you speak about a strong America militarily, when you speak about building up our strength, isn't that the antithesis of peace?

And my friends, when you're dealing with dictators whose objective is to conquer the world by any means if necessary, including war, one of the principles of peace is that you must have more strength than they have. So those of us who stand for strength, those of us who will lead the American people to keep this strength, I say this is the way to peace and not the way to war.

Second point. With that military strength we must combine it with firmness at the diplomatic table. And here again there are

well-intentioned people, people who suggest couldn't we get along better with the Communists if we were to make a concession here and there. Wouldn't have Mr. Khrushchev, for example, liked us a little better and maybe he would have gone on with the conference in Paris if President Eisenhower had regretted those incidents.

The answer is no. The answer is that Khrushchev and the Communists, and never forget this, do not react like Mr. Adenauer. They don't act like Mr. De Gaulle, or Mr. Macmillan, or Mr. Nehru. These men are men who are fanatical, ruthless; people who have only one ambition and that is our destruction. And, therefore, to keep the peace of the world we not only have to be strong, we have to be firm. We must never make a concession without getting one in return. That is why I say that America today must continue the firmness that we have, no belligerence. That means that we don't want to answer insult with insult. It means, however, that we stand firmly for the right, as he does for the wrong. It means that we must never make the mistake, for example, of surrendering territory at the point of a gun with the hope that it will bring peace because the record of dealing with dictators, whether its Hitler or whether it's Mao Tse-tung or whether it's Khrushchev is that when you surrender territory or even suggest it, it does not bring peace; it only encourages them to ask for more.

So I say America must continue the kind of firmness we've had and Cabot Lodge and I will do that and you know it. That's why we believe we deserve the support of the American people. [Cheers.]

Now let me come to the key point. If we have this firmness, if we have this military strength, we still then, you must remember, have only a stalemate, a stalemate in which we are strong and our strength restrains those who would threaten the peace of the world. For 7½ years we have been able to hold our position. But, my friends, in the years ahead that will not be enough because the world is changing, because we move into a new phase. We've already been in it. But we're moving into an intensified phase of it in which the enemies of freedom are attempting to extend their domination of the world without war, by nonmilitary means. Let me describe it in a word.

I remember when Khrushchev saw me in Moscow he said, "Mr. Nixon, we do not have to win the world by war. We're going to win it without war. We're going to beat you economically." He said, "I realize that we're behind you now economically but," he said, "you know something? We're moving faster than you are. Our system is better than yours is. We're going to pass you in about 7 years. You know what I'm going to do when we go by? I'm going to wave and say come along, follow us. Do as I do or you're going to fall hopelessly behind."

So there is the challenge. He has made it over and over again when he was in the United States. And I want to tell you what the answer of America is to the challenge. The answer: Mr. Khrushchev, the Communists will never pass us provided we remain true to the principles that have made America the strongest Nation in the world today economically. This we must always remember. [Cheers and applause.]

Let me spell that out if I could for a moment. You've been hearing that the United States is standing still economically for the last 7½ years. All that I can say, my friends, that anybody that says the United States has been standing still hasn't been traveling through the United States; he's been traveling through some other country. I can assure you of that. [Cheers.] Because as we move through America, we have found more progress, more houses built, more schools built, better jobs, more increase in real wages in these 7 years than in any period in history and infinitely more in the 7 years that we left behind. I say the American people do not want to go back to the policies we left economically 7 years ago. We want to build on the policies we presently have which will build a greater America. Let's take an example.

New Haven is famous throughout the country because you have a great number of urban renewal projects. You hear about these renewal projects. Let me say this. Twice as many have been built in this administration as in its predecessor. So if you want to move America forward, the way to do is not to go back to the retread policies that my opponent offers, but to go forward with the new leadership that we offer for America in the economic field which will build America. [Cheers.]

How do our policies differ from theirs? I can explain it in a nutshell. They say that the way to progress in every instance is to go to the Federal Government, turn over the problem to them. They lack confidence in individuals. They lack confidence in the States and local government. But they say Washington will do it. There's one catch. In order for Washington to do it they say turn over your money to the Federal Government. And let me say this. The reason that their programs will not work is that by putting this emphasis on what Washington does, they discourage what individuals do.

And, my friends, the way to progress in America is not to do as they do: start at the Federal Government and work down to the people. The way to progress is to do as we do and that's to start with 180 million free Americans and work up to the Federal Government. [Cheers.] And it's because our policies will stimulate individual enterprise, because it will produce more jobs. It is for these reasons that we will produce the progress that they talk about but that we have always performed about.

So in this instance we say keep ahead, but the way to keep ahead is to turn our way and not theirs.

Now the last point that I would make is the most important of all. I make it particularly because there are a great number of students here. I make it because the legacy that you have is one that you must carry forward because this struggle is one that will not be ended even in my time. You will carry it forward in yours. And America must have the maturity, it must have the stamina, and its young people must, above everything else, have the vision and the dedication and the faith that will outlast and

outwork the enemies of freedom. Let me tell you what I'm talking about. I mentioned economic strength. I mentioned military strength. I mentioned diplomatic firmness. My friends, what will decide this struggle for the world will not be this kind of strength but the strength of our ideals. And in that connection let me tell you what happened when I was in Poland with my wife a year ago.

I remember the crowds in the streets - a quarter of a million of them. I remember that there had been no attempt of the government to get them out. In fact, there were attempts to discourage them. And yet here they were, cheering and shouting at the tops of their voices in a Communist country, "Niech Zyje America" - long live America. Here they were throwing flowers into our car. Here they were, as the car stopped I saw older people crying. I saw them with tears coming down their cheeks. Why? Not because America was strong militarily. Not because America was strong economically. But because America stood for ideals and has always stood for ideals that have caught the imagination of the world. Our faith in God. Our belief in the dignity of all men. Our belief that the rights of men to freedom, to equality of opportunity comes from God, that they do not come from men and cannot be taken away by men. Our belief that every nation has a right to be independent. These are the things that America stands for. These are the ideals that the American President, and the American Vice President, and the American Secretary of State, must carry to all the world.

These ideals cannot come just from a President talking about them. They must come from the people of our country and they must come from the schools. The must come from the homes. They must come from the churches of America.

So I say to this great audience, whatever your political persuasion, keep the moral and spiritual strength of America strong. Keep our faith of our ideals strong. See that our young people recognize the tremendous vitality of this Nation and that America stands for something other than gross atheistic materialism. If you do that, we will win the struggle for the world and we will win it because we're on the right side.

So, my friends, this is our case. If you believe in it, if you believe that ours is the leadership that America needs, then go out and work for us, remembering that you're working not just for men, not just for party, but you're working for what is best for America and that is what we all want. Thank you. [Cheers; applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Nixon, New Haven Green, New Haven, CT Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project