Remarks of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, National Telethon, ABC Network, Southfield, MI
Vice President NIXON. Good afternoon to everybody in the East, in the Midwest, in the South, and good morning to those who are still on Pacific time in California and the West.
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to visit with you through this telethon. I realize that many of you have favorite programs at this time, but it seemed that this was an opportunity which we could not miss to allow, for the first time in the history of American politics, the American people to question a candidate for the Presidency; and consequently we have scheduled 4 hours of telethon today, as you probably have been told by your announcer. I will not go into the details. I understand that they will indicate to you where you can call and how you can get your questions in to our moderators so they will be asked of me during the course of the program.
I would like to say a word with regard to what I've been doing the last few days. I suppose, of course, you've been reading about it, but I would say, first of all, that this has been and will be the busiest last day of campaigning of any campaign in America's political history.
I flew down from Alaska last night - in fact, we flew all night - and we started this morning with a meeting in Madison, Wis. I just returned from a great meeting here in Detroit at the Ford Auditorium, with a tremendous overflow crowd and a downtown motorcade.
And after we finish this 4-hour telethon, I'm going to fly to Chicago to appear there on the final election eve broadcast. On that broadcast, incidentally, I will appear with President Eisenhower and with Cabot Lodge, and I think our families also will be present on that broadcast.
Then after that, the day is still not over. We will fly on out to California and we'll be welcomed there with a torchlight parade at the Ontario, Calif. Airport. So you can see it has been a rather busy day.
I also would like to tell you just a word about the intensity of the campaign itself. When I visited Alaska and spoke there yesterday, this was, in a real sense, a historic occasion. This is the first time in the history of the United States that any candidate, either Republican or Democrat, has visited all the 50 states. Of course, President Eisenhower couldn't have done that because there were only 48 States when he ran in 1952 and 1956. But this year I have visited all 50, and I am the only candidate of the two running who has done so.
It's been a great experience, an experience that I will never regret because it gives an opportunity to a candidate to see all of the States of this country, to know the problems of the Nation, and then be able better to understand those problems.
As I have traveled through the country, incidentally, I find that our people are much more united on the views that they have with regard to what leadership they want in Washington than you would imagine. Normally, you know, we think that people in the North think differently than people from the South and the East and the West and so forth, that we are rather sectionalminded. But I find, for example, whether it is in Hawaii or in Maine, people are concerned about such issues as the peace of the world, how we keep the peace, how we extend freedom, extend it without war. I find that's true North, East, West, and South, that that is the overriding issue of the campaign.
I find also that, as far as our people are concerned, the interest in this campaign is perhaps higher than in any in which I have ever participated or any that I can recall in America's history, and I think this is good.
I think that certainly we always have bad government whenever it's government in which people do not participate - participate adequately.
And the fact that so many thousands of people - hundreds of thousands or, for that matter, millions of people have come out to see both me and Senator Kennedy I think is an indication that the American people have a real interest and concern about their Government, and the decision they make tomorrow will be a decision that they make rather than one that's been dictated by simply a party label or one that is dictated by some organization to which they belong. And that's the last point I make before we have the questions.
If there's one thing I can emphasize above everything else, it is that this is such an important election, since we are selecting not only the President of the United States but the leader of the free world, that it is vital, absolutely vital that we put America first rather than party first, that we put America first above every other consideration and that you, the voters of this country, think not in terms of, for example, the, party label I wear and you wear.
If you are a Republican and I'm a Republican, that isn't enough reason to vote for me, and the same is true of my opponent: If you are a Democrat and he is a Democrat, that isn't enough reason to vote for him. What we need is the best. man that either party can produce in these times.
And that is my message to you as we open this historic telethon. And now I am ready for the questions, and I think one of our moderators is ready to step into the set for the purpose of asking the questions.
QUESTION. This first one is a telegram from Ralph Miller. Incidentally, I feel it is obviously unnecessary to explain the detail of the procedure to you, but I think for the benefit of those at home and those who will be calling later, the moderator will read the question and then the question will be handed to you.
This is from Ralph Miller, in Carmi, Ind., and the question is:
Would you use a veto in the United Nations Security Council to prevent the admission of Red China to the U.N.?
Vice President NIXON. Well, to Mr. Ralph Miller, my answer to this question is that I certainly would use the veto in the Security Council under present circumstances.
Let me put it this way: We cannot say at this time that Communist China will never qualify for admission to the United Nations, but at this time it is engaging in acts which disqualify it from admission to this organization. For example, I think many of us forget often that the United Nations Charter has a specific provision indicating that it is an organization of peace-loving peoples.
Of course, some people will say, "Well, now, if that's the case, how did the Soviet Union get in?"
And the answer, of course, is they were charter members.
Now, Communist China simply can't qualify as a member of the United Nations as a peace-loving country. It can't qualify because it at the present time is in defiance of the United Nations in Korea. That is why our American boys are still tied down there.
It is in defiance of the United Nations in the Formosa Straits where it is, in effect, waging military action against a member of the United Nations.
We know the story of Tibet.
Well, taking one example that is very close to home, to people here in the United States, they still, violating all canons of international law, keep prisoners, civilians from the United States, and we've been negotiating with them for years, as a matter of fact, to get them to change their policies.
And so this is my answer: That until the Chinese Communist Government changes its policies, until it in effect cleanses itself of its present deficiencies, we could under no circumstances agree to its admission to the U.N.
And although I would be reluctant to use the veto, because America has never used it, I think that the principle is so important here that we would have to use it to keep a nation out that simply can't qualify as a peace-loving nation.
QUESTION. Thank you, sir. These first, by the way, are telegrams. I only mention that to indicate that the telephone messages haven't been compiled as yet.
This is from Mr. and Mrs. Earl V. Fisher, Monroe, La. Question
It is our considered opinion that Kennedy refused to buy Telethon time not because he does not have the money but because he would not have adequate time to retract his imprudent answers. Do you concur?
Vice President NIXON. Well, of course that's a rather leading question.
QUESTION. It certainly is.
Vice President NIXON. I don't know what was in his mind for not buying the telethon time, but I would only suggest that this is the first time I ever heard that Senator Kennedy didn't have the money to get what he wanted. I would suggest that's not the real reason.
QUESTION. No, I would imagine not.
This is from Chauncey Williams and Bradley A. Walker, Stamford, Conn.:
We have two questions which we consider basic to this Nation's future. In over 180 years our Nation has grown from a wilderness colony to the most powerful nation on the earth. We all know that this great demonstration has come from free men working together in freedom. This reflects the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, one of whom, Thomas Jefferson, said: "The best government is the least government."
Do you believe this is true? Also, do you believe that big government means small people?
Secondly, do you agree that President Eisenhower, having established himself as the world's leader of all nations and the hope of all mankind - would you be willing during these troubled times to appoint President Eisenhower as an adviser to your cabinet on international relations and as a world ambassador at large to assist your government in our international relations?
I am sure that we reflect the prayers and thoughts of millions of Americans in declaring yourself favorably on these questions.
QUESTION. It is quite a long one.
Vice President NIXON. Yes. That would require quite a long answer too, if I could adequately answer it in the time that we have.
Let me just touch the high points, because it does certainly deserve some response on these very key questions.
First I would say with regard to the quote from Thomas Jefferson that I'm very proud of the fact that the platform that my party adopted at Chicago is basically much closer to the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson than the platform which was adopted by the Democratic Party at Los Angeles.
Their platform went all the way toward centralized big government, toward having lack of good faith in individuals, toward weakening the States and weakening the responsibilities of local government.
It is my philosophy now, and it is the philosophy of our platform, that the Federal Government has great responsibilities, but that the closer you can keep government to the people, the better, and that wherever possible you should let individuals do for themselves rather than requiring government or having government move in.
QUESTION. This is from Dr. J. T. Denoski, Benton, Ill.
Explain why it would be dangerous to lower prevailing interest rates. Do big interest rates favor big money people as Kennedy says?
Vice President NIXON. Well, the problem of interest rates, of course, is one that is tremendously complicated and one that it is very easy to demagog on. For example, Senator Kennedy has said over and over again in this campaign that we should have low interest rates, but what does he mean, 3 percent, 2 percent, 1 percent?
When you carry it to its logical extreme, why have any interest rates at all, why not just let the people borrow money with no interest? You see what I mean?
In other words, interest is the cost of borrowing money, and that cost must vary according to how much money is in circulation, what the demand is, and if you get the Government, and I am speaking particularly now of the President of the United States, manipulating interest rates for political purposes, you will then find that the value of your money is going to go down.
Let me put it another way: Too often, I think, that when we are in government we talk in terms of these theoretical concepts and fail to illustrate, but think back a moment. You remember the Truman years. Up until 1951 Mr. Truman had the power to, in effect, manipulate interest rates through political control of the Federal Reserve System. Now when he exercised that power, and as he exercised it, the result was disastrous for the country, because that was one of the major factors in reducing the value of our dollar in that period. You remember.
In the period from 1945 to 1952, the 7 Truman years, the value of the dollar went down 50 percent. This was the cruelest thing that possibly could have been done to, particularly, people who lived on fixed incomes. I know, for example, people on pensions, on social security, as you must, who suffered terribly because their income stayed the same and yet the money, what their income would buy, went down. It was also cruel as far as the wage earner was concerned. For example, in the 7 Truman years we found that wages went up, but, on the other hand, we found that, as far as real income is concerned, the wage earner at the end of 7 years was no better than at the beginning, because prices went up just as much.
Now one of the reasons for this inflation, one of the reasons was the interest rates were manipulated and kept at artificially low levels. When you do that, that means that the money supply is increased beyond the point that it should be, and that means that you are going to have inflation.
The other reason, of course, was that. Mr. Truman had a policy of deficit spending - the Government spending more than it took in - and this also inflates the currency and reduces the value of your dollars; so just to summarize, I have taken a little more time on this because it is a very controversial issue and one that is difficult to understand. After all, I want to be elected just as Senator Kennedy does. If he says that he is for 3-percent interest rates, why wouldn't I say I was for 2 ? The reason I don't, I know it is bad for you, I know it is bad for the people particularly on fixed incomes; I know it is bad particularly for those who are wage earners who are trying to balance the family budget, and I can assure you that, as far as I can, as President of the United States, I am going to adopt the kind of policies that are sound and that will avoid inflating the dollars, and that means reducing the value of what you earn and what you are able to buy.
QUESTION. The next question is a telegram from Kenneth Plummer, R.F.D. 2, Casanovia, N.Y.:
If elected, will the policy of buying Cuban sugar at world or subsidized price be endorsed by you in 1901 ?
Vice President NIXON. This question, incidentally, reminds me of one of the benefits of this kind of a program, Lloyd. This word that you had a little difficulty with, Casanovia, that is one of those cities that I have never been in. I thought I had been in virtually every city in the United States, so this gives a chance to people who normally wouldn't get to some of our meetings to question and see the candidates in person.
Now, with regard to the buying of Cuban sugar, as you know, up until the time Castro began to adopt his anti-American policies, Cuban sugar was subsidized by about 2 cents a pound. The reason for that was we wanted to assure the United States having a constant sugar supply.
Now when Castro began his anti-American policies, and I mean by that his confiscation of our properties in that area, of the properties of our private individuals who are American citizens, and his very violent attacks on the President and on the American Government itself, the Congress very properly, at the instigation of the President, and upon his recommendation, took away this subsidy, so I would say briefly here that if Castro and/or whatever government succeeds him, changes its attitude, then we will change our attitude with regard to Cuban sugar, but as long as Castro takes the attitude that he does, of violent opposition to everything we stand for, I certainly don't want to have the American people paying 2 cents a pound extra for sugar in order to help a man who is really an enemy of the United States.
QUESTION. This is a telegram from Chauncey Williams and Bradley A. Walker, Stratford, Conn.
We have two questions which we consider basic to this Nation's future. In over 180 years our Nation has grown from a wilderness colony to the most powerful nation on the earth. We all know that this great demonstration has come from freemen working together in freedom. This reflects the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, one of whom, Thomas Jefferson, said: "The best government is the least government." Do you believe this is true? Also, do you believe that big government means small people? Secondly, do you agree that President Eisenhower, having established himself as the world's leader of all free nations and the hope of all mankind, would you be willing, during these troubled times, to appoint President Eisenhower as an adviser to your Cabinet on international relations and as a world ambassador at large to assist your government in our international relations? I am sure that we reflect the prayers and thoughts of millions of Americans in declaring yourself favorable on these questions.
Vice President NIXON. That is a question, incidentally, that we got on the previous part of the program, but which you very properly reread, because I didn't get to answer but about a third of it because of the time cutoff. I did answer the question with regard to Thomas Jefferson, and indicated I was proud of the fact that my party represents the true principles of Thomas Jefferson as stated, that the best government is the least government, certainly in the broad sense; recognizing the fact that government has some very real and great responsibilities. Responsibilities, for example, in the field of national defense, responsibilities, for example, with regard to the economy, in putting, certainly, a floor as far as security is concerned, but no ceiling on opportunity.
If I might sum up in a few words, my general economic philosophy, but when we look at the problem of President Eisenhower, the second part of the question, I certainly believe that whoever is the next President should make use of President Eisenhower's tremendous popularity and his talents in the international field. He is a man of infinite good will. There are some men who have this almost mystical quality of being able to command when he goes to other countries an affection which simply exceeds our bounds, and I would say that it would be a very great mistake if President Eisenhower were not used to the full. I have discussed it with him. He will be available for some journeys abroad, particularly to the Iron Curtain countries. I have already discussed that, and he is willing to do that, and I would also think that his advice ought to be sought. I would seek it, and I would hope that if I did not win that my opponent would seek it, because he is one of the wisest men that we have in the world today, and he has been through so much experience that his advice would be extremely helpful in any international crisis.
Vice President NIXON. I just find, Cabot, I have a question for you. They just rushed it in here. It says: "On TV your children looked happy and very lovely. As a successful parent and future President" - wait, this isn't for you; this is for me - "please tell us how we can inspire our children with the important goals they can achieve."
I will answer that later. Let's see where the questions are for Cabot Lodge.
Let me ask you one. What do you find to be the issue that most concerns the American people at the present time as you travel in your campaign ? What issue above all the rest?
Mr. LODGE. What concerns people the most is peace. I think they are tremendously grateful for the fact that we have had no U.S. battle casualty since President Eisenhower brought the Korean war to an end.
Whenever I mention the fact that we have a United Nations force in the Congo, so that young Americans of military age today are not thinking about going to the Congo the way they were thinking about going to Korea in 1950, people always express great approval.
I think the people realize that the President of the United States has control over weapons which could devastate the earth, that he makes decisions which affect every human being in the world, and that they want a man who is mature, who is deliberate, who is contemplative, who is studious, and who approaches these questions never in a spirit of rashness or impulse or impetuousness.
That I think is what they want, and that is the feeling that I get from having campaigned vigorously all over this country.
Vice President NIXON. I find exactly the same thing as I have been traveling around the country. I, as you know, just completed 50 States, Alaska yesterday, and I couldn't agree more that that is the problem of greatest concern.
I find, too, however, that while our people want peace, they are most interested in not simply keeping the situation as it is, with this terrible threat and danger hanging over us. The people, in other words, want us to take the initiative; too, shall we say, encourage and to strengthen the instruments of peace, the instruments of freedom around the world.
And I know that you and I have discussed this, and as you know I intend to give you some responsibilities in this field.
I wonder if you would tell some of our listeners just briefly what you think we can do with regard to strengthening the United Nations and the American position generally in winning the peace and in removing the terrible danger of war which hangs over us at the present time.
Mr. LODGE. I think the people look to the U.S. Government not only to keep the peace and prevent the Communists from extending their power, but to lead the world up onto a high plateau, a new high ground, where the cold war will be behind us and where lasting peace will be established on a dependable basis, so the people won't be living their lives under the shadow of the fear of war all the time.
Now there are many ways to get at that, but certainly we must be stronger in America - militarily strong, economically strong, strong in making our democratic institutions work for the benefit of the people, strong in the example which we set to the world that we practice what we preach.
We can build up the power and the influence of the United Nations in many ways. Certainly one way is the administration of economic aid abroad on a multilateral international basis.
I think you could increase the number of United Nations guards, which could be very useful at trouble spots.
Then, I think what you have in mind, which is to given the Vice President the direction of the nonmilitary aspects of the world struggle, could put us in a position to get a quick position on matters involving many different Government departments. This in turn would enable us to take the initiative and put the Soviets on the defensive.
It would put us in a better position to get quick agreements with our allies, and generally to seize and to hold the initiative as long as the Soviet Union insists on forcing this cold war on us. I believe that eventually we are going to end this cold war, and we will end it through the power of our ideals, with our military and our economic strength, of course, always in the background.
Vice President NIXON. Well, I certainly couldn't agree more, and I have often said during the course of this campaign that it would be presumptuous for me to talk about my own qualifications as against my opponent. But I can certainly talk about my vice-presidential running mate.
To all of those who are viewing or listening in this audience, I believe you will agree that no one could have done a better job than Cabot Lodge has done for America in the last 7½ years, fighting for the cause of peace and freedom at the United Nations.
That's why I don't intend to let him be a Throttlebottom. That's why I intend to give him even more duties than President Eisenhower has given me, particularly in this international field.
Because I am confident that he, working just as much as he possibly can - on a full-time basis, at times, incidentally - will be able to negotiate to take the initiative, not just to keep things as they are, but to take the initiative to extend freedom and to strengthen the instruments of peace.
There's only one thing I would add in this respect. As we take this initiative, we must remember that we have a lot of people on our side. I have often said that when we consider our problems in the world, we sometimes overlook those factors that are favorable to our cause.
Sure, there are world leaders - the Communist leaders in Russia, the Communist leaders in China - who are determined to conquer the world by any means, if possible; by war, even, if necessary.
Now, on the other hand, we have to bear in mind that as far as the people are concerned - and I can speak certainly of the people of the Soviet Union, the people of Poland, two Communist countries that I have visited - there isn't any question but that they are on the side of peace. They want peace.
And we in America must be very careful always to identify the leaders and separate them from the people. The Russian people, in my opinion, are a peace-loving people.
I think that's one of the restraining influences, incidentally, on Mr. Khrushchev. One of the reasons why he cannot be even more belligerent than he is, is that his people do not want war; they do not want it under any circumstances. They have seen it, they have suffered from it. Every place I went in Russia I was very touched to have veterans of World War II come up and in some instances throw their arms around me and say, "We are for peace. We want friendship with America. We want friendship with all the world."
These are common citizens, ordinary citizens, not Communist leaders that I'm talking about. So it means something. It means that we, as far as our principles are concerned, are on the right side, because the people are on our side.
And, with this factor going for us, if we simply represent the ideals of people at their best, we can win this struggle - win it, and win it without war.
QUESTION. Mr. Vice President, I do have several questions for Mr. Lodge here.
Mrs. Charles A. Potter, 345 Roosevelt Place, Grosse Pointe 30, Mich.; housewife.
Isn't it true that the prestige of the United States was at its lowest in 1917, 1941, and 1950 when aggressors attacked the United States?
Mr. LODGE. I would say to Mrs. Potter that our prestige was very, very high on VJ Day. Then we had this hasty demobilization of the Army and the withdrawal of the Army from Europe, which I think everyone all recognizes to have been a great mistake, and the Soviets came in and filled up the gap, and that raised their prestige by that, amount.
Then, in 1949, the Soviet exploded the atomic bomb, which of course was a gain for them; and then in 1952 they developed the nuclear warhead.
Since then I think our prestige has been going up, partly because our military strength is known to be so great that it would inflict total devastation on any country that chose to attack us.
And then I think there is confidence that our word is good, that our motives are noble, and I think there's great respect for us.
There isn't any better place in the world to determine the prestige of the United States than the United Nations, where you have the representatives of all the governments of the world - carefully selected men, men with long experience in international politics - and it is an interesting fact that the United States has never been defeated in the United Nations.
It is an interesting fact that even on extremely delicate questions, like the complaints of Cuba, for example, or the RB-47 reconnaissance case, the Afro-Asian members of the council, the so-called neutralists, uncommitted countries, voted with us. That simply wouldn't be possible if our prestige was low.
Prestige and popularity are not the same thing. When the Communists foment a riot against one of our officials in some foreign country, it doesn't mean that our prestige is low. It means that the Communists don't like us. That's an entirely different thing.
You can easily avoid having the Communists do that if you follow the foreign policy which the Communists like, but of course in that case our opponents would accuse us of appeasing the Communists. So the question of popularity doesn't come into it.
A country as big and as strong as we are cannot expect to be loved, but it can expect to be respected - and we are greatly respected.
QUESTION. Mr. Vice President, I have a question from Mr. Dan Griffin in Flint, Mich. He identifies himself as a factory worker. His question is:
What will you do to try to avoid a depression?
Vice President NIXON. Well, let me say, first, to Mr. Griffin, that I think we ought to set the record straight about whether we are going to have a recession or a depression. When I was here in Detroit, just a few days ago, I was rather shocked to see a headline, a headline - when I was in Michigan, I should say, I was not in Detroit, I was in upper Michigan - I saw a headline to the effect that Senator Kennedy predicted a slump, and that later on he made a statement to the effect that he would consult or be willing to consult, if he was elected President, to consult with President Eisenhower as to how to handle this slump or recession if one should come. Now, that is a very roundabout way of reasoning on a very, very serious subject.
But in the very same paper in which he predicted a slump, there was another headline saying that new car sales were at an alltime high in the United States.
Now, my friends, you have a recession or a slump when? When people lose confidence in the economy, when they quit buying cars and refrigerators and everything else. When people have confidence, when they are buying, this means that you don't fear a recession. Somebody is wrong here. Either Senator Kennedy, who is predicting the slump, or millions of Americans who are buying more new cars than ever in history. Who are buying more, investing more, saving more than at any other time in history.
My answer to Mr. Griffin, one, is that there is not going to be a recession;
Two, no political candidate is going to talk this country into a recession. The people have confidence in it; and
Three, as far as I am concerned, I would use the full force of the Government, if we did have evidences of a business downturn, to fight this slump. We can't go into detail on it, but to fight it, fight it effectively, because I know what it means, I know what it means to families when they are out of work, I know what it means when families do not have enough income, and under no circumstances would I fail to use the fiscal powers of the Government, particularly the taxing powers and every other possible power to see to it that we did the necessary things that would avoid a slump in the United States.
I want to make it clear again to Mr. Griffin, we are talking about a theoretical recession. There is none now, and there isn't going to be one, in my opinion.
QUESTION: This is from Mr. Harry Lipper, Hollis, Long Island, N.Y.:
Will social security be increased in 1960-61 ?
Vice President NIXON. I don't know what Mr. Lipper means by being increased. I do know this, that I have a program, a program which I announced a few days ago as part of my campaign plan for extending social security coverage to approximately 2 million people not presently covered, and also to increase the benefits for certain categories, particularly widows, where there at present is an inequity in the system. As to whether or not there would be an increase in the benefits voted by the Congress, we could not say at this point.
I would say finally that certainly we should increase social security benefits as the economy continues to grow and as we have the funds available for that purpose, because all of us in this country want to see to it that, as we reach retirement age, we are able to live easily, and certainly I couldn't have a stronger feeling on that. That is why I am for extending the program to the 2 million not presently covered, and I want to say, incidentally, on that score my opponent has no program, for extending social security.
One other point I want to make on this score, John, social security is something that most Americans have investments in, and there is one thing that we all have to remember, and that is what would wreck social security, what would wreck pensions, what would wreck our futures is for the Government to break faith with the American people and allow the value of the dollar to go down as it did during the Truman years. I am not going to let that happen.
My opponent's program, unfortunately, of huge Government spending, of artificially paid low-interest rates will inevitably result in reducing the value of every social security check. I think this is wrong. I think this is cruel, that's why I oppose it.
QUESTION. This one is from Alfred Ball, Jr., Willow Grove, Pa. He says:
What is your stand as far as helping small businesses?
Vice President NIXON. To Mr. Ball I have announced a program for small business which, on a program of this type, wouldn't be possible to go into detail. Let me indicate, first, how I feel about the subject generally.
You know each of us in political life has certain, what you might call, pet ideas and assistance to small business is one idea that I have always had a strong feeling on, because I came from a small business. My father had a small grocery store, a general store and service station.
I think small business is the lifeblood of a free economy. I think it's essential that we do everything we can to see to it that small business isn't choked out.
There are several things that can be done. One, of course, you have to have fair but certainly effective enforcements of the antitrust laws so you do not have big business choking out small business.
Second, you have to have tag and credit policies by Government which will particularly enable small business to move forward.
Third, small business has got to get its fair share of Government contracts.
Fourth, I think it's essential, as far as small business is concerned, that we think of what we can do, what we can do generally to encourage our, people to invest their money in small business as well as the big businesses, and in this respect I have announced programs that I think will be effective on that score.
All in all, let me say this: Small business has fared extremely well in this administration. It is going to fare better in the next one, because we have a farsighted, aggressive program in this field. It's one that I could not have a deeper conviction on, because I believe, if our economy is going to continue to be free, if it's going to continue to grow, we have got to constantly feed in the lifeblood of the new ideas which only small business can adequately provide.
QUESTION. From Mr. or Mrs. Leon Chapin, 907 Davison, Tuscoma, Ala. She asks
Are you for or against the TVA ?
Vice President NIXON. Well, that's an easy question. I am for the TVA. I am for reclamation projects generally. I think the Federal Government has a responsibility to see to it that the vast resources of America are adequately developed. Now, that doesn't mean that the Federal Government does the whole job. Where the job can be done by private enterprise more efficiently, then it should be done by private enterprise. Where the best job can be done by State government more efficiently, then it should be done by State government. Where the Federal Government is the only instrumentality that is big enough to do the job, then it ought to do it.
TVA is a project of that type. I am not only for it, I voted for it, and I should point out, incidentally, that my opponent, coming as he does from New England, has consistently opposed the TVA and reclamation projects. He says he is for it now, and I take him at his word. Coming from the West, I am for reclamation, and we westerners have a very strong feeling about the responsibilities of the Federal Government to develop our national resources.
QUESTION. This one is from Dr. William R. Delzel, Stamford, Conn. It says:
Kennedy offers no help to retired and needy doctors because they do not have social security. Will your social security plan include aid to aged and needy physicians?
Vice President NIXON. I don't quite get the point of this question, but let me guess what the doctor means.
There are two plans for medical care for the aged. First is the Kennedy plan. The Kennedy plan provides that all people on social security who have social security will be required to buy compulsory health insurance. Now, the difficulty with that plan, however, is that it leaves out about 3 million people in this country who don't have social security. They get no protection at all. These are people over 65.
My plan for medical care for the aged covers all people, not just those on social security. It covers all people over 65. But it is not compulsory. It makes it possible for anybody, including Dr. Delzel or anybody else who wants health insurance, to get it, but it does not require him to have insurance against his will.
This is the American way to do it. I think it is a much more effective way. It's a broader program. We provide more benefits, and I'm particularly glad to get this question because there is no more vicious statement that's been made in this campaign by Senator Kennedy and some of his colleagues than that we oppose medical care for the aged.
It is they who have an inadequate program. They don't even take care of the 3 million people who in many instances need medical care, medical insurance after 65.
We have a program that covers everybody and covers it more adequately. And so I say we're for it and they're against it, if we want to put it in black and white.
QUESTION. The next question is from Samuel Funk, Illinois, and I believe the town is Hammond. He identifies himself as a farmer:
What will be done to get rid of the farm surpluses, to get the farmer out of the price squeeze that was due to the runaway inflation policy?
Vice President NIXON. First, we have already talked about inflation a lot on this program. And I have a program that will keep the dollar sound. It will not allow inflation.
If the farmer is concerned about the cost-price squeeze - and he certainly better be because it has been very rough on him - the one thing he must not do is to support my opponent, because his program inevitably has to lead to higher prices or higher taxes or both. You can't spend $15 billion a year more to pay off those promises that he's made all over the country without taking it out of somebody, and that means the American people.
Now, as far as the surpluses are concerned, I have a new program in this field, a program that I am confident will get the surpluses off the farmer's back and off the back of the market, and that means that farm income will move up.
What it will do: First of all, we are going to have a new program for disposal of foods abroad through the United Nations, and Cabot Lodge has worked with me on this program, and I think it will do a tremendous job in this field.
Secondly, we're having a new program for converting our grains to proteins, to foods, for example, that can be used in other forms and that at the present time cannot be disposed of.
For example, at the present time we have surpluses of wheat. We have surpluses of corn. The corn and wheat market are saturated.
On the other hand, if you convert the wheat and the corn into meat, canned meat, it may be that we can find markets for that. So this conversion program is one that will move very effectively on the surplus front.
I can't cover it all. I covered it in a major speech in Iowa. I only say this: I'm confident that my farm program will be one that will get rid of the surpluses. It is going to cost some money to do it, but it's far better to spend more money now getting rid of the surpluses and less later by letting them continue to hang over the market and hang over the taxpayer and hang over the farmer, because as long as these surpluses stay with us, it's going to keep farm income down. We've got to get rid of them, and that's why I have a crash program to do it.
QUESTION. This one is from Mrs. Zack, I believe, 1630 Hubbard, and it has a city, Livonia, no State:
Is it necessary to treat Castro as a little boy, and why?
Vice President NIXON. I will say that the question somewhat answers itself. Castro - let me say it in all fairness: The Cuban people needed a revolution. The Cuban people are wonderful people. You've been there, John. You know how wonderful they are.
The Cuban people have never had a decent government. They just have never had it. They never had an honest government in Cuba. And it was time that they had a revolution.
But the last thing they needed was a Communist-directed revolution, and that's what Castro has given them. And I'm confident that they will assert themselves and that they will get the progress with freedom which they deserve, and with honest government.
As far as Castro is concerned, we've got to treat him like a little boy because that's the way he's acting. But I think the Cuban people in their good time will see to it that they do get leadership which represents the true ideals of the Cuban revolution.
QUESTION. This one is from Mr. Hayes in, I believe, Howard, Calif.
If the Chinese try to take the offshore islands, will you oppose it with military force or do you have another way of handling it?
Vice President NIXON. My answer to that is that we must never make the mistake that was made in Korea, and that is to indicate in advance that we are not going to defend an area which is free.
The moment you do that, the Communists move in, because this is the way they always operate. Weakness invites attack with them.
So as far as the offshore islands is concerned, our policy - it is President Eisenhower's policy and it is my policy - is that at the present time it is clear that the Chinese Communists consider the offshore islands only a stepping stone to Formosa. We have a treaty with Formosa. We cannot keep our treaty with Formosa unless we also have the right to defend the offshore islands.
I think as long as we make it clear that we are not surrending the offshore islands, the Chinese Communists will not attempt to take them.
But if we once indicate that we are changing our position, that we're vacillating, that we might change it, they will move in like that, and when they move, we have to move in.
This is from Mr. Charles Sunnona, in Detroit here:
How would you, Mr. Nixon, handle the unemployment in and around the Detroit area?
Vice President NIXON. Well, I can suggest one way to handle it, and that is to elect a new governor in Michigan.
One of the problems in Michigan is that you have a tremendously skilled labor force here. You have tremendous resources, plants, and the like.
But due to the kind of State government that you have which is one of the most disgraceful governments in the whole country, it's run business out of Michigan. It's discouraged business from coming into Michigan.
And by electing Paul Bagwell Governor of Michigan - and I say this to this national audience - I think that you are going to find that Michigan then will get its right share - rightful share of the new business which should come to Michigan with all of its skilled employees.
As far as the interim period is concerned, of course we have got - we must handle our unemployment insurance in a way that it will adequately cover all of those who are unemployed, and we must extend the system - and I have advocated this - extend the system to fill some of the loopholes that presently exist.
But the long-range solution is to get more business into Michigan so that you can provide the jobs.
QUESTION. This one is from Leo McFadden, 1722 Union Street, Kalamazoo:
Do you approve of the Negro sit-in demonstrations in the South?
Vice President NIXON. I have often answered that question, and I appreciate the opportunity to restate my views on this television program.
The objective of the sit-in demonstrations - that is, to require that there be no discrimination in the department stores and other stores between - as far as color or race is concerned - I think is one that all Americans who are devoted to constitutional principles would have to approve, and I approve them, certainly. In other words, let me explain it this way: I was talking to a friend of mine recently with regard to this problem, and he was telling me the problem that he ran into.
It happened that he was talking on the subject with his own children. He was a Negro. He said: You know, it's very, very difficult to explain to a Negro child at a certain time when he lives in the areas where there is this kind of discrimination - to tell him that he can go into a store and he can buy a package - a loaf of bread, but that he cannot sit at the counter and eat lunch or he has to stand.
Now, how do you explain that? How do you explain that when the President of the United States, for example, has Negroes for dinner at the White House?
It is wrong. It must be changed. And, consequently, we have to understand that those who engaged in the sit-in demonstrations had great provocation.
Now, as far as how we are going to handle the problem is concerned, I think there is an effective way to handle it, and that we're on the way. The Attorney General of the United States sat down recently with the heads of all of the chainstores operating in the Southern States, and they agreed voluntarily to change their policy.
This is the way to get action. This is far better than to try to get action through any kind of mob violence or anything of that sort.
And so, consequently, I think this is the kind of leadership we should have in the next administration, where we bring the people in that are involved in these situations and see to it that they recognize that it is their responsibility as American citizens not to practice prejudice and discrimination in matters of this type.
QUESTION. This is from Hadley Wine, 20011 Marlowe, Detroit, Mich.:
If you come into power, how will you get your program completed if there is a Democratic majority?
Vice President NIXON. Well, there is a very good answer to that, President Eisenhower has done very well with a Democratic majority for the last 6 years. The situation with regard to the Congress is very simply this: Congressmen, of course, are Democrats and Republicans, but they are Americans first, and where the country is concerned, I have found that Republicans and Democrats alike, when great issues are involved, will vote for those particular proposals that they believe are in the best interests of the country, and to the extent that a President., if I should be President, represents what is best for America, he will be able to get the support of Congress, whether it is Republican or Democrat.
QUESTION. This is from Mrs. T. Golvia, 16236 Burwood, Birmingham, Mich.:
You never had it so good. What do you intend to do about all the people out of work?
Vice President NIXON. Well, the answer to that, of course, is that in the United States we must continue to expand our economy so that the people out of work can get real jobs, and we have made tremendous progress in that particular area over the last 7½ years.
Now, this question obviously indicates that the questioner thinks that the situation today is bad, compared to what it was in the past. Let me point out something: In the 20 years before this administration came to power, we never had prosperity with peace at the same time. We always had, when we had a relatively high employment, it was either during wartime or as a result of war. I can spell it right out. In 1939, for example, after 7 years of the first administration, we, found that there were 9 million Americans unemployed, and it took the war preparation to bring us out; and then again in the Truman administration, we find that it took the Korean war to pull us out of what was then the recession of the 1949-50 period.
What we have done in the Eisenhower administration is that we have developed policies that have brought high employment but without war, and I can assure you that we are going to do everything we can to expand the economy, to continue to see that those Americans who want to work will be able to get work.
My last point is this: Look at the unemployment figures. They are going down every month. We find that they reached the level of three million three, just the other day, and I believe they are going to continue to go down with the kind of leadership we can give.
QUESTION. If I appear from time to time to indicate approval, it is because I do.
This is from Mrs. Don Robinson, 4440 Eastway Drive, Lansing, Mich.:
Who made the decision whether Mrs. Nixon would travel with her husband on the campaign or stay home with the children?
Vice President NIXON. Well, I can say that that is a very good question from Mrs. Robinson, and as is usually the case, our family is just like every other American family, we make those decisions jointly. There is no dictation in our family, and my wife is with me on this campaign because she always has. We, for example, started in 1946; you remember, Bob, you live out there in California, and in 1950 she traveled with me, and in the 1952 campaign and in the 1956 campaign. It is very difficult, I want to make it clear, it is a very hard decision to make, because we miss our girls, particularly in this age, 12 and 14, when they are growing up, and they have so much to tell us, so much that we would like to hear and like to share, but on the other hand, my wife feels that it is her responsibility, also, to contribute as much as she can to this campaign, and I can tell you that she is a great campaigner. You spoke a moment ago about how I was feeling and whether I was getting tired. I do get tired sometimes, and I get a cold, but I have never known in all our travels abroad and at home, my wife, Pat,, ever to get tired. She should be the one running rather than me.
She certainly has made, I think, a lasting and deep impression on the American public. She has certainly been magnificent through it all, and I think with the little knowledge I have of 12 and 14-year-old girls, I am sure they understand Mommy being away at this particular time.
QUESTION. This is from Mr. White, Warren, Mich.
What is your stand on the 32-hour workweek?
Vice President NIXON. Well, the 32-hour workweek just isn't a possibility at the present time. I made a speech back in the 1956 campaign when I indicated that as we went into the period of automation, that it was inevitable that the workweek was going to be reduced, that we could look forward to the time in America when we might have a 4-day week, but we can't have it now. We can't have it now for the reason that we find, that as far as automation is concerned, both because of the practices of business and labor, we do not have the efficiency yet developed to the point that reducing the workweek would not result in a reduction of production. The workweek can only be reduced at a time when reduction of the workweek will not reduce efficiency and will not reduce production.
Now, as we move into heavy automation, and this is going to take some statesmanship, may I say, on both the part of business and labor, you can't blame it all on labor, you can't blame it all on business, they both have to get together. The "make work featherbedding" has to go out, and some business' reactionary policies have to be changed, as well. This is one of the reasons why I intend, on an industry-by-industry basis, to have the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce work with the major industries in this country to see how we can hasten automation, because automation is going to make the difference as to whether we maintain our position in the world of leadership economically. As we hasten automation, the workweek can be reduced, but until we do, it cannot be.
QUESTION. From Mr. Vatz, 7703 Patton, Detroit, Mich.
Please comment on Mr. Kennedy's statement that we are using only 60 percent of our steel capacity.
Vice President NIXON. Well, my answer to that is that as far as steel capacity is concerned, that when we compare the steel capacity that we have today with what we had, say, 5 years ago, that that 60 percent is the production of more steel now than then. The question is not how much capacity you use. The question is whether you are producing enough steel to meet the demands of society. For example, when we get into all this argument about economic growth that we have been hearing about, people point to the fact that the Soviet Union is building more steel mills than we are, more railroads than we are. Well, of course, we already have our steel mills built, we already have our railroads built. This is no indication of relative progress.
Now, as far as steel is concerned, the rate at the present time, of 60 percent, is low for a variety of reasons; competition with other kinds of products which replace the steel that are in competition with it, also as a result of the steel strike, the heavy buying immediately afterward and now a dip in the production, but I will say this, as new car sales increase, and there is evidence that they are going to continue to go up, and that this will be the best year in history, steel production is going to go up, too.
QUESTION. From Mr. Eugene Pervis, 12132 North Martindale, Detroit, Mich., factory worker
What was the reason for voting as you did in breaking the tie on Federal aid to education?
Vice President NIXON. Well, that vote I would like to explain to Mr. Pervis and to our listeners, was a key vote, a key vote showing the difference in philosophy between Mr. Kennedy and myself. The bill for Federal aid to education that the President asked for would have provided funds for school construction.
Now, the Congress, the Senate in this instance, tried to adopt an amendment to the bill which would have had the Federal Government also directly subsidize teachers' salaries. Now, why shouldn't that be done? Well, let me tell you, first of all, it should be done if that is the proper way to get teachers' salaries up, because they should go up. Our teachers in many areas are inadequately paid. There is nothing more important than paying them what they need. You spoke of our two girls a moment ago. Their teachers spend a lot more time with them than we do, and I couldn't feel more strongly on the subject, but the difficulty is this: The moment that you have the Federal Government directly subsidizing our teachers throughout this country, you have, and you are inviting the Federal Government to control what the teachers teach. This we must not have, because the essence of freedom of education in this country is local control; so that is why my Federal aid to education program is one that limits the aid to school construction and operations, but how does that help to aid the teachers, you say? Well, obviously it is very clear. If we have a school district, and any school board member will understand this, it has a budget, a budget for construction, a budget for operation, a budget for salaries. If that particular district gets assistance on its budget for construction and operations, that relieves funds for teachers' salaries but, by keeping the Federal Government out of the business of directly subsidizing teachers' salaries, that means you leave the control of what is taught at the local level, and that is where it belongs. The moment you get the Federal Government controlling centrally what is taught in the United States, you are on the road, in my opinion, to the loss of freedom in this country. And that is why I voted against it.
QUESTION. Mr. James Rutledge, 928 Railroad, Lansing, Mich.:
What would you do about minimum wage laws?
Vice President NIXON. That's a very general question, and I don't know what exactly Mr. Rutledge is referring to. I would answer the question, hoping that I am hitting the point, and if it doesn't, if he will call back in, we will give this question priority.
I have answered the question by saying that I favor the raising of the minimum wage to $1.15. I also favor extending coverage to 3 million people not presently covered.
Now, let's look very practically at what happened in the last session of the Congress - this so-called Kennedy-Johnson session. They had a minimum wage bill in that session of the Congress. They rejected this bill, which could have passed, and they tried of course to get through a bill which would have extended coverage to more people and which would have raised the minimum to $1.15 this year and to $1.25 next year.
Now, let me say this. The question isn't whether I am against or for $1.15 or $1.25. After all, this is an election. As I said several times, I want to win. My opponent wants to win. Why don't I say, "Let's have a dollar and a half?" Why not a $2 minimum wage? Why not $5 ?
And here you get the basic economic principles. If you raise the minimum wage, in my opinion - and all the experts confirm this that I have talked to in the Government - above $1.15, it would mean unemployment; unemployment, because there are many industries that could not pay more than $1.15 without cutting down their work force; $1.15 can be absorbed, and then at a later time we could move to $1.25 as the economy moves up.
QUESTION. This is from Casper Ersburgs, Grace Lutheran Church, Albion, Mich.
What do you think the United States could do and should do to help the Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia, and the Lithuanian regions - regain the freedom they lost when President Roosevelt was trading favors with Stalin?
Vice President NIXON. I would say he is rather prejudiced on this particular point, and prejudiced in the right way.
What can we do with regard to these countries, so many of whose citizens live in the United States - former citizens, whose racial background and national background are from these countries - what we can do is limited by a factor that everybody will understand.
The United States. the free world, wants freedom for the captive countries. But we cannot become involved in a civil war - a revolution - in these countries. Why not? Because what it would do would be to destroy what remains of these countries and probably destroy the world in the process.
Now, what hope does this leave them? Through evolution - evolution; that means through peaceful change - we are confident that the peoples of the captive nations of Eastern Europe will eventually get the freedom that they want and that they deserve.
That's why I have advocated a program of having President Eisenhower as well as other former Presidents visit these countries, to keep the hope of freedom alive.
That's why, at the conference table, in dealing with Mr. Khrushchev, I would never agree to what he is constantly urging that we agree: that we draw a line through Europe and say that's his side of Europe, and they remain forever captive. The moment we do that, freedom is dead there.
What we have to do is constantly negotiate with Khrushchev to get him to take his iron control off of these countries, and I am confident that in the end this can be accomplished if we continue to stand as firmly forthright as he stands forthwrong.
QUESTION. From Joyce Herring, 925 Northwest Fourth Avenue, Homestead, Fla.; teacher:
Specifically, what kind of financial aid program do you have planned for helping top students through college who are not financially able?
Vice President NIXON. This is a good question, and I'm delighted to spell out my program here, because here again we have a basic difference in the approach my opponent takes and that I take.
First, let's begin with the principle. America cannot continue to waste the talents of able young Americans who have the ability to go to college but who can't go because they don't have the money. Now, what are we going to do about it?
I was talking to Father Hesburg of Notre Dame last February when I was there to receive the Notre Dame Americanism Award. He told me something that I found hard to believe, but this brings it home That over a hundred young men who were valedictorians of their high school classes applied for scholarships at Notre Dame last year that couldn't be taken in; they didn't have enough scholarships.
Now, what can we do about it? The easy answer is to say: Well, this is a problem that the Federal Government has to take over; we'll just have Federal scholarships and loans, period. But that wouldn't be the right answer.
And so I have a program that approaches it from three different standpoints.
1. We will have Federal scholarships for some students, too, who do not have the funds and could not borrow the funds or pay it back, and these would be the exceptionally good students.
2. We will have a program of loans for students who will want to borrow money and who would be able to earn the money to pay it back.
But, 3, there's one other thing that we can do. I know that there are many parents in this country who did what my parents did. They worked hard in order to put five of us through school. And I think that we should have a program of tax deductions and tax credits to parents, or others who do pay expenditures for their youngsters to go to college.
This, in other words, encourages the traditional American do-it-yourself rather than letting the Government do it.
So this three-pronged program - the Government doing it where individuals can't do it, but encouraging individuals through tax credits and tax deductions - I think will do the job.
Overall, we will see to it that every young American who ought to go to college does go to college, so we don't waste the talents of a potential great scientist, engineer, lawyer, doctor, or shall we say motion picture-television star.
QUESTION. I address this to Henry Cabot Lodge. This is from Mrs. William Boomfield, 706 Fairway Drive, Royal Oak, Mich.:
What are your feelings toward nations wanting to remain neutral in cold war? How can we help them?
Mr. LODGE. Mrs. Bloomfield, I would say that there's nothing inconsistent with the best interests of the United States in countries not wishing to get committed in the struggle which the Soviet Union forces on us.
I believe in the case of India, for example, that our relations with India, which have improved very much in the last few years, are in a satisfactory state.
I think we've got to recognize that the world is a very diverse place. Each nation is really a separate proposition. You can't broadly divide the world into your opponents and your allies and the neutrals. It isn't that simple.
I think we can have very good relations with countries that are not allied to us, and I believe that many countries which are not allied to us would, in case the world struggle got worse, find themselves on our side.
QUESTION. This is from Allen McGovern, 3175 Helen, Detroit
What would you do to lessen the tension that now exists between the Arab countries and Israel?
Mr. LODGE. Vice President Nixon has announced that if elected he will give me the job of trying to get an overall settlement of what is known in diplomacy as the Palestine question - that is, the relations of Israel with her Arab neighbors - and that would involve the resettlement of the refugees, it would involve the waters of the Jordan, and all these pertinent questions.
Now, I'm not going to say that that's going to be an easy thing to do, because we know it's full of very stubborn difficulties.
But I will say that when we got a resolution through the United Nations General Assembly in February 1957 by a two-thirds vote, which is hard to get, which stationed a United Nations force in the Gaza strip, and at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, which had been these disorderly and violent places which caused so much trouble, we showed that it was possible to make some progress and to get at some of the basic causes of the difficulty.
Because we never would have had a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly if the Arab States had been opposed to it.
Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, National Telethon, ABC Network, Southfield, MI Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273809