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Speech of Vice President Nixon, Idaho for Nixon Day Celebration, Boise Junior College Gymnasium, Boise, ID

September 13, 1960

Representative HAMER BUDGE. Now, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow Idahoans, it gives me great pleasure and I deem it a real privilege to present to you the next President of the United States, the Honorable Richard M. Nixon and Pat Nixon. [Applause.]

Governor SMYLIE. Vice President and Mrs. Nixon, welcome to the State of Idaho by thousands and thousands of people here at Boise Junior College gymnasium.

Vice President NIXON. Thank you.

Well, I first want to thank Hamer Budge for that very generous introduction and you for that wonderful welcome for Pat and for me. [Applause.]

This is the end of a very exciting day of campaigning as far as we are concerned. We started this morning at San Francisco. We have been in Vancouver, Wash., in Portland, Oreg., and now in Boise, Idaho. [Light applause.]

Somebody there is from Oregon, I can see. [Laughter.]

But, at any event certainly there would not be a finer way to cap a day of campaigning than to have the reception we have had here starting at the airport and in the crowd along the sides of the streets as we came in and then this wonderful reception here.

We thank you for that and we will remember this in all the days to come between now and November 8. [Applause.]

Incidentally, a lot of people have been asking about my knee, and so I thought I would let this audience here and radio audience in on a little secret about the condition of my knee, after 2 days of campaigning.

Coming into Boise, you know one of the engines of our four-engine plane went out and we came in on three engines, and I can only tell you that if a plane can run on three engines why certainly I can run on one knee. [Applause.]

But I received a lot of cards and letters from around the country including quite a few from Idaho. I do not think I have had a chance to get all the answers off yet before I left because we were pretty filled up there at the office, but there is one I would like to answer tonight before this audience. This one came from Christy Johnson in Rexburg, Idaho. I will read it to you. It says:

Mr. Vice President. I fell off our haystack on to some logs and hurt my knee, too. But I don't have to stay in the hospital. All I can do is read, watch TV, and listen to the radio. That is where I beard about your knee so I know how it hurts. I am 11 years old. I was going to school before I cut my knee. I missed about a week now.

And then: "P.S. - My doctor gives me a shot every day-." That is underlined. "My arms are as sore as my knee." [Laughter and applause.]

Well, I just want to tell Christy if he is listening on the radio tonight that my doctor gave me a shot every day too. He didn't give them to me in the arm however. [Laughter.]

I really shouldn't tell you where he gave me them but it was mighty uncomfortable to sit down for a while.

For those who did write me I can assure you that everything is coming along fine and we appreciate your expression of concern.

May I Say, too, that coming as I do to Idaho and being a long-suffering Washington Senator fan I want to express appreciation to Idaho for sending us Harmon Killebrew. We really needed him. [Applause.]

We really needed him. You know after the first half of the season when he had only four home runs at the time of the all-star turn, he had an injury you recall, everybody said he was washed up, but the way he was going the last half of the season I just hope I can go that well in the last half of this campaign. [Applause.]

And also this provides an opportunity to pay some tribute to some fine people in Idaho.

First, to your Governor, Bob Smylie. He is a man who has been one of my close personal and political friends for many years. I do not need to tell you that not only is he respected in your State but throughout the Nation as one of the finest chief executives of any State is this country. [Applause.]

And incidentally, I want to say with regard to Bob, too, that he was kind enough to invite me to the Idaho Territorial Centennial in 1963. Now, I am not quite yet able to say in what capacity I shall come, but I want to say that in either officially or unofficially I hope I can be there in 1963. [Applause.]

And one other thing: A Governor as good as Bob Smylie with the ability that he has with his deep dedication to all the people of this State deserves to have a Republican legislature to work with him, and I hope you give him one in this election. [Applause.]

Now, I also want to pay my tribute, too, and express my appreciation for the fine work and cooperation of Senator Dworshak, with whom I served in the House and the Senate, and who is running for reelection and to Hamer Budge, who has introduced me, as I indicated so graciously a few moments ago. I want to say that with regard to these two men there is much that I could say about their records, that all of you are aware, but these are things that have impressed us in the Washington scene. They are men of courage, they are men of principle, they are men that stand up and fight for what they believe in, whether you agree with them or not, you respect them for that and they are men cast in the great independent tradition of the Idaho Republicans. They certainly deserve to be sent back and we need one more Congressman with them back there and we hope you send him, the mayor of Nanta, to serve with them in the next Congress. [Applause.]

I have a number of things, of course, that I want to talk to you about tonight. A great problem which you have in a talk of this type is to know which subjects to cover, the things of greatest interest, the most general interest, the things people would like to ask you about if we could have the time to sit down in your living room and prop up our feet and discuss the affairs of state in detail.

So I kind of had to guess what I thought the people of Idaho, the people in this audience the people on radio, would particularly like to hear me discuss tonight, and I am going to begin by discussing what I believe is the issue of greatest general interest and certainly the issue of greatest importance, I believe, in this campaign all over the Nation.

I think this is true in Idaho. I think it was certainly true in all the States I visited today from Hawaii to Maine, to Alabama and Georgia, Texas, Indiana, as well as in California, and Nevada, and all the other States that we have been to.

What is that issue?

The one that cuts across all the regional interests and sectional interests, the one that all people, whether they happen to be in management or labor, or whether they are on the farm or in the city, the issue that they are interested in above everything else. I will tell you what it is. It is: Which of the two candidates for the Presidency offers the best hope to Americans to keep the peace without surrender and to extend freedom throughout the world? [Applause.]

Now, I know that if we were to have a discussion of this matter, there could be reasonable disagreement with the statement I just made. There are some people that say, "Now, Mr. Vice President, I am not so sure. What about social security? What about health? What about housing? What about jobs? Aren't all these things important?"

And the answer is they certainly are. And we need programs, private and Government, to deal with these things, and to assure progress in the fields.

But I am sure all of you know as I do that it is not going to make any difference how good our jobs are or how good our health programs are or how fine our retirement is going to be if we are not around to enjoy it.

So the greatest responsibility of a President, the responsibility that President Eisenhower has had for these last 8 years, the responsibility that the next President will have, whoever he may be for the next 4 years, is how can he see that Americans can enjoy this prosperity which we have and will continue to have? How can we continue to keep our freedom and to keep peace throughout the world?

And in discussing this issue, may I say that I think it transcends partisan consideration, as I present the case to you tonight. I do not say to those who are Republicans just to vote for me because I am a Republican and you are too; I say to all of you tonight as I discuss this issue and the others that I will touch upon, forget for a few moments whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, think of yourself only as an American citizen trying to make a decision which is best for America and then judge me, what I have to say, where I stand against that test.

Do it now. Do it in the weeks between now and November 8 and do it on election day.

And if you do I think the decision you make will be best for America and that is really what counts, we all will agree. [Applause.]

Now, why do I believe that we, our ticket, because it is a ticket - Cabot Lodge and I - why do we offer the best hope in this field of leadership that will keep the peace without surrender and extend freedom throughout the world?

First, because of the record on which we will stand - I speak of the record of this administration and the administration of which I have been proud to be a part and of which Mr. Lodge also has been a part and has played a very magnificent part representing the United States in defending our position against the men in the Kremlin in the United Nations over the past 8 years. [Applause.]

I realize that when I say this record has been an outstanding one that there are those who disagree and they have a right to and they should express their disagreement wherever they have it because the stakes are high, not individually but for America and the whole world and wherever there is anything wrong and the people think they are wrong they have the responsibility to stand up and say so, but we also have the responsibility to set the record straight where we think the issues or the facts may have been distorted by our critics and with regard to the record of this administration after you look at the criticism and consider what has been done, I say that none of the criticism can obscure this fact.

That under the leadership of President Eisenhower we have gotten the United States out of one war they were in, we have kept the United States out of other wars and we have peace with out surrender today and this is a great record. [Applause.]

This is a great record, a record so fine that one would be content to just run on it, to stand on it as they say. But as I have often said a record is not something to stand on but something to build on. In the world in which we live with the threat to peace not abating but continuing to grow larger because of the international movements of the Communist leaders both in Moscow and Peiping, with the kind of threats we face, we must constantly reexamine our policies, strengthen our policies, so that we can meet this threat and build it effectively.

So looking to the future these are the things that I believe America can and must do if we are to have peace and have it on the basis that I have suggested is essential.

First, of course, and we will all agree with this, America must have military strength which is not only second to none, but strength which, combined with our allies, is sufficient, that regardless of what a potential enemy may have, that if he should launch a surprise attack against us anyplace in the world we will have enough left to destroy his warmaking capability.

Why do I set that particular standard?

Not because we ever want to use that strength, because if we have that strength it means that is the greatest single guarantee that a potential enemy of peace will not use his strength against us.

So, therefore, I say to you and I pledge to you that this must come first and whatever the costs may be America must maintain the military strength that will deter any potential aggressor or anyone who threatens the peace of the world.

This is No. 1. I am sure all of us, regardless of party, will agree with that. [Applause.]

Now, it is not just enough to have strength. You have to use that strength wisely because when you have great strength and are irresponsible in its use you will find that you can use it in such a way that it will harm your own interests and also may bring about the very things that you were attempting to avoid by maintaining your strength. So now we turn to diplomatic policy.

What kind of diplomatic policy should the next President of the United States insist upon and should he follow if we are going to maintain the peace on the basis that I have suggested?

That policy must, on the one hand, be firm; on the other hand, it must be nonbelligerent. Let me spell it out.

By firmness, I mean that we have learned through bitter experience that where a dictator is concerned, an aggressive dictator, that appeasement or making concessions to him without getting concessions in return not only does not satisfy him, it only whets his appetite and encourages him to demand more, that that is the way to war and not to peace.

So we must be firm where the men in the Kremlin are concerned or any others who are enemies of the United States, firm in standing for principle all over the world.

Why are we firm? Not because we are attempting to bring about war, but again because firmness of principle is the best way to keep the peace. [Applause.]

Now, we had an example of that at the Paris Conference. You will recall the U-2 flight which occurred before that Conference. Mr. Khrushchev came there determined to break up the Conference for other reasons, it was quite apparent, certainly the intelligence estimates would indicate that, but for whatever the reasons he came to the Conference determined to break it up. He insulted the President of the United States and the conference did break up. And afterward there were criticisms of the President on two scores. There were some that criticized him for being in effect too rigid and too firm. They suggested certainly with the best of intentions, that possibly he may have saved the Conference or tried to save it by expressing regrets to

Mr. Khrushchev or apologizing for the flights.

I want to tell you why the President could not and should not do that.

One, because expressing regrets or apologizing would not have saved the Conference; it would have only meant that Mr. Khrushchev would have demanded something more after he had received that.

Secondly, may I say that a President of the United States, be he Democrat or Republican, must never feel that he must apologize to anybody for attempting to defend the security of the United States against surprise attack. [Applause.]

On the other hand, there were those who criticized the President on another score. They said a President of the United States should not take insults like that. He should have answered back, given him as good as he got, and may I say that that was a temptation, I am sure, for the President, because he has quite a temper, incidentally - I have seen it in action a few times - but I can assure you that the President again set the right course on two scores. One, to have answered insult for insult would simply have been reducing the dignity of the President of the United States. [Applause.]

When you are confident in the right you do not have to answer insult with insult. You answer it with the quiet dignity that the President showed on that occasion.

And then there was another reason and it was this: It is awfully easy to lose your temper in these affairs, and I have had similar experience, not of course of this magnitude, but the President recognized that if he were to get down to this level and engage in a name-calling contest with Mr. Khrushchev at that time, there was a risk, a risk that you would heat up the international atmosphere to a point that a nuclear cataclysm may have come about.

So again here we see the responsibility of the next Chief Executive, keeping that line between, on the one side, being firm, and on the other side, avoiding the belligerence and the bad temper which might set off the very thing that we are trying to avoid.

So much for our diplomatic house.

When we combine these two things what do we have? We have military strength. We have diplomatic policy. These two alone are simply enough to maintain the peace. They are not enough to win the peace and to extend the cause of freedom.

Now I want to turn to the positive side of the responsibilities of the next President in this greatest function that he will have. How is he going to be able to mobilize the strength of the United States and the free world so that in the competition that is going on between the Communist system on the one side and the systems of freedom on the other side, we will prevail?

The way this is done, of course, means that we must get the best, first, out of our own system, from an economic standpoint and from other standpoints that I will mention in just a few moments.

But turning first, to the economic standpoint, we have heard a lot of talk recently to the effect that while the U.S. economy is presently ahead of that of the Soviet Union, that we are slipping, that we are standing still and that it is time to get going again.

We have heard this charge made over and over again, and I think tonight is a good time for me to answer it again.

Anybody who thinks that America has been standing still for the last 8 years, anybody who thinks that the Soviet Union is moving ahead and is going to pass us should go to the Soviet Union and then travel over the United States as I have, and you will see that the U.S. economy today is sound, and strong, productive and free, and it is the first three because it is free and we are going to keep it free in the years ahead. [Applause.]

Now, does this mean that we cannot do better than we have been doing? Not at all.

Does this mean that we should not try to do better than we have been doing? Not at all.

We are in a race and we are confronted with men who, whatever we may think of their system, are determined and fanatical. They are working hard, they are driving their people at unmerciful pace and they are determined to catch us. They will not catch us, in my opinion, because of basic policies in their system; because of the strength of ours, but remember when you are in a race and when you are ahead, the only way to stay ahead is to move ahead.

And I would like to talk for just a few moments tonight, and this is a very appropriate place to do it, as to what the United States can do to move ahead.

How do we move ahead from an economic standpoint in these years? First of all, let us turn here to our great western reclamation projects, the part that they play. We have seen 8 years, as I indicated, a solid economic accomplishment under the Eisenhower administration. But in order to meet the needs of the future I think we have to step up the development of all of our natural resources. This means as a first priority target developing to the full the water, the land and the power resources with which our Western States are so richly blessed. It means the maximum national effort in which Government at all levels and also private enterprise must work closely together.

The time has come, in my opinion, to put greater emphasis on new starts for sound multipurpose projects in the field of reclamation and power development and flood control.

Once the need is apparent and the project is shown to be feasible then we have to follow through vigorously with engineering and construction. That has been the impetus behind this administration's constant support of such projects as Burns Creek, to push ahead on feasible starts and develop their potential.

Incidentally, I might say I do not intend to forget Burns Creek now or in the future. [Applause.]

I do not believe incidentally that the cause of progress is served by engaging in prolonged debate over the relative merits of Federal, public, and private development. You hear that debate. We will hear a lot of it again in the Senate and the House.

What should our standard be when we consider what the Federal Government should do, what public power can do, what private power can do and private development can do?

I think there is one practical question we have to ask and answer. What combination of efforts altogether will do the most efficient job at less cost to the American people? That is what we want. [Applause.]

You know our Nation is very richly blessed and all you have to do is travel with others to realize how rich we are, with great river basins such as the Columbia River Basin, each of many natural resources and power potential, and our aim must be in developing resources to plan their maximum comprehensive development, working with the Federal, State, local, and private agencies.

We cannot adopt a program that develops one resource in one of these projects only to destroy another. Each must be coordinated with the other for the greatest potential reclamation, power, irrigation, fish, navigation, forest, mining, wildlife and recreation.

This is comprehensive development and conservation that renders the greater benefits to our people both now and in the future.

And may I pay a tribute here to a man who is not running for office, one who has I think done a splendid job in this field. I think that a man who will go down in history as one who has contributed as much to the development of the West as any Secretary of the Interior in our history, Fred Seaton, who is on this platform. [Applause.]

This is exactly the kind of development that he has stood for and certainly it is sound. It is something we in the West understand and will support.

We have a magnificent base, incidentally, as we develop our resources in the future, to build on.

Now let me turn to this charge, "But haven't we been standing still?" They say we have been standing still in our development of our natural resources and the development of reclamation and standing still for 8 years and now we have got to get going again.

All right.

Let's see how we have been standing still.

We have asked Congress for $1,700 million for reclamation in these last 8 years. You know how much this is. That is one-third of the whole amount that the U.S. Government has invested since Theodore Roosevelt created the Bureau of Reclamation almost 60 years ago.

It is more than has been invested in reclamation in any administration in history.

Is that standing still?

I do not think so. And I do not think the American people think so when they know the facts.

The hydroelectric capacity of these plants have resulted in a one-third increase over the 1953 level, and new projects either under way or under active consideration will more than double this capacity.

In addition hundreds of flood control projects have been initiated by this administration. At no time in our history have more new water projects been started than in the past 8 years.

And, as a matter of fact, just so we keep the records straight, in 5 out of the last 6 years, Democratic Congresses have appropriated less than the administration has requested for reclamation.

And so I say tonight. Look at the record, the Republican record, the Eisenhower record. It is not in anybody's language standing still in this field or in any other. America has move ahead and we will move even further ahead in the next administration if we are given the opportunity which you can help to give us on November 8. [Applause.]

But some of you might ask, "What about the challenge of the Soviet Union?"

Well, we have a tremendous lead. The Soviet electropower production in 1959 was at a level that we reached in 1943 in the United States. Today we outproduce them in electric power 3 to 1. The Soviets would have to build eight Grand Coulees a year - get that - eight Grand Coulees a year for 17 consecutive years to catch up with America's stand today in power production, and we are not going to be standing still. So those who say they are going to catch us here do not know what they are talking about. [Applause.]

Now, speaking in Alaska a few weeks ago I noted that Mr. Kennedy was reported to have said, and I quote him: The tragic fact of the matter is that if Alaska still belonged to the Russians Rampart Canyon Dam would be underway today. That is a project in Alaska, of course. All I can say in comment on that statement is that this must be another case in which he has shot from the hip in the heat of the campaign without thinking through the implications of what he was saying. [Applause.]

And I will only say this: We in America can be proud of our tremendous progress in reclamation and power in comparison with any country, but this is especially true if we compare it with the Soviet Union and above all when we compare what they do and what we do, let us never forget that there is a big difference.

We have achieved our progress with and through freedom. We could never have achieved it the Soviet way at the cost of freedom. Let us never forget that big difference when we consider progress there and progress in the United States and other free countries. [Applause.]

And so my friends, I say to you tonight that when we look at the record in this field of whether America is moving ahead economically, I have confidence (1) that we have been and (2) that we can move ahead even greater in the years ahead and maintain the advantage that we have. And so now in speaking of this great contest in which we are engaged with the Soviet Union and the forces of communism in the world we have three ingredients: (1) we are going to maintain military strength first in the world; (2) we are going to have firm diplomatic policy but without belligerency; and (3) we are going to have economic strength which will enable us to win in this economic competition that is going on.

But all this is important; but all this also does not tell the whole story. We must never forget that America in this struggle and the free world in this struggle has something more to offer than military strength and economic strength and gross material strength. We must never forget that what we have to offer the world that is special and is characteristic is the moral and spiritual strength, the idealism of America that caught the imagination of the world 185 years ago and still lives in the hearts of people throughout the world today.

This is what we have to offer. [Applause.]

How do we strengthen that moral and spiritual strength?

How do we maintain that flaming idea?

Oh, a President can help by the speeches that he makes and by the statements that he issues, but that must come from the hearts of the people. That must come from our educational system. We must keep it strong and effective. It must come from our churches.

It must come from our families. And let us ever remember that as long as we have that strength that America will be able to give the world the moral and spiritual leadership that combined with military and economic strength will assure victory over the forces of slavery, but victory without war.

Why am I so sure?

Because I say to you, in conclusion, that we will win this struggle for peace with freedom because we are on the right side. I know it. I have seen it in the faces of hundreds of thousands of people in over 50 countries around the world, people who are for peace, whatever Government leaders may think, people in the heart of Siberia who say "peace and friendship" as we go by in our cars, people who are for freedom whatever their government may say, 250,000 people in the heart of Warsaw in Communist Poland on a Sunday afternoon shouting "Long live the United States" at the top of their voices with tears streaming down their cheeks.

Why? Because the United States was a symbol not just of military strength, not just of economic strength, but a symbol of freedom and so my friends since the people of the world want peace and freedom and since the United States is going to be and will continue to be the strongest Nation in the world we can with our great friends and allies abroad lead the world to peace with freedom and justice. This is the cause that I ask you tonight to work for.

These are the things that I ask you to keep in your mind between now and election day and if you conclude that Henry Cabot Lodge and I are the ones that can best provide the leadership in this cause, then I am going to ask you not just to vote but to work as you never have before, remembering that you are working not just for men for an office and not just for a party but that you are working for America and for the cause of peace and freedom for the people everywhere in the world. This is a great cause. It is worth working for and we ask you to do it now.

Thank you. [Applause.]

Richard Nixon, Speech of Vice President Nixon, Idaho for Nixon Day Celebration, Boise Junior College Gymnasium, Boise, ID Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project