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Speech of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Arlin Field High School Football Stadium, Mansfield, OH

October 01, 1960

Mr. NIXON. Yesterday, as we were traveling through upper New York State in a pouring rain thousands and thousands of people came out to political rallies. You know I have been wondering why it is that these Crowds have been so large and I think all of you, perhaps, have wondered the same thing. I think that the reason for it is pretty clear. I think it is the same reason you are here today. Of course, some people are here because you are curious. You want to see somebody who might be the President or the First Lady, or both - not at the same time, of course. [Laughter.]

You also want the opportunity to hear one of the candidates for the Presidency, but above all, I think what these crowds mean in this election campaign is that the American people know that the decision they are going to make this November 8 is one of the most important ones they are ever going to make in their lives; important, why? Because you are determining the future of this country, your future, our children's future and the future of the world. And, incidentally, speaking of our children's future, we have had many, many exciting events on this campaign. We have great musical organizations. I don't think I have ever seen such a colorful and splendid array of band music as I see there today. How about giving them a hand over there? [Applause.]

And it is about the future of these young people and our future that I want to talk to you today. What are we most concerned about? Why is it that Americans sense that this is a tremendously important election? I think the reason for it is that we have had an opportunity in recent days to see first hand those forces that threaten the peace of the world. You have been reading about and hearing about the sessions of the United Nations. You have seen Mr. Khrushchev in action there. You have also, I am sure, had an opportunity to see or hear President Eisenhower as he spoke there. And all of this has tended to bring home to the American people a fact that we cannot and must not overlook, and that is that whatever solutions we work out for all problems we have at home that the most important thing for us to remember is that we must have leadership which will keep the peace for America and the world, without surrender. [Applause.]

Now, I say that is the most important thing and I think all of you will agree. Most important, because you know we can have the best jobs, the best schools, the best welfare programs in the world and it isn't going to make any difference, if we are not around to enjoy it.

So, the first point that I want to discuss today is that. What kind of leadership does America need? What should you consider as you vote for President and Vice President on that issue?

Now, the easy thing for me to say in this respect would be, I am a Republican, you are Republicans, if you are, and if you will simply vote for me for that reason. But, I am going to say today what I have said all over the country, north, east, west, and south. The issue of survival for America and the world is so important. It is so important that America have the best leadership, whatever party may be that we can provide, that I ask everybody listening to me to make the decision not on the basis of the party label, the candidates for the Presidency and the Vice President, but make it on this basis: What does America need? What are the best leaders America can have of those from whom you have to choose. So with that, I present my case, the case for me as well as for my colleague and my running mate.

You must judge us by a number of standards and the first is our record. Look at that record for a moment. For 7½ years Cabot Lodge and I have been participants in the policy councils of this administration. In the Cabinet, the National Security Council, and other meetings of the President, we have advised on those great decisions, the decisions on Quemoy and Matsu, on Lebanon, and others which involved maintaining the line between war on the one side and surrender on the other.

And so you must hold us accountable for that record and also you can give us credit for that record to the extent that we have participated in it.

Now, there are those who criticize the record and they have a right to speak where they think it is wrong. But, my friends, all of the criticism in the world cannot obscure the truth which the American people, Democrat and Republican, know to be the truth and that is this: that under the leadership of President Eisenhower, we have ended one war, we have kept this country out of other wars, and we do have peace without surrender today. [Applause.]

Now, moving from that record to our qualifications, I cannot appropriately talk about my own experience, that is for others to decide, but I can say something about my running mate's. And I would say that those of you who had the opportunity to see and hear him represent us at the United Nations will agree with the statement I am about to make and that is that no man as a more experience, no man could have done a better job, standing courageously and representing articulately the cause of peace and freedom than Henry Cabot Lodge, our candidate for Vice President of the United States, and our Ambassador to the U.N. [Applause.]

And so there is our team, two men who for 7 years, who have worked with President Eisenhower. Two men who know the Communist leaders, who have sat across the conference table from them, and that brings me to my third point. If we are to keep the peace without surrender, what are we going to ask the American people to do, what are the policies that we are going to advocate for America?

Let me say, first, my friends, the most important decision for us to make is to base our policies on what the realities are and that is we must know the man with whom we are dealing, and Mr. Khrushchev and his colleagues are not like the leaders of the free world. They are not like the people you and I know in this country. They have an entirely different set of values. They are people who are determined to conquer the world and they will follow no rules of the game whatever, and this means, in other words, that we need in order to deal with them to develop the strength, we need to have the realism, which will effectively stop their plans and stop them without war.

How can we do that? First, we must see to it that America continues to be what she is today and that is the strongest nation in the world, militarily. [Applause.]

And secondly, we must see that America continues to move forward economically. Why is this important? Let me give you an example. When I was in the Soviet Union, I remember Mr. Khrushchev speaking to me, bragging about his accomplishments and the accomplishments of the Soviet empire in the economic area. And he said in his most arrogant and insulting tone, he said, "Mr. Vice President, you may be ahead of us now, but" he said, "we are moving faster than you are and we are going to catch you; when we catch you we are going to pass you by; and when we do, we are going to wave and say, 'Come on, follow us; do as we do or you are going to fall way behind in this race.'"

And he said, "We are going to catch you in 7 years."

Now, the answer is that he isn't going to catch us in 7 years or 70 years provided Americans stay true to the great principles that have made us the country that we are today. [Applause.]

And being true to those principles, I mean this: the Federal Government must assume the responsibilities which are properly its responsibilities, responsibilities that I have spelled out and will continue to spell out during the course of this campaign, to see to it that in education, in science, in health, that we move forward and that if we, the individuals and the States and the local governments, cannot or will not do the jobs that need to be done to spell progress, the Federal Government will step in and stimulate them to do it or do the job itself.

We must move in all of these areas. We must move also in a way that will see that our economy moves forward so that there are more jobs, at better wages, better wages in real money, so that the people of this country will have an opportunity to have not any inflated wages, but also the opportunity to meet their bills at the end of the month, because their prices, at the same time, will be kept within reason. These things, then, are responsibilities of the Federal Government.

And I could tell you today that I have programs in all of these fields that I think are best for America, that will spell progress for America, and I realize my opponent, of course, will say exactly the same thing as he has a right to do.

And then, you have the choice, which one is right. One says he is for progress in all these fields and the other says he is, how can we choose? And again, I say look at our record, and, first, in our record I point to the fact that in the 7 Eisenhower years, as compared with the 7 Truman years, we have moved further and faster in health and education and welfare than in all the Truman years before. [Applause.]

And second, I say that our programs in all these fields will work where theirs won't. Why do I say that? I say that because we will stimulate the creative energies of 180 million Americans and not simply rely on the Federal Government as the end and as the means of accomplishing progress in the United States. [Applause.]

And you see, my friends, that is the way America got where it is today, not by weakening individuals, not by taking responsibility from our people, not by discouraging individual enterprise, not by weakening our States and our local governments, but by strengthening, by getting every bit of effort that we can out of each segment of the local American economy. That is why I say our programs will work where theirs won't. However, you have to take this into account: My opponent can say to you he is going to spend more money in health and education and welfare, in these various fields, than the programs that I advocate will cost. But I ask you to think for a moment. Some people will say since he is going to spend more than you will spend, that means that his programs are better. But think for a moment. He isn't going to be spending his money, but your money, and that makes a big difference. [Applause.]

And I say to you that the American people can have, and they want progress in these fields, but they want progress in which whoever is President of this country recognizes that every dollar that is spent in Washington is a dollar that must come from the people, and that not one dollar should be spent in Washington that does not need to be spent, because when you don't spend it there it means you have more to meet the problems of the family budget and that is something all of you understand and it is something that I understand because I know what it is. [Applause.]

And so I say that in keeping America strong militarily and economically, we will do a job, we will produce progress, which they can only promise.

Now, a third point that I should make: In addition to this strength, economically and militarily, America must have a firm diplomatic policy, one, again, that will be designed to meet the kind of men who confront us in the world, and again we must look at them and see how they react. We find, again, as I pointed out a moment ago, that they do not follow the rules of conduct that we expect from them in the free world. For example, you must never make a concession to the Communist dictators without getting one in return. Another example, you will find in dealing with them that when you do make concessions, which are not accompanied by ones in return, that it never satisfies them, that it doesn't win their confidence or their support, or their friendship, but that what it does is simply develop contempt for you, so that they insist on more concessions in the future. That is why, my friends, that is why the President of the United States has been correct in being firm in dealing with Mr. Khrushchev and not belligerent. That is why he has insisted that while he will always go an extra mile to negotiate disarmament or reduction of tensions, that he will never agree to weaken the United States unless we are sure that the Soviet Union is also reducing its military power at the same time. [Applause.]

And that is why the President of the United States conducted himself as he did at the Paris Conference. You'll remember that Conference that Mr. Khrushchev broke off over the U-2 flights. You will remember that some of our people criticized the President afterward and said that he might have tried to save the Conference by regretting or apologizing. Let me tell you why that would have been a mistake, why the President was right. First, because expressing regrets or apologizing for that action wouldn't have gained anything for Mr. Khrushchev; he would only have asked for more.

Secondly, there is another reason. Whenever the President of the United States is doing the right thing, whenever he is defending this country, he should not apologize or express regrets to Khrushchev or anybody else in the world. [Applause.]

So, now I say with military strength and economic strength and diplomatic firmness, we have the ingredients of policy that will keep the peace, that will extend freedom throughout the world.

There is one element that I should mention, however, which is particularly important to bear in mind. This great struggle in which we are engaged is not just one of strength of our arms or the productivity of our factories. That is all it is to the Communists. That is all it is they have to offer. But let Americans never forget that we stand for something more than that. Let Americans never forget that when we were a small nation and a weak nation 170 years ago, that we still were a strong nation in the minds of the world, because our ideals were strong. What are they? What do we stand for? We stand for faith in God, we stand for belief in dignity of every man, woman, and child regardless of his background. We stand for the right of all men to be free, not just Americans. We stand for the right of each nation to be independent, not just the American Nation.

These things are ideals, you say. They will not stand up against the military might, the economic productivity of the Kremlin. And my answer is this: Those who are the militarists and those who are the materialists have always underestimated the strength of ideals and let America never forget that our greatest strength is moral and spiritual and, may I say to this great audience, remember this strength that I speak of cannot come only from a President. He can help. But it must come from you. This strength, this faith, belief in these ideals, must come from the hearts of our people. They are developed in the homes, in the churches, in the schools of America, and I ask all of you, as you see these young people here, let us see that they grow up recognizing what a privilege it is to live in this country, realizing that America stands for more than wealth and more than might, realizing that the ideals in which we believe are ideals worth fighting for, but they are ideals that belong to all the world and if you do this, then the next President of the United States, whoever he is, will be able to carry the fight for freedom throughout the world, and he will be able to win this struggle and win it without war and that is our objective. [Applause.]

So, in conclusion, may I say to you, again, how deeply we appreciate your coming and giving me the chance to speak to you and Pat and me the chance to meet you. May I tell you that there is nothing more inspiring to a candidate to see a great crowd like this spending your time to consider the issues before the country, and may I urge you this: If you believe that the leadership that we can provide is a leadership that America needs, then may I ask you to go out and not only vote for us, but will you work for us, having in mind that you will be voting and working not just for a man or a party, but for what is best for America, and that is also best for you.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Richard Nixon, Speech of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Arlin Field High School Football Stadium, Mansfield, OH Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project