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Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy to Polish-American Leaders, Hyannis, MA

August 06, 1960

"Whole families are Starving in Poland today in the wake of some of the most disastrous floods that have hit that part of the world in years. America has a proud tradition of helping people when dire emergency strikes and now is the time to give the kind of humanitarian aid which we can so well afford to these unfortunate families," Senator John F. Kennedy told a group of Polish-American leaders who visited him at his Hyannis Port, Mass., home.

"American aid to the Polish people, in terms of consumer goods and cultural exchanges, can help keep alive the age-old spirit of freedom in Poland. Poland may be a satellite government, but the Poles are not a satellite people," the Senator declared.

Senator Kennedy, who saw for himself conditions in Poland during his trip there in 1955, has urged American diplomatic efforts and certain types of economic assistance to help the people of Poland to retain the will to national independence, even in the face of Soviet force.

"We have become accustomed to praising the Poles for their love of freedom," said the Senator, "but now Poland should become the world's business as well as the world's inspiration."

Aid extended to Poland by the Republican administration has been "too little and too late," the Senator declared.

If we extend the hand of friendship to the Polish people in their effort to gain - little by little - new areas of freedom from Soviet domination, the hand we extend must not be an empty hand.

Textile and food surpluses can properly be made available to Poland, the Senator said. In order to facilitate such aid he has twice introduced bills to amend foreign aid laws so that "direct aid to people" in countries such as Poland would be permissible. Basic to American policy in Eastern Europe, Kennedy said, should be a firm declaration that the United States will accept no settlement in that part of the world in which a free Polish nation has not had a voice.

He emphasized his support of the Democratic platform pledge which states:

We will never surrender positions which are essential to the defense of freedom nor will we abandon peoples who are now behind the Iron Curtain through any formal approval of the status quo.

Spokesman for the Polish-American group were Representative Thaddeus Machrowicz (Democrat, Michigan); Edward Kosmer, of Jersey City, N.J.; censor (president) of the Polish National Alliance of America; John Kozaren, Detroit, Mich., chairman of American Relief for Poland; and Theodore Holtz, Cleveland, Ohio, national chairman, Polish Legion of American Veterans.

The meeting was one of a series arranged by the nationalities division of the Democratic National Committee.

John F. Kennedy, Statement by Senator John F. Kennedy to Polish-American Leaders, Hyannis, MA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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