Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President on the Occasion of the Swearing In of Val Peterson as Administrator, Federal Civil Defense Administration.

March 04, 1953

THE TASK of civil defense is vital to our national life. It demands a preparedness that can do more than limit the damage of a wartime disaster. It means developing a preparedness, a vigilance, so impressive as to deter aggression itself.

Here--as throughout our national policy--we must act from a lesson learned at terrible cost. That lesson is: to serve our reasoned hope for the best, we must be ready steadfastly to meet the worst.

There is no other way to confront the despot, no other language to talk to the aggressor.

This awareness must touch every community, every citizen, of our land. The recruiting, training and organizing of volunteers competent to meet any emergency are tasks largely of our state and local governments.

The responsibility of the Federal Government is to provide leadership. This entails more than the stockpiling of supplies and furnishing of technical guidance. It demands inspiring our whole citizenry to be alert to their collective task.

I am happy that the direction of this vital work of the Federal Government is now entrusted to so able and dedicated a public servant as Governor Val Peterson, our new Federal Defense Administrator.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President on the Occasion of the Swearing In of Val Peterson as Administrator, Federal Civil Defense Administration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232138

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