Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Concerning the Display of the Flag of the United States.
[Released July 10, 1953. Dated July 9, 1953]
I HAVE TODAY approved S. 694, "To prohibit the display of flags of international organizations or other nations in equal or superior prominence or honor to the flag of the United States except under specified circumstances, and for other purposes."
This measure is intended to prescribe rules of guidance for the display of the flag of the United States when flown with the flag of the United Nations or with any other national or international flag.
Unfortunately, the wording of the bill is so arranged that it is susceptible of interpretations which are not intended and which would breach international usage. Only after reading the debate upon this bill does it become clear that the intent of the Congress is simply and correctly to assure that within the United States and its possessions the American flag is to be given its traditional place of honor and prominence when flown with other flags.
Legislative history cannot be incorporated in the statute books. Even if it could be, the other nations of the world could well question why the language of these rules of guidance for the display of the flag is not direct, distinct, and free of ambiguity.
At this time, I can do no more than to assure the people of the United States and the governments of other nations that this bill is not intended to conflict with international usage or with the flag codes of any nation or international organization, particularly as they affect display of the flag of the United Nations. I am requesting that the Department of State take whatever steps are necessary to convey this assurance to other governments and to international organizations.
At the same time, I want to express the hope that the Congress will clarify the language of this bill. I believe that such action is essential in the interest of international goodwill and comity. I believe that it is also essential in the interest of maintaining the clearest possible understanding of the importance which the people of the United States attach to the American flag as their national emblem.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
Note: As enacted, S. 694. is Public Law 107, 83d Congress (67 Stat. 142).
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Concerning the Display of the Flag of the United States. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231751