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Statement by the President Upon Signing the Military Pay Raise Bill.

August 21, 1965

I AM TODAY signing into law H.R. 9075, substantially raising the pay for all the members of our Armed Forces.

As I said last January in my Message to the Congress on Defense: "The success of all our policies depends upon our ability to attract, develop fully, mobilize and retain the talents of outstanding men and women in the military services."

This has been the policy of the Kennedy-Johnson administration since its inception.

Since January 1961 the President has submitted and approved military pay increases totaling $1.7 billion per year.

This year, after reviewing the findings of an expert pay panel, I sent to the Congress a request to increase military pay by $500 million.

The Congress, after carefully considering our proposal, voted for more than a 100-percent increase over our recommendation. The bill of the Congress will add $550 million per year to our expenditures beyond what we had planned or believed necessary at this time.

In this critical period, however, in light of the alternatives available to me, I have concluded that the public interest will best be served by signing the bill.

First, because the bill contains many provisions recommended by the administration to make certain that the pay of our men and women in uniform is ample, on a continuing basis, to provide a standard of living commensurate with the goals of the Great Society, and is sufficient to attract and retain outstanding men and women in the military services. The bill provides--

--A regular 4-year review of the military pay structure.

--An annual review to assure that military pay stays in line with the cost of living.

--Increased combat pay for American servicemen in Viet-Nam.

--Special bonuses to help us retain highly skilled servicemen, such as electronics specialists, whose training is especially costly.

Second, because the bill recognizes the importance of the nearly 3 million Americans who wear the uniform of our country's Armed Forces. For it is the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines--not the weapons or the ships and planes--who are the real bulwark of our military might. Their bravery and dedication is the reason America is the land of the free today.

Note: The bill (H.R. 9075) is Public Law 89-132 (79 Stat. 545).

On August 31, 1965, the White House announced that members of the Armed Forces stationed in Viet-Nam and contiguous waters would be able to send post cards and letters free to any place in the United States and to any military post office in the world.

On November 1, 1965, the President signed Executive Order 11255 "Designation of Vietnam and Waters Adjacent Thereto as an Overseas Combat Area for Purposes of Armed Forces Mailing Privileges" (30 F.R. 14135; 3 CFR, 1965 Supp.).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Military Pay Raise Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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