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Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Hayward Shopping Center, Hayward, CA

November 05, 1960

Thank you very much.

My friend; Senator Kuchel, this great audience here in Hayward - I think there has been a request that if you put your signs down the people in back can see a little better. [See APP Note.]

Thank you very much.

Just hold them down and then the people in back will be able to see.

I don't mean the Kennedy signs. Leave them up, because I want somebody to convert here. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, we first want to tell you that do come to Hayward, to see this magnificent crowd in the * * * and in the rain, one, indicates that you care about your Government, that you want to make a decision that is in the best interests of the Nation, you want to hear the discussion of the issues by the candidates; and, two, from the enthusiasm of this reception, it means the great tide is running in our direction and on November the 8th, California will lead the Nation to victory for our ticket. [Cheers and applause.]

I want to tell you what I have found. Yesterday in traveling through Texas and Wyoming, and Spokane, and finally ending up in Fresno, the day before traveling through Texas and South Carolina, the day before in a great motorcade in New York, at a rally there, I have found in the last 5 or 6 days a tremendous sweep is developing through this country, and I'll tell you why. [Cheers and applause.] The sweep is developing for us because the people of this country - not only the Republicans, which we would expect, but Democrats and independents by the millions - are now joining us because they realize that America's interests are at stake and they are voting for America rather than the party in this year 1960. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, there is no question that that is true.

I noted, for example, in a speech yesterday Senator Kennedy said that the question that was being decided in this election campaign was between war and peace - and, boy, he's right. I would only point out - I would only point out - that he would go back to the policies that we left in 1953, and we had a war that Eisenhower got rid of. [Cheers and applause.] I would only point out that he should not raise this subject. We have had nine Presidents in this century. Name one Republican President who took us into war. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, I would only point out, though, this is not a question of Republican or Democrat. It is a question of America and the leadership that can keep the peace, that can keep it without surrender, and I ask you today even though the conditions are difficult for you standing here in the rain, to consider for a moment the qualifications that are offered to the American people.

First, the record. The record, my friends, I say is one that Americans can be proud of. Oh, I know we've heard that the * * * foreign policy have been years of defeat and retreat for America; but, my friends, the adjectives are right, but the administration is wrong. It wasn't the Eisenhower administration in which there was defeat and retreat, but the Truman administration. [Cheers and applause.] It was then that we lost 600 million people to the Communists because of woolly-headed, fuzzy-minded thinking, and it is that kind of thinking - those are the kind of advisers that my friend, Senator Kennedy, has. Those are the kind of advisers that he has. [Cheers and applause.]

Do you want Mr. Bowles? Do you want Mr. Stevenson to be deciding the foreign policy of this country ? [Cries of "No ! "] [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, we had enough of that fuzzy-minded, woolly-headed thinking, and we will never have it again under Cabot Lodge and Richard Nixon. You can be sure of that! [Cheers and applause.]

Now, what will keep the peace?

And I speak particularly to the mothers here. I speak to the children. I speak to the fathers as well who are thinking of their future and of America's future.

I'll tell you what will keep it. My friends, I have seen the peace kept. I have seen the President make decisions that have meant the difference between war and peace. On 10 different occasions that I could name I have seen the resident in the Cabinet room or in the oval office of the White House decide one way or another, and if his decision had been wrong it could have led to war; if it were right, it could have meant peace - and each time he was right.

I want to tell you why he was right.

You know, my friends, in those 7½ years I have never seen President Eisenhower act in haste or anger. In those 7½ years I have never seen President Eisenhower shoot from the hip. In those 7½ years I have never seen him be panicked, panicked by what the public opinion people were saying about Quemoy and Matsu and the like, panicked by the polls that were taken in the United States and around the world. I have always heard him ask only this question: He said What is the right thing to do? What is the thing that would be firm for the right? What is the thing that will be also avoiding the wrong? And I have also in those 7½ years never seen him make a decision that wasn't courageous, that wasn't right for America.

My friends, I'll tell you how we've kept the peace. It's by not doing the things that my opponent has suggested.

If President Eisenhower, for example, had followed his advice on Quemoy and Matsu, if we had cut off a little island of freedom there, it would have been the same thing that happened in Korea - and never again must we invite the Communists in to attack as we did then, and I will never do that, I assure you. [Cheers and applause.]

And then we had another situation at the summit conference in Paris. Look at what this great leader went through then, the great leader of the free world, going to this conference, working for peace and for freedom, and having Khrushchev, this man, in effect, insult him, call him every crude name - names, incidentally, that I have learned from the translator weren't even printed in the official transcript and in the papers of this country - and yet the President of the United States kept his dignity.

And that's another thing the President must do. He must never lose his dignity and get down to the level of a man like Khrushchev. [Cheers and applause.]

But, my friends, while he kept his dignity, he didn't do something else. Khrushchev said: Apologize, President Eisenhower. Express regrets for the U-2 flights, flights which he knew the President had ordered in order to defend the security of this country, and a lesser man, a panicky man, might have said: Well, maybe I'd better. Maybe this is the way to get Khrushchev to be on my side. But Dwight Eisenhower knew the dictators. He knew the Nazis and he knew that was not the way to peace. He knew the Communists and he knew that was not the way to peace. He knew that whenever you, in effect, give in to the demands, which were unjustified, it did not lead to peace. It led to war. And, so, he refused to apologize. And what did my opponent say? In Oregon, on the Dave Garroway Show, in our debates, he said the President of the United States could have apologized or expressed regrets to Khrushchev. He was wrong and Dwight Eisenhower was right - and thank God Dwight Eisenhower was President [cheers and applause] because, you see, if regrets had been expressed Khrushchev would have ground us into a pulp and got his demands on Berlin.

And the third point - and this is what I call shooting from the hip - the difficult problem in Cuba, this little pipsqueak, Castro, down there stirring it up; and, so, everybody says; Why don't we get rid of him? Why don't we send the Marines in ? My friends, the reason we don't is that we don't want to make a second Hungary out of 5 million people on the island of Cuba. The reason we don't is that we know the people of Cuba will take care of this or any other dictator in their good time if they get the moral support of the United States.

So, the President said: We will quarantine Castro.

And what did my opponent say? Oh, he said, it isn't enough. He said the American Government should give support to the forces inside and outside of Cuba that were against Castro.

That sounded good, didn't it? But, you know what it meant? That would have violated the treaties we had with all the Latin American States. It would have violated article 1 and article 2 of the United Nations Charter.

So, the next day my opponent took it back. He didn't mean it. He only meant all along he was agreeing with President Eisenhower * * *.

Let me say this: My friends, on all these three issues we have heard him say: I've changed my mind or at least I didn't mean what I was interpreted to mean, and now I support the President.

And, so, people say: Isn't that enough of an answer? Why do we continue to discuss it? I'll tell you why. When you're a President of the United States and you're a candidate it's a different thing. Look, when you're a candidate, you can make a statement on a decision, and it can be wrong, and you can correct it the next day, and nobody is the worse for it; but when you're President, in that lonely, awesome responsibility that you have, when you speak or when you act, it's for keeps. You don't get a chance to take it back.

And I say, my friends, today that in this critical period it is an issue of war or peace, but a rash act, an inexperienced act, an impulsive act could lead to war - and I say we cannot use the White House as a training school to give a man experience at the expense of the United States. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, may I tell you what we offer in this field.

My friends, I would like to tell you Cabot Lodge and I, if we are elected, will solve all the problems of the world and Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Mao Tse-tung will be good boys, but that isn't true. I know these people. I have known them for many years, and I know their fanatical dedication to one objective, and that's conquering the world by any means. They're going to continue to stir up trouble, but, my friends, we can have peace, and we will have peace, if we always remember that we've got to be strong until they reduce their strength by inspection, that we have to be firm unless they make a concession which is equal to what we're willing to concede and, above all, we can have peace if we stand for the right.

You know what that is? Not military strength; not economic richness, but the reason that America stands high and is honored in the world, the reason that 250,000 Poles and people by the thousands in the heart of Siberia cheered my wife and me when we were there was that America stands for the right. We stand for peace. Three wars we have fought, and we haven't gotten an acre of territory out of it. Only we have fought to extend peace and freedom for others. And we stand for freedom. We stand for it not only for ourselves, but for the whole world. We stand for faith, and it is our faith, our faith in God, our faith in ourselves, our faith in our ideals - it is these ideals that will win the struggle for the world, and it is these ideal that will bring down the tyrants, and bring them down without war, and that is what I tell you here today. [Cheers and applause.]

So, here is your choice. Your choice, then, is between two men. One has been part of this administration: One has been through the fire of decision. One knows Mr. Khrushchev. One knows at least something about how to deal with him. The other one says and has indicated that on three critical occasions he would have made the wrong decision if he had been President.

The question is: Do you take a chance or do you go forward on the kind of policies that Dwight Eisenhower has given the United States? And I say we go forward. [Cheers and applause.]

And I ask you: Isn't this bigger than Republican or Democrat?

This is America. This is freedom. This is peace. This is our faith, and everything we stand for. And I say to you: Forget your party label. Forget how your grandfather and your father voted. Remember - vote for what's best for America and then that will be best for you and all the people of the world.

Thank you very much. [Cheers and applause.]


APP Note:  The official sources for this transcript all identify the location as "Hawyard Shopping Center."  However APP user Wayne Gateley, who was present at the event, offers the correction that the location was in fact the steps of the Haward City Hall.  This location is confirmed in at least one contemporaneous newspaper account in the Baltimore Sun.

Richard Nixon, Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Hayward Shopping Center, Hayward, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project