Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

World Broadcast in Observance of Fifteenth Anniversary of Voice of America.

February 25, 1957

[Delivered over the entire radio network of the United States Information Agency]

FOR FIFTEEN YEARS now the Voice of America has been bringing to people everywhere the facts about world events, and about America's policy in relation to these events.

This, then, is a fitting occasion to review some aspects of United States foreign policy. Its guiding thought is this: we believe that we can permanently prosper and enjoy peace only as all peoples prosper and enjoy peace.

In speaking of this subject--rather than talk in abstractions-I would like to draw a picture. It is a picture, in essence, of the kind of world which we would like to see for ourselves and for our children, and which we think most people would like to see for themselves and their children.

There are two parts to the picture. The first part relates to the building up of individual countries and their peoples.

One of the vital facts of this century is that dozens of new nations have come into being. These nations, along with the older nations, are struggling--each in its own way--to improve the lot of their people--through a better standard of living, more diversified industry and more efficient farming, increasing political stability, and fresh realization of cultural and religious traditions that are sometimes thousands of years old.

The first task of this new age is to ensure that this magnificent surge toward a better life, both personal and national, goes forward in all these countries as rapidly and as safely as possible.

The United States has been working at the side of most of these nations, while they have been making great strides in education, farming methods, control of diseases, construction of hospitals and roads and schools and factories and dams and irrigation projects, and improvement of political machinery, legislation, and labor-management relations.

There is a second part to this picture. Suppose we achieved a world of healthy, free, sovereign nations. We would still have the question: how are they to settle their differences of interest among themselves? For there will always be differences of interest. And there must be some source of international order.

A principal source of order in the world, and one that can provide an over-all pattern, is the United Nations.

And so, just as we support the vigorous independence of today's many separate nations, so too we support just as vigorously the practice of settling the inevitable disputes between these nations under the principles and procedures of the United Nations.

The history of the United States is that of a struggle for the right of self-determination and human dignity. Our story begins with a ringing declaration which has inspired millions of free people everywhere, that "all men . . . are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." But this same declaration also states that, along with this self-determination, we must show "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."

In world affairs this nation has striven to confirm and give meaning to these noble words. Through the years we have helped new countries achieve political and economic strength. And the way we dealt with the Suez crisis and its after-effects in the UN was also an action demonstrating our conviction that international harmony begins with "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind."

Recently I set forth before our Congress proposals about the Middle East designed to help bring stability to that troubled area. I would like to show you how these proposals fit in with what I have just described as our purposes.

I believe that the well-being of the people of the Middle East requires the nations of that region to build up and strengthen their economies and institutions. We want to see that kind of progress. My proposals fit right in with this purpose, for they suggested two things: first, in order that this constructive work may go on within these countries, they must be free of the menace of international Communism, which could smash all their hard-won accomplishments overnight. And so we give these countries the assurance that if such a danger develops, and if the United Nations machinery cannot deal with the danger, and a threatened country asks for our help, it can count on our help. So, behind the protective arm of this assurance, the real creative work of progress can go on, and, to speed this creative work, an extra measure of economic assistance for the area is included in my proposals.

We must face the fact that, while we are trying to help build a world of freedom and justice among sovereign people, the masters of international Communism are working constantly to tear down this kind of world.

Communism, according to all its own leaders, must be a system of international control and conformity. Thus, at its very heart, it is the complete opposite and enemy of any kind of nationalism. Its avowed program is to destroy totally the religion, governments, institutions and traditions of the Christian world, the Buddhist world, the Islamic world, the Judaic world, and the world of every religion and culture. The Communist rulers then propose to substitute a whole new system of thought and control dictated from Communist Party headquarters. They think that a few theorists and rulers know what is best for everyone, and they are determined to drive everyone toward that kind of world.

One small country after another has been swallowed up by international Communism. Their freedom is lost. Their national pride is crushed. Their religion is trampled on. Their economies are mere feeders for that of Russia. And if they attempt to assert their tradition of freedom, their people are shot down by the thousands. Witness: Hungary.

I should like to direct a special word to those people now living under the tyranny of international Communism:

We want your friendship. We cherish the ties that have linked us in the past. And we wish you well in your aspirations toward freedom. For we know that, whatever the designs of power-hungry rulers may be, there dwells deep in the heart of every person this same God-given desire to realize freely his own destiny.

And to all people, everywhere--this final pledge: With you we look forward to and shall never cease to work for a world of peace, based on justice. May the God of us all keep you--and hasten that glorious day.

Note: The President's words were the climax of a United States Information Agency program on the theme "Freedom to Listen." The anniversary broadcast took place from 11 a. m. until noon on February 25, 1957.

The President's appearance before the microphone in the Washington studios of the Voice of America marked the first time a President of the United States had spoken directly to the peoples of the world over the Government's international radio network. Immediately after the President's speech, his words were translated and broadcast in Russian, French, Chinese, and Spanish. During the remainder of the day, the President's statement was broadcast in 38 other foreign languages.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, World Broadcast in Observance of Fifteenth Anniversary of Voice of America. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234107

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