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Nixon returns to the national stage and makes the case for war in Vietnam

1965_Nixon_FTA_02_3x2_1080.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
/
Richard Nixon in West Branch, Iowa 1965
About
Transcript
About

“I believe it is time for the American people to quit being defensive or apologetic about our role in Vietnam.”

The second episode of From the Archives features a 1965 address from Richard Nixon, who, in 1965, was the former Vice President of the United States. At the time, many political commentators thought Nixon's political career was finished after he lost a presidential election and the bid for Governor of California. But this speech — which took many in the audience by surprise — is the beginning of his comeback.

Timothy Naftali is the clinical associate professor of history and public service at New York University and a contributor to and author of several books, including Impeachment: An American History. Naftali joins the episode to offer context for Nixon's remarks.

Nixon made these remarks on August 9, 1965 at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch.

From the Archives was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Transcript

The following is a transcript of Richard Nixon's speech on August 9, 1965. It contains outdated language that some may find offensive.
The transcript was produced using AI transcription software and edited by an IPR producer, and it may contain errors. Please listen to the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

General Eisenhower, Sen. Miller, Mr. Murphy, members of the Hoover family, all of the distinguished guests in the platform and distinguished members in this audience: It is a very great honor for me to be here. And to represent this audience in paying tribute to the memory of Herbert Hoover. I imagine that one of the reasons that I have that privilege is that I have several things in common with Herbert Hoover. For example, I am one of the few Americans who has a number of realatives in West Branch, Iowa. Also, while I was not born in Iowa as he was, I did spend Navy service here for five months in World War II. And while I didn't live in Iowa long enough to run for office. That, of course, was before Robert Kennedy demonstrated that you don't have to live in the state at all to run for office.

Another thing that Mr. Hoover and I share in common is the fact that we are Quakers. I should point out, however, to this audience of Midwesterners that I came by my Quakerism rather indirectly. My father was a Methodist from Ohio. My mother was a Quaker from Indiana. They both moved to California, met there and were married. Then they compromised — they both became Quakers.

1965_Nixon_FTA_01_3x2_1080.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
/
Vice president Richard Nixon with President Dwight Eisenhower

The very character of this gathering today, I think, is a tribute to Herbert Hoover. I refer to four factors in that regard. First, I refer to the presence of one of the first families in America. I think I speak for all of this great audience in saying that we appreciate the fact that Herbert Hoover Jr. and Alan Hoover and their families have always held high the Hoover name and are worthy of that great name. And we're happy that they are here today.

Second, there is the presence here, from all over the United States, of men and women who worked with Mr. Hoover in government or in the other activities in which he was engaged for over 50 years. The mark of a great man is that he is able to inspire lasting loyalty among those who have worked with him and for him, and they are here.

And then there is the presence here, in this audience, of those who live in his hometown. Mr. Hoover never forgot the people of a small town in which he was born. And the fact that you are here demonstrates that you have never forgotten him.

And finally, the highest tribute that could be paid to any man is the presence at this assembly of the former President of the United States, the General of the Armies who led us to victory in World War II, a man who, for over 50 years, served this country beyond the call of duty, Dwight D. Eisenhower. I'm sure you will agree with me that this distinguished gathering, honored by the presence of General Eisenhower, is in itself an eloquent tribute to one of America's greatest leaders. And the honor which has been assigned me to add words to that tribute, I can assure you provides a very rich choice of subjects.

For over 50 years. Herbert Hoover walked as an equal with the giants of the earth. We could honor him today for his service as President of the United States. We could honor him for his achievements as an engineer and an as author. We can honor him for his contribution to the cause of more efficient government through his reports to the Hoover Commission, we can honor him for the selfless service in so many enterprises all over the world, which earned him worldwide recognition as the great humanitarian of the 20th century. But great, as were his achievements, I believe that his biographer Eugene Lyons, was probably correct in concluding that Herbert Hoover, will be remembered more for what he was, than for what he did.

In terms of public esteem, never has one man fallen so low, and risen so high. 33 years ago, he left the White House vilified by his enemies, forsaken even by some of his friends. Like Secretary Rusk, he had learned how viciously cruel so-called scholars can be in writing of their contemporaries. And that dreary March of 1933, Herbert Hoover could well have been described as the man nobody knows. This warm, kind, generous, shy, witty, and progressive humanitarian, was painted before his countrymen as a cold, heartless, selfish, aloof, humorless reactionary. But time fortunately has a way of healing the wounds inflicted by excessive partisanship. If the commentators of the decades were cruel, the historians of the century will be kinder.

Before his death, he became a living example of the truth of the word Sophocles wrote over 2000 years ago: One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been. His legion of friends can be forever grateful that Herbert Hoover was one of those rare leaders who lived to hear the overwhelmingly favorable verdict of history on his public career.

No words can add luster to the special place he has earned in the heart of his countrymen. But let it be noted that for generations to come, his magnificence in adversity will be an everlasting example to those who would achieve greatness. A lesser man would have lashed back at his critics, but Herbert Hoover was one of those unique individuals who was capable of great anger against corruption and brutality and evil, but never against people. His serenity in the face of the most brutal attacks, in the end, he made his detractors seem like pygmies, and allowed his fellow Americans to see even more clearly, the great character of the giant who walked among them.

1965_Nixon_FTA_03_2x3_1080.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
/
Vice president Richard Nixon

To limit my remarks on this occasion to a discussion of his achievements would certainly be appropriate. But the highest tribute, after all, a nation can pay to one of its great men is to honor his principles in the adoption of its policies. And it is in that spirit, that I would suggest that we test our policy in Vietnam, against the foreign policy principles of Herbert Hoover.

It would be presumptuous to say what position he would take on Vietnam if he were alive today. But the principles which would guide him in making that decision ring out true and clear from the record of his public statements.

Speaking at the Republican convention in Chicago in 1944, he said, 'We want to live in peace. We want no territory. We want no domination over any nation. We want the freedom of nations from the domination of others. We want it both in the cause of freedom. And because there can be no lasting peace, if enslaved people must ceaselessly strive and fight for freedom. There was no fuzzy mindedness in the analysis of the Cold War,' he said, 'the world is divided by opposing concepts of life. One is good, and the other is evil.'

And yet, while he hated the communist idea, the great humanitarian had no hatred for the Russian people. It was his leadership after World War I, which helped feed and save the lives of millions of Russian children. In summary, the principles which Herbert Hoover would apply and making a foreign policy decision could be summed up I believe in one sentence. He wanted peace, freedom, non-intervention, self determination, progress for all peoples and all nations.

America's critics at home and abroad contend that our policy in Vietnam is diametrically opposed to every one of those principles. They contend that America is intervening in a civil war. They contend that we're fighting a losing battle to perpetuate white colonialism in Asia. They contend that we're on the side of reaction resisting the forces of change and progress. They contend that we are increasing the danger of World War III.

Even among the majority of Americans who support our policy, too many seem to believe that we had no business getting involved in Vietnam in the first place. And that all we can hope or try to do is to make the best of a bad situation.

I believe it is time for the American people to quit being defensive or apologetic about our role in Vietnam. We can hold our heads high in the knowledge that as was the case in World War I, World War II and Korea. We are fighting not just in the influence of South Vietnam into the United States, but for peace, for freedom and progress for all peoples.

Let us examine the claims of the critics. This is not a case of American intervention in a civil war. We are helping South Vietnam resist communist intervention. We are not attempting to impose American colonialism in Vietnam. We are there to prevent communist colonialism and to preserve the right of self determination without outside intervention for the people of South Vietnam. We are fighting on the side of progress for the Vietnamese people. It is the communists who are fighting against progress.

One of the reasons that the South Vietnamese have been willing to fight so long and so bravely against the communists is that they know that North Vietnam under communism is an economic slump. The per capita income of South Vietnam under freedom is twice as high as that of North Vietnam. But the greatest fallacy is the contention that United States policy in Vietnam increases the danger of world war. On the contrary, stopping communist aggression will reduce the danger of war and failing to stop it will increase the danger of war.

This is true, because if the communists gain from their aggression, they will be encouraged to try it again. It is true, because if aggression is rewarded, those who advocate the hard line in Peking and Moscow will have won the day over those who favor peaceful coexistence. And we shall be confronted with other Vietnam's in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And it is true because of the Communist game from their aggression and Vietnam, all of Southeast Asia would come under communist domination. And we would have to fight a major war to save the Philippines.

1965_Nixon_FTA_04_2x3_1080.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
Richard Nixon

A crucial issue is being decided in Vietnam today. And it is this: Does the free world have an answer to the communist tactic of taking over a free country not by direct attack, as they tried it in Korea, not by winning a free election which they have never done in their history, but by fomenting and supporting a revolution.

Communism has grown from a seller conspiracy...50 years ago, the control of a third of the world's surface and a billion people through this tact. And if this tactic proves unsuccessful in Vietnam, the steady communist march to world domination will be hollow. But if it succeeds, the communists will have the green light for conquest by support a revolution all over the world. And we will be helpless to stop it.

This is one of those great turning points in history. Today Russia, Red China are not allies. And Red China without Russia is a fourth-rate military power with no significant nuclear capability. Five years from now, the two communist giants may have patched up their differences. And even if they fail to do so, Red China by itself will then have a dangerous nuclear capability. Time therefore is not on our side. If the communists aggressors are not stopped now, the risk of stopping them later will be significantly greater.

Too much of the discussion in Vietnam has been in the very terms of day-to-day tactics of targets to be hit or excluded of the cost of war. I believe it's time for all Americans to raise their eyes proudly the great goals for which Americans are fighting in Vietnam. We are fighting in Vietnam to prevent World War III. We are fighting for the right of self determination for all nations, large and small. We are fighting to save free Asia from communist domination. We are fighting for the right of all people to enjoy progress through freedom. We are fighting to prevent the Pacific from becoming a Red Sea. To achieve these goals, Americans must be united in their determination not to fail the cause of peace and freedom in this period of crisis.

The noisy minority, which constantly talks of the need to make concessions to the communist aggressors in order to gain peace, are defeating the very purpose they claim to serve. This kind of talk discourages our friends and encourages our enemy and prolongs the war.

The communists do not have to be told that we are for peace, they have to be convinced that they cannot win the war. We shall agree to any honorable peace. But on one issue, there can be no compromise: there can be no reward for aggression. Forcing the South Vietnamese into a coalition government with the communists would be a reward for aggression. Neutralizing South Vietnam would be a reward for aggression. Forcing the South Vietnamese to give up any territory to the communist aggressors would be a reward for aggression.

History tells us that a coalition government would be only the first step toward complete communist takeover. Neutralization, where the communists are concerned — as we learned in Laos — mean just three things. We get out, they stay in, they take over. Attempting to buy peace by turning over territory to the aggressors would only whet their appetite for more.

1965_Nixon_FTA_05_3x2_1080.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
/
Richard Nixon

We welcome the interest of the United Nations in seeking a setup. But where the security of the United States is directly threatened by international communist aggression, the policy must be made by the United States and not by the United Nations.

We respect the views of nations who choose to remain neutral in the struggle between communism and freedom. But in evaluating those views, let us remember that no nation in the world today could afford the luxury of neutrality, if it were not for the power of the United States of America.

This struggle will be long, and the cost will be great, but the reward will be victory over aggression in a world in which peace and freedom have a better chance to survive. What happens when peace comes? Herbert Hoover's record gives us guidance here too. The man who hated communism, helped save the lives of millions of Russian people living under communism after World War I, and the man who hated dictatorship set up the committee for small nations to aid the people forced to live under Hitler's dictatorship during World War II.

Herbert Hoover always took a dim view of trade or aid programs, which might strengthen the power of dictatorial governments over their people. That is why he insisted that American aid to the starving Russian people after world war one be administered not by the communist government, but by the American relief administration, which he had.

I believe that at this time, we must continue to step up our air and sea attacks on North Vietnam until the communist leaders stop their aggression against South Vietnam.

But completely consistent with that policy, would be the establishment now of an American committee to aid the people of North Vietnam. What I am suggesting is not a government-to-government program which would simply strengthen the domination of the Communist government of North Vietnam over the people, but a People to People program.

The American people through contributions to such a committee would send to the people of North Vietnam food, medicine, clothing and other materials, which would help them recover from the devastating destruction of war. And if the government of North Vietnam raised objections to allowing an American agency to administer the program, the distribution of supplies could be undertaken by an independent agency like the International Red Cross. Certainly a program of this type would be in the great humanitarian tradition of Herbert Hoover.

As we consider the problems we face, let me suggest that we should not overlook one great factor, which is working in our favor in Asia and all over the world. 12 years ago, President Eisenhower sent me on a goodwill trip to Asia. At that time, in every Asian country, the communist propaganda line was based on one major theme. Choose communism, and you will enjoy a better way of life. I was in Asia twice last year. Today, that propaganda line no longer has any credibility.

Those who joined the Vietcong in Vietnam today do so not because they like communism, but because they fear it. In the past 12 years, the only nations in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, which have enjoyed sustained economic progress, are those in which freedom has been given a chance. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. And the economic failures have been Communist China, communist North Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia, both of which chose the socialist road to economic bankruptcy.

There is a lesson in this record for America — at a time when other nations are turning toward freedom, let us in America not turn away from it.

Herbert Hoover spoke eloquently on this subject at West Branch on his 75th birthday. You remember his words? 'a splendid storehouse of integrity and freedom has been bequeathed to us by our forefathers. Our duty is to see that that storehouse is not robbed of its contents. We dare not see the birthright of posterity to independence initiative and the freedom of choice, bartered for a mess of a collective assistant.'

And then again, on his 80th birthday, he returned to the same theme. You remember? 'it is dinned into us,' he said, 'that this is the century of the common man.' The whole idea is another cousin of the Soviet proletariat. The uncommon man is to be whittled down to size. It is the negation of individual dignity, a slogan of mediocrity and uniformity. The greatest strides of human progress have come from uncommon men and women. And the humor of it is, he said, is that 'when we get sick, we want an uncommon doctor. When we go to war, we want an uncommon general. And when we choose the president of a university, we want an uncommon educator.' The imperative need of this nation at all times is the leadership of uncommon men or women.

And then just one year ago, on his 90th birthday, he reminded his fellow countrymen again, for the last time, freedom is the open window, through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. Two months after he wrote those words, the papers reported that Herbert Hoover was dead. But a man touched with the immortal greatness of Herbert Hoover will never die. Whenever men and women who love freedom are gathered together, as we are here today. His kind and gentle spirit will be there to inspire us.

We were privileged to have lived in the same century with this uncommon, extraordinary man. And as we meet in this typically American town, in the heartland of our country, may we honor his principles as we pay tribute to his memory.

About
Transcript
About

“I believe it is time for the American people to quit being defensive or apologetic about our role in Vietnam.”

The second episode of From the Archives features a 1965 address from Richard Nixon, who, in 1965, was the former Vice President of the United States. At the time, many political commentators thought Nixon's political career was finished after he lost a presidential election and the bid for Governor of California. But this speech — which took many in the audience by surprise — is the beginning of his comeback.

Timothy Naftali is the clinical associate professor of history and public service at New York University and a contributor to and author of several books, including Impeachment: An American History. Naftali joins the episode to offer context for Nixon's remarks.

Nixon made these remarks on August 9, 1965 at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch.

From the Archives was made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Transcript

The following is a transcript of Richard Nixon's speech on August 9, 1965. It contains outdated language that some may find offensive.
The transcript was produced using AI transcription software and edited by an IPR producer, and it may contain errors. Please listen to the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

General Eisenhower, Sen. Miller, Mr. Murphy, members of the Hoover family, all of the distinguished guests in the platform and distinguished members in this audience: It is a very great honor for me to be here. And to represent this audience in paying tribute to the memory of Herbert Hoover. I imagine that one of the reasons that I have that privilege is that I have several things in common with Herbert Hoover. For example, I am one of the few Americans who has a number of realatives in West Branch, Iowa. Also, while I was not born in Iowa as he was, I did spend Navy service here for five months in World War II. And while I didn't live in Iowa long enough to run for office. That, of course, was before Robert Kennedy demonstrated that you don't have to live in the state at all to run for office.

Another thing that Mr. Hoover and I share in common is the fact that we are Quakers. I should point out, however, to this audience of Midwesterners that I came by my Quakerism rather indirectly. My father was a Methodist from Ohio. My mother was a Quaker from Indiana. They both moved to California, met there and were married. Then they compromised — they both became Quakers.

31-1965-b08.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
Richard Nixon

The very character of this gathering today, I think, is a tribute to Herbert Hoover. I refer to four factors in that regard. First, I refer to the presence of one of the first families in America. I think I speak for all of this great audience in saying that we appreciate the fact that Herbert Hoover Jr. and Alan Hoover and their families have always held high the Hoover name and are worthy of that great name. And we're happy that they are here today.

Second, there is the presence here, from all over the United States, of men and women who worked with Mr. Hoover in government or in the other activities in which he was engaged for over 50 years. The mark of a great man is that he is able to inspire lasting loyalty among those who have worked with him and for him, and they are here.

And then there is the presence here, in this audience, of those who live in his hometown. Mr. Hoover never forgot the people of a small town in which he was born. And the fact that you are here demonstrates that you have never forgotten him.

And finally, the highest tribute that could be paid to any man is the presence at this assembly of the former President of the United States, the General of the Armies who led us to victory in World War II, a man who, for over 50 years, served this country beyond the call of duty, Dwight D. Eisenhower. I'm sure you will agree with me that this distinguished gathering, honored by the presence of General Eisenhower, is in itself an eloquent tribute to one of America's greatest leaders. And the honor which has been assigned me to add words to that tribute, I can assure you provides a very rich choice of subjects.

For over 50 years. Herbert Hoover walked as an equal with the giants of the earth. We could honor him today for his service as President of the United States. We could honor him for his achievements as an engineer and an as author. We can honor him for his contribution to the cause of more efficient government through his reports to the Hoover Commission, we can honor him for the selfless service in so many enterprises all over the world, which earned him worldwide recognition as the great humanitarian of the 20th century. But great, as were his achievements, I believe that his biographer Eugene Lyons, was probably correct in concluding that Herbert Hoover, will be remembered more for what he was, than for what he did.

In terms of public esteem, never has one man fallen so low, and risen so high. 33 years ago, he left the White House vilified by his enemies, forsaken even by some of his friends. Like Secretary Rusk, he had learned how viciously cruel so-called scholars can be in writing of their contemporaries. And that dreary March of 1933, Herbert Hoover could well have been described as the man nobody knows. This warm, kind, generous, shy, witty, and progressive humanitarian, was painted before his countrymen as a cold, heartless, selfish, aloof, humorless reactionary. But time fortunately has a way of healing the wounds inflicted by excessive partisanship. If the commentators of the decades were cruel, the historians of the century will be kinder.

Before his death, he became a living example of the truth of the word Sophocles wrote over 2000 years ago: One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been. His legion of friends can be forever grateful that Herbert Hoover was one of those rare leaders who lived to hear the overwhelmingly favorable verdict of history on his public career.

No words can add luster to the special place he has earned in the heart of his countrymen. But let it be noted that for generations to come, his magnificence in adversity will be an everlasting example to those who would achieve greatness. A lesser man would have lashed back at his critics, but Herbert Hoover was one of those unique individuals who was capable of great anger against corruption and brutality and evil, but never against people. His serenity in the face of the most brutal attacks, in the end, he made his detractors seem like pygmies, and allowed his fellow Americans to see even more clearly, the great character of the giant who walked among them.

31-1965-b16.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

To limit my remarks on this occasion to a discussion of his achievements would certainly be appropriate. But the highest tribute, after all, a nation can pay to one of its great men is to honor his principles in the adoption of its policies. And it is in that spirit, that I would suggest that we test our policy in Vietnam, against the foreign policy principles of Herbert Hoover.

It would be presumptuous to say what position he would take on Vietnam if he were alive today. But the principles which would guide him in making that decision ring out true and clear from the record of his public statements.

Speaking at the Republican convention in Chicago in 1944, he said, 'We want to live in peace. We want no territory. We want no domination over any nation. We want the freedom of nations from the domination of others. We want it both in the cause of freedom. And because there can be no lasting peace, if enslaved people must ceaselessly strive and fight for freedom. There was no fuzzy mindedness in the analysis of the Cold War,' he said, 'the world is divided by opposing concepts of life. One is good, and the other is evil.'

And yet, while he hated the communist idea, the great humanitarian had no hatred for the Russian people. It was his leadership after World War I, which helped feed and save the lives of millions of Russian children. In summary, the principles which Herbert Hoover would apply and making a foreign policy decision could be summed up I believe in one sentence. He wanted peace, freedom, non-intervention, self determination, progress for all peoples and all nations.

America's critics at home and abroad contend that our policy in Vietnam is diametrically opposed to every one of those principles. They contend that America is intervening in a civil war. They contend that we're fighting a losing battle to perpetuate white colonialism in Asia. They contend that we're on the side of reaction resisting the forces of change and progress. They contend that we are increasing the danger of World War III.

Even among the majority of Americans who support our policy, too many seem to believe that we had no business getting involved in Vietnam in the first place. And that all we can hope or try to do is to make the best of a bad situation.

I believe it is time for the American people to quit being defensive or apologetic about our role in Vietnam. We can hold our heads high in the knowledge that as was the case in World War I, World War II and Korea. We are fighting not just in the influence of South Vietnam into the United States, but for peace, for freedom and progress for all peoples.

Let us examine the claims of the critics. This is not a case of American intervention in a civil war. We are helping South Vietnam resist communist intervention. We are not attempting to impose American colonialism in Vietnam. We are there to prevent communist colonialism and to preserve the right of self determination without outside intervention for the people of South Vietnam. We are fighting on the side of progress for the Vietnamese people. It is the communists who are fighting against progress.

One of the reasons that the South Vietnamese have been willing to fight so long and so bravely against the communists is that they know that North Vietnam under communism is an economic slump. The per capita income of South Vietnam under freedom is twice as high as that of North Vietnam. But the greatest fallacy is the contention that United States policy in Vietnam increases the danger of world war. On the contrary, stopping communist aggression will reduce the danger of war and failing to stop it will increase the danger of war.

31-1965-b10.jpg
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

This is true, because if the communists gain from their aggression, they will be encouraged to try it again. It is true, because if aggression is rewarded, those who advocate the hard line in Peking and Moscow will have won the day over those who favor peaceful coexistence. And we shall be confronted with other Vietnam's in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And it is true because of the Communist game from their aggression and Vietnam, all of Southeast Asia would come under communist domination. And we would have to fight a major war to save the Philippines.

A crucial issue is being decided in Vietnam today. And it is this: Does the free world have an answer to the communist tactic of taking over a free country not by direct attack, as they tried it in Korea, not by winning a free electio,n which they have never done in their history, but by fomenting and supporting a revolution.

Communism has grown from a seller conspiracy...50 years ago, the control of a third of the world's surface and a billion people through this tact. And if this tactic proves unsuccessful in Vietnam, the steady communist march to world domination will be hollow. But if it succeeds, the communists will have the green light for conquest by support a revolution all over the world. And we will be helpless to stop it.

This is one of those great turning points in history. Today Russia, Red China are not allies. And Red China without Russia is a fourth-rate military power with no significant nuclear capability. Five years from now, the two communist giants may have patched up their differences. And even if they fail to do so, Red China by itself will then have a dangerous nuclear capability. Time therefore is not on our side. If the communists aggressors are not stopped now, the risk of stopping them later will be significantly greater.

Too much of the discussion in Vietnam has been in the very terms of day-to-day tactics of targets to be hit or excluded of the cost of war. I believe it's time for all Americans to raise their eyes proudly the great goals for which Americans are fighting in Vietnam. We are fighting in Vietnam to prevent World War III. We are fighting for the right of self determination for all nations, large and small. We are fighting to save free Asia from communist domination. We are fighting for the right of all people to enjoy progress through freedom. We are fighting to prevent the Pacific from becoming a Red Sea. To achieve these goals, Americans must be united in their determination not to fail the cause of peace and freedom in this period of crisis.

The noisy minority, which constantly talks of the need to make concessions to the communist aggressors in order to gain peace, are defeating the very purpose they claim to serve. This kind of talk discourages our friends and encourages our enemy and prolongs the war.

The communists do not have to be told that we are for peace, they have to be convinced that they cannot win the war. We shall agree to any honorable peace. But on one issue, there can be no compromise: there can be no reward for aggression. Forcing the South Vietnamese into a coalition government with the communists would be a reward for aggression. Neutralizing South Vietnam would be a reward for aggression. Forcing the South Vietnamese to give up any territory to the communist aggressors would be a reward for aggression.

History tells us that a coalition government would be only the first step toward complete communist takeover. Neutralization, where the communists are concerned — as we learned in Laos — mean just three things. We get out, they stay in, they take over. Attempting to buy peace by turning over territory to the aggressors would only whet their appetite for more.

31-1965-35.jpg

We welcome the interest of the United Nations in seeking a setup. But where the security of the United States is directly threatened by international communist aggression, the policy must be made by the United States and not by the United Nations.

We respect the views of nations who choose to remain neutral in the struggle between communism and freedom. But in evaluating those views, let us remember that no nation in the world today could afford the luxury of neutrality, if it were not for the power of the United States of America.

This struggle will be long, and the cost will be great, but the reward will be victory over aggression in a world in which peace and freedom have a better chance to survive. What happens when peace comes? Herbert Hoover's record gives us guidance here too. The man who hated communism, helped save the lives of millions of Russian people living under communism after World War I, and the man who hated dictatorship set up the committee for small nations to aid the people forced to live under Hitler's dictatorship during World War II.

Herbert Hoover always took a dim view of trade or aid programs, which might strengthen the power of dictatorial governments over their people. That is why he insisted that American aid to the starving Russian people after world war one be administered not by the communist government, but by the American relief administration, which he had.

I believe that at this time, we must continue to step up our air and sea attacks on North Vietnam until the communist leaders stop their aggression against South Vietnam.

But completely consistent with that policy, would be the establishment now of an American committee to aid the people of North Vietnam. What I am suggesting is not a government-to-government program which would simply strengthen the domination of the Communist government of North Vietnam over the people, but a People to People program.

The American people through contributions to such a committee would send to the people of North Vietnam food, medicine, clothing and other materials, which would help them recover from the devastating destruction of war. And if the government of North Vietnam raised objections to allowing an American agency to administer the program, the distribution of supplies could be undertaken by an independent agency like the International Red Cross. Certainly a program of this type would be in the great humanitarian tradition of Herbert Hoover.

As we consider the problems we face, let me suggest that we should not overlook one great factor, which is working in our favor in Asia and all over the world. 12 years ago, President Eisenhower sent me on a goodwill trip to Asia. At that time, in every Asian country, the communist propaganda line was based on one major theme. Choose communism, and you will enjoy a better way of life. I was in Asia twice last year. Today, that propaganda line no longer has any credibility.

Those who joined the Vietcong in Vietnam today do so not because they like communism, but because they fear it. In the past 12 years, the only nations in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, which have enjoyed sustained economic progress, are those in which freedom has been given a chance. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. And the economic failures have been Communist China, communist North Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia, both of which chose the socialist road to economic bankruptcy.

There is a lesson in this record for America — at a time when other nations are turning toward freedom, let us in America not turn away from it.

Herbert Hoover spoke eloquently on this subject at West Branch on his 75th birthday. You remember his words? 'a splendid storehouse of integrity and freedom has been bequeathed to us by our forefathers. Our duty is to see that that storehouse is not robbed of its contents. We dare not see the birthright of posterity to independence initiative and the freedom of choice, bartered for a mess of a collective assistant.'

And then again, on his 80th birthday, he returned to the same theme. You remember? 'it is dinned into us,' he said, 'that this is the century of the common man.' The whole idea is another cousin of the Soviet proletariat. The uncommon man is to be whittled down to size. It is the negation of individual dignity, a slogan of mediocrity and uniformity. The greatest strides of human progress have come from uncommon men and women. And the humor of it is, he said, is that 'when we get sick, we want an uncommon doctor. When we go to war, we want an uncommon general. And when we choose the president of a university, we want an uncommon educator.' The imperative need of this nation at all times is the leadership of uncommon men or women.

And then just one year ago, on his 90th birthday, he reminded his fellow countrymen again, for the last time, freedom is the open window, through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. Two months after he wrote those words, the papers reported that Herbert Hoover was dead. But a man touched with the immortal greatness of Herbert Hoover will never die. Whenever men and women who love freedom are gathered together, as we are here today. His kind and gentle spirit will be there to inspire us.

We were privileged to have lived in the same century with this uncommon, extraordinary man. And as we meet in this typically American town, in the heartland of our country, may we honor his principles as we pay tribute to his memory.

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John Pemble is a reporter for IPR
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio