The addresses are separated by three asterisks: ***
Dates of addresses by Dwight D. Eisenhower in this eBook: February 2, 1953 January 7, 1954 January 6, 1955 January 5, 1956 January 10, 1957 January 9, 1958 January 9, 1959 January 7, 1960 January 12, 1961
State of the Union Address Dwight D. Eisenhower February 2, 1953
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Eighty-third Congress:
I welcome the honor of appearing before you to deliver my first message to the Congress.
It is manifestly the joint purpose of the congressional leadership and of this administration to justify the summons to governmental responsibility issued last November by the American people. The grand labors of this leadership will involve:
Application of America's influence in world affairs with such fortitude and such foresight that it will deter aggression and eventually secure peace;
Establishment of a national administration of such integrity and such efficiency that its honor at home will ensure respect abroad;
Encouragement of those incentives that inspire creative initiative in our economy, so that its productivity may fortify freedom everywhere; and
Dedication to the well-being of all our citizens and to the attainment of equality of opportunity for all, so that our Nation will ever act with the strength of unity in every task to which it is called.
The purpose of this message is to suggest certain lines along which our joint efforts may immediately be directed toward realization of these four ruling purposes.
The time that this administration has been in office has been too brief to permit preparation of a detailed and comprehensive program of recommended action to cover all phases of the responsibilities that devolve upon our country's new leaders. Such a program will be filled out in the weeks ahead as, after appropriate study, I shall submit additional recommendations for your consideration. Today can provide only a sure and substantial beginning.
Our country has come through a painful period of trial and disillusionment since the victory of 1945. We anticipated a world of peace and cooperation. The calculated pressures of aggressive communism have forced us, instead, to live in a world of turmoil.
From this costly experience we have learned one clear lesson. We have learned that the free world cannot indefinitely remain in a posture of paralyzed tension, leaving forever to the aggressor the choice of time and place and means to cause greatest hurt to us at least cost to himself.
This administration has, therefore, begun the definition of a new, positive foreign policy. This policy will be governed by certain fixed ideas. They are these:
(1) Our foreign policy must be clear, consistent, and confident. This means that it must be the product of genuine, continuous cooperation between the executive and the legislative branches of this Government. It must be developed and directed in the spirit of true bipartisanship.
(2) The policy we embrace must be a coherent global policy. The freedom we cherish and defend in Europe and in the Americas is no different from the freedom that is imperiled in Asia.
(3) Our policy, dedicated to making the free world secure, will envision all peaceful methods and devices—except breaking faith with our friends. We shall never acquiesce in the enslavement of any people in order to purchase fancied gain for ourselves. I shall ask the Congress at a later date to join in an appropriate resolution making clear that this Government recognizes no kind of commitment contained in secret understandings of the past with foreign governments which permit this kind of enslavement.
(4) The policy we pursue will recognize the truth that no single country, even one so powerful as ours, can alone defend the liberty of all nations threatened by Communist aggression from without or subversion within. Mutual security means effective mutual cooperation. For the United States, this means that, as a matter of common sense and national interest, we shall give help to other nations in the measure that they strive earnestly to do their full share of the common task. No wealth of aid could compensate for poverty of spirit. The heart of every free nation must be honestly dedicated to the preserving of its own independence and security.
(5) Our policy will be designed to foster the advent of practical unity in Western Europe. The nations of that region have contributed notably to the effort of sustaining the security of the free world. From the jungles of Indochina and Malaya to the northern shores of Europe, they have vastly improved their defensive strength. Where called upon to do so, they have made costly and bitter sacrifices to hold the line of freedom.
But the problem of security demands closer cooperation among the nations of Europe than has been known to date. Only a more closely integrated economic and political system can provide the greatly increased economic strength needed to maintain both necessary military readiness and respectable living standards.
Europe's enlightened leaders have long been aware of these facts. All the devoted work that has gone into the Schuman plan, the European Army, and the Strasbourg Conference has testified to their vision and determination. These achievements are the more remarkable when we realize that each of them has marked a victory—for France and for Germany alike over the divisions that in the past have brought such tragedy to these two great nations and to the world.
The needed unity of Western Europe manifestly cannot be manufactured from without; it can only be created from within. But it is right and necessary that we encourage Europe's leaders by informing them of the high value we place upon the earnestness of their efforts toward this goal. Real progress will be conclusive evidence to the American people that our material sacrifices in the cause of collective security are matched by essential political, economic, and military accomplishments in Western Europe.
(6) Our foreign policy will recognize the importance of profitable and equitable world trade.
A substantial beginning can and should be made by our friends themselves. Europe, for example, is now marked by checkered areas of labor surplus and labor shortage, of agricultural areas needing machines and industrial areas needing food. Here and elsewhere we can hope that our friends will take the initiative in creating broader markets and more dependable currencies, to allow greater exchange of goods and services among themselves.
Action along these lines can create an economic environment that will invite vital help from us.
This help includes:
First: Revising our customs regulations to remove procedural obstacles to profitable trade. I further recommend that the Congress take the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act under immediate study and extend it by appropriate legislation. This objective must not ignore legitimate safeguarding of domestic industries, agriculture, and labor standards. In all executive study and recommendations on this problem labor and management and farmers alike will be earnestly consulted.
Second: Doing whatever Government properly can to encourage the flow of private American investment abroad. This involves, as a serious and explicit purpose of our foreign policy, the encouragement of a hospitable climate for such investment in foreign nations.
Third: Availing ourselves of facilities overseas for the economical production of manufactured articles which are needed for mutual defense and which are not seriously competitive with our own normal peacetime production.
Fourth: Receiving from the rest of the world, in equitable exchange for what we supply, greater amounts of important raw materials which we do not ourselves possess in adequate quantities.
In this general discussion of our foreign policy, I must make special mention of the war in Korea.
This war is, for Americans, the most painful phase of Communist aggression throughout the world. It is clearly a part of the same calculated assault that the aggressor is simultaneously pressing in Indochina and in Malaya, and of the strategic situation that manifestly embraces the island of Formosa and the Chinese Nationalist forces there. The working out of any military solution to the Korean war will inevitably affect all these areas.
The administration is giving immediate increased attention to the development of additional Republic of Korea forces. The citizens of that country have proved their capacity as fighting men and their eagerness to take a greater share in the defense of their homeland. Organization, equipment, and training will allow them to do so. Increased assistance to Korea for this purpose conforms fully to our global policies.
In June 1950, following the aggressive attack on the Republic of Korea, the United States Seventh Fleet was instructed both to prevent attack upon Formosa and also to insure that Formosa should not be used as a base of operations against the Chinese Communist mainland.
This has meant, in effect, that the United States Navy was required to serve as a defensive arm of Communist China. Regardless of the situation in 1950, since the date of that order the Chinese Communists have invaded Korea to attack the United Nations forces there. They have consistently rejected the proposals of the United Nations Command for an armistice. They recently joined with Soviet Russia in rejecting the armistice proposal sponsored in the United Nations by the Government of India. This proposal had been accepted by the United States and 53 other nations.
Consequently there is no longer any logic or sense in a condition that required the United States Navy to assume defensive responsibilities on behalf of the Chinese Communists, thus permitting those Communists, with greater impunity, to kill our soldiers and those of our United Nations allies in Korea.
I am, therefore, issuing instructions that the Seventh Fleet no longer be employed to shield Communist China. This order implies no aggressive intent on our part. But we certainly have no obligation to protect a nation fighting us in Korea.
Our labor for peace in Korea and in the world imperatively demands the maintenance by the United States of a strong fighting service ready for any contingency.
Our problem is to achieve adequate military strength within the limits of endurable strain upon our economy. To amass military power without regard to our economic capacity would be to defend ourselves against one kind of disaster by inviting another.
Both military and economic objectives demand a single national military policy, proper coordination of our armed services, and effective consolidation of certain logistics activities.
We must eliminate waste and duplication of effort in the armed services.
We must realize clearly that size alone is not sufficient. The biggest force is not necessarily the best—and we want the best.
We must not let traditions or habits of the past stand in the way of developing an efficient military force. All members of our forces must be ever mindful that they serve under a single flag and for a single cause.
We must effectively integrate our armament programs and plan them in such careful relation to our industrial facilities that we assure the best use of our manpower and our materials.
Because of the complex technical nature of our military organization and because of the security reasons involved, the Secretary of Defense must take the initiative and assume the responsibility for developing plans to give our Nation maximum safety at minimum cost. Accordingly, the new Secretary of Defense and his civilian and military associates will, in the future, recommend such changes in present laws affecting our defense activities as may be necessary to clarify responsibilities and improve the total effectiveness of our defense effort.
This effort must always conform to policies laid down in the National Security Council.
The statutory function of the National Security Council is to assist the President in the formulation and coordination of significant domestic, foreign, and military policies required for the security of the Nation. In these days of tension it is essential that this central body have the vitality to perform effectively its statutory role. I propose to see that it does so.
Careful formulation of policies must be followed by clear understanding of them by all peoples. A related need, therefore, is to make more effective all activities of the Government related to international information.
I have recently appointed a committee of representative and informed citizens to survey this subject and to make recommendations in the near future for legislative, administrative, or other action.
A unified and dynamic effort in this whole field is essential to the security of the United States and of the other peoples in the community of free nations. There is but one sure way to avoid total war—and that is to win the cold war.
While retaliatory power is one strong deterrent to a would-be aggressor, another powerful deterrent is defensive power. No enemy is likely to attempt an attack foredoomed to failure.
Because the building of a completely impenetrable defense against attack is still not possible, total defensive strength must include civil defense preparedness. Because we have incontrovertible evidence that Soviet Russia possesses atomic weapons, this kind of protection becomes sheer necessity.
Civil defense responsibilities primarily belong to the State and local governments—recruiting, training, and organizing volunteers to meet any emergency. The immediate job of the Federal Government is to provide leadership, to supply technical guidance, and to continue to strengthen its civil defense stockpile of medical, engineering, and related supplies and equipment. This work must go forward without lag.
I have referred to the inescapable need for economic health and strength if we are to maintain adequate military power and exert influential leadership for peace in the world.
Our immediate task is to chart a fiscal and economic policy that can:
(1) Reduce the planned deficits and then balance the budget, which means, among other things, reducing Federal expenditures to the safe minimum;
(2) Meet the huge costs of our defense;
(3) Properly handle the burden of our inheritance of debt and obligations;
(4) Check the menace of inflation;
(5) Work toward the earliest possible reduction of the tax burden;
(6) Make constructive plans to encourage the initiative of our citizens.
It is important that all of us understand that this administration does not and cannot begin its task with a clean slate. Much already has been written on the record, beyond our power quickly to erase or to amend. This record includes our inherited burden of indebtedness and obligations and deficits.
The current year's budget, as you know, carries a 5.9 billion dollar deficit; and the budget, which was presented to you before this administration took office, indicates a budgetary deficit of 9.9 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1954. The national debt is now more than 265 billion dollars. In addition, the accumulated obligational authority of the Federal Government for future payment totals over 80 billion dollars. Even this amount is exclusive of large contingent liabilities, so numerous and extensive as to be almost beyond description.
The bills for the payment of nearly all of the 80 billion dollars of obligations will be presented during the next 4 years. These bills, added to the current costs of government we must meet, make a formidable burden.
The present authorized Government-debt limit is 275 billion dollars. The forecast presented by the outgoing administration with the fiscal year 1954 budget indicates that—before the end of the fiscal year and at the peak of demand for payments during the year—the total Government debt may approach and even exceed that limit. Unless budgeted deficits are checked, the momentum of past programs will force an increase of the statutory debt limit.
Permit me this one understatement: to meet and to correct this situation will not be easy.
Permit me this one assurance: every department head and I are determined to do everything we can to resolve it.
The first order of business is the elimination of the annual deficit. This cannot be achieved merely by exhortation. It demands the concerted action of all those in responsible positions in the Government and the earnest cooperation of the Congress.
Already, we have begun an examination of the appropriations and expenditures of all departments in an effort to find significant items that may be decreased or canceled without damage to our essential requirements.
Getting control of the budget requires also that State and local governments and interested groups of citizens restrain themselves in their demands upon the Congress that the Federal Treasury spend more and more money for all types of projects.
A balanced budget is an essential first measure in checking further depreciation in the buying power of the dollar. This is one of the critical steps to be taken to bring an end to planned inflation. Our purpose is to manage the Government's finances so as to help and not hinder each family in balancing its own budget.
Reduction of taxes will be justified only as we show we can succeed in bringing the budget under control. As the budget is balanced and inflation checked, the tax burden that today stifles initiative can and must be eased.
Until we can determine the extent to which expenditures can be reduced, it would not be wise to reduce our revenues.
Meanwhile, the tax structure as a whole demands review. The Secretary of the Treasury is undertaking this study immediately. We must develop a system of taxation which will impose the least possible obstacle to the dynamic growth of the country. This includes particularly real opportunity for the growth of small businesses. Many readjustments in existing taxes will be necessary to serve these objectives and also to remove existing inequities. Clarification and simplification in the tax laws as well as the regulations will be undertaken.
In the entire area of fiscal policy—which must, in its various aspects, be treated in recommendations to the Congress in coming weeks—there can now be stated certain basic facts and principles.
First. It is axiomatic that our economy is a highly complex and sensitive mechanism. Hasty and ill-considered action of any kind could seriously upset the subtle equation that encompasses debts, obligations, expenditures, defense demands, deficits, taxes, and the general economic health of the Nation. Our goals can be clear, our start toward them can be immediate—but action must be gradual.
Second. It is clear that too great a part of the national debt comes due in too short a time. The Department of the Treasury will undertake at suitable times a program of extending part of the debt over longer periods and gradually placing greater amounts in the hands of longer-term investors.
Third. Past differences in policy between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board have helped to encourage inflation. Henceforth, I expect that their single purpose shall be to serve the whole Nation by policies designed to stabilize the economy and encourage the free play of our people's genius for individual initiative.
In encouraging this initiative, no single item in our current problems has received more thoughtful consideration by my associates, and by the many individuals called into our counsels, than the matter of price and wage control by law.
The great economic strength of our democracy has developed in an atmosphere of freedom. The character of our people resists artificial and arbitrary controls of any kind. Direct controls, except those on credit, deal not with the real causes of inflation but only with its symptoms. In times of national emergency, this kind of control has a role to play. Our whole system, however, is based upon the assumption that, normally, we should combat wide fluctuations in our price structure by relying largely on the effective use of sound fiscal and monetary policy, and upon the natural workings of economic law.
Moreover, American labor and American business can best resolve their wage problems across the bargaining table. Government should refrain from sitting in with them unless, in extreme cases, the public welfare requires protection.
We are, of course, living in an international situation that is neither an emergency demanding full mobilization, nor is it peace. No one can know how long this condition will persist. Consequently, we are forced to learn many new things as we go along-clinging to what works, discarding what does not.
In all our current discussions on these and related facts, the weight of evidence is clearly against the use of controls in their present forms. They have proved largely unsatisfactory or unworkable. They have not prevented inflation; they have not kept down the cost of living. Dissatisfaction with them is wholly justified. I am convinced that now—as well as in the long run—free and competitive prices will best serve the interests of all the people, and best meet the changing, growing needs of our economy.
Accordingly, I do not intend to ask for a renewal of the present wage and price controls on April 30, 1953, when present legislation expires. In the meantime, steps will be taken to eliminate controls in an orderly manner, and to terminate special agencies no longer needed for this purpose. It is obviously to be expected that the removal of these controls will result in individual price changes—some up, some down. But a maximum of freedom in market prices as well as in collective bargaining is characteristic of a truly free people.
I believe also that material and product controls should be ended, except with respect to defense priorities and scarce and critical items essential for our defense. I shall recommend to the Congress that legislation be enacted to continue authority for such remaining controls of this type as will be necessary after the expiration of the existing statute on June 30, 1953.
I recommend the continuance of the authority for Federal control over rents in those communities in which serious housing shortages exist. These are chiefly the so-called defense areas. In these and all areas the Federal Government should withdraw from the control of rents as soon as practicable. But before they are removed entirely, each legislature should have full opportunity to take over, within its own State, responsibility for this function.
It would be idle to pretend that all our problems in this whole field of prices will solve themselves by mere Federal withdrawal from direct controls.
We shall have to watch trends closely. If the freer functioning of our economic system, as well as the indirect controls which can be appropriately employed, prove insufficient during this period of strain and tension, I shall promptly ask the Congress to enact such legislation as may be required.
In facing all these problems—wages, prices, production, tax rates, fiscal policy, deficits—everywhere we remain constantly mindful that the time for sacrifice has not ended. But we are concerned with the encouragement of competitive enterprise and individual initiative precisely because we know them to be our Nation's abiding sources of strength.
Our vast world responsibility accents with urgency our people's elemental right to a government whose clear qualities are loyalty, security, efficiency, economy, and integrity.
The safety of America and the trust of the people alike demand that the personnel of the Federal Government be loyal in their motives and reliable in the discharge of their duties. Only a combination of both loyalty and reliability promises genuine security.
To state this principle is easy; to apply it can be difficult. But this security we must and shall have. By way of example, all principal new appointees to departments and agencies have been investigated at their own request by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Confident of your understanding and cooperation, I know that the primary responsibility for keeping out the disloyal and the dangerous rests squarely upon the executive branch. When this branch so conducts itself as to require policing by another branch of the Government, it invites its own disorder and confusion.
I am determined to meet this responsibility of the Executive. The heads of all executive departments and agencies have been instructed to initiate at once effective programs of security with respect to their personnel. The Attorney General will advise and guide the departments and agencies in the shaping of these programs, designed at once to govern the employment of new personnel and to review speedily any derogatory information concerning incumbent personnel.
To carry out these programs, I believe that the powers of the executive branch under existing law are sufficient. If they should prove inadequate, the necessary legislation will be requested.
These programs will be both fair to the rights of the individual and effective for the safety of the Nation. They will, with care and justice, apply the basic principle that public employment is not a right but a privilege.
All these measures have two clear purposes: Their first purpose is to make certain that this Nation's security is not jeopardized by false servants. Their second purpose is to clear the atmosphere of that unreasoned suspicion that accepts rumor and gossip as substitutes for evidence.
Our people, of course, deserve and demand of their Federal Government more than security of personnel. They demand, also, efficient and logical organization, true to constitutional principles.
I have already established a Committee on Government Organization. The Committee is using as its point of departure the reports of the Hoover Commission and subsequent studies by several independent agencies. To achieve the greater efficiency and economy which the Committee analyses show to be possible, I ask the Congress to extend the present Government Reorganization Act for a period of 18 months or 2 years beyond its expiration date of April 1, 1953.
There is more involved here than realigning the wheels and smoothing the gears of administrative machinery. The Congress rightfully-expects the Executive to take the initiative in discovering and removing outmoded functions and eliminating duplication.
One agency, for example, whose head has promised early and vigorous action to provide greater efficiency is the Post Office. One of the oldest institutions of our Federal Government, its service should be of the best. Its employees should merit and receive the high regard and esteem of the citizens of the Nation. There are today in some areas of the postal service, both waste and incompetence to be corrected. With the cooperation of the Congress, and taking advantage of its accumulated experience in postal affairs, the Postmaster General will institute a program directed at improving service while at the same time reducing costs and decreasing deficits.
In all departments, dedication to these basic precepts of security and efficiency, integrity, and economy can and will produce an administration deserving of the trust the people have placed in it.
Our people have demanded nothing less than good, efficient government. They shall get nothing less.
Vitally important are the water and minerals, public lands and standing timber, forage and wild-life of this country. A fast-growing population will have vast future needs in these resources. We must more than match the substantial achievements in the half-century since President Theodore Roosevelt awakened the Nation to the problem of conservation.
This calls for a strong Federal program in the field of resource development. Its major projects should be timed, where possible to assist in leveling off peaks and valleys in our economic life. Soundly planned projects already initiated should be carried out. New ones will be planned for the future.
The best natural resources program for America will not result from exclusive dependence on Federal bureaucracy. It will involve a partnership of the States and local communities, private citizens, and the Federal Government, all working together. This combined effort will advance the development of the great river valleys of our Nation and the power that they can generate. Likewise, such a partnership can be effective in the expansion throughout the Nation of upstream storage; the sound use of public lands; the wise conservation of minerals; and the sustained yield of our forests.
There has been much criticism, some of it apparently justified, of the confusion resulting from overlapping Federal activities in the entire field of resource-conservation. This matter is being exhaustively studied and appropriate reorganization plans will be developed.
Most of these particular resource problems pertain to the Department of the Interior. Another of its major concerns is our country's island possessions. Here, one matter deserves attention. The platforms of both political parties promised immediate statehood to Hawaii. The people of that Territory have earned that status. Statehood should be granted promptly with the first election scheduled for 1954.
One of the difficult problems which face the new administration is that of the slow, irregular decline of farm prices. This decline, which has been going on for almost 2 years, has occurred at a time when most nonfarm prices and farm costs of production are extraordinarily high.
Present agricultural legislation provides for the mandatory support of the prices of basic farm commodities at 90 percent of parity. The Secretary of Agriculture and his associates will, of course, execute the present act faithfully and thereby seek to mitigate the consequences of the downturn in farm income.
This price-support legislation will expire at the end of 1954.
So we should begin now to consider what farm legislation we should develop for 1955 and beyond. Our aim should be economic stability and full parity of income for American farmers. But we must seek this goal in ways that minimize governmental interference in the farmers' affairs, that permit desirable shifts in production, and that encourage farmers themselves to use initiative in meeting changing economic conditions.
A continuing study reveals nothing more emphatically than the complicated nature of this subject. Among other things, it shows that the prosperity of our agriculture depends directly upon the prosperity of the whole country—upon the purchasing power of American consumers. It depends also upon the opportunity to ship abroad large surpluses of particular commodities, and therefore upon sound economic relationships between the United States and many foreign countries. It involves research and scientific investigation, conducted on an extensive scale. It involves special credit mechanisms and marketing, rural electrification, soil conservation, and other programs.
The whole complex of agricultural programs and policies will be studied by a Special Agricultural Advisory Commission, as I know it will by appropriate committees of the Congress. A nonpartisan group of respected authorities in the field of agriculture has already been appointed as an interim advisory group.
The immediate changes needed in agricultural programs are largely budgetary and administrative in nature. New policies and new programs must await the completion of the far-reaching studies which have already been launched.
The determination of labor policy must be governed not by the vagaries of political expediency but by the firmest principles and convictions. Slanted partisan appeals to American workers, spoken as if they were a group apart, necessitating a special language and treatment, are an affront to the fullness of their dignity as American citizens.
The truth in matters of labor policy has become obscured in controversy. The very meaning of economic freedom as it affects labor has become confused. This misunderstanding has provided a climate of opinion favoring the growth of governmental paternalism in labor relations. This tendency, if left uncorrected, could end only by producing a bureaucratic despotism. Economic freedom is, in fact, the requisite of greater prosperity for every American who earns his own living.
In the field of labor legislation, only a law that merits the respect and support of both labor and management can help reduce the loss of wages and of production through strikes and stoppages, and thus add to the total economic strength of our Nation.
We have now had 5 years' experience with the Labor Management Act of 1947, commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act. That experience has shown the need for some corrective action, and we should promptly proceed to amend that act.
I know that the Congress is already proceeding with renewed studies of this subject. Meanwhile, the Department of Labor is at once beginning work to devise further specific recommendations for your consideration.
In the careful working out of legislation, I know you will give thoughtful consideration—as will we in the executive branch—to the views of labor, and of management, and of the general public. In this process, it is only human that each of us should bring forward the arguments of self-interest. But if all conduct their arguments in the overpowering light of national interest—which is enlightened self-interest—we shall get the right answers. I profoundly hope that every citizen of our country will follow with understanding your progress in this work. The welfare of all of us is involved.
Especially must we remember that the institutions of trade unionism and collective bargaining are monuments to the freedom that must prevail in our industrial life. They have a century of honorable achievement behind them. Our faith in them is proven, firm, and final.
Government can do a great deal to aid the settlement of labor disputes without allowing itself to be employed as an ally of either side. Its proper role in industrial strife is to encourage the processes of mediation and conciliation. These processes can successfully be directed only by a government free from the taint of any suspicion that it is partial or punitive.
The administration intends to strengthen and to improve the services which the Department of Labor can render to the worker and to the whole national community. This Department was created—just 40 years ago—to serve the entire Nation. It must aid, for example, employers and employees alike in improving training programs that will develop skilled and competent workers. It must enjoy the confidence and respect of labor and industry in order to play a significant role in the planning of America's economic future. To that end, I am authorizing the Department of Labor to establish promptly a tripartite advisory committee consisting of representatives of employers, labor, and the public.
Our civil and social rights form a central part of the heritage we are striving to defend on all fronts and with all our strength. I believe with all my heart that our vigilant guarding of these rights is a sacred obligation binding upon every citizen. To be true to one's own freedom is, in essence, to honor and respect the freedom of all others.
A cardinal ideal in this heritage we cherish is the equality of rights of all citizens of every race and color and creed.
We know that discrimination against minorities persists despite our allegiance to this ideal. Such discrimination—confined to no one section of the Nation—is but the outward testimony to the persistence of distrust and of fear in the hearts of men.
This fact makes all the more vital the fighting of these wrongs by each individual, in every station of life, in his every deed.
Much of the answer lies in the power of fact, fully publicized; of persuasion, honestly pressed; and of conscience, justly aroused. These are methods familiar to our way of life, tested and proven wise.
I propose to use whatever authority exists in the office of the President to end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces.
Here in the District of Columbia, serious attention should be given to the proposal to develop and authorize, through legislation, a system to provide an effective voice in local self-government. While consideration of this proceeds, I recommend an immediate increase of two in the number of District Commissioners to broaden representation of all elements of our local population. This will be a first step toward insuring that this Capital provide an honored example to all communities of our Nation.
In this manner, and by the leadership of the office of the President exercised through friendly conferences with those in authority in our States and cities, we expect to make true and rapid progress in civil rights and equality of employment opportunity.
There is one sphere in which civil rights are inevitably involved in Federal legislation. This is the sphere of immigration.
It is a manifest right of our Government to limit the number of immigrants our Nation can absorb. It is also a manifest right of our Government to set reasonable requirements on the character and the numbers of the people who come to share our land and our freedom.
It is well for us, however, to remind ourselves occasionally of an equally manifest fact: we are—one and all—immigrants or sons and daughters of immigrants.
Existing legislation contains injustices. It does, in fact, discriminate. I am informed by Members of the Congress that it was realized, at the time of its enactment, that future study of the basis of determining quotas would be necessary.
I am therefore requesting the Congress to review this legislation and to enact a statute that will at one and the same time guard our legitimate national interests and be faithful to our basic ideas of freedom and fairness to all.
In another but related area—that of social rights—we see most clearly the new application of old ideas of freedom.
This administration is profoundly aware of two great needs born of our living in a complex industrial economy. First, the individual citizen must have safeguards against personal disaster inflicted by forces beyond his control; second, the welfare of the people demands effective and economical performance by the Government of certain indispensable social services.
In the light of this responsibility, certain general purposes and certain concrete measures are plainly indicated now.
There is urgent need for greater effectiveness in our programs, both public and private, offering safeguards against the privations that too often come with unemployment, old age, illness, and accident. The provisions of the old-age and survivors insurance law should promptly be extended to cover millions of citizens who have been left out of the social-security system. No less important is the encouragement of privately sponsored pension plans. Most important of all, of course, is renewed effort to check the inflation which destroys so much of the value of all social-security payments.
Our school system demands some prompt, effective help. During each of the last 9 years, more than 1 1/2 million children have swelled the elementary and secondary school population of the country. Generally, the school population is proportionately higher in States with low per capita income. This whole situation calls for careful congressional study and action. I am sure that you share my conviction that the firm conditions of Federal aid must be proved need and proved lack of local income.
One phase of the school problem demands special action. The school population of many districts has been greatly increased by the swift growth of defense activities. These activities have added little or nothing to the tax resources of the communities affected. Legislation aiding construction of schools in the districts expires on June 30. This law should be renewed; and likewise, the partial payments for current operating expenses for these particular school districts should be made, including the deficiency requirement of the current fiscal year.
Public interest similarly demands one prompt specific action in protection of the general consumer. The Food and Drug Administration should be authorized to continue its established and necessary program of factory inspections. The invalidation of these inspections by the Supreme Court of December 8, 1952, was based solely on the fact that the present law contained inconsistent and unclear provisions. These must be promptly corrected.
I am well aware that beyond these few immediate measures there remains much to be done. The health and housing needs of our people call for intelligently planned programs. Involved are the solvency of the whole security system; and its guarding against exploitation by the irresponsible.
To bring clear purpose and orderly procedure into this field, I anticipate a thorough study of the proper relationship among Federal, State, and local programs. I shall shortly send you specific recommendations for establishing such an appropriate commission, together with a reorganization plan defining new administrative status for all Federal activities in health, education, and social security.
I repeat that there are many important subjects of which I make no mention today. Among these is our great and growing body of veterans. America has traditionally been generous in caring for the disabled—and the widow and the orphan of the fallen. These millions remain close to all our hearts. Proper care of our uniformed citizens and appreciation of the past service of our veterans are part of our accepted governmental responsibilities.
We have surveyed briefly some problems of our people and a portion of the tasks before us.
The hope of freedom itself depends, in real measure, upon our strength, our heart, and our wisdom.
We must be strong in arms. We must be strong in the source of all our armament, our productivity. We all—workers and farmers, foremen and financiers, technicians and builders—all must produce, produce more, and produce yet more.
We must be strong, above all, in the spiritual resources upon which all else depends. We must be devoted with all our heart to the values we defend. We must know that each of these values and virtues applies with equal force at the ends of the earth and in our relations with our neighbor next door. We must know that freedom expresses itself with equal eloquence in the right of workers to strike in the nearby factory, and in the yearnings and sufferings of the peoples of Eastern Europe.
As our heart summons our strength, our wisdom must direct it.
There is, in world affairs, a steady course to be followed between an assertion of strength that is truculent and a confession of helplessness that is cowardly.
There is, in our affairs at home, a middle way between untrammeled freedom of the individual and the demands for the welfare of the whole Nation. This way must avoid government by bureaucracy as carefully as it avoids neglect of the helpless.
In every area of political action, free men must think before they can expect to win.
In this spirit must we live and labor: confident of our strength, compassionate in our heart, clear in our mind.
In this spirit, let us together turn to the great tasks before us.
State of the Union Address Dwight D. Eisenhower January 7, 1954
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Eighty-third Congress:
It is a high honor again to present to the Congress my views on the state of the Union and to recommend measures to advance the security, prosperity, and well-being of the American people.
All branches of this Government—and I venture to say both of our great parties—can support the general objective of the recommendations I make today, for that objective is the building of a stronger America. A nation whose every citizen has good reason for bold hope; where effort is rewarded and prosperity is shared; where freedom expands and peace is secure—that is what I mean by a stronger America.
Toward this objective a real momentum has been developed during this Administration's first year in office. We mean to continue that momentum and to increase it. We mean to build a better future for this nation.
Much for which we may be thankful has happened during the past year.
First of all we are deeply grateful that our sons no longer die on the distant mountains of Korea. Although they are still called from our homes to military service, they are no longer called to the field of battle.
The nation has just completed the most prosperous year in its history. The damaging effect of inflation on the wages, pensions, salaries and savings of us all has been brought under control. Taxes have begun to go down. The cost of our government has been reduced and its work proceeds with some 183,000 fewer employees; thus the discouraging trend of modern governments toward their own limitless expansion has in our case been reversed. The cost of armaments becomes less oppressive as we near our defense goals; yet we are militarily stronger every day. During the year, creation of the new Cabinet Department of Health, Education, and Welfare symbolized the government's permanent concern with the human problems of our citizens.
Segregation in the armed forces and other Federal activities is on the way out. We have also made progress toward its elimination in the District of Columbia. These are steps in the continuing effort to eliminate inter-racial difficulty.
Some developments beyond our shores have been equally encouraging. Communist aggression, halted in Korea, continues to meet in Indo-china the vigorous resistance of France and the Associated States, assisted by timely aid from our country. In West Germany, in Iran, and in other areas of the world, heartening political victories have been won by the forces of stability and freedom. Slowly but surely, the free world gathers strength. Meanwhile, from behind the iron curtain, there are signs that tyranny is in trouble and reminders that its structure is as brittle as its surface is hard.
There has been in fact a great strategic change in the world during the past year. That precious intangible, the initiative, is becoming ours. Our policy, not limited to mere reaction against crises provoked by others, is free to develop along lines of our choice not only abroad, but also at home. As a major theme for American policy during the coming year, let our joint determination be to hold this new initiative and to use it.
We shall use this initiative to promote three broad purposes: First, to protect the freedom of our people; second, to maintain a strong, growing economy; third, to concern ourselves with the human problems of the individual citizen.
Only by active concern for each of these purposes can we be sure that we are on the forward road to a better and a stronger America. All my recommendations today are in furtherance of these three purposes.
I. FOREIGN AFFAIRS
American freedom is threatened so long as the world Communist conspiracy exists in its present scope, power and hostility. More closely than ever before, American freedom is interlocked with the freedom of other people. In the unity of the free world lies our best chance to reduce the Communist threat without war. In the task of maintaining this unity and strengthening all its parts, the greatest responsibility falls naturally on those who, like ourselves, retain the most freedom and strength.
We shall, therefore, continue to advance the cause of freedom on foreign fronts.
In the Far East, we retain our vital interest in Korea. We have negotiated with the Republic of Korea a mutual security pact, which develops our security system for the Pacific and which I shall promptly submit to the Senate for its consent to ratification. We are prepared to meet any renewal of armed aggression in Korea. We shall maintain indefinitely our bases in Okinawa. I shall ask the Congress to authorize continued material assistance to hasten the successful conclusion of the struggle in Indo-china. This assistance will also bring closer the day when the Associated States may enjoy the independence already assured by France. We shall also continue military and economic aid to the Nationalist Government of China.
In South Asia, profound changes are taking place in free nations which are demonstrating their ability to progress through democratic methods. They provide an inspiring contrast to the dictatorial methods and backward course of events in Communist China. In these continuing efforts, the free peoples of South Asia can be assured of the support of the United States.
In the Middle East, where tensions and serious problems exist, we will show sympathetic and impartial friendship.
In Western Europe our policy rests firmly on the North Atlantic Treaty. It will remain so based as far ahead as we can see. Within its organization, the building of a united European community, including France and Germany, is vital to a free and self-reliant Europe. This will be promoted by the European Defense Community which offers assurance of European security. With the coming of unity to Western Europe, the assistance this Nation can render for the security of Europe and the free world will be multiplied in effectiveness.
In the Western Hemisphere we shall continue to develop harmonious and mutually beneficial cooperation with our neighbors. Indeed, solid friendship with all our American neighbors is a cornerstone of our entire policy.
In the world as a whole, the United Nations, admittedly still in a state of evolution, means much to the United States. It has given uniquely valuable services in many places where violence threatened. It is the only real world forum where we have the opportunity for international presentation and rebuttal. It is a place where the nations of the world can, if they have the will, take collective action for peace and justice. It is a place where the guilt can be squarely assigned to those who fail to take all necessary steps to keep the peace. The United Nations deserves our continued firm support.
FOREIGN ASSISTANCE AND TRADE
In the practical application of our foreign policy, we enter the field of foreign assistance and trade.
Military assistance must be continued. Technical assistance must be maintained. Economic assistance can be reduced. However, our economic programs in Korea and in a few other critical places of the world are especially important, and I shall ask Congress to continue them in the next fiscal year.
The forthcoming Budget Message will propose maintenance of the Presidential power of transferability of all assistance funds and will ask authority to merge these funds with the regular defense funds. It will also propose that the Secretary of Defense have primary responsibility for the administration of foreign military assistance in accordance with the policy guidance of the Secretary of State.
The fact that we can now reduce our foreign economic assistance in many areas is gratifying evidence that its objectives are being achieved. By continuing to surpass her prewar levels of economic activity, Western Europe gains self-reliance. Thus our relationship enters a new phase which can bring results beneficial to our taxpayers and our allies alike, if still another step is taken.
This step is the creation of a healthier and freer system of trade and payments within the free world—a system in which our allies can earn their own way and our own economy can continue to flourish. The free world can no longer afford the kinds of arbitrary restraints on trade that have continued ever since the war. On this problem I shall submit to the Congress detailed recommendations, after our Joint Commission on Foreign Economic Policy has made its report.
ATOMIC ENERGY PROPOSAL
As we maintain our military strength during the coming year and draw closer the bonds with our allies, we shall be in an improved position to discuss outstanding issues with the Soviet Union. Indeed we shall be glad to do so whenever there is a reasonable prospect of constructive results. In this spirit the atomic energy proposals of the United States were recently presented to the United Nations General Assembly. A truly constructive Soviet reaction will make possible a new start toward an era of peace, and away from the fatal road toward atomic war.
Since our hope is peace, we owe ourselves and the world a candid explanation of the military measures we are taking to make that peace secure.
As we enter this new year, our military power continues to grow. This power is for our own defense and to deter aggression. We shall not be aggressors, but we and our allies have and will maintain a massive capability to strike back.
Here are some of the considerations in our defense planning:
First, while determined to use atomic power to serve the usages of peace, we take into full account our great and growing number of nuclear weapons and the most effective means of using them against an aggressor if they are needed to preserve our freedom. Our defense will be stronger if, under appropriate security safeguards, we share with our allies certain knowledge of the tactical use of our nuclear weapons. I urge the Congress to provide the needed authority.
Second, the usefulness of these new weapons creates new relationships between men and materials. These new relationships permit economies in the use of men as we build forces suited to our situation in the world today. As will be seen from the Budget Message on January 21, the airpower of our Navy and Air Force is receiving heavy emphasis.
Third, our armed forces must regain maximum mobility of action. Our strategic reserves must be centrally placed and readily deployable to meet sudden aggression against ourselves and our allies.
Fourth, our defense must rest on trained manpower and its most economical and mobile use. A professional corps is the heart of any security organization. It is necessarily the teacher and leader of those who serve temporarily in the discharge of the obligation to help defend the Republic. Pay alone will not retain in the career service of our armed forces the necessary numbers of long-term personnel. I strongly urge, therefore, a more generous use of other benefits important to service morale. Among these are more adequate living quarters and family housing units and medical care for dependents.
Studies of military manpower have just been completed by the National Security Training Commission and a Committee appointed by the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization. Evident weaknesses exist in the state of readiness and organization of our reserve forces. Measures to correct these weaknesses will be later submitted to the Congress.
Fifth, the ability to convert swiftly from partial to all-out mobilization is imperative to our security. For the first time, mobilization officials know what the requirements are for 1,000 major items needed for military uses. These data, now being related to civilian requirements and our supply potential, will show us the gaps in our mobilization base. Thus we shall have more realistic plant-expansion and stockpiling goals. We shall speed their attainment. This Nation is at last to have an up-to-date mobilization base—the foundation of a sound defense program.
Another part of this foundation is, of course, our continental transport system. Some of our vital heavy materials come increasingly from Canada. Indeed our relations with Canada, happily always close, involve more and more the unbreakable ties of strategic interdependence. Both nations now need the St. Lawrence Seaway for security as well as for economic reasons. I urge the Congress promptly to approve our participation in its construction.
Sixth, military and non-military measures for continental defense must be and are being strengthened. In the current fiscal year we are allocating to these purposes an increasing portion of our effort, and in the next fiscal year we shall spend nearly a billion dollars more for them than in 1953.
An indispensable part of our continental security is our civil defense effort. This will succeed only as we have the complete cooperation of State Governors, Mayors, and voluntary citizen groups. With their help we can advance a cooperative program which, if an attack should come, would save many lives and lessen destruction.
The defense program recommended in the 1955 Budget is consistent with all of the considerations which I have just discussed. It is based on a new military program unanimously recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and approved by me following consideration by the National Security Council. This new program will make and keep America strong in an age of peril. Nothing should bar its attainment.
The international and defense policies which I have outlined will enable us to negotiate from a position of strength as we hold our resolute course toward a peaceful world. We now turn to matters which are normally characterized as domestic, well realizing that what we do abroad affects every problem at home—from the amount of taxes to our very state of mind.
Under the standards established for the new employee security program, more than 2,200 employees have been separated from the Federal government. Our national security demands that the investigation of new employees and the evaluation of derogatory information respecting present employees be expedited and concluded at the earliest possible date. I shall recommend that the Congress provide additional funds where necessary to speed these important procedures.
From the special employment standards of the Federal government I turn now to a matter relating to American citizenship. The subversive character of the Communist Party in the United States has been clearly demonstrated in many ways, including court proceedings. We should recognize by law a fact that is plain to all thoughtful citizens-that we are dealing here with actions akin to treason—that when a citizen knowingly participates in the Communist conspiracy he no longer holds allegiance to the United States.
I recommend that Congress enact legislation to provide that a citizen of the United States who is convicted in the courts of hereafter conspiring to advocate the overthrow of this government by force or violence be treated as having, by such act, renounced his allegiance to the United States and forfeited his United States citizenship.
In addition, the Attorney General will soon appear before your Committees to present his recommendations for needed additional legal weapons with which to combat subversion in our country and to deal with the question of claimed immunity.
II. STRONG ECONOMY
I turn now to the second great purpose of our government: Along with the protection of freedom, the maintenance of a strong and growing economy.
The American economy is one of the wonders of the world. It undergirds our international position, our military security, and the standard of living of every citizen. This Administration is determined to keep our economy strong and to keep it growing.
At this moment we are in transition from a wartime to a peacetime economy. I am confident that we can complete this transition without serious interruption in our economic growth. But we shall not leave this vital matter to chance. Economic preparedness is fully as important to the nation as military preparedness.
Subsequent special messages and the economic report on January 28 will set forth plans of the Administration and its recommendations for Congressional action. These will include flexible credit and debt management policies; tax measures to stimulate consumer and business spending; suitable lending, guaranteeing, insuring, and grant-in-aid activities; strengthened old-age and unemployment insurance measures; improved agricultural programs; public-works plans laid well in advance; enlarged opportunities for international trade and investment. This mere enumeration of these subjects implies the vast amount of study, coordination, and planning, to say nothing of authorizing legislation, that altogether make our economic preparedness complete.
If new conditions arise that require additional administrative or legislative action, the Administration will still be ready. A government always ready, as this is, to take well-timed and vigorous action, and a business community willing, as ours is, to plan boldly and with confidence, can between them develop a climate assuring steady economic growth.
I shall submit to the Congress on January 21 the first budget prepared by this Administration, for the period July 1, 1954, through June 1955. This budget is adequate to the current needs of the government. It recognizes that a Federal budget should be a stabilizing factor in the economy. Its tax and expenditure programs will foster individual initiative and economic growth.
Pending the transmittal of my Budget Message, I shall mention here only a few points about our budgetary situation.
First, one of our initial acts was to revise, with the cooperation of the Congress, the Budget prepared before this Administration took office. Requests for new appropriations were greatly reduced. In addition, the spending level provided in that Budget for the current fiscal year has been reduced by about $7,000,000,000. In the next fiscal year we estimate a further reduction in expenditures of more than $5,000,000,000. This will reduce the spending level over the two fiscal years by more than $12,000,000,000. We are also reducing further our requests for new appropriations.
Second, despite the substantial loss of revenue in the coming fiscal year, resulting from tax reductions now in effect and tax adjustments which I shall propose, our reduced spending will move the new budget closer to a balance.
Third, by keeping new appropriation requests below estimated revenues, we continue to reduce the tremendous accumulation of unfinanced obligations incurred by the Government under past appropriations.
Fourth, until those claims on our Government's revenues are further reduced, the growth in the public debt cannot be entirely stopped. Because of this—because the government's bills have to be paid every month, while the tax money to pay them comes in with great unevenness within the fiscal year—and because of the need for flexibility to manage this enormous debt, I find it necessary to renew my request for an increase in the statutory debt limit.
The new budget provides for a lower level of taxation than has prevailed in preceding years. Six days ago individual income taxes were reduced and the excess profits tax expired. These tax reductions are justified only because of the substantial reductions we already have made and are making in governmental expenditures. As additional reductions in expenditures are brought gradually but surely into sight, further reductions in taxes can and will be made. When budget savings and sound governmental financing are assured, tax burdens should be reduced so that taxpayers may spend their own money in their own way.
While we are moving toward lower levels of taxation we must thoroughly revise our whole tax system. The groundwork for this revision has already been laid by the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, in close consultation with the Department of the Treasury. We should now remove the more glaring tax inequities, particularly on small taxpayers; reduce restraints on the growth of small business; and make other changes that will encourage initiative, enterprise and production. Twenty-five recommendations toward these ends will be contained in my budget message.
Without attempting to summarize these manifold reforms, I can here illustrate their tendency. For example, we propose more liberal tax treatment for dependent children who work, for widows or widowers with dependent children, and for medical expenses. For the business that wants to expand or modernize its plant, we propose liberalized tax treatment of depreciation, research and development expenses, and retained earnings.
Because of the present need for revenue the corporation income tax should be kept at the current rate of 52% for another year, and the excise taxes scheduled to be reduced on April first, including those on liquor, tobacco, gasoline and automobiles, should be continued at present rates.
Immediate extension of the Renegotiation Act of 1951 is also needed to eliminate excessive profits and to prevent waste of public funds in the purchase of defense materials.
The well being of our 160 million people demands a stable and prosperous agriculture. Conversely, every farmer knows he cannot prosper unless all America prospers. As we seek to promote increases in our standard of living, we must be sure that the farmer fairly shares in that increase. Therefore, a farm program promoting stability and prosperity in all elements of our agriculture is urgently needed.
Agricultural laws now in effect successfully accomplished their wartime purpose of encouraging maximum production of many crops. Today, production of these crops at such levels far exceeds present demand. Yet the laws encouraging such production are still in effect. The storage facilities of the Commodity Credit Corporation bulge with surplus stocks of dairy products, wheat, cotton, corn, and certain vegetable oils; and the Corporation's presently authorized borrowing authority—$6,750,000,000—is nearly exhausted. Some products, priced out of domestic markets, and others, priced out of world markets, have piled up in government hands. In a world in which millions of people are hungry, destruction of food would, of course, be unconscionable. Yet surplus stocks continue to threaten the market and in spite of the acreage controls authorized by present law, surpluses will continue to accumulate.
We confront two alternatives. The first is to impose still greater acreage reductions for some crops and apply rigid Federal controls over the use of the diverted acres. This will regiment the production of every basic agricultural crop. It will place every producer of those crops under the domination and control of the Federal government in Washington. This alternative is contrary to the fundamental interests, not only of the farmer, but of the Nation as a whole. Nor is it a real solution to the problem facing us.
The second alternative is to permit the market price for these agricultural products gradually to have a greater influence on the planning of production by farmers, while continuing the assistance of the government. This is the sound approach. To make it effective, surpluses existing when the new program begins must be insulated from the normal channels of trade for special uses. These uses would include school lunch programs, disaster relief, emergency assistance to foreign friends, and of particular importance the stockpiling of reserves for a national emergency.
Building on the agricultural laws of 1948 and 1949, we should establish a price support program with enough flexibility to attract the production of needed supplies of essential commodities and to stimulate the consumption of those commodities that are flooding American markets. Transition to modernized parity must be accomplished gradually. In no case should there be an abrupt downward change in the dollar level or in the percentage level of price supports.
Next Monday I shall transmit to the Congress my detailed recommendations embodying this approach. They have been developed through the cooperation of innumerable individuals vitally interested in agriculture. My special message on Monday will briefly describe the consultative and advisory processes to which this whole program has been subjected during the past ten months.
I have chosen this farm program because it will build markets, protect the consumers' food supply, and move food into consumption instead of into storage. It is a program that will remove the threat to the farmer of these overhanging surpluses, a program, also, that will stimulate production when a commodity is scarce and encourage consumption when nature is bountiful. Moreover, it will promote the individual freedom, responsibility, and initiative which distinguish American agriculture. And, by helping our agriculture achieve full parity in the market, it promises our farmers a higher and steadier financial return over the years than any alternative plan.
Part of our Nation's precious heritage is its natural resources. It is the common responsibility of Federal, state, and local governments to improve and develop them, always working in the closest harmony and partnership.
All Federal conservation and resource development projects are being reappraised. Sound projects now under way will be continued. New projects in which the Federal Government has a part must be economically sound, with local sharing of cost wherever appropriate and feasible. In the next fiscal year work will be started on twenty-three projects that meet these standards. The Federal Government will continue to construct and operate economically sound flood control, power, irrigation and water supply projects wherever these projects are beyond the capacity of local initiative, public or private, and consistent with the needs of the whole Nation.
Our conservation program will also take into account the important role played by farmers in protecting our soil resources. I recommend enactment of legislation to strengthen agricultural conservation and upstream flood prevention work, and to achieve a better balance with major flood control structures in the down-stream areas.
Recommendations will be made from time to time for the adoption of:
A uniform and consistent water resources policy;
A revised public lands policy; and
A sound program for safeguarding the domestic production of critical and strategic metals and minerals.
In addition we shall continue to protect and improve our national forests, parks, monuments and other natural and historic sites, as well as our fishery and wildlife resources. I hope that pending legislation to improve the conservation and management of publicly-owned grazing lands in national forests will soon be approved by the Congress.
To protect the vital interest of every citizen in a safe and adequate highway system, the Federal Government is continuing its central role in the Federal Aid Highway Program. So that maximum progress can be made to overcome present inadequacies in the Interstate Highway System, we must continue the Federal gasoline tax at two cents per gallon. This will require cancellation of the 1/2 cent decrease which otherwise will become effective April 1st, and will maintain revenues so that an expanded highway program can be undertaken.
When the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations completes its study of the present system of financing highway construction, I shall promptly submit it for consideration by the Congress and the governors of the states.
It is apparent that the substantial savings already made, and to be made, by the Post Office Department cannot eliminate the postal deficit. I recommend, therefore, that the Congress approve the bill now pending in the House of Representatives providing for the adjustment of certain postal rates. To handle the long term aspects of this, I also recommend that the Congress create a permanent commission to establish fair and reasonable postal rates from time to time in the future.
III. HUMAN PROBLEMS
Along with the protection of freedom and maintenance of a strong and growing economy, this Administration recognizes a third great purpose of government: concern for the human problems of our citizens. In a modern industrial society, banishment of destitution and cushioning the shock of personal disaster on the individual are proper concerns of all levels of government, including the federal government. This is especially true where remedy and prevention alike are beyond the individual's capacity.
LABOR AND WELFARE
Of the many problems in this area, those I shall first discuss are of particular concern to the members of our great labor force, who with their heads, hearts and hands produce so much of the wealth of our country.
Protection against the hazards of temporary unemployment should be extended to some 6 1/2 millions of workers, including civilian Federal workers, who now lack this safeguard. Moreover, the Secretary of Labor is making available to the states studies and recommendations in the fields of weekly benefits, periods of protection and extension of coverage. The Economic Report will consider the related matter of minimum wages and their coverage.
The Labor Management Relations Act of 3947 is basically a sound law. However, six years of experience have revealed that in some respects it can be improved. On January 11, I shall forward to the Congress suggestions for changes designed to reinforce the basic objectives of the Act.
Our basic social security program, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance system, to which individuals contribute during their productive years and receive benefits based on previous earnings, is designed to shield them from destitution. Last year I recommended extension of the social insurance system to include more than 10,000,000 additional persons. I ask that this extension soon be accomplished. This and other major improvements in the insurance system will bring substantial benefit increases and broaden the membership of the insurance system, thus diminishing the need for Federal grants-in-aid for such purposes. A new formula will therefore be proposed, permitting progressive reduction in such grants as the need for them declines.
Federal grant-in-aid welfare programs, now based on widely varying formulas, should be simplified. Concrete proposals on fourteen of them will be suggested to the appropriate Committees.
The program for rehabilitation of the disabled especially needs strengthening. Through special vocational training, this program presently returns each year some 60,000 handicapped individuals to productive work. Far more disabled people can be saved each year from idleness and dependence if this program is gradually increased. My more detailed recommendations on this and the other social insurance problems I have mentioned will be sent to the Congress on January 14th.
I am flatly opposed to the socialization of medicine. The great need for hospital and medical services can best be met by the initiative of private plans. But it is unfortunately a fact that medical costs are rising and already impose severe hardships on many families. The Federal Government can do many helpful things and still carefully avoid the socialization of medicine.
The Federal Government should encourage medical research in its battle with such mortal diseases as cancer and heart ailments, and should continue to help the states in their health and rehabilitation programs. The present Hospital Survey and Construction Act should be broadened in order to assist in the development of adequate facilities for the chronically ill, and to encourage the construction of diagnostic centers, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes. The war on disease also needs a better working relationship between Government and private initiative. Private and non-profit hospital and medical insurance plans are already in the field, soundly based on the experience and initiative of the people in their various communities.
A limited Government reinsurance service would permit the private and non-profit insurance companies to offer broader protection to more of the many families which want and should have it. On January 18 I shall forward to the Congress a special message presenting this Administration's health program in its detail.
Youth—our greatest resource—is being seriously neglected in a vital respect. The nation as a whole is not preparing teachers or building schools fast enough to keep up with the increase in our population.
The preparation of teachers as, indeed, the control and direction of public education policy, is a state and local responsibility. However, the Federal Government should stand ready to assist states which demonstrably cannot provide sufficient school buildings. In order to appraise the needs, I hope that this year a conference on education will be held in each state, culminating in a national conference. From these conferences on education, every level of government—from the Federal Government to each local school board—should gain the information with which to attack this serious problem.
The details of a program to enlarge and improve the opportunities for our people to acquire good homes will be presented to the Congress by special message on January 25.
This program will include:
Modernization of the home mortgage insurance program of the Federal Government;
Redirection of the present system of loans and grants-in-aid to cities for slum clearance and redevelopment;
Extension of the advantages of insured lending to private credit engaged in this task of rehabilitating obsolete neighborhoods;
Insurance of long-term, mortgage loans, with small down payment for low-income families; and, until alternative programs prove more effective,
Continuation of the public housing program adopted in the Housing Act of 1949.
If the individual, the community, the State and federal governments will alike apply themselves, every American family can have a decent home.
The internal reorganization of the Veterans Administration is proceeding with my full approval. When completed, it will afford a single agency whose services, including medical facilities, will be better adapted to the needs of those 20,000,000 veterans to whom this Nation owes so much.
My few remaining recommendations all relate to a basic right of our citizens—that of being represented in the decisions of the government.
I hope that the States will cooperate with the Congress in adopting uniform standards in their voting laws that will make it possible for our citizens in the armed forces overseas to vote.
In the District of Columbia the time is long overdue for granting national suffrage to its citizens and also applying the principle of local self-government to the Nation's Capital. I urge the Congress to move promptly in this direction and also to revise District revenue measures to provide needed public works improvements.
The people of Hawaii are ready for statehood. I renew my request for this legislation in order that Hawaii may elect its State officials and its representatives in Washington along with the rest of the country this fall.
For years our citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 have, in time of peril, been summoned to fight for America. They should participate in the political process that produces this fateful summons. I urge Congress to propose to the States a constitutional amendment permitting citizens to vote when they reach the age of 18.
I want to add one final word about the general purport of these many recommendations.
Our government's powers are wisely limited by the Constitution; but quite apart from those limitations, there are things which no government can do or should try to do.
A government can strive, as ours is striving, to maintain an economic system whose doors are open to enterprise and ambition—those personal qualities on which economic growth largely depends. But enterprise and ambition are qualities which no government can supply. Fortunately no American government need concern itself on this score; our people have these qualities in good measure.
A government can sincerely strive for peace, as ours is striving, and ask its people to make sacrifices for the sake of peace. But no government can place peace in the hearts of foreign rulers. It is our duty then to ourselves and to freedom itself to remain strong in all those ways—spiritual, economic, military—that will give us maximum safety against the possibility of aggressive action by others.
No government can inoculate its people against the fatal materialism that plagues our age. Happily, our people, though blessed with more material goods than any people in history, have always reserved their first allegiance to the kingdom of the spirit, which is the true source of that freedom we value above all material things.
But a government can try, as ours tries, to sense the deepest aspirations of the people, and to express them in political action at home and abroad. So long as action and aspiration humbly and earnestly seek favor in the sight of the Almighty, there is no end to America's forward road; there is no obstacle on it she will not surmount in her march toward a lasting peace in a free and prosperous world.
The Address as reported from the floor appears in the Congressional Record (vol. 100, p. 62).
State of the Union Address Dwight D. Eisenhower January 6, 1955
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congress:
First, I extend cordial greetings to the 84th Congress. We shall have much to do together; I am sure that we shall get it done—and, that we shall do it in harmony and good will.
At the outset, I believe it would be well to remind ourselves of this great fundamental in our national life: our common belief that every human being is divinely endowed with dignity and worth and inalienable rights. This faith, with its corollary—that to grow and flourish people must be free—shapes the interests and aspirations of every American.
From this deep faith have evolved three main purposes of our Federal Government:
First, to maintain justice and freedom among ourselves and to champion them for others so that we may work effectively for enduring peace;
Second, to help keep our economy vigorous and expanding, thus sustaining our international strength and assuring better jobs, better living, better opportunities for every citizen;
And third, to concern ourselves with the human problems of our people so that every American may have the opportunity to lead a healthy, productive and rewarding life.
Foremost among these broad purposes of government is our support of freedom, justice and peace.
It is of the utmost importance, that each of us understand the true nature of the struggle now taking place in the world.
It is not a struggle merely of economic theories, or of forms of government, or of military power. At issue is the true nature of man. Either man is the creature whom the Psalmist described as "a little lower than the angels," crowned with glory and honor, holding "dominion over the works" of his Creator; or man is a soulless, animated machine to be enslaved, used and consumed by the state for its own glorification.
It is, therefore, a struggle which goes to the roots of the human spirit, and its shadow falls across the long sweep of man's destiny. This prize, so precious, so fraught with ultimate meaning, is the true object of the contending forces in the world.
In the past year, there has been progress justifying hope, both for continuing peace and for the ultimate rule of freedom and justice in the world. Free nations are collectively stronger than at any time in recent years.
Just as nations of this Hemisphere, in the historic Caracas and Rio conferences, have closed ranks against imperialistic Communism and strengthened their economic ties, so free nations elsewhere have forged new bonds of unity.
Recent agreements between Turkey and Pakistan have laid a foundation for increased strength in the Middle East. With our understanding support, Egypt and Britain, Yugoslavia and Italy, Britain and Iran have resolved dangerous differences. The security of the Mediterranean has been enhanced by an alliance among Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Agreements in Western Europe have paved the way for unity to replace past divisions which have undermined Europe's economic and military vitality. The defense of the West appears likely at last to include a free, democratic Germany participating as an equal in the councils of NATO.
In Asia and the Pacific, the pending Manila Pact supplements our treaties with Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea and Japan and our prospective treaty with the Republic of China. These pacts stand as solemn warning that future military aggression and subversion against the free nations of Asia will meet united response. The Pacific Charter, also adopted at Manila, is a milestone in the development of human freedom and self-government in the Pacific area.
Under the auspices of the United Nations, there is promise of progress in our country's plan for the peaceful use of atomic energy.
Finally, today the world is at peace. It is, to be sure, an secure peace. Yet all humanity finds hope in the simple fact that for an appreciable time there has been no active major battlefield on earth. This same fact inspires us to work all the more effectively with other nations for the well-being, the freedom, the dignity, of every human on earth.
These developments are heartening indeed, and we are hopeful of continuing progress. But sobering problems remain.
The massive military machines and ambitions of the Soviet-Communist bloc still create uneasiness in the world. All of us are aware of the continuing reliance of the Soviet Communists on military force, of the power of their weapons, of their present resistance to realistic armament limitation, and of their continuing effort to dominate or intimidate free nations on their periphery. Their steadily growing power includes an increasing strength in nuclear weapons. This power, combined with the proclaimed intentions of the Communist leaders to communize the world, is the threat confronting us today.
To protect our nations and our peoples from the catastrophe of a nuclear holocaust, free nations must maintain countervailing military power to persuade the Communists of the futility of seeking their ends through aggression. If Communist rulers understand that America's response to aggression will be swift and decisive—that never shall we buy peace at the expense of honor or faith—they will be powerfully deterred from launching a military venture engulfing their own peoples and many others in disaster. This, of course, is merely world stalemate. But in this stalemate each of us may and must exercise his high duty to strive in every honorable way for enduring peace.
The military threat is but one menace to our freedom and security. We must not only deter aggression; we must also frustrate the effort of Communists to gain their goals by subversion. To this end, free nations must maintain and reinforce their cohesion, their internal security, their political and economic vitality, and their faith in freedom.
In such a world, America's course is dear:
We must tirelessly labor to make the peace more just and durable.
We must strengthen the collective defense under the United Nations Charter and gird ourselves with sufficient military strength and productive capacity to discourage resort to war and protect our nation's vital interests.
We must continue to support and strengthen the United Nations. At this very moment, by vote of the United Nations General Assembly, its Secretary-General is in Communist China on a mission of deepest concern to all Americans: seeking the release of our never-to-be-forgotten American aviators and all other United Nations prisoners wrongfully detained by the Communist regime.
We must also encourage the efforts being made in the United Nations to limit armaments and to harness the atom to peaceful rise.
We must expand international trade and investment and assist friendly nations whose own best efforts are still insufficient to provide the strength essential to the security of the free world.
We must be willing to use the processes of negotiation whenever they will advance the cause of just and secure peace to which the United States and other free nations are dedicated.
In respect to all these matters, we must, through a vigorous information program, keep the peoples of the world truthfully advised of our actions and purposes. This problem has been attacked with new vigor during the past months. I urge that the Congress give its earnest consideration to the great advantages that can accrue to our country through the successful operations of this program.
We must also carry forward our educational exchange program. This sharing of knowledge and experience between our citizens and those of free countries is a powerful factor in the development and maintenance of true partnership among free peoples.
To advance these many efforts, the Congress must act in this session on appropriations, legislation, and treaties. Today I shall mention especially our foreign economic and military programs.
The recent economic progress in many free nations has been most heartening. The productivity of labor and the production of goods and services are increasing in ever-widening areas. There is a growing will to improve the living standards of all men. This progress is important to all our people. It promises us allies who are strong and self-reliant; it promises a growing world market for the products of our mines, our factories, and our farms.
But only through steady effort can we hope to continue this progress. Barriers still impede trade and the flow of capital needed to develop each nation's human and material resources. Wise reduction of these barriers is a long-term objective of our foreign economic policy—a policy of an evolutionary and selective nature, assuring broad benefits to our own and other peoples.
We must gradually reduce certain tariff obstacles to trade. These actions should, of course, be accompanied by a similar lowering of trade barriers by other nations, so that we may move steadily toward greater economic advantage for all. We must further simplify customs administration and procedures. We must facilitate the flow of capital and continue technical assistance, both directly and through the United Nations, to less developed countries to strengthen their independence and raise their living standards. Many another step must be taken in and among the nations of the free world to release forces of private initiative. In our own nation, these forces have brought strength and prosperity; once released, they will generate rising incomes in these other countries with which to buy the products of American industry, labor and agriculture.
On January 10, by special message, I shall submit specific recommendations for carrying forward the legislative phases of our foreign economic policy.
Our many efforts to build a better world include the maintenance of our military strength. This is a vast undertaking. Major national security programs consume two-thirds of the entire Federal budget. Over four million Americans—servicemen and civilians—are on the rolls of the defense establishment. During the past two years, by eliminating duplication and overstaffing, by improved procurement and inventory controls, and by concentrating on the essentials, many billions of dollars have been saved in our defense activities. I should like to mention certain fundamentals underlying this vast program.
First, a realistic limitation of armaments and an enduring, just peace remain our national goals; we maintain powerful military forces because there is no present alternative—forces designed for deterrent and defensive purposes alone but able instantly to strike back with destructive power in response to an attack.
Second, we must stay alert to the fact that undue reliance on one weapon or preparation for only one kind of warfare simply invites an enemy to resort to another. We must, therefore, keep in our armed forces balance and flexibility adequate for our purposes and objectives.