We too often bind ourselves by authorities rather than by the truth.
I make it a practice to avoid hating anyone. If someones been guilty of despicable actions, especially toward me, I try to forget him. I used to follow a practicesomewhat contrived, I admitto write the mans name on a piece of scrap paper, drop it into the lowest drawer of my desk, and say to myself: That finishes the incident, and so far as Im concerned, that fellow. The drawer became over the years a sort of private wastebasket for crumbled-up spite and discarded personalities.
So that here we have, really, the compound, the overall philosophy of Lincoln: in all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with the peoples money or their economy, or their form of government, be conservativeand dont be afraid to use the word. And so today, Republicans come forward with programs in which there are such words as balanced budgets, and cutting expenditures, and all the kind of thing that means this economy must be conservative, it must be solvent. But they also come forward and say we are concerned with every Americans health, with a decent house for him, we are concerned that he will have a chance for health, and his children for education. We are going to see that he has power available to him. We are going to see that everything takes place that will enrich his life and let him as an individual, hard-working American citizen, have full opportunity to do for his children and his family what any decent American should want to do.
But we know that freedom cannot be served by the devices of the tyrant. As it is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence. And any who act as if freedoms defenses are to be found in suppression and suspicion and fear confess a doctrine that is alien to America.
I have serious doubts about the value of debates in a presidential election. They tend to be a test of reaction time rather than a genuine exposition of the participants philosophies and programs. Further, in debate, candidates tend to overstate their views. In the 1960 situation I had a very practical objection: Nixon was widely known; Kennedy was not; dramatic debates would therefore help Kennedy.
There are two kinds of mines; one is the personnel mine and the other is the vehicular mine. When we come to a mine field our infantry attacks exactly as if it were not there. The losses we get from personnel mines we consider only equal to those we would have gotten from machine guns and artillery if the Germans had chosen to defend that particular area with strong bodies of troops instead of with mine fields. The attacking infantry does not set off the vehicular mines, so after they have penetrated to the far side of the field they form a bridgehead, after which the engineers come up and dig out channels through which our vehicles can go.
With 450,000 U. S. troops now in Vietnam, it is time that Congress decided whether or not to declare a state of war exists with North Vietnam. Previous congressional resolutions of support provide only limited authority. Although Congress may decide that the previously approved resolution on Vietnam given President Johnson is sufficient, the issue of a declaration of war should at least be put before the Congress for decision.
I am convinced that the French could not win the war because the internal political situation in Vietnam, weak and confused, badly weakened their military position. I have never talked or corresponded with a person knowledgeable in Indochinese affairs who did not agree that had elections been held as of the time of the fighting, possibly 80 per cent of the population would have voted for the Communist Ho Chi Minh as their leader rather than Chief of State Bao Dai. Indeed, the lack of leadership and drive on the part of Bao Dai was a factor in the feeling prevalent among Vietnamese that they had nothing to fight for. As one Frenchman said to me, What Vietnam needs is another Syngman Rhee, regardless of all the difficulties the presence of such a personality would entail.
The emergence of this new world poses a vital issue: will outer space be preserved for peaceful use and developed for the benefit of all mankind? Or will it become another focus for the arms raceand thus an area of dangerous and sterile competition? The choice is urgent. And it is ours to make. The nations of the world have recently united in declaring the continent of Antarctica off limits to military preparations. We could extend this principle to an even more important sphere. National vested interests have not yet been developed in space or in celestial bodies. Barriers to agreement are now lower than they will ever be again.
But I believe this: by and large, the United States ought to be able to choose for its President anybody that it wants, regardless of the number of terms he has served. That is what I believe. Now, some people have said You let him get enough power and this will lead toward a one-party government. That, I dont believe. I have got the utmost faith in the long-term common sense of the American people. Therefore, I dont think there should be any inhibitions other than those that were in the 35-year age limit and so on. I think that was enough, myself.
Some day there is going to be a man sitting in my present chair who has not been raised in the military services and who will have little understanding of where slashes in their estimates can be made with little or no damage. If that should happen while we still have the state of tension that now exists in the world, I shudder to think of what could happen in this country