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May 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

May 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History


1The President spoke briefly to the President's Committee on Labor Management Policy. The President then went to the Internal Revenue Service where he spoke to the regional commissioner's The President then returned to the White House were he signed S-1 Area Redevelopment Bill. The President met with the new US Ambassador to Mexico and with Panama's ambassador to the US. The President then attended a meeting of the National Security Council. The President then met with Senator Mansfield.
2The President began his day with a breakfast with the democratic leaders, the President then met with the Vice President, Senators Humphrey, Mansfield and Congressman Rayburn and McCormack. The President then joined a meeting with the largest defense contractors discussing the Equal Employment Opportunities. The President greeted the National Teacher of the year. The President met with the US Ambassador to Venezuela. the President chaired a National Security Council Meeting. The President then hosted another Congressional Coffee. After the coffee he returned to the Oval Office for a meeting with LBJ and and Speaker Sam Rayburn.
3The President attended a meeting of the Equal Opportunities Commission. He then drove to the George Washington University were he received an honorary Law degree. The President then went together with the First Lady to greet Tunisian President Bourguiba and his wife on their arrival in Washington. In the afternoon the President met with Arthur Goldberg and Walter Heller together with Senators Joseph Clark and Hubert Humphrey. The President had off the record meetings with Dean Acheson, Clark Kerr the President of the University of California, Emelio Gallado of Standard Oil Company and Hugh Sidney of the New York Times. In the evening the President and First Lady hosted a dinner in honor of the President of Tunisia.
4The President began his day with an off the record breakfast with Senator Stuart Symington. He then had a meeting with the Tunisian President and his entourage. The President had a lengthy meeting with Rusk McCloy and Arthur Dean. The President had a meeting with major business leader on Foreign Aid. Included in the meeting were Stephen Bechtel of Bechtel Company, Clark Beise of Bank of America. The President then met with Senator Fulbright. He ended his official day with an off the record meeting with Arthur Krock.
5The President signed HR 3935 a new Minimum Wage law. The President then chaired a lengthy National Security Council Meeting. The President met with US Ambassador to Chad and Peru. After lunch the President met with Dr Miro Gardona the Chairman of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. The President then held a Press Conference. The President then returned to the White House and met with the President of Tunisia. In the evening the President and First Lady were guests in the evening of the President of Tunisia at the Mayflower Hotel.
6The President met with Senator Willis Robertson. In the afternoon the President drove to Glen Ora.
7The President and Mrs Kennedy went to church at St John's Parish. The President then went to a luncheon buffet at the home of Senator Harry Byrd.
8The President and First Lady returned from Glen Ora first thing in the morning. They welcomed astronaut Alan B Shepard and his wife when they arrived at the White House. The President presented Commander Shepard with the Distinguished Service Medal. The President attended a meeting with Appalachian Governors and their assistants. The meeting included lunch. The President signed HR 484 on aid to dependent children in the afternoon. The President met with the Ambassador of the United Arab Republic. The President me off the record with Congressman Frank Smith.
9The President began his day with the Legislative Leaders Breakfast. The President then had a meeting nine governors to discuss Civil Defense. The President then had a lengthy meeting with representative of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The President had an off the record lunch with a group of newspaper publishers. He had an off the record meeting with William Palely, He then met with the Governor of Colorado. The President then had a meeting on the state of relations with the Soviet Union. The President had off the record meetings with Harry Snydman of Life Magazine and Douglas Carter.
10The President began his day greeting International Junior Diplomats. The President then met with Congressman Charles E Bennet and Sikes of Florida. He had an off the record meeting with Senator Kuchel. The President received the new ambassador from Guinea. The President had an off the record meeting with Charles Meyer VP of Sear Roebuck. The President had and off the record lunch with Justice William O Douglas. The President had a meeting with Bundy, McNamara, Wiesner, Bell, Webb, Welcham Stasts and Sorenson. The President met the Ambassador of Italy. The President and the first Lady hosted a reception for the Junior Diplomats. The President met off the record with representatives of Time-Life Magazine.
11The President began his day with a Cabinet Meeting. The President and Robert Kennedy when to St Matthews Cathedral for mass for Ascension Day. After returning to the White House the President and the First Lady flew to West Palm Beach.
12The President remained in Palm Beach the only recorded activity was a round of golf.
13The President remained in Palm Beach the only recorded activity was a round of golf.
14The President and the First Lady attended church at St Edward Church. In the afternoon the President play a round of golf with Senator George Smathers.
15The President returned to Washington. He attended a meeting of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board- The board consisted of, James E Killian, William O Baker, General James Doolittle, William Langer, Robert Murphy, General Maxwell Taylor, Gordon Gray, Clark Clifford, Dr Edwin Land and Patrick Coyne.
16The President began his day with a Legislative Leaders Breakfast. The President received Mikhail Menshikov the Soviet Ambassador who had a message from Khrushev. The President then met with Brazilian Minister of Finance together with the President of the Export-Import Bank. The President met with the newly appointed Ambassador of Mauretania, followed by a short meeting with the US Ambassador to Israel. The President then met with Earl Attlee the former British Prime Minister. The President had a meeting with Walter Hallestein the President of the European Economic Community. The President had an off the record lunch with RFK, General Maxwell Taylor, Allen Dulles and Admiral Arleigh Burke. The President and First Lady then departed for a state visit to Canada. The President and First lady were the guest of honor at a State Dinner held by Governor General Vanier and Mrs Vanier. A state reception was held starting at 10PM
17The President began his day with a visit to the US Embassy. He then went to National War Memorial were he placed a wreath. The President then met with Prime Minister Diefenbaker and members of his government. The Canadian Prime Minister held a luncheon in the honor of the President. In the afternoon the President addressed the Canadian House of Commons. The President and the First Lady gave a dinner for the Canadian leadership.
18The President and the First Lady left Ottawa and returned to Washington. The President had a meeting with James Gavin, American Ambassador to France. The President then had an off the record meeting with Bundy, Kohler, Dean Achenson, Robert McBride, Charles Bohlen, Henry Own and Harry Rowien. The President then met with the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation. The President then hosted a coffee for member of Congress
19The President began the day with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense. The President then met with the Secretary of Commerce. The President then met with a large delegations from the National Association of Home Builders. The President signed S-912 that provided for additional Federal District and Circuit Judges. The President met with outgoing US ambassadors. After lunch the President attended a National Security Council Meeting. In the evening the President attended the White House News Photographers Dinner where he presented the awards for the winners of 18th National News Photo Contest.
20The President signed the Agricultural Adjustment Act- HR 7030. The President presented the Medal of Honor to the Widow of Lt Commander Victor Prather. In the afternoon the President flew to Glen Ora.
21The President and the First Lady attended church at St John's Parish. Ben Bradlee was a guest at the residence.
22The President returned to the White House, were he met with a large group of Russian Editors. The President then had an hour and half meeting on Foreign Aid. That was followed by a meeting on Civil Defense. The President had a meeting with Mahamedeli Currim Chagla the Ambassador from India. The President had two meetings with Secretary of Treasury Dillon. The President met with Eleanor Roosevelt. He then greeted a meeting of the National Advisory Council for the Peace Corps.
23The President began his day with a Legislative Leaders Breakfast. The President had an off the record meeting with Senator Bourk Hickenlooper. The newly appointed Ethiopian Ambassador presented his credentials to the President. The President had and off the record meeting with Hugh Sidney from Time Life. he then had and extended briefing on his forthcoming trip to Paris.
24The newly appointed Ambassador of New Zealand presented his credentials and met with the President. The President greeted the Vice President on the South Lawn on his return from a visit to Southeast Asia. The President had off the record meeting with Mayor Richard Daley. The President and First Lady gave a luncheon in honor of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monoco. The President met with the Ambassador of Uruguay and then met with the Argentine Minister of the Economy. The President had an off the record meeting with Dr Henry Kissinger.
25President Kennedy met with the newly appointed Ambassador from El Salvador. The President then met with delegation of Mayors. The President had a full Cabinet Meeting. The President traveled to the Capital and addressed a Joint Session of Congress. President Kennedy had an off the record lunch with Henry Luce of Time. The President had an off the record briefing on his trip to Paris. The President then hosted a Congressional Coffee Hour.
26The President began his day with an off the record meeting to prepare for his trip to France. The new Italian Ambassador presented his credentials. The Ambassador from Guinea met the President. The President had lunch with Walter Lipman. In the afternoon the President met with a group of Democratic Committee members and prepared for his upcoming European trip
27The President met with former President Truman. He then signed HR 6518 Appropriation for South America. The Senator met with Senator's Fulbright and Humphrey. He then met with General Maxwell Taylor. He met with Allen Dulles and Richard Goodwin. The President then had an off the record meeting with the Joint Chief of Staff. After lunch the President met with Adlai Stevenson and Harlan Cleveland. He then met with Senator Henry M Jackson. The President then went to the National Armory for a birthday party in his honor. The entertainment was Jerry Lewis and President Truman Sam Rayburn were among the speakers.
28 The President arrive in at 12:52 in Hyannis Port. He attended church at St Xavier's Church.
29The President' spent the morning at his Fathers house. He then traveled in the afternoon to Boston. In the evening a dinner was given in honor of the President's birthday. He returned to his Fathers house in Hyannis Port for the night.
30The President went for a cruise on the Marlin. In the afternoon he left for New York. In New York the President attended the American Cancer Foundation Dinner where he spoke. Late at night he was joined by the First Lady and they left for Paris France.
31The President and First Lady Arrive in Paris. They are welcomed at the airport by President and Madame de Gaulle. The two Presidents and the two first lady proceed in a motorcade to the Quai d[ Orsay and then to the Elysee. Presidents Degaulle and Kennedy hae a private meeting. It is followed by an official luncheon. The Presidents have another private meeting. A reception is held for the diplomatic corp. The President then attends an early evening ceremony at the Arc de Triophe. In the evening a dinner is held at the Elysee Palace which is followed by a reception that goes on until 11:45 PM.

May 25, 1961: JFK's Moon Shot Speech to Congress

Fifty years ago, on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave a historic speech before a joint session of Congress that set the United States on a course to the moon.

In his speech, Kennedy called for an ambitious space exploration program that included not just missions to put astronauts on the moon, but also a Rover nuclear rocket, weather satellites and other space projects. [Video: President Kennedy's Moonshot Moment]

This NASA-provided transcript shows the text of Kennedy's speech and what it called for, in 1961, to put Americans in space and on the moon before the decade ended. About 2 1/2 years after giving the speech, later, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Just over eight years after the speech, on July 20, 1969, NASA's Apollo 11 mission would land the first humans on the moon.

Here's a look at Kennedy's speech to Congress:

President John F. Kennedy

Delivered in person before a joint session of Congress May 25, 1961

Section IX: Space:

Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take. Since early in my term, our efforts in space have been under review. With the advice of the Vice President, who is Chairman of the National Space Council, we have examined where we are strong and where we are not, where we may succeed and where we may not. Now it is time to take longer strides--time for a great new American enterprise--time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshaled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of lead-time, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations--explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon--if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.

Third, an additional 50 million dollars will make the most of our present leadership, by accelerating the use of space satellites for world-wide communications.

Fourth, an additional 75 million dollars--of which 53 million dollars is for the Weather Bureau--will help give us at the earliest possible time a satellite system for world-wide weather observation.

Let it be clear--and this is a judgment which the Members of the Congress must finally make--let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs: 531 million dollars in fiscal '62--an estimated 7 to 9 billion dollars additional over the next five years. If we are to go only half way, or reduce our sights in the face of difficulty, in my judgment it would be better not to go at all.

Now this is a choice which this country must make, and I am confident that under the leadership of the Space Committees of the Congress, and the Appropriating Committees, that you will consider the matter carefully.

It is a most important decision that we make as a nation. But all of you have lived through the last four years and have seen the significance of space and the adventures in space, and no one can predict with certainty what the ultimate meaning will be of mastery of space.

I believe we should go to the moon. But I think every citizen of this country as well as the Members of the Congress should consider the matter carefully in making their judgment, to which we have given attention over many weeks and months, because it is a heavy burden, and there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful. If we are not, we should decide today and this year.

This decision demands a major national commitment of scientific and technical manpower, materiel and facilities, and the possibility of their diversion from other important activities where they are already thinly spread. It means a degree of dedication, organization and discipline which have not always characterized our research and development efforts. It means we cannot afford undue work stoppages, inflated costs of material or talent, wasteful interagency rivalries, or a high turnover of key personnel.

New objectives and new money cannot solve these problems. They could in fact, aggravate them further--unless every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.


John F. Kennedy’s Early Life

Born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy (known as Jack) was the second of nine children. His parents, Joseph and Rose Kennedy, were members of two of Boston’s most prominent Irish Catholic political families. Despite persistent health problems throughout his childhood and teenage years (he would later be diagnosed with a rare endocrine disorder called Addison’s disease), Jack led a privileged youth, attending private schools such as Canterbury and Choate and spending summers in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. Joe Kennedy, a hugely successful businessman and an early supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt, was appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934 and in 1937 was named U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. As a student at Harvard University, Jack traveled in Europe as his father’s secretary. His senior thesis about British’s unpreparedness for war was later published as an acclaimed book, “Why England Slept” (1940).

Did you know? John F. Kennedy&aposs Senate career got off to a rocky start when he refused to condemn Senator Joseph McCarthy, a personal friend of the Kennedy family whom the Senate voted to censure in 1954 for his relentless pursuit of suspected communists. In the end, though he planned to vote against McCarthy, Kennedy missed the vote when he was hospitalized after back surgery.

Jack joined the U.S. Navy in 1941 and two years later was sent to the South Pacific, where he was given command of a Patrol-Torpedo (PT) boat. In August 1943, a Japanese destroyer struck the craft, PT-109, in the Solomon Islands. Kennedy helped some of his marooned crew back to safety, and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism. His older brother, Joe Jr., was not so fortunate: He was killed in August 1944 when his Navy airplane exploded on a secret mission against a German rocket-launching site. A grieving Joe Sr. told Jack it was his duty to fulfill the destiny once intended for Joe Jr.: to become the first Catholic president of the United States.


N uclear W eapons in K ennedy's F oreign P olicy

Philip Nash is a doctoral candidate in history at Ohio University. He gratefully acknowledges the support of the Center for National Security Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Nuclear History Program, and the comments of Barton J. Bernstein, John Lewis Gaddis, Patrick J. Garrity, Lu Soo Chun, and this journal's anonymous referee.

Philip Nash is a doctoral candidate in history at Ohio University. He gratefully acknowledges the support of the Center for National Security Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Nuclear History Program, and the comments of Barton J. Bernstein, John Lewis Gaddis, Patrick J. Garrity, Lu Soo Chun, and this journal's anonymous referee.

John Kennedy, “Remarks at the High School Football Stadium, Los Alamos, New Mexico,” 7 December 1962, Public Papers of the Presidents 1962, 855–56 (hereafter cited as PPP).

Maxwell Taylor, The Uncertain Trumpet (New York, 1959), 6.

JFK, “Special Message to the Congress on the Defense Budget,” 28 March 1961, PPP 1961, 229–240 Desmond Ball, Politics and Force Levels: The Strategic Missile Program of the Kennedy Administration (Berkeley, 1980), 43–46, 116 Cyrus Vance to Lyndon Johnson, “Military Strength Increases Since Fiscal Year 1961,” 3 October 1964, Declassified Documents Reference System (hereafter cited as DDRS) 1978, #350A. Schedule A.

JFK, “Outline for Talk to National Security Council, January 18, 1962” (drafted by Bundy), 17 January 1962, DDRS 1991, #3578, 2–3 Idem, “Special Message to the Congress on the Defense Budget,” 234 Idem, “The President's News Conference of February 7, 1962,”PPP 1962, 127 David Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest (Greenwich, Conn., 1972), 91 Ball, Politics and Force Levels, 240–252 Fred Kaplan, The Wizards of Armageddon (Stanford, 1991), 257.

National Security Council Record of Actions, No. 2468, “Instructions for Harriman Mission,” 9 July 1963, National Security Files (hereafter cited as NSF): NSC Meetings, 1963, #515, 7/9/63, Box 314, John F. Kennedy Library (herafter cited as JFKL), 1 Michael Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960–1963 New York, 1991), 306–307, 364 Edward Klein and Robert Littell, “Shh! Let's Tell The Russians,”Newsweek, 5 May 1969, 46–47 John Lewis Gaddis, The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War (New York, 1987), 201–206.

JFK, “Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis,” 25 July 1961, PPP 1961, 535. See also “Annual Budget Message to the Congress, Fiscal Year 1963,” 18 January 1962, PPP 1962, 28 “Commencement Address at American University in Washington,” 10 June 1963, PPP 1963, 462.

JFK, “Address at the University of Maine,” 19 October 1963, PPP 1963, 797 Dean Rusk, as told to Richard Rusk, As I Saw It (New York, 1990), 246–247 Herbert S. Parmet, IFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (New York, 1983), 198 Halberstam, Best and the Brightest, 298.

John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Reappraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (New York, 1982), 208 Stewart Alsop, “Kennedy's Grand Strategy,”Saturday Evening Post, 31 March 1962, 12 McNamara testimony, “World Military Situation and Its Relation to United States Foreign Policy,” 8 February 1962, Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Historical Series 14, 87th Cong., 2d sess. (Washington, 1986), 162.

JFK to Acheson, 24 April 1961, Acheson Papers, Post Administration Files, State Dept. and White House Advisor, April-June 1961, Box 85, Harry Truman Library “A Review of North Atlantic Problems for the Future,” March 1961, DDRS 1981, #502A, 4.

McNamara, “Memorandum for the Secretaries of the Military Departments,” 1 March 1961, President's Office Files (hereafter cited as POF): Departments and Agencies, Defense, 1/61–3/61, Box 77, JFKL, attachment 1 Gregg Herken, Counsels of War (New York, 1987), 147 Paul Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision—A Memoir (New York, 1989), 251 Ball, Politics and Force Levels, 189–190.

Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 200 S/P draft, “Basic National Security Policy” (BNSP), 26 March 1962, Vice Presidential-Security, Box 7, Lyndon Johnson Library, 23–24, 3537, 217. See also OASD/ISA, “Basic National Security Policy,” 25 March 1963, DDRS 1963, #215, 15.

Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, 252 Walt Rostow, The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History (New York, 1972), 175–176 McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (New York, 1988), 354 Rusk, As I Saw It, 508 Ball, Politics and Force Levels, 190.

“Last Conversation with the President before NATO meeting of December 1962,” 10 December 1962, NSF Meetings and Memoranda, Meetings with the President, General, 6/62–12/62, Box 317a, JFKL, 3 JFK, “Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas,” 22 November 1963, PPP 1963, 891–894.

JFK, “Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” 26 July 1963, PPP 1963, 603.

Raymond Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (Washington, 1989), 133–34, 241n Nib, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, 235 JFK, “Outline for Talk to NSC,” 3 “Remarks by Secretary McNamara, NATO Ministerial Meeting, 5 May 1962,” in Marc Trachtenberg, ed., The Development of American Strategic Thought: Basic Documents from the Eisenhower and Kennedy Periods, Including the Basic National Security Policy Papers from 1953 to 1959 (New York, 1988), 567, 571, 574.

Robert Futrell, The United States Air Force in Southeast Asia: The Advisory Years to 1965 (Washington, D.C., 1981), 64–65.

William Bundy and Alexis Johnson to JFK, “Plan for Possible Intervention in Iaos,” 2d revised draft, 4 May 1961, NSF Countries-Laos, General, 5/1/61–5/8/61, Box 130, JFKL, 6.

Rusk to JFK, “Laos,” 1 May 1961, POF: Countries-Laos, Security, State Dept. Memo on Courses of Action, 4/30/61, Box 121, JFKL, 3 Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy (New York, 1965). 642–643, 645–646 RFK, memorandum, 1 June 1961, in Arthur Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times (New York, 1978), 757–758 Idem, interview by John B. Martin, 1 March 1964, in Edwin Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman, eds., Robert Kennedy in His Own Words: The Unpublished Recollections of the Kennedy Years (New York, 1988), 247–248 Bundy, “Memorandum of Meeting on Laos,” 26 April 1961, POF Countries-Laos, Security, 4/21/61–4/30/61, Box 121, JKL, 2 Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston, 1965), 333–334 Charles Stevenson, The End of Nowhere: American Policy Toward Laos since 1954 (Boston, 1972), 152–154.

Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (New York, 1967), 147.

Roger Hilsman, “Memorandum to Hilsman,” 11 May 1962, reprinted in Stephen Pelz, “When Do I Have Time to Think?” John F. Kennedy, Roger Hilsman, and the Laotian Crisis of 1962,”Diplomatic History 3 (Spring 1979): 224 [emphasis and exclamation points added, probably by Hilsman], 224n Memorandum of Conversation, “Contingency Planning for Laos,” 2 June 1962, Hilsman Papers, Countries-Laos, 6/62, Box 2, JFKL.

JFK, “Report on Berlin,” 534–536 JFK to Rusk, “Berlin Political Planning,” 21 August 1961, in Edward Claflin, ed., JFK Wants to Know: Memos from the President's Office, 1961–1963 (New York, 1991), 102–104 Bundy to JFK, “(1) Berlin Negotiations and (2) Possible Reprisals,” 14 August 1961, NSF Countries-Germany, Berlin, General, 8/11/61–8/15/61, Box 82, JFKL Marc Trachtenberg, History and Strategy (Princeton, 1991).

Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 218 [emphasis his] JFK to McNamara, 14 August 1961, and Idem, National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 70, 15 August 1961, in Claflin, JFK Wants to Know, 93, 96 John Newhouse, War and Peace in the Nuclear Age (New York, 1989), 156–61 Beschloss, Crisis Years, 333–335 Raymond Garthoff, “Berlin 1961: The Record Corrected,”Foreign Policy 64 (1991): 142–156.

Bundy, “Covering note on Henry Kissinger's memo on Berlin,” 7 July 1961, NSF: Countries-Germany, Berlin, General, Kissinger Report 7/7/61, Box 81, JFKL Carl Kaysen to Bundy, 3 July 1961, ibid., Kissinger Report 7/1/61–7/6/61, Box 81, JFKL Kaplan, Wizards of Armageddon, 298–304 Herken, Counsels of War, 156–161 Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 225–226n.

Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost, 203 JFK to Lauris Norstad, 20 October 1961, attachment, DDRS 1993, #1033 Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 282–283.

Hilsman, To Move a Nation, 163 Bundy, Danger and Survival, 381–82 Beschloss, Crisis Years, 328–29 McNamara testimony, “World Military Situation,” 148 Richard Betts, Nuclear Blackmail and Nuclear Balance (Washington, D.C., 1987), 102–104, 106 Roswell Gilpatric, “Present Defense Policies and Program,” 21 October 1961, Vital Speeches of the Day, 1 December 1961, 101.

At the time U.S. strategic weapons outnumbered the Soviets' 14 to 1. Vance to LBJ, 3 October 1964, Schedule A Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 208.

Kaplan, Wizards of Armageddon, 305–306 George Quester, Nuclear Diplomacy: The First Twenty-Five Years (New York, 1970), 246–247 Gerard Clarfield and William Wiecek, Nuclear America: Military and Civilian Nuclear Power in the United States, 1940–1980 (New York, 1984), 256–257 “Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba,” 22 October 1962, PPP 1962, 808.

Taylor to McNamara, “Nuclear-Free or Missile-Free Zones,” 26 October 1962, DDRS Retrospective Collection, #243C, 2 Presidential Recordings, Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings, “Off-the-Record-Meeting on Cuba,” 16 October 1962, evening, POF, JFKL, 10, 15, 27 Presidential Recordings, Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings, 27 October 1962, POF, JFKL, 19, 24, 25, 27, 28 RFK, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York, 1969), 98.

Herken, Counsels of War, 166 Philip Nash, “Nuisance of Decision: Jupiter Missiles and the Cuban Missile Crisis,”Journal of Strategic Studies 14 (1991): 10–18 Bruce Allyn, et al., eds., “Back to the Brink: Proceedings of the Moscow Conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis, January 27–28, 1989,” CSIA Occasional Paper No. 9 (Lanham, Md., 1992), 86, 92–93 Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes, ed. and trans. Jerrold Schechter (Boston, 1990), 177 Recordings, 27 October 1962, 26, 27, 28, 73 David Welch and James Blight, “The Eleventh Hour of the Cuban Missile Crisis: An Introduction to the ExCom Transcripts,”International Security 12 (1987/88): 21–22 “Remarks of President Kennedy to the National Security Council,” 22 January 1963, DDRS 1986, #2274, 1.

Rostow to JFK, “The Problem We Face,” 21 April 1961, DDRS 1985, #2889, 1 BNSP 1962, 117–164 BNSP 1963, 36 Caddis, Strategies of Containment, 220–223 Nash, “Nuisance of Decision,” 3–6.

Frank Costigliola, “The Pursuit of Atlantic Community: Nuclear Arms, Dollars, and Berlin,” in Thomas Paterson, ed., Kennedy's Quest for Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961–1963 (New York, 1989) JFK, “Address Before the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa,” 17 May 1961, PPP 1961, 385.

Mordechai Gazit, President Kennedy's Policy Toward the Arab States and Israel: Analysis and Documents (Tel Aviv, 1983). 54–55, 116–120 Thomas Paterson, “Fixation with Cuba: The Bay of Pigs, Missile Crisis, and Covert War against Castro,” in Paterson, Kennedy's Quest for Victory, 151 Glenn Seaborg, with Benjamin Loeb, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Test Ban (Berkeley, 1981), 171, 193–194, 198–199 Walt Rostow, interview by Richard Neustadt, 25 April 1964, Oral History Pmgram, JFKL, 63 Walter LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945–1990 (New York, 1991), 230 Gordon Chang, Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948–1972 (Stanford, 1990), 229 [emphasis in original], 228–52 Bundy, Danger and Survival, 532.

Chang, Friends and Enemies, 224–227 Leonard Gordon, “United States Opposition to the Use of Force in the Taiwan Strait, 1954–1962,”Journal of American History 72 (1985): 654–656 James Fetzer, “Clinging to Containment: China Policy,” in Paterson, Kennedy's Quest for Victory, 189–190.

Lyman Lemnitzer to McNamara, “Concept of Use of SEATO Forces in South Vietnam,” 9 October 1961, NSF Countries-Vietnam, 10/4/61–10/9/61, Box 194, JFKL, Appendix A, 7–8 William Bundy, cover memo, 5 November 1961, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Vietnam 1961, 1:538n Idem, draft paper, “Reflections on the Possible Outcomes of U.S. Intervention in South Vietnam,” 7 November 1961, ibid., 553–54.

Taylor to JFK, 3 November 1961, attachment 2, “Evaluation and Conclusions,” ibid., 502–503, 491.

For a critique of Kennedy's foreign policy, see Paterson's introduction in Kennedy's Quest for Victory, 3–23.


May 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

To the Congress of the United States:

A strong and sound Federal tax system is essential to America's future. Without such a system, we cannot maintain our defenses and give leadership to the free world. Without such a system, we cannot render the public services necessary for enriching the lives of our people and furthering the growth of our economy.

The tax system must be adequate to meet our public needs. It must meet them fairly, calling on each of us to contribute his proper share to the cost of government. It must encourage efficient use of our resources. It must promote economic stability and stimulate economic growth. Economic expansion in turn creates a growing tax base, thus increasing revenue and thereby enabling us to meet more readily our public needs, as well as our needs as private individuals.

This message recognizes the basic soundness of our tax structure. But it also recognizes the changing needs and standards of our economic and international position, and the constructive reform needs to keep our tax system up to date and to maintain its equity. Previous messages have emphasized the need for prompt Congressional and Executive action to alleviate the deficit in our international balance of payments--to increase the modernization, productivity and competitive status of American industry--to stimulate the expansion and growth of our economy--to eliminate to the extent possible economic injustice within our own society--and to maintain the level of revenues requested in my predecessor's Budget. In each of these endeavors, tax policy has an important role to play and necessary tax changes are herein proposed.

The elimination of certain defects and inequities as proposed below will provide revenue gains to offset the tax reductions offered to stimulate the economy. Thus no net loss of revenue is involved in this set of proposals. I wish to emphasize here that they are a "set"--and that considerations of both revenue and equity, as well as the interrelationship of many of the proposals, urge their consideration as a unit.

I am instructing the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish the Committee on Ways and Means of the House a detailed explanation of these proposals in connection with their legislative consideration.

While it is essential that the Congress receive at this time this Administration's proposals for urgent and obvious tax adjustments needed to fulfill the aims listed above, time has not permitted the comprehensive review necessary for a tax structure which is so complicated and so critically important to so many people. This message is but a first though urgent step along the road to constructive reform.

I am directing the Secretary of the Treasury, building on recent tax studies of the Congress, to undertake the research and preparation of a comprehensive tax reform program to be placed before the next session of the Congress.

Progressing from these studies, particularly those of the Committee on Ways and Means and the Joint Economic Committee, the program should be aimed at providing a broader and more uniform tax base, together with an appropriate rate structure. We can thereby work toward the goal of a higher rate of economic growth, a more equitable tax structure, and a simpler tax law. I know these objectives are shared by--and, at this particular time of year, acutely desired by--the vast majority of the American people.

In meeting the demands of war finance, the individual income tax moved from a selective tax imposed on the wealthy to the means by which the great majority of our citizens participates in paying for well over one-half of our total budget receipts. It is supplemented by the corporation income tax, which provides for another quarter of the total.

This emphasis on income taxation has been a sound development. But so many taxpayers have become so preoccupied with so many tax-saving devices that business decisions are interfered with, and the efficient functioning of the price system is distorted.

Moreover, special provisions have developed into an increasing source of preferential treatment to various groups. Whenever one taxpayer is permitted to pay less, someone else must be asked to pay more. The uniform distribution of the tax burden is thereby disturbed and higher rates are made necessary by the narrowing of the tax base. Of course, some departures from uniformity are needed to promote desirable social or economic objectives of overriding importance which can be achieved most effectively through the tax mechanism. But many of the preferences which have developed do not meet such a test and need to be reevaluated in our tax reform program.

It will be a major aim of our tax reform program to reverse this process, by broadening the tax base and reconsidering the rate structure. The result should be a tax system that is more equitable, more efficient and more conducive to economic growth.

II. TAX INCENTIVE FOR MODERNIZATION AND EXPANSION

The history of our economy has been one of rising productivity, based on improvement in skills, advances in technology, and a growing supply of more efficient tools and equipment. This rise has been reflected in rising wages and standards of living for our workers, as well as a healthy rate of growth for the economy as a whole. It has also been the foundation of our leadership in world markets, even as we enjoyed the highest wage rates in the world.

Today, as we face serious pressure on our balance of payments position, we must give special attention to the modernization of our plant and equipment. Forced to reconstruct after wartime devastation, our friends abroad now possess a modern industrial system helping to make them formidable competitors in world markets. If our own goods are to compete with foreign goods in price and quality, both at home and abroad, we shall need the most efficient plant and equipment.

At the same time, to meet the needs of a growing population and labor force, and to achieve a rising per capita income and employment level, we need a high and rising level of both private and public capital formation. In my preceding messages, I have proposed programs to meet some of our needs for such capital formation in the public area, including investment in intangible capital such as education and research, as well as investment in physical capital such as buildings and highways. I am now proposing additional incentives for the modernization and expansion of private plant and equipment.

Inevitably, capital expansion and modernization-now frequently under the name of automation--alter established modes of production. Great benefits result and are distributed widely--but some hardships result as well. This places heavy responsibilities on public policy, not to retard modernization and capital expansion but to promote growth and ameliorate hardships when they do occur--to maintain a high level of demand and employment, so that those who are displaced will be reabsorbed quickly into new positions--and to assist in retraining and finding new jobs for such displaced workers. We are developing, through such measures as the Area Redevelopment Bill and a strengthened Employment Service, as well as assistance to the unemployed, the programs designed to achieve these objectives.

High capital formation can be sustained only by a high and rising level of demand for goods and service. Indeed, the investment incentive itself can contribute materially to achieving the prosperous economy under which this incentive will make its maximum contribution to economic growth. Rather than delaying its adoption until all excess capacity has disappeared and unemployment is low, we should take this step now to strengthen our anti-recession program, stimulate employment and increase our export markets.

Additional expenditures on plant and equipment will immediately create more jobs in the construction, lumber, steel, cement, machinery and other related capital goods industries. The staffing of these new plants--and filling the orders for new export markets--will require additional employees. The additional wages of these workers will help create still more jobs in consumer goods and service industries. The increase in jobs resulting from a full year's operation of such an incentive is estimated at about half a million.

Specifically, therefore, I recommend enactment of an investment tax incentive in the form of a tax credit of

--15% of all new plant and equipment investment expenditures in excess of current depreciation allowances

--6% of such expenditures below this level but in excess of 50% of depreciation allowances with

--10% on the first $5,000 of new investment as a minimum credit.

This credit would be taken as an offset against the firm's tax liability, up to an overall limitation of 30% in the reduction of that liability in any one year. It would be separate from and in addition to depreciation of the eligible new investment at cost. It would be available to individually owned businesses as well as corporate enterprises, and apply to eligible investment expenditures made after January 1 of this year. To remain a real incentive and make a maximum contribution to those areas of capital expansion and modernization where it is most needed, and to permit efficient administration, eligible investment expenditures would be limited to expenditures on new plant and equipment, on assets located in .the United States, and on assets with a life of six years or more. Investments by public utilities other than transportation would be excluded, as would be investment in residential construction including apartments and hotels.

Of the eligible firms, it is expected that many small firms would be able to take advantage of the minimum credit of 10% on the first $5000 of new investment which is designed to provide a helpful stimulus to the many small businesses in need of modernization. Other small firms, subject to a 30% tax rate, would strive to be eligible for the full 15% credit--the equivalent for such firms of a deduction from their gross income for tax purposes of 50% of the cost of new investment. Among the remaining firms, it is expected that a majority would be induced to make new investments in modern plant and equipment in excess of their depreciation in order to earn the 15% credit. New and growing firms would be particularly benefited. The 6% credit for those whose new investment expenditures fall between 50% and 100% of their depreciation allowances is designed to afford some substantial incentive to the depressed or hesitant firm which knows it cannot yet achieve the 15% credit.

In arriving at this form of tax encouragement to investment, careful consideration was given to other alternatives. If the credit were given across-the-board to all new investment, a much larger revenue loss would result from those expenditures which would have been undertaken anyway or represent no new level of effort. Our objective is to provide the largest possible inducement to new investment which would not otherwise be undertaken. Thus the plan recommended above would involve the same revenue loss--approximately $1.7 billion--as only a 7 percent credit across-the-board to all new investment.

The use of current depreciation allowances as the threshold above which the higher rate of credit would apply recommends itself for a number of reasons. Depreciation reflects the average level of investment over the past, but is a less restrictive and more stable test than the use of an average of investment expenditures for a period such as the preceding five years. In addition, the depreciation allowances themselves in effect supply tax-free funds for investment up to this level. We now propose a tax credit-which would help to secure funds needed for the additional investment beyond that level.

The proposed credit, in terms of the revenue loss involved, will also be much more effective as an inducement to investment than an outright reduction in the rate of corporation income tax. Its benefits would be distributed more broadly, since the proposed credit will apply to individuals and partnerships as well as corporations. It will also be more effective as a direct incentive to corporate investment, and increase available funds more specifically in those corporations most likely to use them for additional investment. In short, whereas the credit will have the advantage of focusing on the profitability of new investment, much of the revenue loss under a general corporate rate reduction would be diverted into raising the profitability of old investment.

It is true that this advantage of focusing entirely on new investment is shared by the alternative strongly urged by some--a tax change permitting more rapid depreciation of new assets (be it accelerated depreciation or an additional depreciation allowance for the first year). But the proposed investment credit would be superior, in my view, for a number of reasons. In the first place, the determination of the length of an asset's life and proper methods of depreciation have a normal and important function in determining taxable income, wholly apart from any considerations of incentive and they should not be altered or manipulated for other purposes that would interfere with this function. It may be that on examination some of the existing depreciation rules will be found to be outmoded and inequitable but that is a question that should be separated from investment incentives. A review of these rules and methods is underway in the Treasury Department as a part of its overall tax reform study to determine whether changes are appropriate and, if so, what form they should take. Adoption of the proposed incentive credit would in no way foreclose later action on these aspects of depreciation.

In the second place, an increase in tax depreciation tends to be recorded in the firm's accounts, thereby raising current costs and acting as a deterrent to price reduction. The proposed investment credit would not share this defect.

Finally, it is clear that the tax credit would be more effective in inducing new investment for the same revenue loss. The entire credit would be reflected immediately in the increased funds available for investment without increasing the company's future tax liability. A speed-up in depreciation only postpones the timing of the tax liability on profits from the investment to a later date--an increase in profitability not comparable to that of an outright tax credit. Yet accelerated depreciation is much more costly in immediate revenues.

For example, on an average investment, a tax credit of 15% would bring the same return to the firm as an additional first year depreciation of over 50% of the cost of the investment. Yet the immediate revenue loss to the Treasury from such additional depreciation would be twice as much, and would remain considerably higher for many years. The incentive to new investment our economy needs, and which this recommendation would provide at a revenue loss of $ 1.7 billion, could be supplied by an initial write-off only at an immediate cost of $3.4 billion.

I believe this investment tax credit will become a useful and continuous part of our tax structure. But it will be a new venture and remain in need of review. Moreover, it may prove desirable for the Congress to modify the credit from time to time, so as to adapt it to the needs of a changing economy. I strongly urge its adoption in this session.

III. TAX TREATMENT OF FOREIGN INCOME

Changing economic conditions at home and abroad, the desire to achieve greater equity in taxation, and the strains which have developed in our balance of payments position in the last few years, compel us to examine critically certain features of our tax system which, in conjunction with the tax system of other countries, consistently favor United States private investment abroad compared with investment in our own economy.

1. Elimination of tax deferral privileges in developed countries and "tax haven" deferral privileges in all countries. Profits earned abroad by American firms operating through foreign subsidiaries are, under present tax laws, subject to United States tax only when they are returned to the parent company in the form of dividends. In some cases, this tax deferral has made possible indefinite postponement of the United States tax and, in those countries where income taxes are lower than in the United States, the ability to defer the payment of U.S. tax by retaining income in the subsidiary companies provides a tax advantage for companies operating through overseas subsidiaries that is not available to companies operating solely in the United States. Many American investors properly made use of this deferral in the conduct of their foreign investment. Though changing conditions now make continuance of the privilege undesirable, such change of policy implies no criticism of the investors who so utilize this privilege.

The undesirability of continuing deferral is underscored where deferral has served as a shelter for tax escape through the unjustifiable use of tax havens such as Switzerland. Recently more and more enterprises organized abroad by American firms have arranged their corporate structures--aided by artificial arrangements between parent and subsidiary regarding intercompany pricing, the transfer of patent licensing rights, the shifting of management fees, and similar practices which maximize the accumulation of profits in the tax haven--so as to exploit the multiplicity of foreign tax systems and international agreements in order to reduce sharply or eliminate completely their tax liabilities both at home and abroad.

To the extent that these tax havens and other tax deferral privileges result in U.S. firms investing or locating abroad largely for tax reasons, the efficient allocation of international resources is upset, the initial drain on our already adverse balance of payments is never fully compensated, and profits are retained and reinvested abroad which would otherwise be invested in the United States. Certainly since the postwar reconstruction of Europe and Japan has been completed, there are no longer foreign policy reasons for providing tax incentives for foreign investment in the economically advanced countries.

If we are seeking to curb tax havens, if we recognize that the stimulus of tax deferral is no longer needed for investment in the developed countries, and if we are to emphasize investment in this country in order to stimulate our economy and our plant modernization, as well as ease our balance of payments deficit, we can no longer afford existing tax treatment of foreign income.

I therefore recommend that legislation be adopted which would, after a two-step transitional period, tax each year American corporations on their current share of the undistributed profits realized in that year by subsidiary corporations organized in economically advanced countries. This current taxation would also apply to individual shareholders of closely-held corporations in those countries. Since income taxes paid abroad are properly a credit against the United States income tax, this would subject the income from such business activities to essentially the same tax rates as business activities conducted in the United States. To permit firms to adjust their operations to this change, I also recommend that this result be achieved in equal steps over a two-year period, under which only one-half of the profits would be affected during 1962. Where the foreign taxes paid have been close to the U.S. rates, the impact of this change would be small.

This proposal will maintain United States investment in the developed countries at the level justified by market forces. American enterprise abroad will continue to compete with foreign firms. With their access to capital markets at home and abroad, their advanced technical know-how, their energy, resourcefulness and many other advantages, American firms will continue to occupy their rightful place in the markets of the world. While the rate of expansion of some American business operations abroad may be reduced through the withdrawal of tax deferral such reduction would be consistent with the efficient distribution of capital resources in the world, our balance of payments needs, and fairness to competing firms located in our own country.

At the same time, I recommend that tax deferral be continued for income from investment in the developing economies. The free world has a strong obligation to assist in the development of these economies, and private investment has an important contribution to make. Continued income tax deferral for these areas will be helpful in this respect. In addition, the proposed elimination of income tax deferral on United States earnings in industrialized countries should enhance the relative attraction of investment in the less developed countries.

On the other hand, I recommend elimination of the "tax haven" device anywhere in the world, even in the underdeveloped countries, through the elimination of tax deferral privileges for those forms of activities, such as trading, licensing, insurance and others, that typically seek out tax haven methods of operation. There is no valid reason to permit their remaining untaxed regardless of the country in which they are located.

2. Taxation of Foreign Investment Companies. For some years now we have witnessed substantial outflows of capital from the United States into investment companies created abroad whose principal justification lies in the tax benefits which their method of operation produces. I recommend that these tax benefits be removed and that income derived through such foreign investment companies be treated in substantially the same way as income from domestic investment companies.

3. Taxation of American Citizens Abroad. It is no more justifiable to provide tax exemptions for individuals living in the developed countries than it is to provide tax inducements for capital investment there. Nor should we permit totally unjustified tax benefits to be obtained by those Americans whose choice of residence is dictated primarily by their desire to minimize taxes.
I, therefore, recommend:

--that the total tax exemption now accorded the earned income of American citizens residing abroad be completely terminated for those residing in economically advanced countries

--that this exemption for earned income be limited to $20,000 for those residing in the less developed countries and

--that the exemption of $20,000 of earned income now accorded those citizens who stay (but do not reside) abroad for 17 out of 18 months also be completely terminated for those living or traveling in the economically advanced countries.

4. Estate Tax on Property Located Abroad. I recommend that the exclusion from the estate tax accorded real property situated abroad be terminated. With the adoption several years ago of the credit for foreign taxes under the estate tax, there is no justification for the continued exemption of such property.

5. Allowance for Foreign Tax on Dividends. Finally, the method by which the credit for foreign income taxes is computed in the case of dividends involves a double allowance for foreign income taxes and should be corrected.

These proposals, along with more detailed and technical changes needed to improve the taxation of foreign income, are expected to reduce substantially our balance of payments deficit and to increase revenues by at least $250 million per year.

IV. CORRECTION OF OTHER STRUCTURAL DEFECTS

I next recommend a number of measures to remove other serious defects in the income tax structure. These changes, while making a beginning toward the comprehensive tax reform program mentioned above, will provide sufficient revenue gains to offset the cost of the investment tax credit and keep the revenue-producing potential of our tax structure intact.

1. Withholding on Interest and Dividends. Our system of combined withholding and voluntary reporting on wages and salaries under the individual income tax has served us well. Introduced during the war when the income tax was extended to millions of new taxpayers, the wage-withholding system has been one of the most important and successful advances in our tax system in recent times. Initial difficulties were quickly overcome, and the new system helped the taxpayer no less than the tax collector.

It is the more unfortunate, therefore, that the application of the withholding principle has remained incomplete. Withholding does not apply to dividends and interest, with the result that substantial amounts of such income, particularly interest, improperly escape taxation. It is estimated that about $3 billion of taxable interest and dividends are unreported each year. This is patently unfair to those who must as a result bear a larger share of the tax burden. Re-cipients of dividends and interest should pay their tax no less than those who receive wage and salary income, and the tax should be paid just as promptly. Large continued avoidance of tax on the part of some has a steadily demoralizing effect on the compliance of others.

This gap in reporting has not been appreciably lessened by educational programs. Nor can it be effectively closed by intensified enforcement measures, except by the expenditure of inordinate amounts of time and money. Withholding on corporate dividends and on investment type interest, such as interest paid on taxable government and corporate securities and savings accounts, is both necessary and practicable.

I, therefore, recommend the enactment of legislation to provide for a 20% withholding rate on corporate dividends and taxable investment type interest, effective January 1, 1962, under a system which would not require the preparation of withholding statements to be sent to recipients. It would thus place a relatively light burden of compliance on the payers of interest and dividends--certainly less than that placed on payers of wages and salaries--while at the same time largely solving the compliance problem for most of the taxpayers receiving dividends and interest. Steps will also be taken to avoid hardships for recipients who are not subject to tax.

The remaining need for compliance, largely in the high income group subject to a higher tax rate, would be met through the concentration of enforcement devices on taxpayers in these brackets. Introduction of equipment for the automatic processing of information returns would be especially helpful for this purpose and would thus supplement the extension of withholding.

Enactment of this proposal is estimated to increase revenue by $600 million per year.

2. Repeal of the Dividend Credit and Exclusion. The present law provides for an exclusion from income of the first $50 of dividends received from domestic corporations and for a 4% credit against tax of such dividend income in excess of $50. These provisions were enacted in 1954. Proponents argued that they would encourage capital formation through equity investment, and that they would provide a partial offset to the so-called double taxation of dividend income. It is now clear that they serve neither purpose well and I, therefore, recommend the repeal of both the dividend credit and exclusion.

The dividend credit and exclusion are not an efficient stimulus to capital expansion in the form of plant and equipment. The revenue losses resulting from these provisions are spread over a large volume of outstanding shares rather than being concentrated on new shares and the stimulating effects of the provisions are thus greatly diluted, resulting in relatively little increases in the supply of equity funds and a relatively slight reduction in the cost of equity financing. In fact, such reduction as does occur is more likely to benefit large corporations with easy access to the capital market, while being of little use to small firms which are not so favorably situated. Insofar as raising the profitability of new investment in plant and equipment is concerned, the tax investment credit proposed above would be far more effective since it is offered to the corporation, where the actual investment decision is made.

The dividend credit and exclusion are equally inadequate as a solution to the so-called problem of double taxation. Whatever may be the merits of the arguments respecting the existence of double taxation, the provisions of the 1954 Act clearly do not offer an appropriate remedy. They greatly overcompensate the dividend recipient in the high income bracket, while giving either insufficient or no relief to shareholders with smaller income.

This point deserves emphasis. For viewed simply as a means of tax reduction, the dividend credit is. wholly inequitable. The distribution of its benefits is highly favorable to the taxpayers in the upper income groups who receive the major part of dividend income. Only about 10 percent of dividend income accrues to those with incomes below $5,000 about 80 percent of it accrues to that 6.5% of taxpayers whose incomes exceed $10,000 a year. Similarly, dividend income is a sharply rising fraction of total income as we move up the income scale. Thus, dividend income is about 1 percent of all income from all sources for those taxpayers with incomes of $3,000 to $5,000 but it constitutes more than 25 percent of the income for those with $100,000 to $150,000 of income, and about 50 percent for those with incomes over $1,000,000,

The role of the dividend credit should not be confused with the broader question of tax rates applicable to high incomes. These high rates deserve re-examination and this is one of the problems which will be examined in the context of next year's tax reform. But if top bracket rates were to be reduced, the dividend credit is not the way to do it. Rate reductions, if appropriate, should apply no less to those with high incomes from other sources, such as professional and salaried people whose tax position is particularly difficult today.

If the credit is eliminated, the $50 exclusion should also be discarded for similar reasons. The tax saving from the exclusion is substantially greater for a dividend recipient with a high income than for a recipient with low income. Moreover, on equity grounds, there is no reason for giving tax reduction to that small fraction of low income tax payers who receive dividends in contrast to those who must live on wages, interest, rents or other forms of income.

The 1954 formula therefore is a dead-end and should be rescinded, effective December 31 of this year. The estimated revenue gain is $450 million per year.

3. Expense Accounts. In recent years widespread abuses have developed through the use of the expense account. Too many firms and individuals have devised means of deducting too many personal living expenses as business expenses, thereby charging a large part of their cost to the Federal Government. Indeed, expense account living has become a byword in the American scene.

This is a matter of national concern, affecting not only our public revenues, our sense of fairness, and our respect for the tax system, but our moral and business practices as well. This widespread distortion of our business and social structure is largely a creature of the tax system, and the time has come when our tax laws should cease their encouragement of luxury spending as a charge on the Federal treasury. The slogan--"It's deductible"--should pass from our scene.

Tighter enforcement of present legislation will not suffice. Even though in some instances entertainment and related expenses have an association with the needs of business, they nevertheless confer substantial tax-free personal benefits to the recipients. In other cases, deductions are obtained by disguising personal expenses as business outlays. But under present law, it is extremely difficult to separate out and disallow such pseudo-business expenditures. New legislation is needed to deal with the problem.

I, therefore, recommend that the cost of such business entertainment and the maintenance of entertainment facilities (such as yachts and hunting lodges) be disallowed in full as a tax deduction and that restrictions be imposed on the deductibility of business gifts, expenses of business trips combined with vacations, and excessive personal living expenses incurred on business travel away from home.

I feel confident that these measures will be welcomed by the American people. I am also confident that business firms, now forced to emulate the expense account favors of their competitors, however unsound or uneconomical such practices may be, will welcome the removal of this pressure. These measures will strengthen both our tax structure and the moral fibre of our society. These provisions should be effective as of January 1, 1962 and are estimated to increase Treasury receipts by at least $250 million per year.

4. Capital Gains on Sale of Depreciable Business Property. Another flaw which should be corrected at this time relates to the taxation of gains on the sale of depreciable business property. Such gains are now taxed at the preferential rate applicable to capital gains, even though they represent ordinary income.

This situation arises because the statutory rate of depreciation may not coincide with the actual decline in the value of the asset. While the taxpayer holds the property, depreciation is taken as a deduction from ordinary income. Upon its resale, where the amount of depreciation allowable exceeds the decline in the actual value of the asset so that a gain occurs, this gain under present law is taxed at the preferential capital gains rate. The advantages resulting from this practice have been increased by the liberalization of depreciation rates.

Our capital gains concept should not encompass this kind of income. This inequity should be eliminated, and especially so in view of the proposed investment credit. We should not encourage through tax incentives the further acquisition of such property as long as this loophole remains.

I therefore recommend that capital gains treatment be withdrawn from gains on the disposition of depreciable property, both personal and real property, to the extent that depreciation has been deducted for such property by the seller in previous years, permitting only the excess of the sales price over the original cost to be treated as a capital gain. The remainder should be treated as ordinary income. This reform should immediately become effective as to all sales taking place after the date of enactment. It is estimated to raise revenue by $200 million annually.

5. Cooperatives and Financial Institutions. Another area of the tax laws which calls for attention is the treatment of cooperatives, private lending institutions, and fire and casualty insurance companies.

Contrary to the intention of Congress, substantial income from certain cooperative enterprises, reflecting business operations, is not being taxed either to the cooperative organization itself or its members. This situation must be corrected in a manner that is fair and just to both the cooperatives and competing businesses.

The present inequity has resulted from court decisions which held patronage refunds in certain forms to be non-taxable. I recommend that the law be clarified so that all earnings are taxable to either the cooperatives or to their patrons, assessing the patron on the earnings that are allocated to him as patronage dividends or refunds in scrip or cash. The withholding principle recommended above should also be applied to patronage dividends or refunds so that the average patron receiving scrip will, in effect, be given the cash to pay his tax on his patronage dividend or refund. The cooperatives should not be penalized by the assessment of a patronage tax upon dividends or refunds taxable to the patron but left in the business as a substitute for the sale of securities to obtain additional equity capital. The exemption for rural electric cooperatives and credit unions should be continued.

The tax provisions applicable to fire and casualty insurance companies, originally adopted in 1942, need to be reviewed in the light of current conditions. Many of these companies, organized on the mutual or reciprocal basis are now taxed under a special formula which does not take account of their underwritings gains and thus results in an inequitable distribution of the tax burden among various types of companies. Consideration should be given to taxing mutual or reciprocal companies on a basis similar to stock companies, following the pattern of similar treatment of stock and mutual enterprise in the life insurance field.

Some of the most important types of private savings and lending institutions in the country are accorded tax deductible reserve provisions which substantially reduce or eliminate their Federal income tax liability. These provisions should be reviewed with the aim of assuring non-discriminatory treatment.

Remedial legislation in these fields would enlarge the revenues and contribute to a fair and sound tax structure.

One of the major characteristics of our tax system, and one in which we can take a great deal of pride, is that it operates primarily through individual self-assessment. The integrity of such a system depends upon the continued willingness of the people honestly and accurately to discharge this annual price of citizenship. To the extent that some people are dishonest or careless in their dealings with the government, the majority is forced to carry a heavier tax burden.

For voluntary serf-assessment to be both meaningful and productive of revenues, the citizens must not only have confidence in the fairness of the tax laws, but also in their uniform and vigorous enforcement of these laws. If non-compliance by the few continues unchecked, the confidence of the many in our self-assessment system will be shaken and one of the cornerstones of our government weakened.

I have in this message already recommended the application of withholding to dividends and interest and revisions to halt the abuses of expense accounts. These measures will improve taxpayer compliance and raise the regard of taxpayers for the fairness of our system. In addition, I propose three further measures to improve the tax enforcement machinery.

1. Taxpayer Account Numbers. The Internal Revenue Service has begun the installation of automatic data processing equipment to improve administration of the growing job of tax collection and enforcement. A system of identifying taxpayer account numbers, which would make possible the bringing together of all tax data for any one particular taxpayer, is an essential part of such an improved collection and enforcement program.

For this purpose, social security numbers would be used by taxpayers already having them. The small minority currently without such numbers' would be assigned numbers which these persons could later use as well for social security purposes if needed. The numbers would be entered on tax returns, information returns, and related documents.

I recommend that legislation be enacted to authorize the use of taxpayer account numbers beginning January 1, 1962 to identify taxpayer accounts throughout the processing and record keeping operations of the Internal Revenue Service.

2. Increased Audit Coverage. The examination of tax returns is the essence of the enforcement process. The number of examining personnel of the Internal Revenue Service, however, has been consistently inadequate to cope with the audit workload. Consequently, it has been unable to audit carefully many of the returns which should be so examined. Anticipated growth in our population will, of course, increase this enforcement problem.

Related to broadened tax audit is the criminal enforcement program of the Revenue Service. Here, the guiding principle is the creation of a deterrent to tax evasion and to maintain or, if possible, increase voluntary compliance with all taxing statutes. This means placing an appropriate degree of investigative emphasis on all types of tax violations, in all geographical areas, and identifying violations of substance in all income brackets regardless of occupation, business or profession.

Within this framework of a balanced enforcement effort, the Service is placing special investigative emphasis on returns filed by persons receiving income from illegal sources. I have directed all Federal law enforcement agencies to cooperate fully with the Attorney General in a drive against organized crime, and to utilize their resources to the maximum extent in conducting investigations of individuals engaged in criminal activity on a major scale. With the foregoing in mind, I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury to provide through the Internal Revenue Service a maximum effort in this field.

To fulfill these requirements for improved audits, enforcement and anti-crime investigation, it is essential that the Service be provided additional resources which will pay their own cost many times over. In furthering the Service's long-range plans, the prior Administration asked additional appropriations of $27.4 million to hire about 3,500 additional personnel during fiscal 1962, including provisions for the necessary increases in space and modern equipment vital to the efficient operation of the Service. To meet the commitments described above, this Administration reviewed these proposals and recommended that they be increased by another $7 million and 765 additional personnel to expedite the expansion and criminal enforcement programs. The pending alternative of only 1,995 additional personnel, or less than one-half of the number requested, this Administration would constitute little more than the additional employees needed each year during the 1960's just to keep up with the estimated growth in number and complexity of returns filed. Thus I must again strongly urge the Congress to give its full support to my original request. These increases will safeguard the long-term adequacy of the nation's traditional voluntary compliance system and, at the same time, return the added appropriations several times over in added revenue.

3. Inventory Reporting. It is increasingly apparent that the manipulation of inventories has become a frequent method of avoiding taxes. Current laws and regulations generally permit the use of inventory methods which are acceptable in recognized accounting practice. Deviations from these methods, which are not always easy to detect during examination of tax returns, can often lead to complete non-payment of taxes until the inventories are liquidated and, for some taxpayers, this represents permanent tax reduction. The understating of the valuation of inventories is the device most fiequently used.

I have directed the Internal Revenue Service to give increasing attention to this area of tax avoidance, through a stepped-up emphasis on both the verification of the amounts reported as inventories and an examination of methods used in arriving at their reported valuation.

As recommended by my predecessor, it is again necessary that Congress enact an extension of present corporation income and excise tax rates otherwise scheduled for reduction or termination on July 1, 1961 Such extension has been adopted by the Congress on a number of previous occasions, and our present revenue requirements make such extension absolutely necessary again this year.

In the absence of such legislation, the corporate tax rate would be decreased 5 percentage points, from 52 percent to 47 percent, excise tax rates on distilled spirits, beer, wines, cigarettes, passenger automobiles, automobile parts and accessories, and the transportation of persons would also decline and the excise tax on general telephone service would expire. We cannot afford the loss of these revenues at this time.

The last item on the agenda relates to aviation fuel. The two previous Administrations have urged that civil aviation, a mature and growing industry, be required to pay a fair share of the costs of operating and improving the Federal airways system. The rapidly mounting costs of these essential services to air transportation makes the imposition of user charges more imperative now than ever before. The most efficient method for recovering a portion of these costs equitably from the airway users is through a tax on aviation fuel. Present law provides for a net tax of 2 cents a gallon on aviation gasoline but no tax on jet fuel. The freedom from tax of jet fuel is inequitable and is resulting in substantial revenue losses due to the transition to jet power and the resulting decline in gasoline consumption.

My predecessor recommended a flat 41/2 cent tax for both aviation gasoline and jet fuels. Such a request, however, appears to be unrealistic in view of the current financial condition of the airline industry. Therefore, I recommend:

--extending the present net 2-cent rate on aviation gasoline to jet fuels

--holding this uniform rate covering both types of fuel at the 2-cent level for fiscal 1962 and

--providing for annual increments in this rate of 1/2 cent after fiscal year 1962 until the portion of the cost of the airways properly allocable to civil aviation is substantially recovered by this tax.

The immediate increase in revenue from this proposal is modest in comparison with anticipated airways costs and the annual gradation of further increases is intended to moderate the impact of the tax on the air carrier industry. Should future economic or other developments warrant, a more rapid increase in the fuel tax will be recommended. The decline from the revenues estimated by my predecessor is not large, and will be met by the reforms previously proposed. I repeat my earlier recommendation that, consistent with the user charge principle, revenues from the aviation fuels tax be retained in the general fund rather than diverted to the highway trust fund.

The legislation recommended in this message offers a first step toward the broader objective of tax reform. The immediate need is for encouraging economic growth through modernization and capital expansion, and to remove tax preferences for foreign investment which are no longer needed and which impair our balance of payments position. A beginning is made also toward removing some of the more glaring defects in the tax structure. The revenue gain in these proposals will offset the revenue cost of the investment credit. Finally, certain rate extensions are needed to maintain the revenue potential of our fiscal system.

These items need to be done now but they are a first step only. They will be followed next year by a second set of proposals, aimed at thorough income tax reform. Their purpose will be to broaden and unify the income tax base, and to review the entire rate structure in the light of these revisions. Let us join in solving these immediate problems in the coming months, and then join in further action to strengthen the foundations of our revenue system.


This Day In History: President Kennedy Pledges Military Support For South Vietnam (1961)

On this day in history n a letter, President Kennedy stated to the South Vietnamese President that he had agreed to expand the American military presence in the country. Kennedy pledged American support to South Vietnam as it struggled to contain a growing communist insurgency in South Vietnam.

Kennedy had been advised by his chief military advisor and a National Security Advisor that South Vietnam needed more military support. He was urged to provide Saigon with even more military support as there was the real possibility that South Vietnam would be seized by communists. The military advisor General Taylor urged a massive expansion in the number of troops stationed in the country. However, Kennedy believed that any direct American involvement in the war would have been deeply unpopular in Washington. Kennedy accepted the recommendations but he ordered that any soldiers sent to South Vietnam would only be used as military advisors or trainers. The President did not want to drag America into a war.

29 October 1962 Executive Committee of the National Security Council meeting.

Kennedy made his support conditional on the South Vietnamese regime liberalizing its government and policies. Diem the South Vietnamese President was widely seen as authoritarian and his regime was considered corrupt. Diem agreed to reform his government in return for military aid but he did not make any meaningful reforms. The American support did not manage to halt the communist insurgency and despite their efforts the Viet Cong seized large areas of rural South Vietnam. In November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and his Vice President, Lyndon Johnson became President. He was to adopt a more aggressive policy against the North Vietnamese and their communist allies in the south, the Viet Cong. In 1963 there were just under 15,000 American service personnel in South Vietnam. Johnson was to greatly expand the American military presence in the country. He also ordered American forces to directly participate in the war. Under Johnson, tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines and air force personnel were stationed in South Vietnam. Jonson also ordered the bombing of North Vietnam and this helped to escalate the war. By 1965 American was involved in an all-out war in South Vietnam.

Many have blamed Kennedy for sending American troops to Vietnam even though they were only military advisors designed to support the South Vietnamese. However, there are those who believe that if he had not died that he would not have escalated the war, the way that Johnson did. The American involvement in South Vietnam did not prevent it falling to communist forces eventually and in 1975 Saigon was captured by the North Vietnamese army.


A Shared Love of Words

Both President and Mrs. Kennedy shared a love of language, and believed in the power of words. As a young man, JFK collected quotes that he kept in notebooks—a habit passed down from his mother, and he was the first President to invite a poet, Robert Frost, to recite his work at an inaugural ceremony. Poems that Jacqueline Kennedy memorized as a child with her grandfather stayed with her throughout her life. She once wrote: "All the changes in the world, for good or evil, were first brought about by words."


John F. Kennedy Speech, May 25, 1961

A digital copy of this White House recording has been provided by the Miller Center of Public Affairs. For more information on this and other recordings, visit the Miller Center's Scripps Library.

If you have ever done something not because it was easy but because it was hard, then THIS is where you basically stole the idea from.

The classic speech that kicked off the space race, either in its entirety, or at least way much more than I have ever heard. Lots of additional stuff which I didn't know was part of the same proposals, but very cool nonetheless. What ever happened to that nuclear rocket, anyway?

FEW SPEECHES IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY, EITHER BEFORE JFK OR FOLLOWING HIM, HAVE BEEN SO CONSEQUENTIAL TO AND SIGNIFICANT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS THE SECOND STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE THAT JOHN F. KENNEDY DELIVERED TO THE ASSEMBLED HOUSES OF CONGRESS ON THURSDAY, MAY 25 1961, ON HIS 126th DAY IN OFFICE. NOTHING THAT JFK DID IN HIS 1037 DAYS AS PRESIDENT RIVALS OR SURPASSES WHAT HE DID ON MAY 25 1961 WHEN HE SET THE NATION ON THE FAST TRACK TO THE MOON AND BACK BEFORE THE END OF THE DECADE.

IT REQUIRED BOTH THE PERSONAL CHARISMA OF A YOUNG AND DYNAMIC PRESIDENT TO JUMPSTART THE LUNAR DESTINY OF THE UNITED STATES ON THURSDAY, MAY 25 1961, AS WELL AS HIS TRAGIC DEATH 911 DAYS LATER ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 1963, TO GALVANIZE THE NATION IN ITS GRIEF TO FULFILL KENNEDY'S MANDATE TO THE NATION AS A NATIONAL TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY AND MEMORY OF ITS SLAIN LEADER. IT IS NOT TO MUCH TO SAY, THAT, GIVEN THE FICKLENESS OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE AND THE BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THAT THERE WAS NO GUARANTEE EITHER THAT KENNEDY WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED TO A SECOND TERM HAD HE LIVED, NOR THAT CONGRESS COULD HAVE BEEN PERSUADED OVER A PERIOD OF NEARLY A DECADE TO CONSISTENTLY APPROVE THE MASSIVE EXPENDITURES THAT WERE REQUIRED TO FUND THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM THAT GOT US TO THE MOON AND BACK IN THE PERSON OF NEIL ARMSTRONG. BY HIS DEATH, HOWEVER, KENNEDY DID THAT WHICH HE MAY WELL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH HAD HE LIVEDÂHE SET IN STONE HIS PERSONAL RESOLVE AS EXPRESSED IN HIS SPEECH TO THE NATION OF MAY 25 1961 (THOUGH HE HIMSELF DIED AND DID NOT LIVE TO SEE ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE APOLLO ELEVEN MISSION FROM BLASTOFF ON JULY 16 1969 TO SPLASHDOWN ON JULY 24 1969), AND MADE IT THE UNDYING RESOLVE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHO FULFILLED HIS GOAL IN HIS NAME. AN ANONYMOUS AMERICAN, SPEAKING FOR ALL AMERICANS, IN THE DARK HOURS OF EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 20 1969 (THE DAY OF THE FIRST MOON LANDING), PLACED A BRIEF NOTE ON THE GRAVE OF JOHN F. KENNEDY. ELOQUENT IN ITS SIMPLICITY, IT SAID: "MR. PRESIDENT, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED". ("EAGLE" WAS THE NAME GIVEN TO THE LUNAR LANDING MODULE THAT TOOK NEIL ARMSTRONG AND BUZZ ALDRIN DOWN TO THE MOON AND BACK UP AGAIN TO THE COMMAND SHIP MODULE.)

IT IS ALL TO EASY TO DISMISS THE EVENTS OF THE SPACE RACE FROM THE TIME OF SPUTNIK IN THE LATE FIFTIES, TO THE AMERICAN LUNAR LANDINGS IN THE LATE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES AS A TIME OF NATIONAL ABERRATION,
WHEN THE WORLD WAS SLIGHTLY OFF ITS ROCKER AS THE TWO GREAT POWERS COMPETED FOR SUPREMACY IN SPACE. SUCH A VIEW, HOWEVER, IS BASED ON IGNORANCE, AND IS SHORTSIGHTED IN ITS RUSH TO JUDGMENT. WHEN WE PLANT A FRUIT TREE, WE DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE THE HARVEST IN A MATTER OF DAYS, WEEKS, OR MONTHS WE KNOW THAT IT WILL BE SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THE TREE BEGINS TO BEAR FRUIT.
SO IN THE CASE OF THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM, AND MORE PARTICULARLY, THE MOON PORTION OF THE SPACE PROGRAM (THE NINE APOLLO MISSIONS THAT ACTUALLY WENT TO THE MOON), THOUGH THEY ACCOMPLISHED KENNEDY'S GOAL WITHIN THE TIME FRAME THAT HE HAD SPECIFIED ON MAY 25 1961, THE FULL HARVEST OF THOSE MISSIONS HAS YET TO BE PICKED. THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM OF THE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES MAY SEEM NOW TO BE MERELY A DISTANT MEMORY OF A PECULIAR TIME THAT IS RECEDING WITH EACH PASSING YEAR MORE SURELY INTO THE LIMBO LAND OF FORGETFULNESS. LET IT HOWEVER, BE CLEARLY STATED AND AS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD, THAT THE AMERICAN LUNAR PROGRAM OF THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES WAS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE BOTH AT THAT TIME, AND IS OF FAR GREATER SIGNIFICANCE AT THE PRESENT TIME, FOR IT IS ONLY NOW, WITH THE INSIGHT THAT THE LAPSE OF SEVERAL DECADES ALONE COULD PROVIDE, THAT IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO REAP THE HARVEST OF THE AMERICAN LUNAR ODYSSEY AND BRING THAT FRUITAGE TO THE SERVICE AND SALVATION OF THE NATION IN SOLVING THE DIFFICULT PROBLEM OF HOW TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE EXTREMIST WING OF ISLAM THAT SAW FIT TO ATTACK THIS NATION ON SEPTEMBER 11 2001, OR 9 / 11 AS IT HAS COME TO BE KNOWN. IT IS NOT THE PRESENCE OF AMERICAN TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ THAT WILL SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, BUT RATHER THE CORRECT AND FULL UNDERSTANDING OF THE DEEP SIGNIFICANCE OF AMERICA'S NINE MISSIONS TO THE MOON, SET INEXORABLY IN MOTION BY JOHN F. KENNEDY'S FAMOUS MOON SPEECH OF MAY 25 1961.


May 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History


Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs

May 25, 1961

&hellip.Finally, if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny, the dramatic achievements in space which occurred in recent weeks should have made clear to us all, as did the Sputnik in 1957, the impact of this adventure on the minds of men everywhere, who are attempting to make a determination of which road they should take&hellip Now it is time to take longer strides&ndashtime for a great new American enterprise&ndashtime for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.

I believe we possess all the resources and talents necessary. But the facts of the matter are that we have never made the national decisions or marshalled the national resources required for such leadership. We have never specified long-range goals on an urgent time schedule, or managed our resources and our time so as to insure their fulfillment.

Recognizing the head start obtained by the Soviets with their large rocket engines, which gives them many months of leadtime, and recognizing the likelihood that they will exploit this lead for some time to come in still more impressive successes, we nevertheless are required to make new efforts on our own. For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last. We take an additional risk by making it in full view of the world, but as shown by the feat of astronaut [Alan] Shepard, this very risk enhances our stature when we are successful. But this is not merely a race. Space is open to us now and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others. We go into space because whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

I therefore ask the Congress, above and beyond the increases I have earlier requested for space activities, to provide the funds which are needed to meet the following national goals:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations&ndashexplorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon&ndashif we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself&hellip.


Document Category

The president’s annual message is usually delivered once a year before a Joint Session of Congress. In 1961, President Kennedy gave his State of the Union Address on January 30, but urgent national needs in the areas of foreign aid, international and civil defense, and outer space brought Kennedy before Congress again on May 25 to deliver this address.

The launch of the Soviet Union’s first Sputnik satellite in 1957 had produced, in short order, a response by the United States that included an executive agency for space exploration and the launch of the first American satellite in space. Just a few weeks before this address, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space, once again coming in second to the Soviets, who sent a man to space in April 1961. Determined to be first at the next milestone in space exploration, Kennedy announced his goal of sending a man to the moon by the end of the decade and asked Congress to commit the funds to achieve success: “For while we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last.”

This copy of Kennedy’s address was referred to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, whose records include other State of the Union addresses and presidential messages.