October 23, 1964

Recorded Remarks on the 19th Anniversary of the United Nations

TOMORROW we celebrate the 19th birthday of the United Nations. All over America and in 112 other countries, thoughtful people will salute the U.N.'s work of peace.

In these 19 years the United Nations has done well. Nineteen years after the League of Nations was founded, in 1938 the world's hopes for peace were dying in the shame of Munich. Today the United Nations is strong. Our hopes for peace are high.

For 19 years, in every corner of the world, U.N. missions have helped to keep the peace. At the same time, U.N. agencies have been at war with the enemies of man that pay no attention to national frontiers--hunger, and sickness, and ignorance.

The victories of the United Nations do not always make headlines, but they do make history. The United Nations is teaching all of us to work with other peoples as a good and necessary part of our own national life. The United Nations is not perfect at all. This year, in fact, it faces a real crisis unless all of its members can agree to bear their fair share of its costs. But we will not tremble before every passing threat and we will not give up our glowing hope for the U.N.'s future.

More than 85 percent of Americans are in favor of the United Nations, and so am I. We will never withdraw from the United Nations and we will never do anything to weaken it. Instead, we will try to be the very first among those who work to make it grow in strength and in service to peace.

As we celebrate the U.N.'s birthday, we should all take a moment to pay tribute to four great men who helped make it strong. Two have been in the doctors' hands lately, Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman. Fortunately, both of them are on the mend. Two are gone--Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy.

So let us give special thanks today for President Roosevelt, who created the United Nations, and for President Kennedy, who loved it so well.

For myself, I can only repeat what I said to Secretary General U Thant at a dark hour last November: It will be hard to be a more vigorous and effective supporter of the United Nations than President Kennedy was, but if I can manage it, that is what I will be.