Atlantic City, New Jersey
August 24 to 27, 1964
Nominated: Lyndon B Johnson of Texas for President
Nominated: Hubert Humphrey of Minn for Vice President
The 1964 convention nominated President Johnsoon and his choice for running mate Senator Hubert Humphrey by acclaim.
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was founded on April 26, 1964 as part of a voter registration project for African Americans in the state. For over half a century Mississippi blacks had attempted to attend regular Democratic Party meetings and conventions but were continually denied entry. They formed the MFDP, which welcomed both whites and blacks, to run several candidates for the Senate and Congressional elections on June 2, 1964.
Attempting to get members to join the MFDP angered most white Mississippians who often responded with violence. During the Freedom Summer of 1964, three men, Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, who were associated with the MFDP, disappeared and were later found dead with fatal gunshot wounds. The one African American man was beaten so badly for attempting to register to vote that his bones had been crushed. This defiance by Mississippi’s white majority propelled the MFDP to get its delegates into the upcoming national convention to replace the “regular” Democrats.
The regular Democrats wanted to seat an all-white delegation at the 1964 National Democratic Convention which met in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The MFDP protested. Supporters of the MFDP came from all over the United States to support their protest. Eventually a compromise proposal orchestrated by Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey offered the MFDP two non-voting seats next to the regular Mississippi delegates. However, the MFDP refused the offer because it denied them any chance of voting on the floor of the convention. MFDP leader Fannie Lou Hamer spoke before the convention rules committee explaining the position of the party and why the compromise offered was unacceptable.
While the MFDP ultimately failed in its goal of gaining seats at the Democratic National Convention, it was ultimately successful as its story in Atlantic City reminded the country of the ongoing battle Southern blacks faced in gaining full citizenship rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, passed two months before the Convention, did not address the right to vote. African Americans in Mississippi and across the nation vowed to continue to press for full voting rights. The MFDP’s role in that struggle helped pave the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The 1964 Democratic National Convention and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic PartyFreedom Vote ballot listing the nominees for president, vice president, senator, and second district congressional seat for the Freedom Democratic Party, Democratic Party, and Republican Party. From the Zwerling (Matthew) Freedom Summer Collection. Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive Collection, University of Southern Mississippi.
The political convention season of 1964 saw the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) grow out of voter registration and voting rights projects established by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) that same year. A coalition of national, regional, and local civil rights organizations that unified to draw attention to the civil rights crisis in Mississippi, COFO launched the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in 1964. Freedom Summer was designed to attract national attention to the injustices experienced by African Americans in Mississippi who attempted to exercise their voting rights, and to underscore an acute need for federal legislation in this area–voting rights were not addressed as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Of all of the Southern states, Mississippi had the most powerful citizens groups and state agencies that enforced segregation, and strategies that had previously worked in other Southern civil rights campaigns were rendered ineffective by the intensity of resistance and violence practiced by white citizens councils and local law enforcement officials in rural Mississippi. It was COFO’s hope to appeal to a national network of volunteers, including many white students from the North, who could relocate to Mississippi during their summer break to bolster local efforts at voter registration and education, and help build a sustainable campaign infrastructure that would last after they returned to school.
The influx of Freedom Summer students and volunteers in 1964 helped organize 17,000 African American residents of Mississippi to register to vote in 1964 however, only 1,600 of these applications were accepted by local registrars. The segregationist backlash surrounding civil rights activities in Mississippi prior to the 1964 Democratic Convention was widespread. This includes the June 11, 1963 assassination of Medgar Evers, the NAACP’s first Mississippi field secretary, who had helped organize a boycott against white merchants in Jackson, Mississippi (most of whom were White Citizens Council members) and played a key role in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi in 1962 he was shot the same evening that President John F. Kennedy went on television to ask Americans to support the civil rights bill that would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On June 21st the following year, three young Freedom Summer organizers (James Chaney, an African American Mississippian, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, two white Northerners) disappeared while investigating a church burning in Neshoba County, Mississippi–more than twenty African American churches were firebombed that summer. Six weeks later, their bodies were found buried underneath a dam on a private farm on August 4.
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party campaign button reading “One Man One Vote” and “FDP.” From the M357 Dahl (Kathleen) Freedom Summer Collection. Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Collection, University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections.
Working amidst regular threats of violence, volunteers continued with their voter registration work, and delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, were elected at MFDP’s state convention in Jackson on August 6, 1964. Because African Americans in Mississippi were denied admittance to state Democratic party meetings, MFDP followed the state Democratic party’s official procedures to the letter and organized parallel caucuses for Mississippi districts and precincts that were open to members of all races. By challenging the segregated delegation sent by Mississippi’s established Democrats at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, MFDP and COFO had hoped to create enough pressure within the national Democratic party to undermine Mississippi’s discriminatory state election practices. However, despite having built significant public support, MFDP received disappointingly little support from national party officials. In a televised hearing on August 22, sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer, herself a victim of a life-threatening beating in a Mississippi jail for her civil rights activities, delivered testimony to the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention. Hamer presented a moving account of how she and other African Americans in Mississippi were excluded from the electorate by violent segregationist resistance, and that the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party delegation was being challenged on the grounds that these candidates had been elected unconstitutionally and against party rules by disenfranchising thousands of African Americans. President Lyndon B. Johnson, however, feared losing white Southern political support to national Republican candidate Barry Goldwater if it appeared that MFDP delegates were supported by the national Democratic party, and so he pre-empted Hamer’s television coverage with an emergency press conference of his own. Because Hamer’s testimony was so compelling, many television networks still aired it unedited on their late evening news programs.
President Johnson also instructed his staff to manufacture a compromise with the Democratic National Convention’s credentials committee that would save white Southern votes, but also earn MFDP approval. The credentials committee ultimately offered to award the MFDP two at-large seats (but with no power to vote on any issues being discussed on the convention floor) to seat members of the all-white delegation who agreed to sign a written pledge to support the convention’s candidates in the upcoming November elections and to bar segregated state delegations from the 1968 convention. The credentials committee recommendation was approved in a closed session by a voice vote, which was quickly reported back to the convention floor–only one person in the closed session meeting was permitted to represent MFDP’s interests.
Unsurprisingly, the closed session vote failed to satisfy the MFDP or the all-white delegation of segregationist Democrats. Only three members of the all-white delegation signed the pledge to back DNC candidates that upcoming November. MFDP members refused to accept the election of a delegation and a system that denied them their constitutional rights, and many civil rights leaders felt betrayed by the white liberal establishment for not backing the MFDP. After the walk-out of most of Mississippi’s all-white delegation, MFDP delegates seated themselves in their vacated seats on the convention in protest for several hours, convention security tried to remove MFDP delegates from the seats while members from other state Democratic delegations interceded by blocking the guards from the MFDP delegates. When the vacant seats were ultimately removed by convention organizers the following day, MFDP delegates occupied the space and sung freedom songs.
/> Flyer soliciting support to seat members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. From Box 1, Folder 9, M336 Zwerling (Matthew) Freedom Summer Collection, McCain Library, University of Southern Mississippi.
Although the MFDP was not officially recognized at the 1964 convention, its delegate challenge had a tremendous impact on drawing attention to the injustices experienced by disenfranchised African American citizens of Mississippi, and on African American voting rights nationally in 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed, and in following years, the Democratic party ensured fair participation and stopped discriminating against African Americans. At the 1968 Democratic convention, MFDP members were seated as delegates to the Democratic National Convention as the Loyal Democrats of Mississippi, and Fannie Lou Hamer was elected as a national Democratic Party delegate for the 1972 national convention in Miami Beach.
For further reading and research, the Civil Rights Digital Library provides access to numerous primary resources and educational materials about voting rights, the 1964 Democratic Convention, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and Freedom Summer.
Daughter of sharecroppers
Hamer, born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917, in Montgomery County, Mississippi, was the youngest of twenty children. Her parents, Ella and James Lee Townsend, were sharecroppers, which meant that at harvest time, they turned their crops over to the landowner and were paid a small amount for their share. They moved to Sunflower County to work on the E. W. Brandon plantation when Hamer was two years old. By age six, she was weeding the cotton field, then helping to pick the cotton. Hamer went to school through the eighth grade, which was more schooling than many black children had at the time.
In 1944, Fannie Lou Townsend married Perry Hamer, whom everyone called “Pap,” and they lived on the Marlow plantation outside Ruleville. When Marlow learned that Mrs. Hamer could read and write, he made her the record keeper for the plantation. The Hamers had no children of their own, but they raised two girls from impoverished homes, and later adopted the two daughters of one of them who died. Hamer was respected in both the white and black communities as someone who could help settle disputes and always had a moment to hear a neighbor’s problem. She had deep religious beliefs she had been brought up in the church and relied on its strength.
The 1964 election occurred just less than one year after the assassination of Pres. John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Johnson, Kennedy’s vice president, was quickly sworn in, and in the subsequent days Kennedy’s presumed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was murdered. To American and foreign observers alike, this created a disturbing image of disorder and violence in the United States. In the tempestuous days after the assassination, Johnson helped to calm national hysteria and ensure continuity in the presidency. On November 27 he addressed a joint session of Congress and, invoking the memory of the martyred president, urged the passage of Kennedy’s legislative agenda, which had been stalled in congressional committees. Johnson placed greatest importance on Kennedy’s civil rights bill, which became the focus of his efforts during the first months of his presidency.
Central to the 1964 campaign was race relations, particularly with the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which Johnson signed into law in July and which was intended to end discrimination based on race, colour, religion, or national origin. For most of the period since the end of the American Civil War in 1865, the Democratic Party dominated what came to be known as the “ Solid South,” easily winning Southern states in most presidential elections. Johnson’s support of civil rights legislation, however, began the process that would eventually push the South consistently into the Republican column.
Barry Goldwater, a U.S. senator from Arizona, won several key primary victories against Nelson Rockefeller in a bitter contest and was nominated on the first ballot at the Republican convention in July in San Francisco, California, just two weeks after the Civil Rights Act had been signed. Goldwater had voted against the act, and he was a staunch anticommunist and a strong proponent of reduced federal activity in all fields. Goldwater selected Rep. William E. Miller of New York as his running mate. Goldwater’s nomination was not without controversy, since many Republican moderates considered Goldwater outside the party mainstream at the convention Rockefeller received a loud chorus of boos as he spoke. Indeed, a poll in June had indicated that more than three-fifths of rank-and-file Republicans favoured William Scranton, governor of Pennsylvania, for the party nomination.
During the spring Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace, an opponent of racial integration, had entered primaries in a number of Northern states in an effort to demonstrate the existence of a Northern white anti-civil rights “backlash” vote. Wallace won 30 percent or more of the Democratic vote in the Wisconsin, Indiana, and Maryland primaries.
At the Democratic convention in late August in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Johnson was renominated, along with Minnesota Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey as his running mate. The convention, however, was the scene of a major civil rights controversy. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a largely African American group, challenged the credentials of the all-white Mississippi regular Democratic delegation (who had been elected in a discriminatory poll). MFDP member and black activist Fannie Lou Hamer—who earlier had famously declared, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”—made an impassioned plea to the credentials committee:
If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?”
A compromise was worked out for the MFDP to take two seats, but the MFDP refused, and eventually most of the official Mississippi Democratic Party delegation left the convention, since they refused to support Johnson against Goldwater.
Goldwater made moral leadership a major theme of his campaign. In a move widely interpreted as an appeal to the “backlash,” Goldwater placed heavy emphasis during his campaign on lawlessness and crime in big cities. The Republican Party made little effort to court the vote of African Americans, and black voters would move in great numbers to the Democrats, providing Johnson his margin of victory in states such as Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Although foreign affairs had not been a central issue in much of the campaign, American military involvement in Vietnam did weigh heavily on Johnson. During the primary campaign in California, Rockefeller cast the conservative Goldwater as a risky choice, asking in a mailing, “Who do you want in the room with the H-bomb button?” Resurrecting Rockefeller’s line of attack, the Democrats produced the so-called Daisy ad, one of the most powerful television advertisements in presidential election history, which showed a little girl in a field picking flower petals. As she counts up, a countdown begins that leads to a nuclear mushroom cloud, an allusion to Goldwater’s past statements that nuclear bombs might be used tactically in Vietnam. The mushroom cloud was then followed by Johnson’s voice, saying that “these are the stakes” in the election. The ad ran only once but synthesized in many people’s minds the view that Goldwater was too extreme for the presidency.
When the votes were cast on November 3, Johnson defeated Goldwater handily, winning by more than 15 million votes and capturing 61 percent of the vote. The electoral vote domination was even greater Johnson won 44 states and Washington, D.C., for 486 electoral votes, while Goldwater won 6 states accounting for 52 electoral votes. Goldwater did poorly in traditionally Republican areas, but, largely on the basis of Goldwater’s opposition to the civil rights bill and his promotion of states’ rights, he carried Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, in addition to his home state of Arizona.
For the results of the previous election, see United States presidential election of 1960. For the results of the subsequent election, see United States presidential election of 1968.
AN UNCONVENTIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION: 1964
In August 1964, in Atlantic City, NJ, the National Democratic Party staged a presidential convention that, even for a political party in the midst of leadership and philosophical changes, was most unconventional.
To a twenty-one-year-old medical student, the convention provided a close-up view of diverse and fascinating people and events, posed then on a convention hall stage, and remembered now on the stage of history.
My father was a pediatrician in Marshall, Texas one his patients was the very sick child of Marvin Watson, the executive assistant to E. B. Germany, president of Lone Star Steel in nearby Daingerfield, Texas. The Watson child survived, and Watson formed a close and grateful friendship with my father. Both were also friends and supporters of Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson. In fact, Watson had been doing various jobs for Johnson since they first met on the Baylor University campus in 1948.
When President John F. Kennedy was murdered in November 1963, Lyndon Johnson inherited a presidency and a bureaucracy staffed by men and women loyal to the late president and to his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. These Kennedy supporters also ran The Democratic National Committee and had already selected Atlantic City, New Jersey, as the site of the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
Fortunately for Johnson, he sent Marvin Watson to Atlantic City to evaluate the preparations for this convention. In his book, Chief of Staff: Lyndon Johnson and His Presidency, Watson describes how in Atlantic City he found that Robert Kennedy and John Bailey, the head of the Democratic Nation Committee, had arranged to control completely the convention including the seating of delegates, the program, the speakers, the housing, and the social life. Watson discovered that Kennedy supporters planned to manipulate the convention in order to nominate Bobby Kennedy for president, rather than re-nominating President Johnson and should they fail at securing the nomination for the presidency, they would then try to nominate Kennedy for vice president.
When Watson reported the situation, President Johnson convinced Watson, who was not even on the government payroll at the time, to return to Atlantic City and to take over all of the preparations for the convention. Watson reorganized the convention over the next few months, and he must have made a favorable impression on the president, because in early 1965, Johnson made Watson his Chief of Staff at the White House, replacing Walter Jenkins whose star had fallen into a YMCA toilet.
I was fortunate that one of Watson’s sons, Lee, a student at New Mexico Military Institute, was also involved in the page service. He would have made a good head of the page service because he knew everyone important. He had a natural and pleasant swagger as well as a wonderful personality, but he was only 18. Since I was 21, I was made head, but Lee and I became fast friends and split the leadership, the hours, and the headaches.
I don’t remember just how many pages we had, 10 perhaps, maybe more, and they were mostly little Yankee, city boys, many of whom were too young to be entrusted with the sensitive materials they were sometimes called upon to handle.
Watson or I manned the phones, and dispatched whichever page we had available to perform various tasks, comprised mostly of deliveries of materials and messages inside the convention hall. After a couple of days, we knew pretty much which boys we could trust. Thankfully, we had no responsibility for the pages after working hours. The best page we had was a mature and intelligent blond-headed boy from Dallas named Harlan Crow. He was about fifteen, I would guess, maybe a little younger. I tried to save him for the most important work, especially after one of the Kennedy Irish Mafia’s sons left some sensitive papers on a bench on the Boardwalk. I believe that boy’s name was O’Donnell. Fortunately, the papers were retrieved. As I recall, the papers were related to arrangements for President Johnson’s birthday party that was to be held in the ballroom at the convention center on August 28, the last night of the convention.
I might add that Harlan Crow came to my aid after that birthday party our page service offices had been locked for security reasons, and I had an early flight to Dallas the next morning. I left in the office a $5.00 umbrella and a half-read copy of “On the Beach.” Crow somehow got the umbrella and book to me in Dallas after the convention. Only then did I find out that his father was the legendary developer, Trammel Crow. I haven’t seen Harlan since, but I understand he has done well in real estate himself.
One of my most poignant memories of the convention occurred when a fellow named Walter Cronkite taught me about scotch at a party a night or two before the convention opened. I was able to go to this and all of the parties during the convention due to an all-inclusive social pass that Lee Watson got me from a tall red headed boy from Texarkana whose dad was a wealthy donor. This boy had a pocket full of the top social passes available, given only to big donors and then based on the total amount of their contribution. Well, Lee Watson got us both a pass, which meant that we could go to any social event we wished. However, our other passes were even more important after being investigated by the FBI prior to the convention, we were given security passes which cleared us to go ANYWHERE at the convention, and we did with our passes swinging like priceless jewelry around our necks. We would shut the page service down by about 6:00 PM. Then, we’d take off and look around, usually foraging for something to eat since our boarding house was a couple of miles away down the Boardwalk — too far to walk for a meal. I had been out of money for days, but at least I was able to afford hot dogs when my brother wired me some emergency cash. I ate 8-10 hot dogs each day while I was in Atlantic City. They were tasty, cheap, and ubiquitous, and, as I remember, still the best I’ve ever eaten.
The night I met Mr. Cronkite, I got to a cocktail party early. The occasion for the party was to celebrate the birthday of a Judge Tom Connally, a famous Texas politician and a distant relative of Gov. John Connally. I spied my favorite newsman sitting down on a window seat. I joined him in the window that was close to the bar. He was very nice to me — a gangly, young-looking nobody. He wore a blazer, slacks, and loafers with argyle socks pulled tight. When he found out that I was also a Texan, he taught me that scotch whiskey was a refined drink, more likely to reflect gentility and to prolong sobriety than the national drink of East Texas: bourbon and coke.
While waiting for the crowd to arrive, we had several drinks together. I was pleased to be the gofer. Mr. Cronkite was charming and entertaining, but I don’t remember what we talked about. I was surprised that we were left alone to talk for at least a half hour. Unconventionally, Cronkite was not the CBS Television anchorman that year as he was at every other national convention from 1952 until he retired in 1981. Cronkite’s demotion resulted from the ratings dominance of Huntley and Brinkley from NBC at the Republican Convention held in July, a month prior to the Democratic Convention. The CBS brass felt that Cronkite had suffered a bad convention, and he had worked alone. So, for the Democratic Convention, they replaced him with Roger Mudd and Robert Trout as co-anchors. Unfortunately for CBS, NBC beat them again in the ratings. Four years later, Cronkite was reinstalled as the Convention Anchor for CBS.
1964 marked the end of the New Deal coalition of democrats and resulted in the beginning of the movement of the conservative white Southerners (aka Dixiecrats) to the Republican party. This exodus was too late to help the Republican candidate, Senator Barry Goldwater, in 1964, but ultimately these conservatives fell into the waiting arms of Richard Nixon in 1968. Actually, Johnson had himself speculated that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he signed just before the convention, would likely cause this division to happen. After 1964, Texas and other southern states became true two-party states rather than states comprised only of democrats, be they liberal or conservative.
Additional party chaos was precipitated by events early in the summer of 1964, in Mississippi, under the leadership of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a civil rights coalition comprised of the Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)) launched “Freedom Summer”, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project. The goal of the groups was to register as many Mississippi blacks to vote as possible. In addition, the Mississippi Freedom Delegation Party (MFDP) was formed. This was a political party composed mostly of blacks whose intent was to unseat the regular Mississippi delegation, largely made up by segregationists, at the 1964 Democratic Convention. The MFDP rode busses to Atlantic City and picketed the convention from the Boardwalk. There numbers were said to be in the thousands, but in Atlantic City, I only saw a few hundred of them at any one time.
Sadly, three of their members didn’t make the trip. Rather, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white boys from New York and James Chaney, a black civil rights worker were found rotting away in an earthen dam after being murdered on June 16, 1964, by Klu Klux Klan members, some of whom were law enforcement officials from Philadelphia, Mississippi. This brutal kidnapping and murder occurred just three days after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the senate President Johnson signed the act into law on July 2. The bodies of the three boys were discovered August 4, and the Johnson forces were fearful that massive picketing and violence might result at the convention.
Coincidently, I drove through Philadelphia, Mississippi the day after the bodies were found, but I didn’t stop in friendly Philadelphia.
The Johnson forces did not want any civil rights confrontations in general, and especially, they wanted no riots at the convention. The largely black MFDP requested and got a hearing by the Credentials Committee and asked that they be declared the official Mississippi delegation and to be seated in the hall rather than the segregationist delegation. Unconventionally, the hearing was considered important news and was televised nationally, on a quiet mid-afternoon, after the soap operas. The Page Service was also quiet, so I decided to attend the Credential Committee Hearing. I had time to figured out the likely areas on which the lone TV camera might dwell and sat there, hoping that my mother in Marshall, Texas, might see me and know that I was alive and well. She did.
By this time, having the run of the convention, I was pretty much taken with myself, and I wound up sitting is a box with folks who were due to testify that afternoon. One, a middle-aged man sitting to my left, ran out of cigarettes and started bumming from me. He looked familiar, and I realized that he was Mayor Richard Wagner of New York City. He was said to have vice presidential aspirations that did not come to fruition. It was hot in the room, and he had on a suit and tie and sweated considerably. I don’t recall that he ever testified.
I sat through the now famous testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer, a black woman who talked about the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963 she also described how she had been beaten when she tried to register to vote in Mississippi. I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember a tragic Jewish lady named Schwerner, the young widow of the dead civil rights worker whose body had just been uncovered in Mississippi. Her despair was palpable, and I hope never to forget her and her sad countenance.
The Johnson controlled Credentials Committee decided to let the convention decide which delegation to seat, and ultimately, a deal was made for the convention to seat two of the MFDP in the balcony. It has been speculated, apparently without documentation, that an agreement was made between the Johnson people and the MFDP that in exchange for accepting a minor convention role, that Hubert Humphrey would be the Vice-Presidential nominee. Humphrey, Walter Reuther, and several black civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King and Roy Wilkins were said to have worked out the compromise with the MFDP. Nevertheless, the rank and file of the MFDP was outraged at the perceived slighting of their delegation.
Two days later, at the onset of convention, all but three members of the regular Mississippi Delegation walked out after they refused to sign a loyalty oath to the Democratic Party. Many MFDP members had counterfeit tickets and gained entry into the hall anyway. Also, legitimate delegates from other states slipped the MFDP members extra passes to get onto the convention floor, where they milled around and then sat in the vacated seats of the authorized but absent Mississippi democrats. (The vacant seats were removed after that night.)
Most of us at the convention were aware of the Mississippi problems, but after the televised hearing, the MFDP Party became old news, just as Watson and President Johnson hoped. Unconventionally, no roll call was ever performed at the1964 convention Johnson was nominated by acclamation. Neither Mississippi delegation got to answer a roll call.
After the convention officially started on the night of August 24, it didn’t take me long to find that the best seats in the hall, when the convention was in session, were under the massive stage with its large podium at the front of the convention hall. This underneath, hidden space also housed the White House offices. There was a wide hallway with comfortable sofas and chairs along the right wall, with offices off to the left. Speakers waiting to go up to the podium, Secret Service men, various convention functionaries, Johnson cronies, and I hung out there at night.
It was here that I met the nicest person that I remember from the convention: Phillip H. Hoff, the first Democratic governor from Vermont since 1854. Hoff was a handsome fellow with blond hair, a nice smile, an athletic build, and a nicotine habit. Cigarettes brought us together. He invariably ran out of cigarettes and smoked mine.
He was being groomed for national attention by the party, and accordingly, he had been requested to wait in the downstairs offices until he could be worked into the program for a short speech, at which time he would be seen by millions of TV viewers. Alas, apparently the time never got right for the Governor to speak, and he and I sat together under the stage nightly for three nights. We sat just inside the main entrance leading in from the convention hall, just across from the office of Walter Jenkins, then Johnson’s Chief of Staff. He had three television sets on his office wall that we could watch from where we were sitting if his door was open, as it usually was. Mr. Jenkins never said a word to the governor or me, but he did smile pleasantly at us more than once.
Hoff was nervous about having to speak in front of the convention, but he was a smart, friendly man. I started carrying two packs of cigarettes to the hall each night. If he ever figured out that I was a complete nobody, he never let on. He was never called to speak at the convention.
The Kennedy faction finally got a little TV time, on the last day of the convention. Robert Kennedy was to narrate a film about his brother. This film and other “Kennedy Day” activities had been moved by Marvin Watson to a terrible time slot—late at night and late in the convention—after both the President and the Vice President had been nominated. Thus, it was not possible for the convention to become overwhelmed by Kennedy and to put him on the ticket.
That night, Mr. Kennedy came to the door in the bowels of the convention center, and security and the official greeter let him in. Kennedy walked past all of us who were loitering there under the stage. Governor Hoff and I were in our usual seats, and various speakers and Johnson men were in the room. Kennedy was a small man, only a bit larger than tiny, but he walked directly through all of us, ramrod straight, looking neither to the left nor to the right. He didn’t smile he didn’t say one word to anyone in the room. Without stopping, he climbed the stairs at the end of the hall and went onstage. Once introduced, he received twenty-two minutes of thunderous applause. When the crowd finally quieted, he made a short speech, and showed a film to honor of his dead brother. The speech and the film were well received by the convention.
Then Kennedy exited through the downstairs offices, again without a word to or glance at anyone. He had not one single confederate in the room. Kennedy was crying as he left. The convention that his folks had hoped to hijack was firmly in Johnson’s control, thanks to Marvin Watson. Shortly thereafter, his presidential aspirations squelched, Kennedy announced that he was going to run for the U.S. Senate from New York, as other carpetbaggers have been known to do since then.
Governor George Wallace made an appearance at the convention hall early in the week. He was a small man, well dressed, surrounded by large Alabama Highway Patrol agents. He pranced around like a little terrier for a few hours, and then I never saw him again. He had run well in some of the Democratic Primaries early in the year, but he had no real chance of securing the Vice-Presidential nomination. Ultimately, Wallace ran for President. He ran three times as a democrat and once as an independent without success. In 1972 he was paralyzed during an attempted assassination attempt.
When Wallace came in, the MFDP was picketing outside the main doors, and Peter Paul, and Mary, a famous and liberal folk singing group was holding court just inside the hall. The sun was shining, beautiful people were in and out, and the world seemed pretty right. Just out in the Atlantic was a Barry Goldwater sign that said: “In your Heart, you know he’s Right.” Someone had affixed a second sign to Goldwater’s that said: “Yes, Far Right”
One night during the convention, I got into one of the small elevators at the old convention building only to find Lady Bird Johnson and Frederick March, the famous actor, inside. Ironically, March, a well-known liberal, was at that time playing the President of the United States in the movie, “Seven Days in May.” I introduced myself to both and told Lady Bird that I was from Marshall. She grew up in nearby Karnack and had gone to high school in Marshall. She asked me if Dr. Harris, the Pediatrician, was my father, and when I replied that he was, she said, “Please give him my warmest and fondest personal regards.” He was later pleased at her greeting, and I was more than a little impressed that she remembered him. What a gracious and charming lady she was.
President Johnson became visible the last days of the convention. He was nominated for President on August 27, with Hubert Humphrey as his choice for Vice President. The following day, on his 56th birthday, the convention closed. Johnson later went on in the November general elections to score a victory by the then largest margin in history (61.2%) over Barry Goldwater and William E. Miller.
The Convention was one of the high points of my youth. Now, looking back, it seems strange that I never saw Billy Don Moyers, from Marshall. For a while, he was one of Johnson’s closest operatives and speechwriters. He was there. I just didn’t see him. Nor did I see the Johnson daughters, with whom my younger brother and I’d been paired for about 10 minutes at some political function in Marshall several years before. James Farmer, the founder of CORE, was also a former college student in and resident of Marshall, Texas, but I never saw him at the convention either. Wright Patman, Congressman from the First Congressional District of Texas from 1929-1976, a friend of my father’s and a devotee of my mother’s fried chicken, most likely was present, but I didn’t see him. It’s heady to say, but at a big convention, mere Congressmen didn’t amount to much in the pecking order. Finally, at the Convention, I never saw Senator Ralph Yarborough who had also been a Sunday guest at our home in Marshall, nor did I see Texas Governor John Connally.
I saw President Johnson a couple of times at the convention, and a few months later, after the election, I saw him in Mt. Pleasant, Texas at a gathering at the local armory in honor of Marvin Watson, a man who that night Johnson described as “…as wise as my father, as gentle as my mother, as loyal and dedicated and as close to my side as Lady Bird.” Johnson had gone to considerable trouble to get to the function. He borrowed Governor Connally’s DC3 in order to land at the small local airport in bad weather as I recall.
I saw Mr. Johnson later at the football stadium at the University of Texas when we occupied urinals in close proximity under the watchful eye of the Secret Service.
The last time I saw President Johnson was the most memorable. He was in his casket. I was the physician in attendance at his burial at the graveyard on his ranch just north of Austin.
I was an Internist in the Army Medical Corp stationed at Darnall Army Hospital at Ft. Hood, Texas, in 1971-73. Periodically, consultants from Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonia, and other doctors from Austin who saw military and federal dependents would regale our doctors with stories about what a good guy but a terrible patient the retired president was. In a good-humored way, they revealed that the former president smoked, drank alcohol, and didn’t follow a diet. At any rate, his chosen lifestyle caught up with him and he died at his ranch at Stonewall, January 22, 1973. He was only 64 years old.
After funeral services in Washington D.C., at which Marvin Watson presented the eulogy, his body was flown back to Texas and bussed from Austin along with Billy Graham, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the cabinet, about every legislator from Washington and Austin, and many of Johnson relatives to the family cemetery at Stonewall, on his ranch, which is now part of The Lyndon B. Johnson National Park.
My commanding officer at Ft. Hood (near Stonewall) knew of my connections with the Johnson family, so he had me take a MASH (portable) Hospital and the associated troops to the graveyard for the burial. Actually, all I really had to do was to show up. The real soldiers put up the hospital.
The weather was bitterly cold, and it was alternately raining and sleeting. It was a long walk from the parking area to the graveyard. I remember Senator Edward Kennedy with his wife who was beautiful but obviously ill as she tottered along in high-heeled shoes she had trouble keeping up with her unsmiling husband as they walked in a long line of dignitaries down the narrow country road. At the graveyard, twenty or so friends and relatives, too old to make the walk, had already been seated inside the rock-walled cemetery. The old folks, and indeed, all of us, suffered mightily from the cold. The service was slow to start because of the size of the crowd and the long walk to the cemetery. Billy Graham preached too long for the weather, and John Connally talked too long as well.
Our large hospital tent, which housed a large stove, was just outside the cemetery. Periodically, mourners would slip into the tent to warm up. I went in only once to check things out, and I recognized Price Daniel Jr. who I knew from American Legion Boys State. His dad had been a Governor of Texas. At the time of the funeral, he was himself speaker of the Texas House of Representative. He and his wife were arguing loudly around the fireplace in the tent hospital. I didn’t say hidey.
There was not enough room in the tent for all the old people to warm up, and I heard later that a couple of the mourners died of “the old man’s friend,” pneumonia.
The sleet got worse I stood under a scraggly piece of a tree with a Secret Service agent. We were far enough away from the grave that we could visit a little bit. I had used my army uniform allotment to buy furniture, so I was clothed in my only dress uniform, a lightweight summer green uniform with a little dinky folding hat. The fancy army hat with the braid on the bill that, as a major, I was entitled to wear, was way out of my price range at about $50 used. I had on a $7.00 raincoat, but at least I had thought to put on a pair of long underwear. I should have put on two or three pairs. While I shivered intermittently in the midst of driving sleet, and while Billy Graham was speaking, the secret service agent looked over at me, fingered my shoddy raincoat, and shook his head dismissively. Then he said, “Doctor, you got to do better.”
In the years since, I have done some better, and after many years of medical practice and ranching, I am now retired with enough time for reflection about an unconventional but wonderful and exciting time in August 1964, and about a courageous president who has not been given adequate acclaim for the noble and far sighted legislation that he enacted.
And especially, I remember again with great fondness, a decent and loyal man who history should not forget—Mr. Marvin Watson.
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Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP)
In early 1964, as part of Freedom Summer, Mississippi civil rights activists affiliated with the Council of Federated Organizations in Mississippi launched the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). Claiming status as “the only democratically constituted body of Mississippi citizens,” they appealed to the credentials committee of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) of 1964 to recognize their party’s delegation in place of the all-white Democratic Party delegation from Mississippi (Victoria Gray, July 1964). In his statement before the credentials committee, Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed support for the MFDP delegates, calling them “the true heirs of the tradition of Jefferson and Hamilton” (King, 22 August 1964).
Because Mississippi blacks were barred from participating in the meetings of the state’s Democratic Party, they decided to form their own party. Mirroring the Democratic Party’s official procedure, MFDP held parallel precinct and district caucuses open to all races. With the support of Freedom Summer students and volunteers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), activists gathered signatures of potential black voters for a “freedom registration.” Delegates to the DNC in Atlantic City, New Jersey, were elected at MFDP’s state convention in Jackson on 6 August 1964.
At the DNC later that month, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Congress of Racial Equality, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and SNCC conducted public and private diplomacy on the MFDP’s behalf. In a nationally televised speech before the DNC credentials committee, MFDP delegate Fannie Lou Hamer spoke passionately about the violence and intimidation suffered by Mississippi blacks seeking to register to vote, concluding, “If the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America” (Carson, 125). King echoed Hamer’s sentiment, telling the committee, “Any party in the world should be proud to have a delegation such as this seated in their midst. For it is in these saints in ordinary walks of life that the true spirit of democracy finds its most profound and abiding expression” (King, 22 August 1964).
President Lyndon Johnson, however, was fearful of losing white southern votes if the MFDP delegates were seated and advocated a compromise. The credentials committee of the DNC offered to award the MFDP two at-large seats, to seat members of the all-white delegation who would formally promise to support the DNC’s candidates in the upcoming elections (rather than campaign for Republican Barry Goldwater), and to bar segregated delegations from the 1968 convention.
Although King had told Johnson that he would “do everything in my power to urge [the MFDP] being seated as the only democratically constituted delegation from Mississippi,” he supported the compromise (King, 19 August 1964). MFDP delegates and many civil rights activists, however, were disheartened by the Credentials Committee’s refusal to seat MFDP delegates. Hamer’s response was, “We didn’t come all this way for no two seats” (Carson, 126).
When all but three of the regular Mississippi delegation withdrew rather than promise to support the full slate of Democratic candidates, MFDP delegates borrowed passes from sympathetic delegates from other states, symbolically occupied the vacated seats and, when the chairs were removed, stood and sang freedom songs.
Although the MFDP did not gain the recognition it sought at the 1964 convention, it continued to pressure the Democratic Party to create a policy that would prevent the seating of a segregationist delegation and later campaigned for Johnson, recognizing that a Goldwater victory would have devastating implications for the civil rights movement.
For the next three years, MFDP continued to agitate on behalf of disenfranchised black Mississippians. In 1965, the MFDP led a challenge to unseat Mississippi’s congressmen on the grounds that they had been elected unconstitutionally. In remarks that were later read in the House, King declared, “I, therefore, again pledge myself and the SCLC to the fullest support of the Challenges of the MFDP and call upon all Americans to join with me in this commitment” (King, 17 May 1965).
In 1968, a group of former MFDP delegates, calling themselves the Loyal Democrats of Mississippi, succeeded in being seated as the sole Mississippi delegation to the DNC.
1964 Democratic Convention - History
EVEN THE LATE "positive thinking" avatar Norman Vincent Peale would have a tough slog finding optimism over Atlantic City's current state, what with gaming revenues running about half of what they were eight years ago and three casinos set to turn out their lights by mid-September. But everything is relative. Compared with 50 years ago this week, the town is Las Vegas, Paris and Rio de Janeiro combined.
The resort's post-World War II decline was exacerbated by what should have been a triumph: Atlantic City had won the right to host the Democratic National Convention.
For four days, beginning Aug. 24, the nation's eyes were on the Democrats' nominating convention at what was then called Convention Hall and is today Boardwalk Hall. By the time the final gavel sounded, Atlantic City's decades-long reign as "The World's Playground" was in tatters.
But the pummeling its already-sagging reputation took that week and thereafter would ultimately lead to the city's rebirth.
Delegates and reporters arrived in a town "where the tourism industry was clearly on the decline, with old hotels that didn't have central air conditioning, not every room had a phone, hardly any rooms had a television," explained Nelson Johnson, author of Boardwalk Empire, the 2002 history of Atlantic City that inspired the HBO series of the same name that launches its fifth and final season Sept. 7. "It was a pretty beat place."
Making matters worse, Johnson added, was that the Republicans had convened six weeks earlier in San Francisco, which he described as "a community where the tourist industry was on the rise, with new hotels and a new convention center. The contrast [for the media] was really severe."
But, noted the author in his book, none of this kept local hoteliers and other merchants from gouging their guests, figuring they'd never see them again anyway.
What the locals apparently didn't consider were the thousands of reporters who were thrilled to share their unhappiness and disgust with Atlantic City with their millions of readers, listeners and viewers.
Had the convention itself offered anything resembling intrigue or drama, those covering it might have been too busy to complain about the town's lack-of-hospitality industry. But except for a rumored push by Robert F. Kennedy that, to President Lyndon Johnson's relief, never materialized, and a floor fight over the seating of the all-white Mississippi delegation, the '64 Dem confab was a snooze fest. That gave the press corps plenty of time and space to brood publicly about the conditions they were forced to endure.
Even famed presidential historian Theodore White couldn't resist taking potshots. In The Making of the President, 1964, he wrote, "Of Atlantic City, it may be written: Better it shouldn't have happened . . . time has overtaken it, and it has become one of those sad, gray places of entertainment . . . where the poor and the middle class grasp so hungrily for the first taste of pleasure that the affluent society begins to offer them - and find shoddy instead . . . it is rundown and glamourless."
The Fourth Estate's contempt for the beleaguered seaside town endured for years.
"After the convention, the town got a lot more scrutiny than it wanted, and the political power structure got an examination it didn't want," Nelson Johnson said. "It led up to investigations of corruption and a series of indictments in 1972."
Thanks to the technology that brought middle-class Americans air conditioning and affordable air travel - the same factors that killed the once-bustling Catskills resorts - nails had been hammered into AyCee's coffin for years before 1964.
The convention debacle not only applied the final nail, but lowered the box into the ground. For the next decade-plus, Atlantic City would be little more than Camden with a boardwalk - just another small, decaying northeastern city facing metastasizing poverty and all the ills that it brings: the flight of its middle class, high crime, blight and a palpable sense of despair.
But a few civic-minded die-hards were challenged to seek ways to fix the seemingly unfixable situation. The ultimate solution was both innovative and controversial.
A referendum to sanction casinos throughout New Jersey failed in November 1974 two years later, state voters green-lighted gambling in Atlantic City, which paved the way for a quarter-century of unfettered economic growth (even if the city itself never became the paradise legal gambling's early boosters envisioned).
Today, the city again finds itself facing formidable problems. But even after Sept. 16, when Trump Plaza follows Revel and Showboat down the road to extinction, the Atlantic City that remains will still be more vital, successful and glamorous than anyone could have imagined during that week in late August 1964.
1964 Democratic Party Platform
America is One Nation, One People. The welfare, progress, security and survival of each of us reside in the common good—the sharing of responsibilities as well as benefits by all our people.
Democracy in America rests on the confidence that people can be trusted with freedom. It comes from the connection that we will find in freedom a unity of purpose stronger than all our differences.
We have drawn upon that unity when the forces of ignorance, hate, and fear fired an assassin's bullet at the nation's heart, incited violence in our land, and attacked the outposts of freedom around the world.
Because of this unity, those who traffic in fear, hate, falsehood, and violence have failed to undermine our people's deep love of truth and quiet faith in freedom.
Our program for the future is to make the national purpose—the human purpose of us all—fulfill our individual needs.
Accordingly, we offer this platform as a covenant of unity.
We invite all to join us who believe that narrow partisanship takes too small account of the size of our task, the penalties for failure and the boundless rewards to all our people for success.
We offer as the goal of this covenant peace for all nations and freedom for all peoples.
Peace should be the first concern of all governments as it is the prayer of all men.
At the start of the third decade of the nuclear age, the preservation of peace requires the strength to wage war and the wisdom to avoid it. The search for peace requires the utmost intelligence, the clearest vision, and a strong sense of reality.
Because for four years our nation has patiently demonstrated these qualities and persistently used them, the world is closer to peace today than it was in 1960.
In 1960, freedom was on the defensive. The Communists—doubting both our strength and our will to use it—pressed forward in Southeast Asia, Latin America, Central Africa and Berlin.
President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson set out to remove any question of our power or our will. In the Cuban crisis of 1962 the Communist offensive shattered on the rock of President Kennedy's determination—and our ability—to defend the peace.
Two years later, President Johnson responded to another Communist challenge, this time in the Gulf of Tonkin. Once again power exercised with restraint repulsed Communist aggression and strengthened the cause of freedom.
Responsible leadership, unafraid but refusing to take needless risk, has turned the tide in freedom's favor. No nation, old or new, has joined the Communist bloc since Cuba during the preceding Republican Administration. Battered by economic failures, challenged by recent American achievements in space, torn by the Chinese-Russian rift, and faced with American strength and courage—international Communism has lost its unity and momentum.
By the end of 1960, military strategy was being shaped by the dictates of arbitrary budget ceilings instead of the real needs of national security. There were, for example, too few ground and air forces to fight limited war, although such wars were a means to continued Communist expansion.
Since then, and at the lowest possible cost, we have created a balanced, versatile, powerful defense establishment, capable of countering aggression across the entire spectrum of conflict, from nuclear confrontation to guerrilla subversion.
We have increased our intercontinental ballistic missiles and Polaris missiles from fewer than 100 to more than 1,000, more than four times the force of the Soviet Union. We have increased the number of combat ready divisions from 11 to 16.
Until such time as there can be an enforceable treaty providing for inspected and verified disarmament, we must, and we will, maintain our military strength, as the sword and shield of freedom and the guarantor of peace.
Specifically, we must and we will:
Continue the overwhelming supremacy of our Strategic Nuclear Forces.
Strengthen further our forces for discouraging limited wars and fighting subversion.
Maintain the world's largest research and development effort, which has initiated more than 200 new programs since 1961, to ensure continued American leadership in weapons systems and equipment.
Continue the nationwide Civil Defense program as an important part of our national security.
Pursue our examination of the Selective Service program to make certain that it is continued only as long as it is necessary and that we meet our military manpower needs without social or economic injustice.
Attract to the military services the highest caliber of career men and women and make certain they are adequately paid and adequately housed.
Maintain our Cost Reduction Program, to ensure a dollar's worth of defense for every dollar spent, and minimize the disruptive effects of changes in defense spending.
Building the Peace
As citizens of the United States, we are determined that it be the most powerful nation on earth.
As citizens of the world, we insist that this power be exercised with the utmost responsibility.
Control of the use of nuclear weapons must remain solely with the highest elected official in the country—the President of the United States.
Through our policy of never negotiating from fear but never fearing to negotiate, we are slowly but surely approaching the point where effective international agreements providing for inspection and control can begin to lift the crushing burden of armaments off the backs of the people of the world.
In the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, signed now by over 100 nations, we have written our commitment to limitations on the arms race, consistent with our security. Reduced production of nuclear materials for weapons purposes has been announced and nuclear weapons have been barred from outer space.
Already the air we and our children breathe is freer of nuclear contamination.
We are determined to continue all-out efforts through fully-enforceable measures to halt and reverse the arms race and bring to an end the era of nuclear terror.
We will maintain our solemn commitment to the United Nations, with its constituent agencies, working to strengthen it as a more effective instrument for peace, for preventing or resolving international disputes, and for building free nations through economic, technical, and cultural development. We continue to oppose the admission of Red China to the United Nations.
We believe in increased partnership with our friends and associates in the community which spans the North Atlantic. In every possible way we will work to strengthen our ties and increase our cooperation, building always more firmly on the sure foundation of the NATO treaty.
We pledge unflagging devotion to our commitments to freedom from Berlin to South Vietnam. We will:
Help the people of developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America raise their standards of living and create conditions in which freedom and independence can flourish.
Place increased priority on private enterprise and development loans as we continue to improve our mutual assistance programs.
Work for the attainment of peace in the Near East as an urgent goal, using our best efforts to prevent a military unbalance, to encourage arms reductions and the use of national resources for internal development and to encourage the re-settlement of Arab refugees in lands where there is room and opportunity. The problems of political adjustment between Israel and the Arab countries can and must be peacefully resolved and the territorial integrity of every nation respected.
Support the partnership of free American Republics in the Alliance for Progress.
Move actively to carry out the Resolution of the Organization of American States to further isolate Castroism and speed the restoration of freedom and responsibility in Cuba.
Support our friends in and around the rim of the Pacific, and encourage a growing understanding among peoples, expansion of cultural exchanges, and strengthening of ties.
Oppose aggression and the use of force or the threat of force against any nation.
Encourage by all peaceful means the growing independence of the captive peoples living under Communism and hasten the day that Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania and the other captive nations will achieve full freedom and self-determination. We deplore Communist oppression of Jews and other minorities.
Encourage expansion of our economic ties with other nations of the world and eliminate unjustifiable tariff and non-tariff barriers, under authority of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Expand the Peace Corps.
Use even more of our Food for Peace.
The Conquest of Space
In four vigorous years we have moved to the forefront of space exploration. The United States must never again settle for second place in the race for tomorrow's frontiers.
We will continue the rapid development of space technology for peaceful uses.
We will encourage private industry to increase its efforts in space research.
We will continue to ensure that any race in space is won for freedom and for peace.
The Leadership We Offer
The complications and dangers in our restless, constantly changing world require of us consummate understanding and experience. One rash act, one thoughtless decision, one unchecked reaction—and cities could become smoldering ruins and farms parched wasteland.
The leadership we offer has already been tested in the crucible of crisis and challenge. To this Nation and to all the world we reaffirm President Johnson's resolve to ". use every resource at the command of the Government. . . and the people . . . to find the road to peace."
We offer this platform as a guide for that journey.
Freedom and Well Being
There can be full freedom only when all of our people have opportunity for education to the full extent of their ability to learn, followed by the opportunity to employ their learning in the creation of something of value to themselves and to the nation.
Our task is to make the national purpose serve the human purpose: that every person shall have the opportunity to become all that he or she is capable of becoming.
We believe that knowledge is essential to individual freedom and to the conduct of a free society. We believe that education is the surest and most profitable investment a nation can make.
Regardless of family financial status, therefore, education should be open to every boy or girl in America up to the highest level which he or she is able to master.
In an economy which will offer fewer and fewer places for the unskilled, there must be a wide variety of educational opportunities so that every young American, on leaving school, will have acquired the training to take a useful and rewarding place in our society.
It is increasingly clear that more of our educational resources must be directed to pre-school training as well as to junior college, college and post-graduate study.
The demands on the already inadequate sources of state and local revenues place a serious limitation on education. New methods of financial aid must be explored, including the channeling of federally collected revenues to all levels of education, and, to the extent permitted by the Constitution, to all schools. Only in this way can our educational programs achieve excellence throughout the nation, a goal that must be achieved without interfering with local control and direction of education.
In order to insure that all students who can meet the requirements for college entrance can continue their education, we propose an expanded program of public scholarships, guaranteed loans, and work-study grants.
We shall develop the potential of the Armed Forces for training young men who might otherwise be rejected for military service because their work skills are underdeveloped.
The health of the people is important to the strength and purpose of our country and is a proper part of our common concern.
In a nation that lacks neither compassion nor resources, the needless suffering of people who cannot afford adequate medical care is intolerable:
We will continue to fight until we have succeeded in including hospital care for older Americans in the Social Security program, and have insured adequate assistance to those elderly people suffering from mental illness and mental retardation.
We will go forward with research into the causes and cures of disease, accidents, mental illness and mental retardation.
We will further expand our health facilities, especially medical schools, hospitals, and research laboratories.
America's veterans who served their Nation so well must, in turn, be served fairly by a grateful Nation. First-rate hospitals and medical care must be provided veterans with service-connected injuries and disabilities, and their compensation rates must insure an adequate standard of living. The National Service Life Insurance program should be reopened for those who have lost their insurance coverage, and an equitable and just pension system must help meet the need of those disabled veterans and their survivors who require financial assistance.
Democracy of Opportunity
The variety of our people is the source of our strength and ought not to be a cause of disunity or discord. The rights of all our citizens must be protected and all the laws of our land obeyed if America is to be safe for democracy.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 deserves and requires full observance by every American and fair, effective enforcement if there is any default.
Resting upon a national consensus expressed by the overwhelming support of both parties, this new law impairs the rights of no American it affirms the rights of all Americans. Its purpose is not to divide, but to end division not to curtail the opportunities of any, but to increase opportunities for all not to punish, but to promote further our commitment to freedom, the pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity.
We reaffirm our belief that lawless disregard for the rights of others is wrong—whether used to deny equal rights or to obtain equal rights.
We cannot and will not tolerate lawlessness. We can and will seek to eliminate its economic and social causes.
True democracy of opportunity will not be served by establishing quotas based on the same false distinctions we seek to erase, nor can the effects of prejudice be neutralized by the expedient of preferential practices.
The immigration laws must be revised to permit families to be reunited, to welcome the persecuted and oppressed, and to eliminate the discriminatory provisions which base admission upon national origins.
We will support legislation to carry forward the progress already made toward full equality of opportunity for women as well as men.
We will strive to eliminate discrimination against older Americans, especially in their employment.
Ending discrimination based on race, age, sex, or national origin demands not only equal opportunity but the opportunity to be equal. We are concerned not only with people's right to be free, but also with their ability to use their freedom. We will:
Carry the War on Poverty forward as a total war against the causes of human want.
Move forward with programs to restore those areas, such as Appalachia, which the Nation's progress has by-passed.
Help the physically handicapped and mentally disadvantaged develop to the full limit of their capabilities.
Enhance the security of older Americans by encouraging private retirement and welfare programs, offering opportunities like those provided for the young under the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964, and expanding decent housing which older citizens can afford.
Assist our Indian people to improve their standard of living and attain self-sufficiency, the privileges of equal citizenship, and full participation in American life.
The Social Security program, initiated and developed under the National leadership of the Democratic Party and in the face of ceaseless partisan opposition, contributes greatly to the strength of the Nation. We must insure that those who have contributed to the system shall share in the steady increase in our standard of living by adjusting benefit levels.
We hold firmly to the conviction, long embraced by Democratic Administrations, that the advancing years of life should bring not fear and loneliness, but security, meaning, and satisfaction.
We will encourage further support for the arts, giving people a better chance to use increased leisure and recognizing that the achievements of art are an index of the greatness of a civilization.
We will encourage the advance of science and technology—for its material rewards, and for its contribution to an understanding of the universe and ourselves.
The American free enterprise system is one of the great achievements of the human mind and spirit. It has developed by a combination of the energetic efforts of working men and women, bold private initiative, the profit motive and wise public policy, until it is now the productive marvel of mankind.
In spite of this, at the outset of 1961, America was in the depths of the fourth postwar recession.
Since then, in 42 months of uninterrupted expansion under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, we have achieved the longest and strongest peace-time prosperity in modern history:
Almost four million jobs have been added to the economy—almost 1 1/2 million since last December.
Workers' earnings and corporate profits are at the highest level in history.
Prices have been more stable than in any other industrial nation in the free world.
This did not just happen. It has come about because we have wisely and prudently used our increasing understanding of how the economy works.
It is the national purpose, and our commitment, to continue this expansion of the American economy toward its potential, without a recession, with continued stability, and with an extension of the benefits of this growth and prosperity to those who have not fully shared in them.
This will require continuation of flexible and innovative fiscal, monetary, and debt management policies, recognizing the importance of low interest rates.
We will seek further tax reduction—and in the process we need to remove inequities in our present tax laws. In particular we should carefully review all our excise taxes and eliminate those that are obsolete. Consideration should be given to the development of fiscal policies which would provide revenue sources to hard-pressed state and local governments to assist them with their responsibilities.
Every penny of Federal spending must be accounted for in terms of the strictest economy, efficiency and integrity. We pledge to continue a frugal government, getting a dollar's value for a dollar spent, and a government worthy of the citizen's confidence.
Our goal is a balanced budget in a balanced economy.
Our enviable record of price stability must be maintained—through sound fiscal and monetary policies and the encouragement of responsible private wage and price policies. Stability is essential to protect our citizens—particularly the retired and handicapped—from the ravages of inflation. It is also essential to maintain confidence in the American dollar this confidence has been restored in the past four years through sound policies.
Radical changes in technology and automation contribute to increased productivity and a higher standard of living. They must not penalize the few while benefiting the many. We maintain that any man or woman displaced by a machine or by technological change should have the opportunity, without penalty, to another job. Our common responsibility is to see that this right is fulfilled.
Full employment is an end in itself and must be insisted upon as a priority objective.
It is the national purpose, and our commitment, that every man or woman who is willing and able to work is entitled to a job and to a fair wage for doing it.
The coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act must be extended to all workers employed in industries affecting interstate commerce, and the minimum wage level and coverage increased to assure those at the bottom of the economic scale a fairer share in the benefits of an ever-rising standard of American living.
Overtime payment requirements must be increased to assure maximum employment consistent with business efficiency. The matter of the length of work periods should be given continuing consideration.
The unemployment insurance program must be basically revised to meet the needs of the unemployed and of the economy, and to assure that this program meets the standards the nation's experience dictates.
Agricultural and migratory workers must be given legal protection and economic encouragement.
We must develop fully our most precious resource—our manpower. Training and retraining programs must be expanded. A broad-gauge manpower program must be developed which will not only satisfy the needs of the economy but will also give work its maximum meaning in the pattern of human life.
We will stimulate as well as protect small business, the seedbed of free enterprise and a major source of employment in our economy.
The antitrust laws must be vigorously enforced. Our population, which is growing rapidly and becoming increasingly mobile, and our expanding economy are placing greater demands upon our transportation system than ever before. We must have fast, safe, and economic modes of transportation. Each mode should be encouraged to develop in accordance with its maximum utility, available at the lowest cost under the principles of fair competition. A strong and efficient American Flag merchant marine is essential to peace-time commerce and defense emergencies.
The industrial democracy of free, private collective bargaining and the security of American trade unions must be strengthened by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act. The present inequitable restrictions on the right to organize and to strike and picket peaceably must also be eliminated.
In order to protect the hard earned dollars of American consumers, as well as promote their basic consumer rights, we will make full use of existing authority, and continue to promote efforts on behalf of consumers by industry, voluntary organizations, and state and local governments. Where protection is essential, we will enact legislation to protect the safety of consumers and to provide them with essential information. We will continue to insist that our drugs and medicines are safe and effective, that our food and cosmetics are free from harm, that merchandise is labeled and packaged honestly and that the true cost of credit is disclosed.
It is the national purpose, and our commitment to increase the freedom and effectiveness of the essential private forces and processes in the economy.
The roots of our economy and our life as a people lie deep in the soil of America's farm land. Our policies and programs must continue to recognize the significant role of agricultural and rural life.
To achieve the goals of higher incomes to the farm and ranch, particularly the family-sized farm, lower prices for the consumer, and lower costs to the government, we will continue to carry forward this three-dimensional program.
1. Commodity Programs to strengthen the farm income structure and reach the goal of parity of income in every aspect of American agriculture. We will continue to explore and develop new domestic and foreign markets for the products of our farms and ranches.
2. Consumer Programs including expansion of the Food Stamp Program and the school lunch and other surplus food programs, and acceleration of research into new industrial uses of farm products, in order to assure maximum use of and abundance of wholesome foods at fair prices here and abroad. We will also study new low-cost methods and techniques of food distribution for the benefit of our housewives to better feed their families.
3. Community Programs and agricultural cooperatives to assure rural America decent housing, economic security and full partnership in the building of the great society. We pledge our continued support of the rural telephone program and the Rural Electrification Administration, which are among the great contributions of the Democratic Party to the well-being and comfort of rural America.
The Nation's Natural Resources
America's bountiful supply of natural resources has been one of the major factors in achieving our position of world leadership, in developing the greatest industrial machine in the world's history, and in providing a richer and more complete life for every American. But these resources are not inexhaustible. With our vastly expanding population—an estimated 325 million people by the end of the century—there is an ever-increasing responsibility to use and conserve our resources wisely and prudently if we are to fulfill our obligation to the trust we hold for future generations. Building on the unsurpassed conservation record of the past four years, we shall:
Continue the quickened pace of comprehensive development of river basins in every section of the country, employing multi-purpose projects such as flood control, irrigation and reclamation, power generation, navigation, municipal water supply, fish and wildlife enhancement and recreation, where appropriate to realize the fullest possible benefits.
Provide the people of this nation a balanced outdoor recreation program to add to their health and well-being, including the addition or improved management of national parks, forests, lake shores, seashores and recreation areas.
Preserve for us and our posterity through the means provided by the Wilderness Act of 1964 millions of acres of primitive and wilderness areas, including countless beautiful lakes and streams. Increase our stock of wildlife and fish. Continue and strengthen the dynamic program inaugurated to assure fair treatment for American fishermen and the preservation of fishing rights.
Continue to support balanced land and forest development through intensive forest management on a multiple-use and sustained yield basis, reforestation of burned land, providing public access roads, range improvement, watershed management, concern for small business operations and recreational uses.
Unlock the resources of the sea through a strong oceanography program.
Continue the attack we have launched on the polluted air that envelops our cities and on eliminating the pollution of our rivers and streams.
Intensify our efforts to solve the critical water problems of many sections of this country by desalinization.
Sustain and promote strong, vigorous domestic minerals, metals, petroleum and fuels industries.
Increase the efficient use of electrical power through regional inter-ties and more extensive use of high voltage transmission.
Continue to promote the development of new and improved methods of generating electric power, such as the recent important gains in the field of atomic energy and the Passamaquoddy tidal power project.
Preserve the T.V.A., which has played such an instrumental role in the revitalization of the area it serves and which has been the inspiration for regional development programs throughout the world.
The vitality of our cities is essential to the healthy growth of American civilization. In the next 40 years urban populations will double, the area of city land will double and we will have to construct houses, highways and facilities equal to all those built since this country was first settled.
Now is the time to redouble our efforts, with full cooperation among local, state and federal governments, for these objectives:
The goal of our housing program must be a decent home for every American family.
Special effort must be made in our cities to provide wholesome living for our young people. We must press the fight against narcotics and, through the war against poverty, increase educational and employment opportunities, turning juvenile delinquents into good citizens and tax-users into tax payers.
We will continue to assist broad community and regional development, urban renewal, mass transit, open space and other programs for our metropolitan areas. We will offer such aid without impairing local Administration through unnecessary Federal interference.
Because our cities and suburbs are so important to the welfare of all our people, we believe a department devoted to urban affairs should be added to the President's cabinet.
We, the people, are the government.
The Democratic Party believes, as Thomas Jefferson first stated that "the care of human life and happiness is the first and only legitimate object of good government:"
The government's business is the people's business. Information about public affairs must continue to be freely available to the Congress and to the public.
Every person who participates in the government must be held to a standard of ethics which permits no compromise with the principles of absolute honesty and the maintenance of undivided loyalty to the public interest.
The Congress of the United States should revise its rules and procedures to assure majority rule after reasonable debate and to guarantee that major legislative proposals of the President can be brought to a vote after reasonable consideration in committee.
We support home rule for the District of Columbia. The seat of our government shall be a workshop for democracy, a pilot-plant for freedom, and a place of incomparable beauty.
We also support a constitutional amendment giving the District voting representation in Congress and, pending such action, the enactment of legislation providing for a non-voting delegate from District of Columbia to the House of Representatives.
We support the right of the people of the Virgin Islands to the fullest measure of self-government, including the right to elect their Governor.
The people of Puerto Rico and the people of the United States enjoy a unique relationship that has contributed greatly to the remarkable economic and political development of Puerto Rico. We look forward to the report on that relationship by a commission composed of members from Puerto Rico and the United States, and we are confident that it will contribute to the further enhancement of Puerto Rico and the benefit that flows from the principles of self-determination.
The Democratic Party holds to the belief that government in the United States—local, state and federal—was created in order to serve the people. Each level of government has appropriate powers and each has specific responsibilities. The first responsibility of government at every level is to protect the basic freedoms of the people. No government at any level can properly complain of violation of its power, if it fails to meet its responsibilities.
The federal government exists not to grow larger, but to enlarge the individual potential and achievement of the people.
The federal government exists not to subordinate the states, but to support them.
All of us are Americans. All of us are free men. Ultimately there can be no effective restraint on the powers of government at any level save as Americans exercising their duties as citizens insist upon and maintain free, democratic processes of our constitutional system.
One Nation, One People
On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot down in our land.
We honor his memory best—and as he would wish—by devoting ourselves anew to the larger purposes for which he lived.
Of first priority is our renewed commitments to the values and ideals of democracy.
We are firmly pledged to continue the Nation's march towards the goals of equal opportunity and equal treatment for all Americans regardless of race, creed, color or national origin.
We cannot tolerate violence anywhere in our land—north, south, east or west. Resort to lawlessness is anarchy and must be opposed by the Government and all thoughtful citizens.
We must expose, wherever it exists, the advocacy of hatred which creates the clear and present danger of violence.
We condemn extremism, whether from the Right or Left, including the extreme tactics of such organizations as the Communist Party, the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society.
We know what violence and hate can do. We have seen the tragic consequences of misguided zeal and twisted logic.
The time has come now for all of us to understand and respect one another, and to seek the unity of spirit and purpose from which our future greatness will grow—for only as we work together with the object of liberty and justice for all will the peace and freedom of each of us be secured.
These are the principles which command our cause and strengthen our effort as we cross the new frontier and enter upon the great society.
An Accounting of Stewardship, 1961—1964
One hundred and twenty-four years ago, in 1840, the Democratic National Convention meeting in Baltimore adopted the first platform in the history of a national political party. The principles stated in that platform are as valid as ever:
"Resolved, That the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and sanctioned in the Constitution, which makes ours the land of liberty, and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the democratic faith."
One hundred and twenty years later, in 1960, our nation had grown from 26 to 50 states, our people from 17 million to 179 million.
That year, in Los Angeles, the Democratic National Convention adopted a platform which reflected, in its attention to 38 specific subjects, the volume of unfinished business of the American people which had piled up to the point of national crisis.
The platform declared that as a Party we would put the people's business first, and stated in plain terms how we proposed to get on with it.
Four year have passed, and the time has come for the people to measure our performance against our pledges.
We welcome the comparison we seek it.
For the record is one of four years of unrelenting effort, and unprecedented achievement—not by a political party, but by a people.
"Recast our military capacity in order to provide forces and weapons of a diversity, balance, and mobility sufficient in quantity and quality to deter both limited and general aggression." Since January 1961, we have achieved:
A 150% increase in the number of nuclear war-heads and a 200% increase in total megatonnage available in the Strategic Alert Forces.
A 60% increase in the tactical nuclear strength in Western Europe.
A 45% increase in the number of combat-ready Army divisions.
A 15,000 man increase in the strength of the Marine Corps.
A 75% increase in airlift capability.
A 100% increase in ship construction to modernize our fleet.
A 44% increase in the number of tactical fighter squadrons.
An 800% increase in the special forces trained to deal with counter-insurgency threats. In 1960, we proposed to create—
"Deterrent military power such that the Soviet and Chinese leaders will have no doubt that an attack on the United States would surely be followed by their own destruction."
Since 1961, we have increased the intercontinental ballistic missiles and Polaris missiles in our arsenal from fewer than 100 to more than 1,000.
Our Strategic Alert Forces now have about 1,100 bombers, including 550 on 15-minute alert, many of which are equipped with decoy missiles and other penetration aids to assure that they will reach their targets.
"Continuous modernization of our forces through intensified research and development, including essential programs slowed down, terminated, suspended, or neglected for lack of budgetary support."
Increased funds for research and development by 50% over the 1957-60 level.
Added 208 major new research and development projects including 77 weapons programs with costs exceeding $10 million each, among which are the SR-71 long-range, manned, supersonic strategic military reconnaissance aircraft, the NIKE-X anti-ballistic missile system, the A7A navy attack aircraft, and the F-111 fighter-bomber and a new main battle tank.
Increased, by more than 1,000%, the funds for the development of counter-insurgency weapons and equipment, from less than $10 million to over $103 million per year.
"Balanced conventional military forces which will permit a response graded to the intensity of any threats of aggressive force." Since 1961, we have—
Increased the regular strength of the Army by 100,000 men, and the numbers of combat-ready Army divisions from 11 to 16.
Increased the number of tactical fighter squadrons from 55 to 79 and have substantially increased the procurement of tactical fighters.
Trained over 100,000 officers in counter-insurgency skills necessary to fight guerilla and anti-guerilla warfare, and increased our special forces trained to deal with counter-insurgency by 800%.
Acquired balanced stocks of combat consumables for all our forces so that they can engage in combat for sustained periods of time.
In reconstructing the nation's defense establishment, the Administration has insisted that the services be guided by these three precepts: Buy only what we need.
Buy only at the lowest sound price.
Reduce operating costs through standardization, consolidation, and termination of unnecessary operations.
As a result, our expanded and reconstituted defense force has cost billions of dollars less than it would have cost under previous inefficient and un-businesslike methods of procurement and operation. These savings amounted to more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 1963, and to $2.5 billion in the fiscal year just completed. Furthermore, under the cost reduction program we have established, we will be saving $4.6 billion each year, every year, by Fiscal Year 1968.
We have successfully met the challenges of Berlin and Cuba, and attacks upon our Naval forces on the high seas, thus decreasing the prospect of further such challenges and brightening the outlook for peace.
"A national peace agency for disarmament planning and research to muster the scientific ingenuity, coordination, continuity, and seriousness of purpose which are now lacking in our arms control efforts."
In 1961, the United States became the first nation in the world to establish an "agency for peace"—the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
This agency is charged by law with the development of a realistic arms control and disarmament policy to promote national security and provide an impetus towards a world free from the threat of war. Working closely with the senior military leaders of the Department of Defense, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency has enabled the United States to lead the world in a new, continuous, hard-headed and purposeful discussion, negotiation and planning of disarmament. In 1960, we proposed—
"To develop responsible proposals that will help break the deadlock on arms control."
In the aftermath of the Cuban crisis the United States pressed its advantage to seek a new breakthrough for peace, On June 10, 1963, at American University, President Kennedy called on the Soviet leadership to join in concrete steps to abate the nuclear arms race. After careful negotiations experienced American negotiators reached agreement with the Russians on a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty—an event that will be marked forever in the history of mankind as a first step on the difficult road of arms control.
One hundred and six nations signed or acceded to the treaty.
In the United States it was supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and ratified in the Senate by an 80-20 vote.
To insure the effectiveness of our nuclear development program in accord with the momentous Test Ban Treaty, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended, and the Administration has undertaken:
A comprehensive program of underground testing of nuclear explosives.
Maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities.
Preparations to test in the atmosphere if essential to national security, or if the treaty is violated by the Soviet Union.
Continuous improvement of our means for detecting violations and other nuclear activities elsewhere in the world.
"To the extent we can secure the adoption of effective arms control agreements, vast resources will be freed for peaceful use."
In January and April 1964, President Johnson announced cutbacks in the production of nuclear materials: twenty percent in plutonium production and forty percent in enriched uranium. When the USSR followed this United States initiative with a similar announcement, the President welcomed the response as giving hope "that the world may yet, one day, live without the fear of war."
Instruments of Foreign Policy
"American foreign policy in all its aspects must be attuned to our world of change.
"We will recruit officials whose experience, humanity and dedication fit them for the task of effectively representing America abroad.
"We will provide a more sensitive and creative direction to our overseas information program."
Since 1961, the Department of State has had its self-respect restored, and has been vitalized by more vigorous recruitment and more intensive training of foreign service officers representing all elements of the American people.
Forty days after taking office President Kennedy established the Peace Corps. The world did not change overnight. Neither will it ever be quite the same again. The foreign minister of one large Asian nation has called the Peace Corps "the most powerful idea in recent times."
One hundred thousand Americans have volunteered for the Peace Corps. Nine thousand have served in a total of 45 countries.
Nearly every country to which volunteers have been sent has asked for more. Two dozen new countries are on the waiting list.
Volunteer organizations on the Peace Corps model are already operating in 12 countries and there has been a great expansion of volunteer service in many others.
An International Secretariat for Volunteer Service is working in 32 economically advanced and developing nations.
The United States Information Agency has been transformed into a powerful, effective and respected weapon of the free world. The new nations of the world have come to know an America that is not afraid to tell the truth about itself—and so can be believed when it tells the truth about Communist imperialism.
". We shall expand world trade in every responsible way.
"Since all Americans share the benefits of this policy, its costs should not be the burden of a few. We shall support practical measures to case the necessary adjustments of industries and communities which may be unavoidably hurt by increases in imports.
"Our government should press for reduction of foreign barriers on the sale of the products of American industry and agriculture."
This pledge was fulfilled in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The Trade Expansion Act of 1962, gives the President power to negotiate a 50 percent across-the-board cut in tariff barriers to take place over a five-year period.
Exports have expanded over 10 percent—by over $2 billion—since 1961.
Foreign trade now provides jobs for more than 4 million workers.
Negotiations now underway will permit American businessmen and farmers to take advantage of the greatest trading opportunity in history—the rapidly expanding European market.
The Trade Expansion Act provides for worker training and moving allowances, and for loans, tax rebates and technical assistance for businesses if increased imports resulting from concessions granted in trade agreements result in unemployment or loss of business.
Where American agriculture or industrial products have been unfairly treated in order to favor domestic products, prompt and forceful action has been taken to break down such barriers. These efforts have opened new United States export opportunities for fruits and vegetables, and numerous other agricultural and manufactured products to Europe and Japan.
The Long Term Cotton Textile Agreement of 1962 protects the textile and garment industry against disruptive competition from imports of cotton textiles. The Cotton Act of 1964 enables American manufacturers to buy cotton at the world market price, so they can compete in selling their products at home and abroad.
"Adjust our immigration, nationality and refugee policies to eliminate discrimination and to enable members of scattered families abroad to be united with relatives already in our midst.
"The national-origins quota system of limiting immigration contradicts the founding principles of this nation. It is inconsistent with our belief in the rights of men."
The immigration law amendments proposed by the Administration, and now before Congress, by abolishing the national-origin quota system, will eliminate discrimination based upon race and place of birth and will facilitate the reunion of families.
The Cuban Refugee Program begun in 1961 has resettled over 81,000 refugees, who are now self-supporting members of 1,800 American communities. The Chinese Refugee Program, begun in 1962, provides for the admission to the United States of 12,000 Hong Kong refugees from Red China.
The Underdeveloped World
"To the non-Communist nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America: We shall create with you working partnerships based on mutual respect and understanding" and "will revamp and refocus the objectives, emphasis and allocation of our foreign assistance programs."
In 1961, the administration created the Agency for International Development, combining the three separate agencies that had handled foreign assistance activities into an orderly and efficient instrument of national policy.
Since 1961, foreign aid has been conducted on a spartan, cost conscious basis, with emphasis on self-help, reform and performance as conditions of American help.
These new policies are showing significant returns.
Since the beginning of the Marshall Plan in 1948, U. S. economic assistance has been begun and ended in 17 countries. In 14 other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the transition to economic self-support is well under way, and U. S. assistance is now phasing out. In the 1965 AID program, 90 percent of economic assistance will go to just 25 countries.
In 1960, only 41 percent of aid-financed commodities were purchased in America. In 1964, under AID, 85 percent of all aid-financed commodities were U. S. supplied.
The foreign aid appropriation of $8.5 billion for fiscal year 1965 represents the smallest burden on U. S. resources that has been proposed since foreign aid began after World War II.
Since 1961, the United States has insisted that our allies in Europe and Japan must share responsibility in the field of foreign assistance, particularly to their former colonies. They have responded with major programs. Several nations now contribute a larger share of their gross national production to foreign assistance than does the United States.
The Alliance for Progress, launched at the Conference of Punta del Este in Uruguay in 1961, has emerged as the greatest undertaking of social reform and international cooperation in the history of the Western Hemisphere.
The American republics agreed to work together "To make the benefits of economic progress available to all citizens of all economic and social groups through a more equitable distribution of national income, raising more rapidly the income and standard of living of the needier sectors of the population, at the same time that a higher proportion of the national product is devoted to investment."
Major tax reform legislation has been adopted in eight countries.
Agrarian reform legislation has been introduced in twelve countries, and agricultural credit, technical assistance and resettlement projects are going forward in sixteen countries.
Fifteen countries have self-help housing programs, and savings and loan legislation has been adopted by nine countries.
Private or public development banks have been established or are being established in eight countries, providing new sources of capital for the small businessman.
Education budgets have risen by almost 13 percent a year, and five million more children are going to school. U. S. aid has helped build 23,000 schoolrooms.
A Latin American school lunch program is feeding 10 million children at least one good meal every day, and the program will reach 12 million by the end of the year.
The Alliance for Progress has immeasurably strengthened the collective will of the nations of the Western Hemisphere to resist the massive efforts of Communist subversion that conquered Cuba in 1959 and then headed for the mainland. In 1960, we urged—
". Continued economic assistance to Israel and the Arab peoples to help them raise their living standards.
"We pledge our best efforts for peace in the Middle East by seeking to prevent an arms race while guarding against the dangers of a military imbalance resulting from Soviet arms shipments."
In the period since that pledge was made the New East has come closer to peace and stability than at any time since World War II.
Economic and technical assistance to Israel and Arab nations continues at a high level, although with more and more emphasis on loans as against grants. The United States is determined to help bring the revolution in the technology of desalinization to the aid of the desert regions of this area.
The Atlantic Community
"To our friends and associates in the Atlantic Community: We propose a broader partnership that goes beyond our common fears to recognize the depth and sweep of our common political, economic, and cultural interests."
In 1961, the United States ratified the conventions creating the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a body made up of ourselves, Canada and 18 European States which carries forward on a permanent basis the detailed cooperation and mutual assistance that began with the Marshall Plan.
Since 1961, we have progressed in the building of mutual confidence, unity, and strength. NATO has frequently been used for consultation on foreign policy issues. Strong Atlantic unity emerged in response to Soviet threats in Berlin and in Cuba. Current trade negotiations reflect the value of the Trade Expansion Act and the utility of arrangements for economic cooperation. NATO military forces are stronger in both nuclear and conventional weapons.
The United States has actively supported the proposal to create a multilateral, mix-manned, seaborne nuclear missile force which could give all NATO countries a direct share in NATO's nuclear deterrent without proliferating the number of independent, national nuclear forces.
The Communist World
"To the rulers of the Communist World: We confidently accept your challenge to competition in every field of human effort.
"We believe your Communist ideology to be sterile, unsound, and doomed to failure . . .
". We are prepared to negotiate with you whenever and wherever there is a realistic possibility of progress without sacrifice of principle.
"But we will use all the will, power, resources, and energy at our command to resist the further encroachment of Communism on freedom—whether at Berlin, Formosa or new points of pressure as yet undisclosed."
Following the launching of Sputnik in 1957, the Soviet Union began a world-wide offensive. Russian achievements in space were hailed as the forerunners of triumph on earth.
Now, seven years later, the Communist influence has failed in its efforts to win Africa. Of the 31 African nations formed since World War II, not one has chosen Communism.
Khrushchev had to back down on his threat to sign a peace treaty with East Germany. Access to West Berlin remains free.
In Latin America, the Alliance for Progress has begun to reduce the poverty and distress on which Communism breeds.
In Japan, where anti-American riots in 1960 prevented a visit from the President, relations with the United States have been markedly improved.
In the United Nations the integrity of the office of Secretary General was preserved despite the Soviet attack on it through the Troika proposal.
When Red China attacked India, the U. S. promptly came to India's aid with modern infantry supplies and equipment.
On the battlefield of the Cold War one engagement after another has been fought and won.
Frustrated in its plans to nibble away at country after country, the Soviet Union conceived a bold stroke designed to reverse the trend against it. With extreme stealth Soviet intermediate range and medium range offensive missiles were brought into Cuba in 1962.
Shortly after the missiles arrived in Cuba, and before any of them became operational, they were discovered and photographed by U. S. reconnaissance flights.
The U. S. response was carefully planned and prepared, and calmly, deliberately, but effectively executed. On October 22, President Kennedy called on the Soviet Union to dismantle and remove the weapons from Cuba. He ordered a strict quarantine on Cuba enforced by the U. S. Navy.
The Organization of American States acted swiftly and decisively by a unanimous vote of 20 to 0 to authorize strong measures, including the use of force, to ensure that the missiles were withdrawn from Cuba and not re-introduced.
At the end of a tense week Khrushchev caved in before this demonstration of Western power and determination. Soviet ships, closely observed by U. S. pilots, loaded all the missiles and headed back to Russia. U. S. firmness also compelled withdrawal of the IL-28 bombers.
A turning point of the Cold War had been reached.
The record of world events in the past year reflects the vigor and successes of U. S. policy:
Berlin, October-November 1963. Communist efforts to interfere with free Western access to Berlin were successfully rebuffed.
Venezuela, March 1964. Despite the threats and terror tactics of Castro-inspired agitators, over 90 percent of the people voted in the election that chose President Leoni to succeed Romulo Betancourt—the first democratic succession in that office in Venezuela in Venezuela's history.
Panama, 1964. Patient negotiation achieved a resumption of diplomatic relations, which had been severed after the riots in January President Johnson achieved a dignified and an honorable solution of the crisis.
Vietnam, August 1964. Faced with sudden unprovoked attacks by Communist PT boats on American destroyers on the high sea, President Johnson ordered a sharp immediate retaliation on the hostile vessels and their supporting facilities.
Speaking on that occasion, the President said: "Aggression—deliberate, willful and systematic aggression has unmasked its face to the world. The world remembers—the world must never forget—that aggression unchallenged is aggression unleashed.
"We of the United States have not forgotten.
"That is why we have answered this aggression with action."
Cuba, 1961-1964. Cuba and Castro have been virtually isolated in the Hemisphere.
Only 2 out of 20 OAS countries maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Cuban trade with the Free World has dropped sharply from the 1958 level.
Free world shipping to Cuba has fallen sharply. Isolation of Cuba by air has tightened greatly.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have left the island or have indicated their desire to come to the United States.
The Castro regime has been suspended from participation in the OAS.
The Cuban economy is deteriorating: the standard of living is 20 percent below pre-Castro levels, with many items rationed industrial output is stagnant sugar production is at the lowest level since the 1940's.
The United Nations
"To our fellow members of the United Nations: we shall strengthen our commitments in this, our great continuing institution for conciliation and the growth of a world community."
Over the past four years the Administration has fulfilled this pledge as one of the central purposes of foreign policy.
During that time the United States has supported—and frequently led—efforts within the United Nations.
—to strengthen its capacity as peacekeeper and peacemaker—with the result that the UN remained on guard on armistice lines in Korea, Kashmir and the Middle East preserved peace in the Congo, West New Guinea and Cyprus provided a forum for the U. S. during crises in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Tonkin began to develop a flexible call-up system for emergency peace-keeping forces and moved toward a revival of the Security Council as the primary organ for peace and security without loss of the residual powers of the General Assembly.
—to discover and exploit areas of common interest for the reduction of world dangers and world tensions—with the result that the orbiting of weapons of mass destruction has been banned and legal principles adopted for the use of outer space projects of scientific cooperation in meteorology, oceanography, Antarctic exploration and peaceful uses of atomic energy, have been promoted and the search for further moves toward arms control have been pursued to supplement the limited test ban treaty.
—to further the work of the United Nations in improving the lot of mankind—with the result that the Decade of Development has been launched the World Food Program undertaken aid to children extended projects to promote economic and social progress in the developing world have been expanded and the impact of technology and world trade upon development has been explored.
—to maintain the integrity of the organization—its Charter and its Secretariat—with the result that the Troika proposal was defeated the functions of the Secretary-General have been kept intact the authority of the General Assembly to levy assessments for peacekeeping has been sustained despite attempted financial vetoes by Communist and other members.
In fulfilling its pledge to the United Nations, the Administration has helped to strengthen peace, to promote progress, and to find areas of international agreement and cooperation.
"The new Democratic Administration will confidently proceed to unshackle American enterprise and to free American labor, industrial leadership, and capital, to create an abundance that will outstrip any other system.
"We Democrats believe that our economy can and must grow at an average rate of 5 percent annually, almost twice as fast as our average annual rate since 1953. We pledge ourselves to policies that will achieve this goal without inflation."
In January 1961, the nation was at the bottom of the fourth recession of the postwar period—the third in the eight-year period, 1953-60. More men and women were out of work than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930's. In February 1961, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, with a total of 5,705,000 unemployed.
Today we are in the midst of the longest peace-time expansion in our history, during the past 42 months of unbroken economic expansion:
Our economic growth rate has risen now to over 5 percent—twice the average rate for the 1953-60 period.
3,900,000 jobs have been added to the economy, and the unemployment rate was down in July 1964 to 4.9 percent.
The Gross National Product has risen by $120 billion in less than four years! No nation in peace-time history has ever added so much to its wealth in so short a time.
The average manufacturing worker's weekly earnings rose from $89 in January 1961, to $103 in July 1964—an increase of over 15 percent.
Industrial production has increased 28 percent average operating rates in manufacturing have risen from 78 percent of capacity to 87 percent.
Profits after taxes have increased 62 percent—from an annual rate of $19.2 billion in early 1961 to an estimated $31.2 billion in early 1964.
Total private investment has increased by 43 percent—from an annual rate of $61 billion in early 1961 to $87 billion in the spring of 1964.
There are a million and a half more Americans at work today than there were a year ago.
Our present prosperity was brought about by the enterprise of American business, the skills of the American work force, and by wise public policies.
The provision in the Revenue Act of 1962 for a credit for new investment in machinery and equipment, and the liberalization of depreciation allowance by administrative ruling, resulted in a reduction of $2.5 billion in business taxes.
The Revenue Act of 1964 cut individual income taxes by more than $9 billion, increasing consumer purchasing power by that amount and corporate taxes were cut another $2.5 billion, with the effect of increasing investment incentives. Overall individual Federal income taxes were cut an average of 19 percent taxpayers earning $3,000 or less received an average 40 percent cut.
The Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1961 provided $800 million to 2.8 million jobless workers who had exhausted their benefits.
The Area Redevelopment Act of 1961 has meant a $227 million Federal investment in economically hard-hit areas, creating 110,000 new jobs in private enterprise.
The Accelerated Public Works Act of 1962 added $900 million for urgently needed State and local government construction projects.
An End to Tight Money
"As the first step in speeding economic growth, a Democratic president will put an end to the present high interest, tight money policy.
"This policy has failed in its stated purpose—to keep prices down. It has given us two recessions within five years, bankrupted many of our farmers, produced a record number of business failures, and added billions of dollars in unnecessary higher interest charges to government budgets and the cost of living."
Since 1961, we have maintained the free flow of credit so vital to industry, home buyers, and State and local governments.
Immediately, in February 1961, the Federal Housing Agency interest rate was cut from 5 3/4% percent to 5 1/2 percent. It is now down to 5 1/4 percent.
Today's home buyer will pay about $1,700 less for FHA-insured financing of a 3O-year $15,000 home mortgage than he would have had he taken the mortgage in 1960.
Today after 42 months of expansion, conventional home mortgage rates are lower than they were in January 1961, in the midst of a recession. So are borrowing costs for our States and municipalities, and for long-term corporate issues.
Short-term interest rates have been brought into reasonable balance with interest rates abroad, reducing or eliminating incentives to place short-term funds abroad and thus reducing gold outflow.
We have prudently lengthened the average maturity of the Federal debt, in contrast to the steady shortening that characterized the 1950's.
Control of Inflation
"The American consumer has a right to fair prices. We are determined to secure that right.
"A fair share of the gains from increasing productivity in many industries should be passed on to the consumer through price reductions."
Today, after 42 months of economic expansion, wholesale prices are lower than they were in January 1961, in the midst of a recession! The Wholesale Price Index was 101.0 in January 1961 in July 1964, it is 100.4.
The Consumer Price Index, which measures the price of goods and services families purchase, has been brought back to stability, averaging now less than 1.3% increase per year—as compared, for example, with an increase rate about three times this large in the European common market countries.
Since January 1961, the increase in average after-tax family income has been twice the increase in prices.
The Administration has established guideposts for price and wage movements alike, based primarily on productivity developments, and designed to protect the economy against inflation.
In the single year, 1960, the overall balance of payments deficit reached $3.9 billion, and we lost $1.7 billion in gold. Now for 1964, the prospective balance of payments deficit has been cut to $2 billion, and the gold outflow has ceased.
In 1960, we reaffirmed our—
"support of full employment as a paramount objective of national policy."
In July 1964, total employment in the United States rose to the historic peak of 72,400,000 jobs. This represents an increase of 3,900,000 jobs in 42 months.
In the past twelve months, total civilian employment has increased by 1,600,000 jobs, and nonfarm employment by 1,700,000. Most of this job expansion has occurred in the past eight months.
In July 1964, the jobless total was one-half million below a year ago, and was at its lowest July level since 1959.
In July, 1964, the overall unemployment rate was 4.9%—compared with 6.5% in January 1961 and the jobless rate for men who are heads of families was down to 2.7%.
There have been more than a million full-time jobs added to the private profit sector of the economy in the past 12 months. This is the largest increase in any one-year period in the past decade.
We have brought ourselves now within reach of the full employment objective.
Aid to Depressed Areas
In 1960, we recognized that—
"General economic measures will not alone solve the problems of localities which suffer some special disadvantage. To bring prosperity to these depressed areas and to enable them to make their full contribution to the national welfare, specially directed action is needed."
The Area Redevelopment Administration was created in 1961 to help depressed areas organize their human and material resources for economic growth. Since its establishment, the ARA has:
Approved 512 financial assistance projects involving a Federal investment of $243.5 million.
Created, in partnership with local government, private workers and other investors, 118,000 new jobs in private enterprise,
Provided retraining programs, with tuition and subsistence, for 37,327 jobless workers, equipping them with new skills to fill available jobs in their areas.
In 1961, Congress authorized $900 million for the Accelerated Public Works Program to speed construction of urgently needed public facilities and increase employment in areas which had failed to recover from previous recessions.
Between October 1962, when the first appropriations were made available, and April 1, 1964, 7,762 projects, involving an estimated 2,500,000 man-months of employment, were approved.
In early 1961, there were 101 major areas in the United States in which unemployment was 6 percent or more, discounting seasonal or temporary factors. By July 1964, this number had been cut two-thirds, to a total of 35.
The concept of "depressed areas" has been broadened in these 3 1/2 years to include clear recognition of the inequity and waste of poverty wherever it exists, and in the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 the nation has declared, in historic terms, a War on Poverty.
Title I of the Economic Opportunity Act creates the Job Corps, Work-Training programs, and Work-Study programs to provide useful work for about 400,000 young men and women. Job Corps volunteers will receive work and vocational training, part of which will involve conservation work in rural areas. The Work-Training, or Neighborhood Youth Corps program, is open to young persons living at home, including those who need jobs in order to remain in school. The Work-Study programs will enable youth from poor families to earn enough income to enable them to attend college.
Title II of the Act authorized $340 million for the Community Action programs to stimulate urban and rural communities to mobilize their resources to combat poverty through programs designed especially to meet local needs.
Title III provides for special programs to combat poverty in rural areas, including loans up to $1,500 for low income farmers, and loans up to $2,500 for families, to finance non-agricultural enterprises which will enable such families to supplement their incomes. This section of the law provides funds for housing, sanitation education, and day care of children of migrant farm workers.
Title IV of the Act provides for loans up to $25,000 for small businesses to create jobs for the long-term unemployed.
Title V of the Act provides constructive work experience and other needed training to persons who are unable to support or care for themselves or their families.
The Report of the President's Appalachian Regional Commission, submitted to President Johnson in April 1964, proposed a wide-ranging development program. The Appalachian Redevelopment Act, now before Congress, provides for more than $1.1 billion investment in needed basic facilities in the area, together with a regional organization to help generate the full development potential of the human and material resources of this mountain area.
Registration and regulation of migrant labor crew chiefs has been provided to require that crew chiefs or labor brokers, who act on behalf of domestic migrant labor and operate across state lines, shall be registered, show financial responsibility, and meet certain requirements as to moral character and honest dealing with their clients.
Discrimination in Employment
"The right to a job requires action to break down artificial and arbitrary barriers to employment based on age, race, sex, religion, or national origin."
The great Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the strongest and most important law against discrimination in employment in the history of the United States.
It states unequivocally that "It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer . . . an employment agency . . . or a labor organization" to discriminate against any person because of his or her "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
On March 6, 1961, President Kennedy issued an Executive Order establishing the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity to combat racial discrimination in the employment policies of Government agencies and private firms holding Government contracts. Then-Vice President Johnson, in his capacity as Chairman of the new Committee, assumed personal direction of this program.
As a consequence of the enforcement of the Executive Order, not only has discrimination been eliminated in the Federal Government, but strong affirmative measures have been taken to extend meaningful equality of opportunity to compete for Federal employment to all citizens.
The private employers of 8,076,422 men and women, and trade unions with 12,500,000 members, have signed public agreements establishing non-discriminatory practices.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 guarantees equal pay to women doing the same work as men, by requiring employers who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act to pay equal wages for equal work, regardless of the sex of their workers.
Executive Order 11141, issued by President Johnson on February 12, 1964, establishes for the first time in history a public policy that "contractors and subcontractors engaged in the performance of Federal contracts shall not, in connection with the employment, advancement, or discharge of their employees, or in connection with the terms, conditions, or privileges of their employment, discriminate against persons because of their age. "
"an affirmative labor policy which will encourage free collective bargaining through the growth and development of free and responsible unions."
These have been good years for labor-management relations. Time lost from strikes is at the lowest point in history.
The President's Advisory Committee on Labor-Management Policy, made up of distinguished leaders of business and trade unions, has spoken out consistently in favor of creative and constructive solutions to common problems.
Executive Order 10988, issued by President Kennedy on January 17, 1962, extended the rights of union recognition to Federal employees—a goal which some employee organizations had been trying to reach for three quarters of a century.
In the spring of 1964, under President Johnson's personal leadership, the five-year-old railroad dispute that would have resulted in a critical nation-wide strike, was at last ended—by free collective bargaining. A cause many thought lost was won industrial self-government was saved from a disastrous setback.
Planning for Automation
"provide the government leadership necessary to insure that the blessings of automation do not become burdens of widespread unemployment. For the young and the technologically displaced workers, we will provide the opportunity for training and retraining that equips them for jobs to be filled."
The Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 provides for the training or retraining of unemployed or underemployed people, particularly those threatened or displaced by technological advances. The 1963 amendments to the Act emphasize the problem of youth employment.
In the two years of the administration of this program, training projects for 240,471 persons have been approved, and more than 54,000 persons have completed their training.
Under the Manpower Development and Training Act an active manpower policy is being developed to keep the nation ahead of the problems of automation.
Congress has now enacted, in August 1964, legislation creating a National Commission on Technology, Automation and Economic Progress to undertake a searching inquiry into the problems created by automation, and means by which they can be prevented or solved.
In its own activities, the Federal Government has taken full account of human considerations in instituting technological developments.
"To raise the minimum wage to $1.25 an hour and to extend coverage to several million workers not now covered."
The Fair Labor Standards Act Amendments of 1961 raised the minimum wage to $1.25 over a three-year period, and extended the coverage of the Act to 3.6 million additional workers.
The Administration has proposed further amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which are now before the Congress, and which would extend minimum wage coverage to near three quarters of a million workers in laundry, and dry cleaning establishments. Overtime coverage would be extended to an additional 2.6 million workers.
It has proposed a Fringe Benefit amendment to the Bacon-Davis law to provide that the cost of fringe benefits should be included in the definition of "prevailing wage" under the Bacon-Davis law, so that wage rates required in government construction contracts will be in accord with prevailing practice.
"In every way we will seek to help the men, women, and children whose livelihood comes from the soil to achieve better housing, education, and decent earnings and working conditions."
Total net farm income in 1961-63 averaged nearly a billion dollars a year higher than in 1960.
Total net income per farm was 18 percent higher in 1963 than in 1960.
Farm purchasing power, or gross farm income, rose from $37.9 billion in 1960 to nearly $42 billion in 1963.
Percent of family income spent for food today has declined. In 1960, 20 percent of disposable family income was spent for food. This has now been reduced to less than 19 percent.
Grain surpluses have been brought down to manageable levels wheat surpluses this year will be the lowest since 1958, and feed grains have been reduced from 80 to 70 million tons.
Reduction of wheat and feed grain surpluses from their 1960 levels to present levels has resulted in an accumulated savings of about a quarter of a billion dollars in storage, transportation, interest and other costs.
Total farm exports have increased 35 percent in 4 years, and have reached a record high in fiscal 1964 of $6.1 billion.
Credit resources administered by the Farmers Home Administration are up 141 percent over 1960, and are averaging now $687 million a year.
Commodity programs to strengthen the farm income structure and reach the goal of parity of income in every aspect of American agriculture. We also cite the parity program providing American cotton to American factories and processes at the same price at which they are exported.
The Rural Areas Development program has helped create an estimated 125,000 new jobs, and more than 12,000 projects in the process of approval will provide new employment for as many as 200,000 persons.
Participation in the Agricultural Conservation Program has increased 20 percent since 1960.
More than 20,000 farmers have received technical help to develop recreation as an income-making "crop" on land which had been producing surpluses.
Over 600 rural Communities have been aided in providing modern water services.
During the winter of 1964, a special lunch program was instituted for 315 schools and 12,000 children in rural areas where families have extremely low incomes.
Since January 1, 1961, $1.1 billion in electric loans has been made by the Rural Electrification Administration, to rural electric cooperatives, or some $350 million more than in the previous 3 1/2 years. Improved service, as a result, has meant customer savings of $7.5 million a year.
American farmers, in 1964, have protected crop investments totaling $500.5 million with Federal All-Risk Crop Insurance—more than double the amount of insurance in force three years ago, and an all-time record.
Soil and water conservation activities in the past 3 1/2 years have shown a constant upward trend in their contributions to the physical, social and economic welfare of rural areas.
289 new small upstream watershed projects were authorized.
8,000 local soil and water conservation districts have updated their long-range programs to reflect the broadened concepts of economic development.
The Great Plains Conservation Program has been extended for 10 years and 36 counties have been added to the program.
In June 1964, Congress authorized the creation of a National Commission on Food Marketing to investigate the operation of the food industry from producer to consumer.
On January 24, 1961, President Kennedy established by executive order, the Food for Peace program to utilize America's agricultural abundance "to promote the interests of peace . . . and to play an important role in helping to provide a more adequate diet for peoples all around the world."
In the last 3 1/2 years, over $5 billion worth of surplus farm commodities went overseas under Public Law 480 programs. This is one and one-half billion dollars more than during the previous 3 1/2 years.
"Action to aid small business in obtaining credit and equity capital at reasonable rates.
"Protection of the public against the growth of monopoly.
"A more equitable share of government contracts to small and independent business."
Through liberalizing amendments to the Small Business Investment Act in 1961 and 1964, and special tax considerations, the investment of equity capital and long term loan funds in small businesses has been greatly accelerated by privately owned and operated small business investment companies licensed under that Act. Moreover, since January 1961, over 21,000 small businesses have obtained SBA business loans, totalling over $1.14 billion, as a result of liberalized and simplified procedures.
The Federal Trade Commission has stepped up its activities to promote free and fair competition in business, and to safeguard the consuming public against both monopolistic and deceptive practices.
The reorganized Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice has directed special emphasis to price fixing, particularly on consumer products, by large companies who distribute through small companies. These include eye glasses, salad oil, flour, cosmetics, swimsuits, bread, milk, and even sneakers.
Since January 1961, some 166,000 government contracts, worth $6.2 billion have been set aside for small business. In the preceding 3 1/2 years there were 77,838 contracts set aside, with a worth of $2.9 billion.
"To make possible the building of 2,000,000 homes a year in wholesome neighborhoods, the home building industry should be aided by special mortgage assistance, with low interest rates, long-term mortgage periods and reduced down payments.
"There will still be need for a substantial low- rent public housing program authorizing as many units as local communities require and are prepared to build."
The Housing Act of 1961 provides many of the necessary new and improved tools for providing housing for low and moderate income families, and for housing for the elderly.
For the 3 1/2 year period ending June 30, 1964, some 5.3 million new units of public and private housing have been built at a cost of approximately $65 billion. The construction rate has risen above 1.5 million units a year, with an annual output of over $20 billion, and we are moving close now to the goal of 2 million a year.
Since January 1961, nearly 400 local housing authorities have been formed to provide housing for low income families. More than 100,000 new units have been approved for construction, at an annual rate about three times that of 1960.
The annual rate of grant assistance for Urban Renewal has risen from $262 million per year (1956 through 1961 ) to a rate of better than $630 million during the past 12 months.
in the past 3 1/2 years, more than 750 new urban renewal transactions have been approved, equal to nearly 90 percent of the number approved for the entire period from 1949 to 1960.
Cities with community urban renewal programs jumped from a cumulative total of seven in December 1960 to 118 by mid-1964.
To house families whose income is not quite low enough to qualify for public housing, a new rental housing program providing a "below market" interest rate (currently 3 7/8%) insured by FHA, has been made available. Mortgage purchase funds have been allocated for about 78,000 such rental units.
Reflecting the fuller recognition of the special equities and needs of older people:
FHA mortgage insurance written on housing projects for the elderly since 1961 has provided more than 3 times as many units as were being provided prior to that time.
Low rent public housing under Federal assistance is being provided senior citizens at an annual rate more than twice that for 1960.
Direct loan authorizations for housing for the elderly increased from $50 million in 1961 to $275 million in 1963.
Maximum loan amounts have been increased to 100% of development cost.
The Housing Act of 1961 expanded and strengthened the Federal program in this area.
The Senior Citizens Housing Act of 1962 moved us another long step forward.
Applications for the provision of nursing homes increased from 80 in January 1961 to more than 580 by the middle of 1964, involving more than 50,000 beds for community nursing homes.
Assistance has been given for more than 1,000 college housing projects including housing for more than 290,000 students and faculty, plus dining halls and other school facilities.
The 1963 Executive Order on Equal Opportunity in Housing assures that the benefits of Federal housing programs and assistance are available without discrimination as to race, color, creed or national origin.
"Provide medical care benefits for the aged as part of the time-tested social security system.
"Step up medical research on the major killers and crippling diseases.
"Expand and improve the Hill-Burton hospital construction program.
"Federal aid for construction, expanding and modernizing schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing and public health.
"Greatly increased federal support for psychiatric research and training and community mental health programs."
More health legislation has been enacted during the past 8 1/2 years than during any other period in American history.
The Community Health Services and Facilities Act of 1961 has made possible 149 projects for testing and demonstrating new or improved services in nursing homes, home care services, central information and referral centers and providing additional personnel to serve the chronically ill and aged. It has also provided additional federal funds for the construction of nursing homes.
The Hill-Burton Amendments of 1964, extend the program of Federal grants for construction of hospitals, public health centers, long-term facilities, rehabilitation facilities and diagnostic or treatment centers for five additional years. For the first time provision is made for the modernization and renovation of hospitals and health facilities. Funds for the construction of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are substantially increased.
The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Construction Act of 1963, authorized grants of $150,000,000 to States for constructing community Mental Health Centers, which emphasize the new approach to the care of the mentally ill, centered on care and treatment in the patients' home communities. Thirty-six States have already budgeted more than 75% of their share of Federal funds for planning these new systems.
The Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Amendments of 1963, along with the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Construction Act of 1963, authorized a broad program to prevent, treat, and ameliorate mental retardation. The program provides States and communities needed research, manpower developments, and facilities for health, education rehabilitation, and vocational services to the retarded.
As part of the Federal Government's program to employ the mentally retarded in suitable Federal jobs, the State rehabilitation agencies are certifying persons as qualified for specific suitable Federal jobs. A rising number of placements already made in Federal installations over the country constitutes an encouraging start.
The current need for another 200,000 qualified teachers for the estimated 6 million handicapped children of school age, has been recognized in legislation authorizing grants in aid for the training of professional personnel.
Other legislation provides funds for training teachers of the deaf.
A 1962 amendment to the Public Health Act authorizes a new program of project grants to help meet critical health needs of domestic migratory workers and their families through establishment of family health service clinics.
Forty-nine projects in 24 States have received grants to assist an estimated 300,000 migrant workers.
One out of every ten migrant laborers is estimated to have received some health services through these projects.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, authorized in 1962, is now supporting research and training in eight major areas.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, also authorized in 1962, gives recognition to the significance of research training in the sciences basic to medicine. Two thousand research projects are currently being supported.
A $2 million Radiological Health Grant Program was established in 1962 to provide matching grants to assist States in assuming responsibility for adequate radiation control and protection. During Fiscal Year 1964, forty-nine States and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands participated.
After two years of scientific evaluation of research and findings, the Report of the Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health was released in January 1964, calling attention to the health hazards of smoking. An information clearinghouse and a public education program directed toward preventing young people from acquiring the smoking habit are being developed.
A Program for the Aging
"End the neglect of our older citizens. They deserve lives of usefulness, dignity, independence, and participation. We shall assure them not only health care, but employment for those who want to work, decent housing, and recreation."
The Social Security Act Amendments of 1961 broadened benefits to 5.3 million persons, increased minimum benefits for retired workers from $33 to $40 per month, permitted men as well as women to begin collecting reduced benefits at age 62.
The Social Security program now provides $1.3 billion in benefits each month to 19.5 million persons. One out of every ten Americans receives a Social Security check every month.
The Welfare and Pension Plans Disclosure Act Amendments of 1962 put "enforcement teeth" into this measure, protecting workers' assets in pension programs.
The Housing Act of 1961 increased the scope of Federal housing aids for the elderly by raising from $50 million to $125 million the authorization for low-interest-rate direct loans. In 1962, this was raised further to $225 million and in 1963 to $275 million.
Insurance written by the Federal Housing Administration for mortgage insurance for the elderly since 1961 provides three times as many units as during the preceding Administration.
Low rent public housing under Federal assistance has been provided senior citizens at an annual rate more than twice that for 1960.
The Community Health Services and Facilities Act of 1961 raised the ceiling on appropriations for the construction of nursing homes under the Hill-Burton legislation from $10 million to $20 million and authorized $10 million per year for a 5-year program of special project grants for the development of new or improved methods of providing health services outside the hospital for the chronically ill or aged.
Executive Order 11114, issued by President Johnson on February 12, 1964, establishes for the first time the policy of non-discrimination in employment based on age by Federal contractors.
"Permit workers who are totally and permanently disabled to retire at any age, removing the arbitrary requirement that the worker be 50 years of age.
"Amend the law so that after six months of total disability, a worker will be eligible for disability benefits, with restorative services to enable the worker to return to work.
"Continued support of legislation for the rehabilitation of physically handicapped persons and improvement of employment opportunities for them.
"Persons in need who are inadequately protected by social insurance are cared for by the states and local communities under public assistance programs. The Federal Government, which now shares the cost of aid to some of these, should share in all, and benefits should be made available without regard to residence.
"Uniform minimum standards throughout the nation for coverage, duration, and amount of unemployment insurance benefits.
"Legislation which will guarantee to women equality of rights under the law, including equal pay for equal work.
"The Child Welfare Program and other services already established under the Social Security Act should be expanded. Federal leadership is required in the nationwide campaign to prevent and control juvenile delinquency.
"A federal bureau of inter-group relations to help solve problems of discrimination in housing, education, employment and community opportunities in general. The bureau would assist in the solution of problems arising from the resettlement of immigrants and migrants within our own country, and in resolving religious, social and other tensions where they arise."
The 1961 Public Assistance Amendments, extended aid for the first time to families with dependent children in which the parent is unemployed. Currently, 18 States have adopted this program. Aid is being provided to about 75,000 families with nearly 280,000 children.
The food stamp program is providing improved purchasing powers and a better diet for families and persons receiving general assistance.
The 1962 Public Welfare amendments provide the authority and financial resources for a new approach to the problems of prolonged dependency and some of the special needs of children.
Under these enactments and related provisions: 49 States have now qualified for increased Federal financial aid to provide help to families with economic and social problems, and to assist families dependent on public assistance back to economic independence.
9 pilot projects have been initiated to help children stay in school.
41 demonstration projects have been designed to improve public assistance operations and to find ways of helping low-income families and individuals to become independent.
18,000 unemployed fathers in needy families are currently on community work and training projects.
Three million children are now covered by the program of aid to families with dependent children and under the 1962 amendments these children receive, in addition to financial assistance, other needed help toward normal growth and development.
46 States now have approved plans for day care services.
Grants for research and demonstrations in child welfare were first awarded in 1962, and 62 projects have since been approved.
Starting for the first time in 1963, grants for training child welfare workers have been made to 58 institutions of higher learning.
Approximately 453,000 older persons received medical assistance under the Kerr-Mills program in fiscal year 1964.
The Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1961 provided 13 additional weeks of benefits to the long-term unemployed. 2.8 million jobless workers received $800 million in assistance.
The Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act of 1961 made possible the establishment of training centers at 12 universities. By the end of fiscal year 1964, the program will have reached 12,500 trainees for work in delinquency prevention and control.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the work of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, which reported to the President that same year, were events of historic importance in the struggle for equal opportunity and full partnership for women. The inclusion of women in the employment provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes equality in employment at long last the law of the land.
Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 establishes a Community Relations Service "to provide assistance to communities and persons therein in resolving disputes, disagreements, or difficulties relating to discriminatory practices based on race, color, or national origin. "
"We believe that America can meet its educational obligations only with generous federal financial support, within the traditional framework of local control. The assistance will take the form of federal grants to States for educational purposes they deem most pressing, including classroom construction and teachers' salaries. It will include aid for the construction of academic facilities as well as dormitories at colleges and universities.
"We pledge further federal support for all phases of vocational education for youth and adults for libraries and adult education for realizing the potential of educational television and for exchange of students and teachers with other nations.
"As part of a broader concern for young people we recommend establishment of a Youth Conservation Corps, to give underprivileged young people a rewarding experience in a healthful environment."
The Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963 provides $1.2 billion for college construction over a three-year period. Over 2,000 institutions are eligible to benefit from its provisions in helping them meet current enrollment increases of 350,000 students each year.
The Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1963 will increase the number of professional health personnel through construction grants for health teaching facilities, and through low-interest student loans to assist up to 10,000 students of medicine, dentistry, or osteopathy to pay for their high-cost education.
The Vocational Education Act of 1963 authorizes a $956 million increase in Federal support for vocational education over the next five fiscal years —1964 through 1968. It is estimated that 7,000,000 students will be enrolled in vocational education in 1968, an increase of about 3,000,000 over present annual enrollment.
Legislation approved in 1963, which increased authorization for loans to needy students for college education, will mean that in the coming school year approximately 280,000 students will be borrowing about $142 million from the loan funds to help pay for their higher education, as compared with 115,450 students borrowing $50,152,000 in 1960.
In the last three fiscal years, there have been grants of $153.1 million in Federal funds to the States for purchases of equipment and materials, and remodeling classrooms to strengthen instruction in science, mathematics, and modern foreign languages.
A $32 million program of grants to help establish non-commercial educational television stations was approved in 1962. Thirty-seven grants have been approved, totaling $6.1 million—18 for new stations and 19 for expansion.
The Library Services and Construction Act of 1964 broadened Federal aid to cover urban as well as rural areas, and to provide construction grants in addition to other library services. The new legislation increased the authorization for Federal aid to develop libraries from $7.5 million to the present level of $25 million and included a new program of assistance for public library construction, with an appropriation for Fiscal Year 1965 of $30 million.
The Youth Conservation Corps envisioned by the 1960 proposal is provided for under Title I of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
"A thin layer of earth, a few inches of rain, and a blanket of air makes human life possible on our planet."
"Sound public policy must assure that these essential resources will be available to provide the good life for our children and future generations."
After the 1960 election President Kennedy and President Johnson implemented this platform by a whole series of new conservation policies and programs, some of which emanated from the first White House Conference on Conservation called by any President since the 1908 conference called by President Theodore Roosevelt.
During this Administration two historic conservation measures were enacted. These were:
The Wilderness Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill which will together do more to help conserve outdoor America than any legislation passed in a generation.
In addition to this landmark legislation new emphasis has been placed on science as the modern midwife of conservation, and new impetus has been given across the board in the conservation of natural resources.
In the field of water conservation
Twenty-one new major water resources projects have been authorized or started in the West
A high-water mark has been achieved in the annual level of national investment in water resource projects
The saline water conversion effort has been quadrupled, and should achieve a dramatic cost-breakthrough during the next Administration.
In electric power
Ending 16 years of argument, a bold plan was developed under President Johnson's personal leadership to interconnect the electric power systems of the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest, thus providing benefits for power users in 11 Western States under this plan, construction will soon begin on the first direct current long-distance lines in the United States, stretching all the way from the Columbia River to Los Angeles—and a new era of public and private power cooperation will commence.
Federal hydroelectric generating capacity has been increased by 2,600,000 kilowatts, and 5,150,000 kilowatts of non-Federal capacity has been licensed by the Federal Power Commission.
3,350 miles of vital transmission lines have been added to Federal systems and about 25,000 miles of new transmission lines have also been built by non-Federal power systems.
The FPC has conducted a National Power Survey to encourage both public and private power companies to join in power pools which are bringing lower cost electricity to consumers throughout the nation.
The world's largest atomic electric power plant (at Hanford, Washington) was funded and will soon be generating as much power as two Bonneville dams.
Federal REA loans have made it possible to open up the lignite coal fields of the Dakotas, and to exploit the coal fields of Western Colorado.
In addition, the Congress authorized the Delaware Basin Compact to permit the multi-purpose development of that river, and the Senate ratified the Columbia River Treaty which enables the joint U.S.-Canadian development of the full potential of that great river to begin later this year.
In outdoor recreation
The Congress created three superb new national seashores at Cape Cod (Massachusetts), Padre Island (Texas) and Point Reyes (California).
Pioneering a new park concept, Ozark Rivers National Riverways (Missouri) was established as the first river preservation national park in the Nation, and 12 other major new additions to the Park System were recommended for action by future Congresses.
A Bureau of Outdoor Recreation was created. As a vital part of the war on poverty, during the next year, 20 thousand young Americans will set to work in conservation camps across the land tackling the big backlog of work in the land and water areas owned by all of the people.
In the conservation and development of mineral resources
Research helped coal production surge upward, and there were initiated a series of action steps (including activation of the huge Rifle, Colorado, research center) which will lead to the orderly development of the vast oil shale resources of the Colorado plateau.
Enactment of the Wetlands Bill of 1961 made it possible to create more new Waterfowl Refuges (27) than during any previous four-year period in our history.
The Clean Air Act of 1963 is already providing the first full-scale attack on the air pollution problems that blight living conditions in so many of our cities.
Enactment of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1961 launched the first massive attack on this conservation problem which has already resulted in 1,300 municipal waste treatment plans and the approval of projects that have improved the water quality in 18,000 miles of streams that provide water for 22 million people.
Cities and Their Suburbs
"A new Democratic administration will expand Federal programs to aid urban communities to clear their slums, dispose of their sewage, educate their children, transport suburban commuters to and from their jobs, and combat juvenile delinquency."
The Housing Act of 1961 marked the beginning of a new era of Federal commitment to the problems of a nation in which three-fourths of the population has come to live in urban areas.
Under that Act, funds available for urban planning grants were increased by $55 million and a new $50 million Federal grant program to assist localities in the acquisition of permanent open space land to be used as parks and playgrounds was established.
The Housing Act of 1961 and the Area Redevelopment Act of 1961 authorized public facilities loans of $600 million.
The Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Offenses Control Act of 1961 launched a broad attack on youth problems by financing demonstration projects, training personnel in delinquency work, and providing technical assistance for community youth programs.
"Federal aid for comprehensive metropolitan
transportation programs, including bus and rail mass transit, commuter railroads as well as highway programs and construction of civil airports."
The Housing Act of 1961 launched the first efforts to help metropolitan and other urban areas solve their mass transportation problems 75 million in loans and demonstration grants were provided to States and localities to construct and improve mass transportation systems.
The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 establishes a new long-range program for this purpose and authorizes $375 million in Federal grants, over 3 years, for capital construction and improvement which local transit systems cannot otherwise finance.
"Over the past seven years we have watched the steady weakening of the Nation's transportation system, and we noted the need for a national transportation policy.'"
The National Transportation policy was enunciated in the first Presidential message ever to be sent to the Congress dealing solely with transportation.
The Highway Act of 1961 resolved the lagging problem of financing the 41,000 mile interstate highway program, and the finished construction rate has almost doubled.
The Federal Maritime Commission has been established as an independent agency to guard against prejudice or discrimination harmful to the growth of U. S. World Trade.
The Maritime Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce, was set up to give its full attention to promoting a vigorous policy of strengthening and modernizing our merchant fleet. Seventy big modern cargo and cargo-passenger ships have been added to the U.S. merchant fleet. The Savannah, the world's first nuclear-powered merchant ship, is now on her first foreign voyage.
The far-reaching decision has been made that the United States will design and build a supersonic air transport plane—and thereby maintain our leadership position in international aviation. Congress has provided $60 million for the development of detailed designs. Twenty airlines already have placed orders.
On August 13, President Johnson signed a new highway bill to provide better primary and secondary highways on a 50/50 basis with the states. In addition, it will support needed efforts to improve forest highways, public land roads and national park roads.
"We will recognize the special role of our Federal Government in support of basic and applied research," mentioning in particular Space, Atomic Energy, and Oceanography.
Since 1961, the United States has pressed vigorously forward with a 10-year, $35-billion national space program for clear leadership in space exploration, space use, and all important aspects of space science and technology.
Already this program has enabled the United States to challenge the early Soviet challenge in space booster power and to effectively counter the Soviet bid for recognition as the world's leading nation in science and technology.
In the years 1961-1964, the United States has Successfully flown the Saturn I rocket, putting into orbit the heaviest payloads of the space age to date.
Moved rapidly forward with much more powerful launch vehicles, the Saturn IB and the Saturn V. The Saturn IB, scheduled to fly in 1966, will be able to orbit a payload of 16 tons and Saturn V, scheduled to fly in 1967 or 1968, will be able to orbit 120 tons or send 45 tons to the moon or 35 tons to Mars or Venus.
Mastered the difficult technology of using liquid hydrogen as a space rocket fuel in the Centaur upper stage rocket and the Saturn I second stage—assuring American leadership in space science and manned space flight in this decade.
Successfully completed six manned space flights in Project Mercury, acquiring 54 hours of space flight experience.
Successfully flight-tested the two-man Gemini spacecraft and Titan II space rocket so that manned Gemini flights can begin late in 1964 or early in 1965.
Developed the three-man Apollo spacecraft which will be able to spend up to two months in earth orbit, operate out to a quarter of a million miles from earth, and land our first astronaut-explorers on the moon.
Taken all actions to conduct a series of manned space flights in the Gemini and Apollo programs which will give the United States some 5,000 man-hours of flight experience in earth orbit, develop U. S. capabilities for rendezvous and joining of spacecraft in orbit, and prove out man's ability to perform valuable missions during long stays in space.
Made man's first close-up observations of another planet during the highly successful Mariner II fly-by of Venus.
Obtained the first close-up pictures of the moon, taken and relayed to earth by Ranger VII.
Initiated an ambitious long-range program for scientific investigations in space utilizing large, versatile spacecraft called Orbiting Observatories for geophysical, solar and stellar studies.
Operated the world's first weather satellites (Tiros).
Set up, under the Communications Satellite Act of 1962, the Communications Satellite Corporation, which is well on the way to establishing a global satellite communications system to provide reliable, low-cost telephone, telegraph, and television services to all parts of the world.
In short, the United States has matched rapid progress in manned space flight with a balanced program for scientific investigations in space, practical uses of space, and advanced research and technological pioneering to assure that the new challenges of space in the next decade can also be met, and U. S. leadership maintained.
The number of civilian nuclear power plants has increased from 3 to 14 since January 1961 and now the advent of economic nuclear power provides utilities a wider choice of competitive power sources in many sections of the country.
The world's largest nuclear power reactor, the Atomic Energy Commission's Production Reactor near Richland, Washington, achieved a controlled, self-sustained nuclear reaction on December 31, 1963.
The first deep-sea anchored, automatic weather station powered by nuclear energy has gone into unattended operation in the Gulf of Mexico, and the first lighthouse powered by nuclear energy flashes now in Chesapeake Bay.
Nuclear energy was extended to space for the first time in 1961. Compact nuclear generators supplied part of the power for instruments in two satellites, and in 1963 provided all of the power needs of two other satellites.
Vigorous support has been given to basic research in atomic energy. The world's highest energy accelerator, the AGS, has come into productive operation.
For the first time in history the United States is building a fleet expressly designed for oceanographic research. Since 1961, 29 ships have been completed or are currently under construction. Shoreside facilities and training programs have been established as part of a major government-wide effort, begun in 1961, to capture the enormous potential rewards of research in this area which until now have been almost as remote and inaccessible as space itself.
"We shall reform the processes of government in all branches—executive, legislative, and judicial. We will clean out corruption and conflicts of interest, and improve government services."
This Administration has brought the personnel, morale, ethics, and performance of the Federal service to a point of high excellence. To accomplish this transformation it made improvements in a broad range of activities affecting the operation of the government.
The conflict of interest laws were strengthened by the first major revision in a century. The comprehensive new law eliminates ambiguities and inconsistencies in existing laws, and increases the range of government matters in which conflict of interest is prohibited. In addition, President Kennedy issued an Executive Order which established more rigid standards of conduct for Federal officials and employees.
The regulatory agencies were made more effective by reorganization programs and by the appointment of highly-qualified officials, dedicated to protecting the public interest.
The Department of Justice has cracked down effectively on organized crime under new anti-racketeering statutes, has uncovered and prosecuted important foreign spies, and has made progress toward more effective procedures for protecting the rights of poor defendants to bail and counsel.
Federal Employee Organizations, many of which have existed for over half a century, were at last extended formal recognition under Executive Order 10988, issued by President Kennedy.
The Federal Pay Raise Act of 1964 updated the pay structure for Federal employees on a basis of equal salary rates for comparable levels of work in private industry. Completing the reforms initiated in the Act of 1962, it provided for long-needed increases in salary for top level Government administrators upon whom major responsibility for program results must rest. In President Johnson's words, this law established a basis for a standard of "brilliance" and "excellence" in the Federal Government.
"To improve Congressional procedures so that majority rule prevails."
In 1961, the House Rules Committee was enlarged from 12 to 15 members, making it more representative of the views of the majority, and thereby enabling much important legislation to be reported to the floor for a vote by the entire House membership.
In 1964, for the first time in history, the Senate voted to limit debate on a civil rights measure, thus permitting the Civil Rights Act to come to a vote, and thereby to be enacted.
"Effective Government representation and protection" for consumers.
In 1962, President Kennedy became the first Chief Executive to send a message to Congress on consumer matters.
This Executive action was closely followed by the creation of a Consumer Advisory Council.
In 1964, President Johnson appointed the first Special Assistant to the President for Consumer Affairs, and created a new President's Committee on Consumer Interests.
The Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments of 1962 were the most far-reaching improvements in the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act since 1938. Under these amendments:
Effective legal tools were provided to insure greater safety in connection with the manufacture, distribution and use of drugs.
Vital safeguards were added for drug research and manufacture.
Interstate distribution of new drugs for testing was barred until an adequate plan of investigation was made available to the Food and Drug Administration.
Domestic drug manufacturing establishments will now be required to register annually and be inspected by the FDA at least once a year.
The Administration has vigorously supported Truth-in-Lending, Truth-in-Packaging, and Truth-in-Securities bills.
The titles of these bills explain their objectives. Together, they form a triple armor of protection: for buyers of packaged goods, from prevailing deceptive practices for borrowers of money, from hidden and unscrupulous interest and carrying charges and for investors in securities from unfair practices threatening to vital savings. The first two bills are still awaiting Congressional action the third is now a law.
The upward spiral in the price of natural gas which took place in the decade of the 1950's has been halted by vigorous regulatory action of the Federal Power Commission and the nation's 36 million consumers of natural gas have benefited from rate reductions and refunds in excess of $600 million. Natural gas moving largely in interstate pipelines now supplies almost a third of the nation's energy requirements. Regulation to insure its availability in ample supply and at reasonable prices is an important consumer protection function which is now being effectively discharged.
"Adequate compensation for those with service-connected disabilities," and "pensions adequate for a full and dignified life for disabled and distressed veterans and for needy survivors of deceased veterans."
Since 1961, we have achieved:
Increased disability payments for veterans with service-connected disabilities. In the first year alone, this increase provided veterans with additional payments of about $98 million.
An increase of about 10 percent a month in the compensation for widows, children, and parents of veterans who died of service-connected disabilities.
An increase from $112 to $150 a month in the dependency and indemnity compensation payable to widows of veterans who died of service-connected disabilities.
Increased compensation benefits to veterans disabled by blindness, deafness, and kidney disorders, and increased benefits to widows and orphans of veterans whose deaths were service-connected.
"Expanded programs of vocational rehabilitation for disabled veterans, and education for orphans of servicemen."
Since 1961, vocational rehabilitation and training has enabled thousands of GI's to choose occupations and acquire valuable training. For the first time, veterans with peacetime service-connected disabilities have been afforded vocational rehabilitation training. In addition, vocational rehabilitation was extended to blinded World War II and Korean conflict veterans, and war orphans' educational assistance was extended in behalf of certain reservists called to active duty.
"The quality of medical care furnished to the disabled veterans has deteriorated . We shall work for all increased availability of facilities for all veterans in need and we shall move with particular urgency to fulfill the need for expanded domiciliary and nursing-home facilities."
Approved the construction of new, modern hospitals, a number of which are being built near medical schools to improve veterans' care and research.
Added more full-time doctors to the VA staff, bringing it to an all-time high of nearly 5,000.
Provided hospital and medical care, including out-patient treatment, to peacetime ex-servicemen for service-connected disabilities on the same basis furnished war veterans.
Stepped up medical research programs, which have made outstanding contributions to American medicine.
"We shall continue the veterans home loan guarantee and direct loan programs and education benefits patterned after the GI Bill of Rights."
Since 1961, legislation has extended veterans home loans for both World War II and Korean conflict veterans. The GI Bill of Rights for Korean veterans was also extended for the benefit of certain reservists called to active duty.
Despite this considerably increased activity, the Veterans Administration has reduced its operating costs.
"Prompt adoption of a program to assist Indian tribes in the full development of their human and natural resources and to advance the health, education and economic well-being of Indian citizens while preserving their cultural heritage."
New classrooms have been provided for more than 7,000 Indian children summer educational programs have been expanded tenfold so they now serve more than 20,000 students and a special institute to train artistically gifted Indian youth has been established.
Indian enrollment in vocational training programs has been doubled.
For the first time in history, Federal low-rent housing programs have been launched on Indian reservations, and more than 3,100 new housing units have now been authorized.
Industrial plants offering employment opportunities for thousands of Indians are being opened on Indian reservations.
Accelerated Public Works projects on 89 reservations in 21 States have provided nearly 30,000 man-months of employment.
The Vocational Education Act and the Adult Indian Vocational Training Act have been amended to provide improved training for Indians.
"The arts flourish where there is freedom and where individual initiative and imagination are encouraged."
No single quality of the new Administration was more immediately evident to the Nation and the world than the recognition it gave to American artists.
President Kennedy early created an advisory commission to assist in the growth and development of the arts, and the Administration secured amendments to the Educational and Cultural Exchange Act to improve the quality and effectiveness of the international educational and cultural exchange programs. This past year, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was established to stimulate widespread interest in the arts.
On Washington's Birthday 1963, President Kennedy, by Executive Order, created a new Presidential Medal of Freedom as the highest civil honor conferred by the President in peace time upon persons who have made distinctive contributions to the security and national interest of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural activities. Henceforth, those men and women selected by the President for the Medal will be announced annually on the Fourth of July and will be presented with medals at an appropriate White House ceremony.
In his address to the University of Michigan in May 1964, President Johnson proposed that we begin to build the Great Society first of all in the cities of America, restoring the beauty and dignity which urban centers have lost.
That same month the President's Council on Pennsylvania Avenue presented to him a sweeping proposal for the reconstruction of the center of the City of Washington. The proposal has been hailed as "a blueprint for glory . . . a realistic and far-seeing redevelopment scheme that may be Washington's last chance to save its 'Avenue of Presidents.'"
"Our dedication to the Bill of Rights. Freedom and civil liberties, far from being incompatible with security, are vital to our national strength."
The era of fear and suspicion brought on by accusations, true and false, of subversive activities and security risks has passed. The good sense of the American people, and the overwhelming loyalty of our citizenry have combined to restore balance and calm to security activities, without in any way diminishing the scope or effectiveness of those activities.
The Administration has jealously guarded the right of each American to protect his good name. Except in those instances where the national security is overriding, confrontation of the accuser is now required in all loyalty hearings. Individuals whose loyalty is being questioned must also be notified of the charges in sufficient time for them to prepare their defense.
The Criminal Justice Act of 1964, now before the President for signature, will for the first time in history ensure that poor defendants in criminal cases will have competent legal counsel in defending themselves in Federal courts.
"We shall end the gross waste in Federal expenditures which needlessly raises the budgets of many Government agencies."
Since 1961, we have moved boldly and directly to eliminate waste and duplication wherever it occurs.
For example, the Department of Defense has embarked on a far-reaching program to realize savings through improvements in its efficiency and management. This program has already produced savings of more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 1963 and $2.5 billion in the Fiscal Year just completed. By 1964, it is expected that the program will produce yearly savings of over $4 billion.
At the close of the past Fiscal Year Federal employment had been reduced by 22,000 over the total one year earlier. The 1965 budget calls for lower expenditures than in the preceding year—only the second time such a feat has been accomplished in the past 10 years. In 1960, we pledged—
"We shall collect the billions in taxes which are owed to the Federal Government but are not now collected."
To handle additional work in income tax collection, 3,971 new employees were added to the Internal Revenue Service by the Congress in fiscal 1961 2,817 new positions were added in fiscal 1963 and about 1,000 more in fiscal 1964. The additional revenue which these employees will produce will far exceed the cost of their employment.
"We shall close the loopholes in the tax laws by which certain privileged groups legally escape their fair share of taxation."
The Revenue Acts of 1962 and 1964 eliminated more loopholes than all the revenue legislation from 1941 to 1962 combined. They raised $1.7 billion annually in new revenue, nine times the sum raised in this manner during the 1953-60 period. These bills sharply limited expense account abuses, special preferences to U. S. firms and individuals operating abroad, escapes from taxation through personal holding companies and many other unjustified advantages.
"We shall. seek to create an affirmative new atmosphere in which to deal with racial divisions and inequalities which threaten both the integrity of our democratic faith and the proposition on which our Nation was founded—that all men are created equal."
That pledge was made from the deepest moral conviction.
It was carried out on the same basis.
From the establishment of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, under the chairmanship of the then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, on March 6, 1961 to this moment, the efforts of the Administration to provide full and equal civil rights for all Americans have never relaxed.
The high point of achievement in this effort was reached with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the greatest civil rights measure in the history of the American people.
This landmark of our Democracy bars discrimination in the use of public accommodations, in employment, and in the administering of Federally-assisted programs. It makes available effective procedures for assuring the right to vote in Federal elections, directs Federal technical and financial assistance to local public school systems in desegregation, and strengthens the Civil Rights Commission. This comprehensive legislation resolves many of the festering conflicts which had been a source of irritating uncertainty, and smoothes the way for favorable resolution of these problems.
We have also insisted upon non-discrimination in apprenticeship, and have made free, unsegregated access a condition for Federal financial assistance to public libraries, programs for training of teachers of the handicapped, counseling, guidance and foreign language institutes, adult civil defense classes, and manpower development and training programs.
In supporting construction of Hill-Burton hospitals, mental retardation and community health facilities, we have required non-discrimination in admission and provision of services and granting of staff privileges.
We have been equally firm in opposing any policy of quotas or "discrimination in reverse," and all other arbitrary or irrelevant distinctions in American life.
This, then, is the accounting of our stewardship. The 1960 platform was not directed to any one sector or group of Americans with particular interests.
It proclaimed, rather, the Rights of Man.
The platform asserted the essential fact of that moment in our history—that the next administration to take office would face as never before the "responsibility and opportunity to call forth the greatness of the American people."
That responsibility was met that opportunity was seized, The years since have been times of towering achievement.
We are proud to have been a part of this history. The task of leadership is to lead, and that has been our purpose. But the achievements of the nation over this period outreach the contribution of any party they are the work of the American people.
In the 1,000 days of John F. Kennedy, in the eventful and culminating months of Lyndon B. Johnson, there has been born a new American greatness.
APP Note: The American Presidency Project used the first day of the national nominating convention as the "date" of this platform since the original document is undated.
The sad story of Humphrey’s role at 1964 Democratic convention
The real story of what happened when LBJ assigned Hubert Humphrey to take care of potential disruption of the 1964 Democratic convention is a very different version of events presented to the public.Monday: ‘Into the bright sunshine’ — HHH’s
Part 2 of Iric Nathanson’s excellent series tied to the 100th anniversary of Hubert Humphrey’s birth dealt with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s choice of Humphrey as his running-mate in 1964.
The saga of the Humphrey vice presidency is not a happy one. Humphrey, one of the greatest senators in history, sold great chunks of his political soul for the honor of serving under LBJ, a man who liked to say of those whom he similarly dominated: “I’ve got his pecker in my pocket.”
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s hard not to believe that HHH would have been better off — and would have been more likely to achieve his dream of the presidency — if he had stayed in the Senate and held onto his freedom of conscience, of expression and of political movement rather than plighting his troth to such a demanding groom.
LBJ’s astonishing legislative accomplishments as president entitle him to a place in the liberal pantheon. But where his political ambitions were concerned, he was a force of nature, and I don’t mean a rainbow.
Nathanson mentioned that while Humphrey was angling for veep gig, LBJ assigned him to take care of the potential disruption of the 1964 Dem convention over two competing delegations from Mississippi. Humphrey, with the help of his protégé, Walter Mondale, got it done, thus leaping over the last hurdle LBJ had established before Humphrey could be placed on the ticket. As Humphrey would later write about his attitude toward LBJ’s demands: “Whatever Lyndon Johnson wanted, Johnson would get.”
As Nathanson wrote: “And so, at Humphrey’s behest, Mondale was able to arrange at least a tenuous settlement of the dispute that gave the [Mississippi] Freedom Democrats some symbolic seats at the convention.”
All true. But that paragraph brought to my mind a fuller, much uglier, version of the incident that I learned in 2000, when Mondale launched an interesting and unusually honest series of public historical forums, based on the key episodes of his long and distinguished public life.
Sad, sorry but ultimately inspiring?
The very first forum, which I covered in my days as the Strib’s history guy, delved into the sad/sorry/but perhaps ultimately inspiring tale of the Mississippi Freedom Democrats. Humphrey was assigned by LBJ to fix the problem. Mondale was the lieutenant Humphrey dispatched to the front lines. But the story is dominated from offstage by LBJ’s ruthlessness and his ability to make men violate their own natures to do his bidding.
The real story is a reminder that the version of events presented to the public and the true behind-the-scenes version are often day and night.
Here are the high/lowlights of what I heard that day at the forum, which included breathtaking testimony from some of the actual surviving Mississippi Freedom Democrats:
In 1964, Mississippi’s “regular” Democrats had sent their usual all-white delegation to the convention. A biracial group of civil-rights activists, calling themselves the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, came to the convention claiming to be the legal delegates, since the regular Democrats had used classic racist tactics, up to and including violence, to preclude any blacks from becoming delegates.
According to secret tape recordings of Johnson’s phone conversations, LBJ — who had no real rivals for the Dem nomination but who was deeply paranoid where the Kennedys were concerned — believed that Bobby Kennedy might try to wrest the nomination from him. And LBJ believed a floor fight over the Mississippi delegations might become the pretext for Kennedy to ride to the rescue.
LBJ would, of course, win an uncontested first-ballot nomination and go on to a landslide election victory. On the other hand, when Bobby Kennedy took the stage on the convention’s last day to introduce a film tribute to his assassinated brother, the assembled Democrats broke into 22 minutes of heart-pounding applause. Come to think of it, LBJ’s heart must been pounding, too, but not in a good way. Anyway, although his Bobby fears were absurd, LBJ wanted to avoid any scenes during the march to “his” nomination.
‘We didn’t come all this way for no two seats’
So he assigned Humphrey to use his influence as the Senate’s leading advocate for civil rights to get the Freedom Dems to accept a fairly humiliating and unjust deal:
- The “regular” Dems would be seated as Mississippi’s delegates (in exchange for which they were expected to pledge to support the Johnson ticket in the fall LBJ was worried about his chances in Mississippi).
- The national Democratic Party would agree that after 1964, no delegations chosen through race-biased procedures would be seated.
- But, for 1964, just two members of the Freedom Dem delegation would be given special at-large delegate positions.
- And Johnson had arrogated to himself the right to pick which two. And Johnson had chosen one white and one black from the MFD.
- And he had not chosen Fannie Lou Hamer, the black woman who had become an instant national celebrity after testifying to the convention’s Credentials Committee about the humiliations and beatings she had endured because she had tried to register to vote.
Mondale, who was then Minnesota’s attorney general and a convention delegate, was appointed to chair that committee. A lifelong civil-rights champion, Mondale was surely sympathetic to the Freedom Democrats. He was also an enthusiastic Humphrey man. At the 2000 forum, he would say: “The excitement I felt about helping Humphrey become vice president was central to everything I did at the convention.”
The deal was adopted by the Credentials Committee and announced at a televised news conference before the Freedom Dems could discuss the plan, which Mondale later acknowledged was a mistake. When the Freedom Dems heard about it, Hamer publicly and famously responded:
“We didn’t come all this way for no two seats.”
At the 2000 Mondale forum, Ed King, a white minister, a Freedom Democrat and one those whom LBJ had approved for one of the two delegate seats, recalled a tense meeting during which Humphrey and a roomful of civil-rights heavyweights — including Roy Wilkins, Andrew Young, United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther and, yes, even the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. himself — did Johnson’s bidding by pressuring the Freedom Dems to take the deal.
King said that the final bitter pill that the Freedom Dems couldn’t swallow was that they wouldn’t even be allowed to choose which two of their members would get the token delegate positions. King wanted to give up his spot and allow the group to choose a substitute, knowing that Hamer would be chosen.
Three low moments
That led to one of the three lowest moments in the tale, as Ed King related it that day. King quoted Humphrey as saying that Johnson had ordered him to make sure that “that illiterate woman” would never be a delegate.
Here’s the second of those low moments, again as recalled that day by Ed King:
When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. seemed about to side with the Freedom Dems on part of the discussion, he was told by Reuther, a close Johnson ally, to shut up unless he wanted to see his financial support from white northern liberals dry up. Ed King said Martin Luther King Jr. complied and continued to publicly side with Johnson and Humphrey.
Finally, King recalled another meeting, in which Humphrey told the Freedom Democrats of the good things that would happen if he, a strong civil-rights advocate, could be positioned high in the administration as vice president.
According to Ed King, Hamer told Humphrey that all he was worried about was whether he was going to get a big job. But many of her colleagues in Mississippi had lost their jobs (Hamer herself had lost hers, for her activism) and risked losing more by standing up for freedom. While tears welled up in Humphrey’s eyes, Hamer warned him that if he sold his soul in order to get the job he wanted, he would never be able to use it do the good things he was promising.
In the end, no one was happy. Most of the regular Mississippi Dems walked out of the convention. Although the Johnson-Humphrey ticket won a landslide victory, Mississippi was one of the six states Barry Goldwater carried by the breathtaking margin of (hold your breath) 87-13 percent. Humphrey endured four years of condescension and exclusion from LBJ. Yes, the vice presidency did put him in a position to gain the Dem nomination in 1968, but his obligation to maintain LBJ’s Vietnam policy — enforced by direct threats from Johnson of what would happen to him if he strayed — cost him the election to Richard Nixon.
So how can I say, as I did far above, that this sad, sorry tale may have been ultimately inspiring?
Because the team of Humphrey and Johnson did put through the civil-rights bills of 1964 and 1965, which are — symbolically and substantively — a big part of the reason that the treatment accorded to Fannie Lou Hamer would be unimaginable today. Because the Democratic Party did indeed adopt rules that would make it impossible for Mississippi to send an all-white delegation to any future convention. Because Humphrey’s elevation to the ticket got Mondale into the Senate, where he did a lot of good and important work and eventually into the vice presidency (Humphrey advised him to take Jimmy Carter’s offer), which changed the nature of that office into something much bigger than it was when Humphrey suffered through it.
And maybe even because it’s true, as all of the practicing politicians in this sad, sorry tale would say, that you can’t do any good if you don’t get elected, which is in some sense one of the larger lessons that we are celebrating this month when we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Hubert H. Humphrey.
And then there’s one last nice coda, of which I was unaware until I read Iric Nathanson’s final installment. In case you missed it, it picks up after Humphrey has gone back to the Senate:
“At a meeting of a national Democratic Party policy group, he was in the chair as the group approved a resolution condemning the Nixon administration’s Vietnam policy and calling for an immediate withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 1971. When the vote was taken on the resolution, Humphrey took that as a sign that Johnson’s hold on him had finally been broken. ‘My God. It finally happened!’ he was heard to exclaim.”