Academic journal article Parameters

A Speech Not Given

Academic journal article Parameters

A Speech Not Given

Article excerpt

The following are excerpts from the speech President John F. Kennedy was to deliver in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963, the day he was assassinated.

.. I want to discuss with you today the status of our strength and our security because this question clearly calls for the most responsible qualities of leadership and the most enlightened products of scholarship. [Our] strength and security are not easily or cheaply obtained, nor are they quickly and simply explained. There are many kinds of strength and no one kind will suffice. Overwhelming nuclear strength cannot stop a guerrilla war. Formal pacts of alliance cannot stop internal subversion....

Above all, words alone are not enough. The United States is a peaceful nation. And where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.

I realize that this nation often tends to identify turning-points in world affairs with the major addresses which preceded them. But it was not the Monroe Doctrine that kept all Europe away from this hemisphere--it was the strength of the British fleet and the width of the Atlantic Ocean. It was not General Marshall's speech at Harvard which kept communism out of Western Europe--it was the strength and stability made possible by our military and economic assistance.

In this administration also it has been necessary at times to issue specific warnings--warnings that we could not stand by and watch the communists conquer Laos by force, or intervene in the Congo, or swallow West Berlin, or maintain oil fensive missiles on Cuba. …

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