Dwight D. Eisenhower
State of the Union Address
January 12, 1961
To the Congress of the United States:
Once again it is my Constitutional duty to assess the state of the Union.
On each such previous occasion during these past eight years I have
outlined a forward course designed to achieve our mutual objective--a better
America in a world of peace. This time my function is different.
The American people, in free election, have selected new leadership
which soon will be entrusted with the management of our government. A new
President shortly will lay before you his proposals to shape the future
of our great land. To him, every citizen, whatever his political beliefs,
prayerfully extends best wishes for good health and for wisdom and success
in coping with the problems that confront our Nation.
For my part, I should like, first, to express to you of the Congress,
my appreciation of your devotion to the common good and your friendship
over these difficult years. I will carry with me pleasant memories of this
association in endeavors profoundly significant to all our people.
We have been through a lengthy period in which the control over the
executive and legislative branches of government has been divided between
our two great political parties. Differences, of course, we have had, particularly
in domestic affairs. But in a united determination to keep this Nation
strong and free and to utilize our vast resources for the advancement of
all mankind, we have carried America to unprecedented heights.
For this cooperative achievement I thank the American people and those
in the Congress of both parties who have supported programs in the interest
of our country.
I should also like to give special thanks for the devoted service of
my associates in the Executive Branch and the hundreds of thousands of
career employees who have implemented our diverse government programs.
My second purpose is to review briefly the record of these past eight
years in the hope that, out of the sum of these experiences, lessons will
emerge that are useful to our Nation. Supporting this review are detailed
reports from the several agencies and departments, all of which are now
or will shortly be available to the Congress.
Throughout the world the years since 1953 have been a period of profound
change. The human problems in the world grow more acute hour by hour; yet
new gains in science and technology continually extend the promise of a
better life. People yearn to be free, to govern themselves; yet a third
of the people of the world have no freedom, do not govern themselves. The
world recognizes the catastrophic nature of nuclear war; yet it sees the
wondrous potential of nuclear peace.
During the period, the United States has forged ahead under a constructive
foreign policy. The continuing goal is peace, liberty, and well-being--for
others as well as ourselves. The aspirations of all peoples are one--peace
with justice in freedom. Peace can only be attained collectively as peoples
everywhere unite in their determination that liberty and well-being come
to all mankind.
Yet while we have worked to advance national aspirations for freedom,
a divisive force has been at work to divert that aspiration into dangerous
channels. The Communist movement throughout the world exploits the natural
striving of all to be free and attempts to subjugate men rather than free
them. These activities have caused and are continuing to cause grave troubles
in the world.
Here at home these have been times for careful adjustment of our economy
from the artificial impetus of a hot war to constructive growth in a precarious
peace. While building a new economic vitality without inflation, we have
also increased public expenditures to keep abreast of the needs of a growing
population and its attendant new problems, as well as our added international
responsibilities. We have worked toward these ends in a context of shared
responsibility--conscious of the need for maximum scope to private effort
and for State and local, as well as Federal, governmental action.
Success in designing and executing national purposes, domestically and
abroad, can only come from a steadfast resolution that integrity in the
operation of government and in our relations with each other be fully maintained.
Only in this way could our spiritual goals be fully advanced.
On January 20, 1953, when I took office, the United States was at war.
Since the signing of the Korean Armistice in 1953, Americans have lived
in peace in highly troubled times.
During the 1956 Suez crisis, the United States government strongly supported
United Nations' action--resulting in the ending of the hostilities in Egypt.
Again in 1958, peace was preserved in the Middle East despite new discord.
Our government responded to the request of the friendly Lebanese Government
for military help, and promptly withdrew American forces as soon as the
situation was stabilized.
In 1958 our support of the Republic of China during the all-out bombardment
of Quemoy restrained the Communist Chinese from attempting to invade the
Although, unhappily, Communist penetration of Cuba is real and poses
a serious threat, Communist dominated regimes have been deposed in Guatemala
and Iran. The occupation of Austria has ended and the Trieste question
has been settled.
Despite constant threats to its integrity, West Berlin has remained
Important advances have been made in building mutual security arrangements--which
lie at the heart of our hopes for future peace and security in the world.
The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization has been established; the NATO alliance
has been militarily strengthened; the Organization of American States has
been further developed as an instrument of inter-American cooperation;
the Anzus treaty has strengthened ties with Australia and New Zealand,
and a mutual security treaty with Japan has been signed. In addition, the
CENTO pact has been concluded, and while we are not officially a member
of this alliance we have participated closely in its deliberations.
The "Atoms for Peace" proposal to the United Nations led to the creation
of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our policy has been to push
for enforceable programs of inspection against surprise attack, suspension
of nuclear testing, arms reduction, and peaceful use of outer space.
The United Nations has been vigorously supported in all of its actions,
including the condemnations of the wholesale murder of the people of Tibet
by the Chinese Communists and the brutal Soviet repression of the people
of Hungary, as well as the more recent UN actions in the Congo.
The United States took the initiative in negotiating the significant
treaty to guarantee the peaceful use of vast Antarctica.
The United States Information Agency has been transformed into a greatly
improved medium for explaining our policies and actions to audiences overseas,
answering the lies of communist propaganda, and projecting a clearer image
of American life and culture.
Cultural, technological and educational exchanges with the Soviet Union
have been encouraged, and a comprehensive agreement was made which authorized,
among other things, the distribution of our Russian language magazine Amerika
and the highly successful American Exhibition in Moscow.
This country has continued to withhold recognition of Communist China
and to oppose vigorously the admission of this belligerent and unrepentant
nation into the United Nations. Red China has yet to demonstrate that it
deserves to be considered a "peace-loving" nation.
With communist imperialism held in check, constructive actions were
undertaken to strengthen the economies of free world nations. The United
States government has given sturdy support to the economic and technical
assistance activities of the UN. This country stimulated a doubling of
the capital of the World Bank and a 50 percent capital increase in the
International Monetary Fund. The Development Loan Fund and the International
Development Association were established. The United States also took the
lead in creating the Inter-American Development Bank.
Vice President Nixon, Secretaries of State Dulles and Herter and I travelled
extensively through the world for the purpose of strengthening the cause
of peace, freedom, and international understanding. So rewarding were these
visits that their very success became a significant factor in causing the
Soviet Union to wreck the planned Summit Conference of 1960.
These vital programs must go on. New tactics will have to be developed,
of course, to meet new situations, but the underlying principles should
be constant. Our great moral and material commitments to collective security,
deterrence of force, international law, negotiations that lead to self-enforcing
agreements, and the economic interdependence of free nations should remain
the cornerstone of a foreign policy that will ultimately bring permanent
peace with justice in freedom to all mankind. The continuing need of all
free nations today is for each to recognize clearly the essentiality of
an unbreakable bond among themselves based upon a complete dedication to
the principles of collective security, effective cooperation and peace
For the first time in our nation's history we have consistently maintained
in peacetime, military forces of a magnitude sufficient to deter and if
need be to destroy predatory forces in the world.
Tremendous advances in strategic weapons systems have been made in the
past eight years. Not until 1953 were expenditures on long-range ballistic
missile programs even as much as a million dollars a year; today we spend
ten times as much each day on these programs as was spent in all of 1952.
No guided ballistic missiles were operational at the beginning of 1953.
Today many types give our armed forces unprecedented effectiveness. The
explosive power of our weapons systems for all purposes is almost inconceivable.
Today the United States has operational ATLAS missiles which can strike
a target 5000 miles away in a half-hour. The POLARIS weapons system became
operational last fall and the TITAN is scheduled to become so this year.
Next year, more than a year ahead of schedule, a vastly improved ICBM,
the solid propellant MINUTEMAN, is expected to be ready.
Squadrons of accurate Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles are now
operational. The THOR and JUPITER IRBMs based in forward areas can hit
targets 1500 miles away in 18 minutes.
Aircraft which fly at speeds faster than sound were still in a developmental
stage eight years ago. Today American fighting planes go twice the speed
of sound. And either our B-58 Medium Range Jet Bomber or our B-52 Long
Range Jet Bomber can carry more explosive power than was used by all combatants
in World War II--Allies and Axis combined.
Eight years ago we had no nuclear-powered ships. Today 49 nuclear warships
have been authorized. Of these, 14 have been commissioned, including three
of the revolutionary POLARIS submarines. Our nuclear submarines have cruised
under the North Pole and circumnavigated the earth while submerged. Sea
warfare has been revolutionized, and the United States is far and away
Our tactical air units overseas and our aircraft carriers are alert;
Army units, guarding the frontiers of freedom in Europe and the Far East,
are in the highest state of readiness in peacetime history; our Marines,
a third of whom are deployed in the Far East, are constantly prepared for
action; our Reserve establishment has maintained high standards of proficiency,
and the Ready Reserve now numbers over 2 ? million citizen-soldiers.
The Department of Defense, a young and still evolving organization,
has twice been improved and the line of command has been shortened in order
to meet the demands of modern warfare. These major reorganizations have
provided a more effective structure for unified planning and direction
of the vast defense establishment. Gradual improvements in its structure
and procedures are to be expected.
United States civil defense and nonmilitary defense capacity has been
greatly strengthened and these activities have been consolidated in one
The defense forces of our Allies now number five million men, several
thousand combatant ships, and over 25,000 aircraft. Programs to strengthen
these allies have been consistently supported by the Administration. U.S.
military assistance goes almost exclusively to friendly nations on the
rim of the communist world. This American contribution to nations who have
the will to defend their freedom, but insufficient means, should be vigorously
continued. Combined with our Allies, the free world now has a far stronger
shield than we could provide alone.
Since 1953, our defense policy has been based on the assumption that
the international situation would require heavy defense expenditures for
an indefinite period to come, probably for years. In this protracted struggle,
good management dictates that we resist overspending as resolutely as we
oppose under-spending. Every dollar uselessly spent on military mechanisms
decreases our total strength and, therefore, our security. We must not
return to the "crash-program" psychology of the past when each new feint
by the Communists was responded to in panic. The "bomber gap" of several
years ago was always a fiction, and the "missile gap" shows every sign
of being the same.
The nation can ill afford to abandon a national policy which provides
for a fully adequate and steady level of effort, designed for the long
pull; a fast adjustment to new scientific and technological advances; a
balanced force of such strength as to deter general war, to effectively
meet local situations and to retaliate to attack and destroy the attacker;
and a strengthened system of free world collective security.
The expanding American economy passed the half-trillion dollar mark
in gross national product early in 1960. The Nation's output of goods and
services is now nearly 25 percent higher than in 1952.
In 1959, the average American family had an income of $6,520, 15 percent
higher in dollars of constant buying power than in 1952, and the real wages
of American factory workers have risen 20 percent during the past eight
years. These facts reflect the rising standard of individual and family
well-being enjoyed by Americans.
Our Nation benefits also from a remarkable improvement in general industrial
peace through strengthened processes of free collective bargaining. Time
lost since 1952 because of strikes has been half that lost in the eight
years prior to that date. Legislation now requires that union members have
the opportunity for full participation in the affairs of their unions.
The Administration supported the Landrum-Griffin Act, which I believe is
greatly helpful to the vast bulk of American Labor and its leaders, and
also is a major step in getting racketeers and gangsters out of labor-management
The economic security of working men and women has been strengthened
by an extension of unemployment insurance coverage to 2.5 million ex-servicemen,
2.4 million Federal employees, and 1.2 million employees of small businesses,
and by a strengthening of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. States
have been encouraged to improve their unemployment compensation benefits,
so that today average weekly benefits are 40 percent higher than in 1953.
Determined efforts have improved workers' safety standards. Enforceable
safety standards have been established for longshoremen and ship repair
workers; Federal Safety Councils have been increased from 14 to over 100;
safety awards have been initiated, and a national construction safety program
has been developed.
A major factor in strengthening our competitive enterprise system, and
promoting economic growth, has been the vigorous enforcement of antitrust
laws over the last eight years and a continuing effort to reduce artificial
restraints on competition and trade and enhance our economic liberties.
This purpose was also significantly advanced in 1953 when, as one of the
first acts of this Administration, restrictive wage and price controls
An additional measure to strengthen the American system of competitive
enterprise was the creation of the Small Business Administration in 1953
to assist existing small businesses and encourage new ones. This agency
has approved over $1 billion in loans, initiated a new program to provide
long-term capital for small businesses, aided in setting aside $3? billion
in government contracts for award to small business concerns, and brought
to the attention of individual businessmen, through programs of information
and education, new developments in management and production techniques.
Since 1952, important tax revisions have been made to encourage small businesses.
Many major improvements in the Nation's transportation system have been
--After long years of debate, the dream of a great St. Lawrence Seaway,
opening the heartland of America to ocean commerce, has been fulfilled.
--The new Federal Aviation Agency is fostering greater safety in air
--The largest public construction program in history--the 41,000 mile
national system of Interstate and Defense highways--has been pushed rapidly
forward. Twenty-five percent of this system is now open to traffic.
Efforts to help every American build a better life have included also
a vigorous program for expanding our trade with other nations. A 4-year
renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act was passed in 1958, and
a continuing and rewarding effort has been made to persuade other countries
to remove restrictions against our exports. A new export expansion program
was launched in 1960, inaugurating improvement of export credit insurance
and broadening research and information programs to awaken Americans to
business opportunities overseas. These actions and generally prosperous
conditions abroad have helped push America's export trade to a level of
$20 billion in 1960.
Although intermittent declines in economic activity persist as a problem
in our enterprise system, recent downturns have been moderate and of short
duration. There is, however, little room for complacency. Currently our
economy is operating at high levels, but unemployment rates are higher
than any of us would like, and chronic pockets of high unemployment persist.
Clearly, continued sound and broadly shared economic growth remains a major
national objective toward which we must strive through joint private and
If government continues to work to assure every American the fullest
opportunity to develop and utilize his ability and talent, it will be performing
one of its most vital functions, that of advancing the welfare and protecting
the dignity, rights, and freedom of all Americans.
GOVERNMENT FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
In January 1953, the consumer's dollar was worth only 52 cents in terms
of the food, clothing, shelter and other items it would buy compared to
1939. Today, the inflationary spiral which had raised the cost of living
by 36 percent between 1946 and 1952 has all but ceased and the value of
the dollar virtually stabilized.
In 1954 we had the largest tax cut in history, amounting to $7.4 billion
annually, of which over 62 percent went to individuals mostly in the small
This Administration has directed constant efforts toward fiscal responsibility.
Balanced budgets have been sought when the economy was advancing, and a
rigorous evaluation of spending programs has been maintained at all times.
Resort to deficit financing in prosperous times could easily erode international
confidence in the dollar and contribute to inflation at home. In this belief,
I shall submit a balanced budget for fiscal 1962 to the Congress next week.
There has been a firm policy of reducing government competition with
private enterprise. This has resulted in the discontinuance of some 2,000
commercial industrial installations and in addition the curtailment of
approximately 550 industrial installations operated directly by government
Also an aggressive surplus disposal program has been carried on to Identify
and dispose of unneeded government-owned real property. This has resulted
in the addition of a substantial number of valuable properties to local
tax rolls, and a significant monetary return to the government.
Earnest and persistent attempts have been made to strengthen the position
of State and local governments and thereby to stop the dangerous drift
toward centralization of governmental power in Washington.
Significant strides have been made in increasing the effectiveness of
government. Important new agencies have been established, such as the Department
of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Federal Aviation Agency, and the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Council of Economic
Advisers was reconstituted.
The operation of our postal system has been modernized to get better
and more efficient service. Modernized handling of local mail now brings
next-day delivery to 168 million people in our population centers, expanded
carrier service now accommodates 9.3 million families in the growing suburbs,
and 1.4 million families have been added to the rural delivery service.
Common sense dictates that the Postal Service should be on a self-financing
The concept of a trained and dedicated government career service has
been strengthened by the provision of life and health insurance benefits,
a vastly improved retirement system, a new merit promotion program, and
the first effective incentive awards program. With no sacrifice in efficiency,
Federal civilian employment since 1953 has been reduced by over a quarter
of a million persons.
I am deeply gratified that it was under the urging of this Administration
that Alaska and Hawaii became our 49th and 50th States.
Despite the difficulties of administering Congressional programs which
apply outmoded prescriptions and which aggravate rather than solve problems,
the past eight years brought notable advances in agriculture.
Total agricultural assets are approximately $200 billion--up $36 billion
in eight years.
Farm owner equities are at the near record high of $174 billion.
Farm ownership is at a record high with fewer farmers in a tenant and
sharecropper status than at any time in our nation's history.
The "Food-for-Peace" program has demonstrated how surplus of American
food and fiber can be effectively used to feed and clothe the needy abroad.
Aided by this humanitarian program, total agricultural exports have grown
from $2.8 billion in 1953 to an average of about
$4 billion annually for the past three years. For 1960, exports are
estimated at $4.5 billion, the highest volume on record. Under the Food-for-Peace
program, the largest wheat transaction in history was consummated with
India in 1960.
The problems of low-income farm families received systematic attention
for the first time in the Rural Development Program. This program has gone
forward in 39 States, yielding higher incomes and a better living for rural
people most in need.
The Rural Electrification Administration has helped meet the growing
demand for power and telephones in agricultural areas. Ninety-seven percent
of all farms now have central station electric power. Dependence upon Federal
financing should no longer be necessary.
The Farm Credit Administration has been made an independent agency more
responsive to the farmer's needs.
The search for new uses for our farm abundance and to develop new crops
for current needs has made major progress. Agricultural research appropriations
have increased by 171 percent since 1953.
Farmers are being saved approximately $80 million a year by the repeal
in 1956 of Federal taxes on gasoline used in tractors and other machinery.
Since 1953, appropriations have been doubled for county agents, home
agents and the Extension Service.
Eligibility for Social Security benefits has been extended to farmers
and their families.
Yet in certain aspects our agricultural surplus situation is increasingly
grave. For example, our wheat stocks now total 1.3 billion bushels. If
we did not harvest one bushel of wheat in this coming year, we would still
have all we could eat, all we could sell abroad, all we could give away,
and still have a substantial carryover. Extraordinary costs are involved
just in management and disposal of this burdensome surplus. Obviously important
adjustments must still come. Congress must enact additional legislation
to permit wheat and other farm commodities to move into regular marketing
channels in an orderly manner and at the same time afford the needed price
protection to the farmer. Only then will agriculture again be free, sound,
New emphasis has been placed on the care of our national parks. A ten
year development program of our National Park System--Mission 66--was initiated
and 633,000 acres of park land have been added since 1953.
Appropriations for fish and wildlife operations have more than doubled.
Thirty-five new refuges, containing 11,342,000 acres, have been added to
the national wildlife management system.
Our Nation's forests have been improved at the most rapid rate in history.
The largest sustained effort in water resources development in our history
has taken place. In the field of reclamation alone, over 50 new projects,
or project units, have been authorized since 1953--including the billion
dollar Colorado River Storage Project. When all these projects have been
completed they will have a storage capacity of nearly 43 million acre-feet--an
increase of 50 percent over the Bureau of Reclamation's storage capacity
in mid-1953. In addition, since 1953 over 450 new navigation flood control
and multiple purpose projects of the Corps of Engineers have been started,
costing nearly 6 billion dollars.
Soil and water conservation has been advanced as never before. One hundred
forty-one projects are now being constructed under the Watershed Protection
Hydroelectric power has been impressively developed through a policy
which recognizes that the job to be done requires comprehensive development
by Federal, State, and local governments and private enterprise. Teamwork
is essential to achieve this objective.
The Federal Columbia River power system has grown from two multipurpose
dams with a 2.6 million kilowatt capacity to 17 multipurpose projects completed
or under construction with an ultimate installed capacity of 8.1 million
kilowatts. After years of negotiation, a Columbia River Storage Development
agreement with Canada now opens the way for early realization of unparalleled
power, flood control and resource conservation benefits for the Pacific
Northwest. A treaty implementing this agreement will shortly be submitted
to the Senate.
A farsighted and highly successful program for meeting urgent water
needs is being carded out by converting salt water to fresh water. A 75
percent reduction in the cost of this process has already been realized.
Continuous resource development is essential for our expanding economy.
We must continue vigorous, combined Federal, State and private programs,
at the same time preserving to the maximum extent possible our natural
and scenic heritage for future generations.
EDUCATION, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY
The National Defense Education Act of 1958 is already a milestone in
the history of American education. It provides broad opportunities for
the intellectual development of all children by strengthening courses of
study in science, mathematics, and foreign languages, by developing new
graduate programs to train additional teachers, and by providing loans
for young people who need financial help to go to college.
The Administration proposed on numerous occasions a broad new five-year
program of Federal aid to help overcome the classroom shortage in public
elementary and secondary schools. Recommendations were also made to give
assistance to colleges and universities for the construction of academic
and residential buildings to meet future enrollment increases.
This Administration greatly expanded Federal loans for building dormitories
for students, teachers, and nurses training, a program assisting in the
construction of approximately 200,000 living accommodations during the
past 8 years.
There has been a vigorous acceleration of health, resource and education
programs designed to advance the role of the American Indian in our society.
Last fall, for example, 91 percent of the Indian children between the ages
of 6 and 18 on reservations were enrolled in school. This is a rise of
12 percent since 1953.
In the field of science and technology, startling strides have been
made by the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In little
more than two years, NASA has successfully launched meteorological satellites,
such as Tiros I and Tiros II, that promise to revolutionize methods of
weather forecasting; demonstrated the feasibility of satellites for global
communications by the successful launching of Echo I; produced an enormous
amount of valuable scientific data, such as the discovery of the Van Allen
Radiation Belt; successfully launched deep-space probes that maintained
communication over the greatest range man has ever tracked; and made real
progress toward the goal of manned space flights.
These achievements unquestionably make us preeminent today in space
exploration for the betterment of mankind. I believe the present organizational
arrangements in this area, with the revisions proposed last year, are completely
adequate for the tasks ahead.
Americans can look forward to new achievements in space exploration.
The near future will hold such wonders as the orbital flight of an astronaut,
the landing of instruments on the moon, the launching of the powerful giant
Saturn rocket vehicles, and the reconnaissance of Mars and Venus by unmanned
The application of atomic energy to industry, agriculture, and medicine
has progressed from hope and experiment to reality. American industry and
agriculture are making increasing use of radioisotopes to improve manufacturing,
testing, and crop-raising. Atomic energy has improved the ability of the
healing professions to combat disease, and holds promise for an eventual
increase in man's life span.
Education, science, technology and balanced programs of every kind-these
are the roadways to progress. With appropriate Federal support, the States
and localities can assure opportunities for achieving excellence at all
levels of the educational system; and with the Federal government continuing
to give wholehearted support to basic scientific research and technology,
we can expect to maintain our position of leadership in the world.
The first consequential Federal Civil Rights legislation in 85 years
was enacted by Congress on recommendation of the Administration in 1957
A new Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice has already
moved to enforce constitutional rights in such areas as voting and the
elimination of Jim Crow laws.
Greater equality of job opportunity in Federal employment and employment
with Federal contractors has been effectively provided through the President's
Committees on Government Contracts and Government Employment Practices.
The Civil Rights Commission has undertaken important surveys in the
fields of housing, voting, and education.
Segregation has been abolished in the Armed Forces, in Veterans' Hospitals,
in all Federal employment, and throughout the District of Columbia--administratively
accomplished progress in this field that is unmatched in America's recent
This pioneering work in civil rights must go on. Not only because discrimination
is morally wrong, but also because its impact is more than national--it
HEALTH AND WELFARE
Federal medical research expenditures have increased more than fourfold
A vast variety of the approaches known to medical science has been explored
to find better methods of treatment and prevention of major diseases, particularly
heart diseases, cancer, and mental illness.
The control of air and water pollution has been greatly strengthened.
Americans now have greater protection against harmful, unclean, or misrepresented
foods, drugs, or cosmetics through a strengthened Food and Drug Administration
and by new legislation which requires that food additives be proved safe
for human consumption before use.
A newly established Federal Radiation Council, along with the Department
of Health, Education, and Welfare, analyzes and coordinates information
regarding radiological activities which affect the public health.
Medical manpower has been increased by Federal grants for teaching and
Construction of new medical facilities has been stepped up and extended
to include nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers, and rehabilitation
The vocational rehabilitation program has been significantly expanded.
About 90,000 handicapped people are now being rehabilitated annually so
they are again able to earn their own living with self-respect and dignity.
New legislation provides for better medical care for the needy aged,
including those older persons, who, while otherwise self-sufficient, need
help in meeting their health care costs. The Administration recommended
a major expansion of this effort.
The coverage of the Social Security Act has been broadened since 1953
to make 11 million additional people eligible for retirement, disability
or survivor benefits for themselves or their dependents, and the Social
Security benefits have been substantially improved.
Grants to the States for maternal and child welfare services have been
The States, aided by Federal grants, now assist some 6 million needy
people through the programs of Old Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children,
Aid to the Blind, and Aid to the Totally and Permanently Disabled.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
More houses have been built during the past eight years--over nine million--than
during any previous eight years in history.
An historic new approach--Urban Renewal--now replaces piecemeal thrusts
at slum pockets and urban blight. Communities engaged in urban renewal
have doubled and renewal projects have more than tripled since 1953. An
estimated 68 projects in 50 cities will be completed by the end of the
current fiscal year; another 577 projects will be underway, and planning
for 310 more will be in process. A total of $2 billion in Federal grants
will ultimately be required to finance these 955 projects.
New programs have been initiated to provide more and better housing
for elderly people. Approximately 25,000 units especially designed for
the elderly have been built, started, or approved in the past three years.
For the first time, because of Federal help and .encouragement, 90 metropolitan
areas and urban regions and 1140 smaller towns throughout the country are
making comprehensive development plans for their future growth and development.
American communities have been helped to plan water and sanitation systems
and schools through planning advances for 1600 public works projects with
a construction cost of nearly $2 billion.
Mortgage insurance on individual homes has been greatly expanded. During
the past eight years, the Federal Housing Administration alone insured
over 2? million home mortgages valued at $27 billion, and in addition,
insured more than ten million property improvement loans.
The Federal government must continue to provide leadership in order
to make our cities and communities better places in which to live, work,
and raise families, but without usurping rightful local authority, replacing
individual responsibility, or stifling private initiative.
Over 32,000 victims of Communist tyranny in Hungary were brought to
our shores, and at this time our country is working to assist refugees
from tyranny in Cuba.
Since 1953, the waiting period for naturalization applicants has been
reduced from 18 months to 45 days.
The Administration also has made legislative recommendations to liberalize
existing restrictions upon immigration while still safeguarding the national
interest. It is imperative that our immigration policy be in the finest
American tradition of providing a haven for oppressed peoples and fully
in accord with our obligation as a leader of the free world.
In discharging the nation's obligation to our veterans, during the past
eight years there have been:
The readjustment of World War II veterans was completed, and the five
million Korean conflict veterans were assisted in achieving successful
readjustment to civilian life;
Increases in compensation benefits for all eligible veterans with service
Higher non-service connected pension benefits for needy veterans;
Greatly improved benefits to survivors of veterans dying in or as a
result of service;
Authorization, by Presidential directive, of an increase in the number
of beds available for sick and disabled veterans;
Development of a 12-year, $900 million construction program to modernize
and improve our veterans hospitals;
New modern techniques brought into the administration of Veterans Affairs
to provide the highest quality service possible to those who have defended
In concluding my final message to the Congress, it is fitting to look
back to my first--to the aims and ideals I set forth on February 2, 1953:
To use America's influence in world affairs to advance the cause of peace
and justice, to conduct the affairs of the Executive Branch with integrity
and efficiency, to encourage creative initiative in our economy, and to
work toward the attainment of the well-being and equality of opportunity
of all citizens.
Equally, we have honored our commitment to pursue and attain specific
objectives. Among them, as stated eight years ago: strengthening of the
mutual security program; development of world trade and commerce; ending
of hostilities in Korea; creation of a powerful deterrent force; practicing
fiscal responsibility; checking the menace of inflation; reducing the tax
burden; providing an effective internal security program; developing and
conserving our natural resources; reducing governmental interference in
the affairs of the farmer; strengthening and improving services by the
Department of Labor, and the vigilant guarding of civil and social fights.
I do not close this message implying that all is well--that all problems
are solved. For progress implies both new and continuing problems and,
unlike Presidential administrations, problems rarely have terminal dates.
Abroad, there is the continuing Communist threat to the freedom of Berlin,
an explosive situation in Laos, the problems caused by Communist penetration
of Cuba, as well as the many problems connected with the development of
the new nations in Africa. These areas, in particular, call for delicate
handling and constant review.
At home, several conspicuous problems remain: promoting higher levels
of employment, with special emphasis on areas in which heavy unemployment
has persisted; continuing to provide for steady economic growth and preserving
a sound currency; bringing our balance of payments into more reasonable
equilibrium and continuing a high level of confidence in our national and
international systems; eliminating heavily excessive surpluses of a few
farm commodities; and overcoming deficiencies in our health and educational
Our goal always has been to add to the spiritual, moral, and material
strength of our nation. I believe we have done this. But it is a process
that must never end. Let us pray that leaders of both the near and distant
future will be able to keep the nation strong and at peace, that they will
advance the well-being of all our people, that they will lead us on to
still higher moral standards, and that, in achieving these goals, they
will maintain a reasonable balance between private and governmental responsibility.