doctrine of troika was being pressed in his place, and atmospheric
tests had been resumed by the Soviet Union.
Those were anxious days for mankind - and some men wondered aloud
whether this organization could survive. But the 16th and 17th
General Assemblies achieved not only survival but progress. Rising
to its responsibility, the United Nations helped reduce the tensions
and helped to hold back the darkness.
Today the clouds have lifted a little so that new rays of hope can
break through. The pressures on West Berlin appear to be temporarily
eased. Political unity in the Congo has been largely restored. A
neutral coalition in Laos, while still in difficulty, is at least in
being. The integrity of the United Nations Secretariat has been
reaffirmed. A United Nations Decade of Development is under way.
And, for the first time in 17 years of effort, a specific step has
been taken to limit the nuclear arms race.
I refer, of course, to the treaty to ban nuclear tests in the
atmosphere, outer space, and under water - concluded by the Soviet
Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States - and already
signed by nearly 100 countries. It has been hailed by people the
world over who are thankful to be free from the fears of nuclear
fallout, and I am confident that on next Tuesday at 10:30 o'clock in
the morning it will receive the overwhelming endorsement of the
Senate of the United States.
The world has not escaped from the darkness. The long shadows of
conflict and crisis envelop us still. But we meet today in an
atmosphere of rising hope, and at a moment of comparative calm. My
presence here today is not a sign of crisis, but of confidence. I am
not here to report on a new threat to the peace or new signs of war.
I have come to salute the United Nations and to show the support of
the American people for your daily deliberations.
For the value of this body's work is not dependent on the existence
of emergencies - nor can the winning of peace consist only of
dramatic victories. Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process,
gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly
building new structures. And however un-dramatic the pursuit of
peace, that pursuit must go on.
Today we may have reached a pause in the cold war - but that is not
a lasting peace. A test ban treaty is a milestone - but it is not
the millennium. We have not been released from our obligations - we
have been given an opportunity. And if we fail to make the most of
this moment and this momentum - if we convert our new-found hopes
and understandings into new walls and weapons of hostility - if this
pause in the cold war merely leads to its renewal and not to its end
- then the indictment of posterity will rightly point its finger at
us all. But if we can stretch this pause into a period of
cooperation - if both sides can now gain new confidence and
experience in concrete collaborations for peace - if we can now be
as bold and farsighted in the control of deadly weapons as we have
been in their creation - then surely this first small step can be
the start of a long and fruitful journey.
The task of building the peace lies with the leaders of every
nation, large and small. For the great powers have no monopoly on
conflict or ambition. The cold war is not the only expression of
tension in this world - and the nuclear race is not the only arms
race. Even little wars are dangerous in a nuclear world. The long
labour of peace is an undertaking for every nation - and in this
effort none of us can remain unaligned. To this goal none can be
The reduction of global tension must not be an excuse for the narrow
pursuit of self-interest. If the Soviet Union and the United States,
with all of their global interests and clashing commitments of
ideology, and with nuclear weapons still aimed at each other today,
can find areas of common interest and agreement, then surely other
nations can do the same - nations caught in regional conflicts, in
racial issues, or in the death throes of old colonialism. Chronic
disputes which divert precious resources from the needs of the
people or drain the energies of both sides serve the interests of no
one - and the badge of responsibility in the modern world is a
willingness to seek peaceful solutions.
It is never too early to try; and it's never too late to talk; and
it's high time that many disputes on the agenda of this Assembly
were taken off the debating schedule and placed on the negotiating
The fact remains that the United States, as a major nuclear power,
does have a special responsibility in the world. It is, in fact, a
threefold responsibility - a responsibility to our own citizens; a
responsibility to the people of the whole world who are affected by
our decisions; and to the next generation of humanity. We believe
the Soviet Union also has these special responsibilities - and that
those responsibilities require our two nations to concentrate less
on our differences and more on the means of resolving them
peacefully. For too long both of us have increased our military
budgets, our nuclear stockpiles, and our capacity to destroy all
life on this hemisphere - human, animal, vegetable--without any
corresponding increase in our security.
Our conflicts, to be sure, are real. Our concepts of the world are
different. No service is performed by failing to make clear our
disagreements. A central difference is the belief of the American
people in the self-determination of all people.
We believe that the people of Germany and Berlin must be free to
reunite their capital and their country.
We believe that the people of Cuba must be free to secure the fruits
of the revolution that have been betrayed from within and exploited
In short, we believe that all the world - in Eastern Europe as well
as Western, in Southern Africa as well as Northern, in old nations
as well as new - that people must be free to choose their own
future, without discrimination or dictation, without coercion or
These are the basic differences between the Soviet Union and the
United States, and they cannot be concealed. So long as they exist,
they set limits to agreement, and they forbid the relaxation of our
vigilance. Our defence around the world will be maintained for the
protection of freedom and our determination to safeguard that
freedom will measure up to any threat or challenge.
But I would say to the leaders of the Soviet Union, and to their
people, that if either of our countries is to be fully secure, we
need a much better weapon than the H-bomb - a weapon better than
ballistic missiles or nuclear submarines - and that better weapon is
We have, in recent years, agreed on a limited test ban treaty, on an
emergency communications link between our capitals, on a statement
of principles for disarmament, on an increase in cultural exchange,
on cooperation in outer space, on the peaceful exploration of the
Antarctic, and on tempering last year's crisis over Cuba.
I believe, therefore, that the Soviet Union and the United States,
together with their allies, can achieve further agreements
agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual
There can be no doubt about the agenda of further steps. We must
continue to seek agreements on measures which prevent war by
accident or miscalculation. We must continue to seek agreements on
safeguards against surprise attack, including observation posts at
key points. We must continue to seek agreement on further measures
to curb the nuclear arms race, by controlling the transfer of
nuclear weapons, converting fissionable materials to peaceful
purposes, and banning underground testing, with adequate inspection
and enforcement. We must continue to seek agreement on a freer flow
of information and people from East to West and West to East.
We must continue to seek agreement, encouraged by yesterday's
affirmative response to this proposal by the Soviet Foreign
Minister, on an arrangement to keep weapons of mass destruction out
of outer space. Let us get our negotiators back to the negotiating
table to work out a practicable arrangement to this end.
In these and other ways, let us move up the steep and difficult path
toward comprehensive disarmament, securing mutual confidence through
mutual verification, and building the institutions of peace as we
dismantle the engines of war. We must not let failure to agree on
all points delay agreements where agreement is possible. And we must
not put forward proposals for propaganda purposes.
Finally, in a field where the United States and the Soviet Union
have a special capacity in the field of space there is room for new
cooperation, for further joint efforts in the regulation and
exploration of space. I include among these possibilities a joint
expedition to the moon. Space offers no problems of sovereignty; by
resolution of this Assembly, the members of the United Nations have
foresworn any claim to territorial rights in outer space or on
celestial bodies, and declared that international law and the United
Nations Charter will apply. Why, therefore, should man's first
flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should
the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such
expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research,
construction, and expenditure? Surely we should explore whether the
scientists and astronauts of our two countries--indeed of all the
world - cannot work together in the conquest of space, sending
someday in this decade to the moon not the representatives of a
single nation, but the representatives of all of our countries.
All these and other new steps toward peaceful cooperation may be
possible. Most of them will require on our part full consultation
with our allies - for their interests are as much involved as our
own, and we will not make an agreement at their expense. Most of
them will require long and careful negotiation. And most of them
will require a new approach to the cold war - a desire not to "bury"
one's adversary, but to compete in a host of peaceful arenas, in
ideas, in production, and ultimately in service to all mankind.
The contest will continue -the contest between those who see a
monolithic world and those who believe in diversity - but it should
be a contest in leadership and responsibility instead of
destruction, a contest in achievement instead of intimidation.
Speaking for the United States of America, I welcome such a contest.
For we believe that truth is stronger than error - and that freedom
is more enduring than coercion. And in the contest for a better
life, all the world can be a winner.
The effort to improve the conditions of man, however, is not a task
for the few. It is the task of all nations - acting alone, acting in
groups, acting in the United Nations, for plague and pestilence, and
plunder and pollution, the hazards of nature, and the hunger of
children are the foes of every nation. The earth, the sea, and the
air are the concern of every nation. And science, technology, and
education can be the ally of every nation.
Never before has man had such capacity to control his own
environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and
disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the
power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of
the world - or to make it the last.
The United States since the close of the war has sent over $100
billion worth of assistance to nations seeking economic viability.
And 2 years ago this week we formed a Peace Corps to help interested
nations meet the demand for trained manpower. Other industrialized
nations whose economies were rebuilt not so long ago with some help
from us are now in turn recognizing their responsibility to the less
The provision of development assistance by individual nations must
go on. But the United Nations also must play a larger role in
helping bring to all men the fruits of modern science and industry.
A United Nations conference on this subject held earlier this year
in Geneva opened new vistas for the developing countries. Next year
a United Nations Conference on Trade will consider the needs of
these nations for new markets. And more than four-fifths of the
entire United Nations system can be found today mobilizing the
weapons of science and technology for the United Nations' Decade of
But more can be done.
A world centre for health communications under the World Health
Organization could warn of epidemics and the adverse effects of
certain drugs as well as transmit the results of new experiments and
Regional research centres could advance our common medical knowledge
and train new scientists and doctors for new nations.
A global system of satellites could provide communication and
weather information for all corners of the earth.
A worldwide program of conservation could protect the forest and
wild game preserves now in danger of extinction for all time,
improve the marine harvest of food from our oceans, and prevent the
contamination of air and water by industrial as well as nuclear
And, finally, a worldwide program of farm productivity and food
distribution, similar to our country's "Food for Peace" program,
could now give every child the food he needs.
But man does not live by bread alone - and the members of this
organization are committed by the Charter to promote and respect
human rights. Those rights are not respected when a Buddhist priest
is driven from his pagoda, when a synagogue is shut down, when a
Protestant church cannot open a mission, when a Cardinal is forced
into hiding, or when a crowded church service is bombed. The United
States of America is opposed to discrimination and persecution on
grounds of race and religion anywhere in the world, including our
own Nation. We are working to right the wrongs of our own country.
Through legislation and administrative action, through moral and
legal commitment this Government has launched a determined effort to
rid our Nation of discrimination which has existed far too long - in
education, in housing, in transportation, in employment, in the
civil service, in recreation, and in places of public accommodation.
And therefore, in this or any other forum, we do not hesitate to
condemn racial or religious injustice, whether committed or
permitted by friend or foe.
I know that some of you have experienced discrimination in this
country. But I ask you to believe me when I tell you that this is
not the wish of most Americans - that we share your regret and
resentment - and that we intend to end such practices for all time
to come, not only for our visitors, but for our own citizens as
I hope that not only our Nation but all other multiracial societies
will meet these standards of fairness and justice. We are opposed to
apartheid and all forms of human oppression. We do not advocate the
rights of black Africans in order to drive out white Africans. Our
concern is the right of all men to equal protection under the law -
and since human rights are indivisible, this body cannot stand aside
when those rights are abused and neglected by any member state.
New efforts are needed if this Assembly's Declaration of Human
Rights, now 15 years old, is to have full meaning. And new means
should be found for promoting the free expression and trade of ideas
- through travel and communication, and through increased exchanges
of people, and books, and broadcasts. For as the world renounces the
competition of weapons, competition in ideas must flourish - and
that competition must be as full and as fair as possible.
The United States delegation will be prepared to suggest to the
United Nations initiatives in the pursuit of all the goals. For this
is an organization for peace - and peace cannot come without work
and without progress.
The peacekeeping record of the United Nations has been a proud one,
though its tasks are always formidable. We are fortunate to have the
skills of our distinguished Secretary General and the brave efforts
of those who have been serving the cause of peace in the Congo, in
the Middle East, in Korea and Kashmir, in West New Guinea and
Malaysia. But what the United Nations has done in the past is less
important than the tasks for the future. We cannot take its
peacekeeping machinery for granted. That machinery must be soundly
financed -which it cannot be if some members are allowed to prevent
it from meeting its obligations by failing to meet their own. The
United Nations must be supported by all those who exercise their
franchise here. And its operations must be backed to the end.
Too often a project is undertaken in the excitement of a crisis and
then it begins to lose its appeal as the problems drag on and the
bills pile up. But we must have the steadfastness to see every
It is, for example, most important not to jeopardize the
extraordinary United Nations gains in the Congo. The nation which
sought this organization's help only 3 years ago has now asked the
United Nations' presence to remain a little longer. I believe this
Assembly should do what is necessary to preserve the gains already
made and to protect the new nation in its struggle for progress. Let
us complete what we have started. For "No man who puts his hand to
the plough and looks back," as the Scriptures tell us, "No man who
puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of
I also hope that the recent initiative of several members in
preparing standby peace forces for United Nations call will
encourage similar commitments by others. This Nation remains ready
to provide logistic and other material support.
Policing, moreover, is not enough without provision for pacific
settlement. We should increase the resort to special missions of
fact-finding and conciliation, make greater use of the International
Court of Justice, and accelerate the work of the International Law
The United Nations cannot survive as a static organization. Its
obligations are increasing as well as its size. Its Charter must be
changed as well as its customs. The authors of that Charter did not
intend that it be frozen in perpetuity. The science of weapons and
war has made us all, far more than 18 years ago in San Francisco,
one world and one human race, with one common destiny. In such a
world, absolute sovereignty no longer assures us of absolute
security. The conventions of peace must pull abreast and then ahead
of the inventions of war. The United Nations, building on its
successes and learning from its failures, must be developed into a
genuine world security system.
But peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in
the hearts and minds of all people. And if it is cast out there,
then no act, no pact, no treaty, no organization can hope to
preserve it without the support and the wholehearted commitment of
all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on
paper; let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a
willingness to work for peace, in the hearts and minds of all our
people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human
destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.
Two years ago I told this body that the United States had proposed,
and was willing to sign, a limited test ban treaty. Today that
treaty has been signed. It will not put an end to war. It will not
remove basic conflicts. It will not secure freedom for all. But it
can be a lever, and Archimedes, in explaining the principles of the
lever, was said to have declared to his friends: "Give me a place
where I can stand and I shall move the world."
My fellow inhabitants of this planet: Let us take our stand here in
this Assembly of nations. And let us see if we, in our own time, can
move the world to a just and lasting peace.