From CQ Fact Sheet on John F. Kennedy, Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1960.

Kennedy's stands on key current issues facing the nation

The Presidency

"(The next President) must above all be the Chief Executive in every sense of the word. He must be prepared to exercise the fullest powers of his office -- all that are specified and some that are not.... He must reopen the channels of communication between the world of thought and the seat of power... must know when to lead the Congress, when to consult it and when he should act alone.... It is the President alone who must make the major decisions of our foreign policy.... Even domestically, the President must initiate policies and devise laws to meet the needs of the Nation. And he must be prepared to use all the resources of his office to ensure the enactment of that legislation -- even when conflict is the result.... The White House is not only the center of political leadership, it must also be the center of moral leadership.... We will need in the sixties a President who is willing and able to summon his national constituency to its finest hour -- to alert the people to our dangers and our opportunities -- to demand of them the sacrifices that will be necessary." Jan. 14, 1960.


"The Republican peace and prosperity is a myth. We are not enjoying a period of peace -- only a period of stagnation and retreat, while America becomes second in missiles, second in space, second in education and if we don't act fast and effectively, second in production and industrial might." March 28, 1960.


"The United States has put forward a hurriedly prepared disarmament plan -- compounded of old proposals and a lack of new, creative thinking.... Despite (the) difficulties, I believe that today's international climate, more than ever before, holds out the possibility for an effective start on arms control.... I do not want to minimize the Russian threat.... Nor do I believe that we can rely for disarmament on merely trusting the word of Soviet leaders -- we must have a (reliable) inspection system.... But I do believe that under what appears to be a more fluid and rational atmosphere since the death of Stalin, the Soviet leaders may realize that the path of Russian self-interest permits -- and perhaps compels -- them to agree to some steps toward comprehensive arms control.... Even with (an inspection) system, there will be risks. Peace programs involve risks as do arms programs, but the risks of arms are even more dangerous. We need much more than research ...constructive leadership, and clear vision, and careful planning.... I have introduced a bill to establish an Arms Control Research Institute ... under the immediate direction of the President (to) carry on and coordinate all the research, development and policy planning needed for a workable disarmament program. (It will provide) essential studies in ... aerial reconnaissance, radar surveillance, monitoring and inspection systems.... (It) will also make plans to facilitate the conversion from a war economy to a peace economy. And it will engage in positive programs for peace -- programs of international cooperation in research, in eliminating such world-wide scourges as hunger, illiteracy and poverty. Here, in one responsible organization, would be centered our hopes for peace." March 25, 1960.

Nuclear Test Ban

Kennedy said the United States should postpone resumption of nuclear tests indefinitely -- as long as the Soviet Union did not resume tests and as long as negotiations for a permanent ban continued amicably. If negotiations collapsed, Kennedy said, U.S. tests should be confined to underground and outer-space explosions. Nov. 2, 1959.

Kennedy wrote to President Eisenhower assuring him that if elected President, he would carry out any moratorium on underground nuclear weapons tests agreed to by Mr. Eisenhower. April 30, 1960.

Foreign Policy

"If we make the Development Loan Fund the dominant instrument of our long-range foreign policy ... then we can make it clear to others that the U.S. will not be moved to assist other nations simply as a result of the short-term trend or some minor American loss in the cold war." Sept. 18, 1959.

Khrushchev Visit

"The Khrushchev I met was a tough-minded, articulate hard-reasoning spokesman for a system ... in which he thoroughly believes.... He was not putting on any act... when he talked about the inevitable triumph of the communist system.... I think it is well that the American people saw and heard this kind of man and this kind of talk. I think it is important that we realize what we are up against ... and that he realizes what he is up against, so that he does not miscalculate our determination or underestimate our resources." Oct. 1, 1959.


The Republicans "talk about their prosperity, but it is a prosperity for some, not for all. And it is an abundance of goods, not of courage. We have the most gadgets and the most gimmicks in our history, the biggest TVs and tailfins, but we also have the worst slums, the most crowded schools, and the greatest erosion of our natural resources and our national will. It will be for some an age of material prosperity, but it is also an age of spiritual poverty." March 28, 1960.

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