Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy at Princeton University, May 11, 1954

I appreciate this opportunity to participate in the Colloquium on the Eisenhower Administration before this ancient and justly celebrated society. This society, and the University of which it is a part, have made singular contributions to the advancement of truth and freedom. The lives of two former members, James Madison and Adlai Stevenson, living at opposite ends of our historical span, give clear evidence of the nature and quality of the public service rendered by the graduates of this society and this college.

I have been given the assignment tonight of discussing, from a Party point of view, the Eisenhower Administration's conduct of foreign policy. The word "party" is derived, as you know, from the Latin word "partire", meaning: part, portion, division or share. I speak, therefore, not as a neutral, but as an advocate of one part of our political life; and while I will attempt to refrain from distorting the truth or unfairly condemning the Republicans for failure to achieve results that are beyond human endeavor, I should warn nevertheless that in fairness final judgment should be based also upon careful consideration of Senator Wiley's able speech last week.

My task is made more complicated by the fact that unlike domestic affairs, foreign policy does not lend itself easily to factional dispute. But a bipartisan approach on basic issues does not preclude policy differences, free from party rancor; and it would be an abrogation of responsibility if both parties did not set forth clearly what course of action they feel should be pursued in order to achieve our common objectives. Republicans and Democrats alike agree on the need for strengthening and unifying the free world, ending Communist aggression, building our national security, and seeking international disarmament and atomic control. But there are areas of disagreement and disappointment as well.

In considering the Eisenhower record, I feel it not amiss to point with some pride to the record compiled by the Democratic Administration, a record which is still subject to almost unprecedented abuse by that substantial element of the Republican Party which has opposed since the end of World War II the entire concept of a bipartisan foreign policy.

There was, of course, one major blot on that Democratic record: China. I am not as sure as I once was that it ever could have been saved. Nor is there any evidence that those who talked about it the most would have been willing to take the hard steps - including the commitment of American troops - which were essential to success. As Winston Churchill has said, the primary responsibility for the loss of China must rest with the Chinese Government which lost it. But, nevertheless, considering what was at stake, we must regard our efforts in that instance as wholly inadequate - lacking the vigor and single mindedness that might have permitted us to block the Communist advance.

On the other hand, there is a solid record of accomplishment. Between 1945 and 1952 the United States gave independence to the Philippines; supported the struggle for independence in Indonesia against our long-time friends, the Dutch, thereby helping to prevent a repetition of Indo-China in those fertile islands; helped pressure the Russians to evacuate Iran; stopped the Communists in Greece and Turkey under the Truman Doctrine; checked the rise of Communism elsewhere through the Marshall Plan and Mutual Security Program; broke the Berlin blockade; built a system of defensive alliances, including NATO, OAS and the Pacific Defense Pacts; gave reality to the concept of collective security by stopping the Communists in Korea; laid the groundwork for the Schuman Plan and EDC; took steps to bring Italy, Germany, Austria and Japan back into the family of nations; created the Point IV concept; developed the thermo-nuclear weapon; sent military aid to Indo-China; created the United Nations and its effectiveness against aggression, including the Little Assembly; and made similar progress in a hundred ways in a hundred areas of the world. No one can claim that the Republicans were stepping into an easy job on which the difficult work was all done; but certainly with the accomplishments of those challenging years behind them, in many ways the Republican record in foreign policy is disappointing, its outlook depressing. I submit that what Senator Wiley told you was "a policy of bold collective security" is not deserving of his description: "more vigorous, more imaginative, more dynamic, more daring, than that of the previous administration."

Any comprehensive review in the field of foreign policy for even a period of fifteen months is a difficult task.

But, to the extent time permits, let us review those items both large and small which form that entity called our foreign policy, in terms of four battles: the battle for the "initiative" in the various areas of the world; the battle for men's minds; the battle for economic gain; and the battle for national security.

I. The Battle for the Initiative

President Eisenhower, in this year's State of the Union Message, stated: "There has been a great strategic change in the world during the past year. That precious intangible, the initiative, is becoming ours….As a major theme of American policy during the coming year, let our joint determination be to hold this new initiative and to use it."

Interestingly enough, the chastening experience of the past month have in no way diminished the vigor and frequency with which administration spokesmen exalt publicly over this "initiative regained." But a survey of our policies in the various areas of the world fails to support this boast.

In Asia, the events of the last month are too disheartening and involve us all too heavily for captious and partisan criticism.

I do not blame Secretary Dulles for the failure of his desperate efforts since his "united action" speech five weeks ago to build a collective framework to prevent Communist seizure of Indo-China. No man could have tried harder or done more. But unifying the non-Communist forces of Asia, Western Europe and the United States on a single course of action in a concentrated period of time - a course of action sufficient to give a promise of success in the treacherous and swampy jungles of Indo-China - this was beyond human expectation. That it stimulated French hopes for immediate assistance was perhaps inevitable, and we will now suffer the inevitable charge of having let them down at their most crucial hour.

But it should have been no surprise that the British - living as they do on the bull's-eye in a hydrogen age - would prefer to await the results of Geneva before commencing a hasty and ill-considered intervention which would have internationalized the war on the worst possible battleground for the West and most obviously, it should have been no surprise that the call for united action by a dominant Western power against a powerful ancient and rapacious Asiatic nation, in a continent with a long history of Western exploration, has met with a hostile reception in the East. Months of planning were required to build the NATO alliance, even in the fertile grounds of Europe; to persuade the Asiatics to abandon their neutrality could not be done overnight.

Senator Dirksen, in speaking of Indo-China, said recently on the Senate floor that we should be grateful we have a President who can read a battle map; but someone misread with dire results the battle map in Indo-China. Now that we have suddenly become acutely aware of the dangers which confront the French in that area, can we rightfully expect that every other power would either automatically, or through threats or economic pressure, follow blindly the uncertain course we pursue in that area? The truth of the matter is that the administration's real failure in Indo-China was not that of the last four weeks; but one which occurred throughout the months since they assumed control, when the situation in Indo-China was deteriorating beneath the surface without any real recognition of the facts by our top officials. It is apparent that our intelligence estimates of the situation in Indo-China were woefully and inexcusably inaccurate. Within the past two months Secretary of State Dulles, Secretary of Defense Wilson, Assistant Secretary of State Robertson and Chairman Radford of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all predicted a probably military victory in Indo-China for the forces of the French Union. In February of this year, Secretary Wilson said that a French victory "was both possible and probable. I see no reason to think Indo-China would be another Korea." And in late March, Secretary Dulles said "We have no reason to abandon the Navarre Plan", which called for decisive military results by the French in one year.

During the same period, our Indo-China policy for action fluctuated on all points between assurances of early withdrawal of a few technicians to warnings of heavy commitments of American manpower. The statement by Vice President Nixon concerning the intervention of American manpower was wholly at odds with prior statements by the President, and with his own earlier assertion that massive retaliation was preferable to being "nibbled" to death in localized conflicts. Mr. Dulles last Friday evening suggested his support of both positions, however irreconcilable they may seem to you and me. The only change in the initiative, it seems, has not been from East to West - but from the President to the Vice President to Senator Knowland to Secretary Dulles. Before he insists on the support of our Allies, the President had better "seize the initiative" back so they will know whose policies they are asked to support.

It is difficult to say today precisely what our policy should be in Indo-China or what course future events will take, depending in great part on the reaction in France and Vietnam to the fall of Dien Bien Phu. Ideally, of course, if the Communists turn down the terms proposed by M. Bidault for a cease fire, it is our hope that the French, with additional assistance by the genuine independence to the people of Vietnam, and continue to fight long enough to permit the native armies to be trained and equipped and eventually carry the major burden of the struggle. This certainly will require possibly two years of fighting before, under the most favorable conditions, large portions of the French Army could withdraw. The French people at the end of eight long years of fighting and after a major disaster may well be unwilling to continue the struggle. If so, we will have to settle for terms far less satisfactory, either a coalition government which would mean ultimate Communist domination, or a partition along the 16th parallel with the forces of Vietnam still controlling the Delta area around Hanoi. The final desperate alternative available, if worse comes to worse, is to draw a line at Cambodia and Laos, beyond which the Communists would be warned not to move. In this way we might hope to seal off the Communist virus in Indo-China from spreading through all Southeast Asia; and although they would hold an immensely strategic and potentially powerful area in Indo-China, we might, on the basis of alliances with the other countries of Asia and the British and French, maintain such a line and thus maintain some position in that vital area. Of course, the Communists' recent claim on behalf of the shadow governments of Cambodia and Laos at Geneva indicates that they are going to attempt in those States the same pattern of infiltration and subversion which worked so successfully in Vietnam.

If we are to be successful in holding the line in Indo-China and Asia, we will need more than the Administration's much-vaunted "massive retaliation" to strengthen the hand of the local governments against insurrection and guerrilla warfare, and to meet other more subtle Communist methods of conquest of Asia short of the outright aggression which they realize would bring on a world war.

Certainly an essential element in Western policy must be the granting of independence to all areas which are prepared for self-government and which are now held under Western colonial domination. The failure of France to give independence to the people of Vietnam precipitated the present crisis, and permitted the Communists to seize control of the Nationalist movement. We cannot afford to give the Communists that advantage in future struggles, just as we cannot overlook weapons in the areas of economic and technical assistance, propaganda, and others I shall discuss in a moment.

But unfortunately, as a result of our relations with France, we have not firmly insisted that final independence be granted; and thus in Asia - where the war will be won, not in London or Paris - the struggle has been regarded by the Asiatic nations and the Vietnamese themselves with a cold neutrality. Perhaps this illustrates the ancient maxim that a candid friend is the best of all.

Moreover, on this basic issue, again the American people and Congress were not told in time the hard truth. A series of statements by our Department of State have insisted that the independence of the Associated States is already complete or will soon be completed. In May of last year, for example, the Department of State in a letter assured me that "France had granted such a full measure of control over their own affairs that…these three countries became sovereign states." This hardly squares with the extensive political control still maintained by the French Republic through its domination of the French Union and the lack of a Popular Assembly in Vietnam; its extensive diplomatic control, through its coordination of Vietnamese foreign policy and diplomatic missions; its extensive military control over the conduct of the war, the distribution of American aid, the location of French facilities, and even the training of native armies; and extensive economic control, through ownership of the country's basic resources, control of transportation and commerce, and special tax and extra-territorial privileges.

It is my hope that before channeling American men and machines into what will otherwise be a hopeless internecine struggle, the Administration will make certain that the independence now under discussion again will be firmly and finally granted to the Associated States as a first step toward winning the full support of the peoples of that land and the other nations of Asia.

Elsewhere in Asia, the initiative has likewise fallen from our grasp in our failure to develop affirmative, long-range policies. The uncertain truce in Korea has brought no progress toward a final settlement satisfactory to the security of the non-Communist world, but instead a buildup of Communist strength. The attitude of India, the key to Asia because of her size, location and Nehru's prestige, has been increasingly alienated through our political maneuvers in the UN concerning her participation in the Korean peace conference and Mrs. Pandit's election, through our removal of Chester Bowles from his uniquely effective ambassadorship, and finally by our decision to arm her neighbor across a tense and suspicious border - Pakistan. Much as we may deplore India's unfortunate prohibition upon our use of her airways, threats of economic retaliation will not persuade her to relax her concepts of sovereignty and neutrality. In Japan and elsewhere, we have fanned the flames of anti-American and anti-military discontent through our hydrogen bomb tests in the Pacific. While these tests were necessary, could they not have been more efficiently conducted - or at least could not their necessity in terms of Russia's own experiments been more clearly explained to an anxious world?

In Europe, far from gaining the initiative, we have impaired western unity by being overbearing instead of firm; by being indecisive instead of resolute; and by being hasty instead of deliberate. Fulfillment of NATO defense goals continues to lag; and progress toward a European Defense Community remains static, unable to overcome barriers in Italy and particularly in France.

Efforts to achieve peace treaties for Germany and Austria are at an impasse; and our haste in announcing and then modifying our policy for Trieste gave neither aid nor comfort to either Italy or Yugoslavia, nor success to our efforts.

We have embarrassed our closest friends in Europe by giving them inadequate notice and explanation in announcing our "new look" foreign policy, our call for "united action" in Indo-China, and our H-bomb tests. In what James Reston of The Times calls the "art of sudden diplomacy," we have continually confronted them with the undesirable alternatives of either disagreeing publicly with the United States or undertaking far-reaching military steps without prior mutual deliberation.

In the Middle East and Africa, we have been stymied in our attempts to join ancient enemies for military or resource development purposes. The problems of Israel and the Arab States remain unsolved, with both groups resentful of what they consider to be the prejudices of American foreign policy, and with increasing danger of Soviet gains among the Arab States (as demonstrated by the recent action of the Jordan Parliament in thanking Vishinsky). Our reputation as a friend of underprivileged areas and as an enemy of colonialism has been damaged by our attitude toward the cases of Morocco before the UN and others, and by the broken trail of abandoned Point IV projects which stretches across those vast areas.

And, finally, in the Western Hemisphere, we have handed the initiative to anti-American propagandists instead of seizing it for ourselves. Canada and Latin America are alarmed by threats of new tariff restrictions. The operations of the Export-Import Band, which supplied badly needed capital for the development of South American resources, have been sharply curtailed.

Canada has become resentful at charges made in the United States against her Foreign Minister, Lester Pearson; and there is no evidence that Senator Jenner's interview with Mr. Gouzenko yielded results commensurate with the ill-feeling it developed.

When Mexican-American negotiations on a wetback labor treaty bogged down, the President in un-neighborly fashion asked Congress for a law authorizing American recruitment of Mexican labor without Mexico's consent; and signed it for future use even though an agreement had been concluded by that time! The recent attack in Costa Rica upon our proposed arms aid to Nicaragua, the gains of the Communists in Guatemala and the continued attacks upon the United States in Argentina and other nations of the Western Hemisphere do not demonstrate that this nation has firmly seized the initiative; and the extension of our traditional three-mile limit into what has heretofore been considered international waters I the off-shore oil bill further muddled that antagonistic situation whereby our fishing boats have been seized and all jurisdictional limits challenged.

All of these unfortunate events cannot be laid, in fairness, to the door-step of those now in responsibility, even though there was little hesitation in the past in charging Mr. Acheson and Mr. Truman with incompetency and worse. This is a time of strife and tension the world over. Trouble is now and will long be our constant companion. But it is difficult to see how this record squares with the oft-reiterated boast that under the new team the initiative has been regained. Let us hope that we can seize the initiative in a meaningful sense in world affairs - with positive policies, comprehensive programs and consistent principles.

II. The Battle for Men's Minds

We now turn to an examination of that second battle - the battle for men's minds. The Republican platform of 1952 promised "We shall again make liberty into a beacon light of hope that will penetrate the dark places. That program will give the Voice of America a real function…We favor international exchanges of students" and similar programs. But what have the Republicans done to implement this far-reaching promise?

Our overseas information programs, including our overseas libraries and the Voice of America, have been harassed, defamed, reorganized, and heavily cut. Last year, the Information Agency's budget was cut 37% from $123 million to 475 million; and this year, the House of Representatives cut 15% from the administration's request. As a result, the Voice of America has been reduced to a bare whisper. Our small but vitally effective Fulbright Program for international exchange of students and teachers was cut this year by the House of Representatives some 40%, a reduction of $6 million from the $15 million requested.

But world opinion of the United States and the way of life it represents is not based only on our information and educational activities. To the disappointment of those underprivileged areas which constitute the greatest bloc of opinion yet to be won, the Republican administration has officially de-emphasized our Point IV Technical Assistance Program, merged it with military aid and short-term goals, and in brief, reduced Point IV to a pale and non-intoxicating 3.2. Our contribution to the Multilateral Technical Assistance Program of the United Nations was cut last year by more than one-third of the amount requested. Our contribution to the UN International Children's Emergency Fund, aiding the impoverished future leaders of every land, was similarly cut nearly in half. We have announced to a disillusioned world that we will do nothing more in the field of genocide and international human rights. Our failure to deal decisively with racial discrimination, and our well-publicized abuses in the granting of visas and passports, provide further grist for the Communist propaganda mills.

As a substitute for fulfillment of campaign promises to revise the discriminatory McCarran Immigration Act, and to excuse consistent failure to even include it in the administration's legislative program, an emergency refugee law was finally passed last year which would at least permit the admission of 209,000 refugees over a period of three years. But do you know how many have admitted under this program? Eight! Eight refugees out of 209,000!

Suspicions have been permitted to develop that our new military and foreign policies concentrate upon military might, instead of utilizing economic and technical assistance, propaganda and diplomatic negotiations as well. Too frequently, the Soviets have successfully created the impression that it was the United States who was closing the door to high-level negotiations, and who is equating negotiation and compromise with appeasement. We have not, I believe, taken into full consideration the fact that many people whose support we seek, now regard, unreasonable as it may be, the United States and the Soviet Union as equal dangers to world peace. In addition, the disunity and dissension which we have witnessed at home has not contributed to the confidence in ourselves which we seek abroad in the losing battle for men's minds.

III. The Battle for Economic Gain

Third, what of the battle for economic gain? The President's State of the Union Message in 1954 promised "our foreign policy will recognize the importance of profitable and equitable world trade." Instead, powerful Republicans have sought legislation to destroy the philosophy of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, even after the Administration promised no reciprocal trade agreements for a year. High tariff personnel have been appointed to the Tariff Commission and other agencies, and the Buy American Act has been stretched to shut out the low bides of friendly nations. Legislative action on the report of the Randall Commission is given little hope. In 1952, the Export-Import Bank made $275 million worth of long-term development loans, compared with $40 million in 1953. Against a background of generous promises, we have encouraged disillusionment among our Allies and stimulated their interest in the active Soviet trade missions and in developing closer economic ties with countries behind the Iron Curtain.

IV. The Battle for National Security

Finally, we review that battle which may be of most concern to you and me and our families, the battle for national security. The President, in his State of the Union message in 1953 said, "We owe ourselves and the world a candid explanation of the military measures we are taking to make that peace secure…our military power continues to grow…(our) air power is receiving heavy emphasis…this new program will make and keep America strong in an age of peril."

These statements are not supported by the facts. Today, when the Soviet Union possesses many thousand mare first-class jets than the United States and its combined Allies, when its best planes have proven in Korea to be the equal, if not superior, of our fighters at normal combat altitude, when it possesses long-range bombers with which to loose devastation upon American cities - and most important of all when it possesses the atomic and hydrogen bombs capable of leveling the urban and industrial might of our nation - it is unthinkable that our basic policies appear to underestimate the strength of the enemy and its gains in thermo-nuclear developments. Proposed improvements in our continental defense are not comparable to improvements in the enemy's capacity to penetrate that defense. Dangerous budgetary limitations and general inertia make our Civil Defense Program of negligible value.

Last year, the administration cut our Air Force funds by over $5 billion dollars. This was a wring-out rather than a stretch-out of Air Force strength. Although we were assured that our actual air power would not be affected by these cuts, the Department of Defense announced several months later that 950 planes, including 748 combat planes, were being eliminated from the aircraft procurement program. The result will be that the United States, instead of possessing 143 wings by 1955 - the amount considered to be the minimum considered for national security by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1951, will not have more than 115 wings by June 1954, and not more than 137 by 1957.

This year, unable to cut our air strength further, the Republicans proposed instead to cut substantially the funds for the other branches of the service. The current defense appropriations bill provides a cut of $5 billion dollars in the Army budget compared with last year. This slash, which will result in a reduction from 20 to 17 divisions, and presupposes a cut the following year to 15 divisions, was based on the assumption, which has not stood the test of time, that the United States will not have its overseas commitments increased; on the assumption that we would continue a withdrawal of our ground forces from various parts of the world, including the Far East, a judgment which I predict again will prove to be incorrect; and on the assumption that our "massive retaliatory power", including "a great capacity to retaliate, instantly, by means and at places of our own choosing," will give us security on the cheap.

I am not convinced that this "new look" can withstand exhaustive analysis. It should of necessity rely on, in addition to a non-existent hydrogen and atomic monopoly, an air power second to none, a goal impaired by the serious cuts we made in air power last year. In addition, by announcing a decrease in the strength of our conventional forces for resistance in so-called "brush fire" wars, while threatening atomic retaliation only against "very substantial overt acts" which "threaten our freedom", we in effect invited, rather than deterred, expansion by the Communists in those areas - such as Indo-China - and through those techniques which they deem not sufficiently offensive to induce us to risk the atomic warfare for which we are so ill-prepared defensively. Thus intensified Communist expansion through indigenous forces, subversion and other methods short of military invasion will require us to respond with either inadequate aid, or aid which would alienate those who would consider the remedy worse than the disease.

The limitations of the "new look", and its massive retaliation theory, can be seen in Indo-China. It was not allied disunity alone that caused us to refrain from intervention. It was also the realization that such intervention, short of world war, would be of limited value as the result of the wide dispersal of our ground strength, and as a consequence of the direct Chinese invasion almost certain to follow. To attack those questioning this program as wishing to "force us into bankruptcy" is a reckless charge, and one which fails to look at the Federal Budget in the framework of our national security.

To be secure we must spend enough to give a clear margin of superiority over our enemies. Any other policy is dangerous, possibly fatal. Our defense appropriations for last year and this will not give us that superiority. The economies that we have achieved, in my opinion, will be paid for by weakening the effectiveness of our foreign policy, which in any nation depends to a large extent on the potency of the military power behind it, as the Russians have repeatedly demonstrated. If the weaknesses resulting from these economies invite an attack in Indo-China or Korea, our "savings" would be paid for many times over. To gear our national defense to the Federal Budget "over the long haul" is to emphasize secondary objectives over our responsibilities for world leadership.


In conclusion, the generous promises the President made at the beginning of his administration have most certainly not been implemented by successful action. An argument can be made that the administration's record under the circumstances if not wholly unsatisfactory; but compared to the promises that were so casually made to win an election, and the confident assurances that marked this administration's reign, the record is disheartening.

To those who have carried the practice of campaign utterances beyond election day, I would refer these words of John Galsworthy, written many years ago - "I have just one rule for politicians all over the world, do not say in power what you say in opposition; if you do, you only have to carry out what the other fellows have found impossible." The Republicans have not yet learned this lesson.

For those who once criticized the Truman Administration for not "going it alone", now criticize their own administration for not achieving "united action". At the same time, those "narrow-minded critics" as Senator Wiley called them - and he knows them better than I - threaten withdrawal of support from the United Nations. Those who criticized the setbacks of the Truman Administration now criticize their own for attempting to prevent further setbacks. They criticize any possibility of American military commitment and at the same time condemn any possibility of negotiated settlements. In this context of domestic politics, with its handicaps on an effective foreign policy and with the difficulties not unexpectedly resulting from Soviet intransigence and allied weakness, our prestige and control of events in the world has fallen to a dangerous low.

The truth is that the inexorable force of circumstance has forced the Republicans to adopt many of the courses for which they attacked their predecessors. This in turn has led to that mild case of political schizophrenia that Adlai Stevenson so accurately predicted. This was clearly illustrated by the debate on the Bricker Amendment, when the President rightfully opposed infringement upon his constitutional powers, but continually led his party to believe that it was a matter for compromise, thus stimulating the desires of powerful members of his own party.

Did Senator Wiley address you as a representative of the Republican party? If the Wiley wing demonstrated its full strength on the vote to recommit the Bricker Amendment, the it is a very lonely wing indeed. For on that basic issue the President's Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee voted for recommittal; but not a single other Republican voted with him.

Certainly it is difficult for the Republican leadership to formulate a strong and effective foreign policy, when the Secretary of State and his co-workers are frequently subjected to sharp tongue lashings by the "leaders" of their party in the Senate. (Possibly this is what is meant by "massive retaliation".)

In spite of this record, with all of its short-comings and errors, despite the criticism which was and still is showered upon their administration, the Democrats have not found it easy to criticize a policy which emphasizes such slogans as the "new look" - which says that we are "seizing the initiative" in foreign affairs. It is difficult for a Democrat not to rise to his feet and cheer with the Republicans when the President speaks of "unleashing" Chiang Kai-shek or when he calls on Congress to renounce secret and evil international agreements. We feel warmly reassured when we hear such terms as "security for the long haul" and "massive retaliation". The fact is that we have felt in the last 15 months the rhetoric but not the reality of action; and the American people have more frequently been the victims of the administration's stepped-up psychological warfare than have our enemies abroad.

Some will say that these obstacles imposed by the Republicans upon their own foreign policy activities may be explained and therefore excused by one word: "politics". But even in a society so immersed in the political struggle as ours, this is not an adequate defense; for as Plutarch once wrote: "though the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest."

In all fairness I should say that I have not attempted to set down in detail the accomplishments of this Administration - for I know Senator Wiley did so adequately. Nor could I honestly maintain that the difficulties faced by the Eisenhower administration today did not and would not, in many instances, trouble Democratic leadership as well.

Communist development of the hydrogen bomb and the increasing military power of the Chinese have so altered the balance of power in the world that many who once followed our leadership now wonder whether neutrality does not offer them more complete security than the hard struggle against the enemy. Thus the fact is that we - 160 million people regardless of party - are the real bulwark against the steady march to world power of the communists.

We are the leaders - and we must recognize the disadvantages that go with leadership of a loosely knit confederacy against a monolithic power. Neither the United states nor our allies can afford the luxuries of the past in the difficult days ahead.

As the leaders of the Grand Alliance, we can and must - Republicans and Democrats alike - learn from the mistakes and failures of the past, and promulgate a foreign policy which can win the minds and hearts of people everywhere, which can command the support of our allies and the respect of our enemies, and which can provide a sword and a shield for the defense of these United States.

Speech source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12. Speeches and the Press. Box 894, Folder: "American Whig-Cliosophic Society, Princeton University, 11 May 1954".