Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  121. Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington  
May 10, 1950

[1.] POCATELLO, IDAHO (Rear platform, 6 a.m.)

When I was here in 1948, along about early in the morning, I think it was 7:50, I remember they told me there wouldn't be anybody up; and they were darn sure there wouldn't be anybody up this morning, but you fooled them--and you fooled me, too. I don't mind telling you. You may have heard I am an early riser. I get up early every day--ask these photographers and newsmen about that. I am used to tackling problems no matter what time it is.

This morning, even though it is only 6 o'clock, I want to talk to you about the greatest scientific discovery of the century-or in history, in fact: atomic energy.

The first atomic explosion in history took place down in the deserts of New Mexico in July 1945. I was in Potsdam and had been in conference with Winston Churchill and Joe Stalin, and we had been discussing world peace programs.

When this notice came to me that the atomic explosions had taken place, I called a meeting of our military advisers--General Marshall, General Eisenhower, General Bradley, General Patton, Admiral Nimitz, Admiral King, and several other able and distinguished gentlemen, including the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War at that time--and we discussed the situation and how we should approach the use of it.

And I informed those gentlemen at that time that I would do my utmost to see that this new discovery was used in a way that would make the world a better place in which to live.
I have been working at that ever since.

I had to issue the order for the dropping of the first two atomic bombs on our enemies. And I made that order after due consideration and in conference with all our military leaders. When they informed me that the landings in Japan would probably cost the lives of 200,000 of the cream of our American soldiers and sailors, I made up my mind that the best way to save the lives of those young men--and the best way to save the lives of the Japanese soldiers, also--was to drop those bombs and end the war.

And I did it. And I will tell you I would do it again if I have to.

We have been making real progress in putting atomic energy to work. Already, atomic research has led to important discoveries in medicine, and there is real promise that it will lead to much better grains and livestock on our farms.

Up in Arco the Atomic Energy Commission is now constructing a reactor testing station. From the knowledge we gain there it should be possible to develop machines to generate useful power to drive ships and airplanes.

You know, nearly all the destructive weapons that have been discovered in times past have eventually been put to use for peacetime purposes. Now, if we are not ingenious enough and have not the sense to do that same thing with the most awful release of the atom, then I am here to tell you that we probably ought to be destroyed. And I am here to say to you that we are not going to be destroyed, we are going to use this great energy for the welfare and benefit of the human race and not for its destruction.

Arco is a truly cooperative venture. It represents the combined efforts of the Atomic Energy Commission, private industry, and universities and research institutions from coast to coast. We are pooling all the resources we have in this great undertaking to harness atomic energy for the beneficial use of mankind.

Throughout our history, scientists and scientific knowledge have contributed to our progress as a Nation. If you want to keep up that progress, we need to stimulate scientific discovery and research, and train more young men and women for our laboratories and research centers.

To carry out these objectives, I have just signed the National Science Foundation Act of 1950. This act is of tremendous importance, because it will add to our knowledge in every branch of science.

I am confident that it will help us to develop the best scientific brains in the Nation. It will enable the United States to maintain its leadership in scientific matters, and to exert a more vital force for peace.

Whatever the future may hold, we must bend every effort toward our major objective, and that major objective is world peace and the welfare of all mankind, no matter what his race, creed, or color may be, no matter what part of the world he may live in.

Now I am making this trip around all over the United States to report to you as the President of the United States. I came out here in 1948 asking you for votes. I am back here now, as President of the United States, not running for any office but to report to you as I report to the Congress every year under the Constitution. I am making to you personally and giving to you personally a message on the state of the Union and what goes on, and what I believe, and what I am trying to do.

And if I tell it to you, it can't be garbled, because when you hear me talk nobody can transfer those remarks to mean something else.

When I come along later in the season, we will do a little "politicking." But right now I am reporting to the Nation on its condition, on what it needs, and what I hope I can give it for its welfare and benefit, on what I hope to contribute to world peace, and what I hope to obtain for--as I said a minute ago--the welfare of all mankind.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this early turnout. It is surprising to everybody--I think it is surprising to yourselves, but I appreciate it most highly.

[2.] SHOSHONE, IDAHO (Rear platform, 8 a.m.)

I got up rather early this morning and had a meeting at Pocatello at 6 o'clock, and I never expected to see that many people out at that time of day. And here it is 8 o'clock in this great city, and more than ever am I surprised--and agreeably surprised. And this will surprise some of my reporter friends, too, who are along with me.

I am glad to be in Shoshone, in this rich farming section of the Snake River Valley. I want to talk to you this morning about one of Idaho's great crops, potatoes.

I was up in Maine in the middle of the war, along about 1943, inspecting an air base at Presque Isle, and they were telling me about a boy from Idaho, a private in the Air Force there, that had been sent to the guardhouse because he refused to peel Maine potatoes. Of course, I didn't blame him much.

Idaho has good reason to be proud of its potatoes. Your growers have done a fine job of growing high quality potatoes, and marketing them in an efficient manner.

The potato growers of Idaho and other States have been attacked a lot in recent months. There has been so much discussion all over the country about the potato situation, and so much false information about it, that I want to give you the facts.

First of all, it is certainly not right to make the potato growers "whipping boys" for the costly potato surplus when basically the trouble is due to the laws which were passed back in 1947 and 1948. They provided potatoes with a mandatory support price, but they gave no effective production and marketing controls. Instead, Congress said, "Try price supports without controls; give them a trial run."

Well, that is exactly what we have done for 2 years, and you know the result. I tried to get that changed just a short time ago and did not succeed in getting it done. It is just as we warned against.

The Government has been required by law to buy millions of bushels of potatoes in order to maintain prices, and most of the potatoes bought by the Government have had to be disposed of for uneconomical uses, wasting millions of dollars. That sort of program is not in the farmer's interest, it is not in the Nation's interest. It can lead to public repudiation of the whole farm price support program.

That is why the Secretary of Agriculture has pleaded with Congress to change the price-support laws on potatoes so that we could control production and marketing more adequately and thus avoid these big surpluses. Most of that surplus, of course, has to be destroyed. You can't safely drive a wagon or a car without a brake.

The Congress has recently passed a law providing that support prices shall not be in effect for potatoes after this year's crop, unless marketing quotas are also in effect. But marketing quotas for potatoes are not permitted under the present law. This is obviously only a partial solution.

I have been urging the Congress to authorize both marketing quotas and direct production payments, in order to support potato prices without accumulating wasteful surpluses. This will bring a fair return to the farmers and at the same time benefit the consumers and the taxpayers.

I hope you people of Idaho will rise up and demand that such action be taken by Congress. It is certainly in your interest to do so. You see, the situation as it developed is such that they could make a great big "bugaboo" out of potatoes. They are doing it with the idea of discrediting the whole farm program of the administration.

Now it is to your interest to see that we get the farm program which we are trying to get and which will work not only in your interest but in the interests of everybody in the United States--all farmers everywhere, not only the potato growers, but wheat growers and cotton growers and tobacco growers, and everybody else. I have been fighting for that ever since January 1, 1949. And if you will read my Message on the State of the Union in January 1949, you will see there that I advocated a program that would have prevented all this talk about potatoes. That is entirely in your interest.

I came out here to tell you what the facts are. Nobody else will tell you what the facts are, because those people who control the methods of communication want to see the farm program ruined and put out of business. And I am out here to tell you what the facts are.

If you will use your head and your own judgment and work in your own interest, we will get this thing settled in such a way that the farm program will continue as it ought to.

Now it is a pleasure to me to be here with you this morning in this beautiful city. And I hope--I hope-that you will inform yourselves completely on just exactly what we are trying to do for a farm program that will work. When you know what the facts are, you can't help but go along with what I am advocating; and I want you to know the facts, that is the reason I am here.

I came out here to tell the people just exactly what I stand for, and why. I am not running for anything. I may come back a little later and try to influence you on what is to your best interests, but I will try to tell you the facts.

I have found in my long political experience-and it has been over 30 years--that when you know the facts, honest men have no trouble in agreeing on what the results should be.
Thank you all very much for this pleasure.

[3.] GLENNS FERRY, IDAHO (Rear platform, 9:18 a.m.)

It is a pleasure to be here this morning, I can assure you. It is also a great pleasure to me to have warm weather again. When I left Washington it was 92 in the shade, and when I got out here to western Nebraska and Wyoming it was snowing. It is hard to tell what kind of clothes to wear in such changes of weather.

Since early this morning, I have been traveling across southern Idaho through this great Snake River Valley. Here it is, only a little after 9 o'clock, and I have already made speeches in Pocatello and Shoshone. Now I am glad to be able to stop here for a few minutes at Glenns Ferry and talk with you about some of the problems that this country faces today, problems in which you are vitally interested and in which I am vitally interested. The reason I came out here was to give you my viewpoint and to find out what your viewpoint is directly, so there can be no misunderstanding of what we are trying to do and what we are trying to say.

The biggest problem we have is that of maintaining world peace. We can build a peaceful world only if we remain prosperous and well off here at home.

There is a very direct connection between farm prosperity and world peace. Farm prosperity is the foundation of the national economy of the United States. That was certainly true 20 years ago when the farm depression of the 1920's led to the great depression.

I think that the farm home and the small country town are among the strongest bulwarks of our democracy. We have got to see to it that our farmers prosper on farms which they own themselves. We shall certainly go downhill if we ever have a large rural floating population who have to earn a living by working in the fields of a few large-scale landowners.

That is why I look with grave suspicion upon the development of the so-called "industrialized agriculture," the operation of farms that are nothing but factories for the production of crops. What makes this a great Republic and a great country are the small landowners, men who have property of their own on which they live and make a living.

These farm factories depend for their prosperity upon a large force of landless and underprivileged workers. These workers have to migrate from place to place without any opportunity for a decent life for their wives and children.

The Federal Government has been doing a great deal in recent years to help men and women to own and improve their own farms.

You folks here in Idaho know all about the new farms that are opened up by reclamation projects in former sagebrush areas. One of the most important things to remember about our reclamation program is that it safeguards the family-sized farm, and does not give encouragement to the growth of these huge corporate farms I was talking about earlier. That is not all we have been doing.

In the State of Idaho alone, more than $34 million has been loaned for agricultural and home operating needs, and for purchase and enlargement and development of farms.

We have also lent Idaho farmers over $1 million to install needed irrigation and water facilities. The Farmers Home Administration is also helping hundreds of new farm families, a large number of which are veterans, to get started on new farms.

When we first started doing something to help farm tenants buy their own land, back in 1935, you should have heard the outcries coming from the opposition. In those days the reactionaries set up an outfit which they called the American Liberty League. They issued a long blast against the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act, calling it a "socialistic experiment."

Those words have been used ever since we started to work for the farmer back in 1887. A fellow by the name of Hatch from the great State of Missouri got a bill through the Congress to appropriate $15,000 to each State that wanted an experimental station in connection with its agricultural college and he was called a Socialist and a man who was going to tear down the Government of the United States. Yet nearly every agricultural college in the United States now works under that same Hatch Act.

They said the farm tenant program was "Russianization of agriculture." Well, you people know that our farmers' home program was and is nothing of the sort. Instead of being socialistic, it has been a real force in preserving and strengthening free enterprise. Now I hope you didn't believe that silly nonsense about socialism in 1935. I know you didn't believe it in 1935, and I am very sure you don't believe it now.

No matter what such people say, we intend to go right ahead and improve the condition of agriculture, and carry out the whole fair deal program to secure good housing, good health, education, and social security.

These are measures which will help us to preserve world peace, our greatest objective. And if we are going to get world peace we ourselves must be economically strong. We must be in a position where our people are better off, have more things, and live better than any other people in the world. They are that way now, and we want to keep that up.

It is my idea that if we can inform the people of those countries that are under tyranny of the facts of life as we see them here in these great United States, we will not have any more difficulty about getting a world peace that will last.

My one ambition has been, ever since I inherited the Presidency on April 12, 1945, to obtain world peace--a peace that will last, a peace that will help us all, a peace that will make all the peoples of the world happy.

Now, I know that is not beyond the bounds of possibility, and I know you believe me when I tell you that is exactly what we are working for. And we are going to keep working for it until we get it.

You know, I have been up against some very, very hard propositions. I think you remember back in 1948, it was said that it was an impossibility for me to go riding all over the country to convince the people that I was on the right track and for their benefit. I did convince them, and we did win.

Now we want to convince the world in exactly the same manner that we are on the right track, and we will win--because I think God is with us in that enterprise.

I certainly appreciate the cordiality with which I have been treated in Idaho. I am out here--as I told you in the beginning--to tell you what I think, and what I am trying to do.

I tried to convince you of that while I was out here in 1948 running for President, and trying to get votes. I am not running for anything now. I am out here to report to you on exactly what I am trying to do, and I want your help to help me put it over. I may come back a little later and talk a little politics to you, but I am not doing it now.
Thank you very much.

[4.] BOISE, IDAHO (Rear platform, 11 a.m.)

I am very glad indeed to be here this morning. I certainly appreciate your most cordial greeting. It is very impressive to come into this rich valley. Here you have an empire which is made possible through the miracle of reclamation It all comes from having water. Your great program of irrigation in this area has brought prosperity to your farms and your cities. I am told you have some 350,000 acres irrigated in this section. This is a tremendously valuable addition to the economic well-being of the whole country.

I think there is a deeper significance in what you have achieved here than you people may realize. A relatively small amount of Government money for reclamation has brought rich returns to the whole area and to the whole Nation.

When people talk about the size of the Federal budget, they forget that when we set aside money for things like reclamation, it is just like investing money in gilt-edge securities. The money invested for the development of this valley is an investment, it is not an expenditure.

Reclamation means richer farmlands, more prosperous cities and industries, cheaper power, and healthier opportunities for a better standard of living in this whole area.

The penny-pinchers who want to cut off funds for reclamation simply do not understand good business principles.

The future has in store rich potentialities for the Boise area, for Idaho, and for the whole Northwest. We have done a great deal of good pioneering work in resource development, but we need more power dams to develop mineral resources, and to bring cheap power to all the communities of this area. We need more sound reclamation projects, we need better soil and forest conservation.

To do these things right, we need a coordinated program for the development of the entire Columbia River Basin, including the Snake River Valley.

In order to harness the mighty resources of land, water, forests, and minerals, we must tackle all phases of this development simultaneously.

There is a direct relation between what we do in all sections of the Columbia Valley, if we are to get cheap power, flood control, rich soil, and all the other benefits which flow from a balanced program.

I am convinced that the only way to get such a balanced program is through the establishment of a Columbia Valley Administration, which will treat the region and its resources in a way which will bring greater benefits to every section.

Don't let anybody tell you that the Columbia Valley Authority I have recommended would be socialistic. It would not have a bit more authority than the present Federal agencies have. It would specifically prohibit interference with anybody's water rights, or any other rights you may have already established.

The Columbia Valley would be firmly under the control of the Congress--the elected representatives of the people--just like all other Federal agencies are now.

Instead of moving in the direction of more centralized Government, the Columbia Valley Authority would move in the direction of less centralization. The Columbia Valley Authority would have its headquarters right out here in the Columbia Basin, where the people can deal with it firsthand. In such a situation, the State and local governments can participate much more effectively in resource development work. The experience of the Tennessee Valley proves that conclusively. And we had a lot of old mossbacks that did everything they possibly could to tear down the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Without a Columbia Valley Authority, we will continue to have a scatter-shot approach to resource development, with one phase emphasized at the expense of another. You can see that by what happened to the rivers and harbors bill the Senate passed a couple of weeks back. They put in part of a program, and left out other parts, like Hell's Canyon Dam which are just as important. The results of such a policy are wasteful and uneconomic, and I hope you will join me in working for the Columbia Valley Authority. This will stop all the fuss between Reclamation and the Army Engineers and all the rest of the bureaus in Government, by having it right out here where you can keep your finger on it.

Above and beyond the immediate benefits to this area, the success of projects like these will aid in strengthening the entire country.

I want to say to you that if we hadn't had the power projects in the Tennessee Valley, if we hadn't had the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams and other power projects, it would have taken us much longer to win the war. But, having those projects and plenty of power, we were able to set up those great establishments which contributed to the immediate winning of the war, and the saving of young American lives.

Now, I want to see a Northwest power development, a Southwest power development, a Northeast power development, which will include the St. Lawrence Seaway project and the Bay of Fundy project and the Connecticut River project, and we will have the great networks in the Southeast, the Tennessee Valley project now being built in South Carolina and Georgia.

I want to say to you that if we get that done, if we get the proper development of the Missouri Valley, the Ohio Valley, the Mississippi Valley, nothing in the world can prevent this country from accomplishing its purpose. It will mean an economic development that will keep us the most powerful nation in the world, and a nation which works entirely for peace and not for any selfish purpose.

That is what I have in mind. That is what I am out here to tell you. That is what I want you to understand: that I am working for world peace on a basis that will make our economic setup the greatest in the history of the world, as it is right now. I want to keep it that way. I want to keep on developing it.

Now with your help we can do just those things.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this turnout. I am more than happy you have been so kind to me and so very cordial. I am out here to let you know what I am thinking, I am not running for office, I am on a nonpolitical tour now--but I may see you a little later on that subject.

[5.] NAMPA, IDAHO (Rear platform, 11:40 a.m.)

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this reception. This is a wonder!--it gets better and better as I go along through Idaho. I got up this morning at 6 o'clock, and I have been going ever since, and it seems as if the crowds get bigger and the weather gets better and the welcome more cordial. And I appreciate it.

I understand that today the Boy Scouts are sponsoring the dedication of a replica of the Statue of Liberty here in Nampa. That is a wonderful thing--that is a wonderful thing.

In this 40th anniversary of Scouting in America, it is certainly fitting that the Boy Scouts are carrying on a crusade to "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty."

You know, I am the Honorary National President of the Boy Scouts of America, and I congratulate you on your enterprise that you are putting on here.

I can think of no more important task than to "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty."

There are many ways in which we must work to strengthen that arm. We have to maintain a strong defense organization, and above all we need to stay strong in our desire to preserve peace in the world.

One very important element in the strength of the United States is the high standard of living we have established for the people of this country. Through our social security program, farm legislation, fair labor standards laws, housing acts, and other progressive legislation, we have helped to make this country the richest in the world. We have made it possible for our people to live decent, worthwhile lives, to live them without undue interference.

With the world in a troubled state, it is even more essential that this country continue to grow in strength. Our national strength depends on our keeping all groups and sections of the country prosperous. I want to see farmers, businessmen--both big and little--and the working men and women all well off.

I am greatly encouraged by the reports I have been hearing about the expanding industrial prosperity in the great State of Idaho. Despite some recent downturn in farm income, the average income of each person in the State of Idaho increased over 170 percent between 1940 and 1949.

Even more important, the average per capita income in this State increased at a much faster rate than the average increase throughout the country. Now, isn't that remarkable? That is remarkable--I don't think you appreciate what that means.

I am glad to see that Idaho is showing the way.

That is the goal toward which I am working all over the country--toward a balanced prosperity for all the people. If the farmers have good incomes, and laborers have good incomes, and business is prosperous, then that makes the whole country prosperous, and gives us a chance to continue our position in the world, as the leader of the whole world, working for peace.

Never again will we go back to the days when the robber barons stuffed themselves with riches, and the little people got just a few crumbs. Those days are gone forever-and I am glad of it.

We are strengthening the arm of liberty in our country economically, militarily, and spiritually. Let us never forget that when we strengthen liberty at home we strengthen peace in the world.

We stand for something. We stand for the moral well-being of the world. We have a system of morals which believes in honor and ethics and upright living. We are in a controversy with a country that has no ethics and no morals. Because we have the ethical standards that we have, I am just as sure as I stand here that in the long run Almighty God is going to give us an opportunity to get peace in the world.

We don't want to conquer any nation, we don't want to exploit anybody. We want everybody in the world to be happy, just as we are.

I hope you Boy Scouts will keep up the good work. This is a fine step you are taking here today. I hope it will be possible for me to attend the National Jamboree at Valley Forge next month. I am counting on it. But the President never can tell where he is going to be, or at what time. He has to meet conditions as they come up. But I hope I will see some of you at that Jamboree.
Thank you very much.
[6.] ONTARIO, OREGON (Rear platform, 12:40 p.m.)

Well, it is good to be back in Oregon again. You know I was here about 2 years ago, not over in this end of the State, but then that was not my fault, there wasn't time to get everywhere. This is the first time I have had a chance to stop in this great city of Ontario, and I really like this part of the country. I like it especially because of your progressive spirit. Here in this State, the population has increased about five times as fast as it has in the rest of the United States since 1940. I haven't seen the final census figures, but those are the reports that I received.

I might say, too, that I was interested to hear that recent registration figures indicate a growing interest in political affairs. I understand that you have registered more Democrats than you have Republicans. I am not on a political tour, you understand.

Right near here, travelers on the old Oregon Trail used to cross the river on their way West. This area owes a lot to the Oregon Trail that brought settlers out to the coast. The Oregon Trail people used to outfit themselves out of Independence and Westport in Missouri. Those who came from the eastern part of the State and Kansas went up the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers and up the Missouri to Independence, and then they would go West through Gardner, where the trail split off, one went to Santa Fe and the other to Oregon. And thanks to forward-looking President Thomas Jefferson, who decided that this country really was worth something, Oregon is one of the great States in the American Union. Some of the people in his time said it wasn't any good, they said the territory wasn't worth anything.

Old Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton had a meeting in Washington one time, and there was a quarrel, if you remember, at that time, in regard to whether the northern boundary of the United States should be 54-40 or not. All this then was called the Oregon Territory and it went all the way up to the boundary of Alaska.

So old Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton got to feeling pretty good, and they decided that the best way to settle it was to take a ruler and draw a line across the map and split it 50-50, because the country wasn't worth anything anyhow. I wish those two could come back and see that part of the United States now.

You owe a lot today to the fine networks of roads and highways that you have around here. Today, Oregon has some of the best roads in the country. I know just what it means to a community and State to have good roads. Back home in Missouri, when I held county office, I am proud of the fact that we built a system of roads in my home county with a bond issue, and that bond issue has now paid off and the roads are still good as they were when they were built. Now that is really a record.

We built our roads by getting the localities, the States, and the Federal Government together in a cooperative effort. The towns and counties couldn't have done it all by themselves. It would not have been possible to build a national system of highways unless we had divided the cost between the local government, the State government and the Federal Government. So the Federal Government chipped in on a 50-50 basis so that all the people all over the country might have better transportation.

You know, I have traveled over nearly every national highway in this country, from north to south, and east to west, and I have seen nearly every road system in the country. I had to make an inspection like that when we were trying to build our own system back home.

Roads cost money, but this money is not just being spent, it is a real investment, and every year the investment pays big dividends. As the investment we made in roads in Jackson County, Mo., increased the value of every farm that was on the roads-every farm in the county that was more than 2 miles from that road system increased in value.

People who criticize our Federal budget tend to forget how much of that expenditure is really an investment. The valley through which I came this morning in Idaho is a shining example of what a Federal investment means. All that irrigation and reclamation project up and down the Snake River is an investment, and it is a paying investment because it puts land to work that otherwise could not be used.

Back in 1916, when the first big Federal aid road project was passed, there were plenty of people who said we were heading straight toward perdition. That has happened in every age and on every subject.

One Congressman said that Federal aid to roads, and these are his exact words-some of these fellows say some things sometimes for the Congressional Record that come back to haunt them, and this is one of them-this fellow said that aid to roads "will result in the creation of a horde of Federal road inspectors prowling over the country--a long step toward bureaucracy and indefensible centralization."

Another Congressman even claimed that this would take us down the road to "European militarism." Well, there have been lots of gloomy people who think the Nation is going down the road to something or other. Everytime we try to do anything that is worthwhile and for the benefit of the whole people, you hear that same thing today, and you heard it for the last 10 years and you will hear it in the next 30 years. It began way back when people who wanted to see this country properly developed, wanted to do something about it and see that it was developed.

I am one of those who does not believe in gloom. I believe in looking forward and doing a few things that will help all the people. That is the reason I am out here talking to you now.

These prophets of gloom are saying the same thing against the programs for better housing, better education and health, and for all the other forward-looking social legislation which we are carrying out.

But I intend to keep fight on going forward, building the kind of prosperous and expanding economy which is our main bulwark of freedom in the world today. I hope you will remember this.

We must continue to invest in those things which will increase the strength of this country. In this way we can give to the world its greatest hope for peace and for freedom. And that is what we are working for--world peace and freedom for all mankind.

Now I have come out on this tour around over the country. I could have flown out to Grand Coulee Dam and dedicated it and got on the plane and gone back to Washington. But it occurred to me that there might be some people between Grand Coulee and Washington that might want to look at their President to see whether he is just as interested in their welfare and just as cordial with them as he was when he was out asking for votes. So here I am. I am making a report to you. I am giving you the message on the state of the Union, which the Constitution requires me to give the Congress once a year, and which I do every January as soon as the Congress meets. This time I am going across the country making a complete report on what I think, what I hope to do for the welfare and benefit of the country, and I am not running for anything. I may come back later and be a little more interested in politics, but I am here now so that you can see whether I am still trying to do what I told you I would do when I was elected President of the United States in 1948.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this cordial welcome, which I have received all along the road. Everywhere it has been just like this. People come out because they are interested in what the President thinks and what he has to say, and you have a right to be. And I am reporting to you and I hope you will like it. I do.

[7.] HUNTINGTON, OREGON (Rear platform, 1:45 p.m.)

Thank you very much for this cordial reception. On this trip across the country, I have been passing through some very interesting scenery along the route of the old Oregon Trail. I have been glad to see the signs of increasing industrialization in eastern Oregon, because I know that the more diversified your economy is, the better off you will be.

One matter in Oregon that concerns me is your farm situation. Since 1948, there has been a decline in farm income in Oregon, and there has been a decline in farm income all over the Nation. This decline has been nothing like the disastrous drop in farm prices which occurred after the First World War, because our farm program has cushioned the downward trend.

The laws we have passed since 1933 have kept this decline in farm prices from turning into a farm depression. There is a floor under farm prices. Our farm program has kept the markets reasonably steady, and completely free of panic.

We have farm credit institutions to prevent the drying up of credit which farmers must have.

The rural electrification program has helped to make farming more efficient, and farm living much more pleasant. But there are still some serious inadequacies in our farm laws. We must take positive steps to reverse the downward trend in farm incomes.

We should add some perishables to the priority list along with the other basic commodities. That is especially important in Oregon, where you produce many perishable commodities for which there is no adequate price support at present.

Obviously, we can't store up meat, milk, fruit, and things like that, as we store up wheat and cotton. Loans and purchases work fine for wheat, but they don't work well for perishables. That is why we should use the method of production payments to support perishables.

I feel now that it is high time to pay more attention to farm income, instead of merely concentrating on prices--and to pay more attention to the perishable commodities.

In this way, we can move toward a greater prosperity for both the farmer and the city dweller, for their interests are interdependent.

I am just as interested in improving the situation in the cities as on the farms. I shall keep on fighting for better schools, more adequate social security laws and a national health program. All these measures will build up a stronger economy here at home. In securing a stronger economy, we are strengthening democracy.
That is the way to peace, and that is what I am most interested in attaining.

You people here in Huntington have given me a fine welcome and a fine greeting just as every other city I have been through has. I appreciate it more than I can tell you. It has been a most happy trip across the country. People seem to be interested in their Government. They seem to be just as interested in seeing their President as when he was running for office. I am just out here to report to you on conditions as I see them, and to ask your cooperation and support in carrying through the program which I think is for the welfare of this country and for the welfare of the whole world.

[8.] BAKER, OREGON (Rear platform, 2:23 p.m.)

Thank you very much. You are very kind to give me a reception like this, in this great town of Baker, and I want to tell you how much I appreciate it.

You know, I know something about the gentleman for whom this city was named. He was a most remarkable man. He was the first Senator from Oregon, and he had been a Congressman in Illinois, and had helped write the constitution of the State of California, and he came up here to make a speech for Abraham Lincoln, and they elected him to be United States Senator from Oregon in 1859.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he went over into Pennsylvania, and believe it or not he organized a volunteer regiment which he called the First California, and there wasn't a Californian in it.

They went down with Baker to Ball's Bluff and he got himself killed. I went to see General Marshall who lives in Leesburg, Va., on part of the old Ball farm for which Ball's Bluff was named, and the General and I took a walk over the Ball's Bluff battlefield. We found a little cemetery there, about 40 x 60, with 21 unknown dead buried in it. And we couldn't find Baker's grave so we took a walk about a hundred yards down in the woods and we found a little stone marker which said "Colonel Edwin Dickerson Baker was killed here." General Marshall and I didn't know whether he was buried there or not, so we got hold of your Senator from Oregon, Wayne Morse, and took him down there and pointed out the place and suggested erection of a monument to that great Mr. Baker. We found out afterwards that Mr. Baker was buried in San Francisco in a cemetery which he himself had promoted and made a fortune out of. So I don't know what we can do about it.

But he was a great man and I would like to see the great State of Oregon erect a marker--a decent marker--at the place where he fell. If you will read your history, you will find out something about him that will make you proud. He was a real politician, and you know they are hard to find.

Your city, like all of the great State of Oregon, has been growing fast in recent years. That is splendid, and I hope that you keep right on growing. To do that, however, there must be continued development of the natural resources of the Northwest.

You know that there are many obstacles in the way of sensible development of the country's and your resources. You saw an example of those obstacles a few weeks ago, when the authorization for Hell's Canyon Dam--which you are advertising here today-and other projects was defeated in the Senate.

About 3 years ago, I directed the Army Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation to get together and bring in a sensible, coordinated plan for the work of those two agencies.

This was the program that was before the Senate last month. It had a logical schedule of dam construction--I spell that d-a-m--and it had a basin account to permit uniform, low power rates. That was obviously a good program, as far as it went.

But look what happened to that program. Hell's Canyon Dam was knocked out. The basin account was knocked out. A number of other projects were knocked out, and when the bill passed the Senate, it contained only a lopsided set of projects for just one agency.

That is no way to proceed. It throws the entire program out of balance. We need to have equal consideration of all resource needs--soil conservation, reclamation, the generation of power, flood control, and everything else.

I am sure we will get Hell's Canyon Dam before we quit. We have got to have it. It will add close to a million kilowatts of power to this section of the country. It will help control flood waters, it will help bring a higher standard of living to this entire region.

We can't go on with an unbalanced approach to river basin development. We are wasting precious time and precious resources.

That is why I have recommended the one sure way to realize unified development of all the natural resources of this region, and that is through the creation of a Columbia Valley Administration.

The Columbia Valley Administration can present a single plan for the whole area, giving the proper balance to all sections and all resource needs. And the Columbia Valley Administration would be run by men from this area, living in this area, who can work with the States and localities and present to the Congress the whole picture, not just bits and pieces of it--to be done halfway or not done at all. That is sensible. It is economical. And it is the right way to proceed.

I hope that by the time I visit Baker again--and I hope that won't be too long-we will have Hell's Canyon Dam authorized and a Columbia Valley Administration set up.

Then we will be on the right road to a full, unified and coordinated development of the rich natural resources of the Northwest. That will help us build the kind of prosperity here in the Pacific Northwest that all of us want. Prosperity here will mean greater prosperity and greater strength for the whole United States.

And I am strong for the proper development of all sections of the United States, not just one section but all sections. They are all necessary to keep this country the greatest Republic that the sun has ever shone upon. They are all necessary to give us an economic preponderance which will cause us to get a peace in the world that will last. I am working for lasting peace. I am working for a continued prosperous economy in this country, a balanced economy which will be good for farmers, be good for businessmen, be good for laboringmen, and that is the only way you can have a successful government.

I want to show these totalitarian fellows that democracy--honest-to-goodness democracy is just what the word means--can work for the benefit of all the people, and not for just the benefit of a few.

I came out here so that you could understand what I am trying to do, so that you could see me and find out if I have gone "high hat" since you elected me in 1948.

I want you to know that I am working for you, trying my best to carry out the things which I told you I wanted to do, and in which you showed you had confidence in me when you elected me. I am trying to do the job. I am trying to do the job for the whole Nation. I am your President. You elected me. I am working as your public servant, and I am working to the best of my ability in the public interest for all concerned.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this wonderful gathering in this town named after the first Senator of Oregon--a great man and a great orator.
Thank you very much.

[9.] LA GRANDE, OREGON (Rear platform, 3:45 p.m.)

Thank you very much. It looks to me like everybody in this part of Oregon is here. I see three high school bands, I believe, one of them just performed for me and did it well--just like it ought to be done.

As I come into La Grande, it is easy to see why my good friend Justice Douglas spends so much of his time in the Wallowa Mountains. I am glad to hear that it will take a lot more than a set of broken ribs to keep him from returning to this part of the country.

Here in this area, and throughout the whole Northwest, one of your greatest assets is timber. More people in this State make their living from lumbering than from any other industry. That is important to everybody in Oregon. When the lumber industry is in good shape, that means more jobs, bigger payrolls, and better markets for farmers and businessmen.

Here in Oregon you saw what a slump in the lumber industry could mean. Last fall and winter a lot of people lost their jobs temporarily, and a lot of logging companies were in trouble for a while.

Things are back on the upgrade now. And we have got to keep the lumber industry, and our whole economy, moving upward.

One of the big reasons the lumber industry is running full blast again is that housing construction all over the country is at high levels. A great share of the credit for that belongs to the housing programs of the Federal Government. For the last 17 years, we have been developing housing legislation that is helping people right now to build and buy houses.

That is important to the people who want homes. And it is important to the lumber industry here in the Northwest. Last year 11 million board feet of lumber were produced and sold in Washington and Oregon. That is a market worth keeping. And I am glad to know that more and more processing plants are being built out here, to turn raw lumber into plywood and other finished products.

But there are other things that need to be done if the lumber' industry is to stay healthy. There was a time, in the not too distant past, when it was common practice to skim off the cream of the forests in a rush to gain quick profits.

Here in the center of the ponderosa pine region, you have learned that the management and harvesting of timber must be on a sustained yield basis. That is the way to assure a permanent lumber industry.

Another thing we must do is to make sure that our public forest resources are made available to everybody on a fair and equal basis. We must not allow any monopolistic exploitation of these resources.

Over in the western part of the State, the Secretary of the Interior has just issued new access road and sales regulations for some of the public forest lands. These regulations will provide the small timber operator with access to government timber on equal terms with the large operator. Small and large operators are now cooperating with the Federal Government in making these regulations work.

I think it is a fair way to treat the use of all our natural resources: for the benefit of everybody.

A third step we need to take is to protect the forests better against fire, and to reforest cutover and burned-over areas. I am glad to hear that the State of Oregon is making progress in replanting timber in some of the big burned-over areas. This is a tremendous task, but I hope it will be carried out vigorously.

All this work will take a considerable investment of money in a careful, long-range program. Some people seem to think it is wasteful to invest public funds in roads, and fire protection, and reforestation. That is a very shortsighted view, and I don't go along with them, because these investments will pay off tremendously in better forests in the future.

It is the same way with the expenditures we are making in our effort to keep peace in the world. It is a hard struggle, and the costs of national security are by far the largest part of the budget. But the cost in dollars and cents is nothing compared to the terrible cost of another war.

We must remain strong economically, strong in arms, and strong in spirit. We must cooperate with the other free nations. Those are the surest ways to preserve the peace.

It has been a grand thing to see you here today. I appreciate very much your coming out. I have had a most cordial welcome in the great State of Oregon. It looks to me like everybody in this end of the State has at least had a chance to take a look at me, and that is what I want you to do.

I know that the people of your State, while some of them call themselves Republicans, they usually vote with the Democrats on every issue that counts. And I appreciate that very much--I appreciate that very much.

[10.] PENDLETON, OREGON (Address, 6:30 p.m., see Item 122)

[11.] UMATILLA, OREGON (Rear platform, 8:10 p.m.)

I am very glad to have this opportunity to visit Umatilla. I am very much interested in the McNary Dam which is being built just a short distance from here on the Columbia River.

I was well acquainted with Senator McNary. He was leader of the minority while I was in the Senate, and one of the finest men I ever met, and I am very happy that this dam, named in his honor, is going to be completed one of these days.

It will bring power and improve navigation to this region. McNary Dam is an important unit in a series of giant projects which will harness the energy of the Columbia River for the benefit of all the people.

The development of this river is one of the most magnificent undertakings the world has ever known. It is a tribute to the vision and determination of the people of the Pacific Northwest. It is also an outstanding example of how the people of the Nation can achieve great goals by using the resources of the Federal Government.

The fact is that these big dams on the Columbia River would not have been built unless the Federal Government had built them.

There are some people, I think, who would rather that they had never been built. There are some people who no matter what the Government starts out to do are against it.

I have heard so much claptrap lately from people who are against progress that I did a little research on what these same people have been saying about new programs for the last 17 years. Believe me, they have been against almost everything that was proposed. And the fact that none of their dire predictions have come true does not stop them for a minute. They just keep on predicting disaster and hope that someday disaster will overtake us so they can say, "I told you so."

Here is an example that will be of interest here in Umatilla. Back in 1937--I was in the Senate then--we passed a housing law to help the cities build low-rent public housing. At that time one of these Congressmen who was against everything said, and this is what he said: "By the passage of this bill you speed the day when your mayors will become obsolete, and your Governors will be simply ornaments .... " Well now, that day has not arrived yet, has it? Nothing of the kind happened. What did happen was that we got some good housing built, and during the war it came in very handy.

Then, after the war, we wanted to revive this kind of housing legislation to help relieve the acute housing shortage, and what happened--we heard the same old hue and cry.

Finally, we overcame this opposition to get a public housing law in the first session of the 81st Congress last year. And we are going to get some more low-rent public housing.

[At this point someone in the crowd called out, "You hope!" The President then resumed speaking. ]

Yes, we hope, and if you work hard enough, you can help me to get it. That is what I am out here for.

Some of it is going to be right here in Umatilla County. I have a report right here describing one of those housing projects, and I am very glad that you are going to get it. I am sure that the people of this community are not going to be frightened or fooled by a campaign of scare words any more than I am. I am hard to scare, as you know. We are going right on working for prosperity and peace, and if we keep up that sort of program, if we keep right at it, there isn't anything in the world can stop us from getting the kind of a peace that we want, there isn't anything can stop us from getting the proper development for this part of the world and all the rest of the United States.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this most cordial reception for me. It has been wonderful. I have been across Iowa and Nebraska and Wyoming and Idaho, and a corner of the State of Oregon, and I don't think I ever had a more cordial reception or a grander time since I have been in public service, and that has been 30 years.

I was riding around this part of the world in 1948, making a bid for your votes, and I am out here now to make a report to you as President of the United States on what I am trying to do and what I want you to help me do for the welfare and benefit of this country.

It has been a very great pleasure to be here, and I appreciate your cordiality and your kindness in receiving me this way.
Thank you very much.

[12.] WALLULA, WASHINGTON (Rear platform, 9:02 p.m.)

It certainly is a pleasure to see you here tonight, and I am more than happy to be here.

I am sorry that we are 10 minutes behind schedule and I can't stay with you as long as I had anticipated staying.

We have had a grand day today. Everybody has enjoyed it. I hope the rest of the evening is going to be as good as the day has been.
Thank you very much for coming out.

[13.] PASCO, WASHINGTON (Speaker's platform in front of the Elks Temple, 9:42 p.m.)

I understand that this Elks Lodge here was organized July 14, 1947, under the sponsorship of the Walla Walla Lodge. It started with nothing in the treasury. It now has 700 members and $100,000. Isn't that something? I think I'll put him in charge of the budget of the United States Government.

You know that the Elks have four cardinal principles: charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity. The purpose of an Elks Lodge is to make the community in the Nation a better place in which to live. I am most happy to have a part in the dedication of their new home. They have done a remarkable job here, and I congratulate them.

I am more than happy to be with you here in Pasco this evening, to help dedicate this new Elks building. Every time I come back to the State of Washington I get a new feeling of the vast resources which this Nation possesses. As long as I am President, I will do everything in my power to use our resources in an effort to keep peace in the world.

Early this morning, over in Pocatello, Idaho, I talked about the work which the Atomic Energy Commission is planning at Arco, Idaho, for possible future industrial uses of atomic energy.

Just across the river from here, over at Hanford, there are other atomic energy works, where we are producing the ingredients of destruction. Our wartime investment at Hanford ran to $600 million, and we are now spending another $100 million to expand and improve the plants constructed during the wartime.

Hanford typifies the strategic importance of the vast regional arsenal we have built in the Pacific Northwest. No other section of the United States is more important to the security of this country.

Not only is the Northwest important in itself, it is also the gateway to Alaska, and we hope soon that Alaska will enter the Union as a new State along with Hawaii.

We recognize the strategic importance of the Pacific Northwest. For this reason, the Navy's largest shipyard is located at Bremerton,

In the mountains to the north, the Navy has located its new $7 million radio transmitter to direct its ships at sea.

Fort Lewis is the strongest Army post west of the Mississippi.

This month, two squadrons of the 81st Fighter Interceptor Wing will move into Moses Lake Air Base. The latest type jet fighters will strengthen air defenses already concentrated at Spokane, Moses Lake, and McChord Air Fields. On Whidby Island in Puget Sound we have one of the biggest and most important naval air stations in the Pacific.

Now I am giving you just these few examples to show you the importance we attach to this section of the country in our whole defense picture. There has been a lot of wild talk about the Northwest and about Alaska, and about what this Government expected to do with this section of the country.

This section of the country, as I told you to begin with, is considered a key position so far as the national defense of the Western Hemisphere is concerned. You need not worry about being "abandoned." We have no such intention. We never had any such intention. Those rumors were put out because your President was going to pay you a visit, and they thought maybe they could make it uncomfortable for him by putting out such foolishness. You know better than that.

Installations like these cost money. It is easy for foolish people to say that we ought to slash national expenditures by cutting defenses. As long as I have anything to say about it, I do not intend to weaken the defenses of this country to meet any shortsighted cry of "economy."

The money we are spending at Hanford is also one of the soundest investments this Nation can make. At the present time and in the immediate future, it is providing the United States with a means for defense while international conditions remain unsettled.

We hope the world will come to an agreement on international control of atomic energy. We have been working hard to get such an agreement for 4 years. When we finally do obtain a stable, peaceful world, the material produced at Hanford can all be turned to peacetime uses. That is what we all hope for.

You know, there have been many engines of destruction invented in the history of the world, and nearly every one of them has turned out to be of great use in peacetime.

I have always hoped, and I still hope, that this discovery which we made under the pressure of the greatest war in history will turn out to be the greatest benefactor and the greatest help to the welfare of the world that has ever come into existence. And I am just as sure as I stand here that it will.

I hope that in the not too far distant future, the full power of this great discovery can be used for lighting homes, supplying power for factories, improving land, driving ships and airplanes about the globe in peaceful trade.

Meanwhile, our national atomic energy program serves as one of the bulwarks of the free world against aggression. It is part of our whole effort to increase the strength and effectiveness of free and democratic nations, so that communism cannot succeed in its attempt to overrun the world.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the privilege of being here tonight. In 1948 1 tried to get here, but the Columbia River and the Snake River were both on a rampage at that time and it was not possible to get to this town. I hope that won't happen again.

If we get these great projects of the Columbia and Snake Rivers constructed as they should be, we will be in a position to control floods, to furnish power, and to make this one of the greatest parts of the United States.

You know, I have a view of the future on power. This section of the world--this part of the United States--will be one of the greatest power reservoirs in the country.

I want to see the St. Lawrence River developed in the manner in which it should be developed, and the Bay of Fundy and the New England power setup integrated something like we have here. In the Southeast we have the Tennessee Valley Authority. We are making developments in South Carolina and Georgia which will make a power development there commensurate with that section of the country. Then the Southwest power development on the Colorado River, which you all know about.

If we can get the proper development of the Missouri Valley, the Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio Valley between Pittsburgh and Denver, we will have this country with a network of power that will give us a chance to develop resources unheard of in the history of the world.

Now, that is what we are working for. Had it not been for the development of the Tennessee Valley and the development of the Columbia River, it would have taken us much longer and cost us many more lives to win the war.

I made many an investigation out here while I was in the Senate, along with Mon Wallgren, who was a United States Senator with me on that committee which made those investigations. And we learned an immense amount about the necessity for the proper development of the Columbia Valley.

I have been out here all day preaching the Columbia Valley Authority, to make this development integrated so that it will work for the benefit and welfare of the whole Northwest corner of the United States. I hope you will support me in that program.

It will be a great thing for every State that tributaries the Columbia River--Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana. It will be for their welfare. They will like it if they ever get it done.

You have a lot of old fogies who never want to do anything progressive. That is not true of the majority of the people in this part of the world. This part of the world is always looking forward. Your ancestors who came out here and settled this part of the world had to look forward in order to make this country great.

We must keep up that spirit. That is what I am working for. I am out here to make a report to you as President of the United States on what I hope to accomplish, as I told you in 1948 I would make the attempt to do. I am not running for anything. I am just out here to make a report to you.

I may come back later and talk a little differently.
Thank you very much.

NOTE: In the course of his remarks on May 10 the President referred to, among others, William O. Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Charles L. McNary, former Senator from Oregon, and Mon C. Wallgren, former Senator and former Governor of Washington.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.