Breadcrumb

Rear Platform Remarks in Kansas

June 16, 1948

[1.] DODGE CITY, KANSAS (7:30 a.m.) .

It looks as if Dodge City really wanted to see what their President looked like. I used to come over here to Dodge City on road matters for the National Old Trails Association. I was the director of that organization, and I have been through here on numerous occasions on work for that organization. Those were the days when we didn't have the roads we have now, and when it used to take the Santa Fe Railroad a little longer to go from Kansas City than it does now.

I am most happy that you are willing to give me this most cordial welcome this morning. I think you have a right to see your President, and your President has a right to see you. You have a right to know exactly what I have been trying to tell you in the last few weeks, and I think I have succeeded pretty well.

I have seen, I imagine, about 2 1/2 millions of people. I have talked to a great many people, and a great many people have talked to me, and I think I have found out what the country is thinking about.

I think I have definitely fixed the issues which are before the country now. It is merely the fact: are the special privilege boys going to run the country, or are the people going to run it?

It is up to you to decide if you want special privilege to run it. Then you will know what to do. If you don't want the special privilege boys to run this country, then it is still up to you to decide what you want to do. I merely wanted to lay before you the facts as they are.

It is almost impossible to get definitely the facts before the people, for the simple reason that there are certain people in the newspaper business and certain people in the radio business who have a distorted view of what the people ought to know and ought to think.

I know in this part of the world that you think for yourselves. I hope you will just continue to do that, and I won't have anything to worry about.

It has been a very great pleasure to see you all this morning. I hope when the issues are really drawn, and I am not against the field, I can come out here on a political tour and tell you just exactly what the facts are.

[2.] HUTCHINSON, KANSAS (9:35 a.m.)


It certainly is a pleasure, and I appreciate this very much.

We had not expected to stop at Hutchinson, but we heard that there were some people who wanted to see their President, so we decided to stop, and I am glad you have had that chance, if that is what you wanted.

I have been touring the country to let people know what I look like and what I stand for. I think they have pretty well found out. I think the issues are pretty well drawn, and I think you and your judgment will have a chance to make a proper decision when the time comes.

I hope that sometime later I will have the opportunity to come back this way on a political tour, when I can really talk to you on the issues and tell you what's going on.

It certainly is heart-warming to see so many shining faces out this morning, when this wasn't even a scheduled stop. I wonder what it would have been if it had been a scheduled stop?

[3.] NEWTON, KANSAS (10:20 a.m.)


Well, it certainly is a pleasure to see you this morning. It looks like the whole city is here. I like Newton, Kans. I have been here many a time--on business, on pleasure, and for a lot of other reasons too numerous to mention.

I have had a most pleasant trip since I left Washington. I stopped in Omaha, if you remember, and discussed the farm situation. You are interested here in farm production and in the production underground, to a great extent. I passed by an oil field just a little while ago, just west of here.

It was the farm production, and the production of oil and minerals which made it possible for this country to win the war in as short a time as it did. The farmers are to be most highly complimented on the contribution that they made to the war effort, and the contribution that they are making to the peace effort now. Were it not for the fact that we have had a large surplus of foodstuffs, a great many millions of people would have starved to death.

The ability of the farmers to produce now is, I think to some extent, and to a great extent, due to the proper legislation under which the farmers have been working for the last 12 or 14 years.

I don't know whether your memory is good or not, but back in 1932 the farm income was $4,700 million. Last year it was $30 billion; and the farmers had $23 billion on deposit in the banks. In 1932 they didn't have any money in the bank, in fact they didn't have very much of anything except mortgages which were coming due so fast we couldn't pay them off. I am happy about that situation, and I want to see that situation continue.

Since I made my Omaha speech, the House has reported out the farm bill. I don't know what the Senate will do to it. I hope the Senate will pass it, because the things which create the incentive to get the farmers to do what they have done over the last 7 years will expire at the end of this year, if this Congress does not act on the farm bill. I am hoping that they will act, because the present farm bill as reported out by the House is a good bill.

I want to say to you right here that there are a great many liberal Congressmen and Senators who are interested in the welfare of the people, but they are not with the majority in the Congress now. That is the thing I want to drive home.

You elected that Congress--33 1/3 percent of you did. Only 33 1/3 percent of the people voted in 1946, and that is the reason we got the sort of Congress we did.

It is a minority Congress with a majority against the people.

That we can't stand!

You have got to take that under consideration in the coming campaign, and when I come back to Kansas in the next campaign, I will make you a political speech along the lines that you can understand.

I made this tour while the Congress was in session, hoping that the Congress would take some action on needed legislation, when the people were awake to the facts of what was really happening back there. And I made the tour purposely before the Congress adjourned, so they would have a chance to act. If they will act, I will be just as happy as anybody in the United States, and that is the reason I am making this nonpolitical tour. I am here to get the people aroused as to what the Congress ought to do, and I think the Congress ought to be aroused. That is the reason for the trip.

I certainly have had a reception. I never saw so many people in my life. I think I have faced more than 20 million people, and I have talked to a lot of people, and a lot of people have talked to me. And that was the purpose of the trip.

You know, the President is rather completely surrounded in Washington. It has to be that way. About the only chance I have to see anybody are the people who come in to call on me for business purposes, and nearly every one of them has an axe to grind, and I have to have my guard up all the time.

On this trip, I have been able to look the people of the United States in the face, and they have been able to see me, and they have been able to visit with me, maybe, to make up their own minds as to what sort of fellow they think I may be. I hope that they will think the right way.

It has been a pleasure to make this trip. It has been a pleasure to discuss the things that this country faces. This country is the greatest Nation in the world now. And it is necessary for this country to assume the leadership that I think God Almighty intended the country to assume in 1920.

We have assumed that leadership, and we have assumed it on a bipartisan basis.

Thank God the foreign policy of the United States has not gotten into this brawl, because it shouldn't. All our domestic difficulties are up for discussion, and we have a right to discuss them, and I have a right to discuss them, and so has anybody a right to discuss them as he wants to. But the foreign policy of the United States must be for the whole world because that means peace in the world if it is carried out. And we are carrying it out.

I hope that when that foreign policy is successfully implemented and the United Nations becomes the working organization that it is now becoming, we will be safe from all world wars.

I have been through two of them, and never want to see another one, and I don't think anybody else does, if he is in his right mind.

Thank you very much for coming out this morning. It certainly is a pleasure to see you. I wish I could talk to each one of you individually. I wish my arm was long enough to reach out and shake hands with all of you, but I can't do it.

[4.] EMPORIA, KANSAS 12:05 p.m.)


I am certainly glad to see the citizens of Emporia turn out this way.

I have a very agreeable surprise for you. You know, Congress sometimes does things as it ought to do. There are a lot of good liberal people in the Congress, although they are not in the majority now.

I received a resolution last night, at Albuquerque, in the pouch which comes to me daily from Washington, authorizing a 3-cent stamp honoring William Allen White.

I am going to sign that resolution right here, so that you can see me do it.

[The President read aloud the resolution.]

And when I sign it, it will be the law.

[The President signed it.] That does it!

William Allen White was one of the country's great men. He was a great editor, he was a humanitarian, and he always worked for the right, in my opinion. I always thought he was on the side of the right.

And he has a son who is following in his footsteps, and who is doing a very magnificent job in the newspaper field. Both of those gentlemen were on the liberal side. They worked for the people all the time; and they continue to work for the people.

William Allen White's spirit goes marching on, and his son always was on the side of what I think is right.

That is what I came out here to tell you people, that there are no issues but one, and that is the issue whether special privilege shall run the country, or whether the people shall run the country.

You are going to have a chance to make that decision this fall, and when I go out on my political tour, I am going to come back and tell you just exactly what the issues are.

I see one of my very old friends here in the audience, Bill Young. He used to be Mayor of Council Grove, Kans., and a member of the National Old Trails Association. I have been from one end of Kansas to the other with Bill Young, and other members of that Association. I came here to Emporia in 1943--or 1944--I believe it was in the fall of 1943, when we were passing a resolution which was to authorize the establishment of the United Nations. That was a resolution called B2H2 1 in the Senate and House of Representatives. It came out so that a call for the United Nations was made on April 25, 1945. And that was the first decision I had to make after I was sworn in as President, as to whether that United Nations conference would be carried on in San Francisco on the 25th of April.

1 Ball-Burton-Hatch-Hill Resolution, introduced into the Senate in 1943.

I made that decision. The conference reached a conclusion, and the document of the Charter of the United Nations was signed by 51 nations. I was present when that document was signed in San Francisco in 1945.

And at the stadium of the University of California, on the 12th of June, I reiterated the foreign policy of the United States, which is based on a working United Nations.

And the United Nations is working.

I said then that I hoped the Charter of the United Nations would become the constitution of the world, just as the Constitution of the United States is the Constitution of the 48 States. And I think it will. I am sure it will. It must. Because that means peace in the world, and that is what we all want. We are all anxious for peace, and we will get peace in the world, if the people of the United States back up their bipartisan foreign policy. That is the most important thing that we have facing us now.

All these domestic issues can be fought out on the basis of their merits. The foreign policy of the United States must be the policy of the whole United States, in order to make it effective. That is what we have been working for ever since I came here to Emporia with Congressman Judd; and we discussed at that time just what we might be faced with today.

In order to get peace now, we must keep that foreign policy out of the political scramble which will take place in this Presidential year. I know we can do that. The leaders in the Senate who pass on treaties which affect foreign relations, have been working in complete harmony with the President and the Secretary of State, and we are going to continue to do that so far as foreign affairs are concerned.

But that doesn't go for local affairs--that doesn't go for local affairs.

We have a right in this country to say what we please, and when we please, provided we can back it up. And I have been out trying to tell the people just exactly what the facts are as I see them.

I suppose I have talked to 2 1/2 million people-on this trip, and a lot of people have talked to me. They have seen me, and they understand what I want to do; and now it is going to be up to the people themselves to decide whether the policies of the President are in their interest, or whether the policies of this special privilege majority in the Congress are in their interest. That is up to you.

NOTE: During his remarks in Emporia the President referred to Representative Walter H. Judd of Minnesota. The resolution authorizing a stamp honoring William Allen White is H.J. Res. 411, Public Law 648, 80th Congress (62 Stat. 455).