Breadcrumb

Address in Baltimore at the Dedication of Friendship International Airport

June 24, 1950

Mr. Mayor, Governor Lane, Senator Tydings, Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen:

I am very happy to participate in the dedication of this great airport.

I was also most pleased to initiate your great Mayor into his first flying lesson. I think he is going to like it. In fact, he has made me an offer for the Independence.

Friendship International Airport is the culmination of the vision, plans, and efforts of many people. It is the creation of men who look ahead and have faith in the future.

This great new airport is a symbol of what local government and the National Government can do when they plan together and work together for the improvement of the country. It is a great satisfaction to me that the Federal Government, through the Federal aid airport program, has been able to assist local communities such as Baltimore to expand and improve their facilities for air transport.

Air transport is becoming more and more an essential part of our way of living and our national economy. A great industrial and commercial city like Baltimore will have increasingly greater need for facilities to handle a growing amount of air traffic. This airport will meet this need. It has been planned for the future.

There are always people who scoff at any farseeing plans for the future. Every internal improvement in this country's history has had its shortsighted opponents. There were people who scoffed at the building of railroads through the uninhabited areas of the West. There are people today who scoff at the building of dams and the creation of new hydroelectric power resources. But the history of all these improvements is that they have increased economic opportunity and fostered the growth of the country.

And this, I am sure, will be the history of Friendship International Airport. This airport will aid the economic development of Baltimore. Its traffic will increase as the growing industries of Baltimore make use of it. This airport has been planned on the sound assumption that our economy will continue to grow and expand.

I believe that this assumption is correct. I am confident that our economy will continue to grow and expand. Of course, this will not happen automatically. Our economy will expand only if we plan for expansion. All of us make some plans for the future. Individuals, families, businesses, governments--all make economic plans. If we base these plans on the belief that our output will remain static, on the expectation that incomes will fall, or on the assumption that changes in the present situation will be injurious to existing interests--then we may expect the economy to decline and contract. If, on the other hand, we base our plans on the assumptions of increasing output, growing efficiency and higher real incomes, we can make continued economic progress.

In a growing economy there is need for all types of modern transportation. The aviation industry has had a long struggle to attain a proper place in the transportation system of the country. It has had to overcome not only foolish prejudices and fears, but the opposition of those who did not want its competition. However, if we had listened to the old mossbacks who complained about competition, we would never have given up the stagecoach. Some of these old stagecoach mossbacks are still with us-still in Congress, if you please. But thank God they are not in the majority. Competition between different kinds of transportation is one of the things which goes to make our economy a vital and effective one. We must have and we will have in this country a modern and efficient air transport system to help meet our needs for rapid transportation.

In developing such a system, the Federal Government has a great part to play. Air transport is of concern to the Nation as a whole. It is a growing element in our interstate and foreign commerce. Like all our transportation systems, it is important to our national defense. Recognizing these facts, our Government has provided various kinds of aid in the development of our aviation industry, just as it has done from time to time for other types of transportation.

The grants-in-aid which have been made under the Federal aid airport program have done a great deal to give us the kind of air transport system we need. Federal assistance has stimulated State and local effort. As in all our grant-in-aid programs, local government has been strengthened and given new responsibility by virtue of the Federal interest.

Nothing is quite so misleading as the oftrepeated charge that the Federal Government today, by its various aid programs, is weakening or destroying State and local government. This is simply political oratory-I may say false political oratory. How false it is should be obvious to anyone who has followed the steps taken by local authorities in the creation of this airport, for example-or in the construction of roads, or low-cost public housing--or any other projects financed in part from Federal funds. In all these programs, the initiative must come from the local citizens; the planning must be done in the locality; State and local governments must adopt necessary laws and ordinances, set up necessary boards or commissions, and, in many cases, raise most of the funds. By the time the project has been completed, the local government has acquired new strength and new assurance in meeting the problems of its community.

This kind of cooperation between State and local governments and the National Government is one of the most constructive aspects of our national life today. It is making people increasingly aware of their responsibilities as citizens of their communities. It is making them more conscious of the needs and problems of their local governments. It is helping to strengthen the processes of democracy throughout the country.

Such a development is of immeasurable importance today, when our country stands before the world as one of the leading champions of the democratic way of life. Our greatest strength in the conflict which shakes the world today is our ability to show that democracy can solve the problems of the people, and provide them with greater opportunities, and fuller lives. This airport is an example of democratic government in action. It demonstrates the way in which we are using our traditional forms of government to solve the problems of the air age.

This airport exemplifies the spirit of growth and confidence with which our country faces the future. We would not build so elaborate a facility for our air commerce if we did not have faith in a peaceful future. This airport embodies our determination to develop the marvels of science and invention for peaceful purposes. It strengthens our economy to do its part in maintaining a peaceful world.

Now I dedicate this Friendship International Airport to the growth and development of our country.

I dedicate this great airport to the cause of peace in the world.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. In his opening words he referred to Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., of Baltimore, Governor William Preston Lane, Jr., of Maryland, Senator Millard E. Tydings of Maryland, and the Most Rev. Francis P. Keough, Archbishop of Baltimore.

At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, the Presidential party boarded the Independence for a flight to Kansas City, Mo.