Breadcrumb

Address in Montana at the Dedication of the Hungry Horse Dam

October 1, 1952

THANK YOU very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I appreciate most highly that cordial introduction, and that most cordial reception.
Mr. Chairman, Governor Bonner, Congressman Mansfield, Mr. Secretary of the Interior, distinguished guests, and Congressmen and Senators:

I have appreciated the support which has been given to the development of the United States of America as a whole. The Governor made the statement, of course, as he should, that Montana is the greatest State in the Union. When I was in the United States Senate, I would have argued with him on that point, but in my present job, I have to say that every one of the 48 States is the best State in the Union.

I want to say to the wonderful band Over here, that the Marine Band plays that roll and "Hail to the Chief" every time I come in sight, but this is the first time I ever heard it all. And I have never heard the Marine Band do it any better, either.

We have come here today to dedicate Hungry Horse Dam. I have just been to see the dam. It is a most magnificent structure. It is the third highest and the fourth largest concrete dam in the world. It will make possible the generation of vast quantities of electric power.

There is one man, more than any other, who is responsible for the existence of this dam, and I'm glad he is here today. He is the man you are going to send to the Senate next year and his name is Mike Mansfield. And if he haunts the next President as much as he has haunted me since I have been President, you will get everything you want in Montana.

When you do send Mike to the Senate, Montana will have two of the best Senators in the United States Senate. I served with Jim Murray over here. If I was on the right side of every question, as I think I was, Jim Murray was too.

Mike Mansfield led the fight for legislation which was passed in 1944 to authorize the construction of Hungry Horse Dam. During the Republican Both Congress, he fought in the House and before the Senate Appropriations Committee against Republican slashes in funds needed to build that dam.

I want to read you what Representative Norrell of Arkansas, a Member of the House Appropriations Committee, said in 1949 when Mike Mansfield appeared before that committee for the sixth straight year on behalf of funds for this dam. Here's what Congressman Norrell said:

"I would like to say that if there is a man in Congress who is entitled to be charged with the sin--or given the credit for the good work-for creating what is commonly known as Hungry Horse Dam, Mike Mansfield is entitled to the credit or the charge. I know, as far as I am concerned, he has been instrumental in getting me to sin a lot in favor of Hungry Horse Dam."

Now that's a pretty tall admission for the gentleman from Arkansas to make, and I think sometime when I go to Arkansas I'll tell on him. I know that you folks don't think there is any sin about building Hungry Horse Dam.

This dam was built by the people of the United States, acting through their Government, to serve the economy, the industry, and the people of this Northwestern region. It will promote the welfare and security, and increase the prosperity of the entire United States.
Now I want to give you a little advice.

All of you who are here today had better go over and take another good look at that dam, because if the Republicans win this election, it will be a long time before you see another new structure of that kind.

The Republican candidate for President made it perfectly plain in a speech in Boise, Idaho, a few weeks ago that he was against dams like this.

The Republican candidate wasn't always against this sort of thing. Last June, he paid a visit to Boulder Dam, one of the first of the great projects like Hungry Horse which was transforming the life of the West.

He learned on that visit that Boulder Dam was a self-liquidating project, and he said, "Here we have a perfect example of doing something for all the people and doing it intelligently."

The General was right when he said that. But since then, he has become the nominee of the Republican Party, and he has learned the Republican Party line.

After he was nominated to be the Republican candidate for President, many men went to see him at Denver. And within 2 months he was talking just like one of the lobbyists for the private power monopolies. Just listen to what he said at Boise 2 months after he had expressed his admiration for Boulder Dam--I am going to quote him now--can't go back on this because it's down in black and white.

"We have had for a long time a government that applies the philosophy of the left to the Government"--now that's the Republican candidate talking, and he went on to explain what he meant and I quote again: "The Government will build power dams," he said, "the Government will tell you how to distribute your power, the Government will do this and that, the Government does everything but come in and wash the dishes for the housewife." That's the end of the General's quote.

I'm not sure what the accusation is, whether it is that we built the dams, or that we didn't wash the dishes. But I do know that the whole statement doesn't make sense to anyone who understands that in this country the Government is the people, and not something apart from the people. Apparently, that's something the Republicans don't understand.

Now, we Democrats will plead guilty to building the dams. And as far as washing the dishes is concerned, we've made a lot of progress on that, too. We have made it possible for the housewives to get cheap electricity so they can afford to have an electric dishwasher to do the dishes, and we have brought electricity to millions of homes that never had it before. And this has been done over the violent opposition of the Republicans and the utility companies who are partners.
[Voice: Pour it on 'em, Harry.]
Don't you think I won't!
I want to make this perfectly clear. No one can accuse the Republican Party of doing anything to help the housewife wash the dishes. They just don't believe in that kind of thing.

The Republican candidate in his Boise speech made it clear that he has accepted the Old Guard view that the dams like Hungry Horse--and Government transmission lines, and low-cost public power--are a part of what they call socialism.

Well, I would like to say to the Republican candidate that public power in this country is just as much a part of the American system as the public schools, the municipal waterworks, the public post office, or the national forests. They are all socialism, according to Republicans. In America, the people do through the Government those things that can only be done through the Government. And we don't let propaganda about socialism scare us into failing to develop our resources.

A system of river development which serves many purposes--reclamation, flood control, power generation, transportation, recreation--by its very nature can not be done by private enterprise.

Hungry Horse Dam has not been designed to operate as an isolated unit--but rather as a part of a river system. By operating jointly with Grand Coulee and other dams, water stored at Hungry Horse will increase by nearly one-half million kilowatts the capacity of other power plants in the Columbia River system. This is in addition to the power which will be produced at Hungry Horse itself.

This dam will also contribute materially toward controlling floods on the Columbia River and its tributaries. It will make possible, ultimately, the irrigation of additional land in the Flathead Valley. And it will help navigation on the Columbia River.

Now, you have in this great Northwest what I call a Northwest power pool. We have a Southwest power pool, centered around Boulder Dam. We have a Central power pool, centered around those dams on the Red River and the dams in northwest Arkansas, which I dedicated the other day. And in connection with TVA and the dams in South Carolina and Georgia, we have a Southeast power pool. And I have been trying to persuade the mossbacks in the Northeast part of the country that they ought to have a Northeast power pool centered on the St. Lawrence River and the Bay of Fundy project. But I can't get them to do it for the simple reason that the New England power company and the railroads have prevented it.

I am making a statement of fact now, and I'll stand behind it, and I'm not on the Senate floor claiming immunity for anything.

Now, all of the benefits of this great Northwest power pool are encompassed in this single structure. It stands as a symbol of our long-range program for multiple power development of the Columbia River drainage basin.

Obviously, no private power company can or should undertake this kind of regional development. But the private power monopolists don't want the Government to do it either.

Back in 1945, when the appropriation for Hungry Horse was up for consideration in the Congress, the Montana Power Company sent its chief engineer down to Washington to fight against it.

He told a Senate committee that Hungry Horse Dam was not justified and ought not to be built. He said there was no market in Montana for power--can you beat that?that the Montana Power Company could carry all the load there was, and that he didn't think there ever would be a shortage of power out here.

Now I had one time an old man who was the head of the Aluminum Company of America before my committee, when I had what they called a Truman investigating committee in the Senate, and at that time the total production of aluminum in the United States was about 300 million pounds. And that old man sat before me and said 300 million pounds of aluminum would be all we would ever need, and the Aluminum Company of America could make all that was necessary.

Well, we broke that up very well. We are producing now over 4,000 million pounds of aluminum in America, and still we are short. That's how forward-looking these monopolists get, you see.

Now how foolish that blind, selfish opposition looks today. One brand-new heavy industry plant--a chemical plant at Silver Bow--has already been built, to operate on Hungry Horse electric power. A major aluminum plant is to be built near Kalispell, and it, too, will use Hungry Horse electricity. Now industry is coming in, in other words, before the dam is even finished.

When we were trying to build Grand Coulee, I was in the Senate, and I never heard as much poppycock in my life as these same fellows that worked with the Montana Power Company and the Pacific Power Company and all that monopoly over there at that time came in and said Grand Coulee would do no good, except for prairie dogs and groundhogs and sagebrush and jackrabbits. Well, well, well--I wish you would go over and look at Grand Coulee now and see what they are doing. And that's just what will happen under this dam.

There isn't the slightest doubt that this electricity will be used, that you people will get new production and new jobs and new prosperity out of it, and that your Government will be repaid every cent the dam has cost, with interest. That's a self-liquidating project.

But if these special interests and monopolists had had their way, neither this nor any other of these great Federal dams out here would ever have been built. And neither would the TVA ever have been established when they built that great project down there.

Do you know that the slogan "creeping socialism" was actually started by the private power monopoly ?

I'll tell you something about how that slogan was invented.

The utilities spent a lot of money figuring it out. They hired the public opinion experts and the pollsters to do research for them. And these experts came back and told them that the great majority of the people of this country really like public power. Of course they do. The people approve of projects like Grand Coulee and Bonneville and Shasta; the people are convinced that they get more electricity--and get it cheaper-through the public power program than they do when they are left to the tender mercies of the utilities.

The monopolists weren't happy when they heard these things. But the experts gave them a tip. They said they had found out one more thing about public opinion--one other thing which everybody already knew-namely, that we Americans don't like socialism.

That was the cue, and that was how this present propaganda campaign happened to be born. The monopolists can't attack public power directly, because they know the people like it. So they attack socialism, which the people don't like. And today they are spending millions of dollars to warn you against socialism. They are working through all kinds of trade associations and "front" organizations, buying radio time, flooding newspapers and magazines with expensive advertisements, putting out canned speeches and editorials whenever they can find the audience. And they are taking tax privileges by doing that very thing, and all that cost goes to the users of monopolistic power when they pay their electric light and power bills. You don't think of that.

Now why are they doing all that? Because they want to make you believe that public power--which you know is good-is really socialism in disguise. Well, if that's socialism in disguise, I'm for it.

If they can make you swallow that, then the monopolies have got you--and you won't get any more cheap electricity.

They persuaded some people to swallow it. Between June, when the Republican candidate for President visited Boulder Dam, and August, when he went to Boise, they got him to swallow it hook, line, and sinker.

Of course, the Republican Party had already swallowed that--hook, line, and sinker--a long time ago. And their newfound candidate appeared at Boise and said that he was in the Republican policy corner on public power. The Republican Party has a long record on public power and I'm here to tell you it's all bad.

Over and over again, a majority of its Members in Congress have tried to keep dams like this from being built. The Republican Party has tried to hamstring Federal power projects by depriving them of money. It has tried to prevent the building of transmission lines that are needed if the people are actually to get the benefit of the low-cost electric power these great rivers develop.

The Republicans had a chance to show their interest in developing our river resources during that good-for-nothing 80th Congress. For a years in that Congress, they had control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

During that period, they took one positive action. It is the one positive accomplishment of the Republican Party, in respect to public power, in 20 long years of opposition.

They passed a special act of Congress to change the name of Boulder Dam to Hoover Dam.

Now let's take a look at the record of the Democratic Party, in contrast. The Democratic program for the development of our river systems for reclamation, for power and industrial growth have given new life to this great area of our Nation.

Before our program for development of the Columbia River system got under way, the Northwest was a sort of colony for Eastern finance and industry. It lived by its timber, its farms--when they could get prices enough to get the stuff to market--its mineral deposits and its fisheries, and none of them could be expanded much beyond the existing capacities at that time.
Then these great reclamation and public power works began to come into operation. And what happened ?

The people no longer had to depend on private power monopolies for a trickle of electric energy, which came in small quantities at high prices--and that was economic dependency and remote control for you, if I ever heard of it. Instead, the people of the Northwest gradually began to reap the benefits of the enormous blocks of low-cost power produced at Bonneville and Grand Coulee.

Where there had been no industry to speak of, an industrial giant has gone into being. Abundant low-cost power brought aluminum industry to the Northwest. Industrial opportunities were opened up all the way from the Continental Divide to the Pacific, also. In 1939, no aluminum was produced in the Northwest; last year, the five reduction plants here produced 364,000 tons--not pounds, tons--worth more than $130 million--44 percent of the Nation's total output of this vital metal. And if we had listened to the Aluminum Company of America, it wouldn't have been done.

Aluminum is only part of the story, of course. The whole face of the land in the Northwest was transformed. During the decade from 1940 to 1950, this part of the country increased its population by 33 percent--well over twice the rate of increase for the country as a whole. And as I came across from the train to the dam this morning, and from the dam here, I could see that the p