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Reel Number: H2029-06
Color: Black and White
Year / Date: 1961
TC Begins: 20:24:45
TC Ends: 20:29:26
1961 - Speech, President Kennedy: Special Message To Congress, TRACK ONLY Pt. 6 of 10 Continued... This Administration has been looking hard at exactly what civil defense can and cannot do. It cannot be obtained cheaply. It cannot give an assurance of blast protection that will be proof against surprise attack or guaranteed against obsolescence or destruction. And it cannot deter a nuclear attack. 20:24:47 We will deter an enemy from making a nuclear attack only if our retaliatory power is so strong & so invulnerable that he knows he would be destroyed by our response. (applause) 20:25:09 If we have that strength, civil defense is not needed to deter an attack. If we should ever lack it, civil defense would not be an adequate substitute. But this deterrent concept assumes rational calculations by rational men. And the history of this planet, & particularly the history of the 20th century, is sufficient to remind us of the possibilities of an irrational attack, a miscalculation, an accidental war, for a war of escalation in which the stakes by each side gradually increase to the point of maximum danger, which cannot be either foreseen or deterred. It is on this basis that civil defense can be readily justifiable--as insurance for the civilian population in case of an enemy miscalculation. It is insurance we trust will never be needed--but insurance which we could never forgive ourselves for foregoing in the event of catastrophe. 20:26:13 Once the validity of this concept is recognized, there is no point in delaying the initiation of a nation-wide long-range program of identifying present fallout shelter capacity & providing shelter in new & existing structures. Such a program would protect millions of people against the hazards of radioactive fallout in the event of large-scale nuclear attack. Effective performance of the entire program not only requires new legislative authority and more funds, but also sound organizational arrangements. 20:26:52 Therefore, under the authority vested in me by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1958, I am assigning responsibility for this program to the top civilian authority already responsible for continental defense, the Secretary of Defense. It is important that this function remain civilian, in nature & leadership; and this feature will not be changed. The Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization will be reconstituted as a small staff agency to assist in the coordination of these functions. To more accurately describe its role, its title should be changed to the Office of Emergency Planning. 20:27:35 As soon as those newly charged with these responsibilities have prepared new authorization & appropriation requests, such requests will be transmitted to the Congress for a much strengthened Federal-State civil defense program. Such a program will provide Federal funds for identifying fallout shelter capacity in existing structures, & it will include, where appropriate, incorporation of shelter in Federal buildings, new requirements for shelter in buildings constructed w/ Federal assistance, & matching grants & other incentives for constructing shelter in State and local and private buildings. Federal appropriations for civil defense in fiscal 1962 under this program will in all likelihood be more than triple the pending budget requests; and they will increase sharply in subsequent years. Financial participation will also be required from State & local governments and from private citizens. But no insurance is cost-free; & every American citizen and his community must decide for themselves whether this form of survival insurance justifies the expenditure of effort, time and money. For myself, I am convinced that it does. 20:28:56 I cannot end this discussion of defense and armaments without emphasizing our strongest hope: the creation of an orderly world where disarmament will be possible. (applause) Our aims do not prepare for war--they are efforts to discourage and resist the adventures of others that could end in war. Continued... 25May61; Presidential Speeches; Cold War; NOTE: Any continuous 15 minutes of speech, 20:00:05 - 20:45:05 sold at per reel rate.
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