Sunday 29 June 2008
Robert McNamara said about the speech which President Kennedy delivered at American University on June 10th 1963 - "Most of you, probably all of you, have never read it, never heard it. Please read it. It's one of the great documents of the twentieth century"
You can read it, and listen to the whole speech at http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Reference+Desk/Speeches/JFK/003POF03AmericanUniversity06101963.htm
Khrushchev praised the speech as the "best statement made by any president since Roosevelt". Robert Dallek and Terry Golway commented - "While the speech will seem visionary when read and heard in the twentieth century, Kennedy knew that he risked criticism at home from those who would see it as too conciliatory and even defeatest. He decided it was a risk worth taking"
The final words of the speech bear repeating -
"This generation of Americans has already had enough--more than enough--of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on--not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace."