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"2012-10-24 23:55:31"
JFK Secret Societies Speech (full version)
\\NBI March of the president to the American newspaper publishers association Waldorf Astoria hotel New York City papal 20 seventh 1961 chairman I appreciate very much your generous invitation to be here tonight you bear heavy abilities these days and they article I read some time ago reminded me of how particularly heavily the burdens of present day events bear upon your profession you remember may remember that in 1851 New York Herald Tribune under the sponsorship and publishing a harsh really employed as its London correspondent if you're a journalist by the name of Karl Marx we are told that foreign correspondent Marx stone broke and with a family ill and undernourished constantly appealed to Greeley and managing editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment a salary which he and Engels and gratefully labeled as the lousy just petty bourgeois cheating but when all his financial appeals were refused fox looked around for other means of livelihood and fame eventually terminating his relationship with the Tribune and the voting is talents full time to the cause that would bequeath to the world the seeds of Leninism Stalinism revolution and the Cold War if only this capitalistic New York newspaper had had treated him more kindly if only Marx remained a foreign correspondent history might have been different and I I hope all publishers will bear this lesson in 9 I the next time they receive a poverty PO from a small increase new amid secure newspaperman yeah I have a selected as the title of my remarks night the president and the press some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded the president versus the press but those are not my sentiments tonight it is true however that when a well known diplomat from another country demanded recently that our state department repudiate certain newspaper attacks on his colleague it was a necessary for us to reply that this administration was not responsible for the press for the press had already made it clear that it was not responsible for this administration nevertheless my purpose here tonight deliver the usual assault so called one trash very in recent I have rarely heard any complaints political bias in the press except from a few Republicans nor is it my purpose tonight gosh or defend the televising of presidential press conference I think it is highly beneficial to have some 20000000 Americans regularly sit in on these conferences to observe if I may say so the incisive the intelligent and the courteous qualities displayed by your Washington correspondents how we are finally ID remarks intended to examine the proper degree of privacy which the press should allow to any president and his family if in the last few months your White House reporters and photographers have been in a been attending church services with regularity that is surely done them no harm I the other hand I realize that your staff and wire service the top rivers maybe complaining that they do not enjoy the same green privileges the local golf courses which they once dead it is true that my predecessor did not object as I do to pictures of one 's golfing skill in action but neither on the other hand did he ever bean a secret service man my idea topic tonight is a more sober one of concern to publishers as well as editors I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger the events of recent weeks may have helped to illuminate that challenge for sound but the dimensions of its threat have loomed large in the horizon for many years whatever our hopes may be for the future for reducing this threat all living with it there is no escaping either the gravity all the totality of its challenge to our survival and to our security a challenge that confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity this deadly challenge imposes upon our society 2 requirements of direct concern both to the press and to the president 2 requirements that may seem almost contradictory in tone but which must be reconciled and fulfilled if we are to meet this national peril I refer first to the need far far greater public information and second to the need for far greater official secrecy the very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies the secret oaths and a secret proceedings we decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which I cited to justify it even today there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions even today there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it and there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment that I do not intend to commit to the extent that it's in my control and no official of my administration whether his rank is high or low civilian or military should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news to stifle dissent to cover up our mistakes don't withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know but I do ask but I do ask every publisher every editor and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards and to recognize the nature of our country's peril in time of war the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self discipline to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy in times of clear and present danger the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the first amendment must yield to the public's need for national security today no law has been declared and I wanna fierce the struggle may be it may never be declared in the traditional fashion our way of life is under attack those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe the survival of our friends is in danger and yet no war has been declared no borders have been crossed by marching troops no missiles have been fired if the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self discipline of combat conditions but I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security if you are awaiting a finding of clear and present danger and I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent it requires a change in outlook a change in tactics a change in missions by the government by the people by every businessman or labor leader and by every newspaper for we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on public means for expanding its sphere of influence on infiltration instead of invasion and severity and instead of elections on intimidation instead of free choice on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day it is a system which has conscripted Bastian human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit highly efficient machine that combines military diplomatic intelligence economic scientific and political operations its preparations are concealed not published its mistakes are buried not headlined its dissenters are silenced not praised No expenditure is questioned no rumor is printed no secret is revealed it conducts the Cold War and showing with a war time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match nevertheless every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints our national security and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion but the fact of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft bribery or espionage the details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader friend and foe alike at the size the strength the location and the nature of our forces and weapons and our plans and strategy for their use have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power and that at least one case the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money the newspapers which printed these stories were loyal patriotic responsible and well meaning had we been engaged open warfare they undoubtedly would not have published such items but in the absence of open warfare they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security and my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted that question is for you alone to answer no public official should answer it for you No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will but I would be failing in my duty to the nation and considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities if I did not command this problem to your attention and urge its thoughtful consideration on many earlier occasions I have sent and your newspapers have constantly said but these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self discipline they call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal I have no intention of establishing a new office of war information the governor flow of news I'm not suggesting any new forms of censorship on new types of security classifications I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I opposed and would not seek to impose it if I had one but I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger and to heed the duty of self restraint which that danger imposes upon us all every newspaper now asks itself with respect to every story is it news all I suggest is that you add the question is it in the interest of national security and I hope that every group in America unions and businessmen and public officials at every level we'll ask the same question of their endeavors and subject their actions to the same exacting task and should the press of America incident and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery I can assure you that we will cooperate whole heartedly with those recommendations perhaps there will be no recommendations perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war in times of peace any discussion of this subject and any action that results I both painful and without precedent but this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history it is the unprecedented nature of this challenge it also gives rise to your second obligation an obligation which I share and that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people to make certain that they possessed all the fact that they need and understand them as well the perils the prospects the purposes of our program and the choices that we face no president should fear public scrutiny of his program for from that scrutiny comes understanding and from that understanding comes support or opposition and both are necessary I'm not asking your newspapers to support and administration but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people for I have complete confidence and the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers I. welcome this administration intends to be candid about its errors for as a wise man once said an Arab doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct we intend to accept full responsibility for our errors and we expect you to point them out when we miss them without debate without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no Republic can survive that is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy and that is why our press was protected by the first amendment the only business in America specifically protected by the constitution not primarily to amuse and entertain not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental not to simply give the public what it wants but to inform to arouse to reflect to state our dangers and our opportunities to indicate our crises and our choices to lead mold educate and sometimes even anger public opinion this means greater coverage and analysis of international news for it is no longer far away and farm but close at hand and local it means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission and it means finally that government at all levels must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security and we intend to do it it was early in the seventeenth century that Francis Bacon remarked on 3 recent inventions already transforming the world the compass gunpowder and the printing press now the links between the nations first fought by the compass have made us all citizens of the world the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all in that one world's efforts to live together the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has one mankind of the terrible consequences of failure and so it is to the printing press to the recorder of man's deeds the keeper of his conscience the career of his news that we look for strength and assistance confident that with your help man will be what he was bought to be free and independent //

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