Peace Top Goal, Says Senator
Symington Boosts Interest in Race
By John G. Morgan
March 20, 1960
Peace Top Goal, Says Senator
Symington Boosts Interest in Race
By John G. Morgan
Defense-minded Sen. Stuart Symington, an undeclared by increasingly interested candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, said here Saturday night that national leadership should have just and lasting peace as its highest goal.
Attainment of that peace will take “all the intelligence, strength and brotherhood we have,” he said. But, in a Biblical reference, he added that the effort would be worthwhile because:
“Nothing is more important than that our children and grandchildren shall be able to ‘beat their swords into plowshares and . . . shall not learn war any more’.”
The senator from Missouri, sometimes called the “Missouri Compromise” and frequently mentioned as the man most Democrats list as their No. 2 choice for president, was the pri[n]cipal speaker at the statewide Democratic Women’s Day session here.
About 500 persons attended the event in the Daniel Boone Hotel. Top state and local candidates were present for a “candidates’ hour” from 10:30 a. m. to noon.
Mrs. Hugh Kincaid of Huntington, general chairman of the event, was named “Democratic Woman of the Year” for West Virginia. The announcement was made by Mrs. Violet Snedeger, national committeewoman.
Symington, a former secretary of the Air Force and a man of long business experience, told reporters at an afternoon press conference that he still isn’t a candidate for president.
“No Sir, not today,” he said in answer to a direct question about his candidacy.
He declared, however, that he was becoming increasingly interested because of “letters and visits” which have demonstrated to him that there is an “increasing apprehension about the future of this country in the world to-day.”
The 58-year-old Symington, who stands six feet, two inches tall and weights 183 pounds, answered questions briskly during a press conference of about 15 minutes.
He said he made a decision against entering presidential primaries more than a year ago, because there is a “lot to do in the Senate.”
Symington said he has no preference between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Sen. Hubert Humphrey, who are running as Democratic candidates for president in the West Virginia primary.
Asked about an earlier remark in which he was quoted as saying that he and Sen. Lyndon Johnson were, in effect, running with Humphrey, the Missouri senator said the comment was intended only as a joke. The remark was made at a Washington gridiron dinner several days ago.
Symington pointed out that he had been criticized for talking too much about national defense, and tried to steer the press conference onto other subjects.
He did say, however, that the whole defense picture should be cleared and that citizens should be kept properly informed about defense matters.
He said he has “spent 20 years of my life trying to keep this country strong.”
The senator said it is obvious to him that the present administration favors big business and has no sympathy for farmers, the small businessman and “pockets of poverty” in the nation.
He listed “poverty, ignorance and disease” as the three biggest allies of communism to-day.
In his address, Symington said “America’s family life can be our brightest exhibit in the showcase of the world.”
To insure that, he said, the government must “protect our families from the high cost of living the hazards of insecurity and the tragedy of world conflict.”
As for the high cost of living, he laid part of the blame upon “administered prices in industries where competition is weak because a few giants control the price.”
The way to lower prices is to produce more goods, and the way to produce more goods is “to invest,” he said.
“More investment means more growth, and more growth is the answer to inflation,” he added.
At Huntington Saturday morning, Symington urged a five-point investment program “to bring more jobs to areas of long-term unemployment.”
He endorsed the following:
- Passage of the area redevelopment bill.
- A coordinated local-state-federal program to build community facilities.
- Federal aid for school construction and teachers’ salaries.
- Establishment of a Youth Conservation Corps.
In addition, he recommended enactment of the Symington food stamp plan to help provide more nutritious food for unemployed and low income families.
He expressed his belief that West Virginia has a great potential for future progress.
“You have the location, the natural resources, the proximity to major markets and, above all, a skilled and hard-working people,” he declared.
“In 120 communities throughout your state, labor and management have joined hands to develop new industry. Surely such courageous cooperation at the local level deserves more support from the federal government.”
By Mary Chilton Abbot
(Editor’s Note: This is a special interview prepared with an eye to informing West Virginians on the views of the Presidential candidates on specific issues, some of them of particular interest to residents of this state. The candidate is Sen. Stuart Symington (D-Mo.]
For years, literally, reporters have been asking Missouri’s junior Senator Stuart Symington whether he was running for the Presidency.
Classically, candidates pretend reluctance and Symington was no exception. But of late he has relaxed his denials enough to admit that he would accept if the Democratic nomination were offered him and he said he wouldn’t ask to have his name withdrawn from the Oregon primary.
The Sunday Gazette-Mail asked Sen. Symington these questions and got these replies:
Q. It now seems that the House will not pass the big depressed areas package as passed by the Senate and that, if it should, the President would veto the bill. Which of the many alternative approaches to the depressed areas problem would you prefer, if any. Should the Congress “force” a big bill on the President by overriding veto or should it seek a compromise?
A. The Senate bill re depressed areas is not a “big bill,” either in relation to the problem to be dealt with or as compared with our national income of more than $1.25 billion a day. I voted for the Senate bill and believe it should become law.
Appraisal. The Senate bill is “big” in relation to the other proposals, Administration Republican and Democratic, which have been introduced. If the House turns down the Senate bill or if it is vetoed and not passed over the veto, the depressed areas will get no help.
Q. Many economists are predicting that the current “boom” will continue through most of 1960 but that 1961 will bring a definite cutback. Have you any ideas about forestalling this expected recession or for meeting the unemployment problems which inevitable would accompany it?
A. One has to stretch the definition of “boom” to apply it to the slow and inadequate rate of growth in recent years. There is no basic reason for this country’s having a recession in 1961. In fact, with some forward-looking and positive leadership in our government, the coming years can be characterized by a greater rate of production and employment, rather than by a slow-down.
Appraisal. Space obviously prevents the Senator from outlining his economic program here. His recognition of a problem in that area is encouraging to those sections of the country which haven’t shared in the “Eisenhower prosperity.”
Q. Increasingly, machines are replacing men in our factories and mines. What are your theories on the broad long-range problem of technological unemployment?
A. Machines have been replacing manpower at varying rates throughout the entire history of this country. The net result of such technological development has, for the economy as a whole, been increased production at lower unit costs. Moreover, wages and productivity per worker have increased. That is the overall advantage of this type of change. However, there is a serious disadvantage in those cases where labor is displaced and due to its relative immobility, such labor cannot readily be absorbed in other employment. The federal, state and other governments should cooperate with funds and programs for relocating industries, expanding economic activity and providing assistance for those persons and areas adversely affected by this dislocation.
Appraisal. The Eisenhower Administration’s approach to this problem is summarized by the statement of Carl Oeschle, assistant secretary of commerce for domestic affairs, who said, “People should roll up their sleeves and go to work.”
Q. Aside from the legalistic standpoint (i.e., the Supreme Court says so, therefore it is right) do you personally believe that segregation in public schools, housing and recreational facilities is morally wrong? Have you any thoughts on the means which might be used by the executive branch to ameliorate the sectional differences of opinion about these Supreme Court rulings?
A. The Constitution provides for equality, regardless of race, color and creed. Moreover, I believe the law of the land should be complied with. It is only practicable, however, to recognize that there are long-established cultural differences existing in various areas. Attention should be given to these differences, not as to whether segregation should or should not be prohibited, but rather as to the rate at which the necessary changes can be effected.
Appraisal. We asked for the Senator’s personal belief as to the morality of segregation and specifically excluded the legalistic standpoint.
Q. Someone has suggested that the United States adopt a “five-year-plan” crash program to bring our missile program up to the Russian par. Do you feel this approach is desirable? What are your thoughts on updating our defense set-up? Can we meet the Russian challenge within the existing framework of the budget or would additional appropriations, and therefore additional taxes, be required?
A. A “crash program” for missiles is not necessary, if one interprets the term “crash” as something in the nature of the Manhattan Project, for example. The facts are that we are currently employing only a portion of existing facilities with which ICBMs could be produced. If the Administration were willing to put the effort and money into the production of already proven missiles and into the acceleration of the next generation of missiles, this country could catch up with the Soviets in ICBMs.
There are certain specific actions which we should take now in order to offset what otherwise could become a dangerously wide Soviet advantage. Those actions include provisions for: an adequate alert of SAC bombers; acceleration of the Polaris and ICBM missile programs; expansion of our anti-submarine warfare capability; reversal of the decision to cancel out the B-70 airplane; and modernization of the equipment, as well as increase in the mobility, of our Army and Marine Corps.
While all of this would cost money, a country with some $1.25 billion income a day can and must afford it. Between $2.5 and $3 billion might be needed, in addition to the funds requested in the current budget. Such funds could have been obtained through the elimination of obsolete and duplicating weapons systems and through reorganization of the Pentagon on the basis of the unprecedented military requirements of this nuclear-space age. However, if additional taxes are necessary, and after there has been a real effort to get the maximum defense out of each defense dollar, I am certain the American people will support any sacrifice necessary to preserve our nation and our freedom.
Appraisal: a former Secretary of the Air Force, Sen. Symington’s views on our defense picture are both informed and valuable.
Q. American prestige seems to have dropped materially in many sections of the world. What are your ideas about restoring it to its previously high position? Have you any thoughts on upgrading the quality of the foreign service.[?]
A. American prestige has suffered seriously because of the lack of firm American leadership and clear American policy. Moreover, our prestige ahs been seriously damaged by the failure of this country to put forth the necessary efforts to compete successfully with the Soviets in space accomplishments and to build up our ICBM strength.
Last year I introduced a bill to establish a Foreign Service Academy for the purpose of increasing the number and quality of our foreign service personnel.
Appraisal. Professional training for diplomacy is no less necessary and desirable than professional training for a military career.
Q. Appropriations for foreign aid meet increasing opposition each year. Do you think they should be continued? Should they be kept at the same level, increased, decreased or dropped altogether?
A. It is to this country’s advantage, as well as that of other countries, for us to continue the foreign assistance program. However, several important changes are needed: improved administration, greater emphasis upon economic assistance to underdeveloped countries as compared with military assistance to those which are able to help themselves, and increased emphasis upon loans rather than grants.
Appraisal. Since foreign aid is, and obviously will continue to be, a fact of life for this country, the Senator’s views, particularly in regard to the shift of emphasis, are of great moment whether or not he succeeds in his current ambitions.
Q. Despite repeated and continued attempts, unification of the armed forces remains at a virtual standstill. Would you favor forced unification of the army, navy and air force or do you feel the present approach will eventually pay off?
A. For almost 15 years I have been doing what I could to increase the unification of our armed forces. Some progress has been made but far too little in the light of the rapidly changing nature of the threat against which this country must be protected.
This year I have introduced a new bill, some of the major characteristics of which are: establishment of a single Chief of Staff for Defense; elimination of the separate Service Secretaries; and creation of unified commands.
Appraisal. Adoption of the Senator’s bill would probably effect almost unthought-of savings in the field of military purchasing along.
Q. There has recently been some discussion in Congress about the morality of chemical, bacteriological and radiological warfare. Have you any thoughts on this subject? Should our object be to win, regardless of means? Or should we be mindful of the so-called “moral” issues?
A. It is a somewhat fruitless exercise in semantic to draw a “moral” distinction between different weapons systems, particularly since one can hardly imagine anything more horrible than the effects of nuclear blast, fire and fallout.
Appraisal. Obviously, the Senator is not among those in Congress who are concerned about this matter.
Q. In your opinion, will governmental thrift be the major issue in the 1960 Presidential campaign? If not, what do you feel will be the overriding issue, regardless of the two candidates involved?
A. Effective leadership and efficient management of the Executive Branch of our government certainly will be one of the major issues during the coming year. In addition, there are other major issues, such as national security, disarmament and world peace, deficiencies in our educational system, our care for the aged, etc.
Appraisal. The terms are a little vague, but everything seems to be covered and maybe the Senator feels that no issue will become the overriding one.
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