Mao Zedong: The People's Democratic Dictatorship
Mao gave the following speech on June 30, 1949, in commemoration of the Chinese Communist Party's twentyeighth anniversary.
Communists the world over are wiser than the bourgeoisie, they understand the laws governing the existence and development of things, they understand dialectics and they can see farther The bourgeoisie does not welcome this g truth because it does not want to be overthrown.
As everyone knows, our Party passed through these twentyeight years not in peace but amid hardships, for we had to fight enemies, both foreign and domestic, both inside and outside the Party. We thank Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin for giving us a weapon. This weapon is not a machinegun~ but MarxlsmLeninisn,
The Russians made the October Revolution and created the world's first socialist state. Under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, the revolutionary energy of the great proletariat and labouring people of Russia, hitherto latent and unseen by foreigners, suddenly erupted like a volcano, and the Chinese and all mankind began to see the Russians in a new light. Then, and only then, did the Chinese enter an entirely new era in their thinking and their life. They found MarxismLeninism, the universally applicable truth, and the face of China began to change....
There are bourgeois republics in foreign lands, but China cannot have a bourgeois republic because she is a country suffering under imperialist oppression. The only way is through a people's republic led by the working class....
Twentyfour years have passed since Sun Yatsen's death, and the Chinese revolution, led by the Communist Party of China, has made tremendous advances both in theory and practice and has radically changed the face of China. Up to now the principal and fundamental experience the Chinese people have gained is twofold:
Internally, arouse the masses of the people. That is, unite the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, form a domestic united front under the leadership of the working class, and advance from this to the establishment of a state which is a people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants.
Externally, unite in a common struggle with those nations of the world which treat us as equals and unite with the peoples of all countries. That is, ally ourselves with the Soviet Union, with the People's Democracies and with the proletariat and the broad masses of the people in all other countries, and form an international united front.
"You are leaning to one side." Exactly. The forty years' experience of Sun Yatsen and the twentyeight years' experience of the Communist Party have taught us to lean to one side, and we are firmly convinced that in order to win victory and consolidate it we must lean to one side. In the light of the experiences accumulated in these forty years and these twentyeight years, all Chinese without exception must lean either to the side of imperialism or to the side of socialism. Sitting on the fence will not do, nor is there a third road. We oppose the Chiang Kaishek reactionaries who lean to the side of imperialism, and we also oppose the illusions about a third road.
"You are too irritating." We are talking about how to deal with domestic and foreign reactionaries, the imperialists and their running dogs, not about how to deal with anyone else. With regard to such reactionaries, the question of irritating them or not does not arise. Irritated or not irritated, they will remain the same because they are reactionaries. Only if we draw a clear line between reactionaries and revolutionaries, expose the intrigues and plots of the reactlonaries, arouse the vigilance and attention of the revolutionary ranks, heighten our will to fight and crush the enemy's arrogance can we Isolate the reactionaries, vanquish them or supersede them. We must not show the slightest timidity before a wild beast.
"Victory is possible even without international help." This is a mistaken idea. In the epoch in which imperialism exists, it is impossible for a genuine people's revolution to win victory in any country without various forms of help from the international revolutionary forces, and even if victory were won, it could not be consolidated. This was the case with the victory and consolidation of the great October Revolution, as Lenin and Stalin told us long ago.
"We need help from the British and U.S. governments." This, too, is a naive idea in these times. Would the present rulers of Britain and the United States, who are imperialists, help a people's state? Why do these countries do business with us and, supposing they might be willing to lend us money on terms of mutual benefit in the future, why would they do so? Because their capitalists want to make money and their bankers want to earn interest to extricate themselves from their own crisis-it is not a matter of helping the Chinese people.
"You are dictatorial." My dear sirs, you are right, that is just what we are All the experience the Chinese people have accumulated through several decades teaches us to enforce the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, to deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have that right.
"Who are the people?" At the present stage in China, they are the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie. These classes, led by the working class and the Communist Party unite to form their own state and elect their own government they enforce their dictatorship over the running dogs of imperialism-the landlord class and bureaucratbourgeoisie, as well as the representatives of those classes, the Kuomintang reactionaries and their accomplices-suppress them, allow them only to behave themselves and not to be unruly in word or deed. If they speak or act in an unruly way, they will be promptly stopped and punished. Democracy is practised within the ranks of the people, who enjoy the rights of freedom of speech, assembly, association and so on. The right to vote belongs only to the people, not to the reactionaries. The combination of these two aspects, democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries, is the people's democratic dictatorship.
"Why must things be done this way?" The reason is quite clear to everybody. If things were not done this way, the revolution would fail, the people would suffer, the country would be conquered.
"Don't you want to abolish state power?" Yes, we do, but not right now; we cannot do it yet. Why? Because imperialism still exists, because domestic reaction still exists, because classes still exist in our country. Our present task is to strengthen the people's state apparatus-mainly the people's army, the people's police and the people's courts-in order to consolidate national defence and protect the people's interests. Given this condition, China can develop steadily, under the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party, from an agricultural into an industrial country and from a new-democratic into a socialist and communist society, can abolish classes and realize the Great Harmony. The state apparatus, Including the army, the police and the courts, is the instrument by which one class oppresses another It is an instrument for the oppression of antagonistic classes; it is violence and not "benevolence". "You are not benevolent!" Quite so We definitely do not apply a policy of benevolence to the reactionaries and towards the reactionary activities of the reactionary classes. Our policy of benevolence is applied only within the ranks of the people, not beyond them to the reactionaries or to the reactionary activities of reactionary classes....
Here, the method we employ is democratic, the method of persuasion, not of compulsion. When anyone among the people breaks the law, he too should be punished, imprisoned or even sentenced to death; but this is a matter of a few individual cases, and it differs in principle from the dictatorship exercised over the reactionaries as a class.
As for the members of the reactionary classes and individual reactionaries, so long as they do not rebel, sabotage or create trouble after their political power has been overthrown, land and work will be given to them as well in order to allow them to live and remould themselves through labour into new people. If they are not willing to work, the people's state will compel them to work....
Such remoulding of members of the reactionary classes can be accomplished only by a state of the people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the Communist Party. When it is well done, China's major exploiting classes, the landlord class and the bureaucratbourgeoisie (the monopoly capitalist class), will be eliminated for good. There remain the national bourgeoisie; at the present stage, we can already do a good deal of suitable educational work with many of them. When the time comes to realize socialism, that is, to nationalize private enterprise, we shall carry the work of educating and remoulding them a step further. The people have a powerful state apparatus in their hands-there is no need to fear rebellion by the national bourgeoisie....
The people's democratic dictatorship is based on the alliance of the working class, the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie, and mainly on the alliance of the workers and the peasants, because these two classes comprise 80 to 90 per cent of China's population. These two classes are the main force in overthrowing imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionaries. The transition from New Democracy to socialism also depends mainly upon their alliance.
The people's democratic dictatorship needs the leadership of the working class. For it is only the working class that is most farsighted, most selfless and most thoroughly revolutionary. The entire history of revolution proves that without the leadership of the working class revolution triumphs. In the epoch of imperialism, in no country can any other class lead any genuine revolution to victory. This is clearly proved by the fact that the many revolutions led by China's petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie all failed....
To sum up our experienceand concentrate it into one point, it is: the people's democratic dictatorship under the leadership of the working class (through the Communist Party) and based upon the alliance of workers and peasants. This dictatorship must unite as one with the international revolutionary forces. This is our formula, our principal experience, our main programme. ...
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is our best teacher and we must learn from it. The situation both at home and abroad is in our favour we can rely fully on the weapon of the people's democratic dictatorship, unite the people throughout the country, the reactionaries excepted, and advance steadily to our goal.
From Mao Zedong (Mao Tsetung), Speech "In Commemoration of the 28th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China, June 30, 1949," in Selected Works, vol. 5 (New York: International Publishers, n.d.), pp. 411423.
“Declaration of Independence,
Democratic Republic of Vietnam*
Ho Chi Minh (Hanoi, 2 September 1945).
(SEPTEMBER 2, 1945)
"All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"
This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America m 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.
The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: "All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights." Those are undeniable truths.
Nevertheless, for more than eighty years, the French imperialists, abusing the standard of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, have violated our Fatherland and oppressed our fellow-citizens. They have acted contrary to the ideals of humanity and justice. In the field of politics, they have deprived our people of every democratic liberty.
They have enforced inhuman laws; they have set up three distinct political regimes in the North, the Center and the South of Vietnam in order to wreck our national unity and prevent our people from being united.
They have built more prisons than schools. They have mercilessly slain our patriots- they have drowned our uprisings in rivers of blood. They have fettered public opinion; they have practised obscurantism against our people. To weaken our race they have forced us to use opium and alcohol.
In the fields of economics, they have fleeced us to the backbone, impoverished our people, and devastated our land.
They have robbed us of our rice fields, our mines, our forests, and our raw materials. They have monopolised the issuing of bank-notes and the export trade.
They have invented numerous unjustifiable taxes and reduced our people, especially our peasantry, to a state of extreme poverty.
They have hampered the prospering of our national bourgeoisie; they have mercilessly exploited our workers.
In the autumn of 1940, when the Japanese Fascists violated Indochina's territory to establish new bases in their fight against the Allies, the French imperialists went down on their bended knees and handed over our country to them.
Thus, from that date, our people were subjected to the double yoke of the French and the Japanese. Their sufferings and miseries increased. The result was that from the end of last year to the beginning of this year, from Quang Tri province to the North of Vietnam, more than two rnillion of our fellow-citizens died from starvation. On March 9, the French troops were disarmed by the lapanese. The French colonialists either fled or surrendered, showing that not only were they incapable of "protecting" us, but that, in the span of five years, they had twice sold our country to the Japanese.
On several occasions before March 9, the Vietminh League urged the French to ally themselves with it against the Japanese. Instead of agreeing to this proposal, the French colonialists so intensified their terrorist activities against the Vietminh members that before fleeing they massacred a great number of our political prisoners detained at Yen Bay and Cao Bang.
Not withstanding all this, our fellow-citizens have always manifested toward the French a tolerant and humane attitude. Even after the Japanese putsch of March 1945, the Vietminh League helped many Frenchmen to cross the frontier, rescued some of them from Japanese jails, and protected French lives and property.
From the autumn of 1940, our country had in fact ceased to be a French colony and had become a Japanese possession.
After the Japanese had surrendered to the Allies, our whole people rose to regain our national sovereignty and to found the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
The truth is that we have wrested our independence from the Japanese and not from the French
The French have fled, the Japanese have capitulated, Emperor Bao Dai has abdicated. Our people have broken the chains which for nearly a century have fettered them and have won independence for the Fatherland. Our people at the same time have overthrown the monarchic regime that has reigned supreme for dozens of centuries. In its place has been established the present Democratic Republic.
For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government, representing the whole Vietnamese people, declare that from now on we break off all relations of a colonial character with France; we repeal all the international obligation that France has so far subscribed to on behalf of Vietnam and we abolish all the special rights the French have unlawfully acquired in our Fatherland.
The whole Vietnamese people, animated by a common purpose, are determined to fight to the bitter end against any attempt by the French colonialists to reconquer their country.
We are convinced that the Allied nations which at Tehran and San Francisco have acknowledged the principles of self-determination and equality of nations, will not refuse to acknowledge the independence of Vietnam.
A people who have courageously opposed French domination for more than eighty years, a people who have fought side by side with the Allies against the Fascists during these last years, such a people must be free and independent.
For these reasons, we, members of the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, solemnly declare to the world that Vietnam has the right to be a free and independent countryÑand in fact it is so already. The entire Vietnamese people are determined to mobilise all their physical and mental strength, to sacrifice their lives and property in order to safeguard their independence and liberty.
Source: Ho Chi Minh, Selected Works (Hanoi, 1960-1962), Vol. 3, pp. 17-21.
* Note, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has been renamed The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The Manifesto of The Laodong Party, February, 1951
The main task of the Viet Nam Laodong Party now is:
To unite and lead the working class, the working masses and the entire people of Viet Nam in their struggle to wipe out the French colonialists and defeat the American interventionists; to bring the liberation war of the Viet Nam people to complete victory, thereby making Viet Nam a genuinely independent and united country.
The Viet Nam Laodong Party fully supports the Government of the Viet Nam Democratic Republic, unites and co-operates closely with other parties and organisations in the Lien Viet Front in order to realise fully the peoples democratic regime-politically, economically, socially and culturally.
The Viet Nam Laodong Party stands for guaranteeing the legitimate interests of all strata of the people.
It recommends that special care should be taken to raise the material and moral standards of living of the army, which fights for the defence of the country against the enemy, and which had been enduring the greatest hardships.
The workers, who are fighters in production, must have the opportunity continually to improve their living conditions and to take part in running their own enterprises.
The peasants, who are production combatants in the rural areas, must benefit from the reduction of land rent and interest and from appropriate agrarian reforms.
The intellectual workers must be encouraged and assisted in developing their abilities.
Small trades-people and small employers must be assisted in developing trade and handicrafts.
The national bourgeoisie must be encouraged, helped and guided in their undertakings to contribute to the development of the national economy.
The right of the patriotic landlords to collect land rent in accordance with the law must be guaranteed.
The national minorities must be given every assistance and must enjo~ absolute equality in rights and duties.
Effective help must be rendered to the women so as to bring about equality between men and women.
Believers in all religions must enjoy freedom of worship. Overseas Vietnamese in foreign countries must be protected.
The lives and properties of foreign residents in Viet Nam must be protected. Chinese nationals in particular, if they so desire, will be allowed to enjoy the same rights and perform the same duties as Vietnamese citizens.
In the field of external affairs, the Viet Nam Laodong Party recommends: 'The Viet Nam people must unite closely with and help the peoples of Cambodia and Laos in their struggle for independence and, with them, liberate jointly the whole of Indo-China; actively support the national liberation movements of oppressed peoples; unite closely with the Soviet Union, China and other people's democracies; form close alliances with the peoples of France and the French colonies so as to contribute to the anti-imperialist struggle to defend world peace and democracy!
Confident in the efforts of all its members, in the support of working men and women and in the sympathy of the entire people, the Viet Nam Laodong is sure to fulfil its tasks of:
Bringing the liberation war to complete victory.
Developing the people's democratic regime.
Contributing to the defence of world peace and democracy.
Leading the Viet Nam people toward Socialism.
New China News Agency, April 6, 1951.
Viet Cong Program, 1962
PROGRAM OF THE PEOPLE'S REVOLUTIONARY PARTY OF VIETNAM January, 1962
1. We will overthrow the Ngo Dinh Diem government and form a national democratic coalition government.
2. We will carry out a program involving extension of democratic liberties, general amnesty for political detainees, abolition of agrovilles and resettlement centers, abolition of the special military tribunal law and other undemocratic laws.
3. We will abolish the economic monopoly of the U.S. and its henchmen, protect domestically made products, promote development of the economy, and allow forced evacuees from North Vietnam to return to their place of birth.
4. We will reduce land rent and prepare for land reform.
5. We will eliminate U.S. cultural enslavement and depravity and build a nationalistic progressive culture and education.
6. We will abolish the system of American military advisers and close all foreign military bases in Vietnam.
7. We will establish equality between men and women and among different nationalities and recognize the autonomous rights of the national minorities in the country.
8. We will pursue a foreign policy of peace and will establish diplomatic relations with all countries that respect the independence and sovereignty of Vietnam.
9. We will re-establish normal relations between North and South as a first step toward peaceful reunification of the country.
10. We will oppose aggressive wars and actively defend world peace.
Reprinted from Viet Cong by Douglas Pike (Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1966)
President Lyndon B. Johnson's Address at Johns Hopkins University:
"Peace Without Conquest"
April 7, 1965
Mr. Garland, Senator Brewster, Senator Tydings, Members of the congressional delegation, members of the faculty of Johns Hopkins, student body, my fellow Americans:
Last week 17 nations sent their views to some two dozen countries having an interest in southeast Asia. We are joining those 17 countries and stating our American policy tonight which we believe will contribute toward peace in this area of the world.
I have come here to review once again with my own people the views of the American Government.
Tonight Americans and Asians are dying for a world where each people may choose its own path to change.
This is the principle for which our ancestors fought in the valleys of Pennsylvania. It is the principle for which our sons fight tonight in the jungles of Viet-Nam.
Viet-Nam is far away from this quiet campus. We have no territory there, nor do we seek any. The war is dirty and brutal and difficult. And some 400 young men, born into an America that is bursting with opportunity and promise, have ended their lives on Viet-Nam's steaming soil.
Why must we take this painful road?
Why must this Nation hazard its ease, and its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away?
We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure.
This kind of world will never be built by bombs or bullets. Yet the infirmities of man are such that force must often precede reason, and the waste of war, the works of peace.
We wish that this were not so. But we must deal with the world as it is, if it is ever to be as we wish.
The world as it is in Asia is not a serene or peaceful place.
The first reality is that North Viet-Nam has attacked the independent nation of South Viet-Nam. Its object is total conquest.
Of course, some of the people of South Viet-Nam are participating in attack on their own government. But trained men and supplies, orders and arms, flow in a constant stream from north to south.
This support is the heartbeat of the war.
And it is a war of unparalleled brutality. Simple farmers are the targets of assassination and kidnapping. Women and children are strangled in the night because their men are loyal to their government. And helpless villages are ravaged by sneak attacks. Large-scale raids are conducted on towns, and terror strikes in the heart of cities.
The confused nature of this conflict cannot mask the fact that it is the new face of an old enemy.
Over this war--and all Asia--is another reality: the deepening shadow of Communist China. The rulers in Hanoi are urged on by Peking. This is a regime which has destroyed freedom in Tibet, which has attacked India, and has been condemned by the United Nations for aggression in Korea. It is a nation which is helping the forces of violence in almost every continent. The contest in Viet-Nam is part of a wider pattern of aggressive purposes.
WHY ARE WE IN VIET-NAM ?
Why are these realities our concern? Why are we in South Viet-Nam ?
We are there because we have a promise to keep. Since 1954 every American President has offered support to the people of South Viet-Nam. We have helped to build, and we have helped to defend. Thus, over many years, we have made a national pledge to he!p South Viet-Nam defend its independence.
And I intend to keep that promise.
To dishonor that pledge, to abandon this small and brave nation to its enemies, and to the terror that must follow, would be an unforgivable wrong.
We are also there to strengthen world order. Around the globe, from Berlin to Thailand, are people whose well-being rests, in part, on the belief that they can count on us if they are attacked. To leave Viet-Nam to its fate would shake the confidence of all these people in the value of an American commitment and in the value of America's word. The result would be increased unrest and instability, and even wider war.
We are also there because there are great stakes in the balance. Let no one think for a moment that retreat from Viet-Nam would bring an end to conflict. The battle would be renewed in one country and then another. The central lesson of our time is that the appetite of aggression is never satisfied. To withdraw from one battlefield means only to prepare for the next. We must say in southeast Asia--as we did in Europe--in the words of the Bible: "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further."
There are those who say that all our effort there will be futile--that China's power is such that it is bound to dominate all southeast Asia. But there is no end to that argument until all of the nations of Asia are swallowed up.
There are those who wonder why we have a responsibility there. Well, we have it there for the same reason that we have a responsibility for the defense of Europe. World War II was fought in both Europe and Asia, and when it ended we found ourselves with continued responsibility for the defense of freedom.
OUR OBJECTIVE IN VIET-NAM
Our objective is the independence of South Viet-Nam, and its freedom from attack. We want nothing for ourselves--only that the people of South Viet-Nam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way.
We will do everything necessary to reach that objective. And we will do only what is absolutely necessary.
In recent months attacks on South Viet-Nam were stepped up. Thus, it became necessary for us to increase our response and to make attacks by air. This is not a change of purpose. It is a change in what we believe that purpose requires.
We do this in order to slow down aggression
We do this to increase the confidence of the brave people of South Viet-Nam who have bravely borne this brutal battle for so many years with so many casualties.
And we do this to convince the leaders of North Viet-Nam--and all who seek to share their conquest--of a very simple fact: We will not be defeated. We will not grow tired.
We will not withdraw, either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement.
We know that air attacks alone will not accomplish all of these purposes. But it is our best and prayerful judgment that they are a necessary part of the surest road to peace.
We hope that peace will come swiftly. But that is in the hands of others besides ourselves. And we must be prepared for a long continued conflict. It will require patience as well as bravery, the will to endure as well as the will to resist.
I wish it were possible to convince others with words of what we now find it necessary to say with guns and planes: Armed hostility is futile. Our resources are equal to any challenge. Because we fight for values and we fight for principles, rather than territory or colonies, our patience and our determination are unending.
Once this is clear, then it should also be clear that the only path for reasonable men is the path of peaceful settlement.
Such peace demands an independent South Viet-Nam--securely guaranteed and able to shape its own relationships to all others--free from outside interference--tied to no alliance--a military base for no other country.
These are the essentials of any final settlement.
We will never be second in the search for such a peaceful settlement in Viet-Nam.
There may be many ways to this kind of peace: in discussion or negotiation with the governments concerned; in large groups or in small ones; in the reaffirmation of old agreements or their strengthening with new ones.
We have stated this position over and over again, fifty times and more, to friend and foe alike. And we remain ready, with this purpose, for unconditional discussions.
And until that bright and necessary day of peace we will try to keep conflict from spreading. We have no desire to see thousands die in battle--Asians or Americans. We have no desire to devastate that which the people of North Viet-Nam have built with toil and sacrifice. We will use our power with restraint and with all the wisdom that we can command.
But we will use it.
This war, like most wars, is filled with terrible irony. For what do the people of North Viet-Nam want? They want what their neighbors also desire: food for their hunger; health for their bodies; a chance to learn; progress for their country; and an end to the bondage of material misery. And they would find all these things far more readily in peaceful association with others than in the endless course of battle.
A COOPERATIVE EFFORT FOR DEVELOPMENT
These countries of southeast Asia are homes for millions of impoverished people. Each day these people rise at dawn and struggle through until the night to wrestle existence from the soil. They are often wracked by disease, plagued by hunger, and death comes at the early age of 40.
Stability and peace do not come easily in such a land. Neither independence nor human dignity will ever be won, though, by arms alone. It also requires the work of peace. The American people have helped generously in times past in these works. Now there must be a much more massive effort to improve the life of man in that conflict-torn corner of our world.
The first step is for the countries of southeast Asia to associate themselves in a greatly expanded cooperative effort for development. We would hope that North Viet-Nam would take its place in the common effort just as soon as peaceful cooperation is possible.
The United Nations is already actively engaged in development in this area. As far back as 1961 I conferred with our authorities in Viet-Nam in connection with their work there. And I would hope tonight that the Secretary General of the United Nations could use the prestige of his great office, and his deep knowledge of Asia, to initiate, as soon as possible, with the countries of that area, a plan for cooperation in increased development.
For our part I will ask the Congress to join in a billion dollar American investment in this effort as soon as it is underway.
And I would hope that all other industrialized countries, including the Soviet Union, will join in this effort to replace despair with hope, and terror with progress.
The task is nothing less than to enrich the hopes and the existence of more than a hundred million people. And there is much to be done.
The vast Mekong River can provide food and water and power on a scale to dwarf even our own TVA.
The wonders of modern medicine can be spread through villages where thousands die every year from lack of care.
Schools can be established to train people in the skills that are needed to manage the process of development.
And these objectives, and more, are within the reach of a cooperative and determined effort.
I also intend to expand and speed up a program to make available our farm surpluses to assist in feeding and clothing the needy in Asia. We should not allow people to go hungry and wear rags while our own warehouses overflow with an abundance of wheat and corn, rice and cotton.
So I will very shortly name a special team of outstanding, patriotic, distinguished Americans to inaugurate our participation in these programs. This team will be headed by Mr. Eugene Black, the very able former President of the World Bank.
In areas that are still ripped by conflict, of course development will not be easy. Peace will be necessary for final success. But we cannot and must not wait for peace to begin this job.
THE DREAM OF WORLD ORDER
This will be a disorderly planet for a long time. In Asia, as elsewhere, the forces of the modern world are shaking old ways and uprooting ancient civilizations. There will be turbulence and struggle and even violence. Great social change--as we see in our own country now--does not always come without conflict.
We must also expect that nations will on occasion be in dispute with us. It may be because we are rich, or powerful; or because we have made some mistakes; or because they honestly fear our intentions.
However, no nation need ever fear that we desire their land, or to impose our will, or to dictate their institutions.
But we will always oppose the effort of one nation to conquer another nation.
We will do this because our own security is at stake.
But there is more to it than that. For our generation has a dream. It is a very old dream. But we have the power and now we have the opportunity to make that dream come true.
For centuries nations have struggled among each other. But we dream of a world where disputes are settled by law and reason. And we will try to make it so.
For most of history men have hated and killed one another in battle. But we dream of an end to war. And we will try to make it so.
For all existence most men have lived in poverty, threatened by hunger. But we dream of a world where all are fed and charged with hope. And we will help to make it so.
The ordinary men and women of North Viet-Nam and South Viet-Nam--of China and India--of Russia and America--are brave people. They are filled with the same proportions of hate and fear, of love and hope. Most of them want the same things for themselves and their families. Most of them do not want their sons to ever die in battle, or to see their homes, or the homes of others, destroyed.
Well, this can be their world yet. Man now has the knowledge--always before denied--to make this planet serve the real needs of the people who live on it.
I know this will not be easy. I know how difficult it is for reason to guide passion, and love to master hate. The complexities of this world do not bow easily to pure and consistent answers.
But the simple truths are there just the same. We must all try to follow them as best we can.
We often say how impressive power is. But I do not find it impressive at all. The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure. They are necessary symbols. They protect what we cherish. But they are witness to human folly.
A dam built across a great river is impressive.
In the countryside where I was born, and where I live, I have seen the night illuminated, and the kitchens warmed, and the homes heated, where once the cheerless night and the ceaseless cold held sway. And all this happened because electricity came to our area along the humming wires of the REA. Electrification of the countryside--yes, that, too, is impressive.
A rich harvest in a hungry land is impressive.
The sight of healthy children in a classroom is impressive.
These--not mighty arms--are the achievements which the American Nation believes to be impressive.
And, if we are steadfast, the time may come when all other nations will also find it so.
Every night before I turn out the lights to sleep I ask myself this question: Have I done everything that I can do to unite this country? Have I done everything I can to help unite the world, to try to bring peace and hope to all the peoples of the world? Have I done enough?
Ask yourselves that question in your homes--and in this hall tonight. Have we, each of us, all done all we could? Have we done enough?
We may well be living in the time foretold many years ago when it was said: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
This generation of the world must choose: destroy or build, kill or aid, hate or understand.
We can do all these things on a scale never dreamed of before.
Well, we will choose life. In so doing we will prevail over the enemies within man, and over the natural enemies of all mankind.
To Dr. Eisenhower and Mr. Garland, and this great institution, Johns Hopkins, I thank you for this opportunity to convey my thoughts to you and to the American people.
NOTE: The President spoke at 9 p.m. in Shriver Hall Auditorium at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. In his opening words, he referred to Charles S. Garland, Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, and Senators Daniel B. Brewster and Joseph D. Tydings of Maryland.
Later he referred to Dr. Milton Eisenhower, President of Johns Hopkins University, and Eugene Black, former President of the World Bank and adviser to the President on southeast Asia social and economic development.
Earlier, on the same day, the White House released the text of the statements, made to the press in the Theater at the White House, by George W. Ball, Under Secretary of State, Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, and McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President, which defined the context of the President's speech.