1 Reply Latest reply on Sep 11, 2018 10:55 AM by Legislative Archives

    May 25, 1961 special message by JFK to Congress

    Beth Gordon Newbie

      I am curious about the difference between the version of the speech found here (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=8151) and the version supplied by the House of Representatives (http://history.house.gov/HouseRecord/Detail/15032436116). Is the latter a draft, or is it the "official written version" that was submitted to Congress? How can one tell?

       

      The House version seems to have significantly more detail beyond the omitted "They possess a powerful intercontinental striking force" paragraph noted on the American Presidency Project site; the House version has an additional 1100 words. Here's an example:

       

      House version:

      "We stand, as we have always stood, for the independence and equality of nations. We stand for a world of peace under law. We stand for the democratic revolution of social progress. We stand for diversity, honest disagreements, and mutual respect. This nation was born of revolution and raised in freedom. And we do not intend to leave an open road to despotism.

       

      But the facts of the matter are that we in the West have not yet sufficiently mobilized our resources, demonstrated our aims, or inspired and supported the necessary spirit of local reform to help these new revolutions find success in constructive pursuits. Too often we have accepted a merely defensive role. Too often we have let ourselves appear as friends of the status quo - - and the status quo may be $50 a year. Meanwhile the pressures of the totalitarian conspiracy mount higher every day, as one nation after another, by internal more often than external means, finds its freedom under attack.

       

      There is no single simple policy with which to meet this challenge..."

       

      Presidency Project version: 

      "We stand, as we have always stood from our earliest beginnings, for the independence and equality of all nations. This nation was born of revolution and raised in freedom. And we do not intend to leave an open road for despotism.

       

      There is no single simple policy which meets this challenge..."

       

      Thank you!

        • Re: May 25, 1961 special message by JFK to Congress
          Legislative Archives Adventurer

          Hi Beth -- thank you for posting to History Hub!

           

          I'm not sure which version of this address is the "official written version." The U.S. House of Representatives version you point to has: "do not print this as pub[lic] document" written across the corner, so I'm inclined to view it as a draft.

           

          The House did publish a version of the address as H.Doc.174, 87th Congress.

           

          H.Doc.174 appears, at a glance at least, to be what's published in the Congressional Record. The Congressional Record is the official record of proceedings and debates of Congress. It's published daily when Congress is in session and is available online through the GPO and Congress.gov.

           

          I would view the speech as it appears in the Congressional Record as the closest to what was actually spoken by President Kennedy before Congress.

           

          The version that appears on the American Presidency Project is a digitization of what's in the published volume: Public Papers of the Presidents. These volumes are compiled by the Office of the Federal Register beginning in 1957. Each volume contains the papers and speeches of the President that were issued by the Office of the Press Secretary during the specified time period.

           

          I would recommend contacting the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for further insight. They will hold more versions of the President's speeches and may be better equipped to identify an "official version." In fact, the JFK Library has posted a video excerpt of some of the address in question with a transcript.

           

          Cheers!

          Sarah

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