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President Johnson Addresses U.N. General Assembly

Dec. 17, 1963 - President Johnson, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations today, said the U.S. wanted the cold war ended “once and for all.” He also urged the U.N. to join in undertaking a “global New Deal” that would bring a new era of hope “for that one-third of mankind still beset by hunger, poverty, and disease.” Mr. Johnson urged “a peaceful revolution in the world through a recommitment of all of our members, rich and poor, strong and weak, whatever their location or ideology, to the basic principles of human welfare and of humanity.” In his first major address before an international audience since he succeeded John F. Kennedy, Mr. Johnson reminded his audience that “peace is a journey of a thousand miles, and it must be taken one step at a time.” With this expression, President Johnson revived a figure of speech used by President Kennedy to emphasize that the world must never let up in its efforts to achieve peace. In a television speech July 27, Mr. Kennedy had said that no one could be sure that “the path to peace is open” but that every effort must be made to determine if it was. “According to the ancient Chinese proverb, a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” Mr. Kennedy added. Mr. Johnson, declaring that “the assassin’s bullet which took President Kennedy’s life did not alter his nation’s purpose,” assured the Assembly that the U.S. supported the U.N. “more than ever.” As on his first trip to New York City for the funeral of former Senator Herbert Lehman shortly after Mr. Johnson assumed the Presidency, the Chief Executive was enveloped by strong security details. Four Secret Service agents, their heads bared to wintry blasts, rode the running boards of the Queen Mary, follow-up car behind the bulletproof Presidential limousine. An innovation was the seating of an agent in that limousine facing backward to scan the window of buildings just passed. Mr. Kennedy was killed by shots coming from behind as his open car passed a Dallas building with a sniper at the upper window. A V-shaped wedge of 12 blue-helmeted motorcycle police preceded the Presidential caravan, and 40 more cruised on its two flanks.


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