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President Kennedy Assails Steel Corporations at News Conference

Apr. 11, 1962 - President Kennedy accused the major steel corporations today of “irresponsible defiance” of the public interest and “ruthless disregard” of their duty to the nation in raising steel prices by $6 a ton. After arriving at his news conference, the President strode quickly to the lectern and in a tone of cold anger read a long indictment of the steel companies’ action. At a time of grave crisis in Berlin and Southeast Asia, the President began, when reservists were being asked to leave their families, and servicemen to risk their lives, he found it hard “to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives” could show “such utter contempt for the interest of 185,000,000 Americans.” After reciting the probable effects of the action on the nation’s economy, the President ended: “Some time ago, I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country, and I asked the steel companies. In the last 24 hours, we had their answer.”

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