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President Kennedy Blasts Foreign Aid Critics

Nov. 8, 1963 - President Kennedy accused foes of his foreign aid program tonight of indulging in an outburst of “petty irritation and frustration” in steadily whittling down his requests in Congress. In a blistering attack on aid critics delivered at the New York Hilton Hotel before the Protestant Council of the City of New York, Mr. Kennedy argued that weakening the bill not only harms our economy but “hampers out security.” “I think the American people are willing to shoulder this burden,” the President said. “Contrary to repeated warnings, in the 17 years since the Marshall Plan began, I have never heard of a single politician who lost his office by supporting foreign aid.” The Protestant Council tonight gave Mr. Kennedy its first Family of Man Award “in recognition of creative leadership and dedicated service.” He was the first Catholic to receive the council’s top yearly honor. Mr. Kennedy prefaced his aid speech with some sly digs at Governor Rockefeller, who had been invited to the affair but declined “many weeks ago.” The Governor was in New Hampshire today, pushing his bid for the GOP Presidential nomination. “I am disappointed by the absence of one of our distinguished guests,” Mr. Kennedy gold the capacity audience of 3,500. “I am following his career with more interest than you might imagine. In his quest for the Presidency, Governor Rockefeller follows the example of other New Yorkers, Wendell Willkie, Thomas Dewey, and Mr. Nixon. I wish him some margin of success.” The audience interrupted the President’s half-hour speech with applause on three occasions.


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