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President Kennedy Chats with Visiting Brazilian Students

July 31, 1962 - President Kennedy told 70 visiting Brazilian university students today that he cared more about political freedoms in other countries than about their economic systems. The students’ trip is sponsored by the Associação Universitária Interamericana, an organization of U.S. and Brazilian citizens who hope to improve understanding of the U.S. Some of the students came to Washington sharply critical of the Government. They said they felt American and Brazilian business interests controlled the governments of the two nations. Some also said they favored socialism over capitalism. The President told the students that many of the points they had made about capitalism would have been more appropriate 50 years ago. He advised them to take another look at the U.S. and also at the failures of communism, which he said denied liberty without compensatory economic progress. “Behind the Iron Curtain,” he said, “what you get is a denial of liberty, the rifle squad, and a denial of progress.” President Kennedy said that if his government was dominated by business, the news would come as a great shock and source of pleasure to the business community.


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