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President Kennedy Speaks at University of Maine at Orono

Oct. 19, 1963 - President Kennedy today cautioned Americans that, despite new rays of hope for world peace, “we still live in the shadow of war.” But, the President added, even if efforts to improve cold war relations fail, there is no reason to regret having made them. Basic American-Soviet differences “will give rise to further crises, large and small,” he said, but the quest for peace must continue. The Chief Executive, who flew from Washington to the University of Maine at Orono this morning, spoke to 14,000 in the university’s pine-rimmed stadium and argued anew that the U.S. can work for peace without letting down its defenses. “While maintaining our readiness for war, let us exhaust every avenue of peace,” he said. “Let us always make clear both our willingness to talk, if talk will help, and our readiness to fight, if fight we must. For without making such an effort, we could not maintain the leadership and respect of the free world. In times such as these, there is nothing inconsistent about signing an atmospheric nuclear test ban, on the one hand, and testing underground on the other; about being willing to sell to the Soviets our surplus wheat while refusing to sell strategic items; about probing their interest in a joint lunar landing while making every major effort to master this new environment; or about exploring possibilities of disarmament while maintaining our stockpile of armaments.” It was a direct slap at the “total victory” concepts of Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), front-running candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1964.


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