MARCH 24, 1961
WICHITA, Kan.—It will be very interesting if the newly formed group of labor and management people, with Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg as chairman, will be able to bring about a voluntary agreement of any kind "in the interests of the general welfare of this country."
The President indicated to the 21-man group, which met for the first time this week and will hold monthly meetings from here on, that he looked to them to provide him with business, labor and public consensus views on such matters as unemployment, production, wages and prices and export competition so that they could be dealt with voluntarily, if possible, and without necessity of governmental action.
One of the primary jobs of this committee, of course, is that it is going to have to deal with the difficult question of keeping prices and wages in line and in fighting inflation.
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It was unfortunate to read in the newspapers that at the reopening in Geneva of the conference to discuss a treaty banning nuclear tests the Russian representative, Semyon K. Tsarapkin, gave the impression to the Western representatives that the Soviets had lost interest in working out a mutually acceptable treaty.
The Russian delegate did not even wait to hear what concessions America and Great Britain were willing to offer. As the first speaker, he immediately reneged on an old agreement and demanded that the secretariat of the control organization to police a ban be headed by a three-man council representing the Communists, the Western powers and neutral countries.
Quite naturally, the British and United States representatives made clear that in connection with a test-ban treaty—just as in connection with Premier Khrushchev's suggestion in the General Assembly last autumn when he tried to have Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold replaced by a three-man secretariat—that this plan would not work.
It would not be acceptable to them, they said, and was a bad beginning for what many people had hoped would really be an opportunity to take a first step toward arms control.
It is true that a test-ban agreement might not remove all risks, but there is very little that we can do today that will be without some risks. And it would give a great many people a sense of satisfaction to feel that we had reached an agreement on one slight step toward the disarmament which we all know is the only real assurance that we can ever have a peaceful world.
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In the past few days I have been in Cleveland, in Kirksville, Mo., in Fort Worth, Texas, and am finishing up this lecture tour on Thursday noon here in Wichita, Kan.
I find that one of the questions most-frequently asked is: What can be done about Communist China?
This concern, no doubt, is because people are desperately interested in seeing moves toward disarmament. They are beginning to feel that it has taken a long time to see any visible signs on the horizon of a gain toward a peaceful world, which every citizen in the U.S. wants.
They realize that this gain can only come through some kind of understanding with the Communist world, and it is becoming more and more impossible for them to see how anything can be done without the cooperation of Communist China because of the size of that country and its tremendous population.
People are not anxious for closer alliance or even contact with Communist states. They would be delighted if they could see a prospect for peace that could be brought about by simply ignoring the Communist part of the world. But, unfortunately, this seems to be becoming less and less possible and, therefore, one is quite often faced with the question: What must be our future relationship with Communist China?
As far as I know, there is no policy on the part of the U.S. that is clear cut at the present time. But the fact that the people are so often asking this question leads one to believe that we may have to face it before very long.