Senate Speech

July 21, 1966


Washington, D.C.

The accomplishments of United States foreign assistance are already substantial— they are being felt in dozens of countries, all over the world. This year, 15 million students will learn in schools assisted by United States aid. Three quarters of a billion people will be safe from malaria, 77 million from smallpox, 7 million from cholera, because of vaccinations given in 1966 alone . . . Nineteen million textbooks, fifty thousand miles of better roads, four thousand loans to private businesses— this is only some of what our aid will do this year. I believe the American people are ready to recognize that foreign aid is not a “give-away,” but rather a moral obligation and a sound and necessary investment in the future. I believe we are ready to recognize that millions saved now can mean billions lost 5 or 10 or 20 years from now— and that the human cost of delay is incalculable. We have shown in the Senate that we are willing to spend nearly $2 billion a month for tanks, for planes, for the other weapons of war— all to save people from Communism. But we seem reluctant to spend, to save people from the tyranny of starvation and ignorance, as much in a single month— even though we know, in our own purest self interests, that the tyranny of poverty is easily exchanged for the tyranny of Communism.