Address at the Overseas Press Club

April 1, 1968


New York, NY

Last night I sent the president the following telegram:

Mr. President:

First of all, let me say that I fervently hope that your new efforts for peace in Vietnam will succeed. Your decision regarding the presidency subordinates self to country and is truly magnanimous. I respectfully and earnestly request an opportunity to visit with you as soon as possible to discuss how we might work together in the interest of national unity during the coming months.

Robert F. Kennedy

That wire sums up much of what I want to say today. The president’s action reflects both courage and generosity of spirit. In these past sixteen days, I have been in some eighteen states. North, South, East, and West. In Alabama and in Watts, in New York and in New Mexico, in Washington, D.C., and in Washington State, wherever I went, I found Americans of all ages and colors and political beliefs deeply desirous of peace in Vietnam and reconciliation here at home. Despite all the discord and dispirit, despite all the extremists and their actions, there remains, in this country today, an enormous reservoir of hope and goodwill. Americans want to move forward; they want to better their communities, to make this country not only more livable for all Americans but a shining example for all the world.

To free their energies for progress at home, they want peace in Vietnam…

As we move toward a political resolution of the agony of Vietnam, we can start to redirect our national resources and energies toward the vital problems of our national community. The crisis of our cities, the tension among our races, the complexities of a society at once so rich and so deprived: All of these call urgently for our best efforts. We must reach across the false barriers that divide us from our brothers and countrymen, to seek and find peace abroad, reconciliation at home, and the participation in the life of our country that is the deepest desire of the American people and the truest expression of our national goals. In this spirit I will continue my campaign for the presidency.