Right at the beginning I want to say that in the seven years that I have been in public service I have had the privilege of speaking to many great audiences. But this one certainly is the greatest audience that any man could have the privilege to speak to, and I am very happy and proud to be before you here this evening.

And now I would like to tell you about what I think was one of the most interesting days or should I say, two days, I have ever spent in my life. At four o'clock yesterday afternoon I left Washington, D.C., by plane. At two-thirty this morning I went to sleep in a tent here at this Jamboree. I found that Scouts get up very early, and so I got up at six-thirty with them. Tonight at ten o'clock I shall take a plane and we shall fly all night so that I will get back to Washington in time to open the Senate tomorrow at twelve.

Now there are some of you who will say, "Well, that's a pretty hard day or a pretty hard two-days - only four hours sleep in forty-eight hours." It is a hard day, but I want you to know that every minute has been worth every bit of effort that it might have been for me. For example, no one could see this great convocation here this evening, no one could have seen the Scouts come over the hills to this convocation as we saw them, no one could spend this day with you as I have spent it with you without feeling good about America and the worlds future, a future with which you will have such a lot to do.

This morning I remember the breakfast I had with the Troop from my own home town of Whittier, and I was impressed with the self sufficiency of those who could get out and scramble eggs. Frankly, they were better than the eggs I used to get when we had Army, Navy and Marine chow during the war. Now I don’t mean that that's an great compliment, but they were awfully good, nevertheless.

And then after that I had the privilege of visiting several of the various camps; and particularly the great privilege to worship with you at six different divine services: a Catholic service, a Protestant service, a Mormon service, a Jewish service, a Christian Science service and a Buddhist service.

And then, to cap the day, let me just say to those of this great audience who may not be Scouts that you don't need to be concerned about the free-enterprise system. If any of you are, all you have to do is visit one of the swap tents as I did today. I went into the swap tents and I carried along a few autographed cards, the personal cards of the Vice President and I found that it was fairly good swapping material. But before I got out of the test a fellow from Texas had traded me out of my fountain pen. Incidentally, he gave me a dried rattlesnake skin for it.

Now I realize that you Scouts have your moments for fun and you have your moments for a serious time. May I speak seriously to you for just a few moments now.

When you leave this great Jamboree you will go back to your homes over various routes, but you will have an opportunity to see much of America as you saw it as You came to California. And as you travel over America I know that many of you will be impressed by the things you see, the greatness of this country.

And I am sure that a question may come in your mind, as has often come to mine, "Why is America a great country? How did it happen that three million people a hundred and seventy years ago are now a hundred and sixty million strong? Thirteen colonies on the Atlantic seaboard now a great continental nation! A poor unproductive people a hundred and seventy years ago now producing over one-half the worlds good! How did it all happen?"

Some will tell you "America is a great nation because we have had great natural resources." That’s true, but that isn’t why were a great nation, because other countries have had great resources aid they have not progressed as we have. And then others will tell you America is a great nation because we are a great people. But who are the people who made America? This is no master race. The people of America came from all the nations of the world from England and Ireland, From Italy and France, from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, and they came here and they thrived in the climate of freedom that they found.

Now, what does that mean to you? Well, would you consider with me for just a moment some of the privileges that sometimes we take for granted in this country.

For example, did you ever stop to think what a privilege it is to go to the church of your choice? You say, "Well, what is there to that? After all, under the Constitution we're protected in that right." But in almost half the world today you can't do that.

Did you ever think what a privilege it is even to go home at night and not be concerned that someone might come in the night and knock on the door and take you or a member of your family away to a concentration camp? You might say, "What is there to that? After all, we’re all protected in the security of our homes by the Constitution." But in almost half the world tonight thousands and thousands of people will bear that knock on the door.

Even though you're not quite old enough yet to do it, did you ever consider what a privilege it was for your parents to vote and to have a choice? And yet in almost half the world there is no choice. You vote only for those chosen by the man at the top.

I know you have considered what a privilege it is to be a Scouts. However, in half the world tonight, almost, you can’t be a Scout.

I’ve jotted down some of the thoughts about why it is such a wonderful privilege to be a Scout. The Boy Scouts of America is the largest organization of young people in any land dedicated to the cause of peace in this world, and not war. It is an organization you boys chose to belong to. You weren't forced to join. It is an organization in which you have learned to love and respect your country as you should, but without forgetting that there are other young people on this planet like yourselves who care deeply for their own heritage, their own institutions, and their own culture

You have been taught and have learned yourselves what it is to be free, free to speak your own minds, to live your own lives and to worship God in your Own way. You have not been instilled with the shameful arrogance of the dictatorial mind, the intense hatred of bigotry of those of your contemporaries behind the iron curtain, who since boyhood have been taught to hate and to fear and to be contemptuous.

I can recall so vividly after the last war the bitter disillusionment on the faces of the young men who belonged to the Nazi Youth Organization. Their entire training had been geared to the vicious doctrine that the only good was to conquer and kill and to impose the will of the conqueror on all subject people. In defeat they were lost. They had nothing in which to believe and no capacity to turn elsewhere. Their souls and minds had been wrenched from them.

That is why it is far more important than perhaps you realize that this extraordinary organization of yours has dedicated itself to the spiritual side of your growth as well as the physical, and that the establishment of peace is the concern of every one of you.

You know, it is a wonderful thing about young people. They trust each other. They are willing to take the other fellow at face value. They have limitless energy and initiative, and they are not burdened down with the heavy mantle of prejudice and disillusionment that so many older people have acquired. Through this very willingness to understand, to be free and to be shown, the young people of this world frequently have had far greater success than their elders in breaking down barriers of prejudice and achieving cordial relations between people

That is why this great organization can be such a tremendous force in creating and maintaining international good will and world peace. Representatives from sixteen other countries are sitting with you right now. Let us work toward the day when By Scout leaders from all the nations of the world may be able to gather together with you at just such a Jamboree. The cause of brotherhood and peace on this earth could receive no greater testimonial

Reproduced from the holdings of the National Archives
Pacific Region, Laguna Niguel Office