is a portion of the speech that President John F.
Kennedy gave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on April
27, 1961. "The President and the Press" before the
American Newspaper Publishers Association.
TO LISTEN, CLICK HERE!
The website where it was located and downloaded the
entire speech 13MB and was also able to obtain and
print the text transcript is at:
http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BqXIEM9F4024ntFl7SVAjA.aspx?gclid=CKqf1Yj6yqkCFQQ7gwod1y0bLw. (Thanks Tom)!
The file is only about 5 min long. Below is copied
from the transcript:
"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a
free and open society; and we are as a people
inherently and historically opposed to secret
societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings.
We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive
and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far
outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify
it. Even today, there is little value in opposing
the threat of a closed society by imitating its
arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little
value in insuring the survival of our nation if our
traditions do not survive with it. And there is very
grave danger that an announced need for increased
security will be seized upon those anxious to expand
its meaning to the very limits of official
censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to
permit to the extent that it is in my control. And
no official of my Administration, whether his rank
is high or low, civilian or military, should
interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to
censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our
mistakes or to withhold from the press and the
public the facts they deserve to know."
In my efforts to provide you a transcript of the
attached file, I have discovered that the above
paragraph is word for word the first 1:26.
The next 3 paragraphs and the first sentence of the
next paragraph were omitted. I do not know why since
I do not know what the editor of the original speech
had in his or her mind. The file continues .....
"For we are opposed around the world by a
monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on
covert means for expanding its sphere of
influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on
subversion instead of elections, on intimidation
instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night
instead of armies by day. It is a system which has
conscripted vast human and material resources into
the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient
machine that combines military, diplomatic,
intelligence, economic, scientific and political
Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its
mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters
are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is
questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is
End at 2:28 - This is a solid piece in the
transcript but ends mid paragraph.
Several more paragraphs of the transcript are
skipped and the file continues.......
"No President should fear public scrutinity of
his program. For from that scrutiny comes
understanding; and from that understanding comes
support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am
not asking your newspapers to support the
Administration, but I am asking your help in the
tremendous task of informing and alerting the
American people. For I have complete confidence in
the response and dedication of our citizens whenever
they are fully informed.
I not only could not stifle controversy among your
readers-- I welcome it. This Administration intends
to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man
once said: "An error does not become a mistake until
you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full
responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to
point them out when we miss them.
Without debate, without criticism, no Administration
and no country can succeed-- and no republic can
survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon
decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from
controversy. And that is why our press was protected
by the First (emphasized) Amendment-- the only
business in America specifically protected by the
Constitution-- not primarily to amuse and entertain,
not to emphasize the trivial and sentimental, not to
simply "give the public what it wants"--but to
inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers
and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and
our choices, to lead, mold educate and sometimes
even anger public opinion.
This means greater coverage and analysis of
international news-- for it is no longer far away
and foreign but close at hand and local. It means
greater attention to improved understanding of the
news as well as improved transmission. And it means,
finally, that government at all levels, must meet
its obligation to provide you with the fullest
possible information outside the narrowest limits of
This part ends at 4:52. mid sentence. It left out
"--and we intend to do it." It also skips a
paragraph and then the file continues ...
"And so it is to the printing press--to the
recorder of mans deeds, the keeper of his
conscience, the courier of his news-- that we look
for strength and assistance, confident that with
your help man will be what he was born to be: free