Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961

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Author: John F. Kennedy  | Date: July 13, 1961

282
Remarks to a Group of American Field Service Students.
July 13, 1961

I WANT, first of all, to say that I’m a great admirer of the American Field Service. A good many young Americans whom I knew in the days of the Second World War served with distinction, showed the hand of, I hope, compassion—certainly friendship—to those on both sides, and what is more important, they learned from that experience a valuable lesson. And because of that, and their continued interest in our country and in the cause of peace, you are here.

I hope that your experience here has taught you a valuable lesson, and that is that there are no simple problems, that as we look, in the United States, around the world at so many different people and so many different countries, we build up in our own minds stereotypes and prejudices, andsympathies and affections—and I’m sure you have learned how far removed we may be from our real understanding of the life of your people.

You will go back to your countries, and they have stereotypes and prejudices and ideas about the United States. It is going to be your destiny, I hope, to serve in the interests of peace as a bridge between the best parts of my country and your people.

I hope that you go from here not merely as a friend but understanding our faults and our assets, but most of all understanding what we’re trying to do, and what we’re trying to be—and that we recognize that we have in this country great unfinished business.

We want your friendship, and I hope that you 1200 will be the seed which will build a better life for all of our people.

This house belongs to the American people, and we are temporary residents. It has housed a good many Americans who I am glad to say have served as inspirations to your own people—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, the Roosevelt’s, Wilson, and the others.

We are now occupying a position of responsibility in a most difficult time—all of us—and therefore once again it is. an honor as President of the United States to welcome you, who will in the coming months and years bear the great burdens of leadership in your country.

And I hope it will be possible that a future President of the United States will greet a President or a Prime Minister, some years from now, who stood in July 1961 on the lawn of the White House.
Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke from the Rose Garden to a group of students from 50 countries studying in the United States under the auspices of the American Field Service.

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Chicago: John F. Kennedy, "282 Remarks to a Group of American Field Service Students.," Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819 505. Original Sources, accessed August 15, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4T7YRU8IYQSRWV5.

MLA: Kennedy, John F. "282 Remarks to a Group of American Field Service Students." Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819, page 505. Original Sources. 15 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4T7YRU8IYQSRWV5.

Harvard: Kennedy, JF, '282 Remarks to a Group of American Field Service Students.' in Public Papers of John F. Kennedy, 1961. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.819, pp.505. Original Sources, retrieved 15 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4T7YRU8IYQSRWV5.