Wednesday, June 10, 2015



Washington (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy, speaking at American University here in the Nation's Capital,  proposed a comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty* fifty-two years ago today, June 10, 1963.

The President, who presented his remarks as the keynote speaker at the institution's graduation ceremonies, announced that talks would soon begin in Moscow between American, British and Soviet representatives to work out a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.

President Kennedy spoke of the hope for a..."genuine peace, the kind that makes life on earth worth living..."

The President added...

"In the final analysis our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breath the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal."

John Horgan of the Scientific American wrote on the 50th anniversary of the American University address two years ago that the high point came when JFK "repudiated the notion that permanent peace is a utopian fantasy."  

JFK said...

"Too many...think (peace) is impossible, but that is a dangerous, defeatest belief...leading to the conclusion that war is inevitable."

It is Mr. Horgan's view that while most people today think JFK's optimism was naive, "they are wrong."  He writes...

"Overwhelming evidence from archaeology and anthropology reveals that war is a relatively recent cultural invention."

John Horgan points out that JFK appealed, not to the fears of the American people, but to their hopes.  He believes, and I agree, that "we need leaders with this kind of inspiring vision today."


"Commencement Address at American University, June 10, 1963,

"Fifty Years Later, JFK's 'Peace Speech' Still Inspires - and Has Been Scientifically Validated," by John Horgan, June 10, 2013, Scientific American,

"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1963."

"Top 10 Commencement Speeches, John F. Kennedy, American University, 1963," Time Magazine,

JFK Speaks at American University
June 10, 1963
Photo by Cecil Stoughton
JFK Library Photo

*Officially known as the Treaty banning nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space, a.k.a. the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, it was ratified by the US Senate on Sept 24, 1963 and signed by JFK on Oct 10, 1963.

The American University graduation ceremonies were held at the John M. Reeves Athletic Center and JFK's remarks were televised live.