271. Memorandum From a Senior Adviser to the Vice President (Rielly) to Vice President Humphrey1


  • Conference on “Pacem in Terris” sponsored by the Fund for the Republic

As the enclosed letter2 indicates, the conference on Pope John’s encyclical “Pacem in Terris”3 will be held in New York on February 17–20. You will recall that we discussed this some months ago and passed the word to Robert Maynard Hutchins4 that you were interested in attending and addressing the group. They are now moving ahead with plans to make a definite schedule for the conference. As the enclosed letter indicates, their plans are a bit grandiose. They had hoped to get Khrushchev, the Pope and President Johnson. I doubt if they are going to end up getting any of them.

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As Harry Ashmore’s letter indicates, they want you to put the arm on the President and get him to make a commitment on this. I do not think I would be in any hurry to do so. This strikes me as the type of conference where it might be better to have the Vice-President as the star, rather than the President. I think it is going to be a first-rate conference with very high level people from the intellectual, journalistic and diplomatic world attending.5 But it is designed to be a highpowered intellectuals’ conference, not a conference given to cautious diplomatic statements. I am not at all sure that this is the right medium for the President. I see no harm in having him open the conference but I’m not sure that he would want to schedule a major speech there.

To be perfectly blunt, I am somewhat reluctant to see you bypassed as the star of this conference. This would probably be the best foreign policy speaking engagement you would get in the next year. The subject of the conference would permit you to give a very high level speech which would really combine all your major foreign policy interests—arms control and disarmament, relations between the developing and the developed world, foreign aid, international organizations, United Nations, and peace.6 If the President is inclined to attend, by all means I would not discourage him. But I don’t think I would exert any pressure at this time.

  1. Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, 1965–68, 150.E.12.7 (B). No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads “Draft.”
  2. Not found.
  3. Pope John XXIII’s encyclical, Pacem in Terris, urged international cooperation for peace and justice and committed the Church to a concern for all human problems.
  4. Hutchins, President of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, was the chairman of the convocation. The Center was an American non-governmental organization and was hosting the conference as part of the UN International Cooperation Year.
  5. Other speakers scheduled to attend included U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senator J. William Fulbright, Ambassador George Kennan, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Abba Eban, three former Presidents of the General Assembly, historian Arnold Toynbee, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Linus Pauling, and theology professor Paul Tillich. (UN Press Release ICY/22, February 9, 1965; Minnesota Historical Society, Papers of Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice Presidential Files, 1965–68, 150.F.13.7 (B))
  6. On February 17, 1965, Humphrey delivered a long speech at the conference, in which he explained that statesmen “cannot ignore the implications for the survival of mankind of new discoveries in technology, biology, nuclear physics, and space.” He also clearly enunciated the new threats to peace and security: “In Pacem in Terris John XXIII returned to a theme he had discussed in Mater et Magistra when he stated: ‘Given the growing interdependence among peoples of the earth, it is not possible to preserve lasting peace if glaring economic inequality among them persists.’ If control of nuclear weapons is a central issue in improving relations between East and West, accelerating the economic development of new nations is essential to harmony between North and South.” Humphrey spoke of the need for social justice: “Those who have been ‘more blessed with this world’s goods’ must heed the Pope’s plea to assist ‘those political communities whose citizens suffer from poverty, misery and hunger and who lack even the elementary rights of the human person.’ We must do this out of compassion—for we are our brother’s keeper. And we also do it out of self-interest as well—for our lot is their lot, our future their future, our peace their peace. This planet is simply too small for the insulation of the rich against turbulence bred of injustice in any part of the world.” (Remarks of the Vice President, February 17, 1965; ibid.)