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JFK’s Last Speech to the United Nations (Video)

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Two months before his slaying he gave this speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

Conflict in Congo, international development assistance,  nuclear non proliferation, and securing funding for peacekeeping operations were top of the agenda for JFK’s final UNGA speech.  Plus ca change! 

Money Quotes

On the Soviet Union:

If either of our countries is going to be secure, we need a better weapon than an h-bomb…We need peace and understanding. 

On Funding UN Peacekeeping

The Peacekeeping record of UN has been a proud one…We cannot take this peacekeeping machinery for granted. That machinery must be soundly financed, which it cannot be if some members are allowed to prevent it from meeting its own obligations by failing to meet their own. The United Nations must be supported by all those who exercise their franchise here.

On Global Development

In the contest for a better life, all the world can be a winner. The effort to improve the condition of man, however, is not a task for the few. It is the task of all nations, acting alone, acting in groups, acting in the United Nations. Plague and pestilence, plunder and pollution, the hazards of nature and the hunger of children are the foes of every nation.


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