United Nations Association of Greater Oklahoma City
United Nations Association of the USA
Greater Oklahoma City Chapter
P.O. Box 60856
Oklahoma City, OK   73146-0856
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February 20, 2012
12 Presidents
What They Have Said
Twelve American presidents have had an opportunity to address the United Nations -- 6 Republicans
and 6 Democrats.  Here is a sampling of the statements they have made about the UN:

"I can assure you that the Government and the people of the United States are deeply proud
and grateful that the United Nations has chosen our country for its headquarters. We will
extend the fullest measure of cooperation in making a home for the United Nations in this
country. The American people welcome the delegates and the Secretariat of the United
Nations as good neighbors and warm friends....
"The overwhelming majority of the American people, regardless of party, support the
United Nations. They are resolved that the United States, to the full limit of its strength,
shall contribute to the establishment and maintenance of a just and lasting peace among the
nations of the world."
--Harry S Truman
October 23, 1946

"Never before in history has so much hope for so many people been gathered together in a
single organization.... But the great tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And
in the confident expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for
the time being, I hold, to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain
steadfast in its support of this body. This we shall do in the conviction that you will provide
a great share of the wisdom, of the courage and of the faith which can bring to this world
lasting peace for all nations, and happiness and well-being for all men."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower
December 8, 1953

"Disarmament without checks is but a shadow, and a community without law
is but a shell. Already the United Nations has become both the measure and
the vehicle of man's most generous impulses. Already it has provided...
a means of holding man's violence within bounds."
--John F. Kennedy
September 25, 1961

"We are more than ever opposed to the doctrines of hate and violence, in our own land and
around the world. We are more than ever committed to the rule of law, in our own land and
around the world. We believe more than ever in the rights of man, all men of every color,
in our own land and around the world. And more than ever we support the United Nations
as the best instrument yet devised to promote the peace of the world and to promote the
well-being of mankind....
"The United States wants to cooperate with all the members of this Organization to conquer
everywhere the ancient enemies of mankind -- hunger, and disease and ignorance...."
--Lyndon B. Johnson
December 17, 1963

"The changes in the world since World War II have made more compelling than ever
the central idea behind the United Nations: that individual nations must be ready at last to
take a farsighted and a generous view.  The profoundest national interest of our time --
for every nation -- is not immediate gain, but the preservation of peace."
--Richard M. Nixon
October 23, 1970

"There is no limit... to our determination to act in concert with
other nations to fulfill the vision of the United Nations Charter, to
save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to promote
social progress and better standards, better standards of life in a
larger freedom."
--Gerald R. Ford
September 18, 1974

"The United States is committed to the peaceful settlement of differences.
We are committed to the strengthening of the peacemaking capabilities of the
United Nations...."
--Jimmy Carter
October 4, 1977

"The United Nations is dedicated to world peace, and its charter clearly prohibits the international use of force. Yet
the tide of belligerence continues to rise.... We must not only condemn aggression; we must enforce the dictates of
our charter and resume the struggle for peace....
"I have come to this hall to call for international recommitment to the basic tenet of the
United Nations Charter — that all members practice tolerance and live together in peace as
good neighbors under the rule of law, forsaking armed force as a means of settling disputes
between nations....
"We, who have signed the U.N. Charter, have pledged to refrain from the threat or use of
force against the territory or independence of any state. In these times when more and more
lawless acts are going unpunished — as some members of this very body show a growing
disregard for the U.N. Charter — the peace-loving nations of the world must condemn
aggression and pledge again to act in a way that is worthy of the ideals that we have
endorsed. Let us finally make the charter live."
--Ronald Reagan
June 17, 1982

"The United States is committed to playing its part, helping to maintain
global security, promoting democracy and prosperity. And my administration
is fully committed to supporting the United Nations and to paying what we
are obliged to pay by our commitment to the Charter. International peace
and security, and international freedom and prosperity, require no less."
--George H.W. Bush
October 1, 1990

"Fifty years ago, as the conference that gave birth to the United Nations got underway in San Francisco, a young
American war hero recorded his impressions of that event for a newspaper. 'The average G.I. in the street doesn't
seem to have a very clear-cut conception of what this meeting's about,'
wrote the young John F. Kennedy. But one bemedaled Marine sergeant
gave the general reaction when he said, 'I don't know much about what's
going on, but if they just fix it so we don't have to fight anymore, they can
count me in.'
"Well, the United Nations has not ended war, but it has made it less likely,
and helped many nations to turn from war to peace. The United Nations has
not stopped human suffering, but it has healed the wounds and lengthened
the lives of millions of human beings. The United Nations has not banished
repression or poverty from the Earth, but it has advanced the cause of freedom and prosperity on every continent.
The United Nations has not been all that we wished it would be, but it has been a force for good and a bulwark
against evil.
"So at the dawn of a new century so full of promise, yet plagued by peril, we still need the United Nations. And so,
for another 50 years and beyond, you can count the United States in."
--Bill Clinton
October 22, 1995

"Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic commitment of civilization. We will defend
ourselves and our future against terror and lawless violence. The United Nations was founded in this cause."
--George W. Bush
November 10, 2001

"The American people respect the idealism that gave life to this organization.
And we respect the men and women of the U.N., who stand for peace and
human rights in every part of the world....
"History will honor the high ideals of this organization. The Charter states
them with clarity: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, to promote social progress and
better standards of life and larger freedom. Let history also record that our
generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity.
Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations
did not grow weary in our duties or waver in meeting them."
--George W. Bush
September 21, 2004

"In the 21st century, the world needs a confident and effective United Nations....  With determination and clear
purpose, the United Nations can be a powerful force for good as we head into the 21st century. It can affirm the
great promise of its founding."
--George W. Bush
September 22, 2008

"The United Nations was built by men and women... from every corner of the world -- from Africa and Asia,
from Europe to the Americas.  These architects of international cooperation had an idealism that was anything but
naïve -- it was rooted in the hard-earned lessons of war; rooted in the wisdom that nations could advance their
interests by acting together instead of splitting apart.
"Now it falls to us -- for this institution will be what we make of it.  
The United Nations does extraordinary good around the world -- feeding the
hungry, caring for the sick, mending places that have been broken.  But it also
struggles to enforce its will, and to live up to the ideals of its founding.
"I believe that those imperfections are not a reason to walk away from this
institution -- they are a calling to redouble our efforts.  
"...We call on all nations to join us in building the future that our people so
richly deserve."
--Barack Obama
September 23, 2009

"...This future will not be easy to reach. It will not come without setbacks,
nor will it be quickly claimed. But the founding of the United Nations itself is
a testament to human progress. In times that were far more trying than our own, our predecessors chose the hope
of unity over the ease of division, and made a promise to future generations that the dignity and equality of human
beings would be our common cause.
"It falls to us to fulfill that promise. And though we will be met by dark forces that will test our resolve, Americans
have always had cause to believe that we can choose a better history. In fact, we need only look outside the walls
around us. For through the citizens of every conceivable ancestry who make this city their own, we see living proof
that opportunity can be accessed by all; that what unites us as human beings is far greater than what divides us; and
that people from every part of this world can live together in peace."
--Barack Obama
September 23, 2010
Recommended Videos
About the United Nations
Excerpts from Presidential Speeches
(None more than 6 minutes in length)

UN Charter Signed by 5 Permanent Members
June 28, 1945

Dwight D. Eisenhower Atoms for Peace
December 8, 1953

President John F. Kennedy - Address to the United Nations
September 25, 1961

Lyndon B. Johnson - Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the U.N. Charter
June 25, 1965

Ronald Reagan - Speech to the United Nations General Assembly
June 17, 1982

George H.W. Bush - Address to the United Nations
October 1, 1990

President Obama Addresses United Nations in New York
September 23, 2009