Although the primary purpose of President Kennedy’s Conservation Tour was environmental protection and efficient use of natural resources, a significant part of his speech in Great Falls focused on U.S. foreign policy. Maintaining mutually beneficial relations with other countries of the world and promoting U.S. national interests were on the president’s international agenda.
The Great Falls High School Memorial Stadium in Great Falls, Montana was President Kennedy’s next stop during his Conservation Tour. The president departed Great Falls International Airport at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, September 26, 1963, and arrived at the stadium at 12:25 p.m. Five minutes later, he was ready to deliver his speech.
The first part of the president’s address was dedicated to the United States’ foreign policy and highlighted the importance of preventing a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Kennedy focused on the concentration of the most powerful nuclear missile systems in the state of Montana and urged the citizens to be conscious of every possible danger. However, he shared his hopes for a peaceful conclusion to the Cold War and emphasized the United States’ commitment to help other countries like Laos, Vietnam, or the Congo in maintaining their freedom. One of the major aspects of the U.S. international agenda was, according to President Kennedy, the country’s determination to develop a world in which all countries were free. He believed this would eventually decrease the threat to the United States’ security.
President Kennedy then focused on the elimination of possible environmental threats and introduced his administration’s plans to implement natural resource conservation. Preserving the natural resources and beauty of Montana would make the Northwest United States highly attractive to people from other states and from all over the world. Kennedy also hoped that the Columbia River Treaty with Canada would be ratified and that the Libby Dam Project in Northwest Montana would soon begin.
The President emphasized the importance of making American cities better places to live; he focused on the significance of good education for children, the prosperity of the country in general, and the nation’s interest in promoting freedom around the globe. At 1:05 p.m., President Kennedy departed Great Falls High School Memorial Stadium for the airport, leaving the more than twenty thousand people who gathered to hear his speech with positive thoughts about a bright future for the United States.
The Great Falls High School Memorial Stadium is located on the campus of the Great Falls High School in Great Falls, Montana. The stadium was built in November 1930 to honor the veterans of World War I and World War II.