President Lyndon B. Johnson's
Remarks at the Signing of the Treaty on Outer Space.
January 27, 1967
Secretary Rusk, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Chief Justice, Your
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
This is an inspiring moment in the history of the human race.
We are taking the first firm step toward keeping outer space
free forever from the implements of war.
It was more than 400 years ago when Martin Luther said:
"Cannons and firearms are cruel and damnable machines.
I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the devil.
If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments that his
children were to invent, he would have died of grief."
Well, I wonder what he would have thought of the far more terrible
weapons that we have today.
We have never succeeded in freeing our planet from the implements
of war. But if we cannot yet achieve this goal here on earth,
we can at least keep the virus from spreading.
We can keep the ugly and wasteful weapons of mass destruction
from contaminating space. And that is exactly what this treaty
This treaty means that the moon and our sister planets will
serve only the purposes of peace and not of war.
It means that orbiting man-made satellites will remain free
of nuclear weapons.
It means that astronaut and cosmonaut will meet someday on
the surface of the moon as brothers and not as warriors for competing
nationalities or ideologies.
It holds promise that the same wisdom and good will which gave
us this space treaty will continue to guide us as we seek solutions
to the many problems that we have here on this earth.
It is a hopeful and a very promising sign.
We are so pleased that we could be joined here today by the
representatives of so many of the other nations of the world.
I now take great pleasure in presenting to you our distinguished
Secretary of State--Mr. Dean Rusk.
NOTE: The President spoke at 5:15 p.m. in the East Room at
the White House. In his opening words he referred to Secretary
of State Dean Rusk, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and Chief
Justice Earl Warren.
In his remarks following the President's, Secretary Rusk reviewed
the major steps taken since the Soviet Union launched its first
Sputnik in 1957 in the quest for peace and security. "There
is great satisfaction," he noted, "in being able to
present this treaty within 10 years after the launching of that
Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representative to the United Nations,
then spoke briefly. He commended the members of the United Nations
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and expressed his
appreciation to the President "for initiating this effort
on behalf of our country."
Ambassador Goldberg also read a message from United Nations
Secretary General U Thant. The Secretary General described the
outer space treaty, together with the Antarctic treaty of 1959
and the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963 as "true landmarks
in man's march towards international peace and security. I fervently
hope," he said in conclusion, "that these achievements
will shortly be followed by similar agreements on nonproliferation
of nuclear weapons and other steps towards international peace
The British Ambassador, Sir Patrick Dean, and the Ambassador
from the Soviet Union, Anatoly F. Dobrynin, also spoke briefly.
Stating that the treaty was an important step toward the creation
of a world free from the fear of war, Sir Patrick added that its
signature by the United States and the Soviet Union would "give
fresh encouragement and new hope to the world."
In signing the treaty on behalf of the Soviet Union Mr. Dobrynin
stated: "We believe that the treaty . . . will be an important
step in further development of cooperation and understanding among
states and peoples, and will contribute to the settlement of other
major international problems facing humanity here on this planet."
The full text of the various remarks at the signing ceremony
is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents
(vol. 3, p. 127). After signatures by Secretary Rusk and Ambassador
Goldberg for the United States, Ambassador Dean for the United
Kingdom, and Ambassador Dobrynin for the Soviet Union, the treaty
was signed by the representatives of 57 other nations. Signing
ceremonies were also held in London and Moscow.
On February 7, 1967, the President transmitted the treaty to the Senate (see
Item 38). It was favorably considered by the Senate on April 25, 1967. The
text of the treaty is printed in Senate Executive D (90th Cong., 1st sess.).
Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United
States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967. Volume I, entry 18, pp. 91-92. Washington,
D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1968.
June 6, 2007