President John F. Kennedy’s Remarks


The president’s remarks upon signing the Agency for International Development contract with the National Rural Electrification Cooperation Association from his office in the White House November 1st, 1962.

I am pleased to witness the signing of the contract between the Agency for International Development and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association which will enable us to assist underdeveloped countries in realizing the benefits of widespread electrification.

One of the dramatic stories of this nation’s development is the sweeping electrification of our nation’s farms and rural communities undertaken on a national basis in the 1930s. Increased farm productivity and a higher standard of living were the inevitable twin benefits of electric power lines which moved to our farms, our remote mountain areas and in fact almost literally throughout the entire country.

Although much of the credit for this tremendous expansion must go to the statesman of the 30s exemplified by George W. Norris, we know that it could not have been achieved without the industry and the initiatives of those strong individuals of rural America who formed together in cooperatives under the encouragement and guidance of the Rural Electrification Administration.

One of the most significant contributions that we can make to the underdeveloped countries is to pass on to them the techniques which we in this country have developed and used successfully. It seems to me, therefore, that the contract signed today holds special promise for those countries which have realized only a small fraction of their energy potential.

I understand of the countries which will participate in this program initially are Latin American nations through the Alliance for Progress, and I know that I express the hope of all, that the results of the contract will be an improved standard of living for millions of people. I congratulate the people of aid and of the NRECA for having developed this agreement.