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 does.

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.