Statement on the Observance of National Peace Through Strength Week

September 22, 1984

Sunday, September 23, 1984, marks the beginning of National Peace Through Strength Week. All Americans place great value on peace; it is part of our national character. Activities during Peace Through Strength Week will support a commonsense, reasonable approach to security, peace, and deterring war. Rallies in all 50 States on September 29th, organized by a bipartisan coalition of Americans, will be held under the auspices of the Coalition of Peace Through Strength and the American Security Council. These citizens will be expressing support for a strategy of peace based on a strong defense.

If history teaches us anything, it is that a strong defense is the prerequisite to a lasting peace, the only credible deterrent against aggression. And a strong defense will enable us to reach sound arms control agreements. Arms control, negotiated from strength, can significantly reduce the levels of weapons threatening mankind and enhance confidence between potential adversaries.

We Americans maintain our military strength with the fervent hope that it will never be used, and with the conviction that this is, indeed, the best way to preserve the peace. We maintain our defensive strength in concert with our allies and friends, whose freedom and independence is vital to our own security. Our national strength, of course, is not based only on the force of arms. The ideals of human liberty are themselves powerful weapons in the world competition between democracy and totalitarianism. Thus, it is fitting that Americans from all walks of life and many citizens of our fellow democracies are working to strengthen democratic institutions throughout the world. It is becoming clearer every day, especially to emerging countries in the Third World, that democracy is not only the best path to freedom but, also, the most effective way of achieving economic progress. Democracy is the way to a more peaceful world. The ultimate goal of Peace Through Strength Week is a world where the people of each nation are free to determine their own destiny and where no state threatens its neighbors.

Therefore, I commend the efforts of my fellow Americans who have organized this special week. Its purpose is consistent with America's continuing commitment to world peace, justice, and freedom.