Public Papers

Remarks on Signing the Executive Order Establishing the National Space Council


The President. Well, to the Members of Congress here and Members of the Joint Chiefs, distinguished guests, thank you. It's a great pleasure to be here on an occasion of this nature. And I want to thank all of you for being here. You're helping to fulfill a promise that I made 18 months ago in Huntsville, Alabama, at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center. I pledged then, and I'm proud now, to reestablish the National Space Council.

I've asked Vice President Quayle to serve as Chairman. Under his able leadership, I'm confident that the Space Council will bring coherence and continuity and commitment to our efforts to explore, study, and develop space. I look to the Council to coordinate our civil, military, and commercial efforts. We must establish a permanent manned presence in space by building the space station Freedom. We must encourage private initiatives in investment, and we must ensure our national security through effective defense activities in space.

You know, when people talk about space exploration, what it represents to us in this country, some say that it captures the American imagination. But it's much more than that. Our efforts in space unleash the imagination. And 20 years ago, an entire generation of Americans was inspired by the space program. We must continue on the path we've blazed in earlier decades with a renewed dedication.

Space is vitally important to our nation's future and, I would add, to the quality of life here on Earth. And it offers a technological frontier, creating jobs for tomorrow. And space programs inspire an interest in math and science, engineering in young people, knowledge so important for a competitive future. Space offers us the chance to unlock secrets billions of years old and billions of light years away. Space is the manifest destiny of a new generation and a new century.

Mr. Vice President, I plan to sign this Executive order with one objective in mind: to keep America first in space. And it's only a matter of time before the world salutes the first men and women on their way outward into the solar system. All of us want them to be Americans.

And now I'd like to ask the Vice President to say a few words, and then I'll be honored to sign this declaration.

The Vice President. Thank you very much, Mr. President, and welcome back to your former office. It's about 100 days ago, a little less, that you were here to witness the official signing of the Vice President's desk, and we welcome you back today as you establish the Space Council.

I certainly look forward to getting involved with the Space Council, working with the Members of Congress to develop a coherent space policy and space strategy for this country. Space is certainly the frontier. It is a frontier that we understand, and we're going to be there. Space is important to us from an economic point of view, from a national security point of view, and certainly from a point of view of technology. So, Mr. President, we take your charge with a great deal of seriousness. We will be working with all deliberation and cooperation with Members of Congress and the space community -- that we will work and present a very good space policy and strategy for the future of this nation.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:08 p.m. in the Vice President's office in the Old Executive Office Building. The Executive order is listed in Appendix E at the end of this volume.