President Kennedy held his 51st presidential press conference at 11am on March 6, 1963, in the State Department Auditorium.
Kennedy led off with a prepared statement:
Important steps are being taken in the Congress this week with respect to three major parts of the administration’s program and I want to take this opportunity to stress their importance to every American family.
First, hearings are being completed in both Houses on the youth employment opportunities bill, and I hope this measure can be enacted before the Easter recess. One million of our youths are out of school and out of work, creating an explosive social situation in nearly every community. This bill would put their hands to work, and minds, in our parks and forests, manning our hospitals and juvenile centers, and developing skills and work experience which will help them in later life.
Secondly, hearings have been completed in the House on our bill to train more physicians and dentists, to expand our medical colleges, and to provide loans to deserving students. With our population increasing every year, with the number of doctors and dentists in relation to that population increase deteriorating, it really seems a waste of our most valuable resources, which are our skills, to turn deserving young men and women away from our medical schools because they can’t afford to go. We need them and we need their talents, and I hope this bill will pass.
Third, hearings begin in the Senate this week on our bills to combat mental illness and mental retardation. Almost every American family at some stage will experience or has experienced a case of mental affliction, and we have to offer something more than crowded custodial care in our State institutions. Our task is to prevent these conditions. Our next is to treat them more effectively and sympathetically, in the patients’ own community. I hope the Congress will act on this bill.1
- “The President’s News Conference,” Public Papers of the President: John F. Kennedy: 1963, (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1964), doc. 89. ↩