John F. Kennedy

Announcing Executive Order 10924 Establishing the Peace Corps

delivered 1 March 1961, State Department Auditorium, Washington, D.C.

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

I have today signed an Executive Order providing for the establishment of a Peace Corps on a temporary pilot basis. I'm also sending to Congress a message [pro]posing authorization of a permanent Peace Corps.

This Corps will be a pool of trained men and women sent overseas by the United States Government or through private institutions and organizations to help foreign countries meet their urgent needs for skilled manpower. It is our hope to have between 500 to 1000 people in the field by the end of this year.

We will send Americans abroad who are qualified to do a job. We will send those abroad who are committed to the concept which motivates the Peace Corps. It will not be easy: None of the men and women will be paid a salary. They will live at the same level as the citizens of the country which they're sent to -- doing the same work, eating the same food, speaking the same language. We're going to put particular emphasis on those men and women who have skills in teaching, agriculture, and in health.

I'm hopeful that it will be a source of satisfaction to Americans and a contribution to world peace.

Click image for expanded view of Executive Order 10924

Book/CDs by Michael E. Eidenmuller, Published by McGraw-Hill (2008)

Research Note: Kennedy's Peace Corps remarks, delivered during a press conference, deviate substantially from the as prepared for delivery manuscript version from which he was reading (see video above).

Audio Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Audio Note: AR-XE = American Rhetoric Extreme Enhancement

Page Updated: 9/27/21

U.S. Copyright Status: Text, Audio, Image of Executive Order 10924 = Public domain.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.