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Remarks by Representative Keogh
Of New York
Mr. Speaker, today Members on both sides of the aisle, irrespective of party affiliation, are paying their tributes to a true parliamentarian, our highly respected late colleague, CLARENCE CANNON. The dictionary says that a parliamentarian is a person versed in the rules and usages of a parliamentary body—and over a period of two generations CLARENCE CANNON has fitted that definition more eminently than any other Member. For more than 40 years he has become known almost immediately to every new Member of the House through his famous and indispensable volume, “Cannon Procedure in the House of Representatives." His major contribution in compiling the precedents of the House in the volumes of “Cannon's Precedents” has greatly facilitated the smooth operation of this body. As a matter of fact, parliamentarians from all over the world have acquired a knowledge of congressional procedure and rules through his writings. His work in this field alone merits for him the undying gratitude and respect of all the Members.
But CLARENCE CANNON'S expertise in matters relating to the rules and usages of the House of Representatives, as great as it unquestionably was, did not equal his dedication and effectiveness as the watchdog of the appropriations requested of and granted by the Congress. His single-mindedness in his desire and efforts to secure the most benefit from the taxpayer's dollars reaped countless savings over the years. It has been estimated that, during the time while he served as chairman and ranking Democratic member of the Committee on Appropriations, the Congress passed upon budget requests amounting to about a trillion dollars-all of which he considered painstakingly with the view of achieving savings. His perseverance and unstinting labor in behalf of the American people were the manifestations of a truly dedicated spirit and the character of CLARENCE CANNON. He could easily have found popularity in many quarters if he had been willing to forgo his principles, but such action would have been completely foreign to him.
We today are honoring him in death, but he did not have to wait for the many honors and the respect his colleagues and Americans everywhere accorded him during his life. These sometimes took the form of the silent admiration of the Members even when they were constrained to differ with his position on a particular matter. They took a more material form in the award of honorary degrees conferred upon him by institutions of learning.
CLARENCE CANNON will be greatly missed by his colleagues and by the American people. His kind of honesty, courage, and steadfastness are not easily come by. Millions of Americans viewing the forthcoming Democratic National Convention on television will be conscious of his absence as parliamentarian. Far more, the chairman of the convention will miss his guidance and ready answers to parliamentary problems as they arise in the course of the proceedings.
Mr. Speaker, I particularly want to express my sincere condolences to CLARENCE CANNON'S dear wife, to whom he was so devoted, and to his daughters and their children. We know what a great loss his passing has brought to them-a loss that may more easily be borne in the knowlege that it is shared with so many.
Remarks by Representative Dorn
Of South Carolina
Mr. Speaker, CLARENCE CANNON was one of the greatest men to serve in this House in all of its history. We all know of CLARENCE CANNON'S parliamentary ability, the masterful way in which he presided over the great Committee on Appropriations, but, Mr. Speaker, I will always remember CLARENCE CANNON as one of the foremost experts of his time on airpower, missiles, and the Polaris submarine. He ranked with Alexander P. DeSeversky in his ability to see into the future. CLARENCE CANNON, though elderly in years, was one of the world's leading proponents of science and technology in warfare. His speeches on the floor were masterpieces. Were it not for a few dynamic leaders like CLARENCE CANNON, this Nation could have lost the cold war in the field of military science and technology. In this respect I believe CLARENCE CANNON made his contribution to this Nation and to the freedom of the Western World. He gave us airpower at a critical time before the missile and space age. He took the lead in the Polaris submarine at a time when great battleships and some carriers were obsolete.
This Nation will always be indebted to this great individualist. CLARENCE CANNON was a sugged individual. He could give, and he could take. This Nation has lost a great statesman, a great patriot, and this House has lost a great leader.
Mrs. Dorn and my family join me in my deepest sympathy to Mrs. Cannon and the family.
Remarks by Representative Slack
Of West Virginia
Mr. Speaker, we are met today to memorialize the passing of a colleague whose influence will be felt in the workings of this body for many years to come. He was a man whose sense of dedication to a great responsibility defies ordinary description.
He was one who acted and spoke only to his principles and his convictions. And he repeated his urging and admonitions in this Chamber to three generations of Americans.
To the North, the South, the East, or the West, he was truly the composite national legislator, the man foreseen by our Founding Fathers in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the man to whom the proper making of the law and handling of the public funds would be the preeminent public trust.
The status of our Nation is built on the careers of such men. They perform the demanding and necessary job which must be done every day. They make the hard and often unpopular decisions. Their only watchword is duty, and they bring to the performance of duty a sense of purpose which permits no interference by those with selfish motives.
All of us here today are convinced that we have in this country the best form of government ever devised by man to govern himself. We have our faults, and we have made our mistakes, but we learn from the mistakes, and we move forward slowly with the grand design for universal freedom, the extension of government by consent of the governed to all of the nations of the earth.
Within the framework of this grand design we must first perform successfully ourselves to set the example for others, and there is no more important aspects of our performance to a government than the fair, judicious, ad informed handling of the public moneys. History teaches us that thousands of governments, large and small, from the most idealistic to the most tyrannical, have disintegrated through failure to recognize the need for a sound fiscal base upon which to build through government action.
A knowledge of history brought home that lesson long ago to CLARENCE CANNON, of Missouri, so long ago that some of us here were not yet born, but it became for him a principle not subject to manipulation or distortion.
In a long time of dedication to a major public trust, with a course charted by adherence to firm principles, it was never his objective to be the most glamorous individual in Washington or the most popular Member of Congress, or the person sought out by the press for witty comment on affairs of the day. He recognized and accepted the fact that the membership of this House contained many colleagues who considered themselves to be more glamorous or popular or more brightly spoken. But the years had also taught him that these attributes are personal luxuries which melt away when a Congressman must face the repeated drumfire of criticism arising out of his decisions in line of duty.
As we mark the formal end to the official career of Congressman CLARENCE CANNON here today, it is fitting for us to recall again for a moment that word “duty" which exercised the controlling influence in all of his oficial actions. By the standards he set, we would do well to measure our own.