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He spent his adult life on the floor of the House. He loved the House and its traditions. He dedicated his life to his district, his State, and his Nation.
No committee in the history of the Congress has ever had a greater chairman or has ever been under more able leadership. He was an acknowledged expert in parliamentary procedure, but he was also unequaled in his knowledge of budget procedures and the complexities of appropriation procedures.
CLARENCE CANNON was the guardian of the Nation's purse strings. No appropriations were ever approved that were not first scrutinized by CLARENCE CANNON and carefully considered by his committee.
He was a Christian gentleman, a loving husband and father, and a true American in every sense of the word. His dominant thought was the welfare of the Nation. He was a learned man, a great historian, and has been one of the leaders of the House for more than 40 years.
The State of Missouri, the Nation, the Congress, and, indeed, the free world is sadder today because a very great man has crossed over the river. I shall miss him as a personal friend and colleague, but even more, the Congress and the Nation will miss his wise counsel and advice.
I extend to his grieving wife and family my deepest sympathy.
Remarks by Representative Mahon
Mr. Speaker, the name of CLARENCE CANNON will be written large in the history of the House of Representatives.
Others this morning have related some of the attributes of his life and character. I am certain that as this occasion proceeds other facets of his life will be recalled. So I shall be brief, but I would not want this moment to pass without a few words, inadequate though they may be.
It was my high privilege to associate intimately with Mr. CANNON in affairs of public business for 25 years. I knew something of him. And I had the profoundest admiration for him. He was warm. He was cordial. He was helpful. He was generous. He was my friend. He was able a man of indefatigable labors. A man of varied interests and eminent accomplishments. He was a strong and persistent supporter of the national defense-even to the point of erring on the side of fiscal generosity if the question were in doubt. He was one of the five men in the House who shouldered the awesome burden of the secret of the atomic bomb until it was revealed at Hiroshima. I hold no fear of contradiction in saying we shall not soon see another CLARENCE CANNON.
Mr. CANNON served on Capitol Hill under 10 Speakers, under 5 chairmen of the Committee on Appropriations, and he served on the committee with a total of 217 members. Mr. CANNON served as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations for nearly 19 years, almost twice as long as any other man in the 99 years of the committee. The former Speaker, “Uncle Joe” Cannon, was next to CLARENCE CANNON in length of service as chairman of the committee.
It was the Nation's good fortune that CLARENCE CANNON lived. Representative government is fortunate to have had a man of his allegiance to the principles of democracy. He lived for the House of Representatives and all that it stands for. He was jealous of its prerogatives. He by no means lived in the past. He was in fact an innovator. He would not stand still. Few men have come to the full realization Mr. CANNON had of the stabilizing virtues of custom and tradition and precedent in the legislative processes. Those inside and outside the Halls of Congress who clamor against the seniority system suffer the misfortune of not really knowing this man, a product of it. He was at his legislative best even to the latter days.
In the Jeffersonian tradition, Mr. CANNON placed economy in the public expenditure and the avoidance of public debt among the first and most important virtues of a public man..
Mr. CANNON put on an air of austerity in fiscal matters and in matters of economy. In an effort to stem the tide of spending he put on a bold front. In this he was sincere to the marrow of his bones. But he was much gentler than many people knew. He loved the classics, as our leader, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Albert] has pointed out. He loved to write. He loved to work. He loved his family and his fellow man. He loved his Missouri farm. He loved his country. He loved nature and nature's God.
Mr. CANNON was known among us, but not to the general public, as a champion of the cause of culture. His contributions to the continuing improvement of the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, and the National Arboretum were most significant.
The National Arboretum was one of his favorite haunts. He loved these sprawling acres on the outskirts of Washington.
A short while ago he was out to the arboretum. It was azalea time and the place was heavenly. As he looked again
about this lovely spot I can imagine that he may have said with the poet:
The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday,
Among the winds at play,
The rustling of the trees,
The humming of the bees.
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Out in the fields of God. I have not the slightest doubt that he acquitted himself well before the lamp of history. Time surely will surround the work of his hands with a new veneration. He erected a number of monuments that, I dare say, will stand with time. As President Johnson said last week:
We shall miss his counsel, his candor, and the courage with which he held steadfastly to his convictions about what was right and best for America,
This great statesman has returned to the land which he loved. May the Lord bless the memory of our departed friend and colleague; and may He bless his wonderful wife, his daughters, and the members of the family.
Remarks by Representative Jensen
Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues in a sad farewell to the memory of CLARENCE CANNON. A great tower of strength and influence in this House has fallen. These remarks are addressed to a subject related closely to the acquisition of that influence.
The power of the purse is practically absolute. Mr. CANNON as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations exercised a control which has been felt to the outermost corners of our farflung Government.
It was my great privilege to work closely with him in the saving of billions of dollars for our taxpayers. Only a worthy Member such as Mr. CANNON ever rises to head this great committee of which I have had the pri lege to be a member for the past 22 years. By the time a man has lasted in this House long enough to become chairman, as was Mr. CANNON, of the Committee on Appropriations, or of any other major committee, he has been distilled into an experienced public servant. Because Mr. CANNON served the voters of his district faithfully and well they responded by returning him to the Congress for a period of over 40 years.
No fraud, no phony can manipulate a confidence gained through the many terms it takes to become chai nan of an important congressional committee. The voters are sure to find him out sooner or later, and usually sooner.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure this country is a lot better off because Mr. CANNON has served here in this House of Representatives. He was a valuable public servant. His decisions generally prevailed within the Committee on Appropriations. But Mr. CANNON was always fair and considerate.
Yes, Mr. Speaker, we had many arguments in committee and on the House floor but when we disagreed with Mr. CANNON, on rare occasions, we disagreed agreeably, for Mr.