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Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of personal loss that I join my colleagues here today in paying tribute to my good friend and great chairman, the Honorable CLARENCE CANNON, of Missouri.
I have always had the greatest respect and affection for the distinguished chairman of our House Committee on Appropriations. He was my mentor since almost 20 years ago when I was first assigned to the Appropriations Committee. I greatly admired his tremendous knowledge of all matters which came before that committee and his outstanding ability to carry out the many responsibilities of such an important committee. He was a conscientious, hardworking, determined, and indefatigable prober of facts in the maze of issues before his committee.
It was only 4 days before Chairman CANNON'S sudden passing that I was invited by President Johnson to the White House on the occasion of his signing of an Executive order extending the career of J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There, in the Cabinet Room awaiting the President, I found the Speaker of the House, Mr. McCormack, the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Honorable Carl Hayden, of Arizona, the minority leader of the other body, Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, of Illinois, and the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. CANNON. At that time, Mr. CANNON was in good spirits and apparently feeling fine. He regaled us with a number of interesting and witty stories of life in Washington in times past.
The fact that CLARENCE CANNON was returned to the House of Representatives from his district in Missouri 20 times indicates the esteem in which he was held by his constituents. He surely will be sorely missed by them, by the entire State of Missouri, and by these United States.
To his lovely and devoted wife and his daughters, I extend my sincere sympathy in their great loss.
Remarks by Representative Smith
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to have served in the Congress and as a member of the committee of which this famous American, Congressman CLARENCE CANNON, was chairman.
I was raised only about a hundred miles from the district he represented, bought my first 4-H Club Hereford heifer calves from a farm in his district, and became somewhat acquainted with the general area and its people. They loved their Congressman, he was one of them, he fit the district and I am sure many generations will be so fully aware of his presence at the top of the little hill overlooking a quiet valley where he chose to return to the soil.
CLARENCE CANNON was typical of those who live so close to the soil, to nature, and to God and to life itself. He was clean, quiet, understanding, and a practical an who would quietly press forward for the things in which he believed. He was a fierce advocate of electricity for all Americans and helped make a market for millions of electrical appliances now enjoyed by people who live in rural areas all over the United States. He fought hard and successfully for water and soil conservation and, through his powerful position, his brand was left upon America as scar after scar on our plot of earth was healed over with sod and erosion control projects. His forward-looking at tude and determination to give great service long after most men would have retired gives all of us an inspiration to work harder in our years upon this earth for worthy causes.
The district he represented suffered a great loss but has gained from the permanent impression he left upon all of us, and to his family, I express my deepest sympathy.
Remarks by Representative Laird
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee on Appropriations, I have had the good fortune to be rather closely associated with our great chairman, CLARENCE CANNON, during the past 12 years. During this period I grew to love, honor, and respect him, for he was not only a great legislator and a great chairman, but he was also a man of great character and magnanimity in his personal dealings with his fellow men.
When I, a Republican, came on the committee, as a freshman member, he already had decades of experience in this House and on the committee, and had a great burden of work as chairman of so important a committee. Under these circumstances I had no reason to expect more than simple courtesy from Chairman CANNON. However, he not only treated me with courtesy and consideration, but he took time to help and advise me. As the years have passed I recognized more and more the soundness of his advice and the value that it has been to me in my work on the committee and in the House.
Also, as the years have passed, I have found myself almost forgetting that CLARENCE CANNON was of a different political party, because it became more and more evident that he was first, last, and always an American-a man who always put the good of his country above all else, including himself. During his long and distinguished service as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations he had the responsibility for passing on projects of the most fundamental importance to this Nation, including the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, the U-2, A-11, and others that necessarily had their genesis, and were developed, in secret. The responsibility for furnishing the necessary funds or denying them rested on a few members of the committee but particularly on the shoulders of CLARENCE CANNON, the chairman.
CLARENCE CANNON was a great American, and America is greater today as a result of his brilliant, indefatigable, and selfless work in this House. The lives of all of us have been enriched by the opportunity that has been afforded us to have lived and worked with him.
I join with my colleagues in expressing my deep sympathy to his wife, to his daughters, and to his grandchildren.
Remarks by Representative Michel
Mr. Speaker, I am sure that many Members feel as I do today that we would never be called upon to eulogize what we thought to be the indestructible chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. CANNON.
On the Friday before he died when our full committee met I offered an amendment and wished to preface my remarks on the amendment by some general observations on the bill, when the great parliamentarian that he was insisted that the clerk report the amendment before I made any remarks to the committee itself. He was a stickler for abiding by the rules and, of course, gained the admiration of all the Members of the Congress for his respect for the rules.
I found him to always be eminently fair and marveled at his alertness and sharp wit right up to the weekend before he died. I had often said that I hoped to have just half the capacity that he had when I get ready to retire. It was really amazing to see Mr. CANNON attending meetings regularly and shouldering the great responsibility as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. As one of the younger Members of this House I really feel it a distinct privilege and honor to have served with him in the House and particularly under his chairmanship, for his contribution will be excelled by very few, if any, in the annals of the Congress.
His service was indeed a distinct era. He actually came to the Congress 2 days after I was born back in March of 1923.
He was an insatiable reader, and I suspect no one had a better insight into all the activities of the Federal Government than he did. The wealth of knowledge stored up in this man of such small and slight stature would be hard to comprehend. His life and service in this House attest to the soundness of the seniority rule and dispels completely the arguments of those who would limit the number of terms