World Law Day, 1971
By the President of the United States of America
From the time more than 25 centuries ago when a Hebrew prophet wrote, "The Lord is our judge . . . our lawgiver . . . our king; he will save us," Western civilization's sense of salvation has been intimately related to its vision of the universal rule of law in the affairs of men. We in the United States have special reason to cherish this vision, for the freedom, the order, and the abundance which we enjoy are fruits of its application. The great principle that the people are sovereign, and that the law they make is supreme, has operated with such signal success in our country's history that Americans are turning increasingly to the compelling logic of putting it to work in the world community as well. People of many other nations and cultures are doing likewise.
At the same time technology is shrinking the globe so that the sense of common destiny and common danger, the sense that "my country is the world; and my countrymen are mankind," is no longer fancy but compelling fact for the whole human race. More and more, it becomes a matter of prime importance that principle and not mere power should govern in this country called Earth.
We can see many heartening evidences that law is becoming stronger and more just around the world under the pressures which reason and necessity exert. Within the nations, human rights and ecological wisdom continue to gain stature in the law. Among the nations, security and cooperation—on every front from space to the seabeds—are being enhanced through negotiations, treaties, and conventions. The United Nations is entering its second quarter of a century, and many other international organizations are working effectively through and for world law.
Also playing a constructive role are those organizations which are made up not of countries but of individual men and women, joined together in the interest of the law as citizens of their countries and of the world. One of the most important of these is the World Peace Through Law Center, founded in 1963, which this summer will hold its Fifth World Conference on World Peace Through Law at Belgrade, Yugoslavia. July 21, the date when thousands of lawyers and jurists from around the world will convene for this conference, will be observed in many nations as World Law Day—an observance in which I know the American people, a people who love the law, will want to join.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD NIXON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 21, 1971, as World Law Day. I call on every American to reflect that day on the sacredness of the law in American tradition. And I urge each American to join with millions of his fellow men around the world in heightened recognition of the importance of the rule of law in international affairs to our goal of a stable peace.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 17th day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-fifth.