WASHINGTON, April 23, 1955 (INS) - President Eisenhower expressed the nation's gratitude Friday to Dr. Jonas E. Salk while officials disclosed that enough Salk polio vaccine will be available by August 1 to inoculate all U.S. children under the age of 10. The chief executive, not only in his presidential role but as a grandfather, praised Salk as a "benefactor of mankind" and told the 40-year-old scientist who discovered the life-saving vaccine that his work was the "highest tradition of selfless and dedicated research."
Mr. Eisenhower paid tribute to Salk at a poignant ceremony in the White House rose garden while government officials and medical and pharmaceutical representatives conferred at the health, education and welfare department on vaccine distribution procedure.
Informed sources said pledges were made at the closed-door conference that sufficient supplies of the drug would be available within four months to give "Salk shots" to all children under 10 and that there will be "enough for everybody, everywhere in the United States" by January 1.
At the White House, Dr. Salk told Mr. Eisenhower that in accepting the president's acclaim he felt as the "foot soldiers" of World War II did when they were honored by their commander-in-chief.
The youthful-looking man whose efforts are believed to spell the end of crippling, kill-
ing poliomyelitis, said haltingly: "I had never even dreamed of meeting the president of the United States, much less on an occasion such as this."
Salk declared that his real reward came in the stillness of his laboratory 2 1/2 years ago
"when a light glimmered through the darkness with hopeful brilliance."
The president, obviously thinking of his own grandchildren, spoke of "countless thousands of American parents and grandparents" who henceforth will be spared "agonizing fears."
Welfare Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby, in introducing Salk to the president, said that "with the tools he has given us, we may he able to erase polio throughout the world."
Dr. Salk was accompanied by his wife and their three children, Peter, 11; Darrell, 8, and
Mr. Eisenhower noted that there still remains the urgent problem of producing and distributing the vaccine "on the fairest possible basis."
The presidential citation hailing the successful fight against polio recognized the nation's debt of gratitude to the late President Roosevelt, an infantile paralysis victim who inspired the effort to wipe out the dread disease.
Mr. Eisenhower said Mr. Roosevelt's personal courage in overcoming the handicap of polio stands as "a symbol of the fight" against the crippling malady.
Besides the personal tribute to Salk, there was a citation for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which financed the long and costly research crowned by discovery of the potent and safe vaccine.
Meanwhile, it was learned that the foundation may finance the third "booster" shot to be administered to children months after the first and second inoculations.
More than 100 experts from the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry, and government agencies met under Mrs. Hobby's chairmanship to work out a voluntary system of allocating the precious vaccine without federal controls.