WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 1961 (UPI) -- John F. Kennedy took office as the nation's 35th president today with a plea for both sides in the Cold War to "begin anew the quest for peace."
He issued the summons moments after taking the historic oath at 12:51 p.m. that made him, at 43, the youngest man ever elected to America's highest office.
In a 1,300-word inaugural address, delivered on the Capitol steps in a sunny but freezing aftermath of a driving snowstorm, the new chief executive directed his remarks not only to his countrymen but to "my fellow citizens of the world."
"Let every nation know," he said, "whether it wish us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any hardship, support any friend or oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and success of liberty."
He pledged this country's continuing loyalty to its long-time allies, support of the newly emerging republics, and a special consideration for its Latin-American neighbors. Then he added:
"Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: That both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction."
Kennedy rose today at 8 a.m. after only four hours sleep. He attended 9 o'clock mass at Holy Trinity Church then prepared for the solemn oath-taking.
A gracious act by the retiring Dwight D. Eisenhower caused a slight change in schedule. At Eisenhower's suggestion last night, Kennedy and his wife stopped for coffee with him and Mrs. Eisenhower at the White House before they took the historic trip down Pennsylvania Ave.
In his inaugural speech, Kennedy summoned the world's peoples, both Communist and non-Communist, to a "grand and global alliance" to combat "tyranny, poverty, disease and war."
To the hungry and miserable, the peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe, he pledged help "not because the Communists are doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right."
To the contending nations of East and West, he said:
"Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring the problems that divide us... Let both sides invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease..."
The "absolute power to destroy other nations," he said, must be brought "under the absolute control of all nations."
To the nations of Latin America Kennedy made "a special pledge" for "a new alliance" against poverty, aggression and subversion. And in an obvious reference to the new Soviet influence over Cuba, he said:
"Let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house."
"The torch," Kennedy said, "has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a cold and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage."
He called upon the "two great and powerful groups of nations," both possessors of H-bombs and continent-spanning missiles, to join in creating "not a new balance of power, but a new world of law where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved forever."
He said this will not be accomplished in the first 100 days or the first 1,000 days or even in this administration. It may not be accomplished in our lifetime," he added.
"But," said the new President, "let us begin."
Kennedy took the oath to execute his office before Chief Justice Earl Warren with his left hand on a Catholic Bible, the Douay version, which was owned by his grandmother, Mrs. John F. Fitzgerald.
He pledged loyalty to America's allies. He welcomed new states "to the ranks of the free" and warned them against Communist tyranny. He pledged support to the United Nations and to efforts to strengthen and enlarge its functions.
Kennedy rejected the notion of tempting adversaries "with weakness...for only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt that they will never be employed."
But he also rejected the balance of terror concept of keeping the peace in a time periled by "the deadly atom."
"So," he said, "let us begin anew - remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.
"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate...let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms-and bring absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations."
To his fellow Americans Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country will do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
To his "fellow citizens of the world" he said: "Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
After watching his youthful successor take the 35-word oath of office and deliver his address, Eisenhower after nearly a half century of Federal service slipped away to a private luncheon and thence into retirement in Gettysburg.
Sharing the world-wide limelight with Kennedy on this historic day was his big running mate from Texas, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Kennedy and Johnson families were here in scores.
Kennedy, a native of New England who regards snow as a natural aspect of winter, was less disturbed about the weather than most of his colleagues.
The heavy snow prevented former President Herbert Hoover from getting here. Hoover, scheduled for a special place of honor at the ceremonies, flew here from Miami yesterday in an Air Force plane but had to return to Florida because he was unable to land. The doughty Republican wired Kennedy his regrets and best wishes.
Truman arrived a day ahead of the storm. But he decided to pass up the inaugural concert last night - on Mrs. Truman's insistence - because of snow-locked streets jammed with stalled cars.
Instead of going home to Georgetown after the night's activities, Kennedy drove to a fashionable restaurant for an early morning supper party given by his father, former Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, and other members of his family. He finally got home at 3:48 a.m.
Kennedy revived one century-old custom by picking a high silk hat (size 7 1/2), striped pants and cutaway coat for his inaugural attire. Eisenhower broke tradition in 1952 by wearing a black homburg.
The opening events of the actual inauguration program were "America the Beautiful" played by the U.S. Marine Band, the invocation by Richard Cardinal Cushing, archbishop of Boston, the national anthem sung by Marian Anderson, and a prayer by Archbishop Iakovos of New York, head of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America.
Then came Johnson's oath of office, administered by his old friend and mentor, Speaker Sam Rayburn.
Next on the program was a prayer by the Rev. John Barclay, pastor of the Central Christian Church of Austin, Tex.
The closing items on the program were the benediction by Rabbi Nelson Glueck, president of the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, the national anthem played by the Marine Band and a 21-gun salute to the new President.
The scene of the inauguration was the plaza on the east front of the Capitol - the site of inaugurals since 1829. The platform was covered and heated to protect the dignitaries. Workmen swept the snow from the seats for the 20,000 spectators.
After the oath-taking, Kennedy, Johnson and their families went to a lunch given by Congress in the Capitol.