NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR
May 10, 1963
Excerpts from transcription of remarks made by
officials of The Continental Insurance Companies
and the World's Fair at groundbreaking cere-
monies for The Continental Insurance Compa-
nies Pavilion, New York World's Fair, Friday,
May 10, 1963.
MARTIN STONE [Director of Industrial Section]:
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming
to this groundbreaking ceremony. We thank you, The
Continental Insurance Companies, and the 37,000 agents
and 13,600 employees whom you represent.
I think it's significant that Continental Insurance Com-
panies, as official insurers of the Fair, have provided us
with this lovely weather this morning.
Yesterday we had occasion to welcome a great soldier,
General MacArthur, here at the Fair, and today we wel-
come another soldier — the Continental Soldier of The
Continental Insurance Companies.
At this time I would like to introduce Mr. J. Victor
Herd, chairman of The Continental Insurance Companies.
Mr. Herd has been in the insurance field all his adult
life. He started as a map clerk and examiner in St. Louis,
Missouri, and has climbed through the ranks to his pres-
ent position. He is a director of many other companies
including AT&T, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, Union
Carbide and IBM World Trade. He is also director of
many charities, among them the Red Cross, Salvation
Army and the Heart Fund. I now present Mr. Herd.
Cover: The facade of The Continental Insurance Companies Pavilion will be a strikingly modern shadow box, framing an
off-center projection screen; an entrance ramp will be flanked by soaring 80-foot spires. Architect for this attractive
building is Gordon Powers and designers are Vandeburg-Linkletter Associates.
1963 New York World's Fair 1964-1965 Corporation
J. VICTOR HERD [Chairman, Continental Insurance
Companies]: Mr. Stone, Mr. Moses, more affectionately
known to many of us as Bob, friends. I think perhaps
Mr. Stone might appropriately have included in his
acknowledgements our 46,000 stockholders. This must
turn out to be a financial success if some of us are to
hold our jobs, and based on what I have seen since the
Fair began to take shape, I am sure it's going to be the
sort of thing that we are going to continue to be proud
of and be associated with.
When we learned that this whole project would be
under the immediate control and supervision of Robert
Moses, our officers and our executive committee had no
hesitancy whatsoever in taking the lead, and I think, Bob,
we were the first to subscribe to the bonds. By doing so,
we established a precedent which, I think, made it some-
what easier for the bankers in charge to convince other
insurance capital that this was something they should go
along with. At that time, I must confess, we were in
doubt as to whether to enter the subscription under the
heading of a contribution, an asset or a liability. We are
sure now that it will be an asset and probably there will
be some spirited bidding for those bonds long before
the maturity date is reached.
Our interest in the Fair has undergone some other
transformations. At the outset, we realized that a com-
pany such as ours, created in 1853 as a creature of the
State of New York, must participate in this Fair to retain
its position of pre-eminence and predominance in the
economy of the state and of the nation. We have now
reached the conviction that this is probably one of the
wisest decisions that we've ever made, because I am sure
and confident that the investment in this project will give
us an image, or a stature, in world economy that we could
not otherwise have attained at many times the cost of
this investment. We are very grateful to all of you — the
press, our directors, the cross-section of producers and
representatives who have joined us here today.
Robert Moses, president of the New York World's Fair Cor-
poration (center) shown with officials of Continental Insurance
Companies: (left to right) Samuel Riker, Jr., director; J. Victor
Herd, chairman; Robert Moses; Newbold Herrick, director;
and Henry E. Coe III, director.
I told Mr. Moses that if you were going to award
medals for brevity of speeches I wanted to be right in the
running for that award when that time comes. With these
few remarks which do not bear too much resemblance to
the formal press release which was put together for me
to read, I am going to surrender this microphone to Mr.
Stone. Thank you.
MARTIN STONE: Thank you, Mr. Herd. I am sorry
to have omitted the 46,000 stockholders. We'll be sure
not to omit them as potential visitors to the Fair.
The next speaker leaves for Europe tomorrow. I now
present Mr. Robert Moses, president of the New York
ROBERT MOSES: Mr. Stone, Mr. Herd, friends. I'm
one of those fellows who, I hope, are not unique or un-
usual — who takes time to be grateful to his friends for
what they've done for him. When we initiated this enter-
prise there was considerable skepticism and doubt. I
thought it over pretty carefully before coming in. I'd
seen something of the first world's fair, picked the site
in 1937 when I was City Park Commissioner, and pre-
pared the grounds which were later turned over to Grover
Whalen who was president of the first world's fair. I
little thought at that time that I'd be back again on the
same grounds on more-or-less the same errand.
A great deal has happened since then. Everything is
on a bigger scale. We haven't any more acreage to speak
of, only about 100 acres more, and we're not using all
the acreage we have. You get some idea of the scope
when you consider that there will be twice as much space
occupied in square feet as there was in the previous fair,
and roughly ten times as much as there was in Seattle.
Seattle had about 65 usable acres ; we are using about 650
Now coming back for a moment to those early doubts
— I have an idea that we have more critics in New York
than we ought to have, more than we are entitled to, if
you want to put it that way. There are an awful lot of
people who, for some reason or other, feel that they ought
to advertise all the deficiencies of this area, and say very
little about the advantages. Others will take a certain
amount of delight in running down anything that is being
done here. We don't take them too seriously, but at the
beginning of any enterprise they are influential, and they
were in this case. As Mr. Herd said, he and his associates
were among our earliest and best friends — and they
helped us at a time when we needed help. They showed
confidence in us at a time when we needed precisely that.
Now some of you have attended other groundbreakings,
and you've been to various dinners, luncheons and meet-
ings at which the objectives of the Fair were discussed.
I do want to say this — and I don't say it to show any
lack of appreciation of what other entities and groups
have done here — what we're trying to prove here is
something about American private enterprise.
We have good state governments which will exhibit
here. We have the Federal Pavilion and the New York
J. Victor Herd, chairman of Continental Insurance Compa-
nies, in bulldozer, and Robert Moses, president of the New-
York World's Fair Corporation.
City Pavilion which is in the same space it occupied at
the last fair. And of course we have the exhibits of the
foreign nations, some of them old and established and
experienced, and some of them very new and very in-
experienced, very proud, very sensitive — and not accus-
tomed to building much of anything. But when we're all
through, the success of this Fair, and I have no doubt
whatever about this, will depend more upon American
industry and American business than upon anything else.
These know what they want to do, what they want to
prove ; they know the image they want to project. When
they decide to build something they know how to get
people to design it, contractors to build it, how to get
union and labor on the job. We don't worry about them,
but we do worry about some of the others. And I don't
say that to be critical.
We had an instance recently where some of us had to
tell one of the foreign governments that we thought they
had a wonderful plan, a wonderful idea and a wonderful
concept of what they wanted to prove, but they just
couldn't do it the way they were planning it. They turned
out the most beautiful set of plans I have ever seen and
now they are all being done over again. Part of it couldn't
be built here under existing physical conditions, and part
of it couldn't be built because of the time that would have
been required. The contractors and laborers cannot per-
form miracles, even on an overtime basis. These things
never happen to the experienced companies, those that
have been in business a long time and know what to do.
There's only one other thing I have to say. The World's
Fair notes are going to be paid back and they are going to
be paid back in full. We're going to begin to pay them
long before the Fair is over. This isn't going to be one
of these thirty-five or thirty-six cents on a dollar things,
as the last fair was. There will be enough money left to
finish Flushing Meadow Park — I'm sure of that.
I'm sure that our friends, like Mr. Herd and his asso-
ciates, will not regret the confidence they placed in us.
THE CONTINENTAL INSURANCE COMPANIES
J. VICTOR HERD, Chairman of the Boards of Directors
NICHOLAS DEKKER, Vice Chairman of Ihe Boards of Directors
NATHAN H. WENTWORTH, President
WORLDS FAIR COMMITTEE:
DAVID GRAY, Vice President, Chairman
HAROLD F. GEE, Vice President, Member
PAUL V. HARTELIUS, Vice President, Member
MELFORD J. PITRE, Vice President, Member
BRUCE R. ABRAMS, Director of Public Relations
NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR 1964-1965 CORPORATION
Flushing 52, N. Y. Tel. 212-WF 4-1964
ROBERT MOSES, President
THOMAS J. DEEGAN, JR., Chairman of the Executive Committee
WILLIAM E. POTTER, Executive Vice President
CHARLES POLETTI, Vice President, International Affairs and Exhibits
STUART CONSTABLE, Vice President, Operations
WILLIAM BERNS, Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
ERWIN WITT, Comptroller
MARTIN STONE, Director of Industrial Section
GUY F. TOZZOLI, (Port of New York Authority) Transportation Section
ERNESTINE R. HAIG, Secretory of the Corporation and
Assistant to the President
WILLIAM WHIPPLE, JR., Chief Engineer