State Department telegram transmitting President Nixon’s message to President Pompidou of France, June 9, 1972.

The War on Cancer in America began when President Nixon, in his State of the Union address of January 22, 1971, announced to Congress and the American people a plan for the conquest of cancer. On May 1 of the same year, the President submitted specific proposals to Congress for a cancer cure program. Two days before Christmas of 1971, the President, with approval from Congress, signed into law the National Cancer Act. 1971 was surely a monumental year for cancer research in the United States, but the fight against cancer, as President Nixon emphasized in his telegram to President Pompidou, ought to be an international effort.

Joining the worldwide fight against cancer, the French government provided the International Agency for Research on Cancer–of which the United States was a founding member in 1965–new facilities at Lyon, France, to conduct research in. President Nixon, on behalf of cancer research efforts in the United States, expressed his gratitude to President Pompidou and his government’s contribution to international cancer research:

Because of my own deep personal interest in ensuring that everything possible is being done to expedite the campaign against cancer, I take this opportunity to warmly commend the Government of France for its generous contribution of new modern facilities to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This action on the part of the French Government is impressive evidence of its dedication to a cause in which all nations can join–the search for effective cures to the dread disease of cancer.