If I were to demand a recount, the organization of the new Administration and the orderly transfer of responsibility from the old to the new might be delayed for months. The situation within the entire Federal Government would be chaotic. Those in the old Administration would not know how to act — or with what clear powers and responsibilities — and those being appointed by Kennedy to positions in the new Administration would have the same difficulty making any plans.
Then too, the bitterness that would be engendered by such a maneuver would have incalculable and lasting damage throughout the country. And finally I could think of no worse example for nations abroad, especially those who were trying to put free electoral procedures into effect, than that of the United States wrangling over the results of our presidential election and even suggesting that the presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the ballot box. It is difficult enough to get defeated candidates in some of the newly independent countries to abide by the verdict of the electorate. If we could not continue to set a good example in this respect in the United States I could see that there would be open season for shooting at the validity of free elections throughout the world.