National Press Club

This Week in National Press Club History

January 12, 2014 | By Elizabeth Smith Brownstein |

Jan. 12, 1950: Secretary of State Dean Acheson outlines at a Club luncheon an American “defense perimeter” in the Far East that notably excludes Korea and Taiwan. This omission may have convinced the Soviet Union to arm North Korea with enough modern weapons to invade South Korea that same year.

Jan. 13, 1981: Musician Stevie Wonder advocates for the establishment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday at a luncheon.

Jan. 14, 1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower accepts his NPC membership card from Club President John V. Horner of the Washington Evening Star following his luncheon address. As a member of the Club, he says he “hopes the possession of this card gives me a certain immunity that up to this moment has not been mine.”

Jan. 14, 1960: Twelve days after announcing his candidacy for the presidency, Sen. John F. Kennedy speaks about the presidency itself. He says that the times “demand a vigorous proponent of the national interest..,how much better it would be, in the turbulent '60s, to have a Roosevelt or a Wilson than to have another James Buchanan, cringing in the White House, afraid to move.”

Jan. 15, 1979: Alex Haley discusses his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Roots: The Saga Of An American Family” at a luncheon. He wrote most of the novel in a Club office.

Jan. 17, 1996: Salman Rushdie, author of several provocative works including “The Satanic Verses,” speaks during a book rap about his survival under the pressure of daily death threats.

Jan. 18, 1967: Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Arthur Krock says that the Club has never been merely a spectator but always an active element in the progress of American journalism at what has become its focal point, Washington. It has noticeably exerted its influence on this progress and expansion and by it has been influenced.”

This Week In National Press Club History is provided by the History and Heritage Committee, which preserves and revitalizes the Club’s century-old history with revolving lobby displays, panel discussions, events and its oral history project.
For more information about the committee’s activities or to join, contact Chair Gil Klein at