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                                 PAPER V

". . . We must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will 
be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace 
may be drawn into war . . . I hate war . . . Let those who wish our 
friendship look us in the eye and take our hand." 

Address at Chautauqua, New York, August 14, 1936

As many of you who are here tonight know, I formed the excellent habit 
of coming to Chautauqua more than twenty years ago. After my 
Inauguration in 1933, I promised Mr. Bestor that during the next four 
years I would come to Chautauqua again. It is in fulfillment of this 
that I am with you tonight. 

A few days ago I was asked what the subject of this talk would be; and I 
replied that for two good reasons I wanted to discuss the subject of 
peace: First, because it is eminently appropriate in Chautauqua and, 
second, because in the hurly-burly of domestic politics it is important 
that our people should not overlook problems and issues which, though 
they lie beyond our borders, may, and probably will, have a vital 
influence on the United States of the future. 

Many who have visited me in Washington in the past few months may have 
been surprised when I have told them that personally and because of my 
own daily contacts with all manner of difficult situations I am more 
concerned and less cheerful about international world conditions than 
about our immediate domestic prospects. 

I say this to you not as a confirmed pessimist but as one who still 
hopes that envy, hatred and malice among Nations have reached their peak 
and will be succeeded by a new tide of peace and good-will. I say this 
as one who has participated in many of the decisions of peace and war 
before, during and after the World War; one who has traveled much; and 
one who has spent a goodly portion of every twenty-four hours in the 
study of foreign relations. 

Long before I returned to Washington as President of the United States, 
I had made up my mind that pending what might be called a more opportune 
moment on other continents, the United States could best serve the cause 
of a peaceful humanity by setting an example. That was why on the 4th of 
March, 1933, I made the following declaration: 

    "In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to 
    the policy of the good neighbor-the neighbor who resolutely
    respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights 
    of others-the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects
    the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors."

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This declaration represents my purpose; but it represents more than a 
purpose, for it stands for a practice. To a measurable degree it has 
succeeded; the whole world now knows that the United States cherishes no 
predatory ambitions. We are strong; but less powerful Nations know that 
they need not fear our strength. We seek no conquests; we stand for 

In the whole of the Western Hemisphere our good-neighbor policy has 
produced results that are especially heartening. 

The noblest monument to peace and to neighborly economic and I social 
friendship in all the world is not a monument in bronze or stone, but 
the boundary which unites the United States and Canada-3,000 miles of 
friendship with no barbed wire, no gun or soldier, and no passport on 
the whole frontier. 

Mutual trust made that frontier. To extend the same sort of mutual trust 
throughout the Americas was our aim. 

The American Republics to the south of us have been ready always to 
cooperate with the United States on a basis of equality and mutual 
respect, but before we inaugurated the good-neighbor policy there were 
among them resentment and fear, because certain Administrations in 
Washington had slighted their national pride and their sovereign rights. 

In pursuance of the good-neighbor policy, and because in my younger days 
I had learned many lessons in the hard school of experience, I stated 
that the United States was opposed definitely to armed intervention. 

We have negotiated a Pan American convention embodying the principle of 
non-intervention. We have abandoned the Platt Amendment which gave us 
the right to intervene in the internal affairs of the Republic of Cuba. 
We have withdrawn American marines from Haiti. We have signed a new 
treaty which places our relations with Panama on a mutually satisfactory 
basis. We have undertaken a series of trade agreements with other 
American countries to our mutual commercial profit. At the request of 
two neighboring Republics, I hope to give assistance in the final 
settlement of the last serious boundary dispute between any of the 
American Nations. 

Throughout the Americas the spirit of the good neighbor is a practical 
and living fact. The twenty-one American Republics are not only living 
together in friendship and in peace; they are united in the 
determination so to remain. 

To give substance to this determination a conference will meet on 
December 1, 1936, at the capital of our great Southern neighbor, 
Argentina, and it is, I know, the hope of all Chiefs of State of the 
Americas that this will result in measures which will banish wars 
forever from this vast portion of the earth. 

Peace, like charity, begins at home; that is why we have begun at home. 
But peace in the Western world is not all that we seek. 

It is our hope that knowledge of the practical application of the good-
neighbor policy in this hemisphere will be borne home to our neighbors 
across the seas. 

For ourselves we are on good terms with them-terms in most cases of 
straightforward friendship, of peaceful understanding. 

But, of necessity, we are deeply concerned about tendencies of recent 
years among many of the Nations of other continents. It is a bitter 
experience to us when the spirit of agreements to which

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we are a party is not lived up to. It is an even more bitter experience 
for the whole company of Nations to witness not only the spirit but the 
letter of international agreements violated with impunity and without 
regard to the simple principles of honor. Permanent friendships between 
Nations as between men can be sustained only by scrupulous respect for 
the pledged word. 

In spite of all this we have sought steadfastly to assist international 
movements to prevent war. We cooperated to the bitter end-and it was a 
bitter end-in the work of the General Disarmament Conference. When it 
failed we sought a separate treaty to deal with the manufacture of arms 
and the international traffic in arms. That proposal also came to 
nothing. We participated-again to the bitter end-in a conference to 
continue naval limitations, and when it became evident that no general 
treaty could be signed because of the objections of other Nations, we 
concluded with Great Britain and France a conditional treaty of 
qualitative limitation which, much to my regret, already shows signs of 

We shun political commitments which might entangle us in foreign wars; 
we avoid connection with the political activities of the League of 
Nations; but I am glad to say that we have cooperated wholeheartedly in 
the social and humanitarian work at Geneva. Thus we are a part of the 
world effort to control traffic in narcotics, to improve international 
health, to help child welfare, to eliminate double taxation and to 
better working conditions and laboring hours throughout the world. 

We are not isolationists except in so far as we seek to isolate 
ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war 
exists on earth there will be some danger that even the Nation which 
most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war. 

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood 
running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed 
lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I 
have seen two hundred limping exhausted men come out of line-the 
survivors of a regiment of one thousand that went forward forty-eight 
hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of 
mothers and wives. I hate war. 

I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours, thinking 
and planning how war may be kept from this Nation. 

I wish I could keep war from all Nations; but that is beyond my power. I 
can at least make certain that no act of the United States helps to 
produce or to promote war. I can at least make clear that the conscience 
of America revolts against war and that any Nation which provokes war 
forfeits the sympathy of the people of the United States. 

Many causes produce war. There are ancient hatreds, turbulent frontiers, 
the "legacy of old forgotten, far-off things, and battles long ago." 
There are new-born fanaticisms. Convictions on the part of certain 
peoples that they have become the unique depositories of ultimate truth 
and right. 

A dark old world was devastated by wars between conflicting religions. A 
dark modern world faces wars between conflicting economic and political 
fanaticisms in which are intertwined race hatreds. To bring it home, it 
is as if within the territorial limits of the United States, forty-eight 
Nations with forty-eight forms of government, forty-eight customs 
barriers, forty-eight languages, and forty-eight 

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eternal and different verities, were spending their time and their 
substance in a frenzy of effort to make themselves strong enough to 
conquer their neighbors or strong enough to defend themselves against 
their neighbors. 

In one field, that of economic barriers, the American policy may be, I 
hope, of some assistance in discouraging the economic source of war and 
therefore a contribution toward the peace of the world. The trade 
agreements which we are making are not only finding outlets for the 
products of American fields and American factories but are also pointing 
the way to the elimination of embargoes, quotas and other devices which 
place such pressure on Nations not possessing great natural resources 
that to them the price of peace seems less terrible than the price of 

We do not maintain that a more liberal international trade will stop 
war; but we fear that without a more liberal international trade, war is 
a natural sequence. 

The Congress of the United States has given me certain authority to 
provide safeguards of American neutrality in case of war. 

The President of the United States, who, under our Constitution, is 
vested with primary authority to conduct our international relations, 
thus has been given new weapons with which to maintain our neutrality. 

Nevertheless-and I speak from a long experience-the effective 
maintenance of American neutrality depends today, as in the past, on the 
wisdom and determination of whoever at the moment occupy the offices of 
President and Secretary of State. 

It is clear that our present policy and the measures passed by the 
Congress would, in the event of a war on some other continent, reduce 
war profits which would otherwise accrue to American citizens. 
Industrial and agricultural production for a war market may give immense 
fortunes to a few men; for the Nation as a whole it produces disaster. 
It was the prospect of war profits that made our farmers in the West 
plow up prairie land that should never have been plowed, but should have 
been left for grazing cattle. Today we are reaping the harvest of those 
war profits in the dust storms which have devastated those war-plowed 

It was the prospect of war profits that caused the extension of monopoly 
and unjustified expansion of industry and a price level so high that the 
normal relationship between debtor and creditor was destroyed. 

Nevertheless, if war should break out again in another continent, let us 
not blink the fact that we would find in this country thousands of 
Americans who, seeking immediate riches-fools' gold-would attempt to 
break down or evade our neutrality. 

They would tell you-and, unfortunately, their views would get wide 
publicity-that if they could produce and ship this and that and the 
other article to belligerent Nations, the unemployed of America would 
all find work. They would tell you that if they could extend credit to 
warring Nations that credit would be used in the United States to build 
homes and factories and pay our debts. They would tell you that America 
once more would capture the trade of the world. 

It would be hard to resist that clamor; it would be hard for many 
Americans, I fear, to look beyond-to realize the inevitable penalties, 
the inevitable day of reckoning, that come from a false prosperity.

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To resist the clamor of that greed, if war should come, would require 
the unswerving support of all Americans who love peace. 

If we face the choice of profits or peace, the Nation will answer-must 
answer-"We choose peace." It is the duty of all of us to encourage such 
a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear 
and for all practical purposes unanimous. 

With that wise and experienced man who is our Secretary of State, whose 
statesmanship has met with such wide approval, I have thought and worked 
long and hard on the problem of keeping the United States at peace. But 
all the wisdom of America is not to be found in the White House or in 
the Department of State; we need the meditation, the prayer, and the 
positive support of the people of America who go along with us in 
seeking peace. 

No matter how well we are supported by neutrality legislation, we must 
remember that no laws can be provided to cover every contingency, for it 
is impossible to imagine how every future event may shape itself. In 
spite of every possible forethought, international relations involve of 
necessity a vast uncharted area. In that area safe sailing will depend 
on the knowledge and the experience and the wisdom of those who direct 
our foreign policy. Peace will depend on their day-to-day decisions. 

At this late date, with the wisdom which is so easy after the event and 
so difficult before the event, we find it possible to trace the tragic 
series of small decisions which led Europe into the Great War in 1914 
and eventually engulfed us and many other Nations. 

We can keep out of war if those who watch and decide have a sufficiently 
detailed understanding of international affairs to make certain that the 
small decisions of each day do not lead toward war and if, at the same 
time, they possess the courage to say "no" to those who selfishly or 
unwisely would let us go to war. 

Of all the Nations of the world today we are in many ways most 
singularly blessed. Our closest neighbors are good neighbors. If there 
are remoter Nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are 
strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our 

We seek to dominate no other Nation. We ask no territorial expansion. We 
oppose imperialism. We desire reduction in world armaments. 

We believe in democracy; we believe in freedom; we believe in peace. We 
offer to every Nation of the world the handclasp of the good neighbor. 
Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.