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                                PAPER VII

"We are adopting such measures as will minimize our risk of involvement, 
but we cannot have complete protection in a world of disorder in which 
confidence and security have broken down." 

Address at Chicago, Illinois, October 5, 1937

I am glad to come once again to Chicago and especially to have the 
opportunity of taking part in the dedication of this important project 
of civic betterment.

On my trip across the continent and back I have been shown many 
evidences of the result of common sense cooperation between 
municipalities and the Federal Government, and I have been greeted by 
tens of thousands of Americans who have told me in every look and word 
that their material and spiritual well-being has made great strides 
forward in the past few years.

And yet, as I have seen with my own eyes, the prosperous farms, the 
thriving factories and the busy railroads, as I have seen the happiness 
and security and peace which covers our wide land, almost inevitably I 
have been compelled to contrast our peace with very different scenes 
being enacted in other parts of the world.

It is because the people of the United States under modern conditions 
must, for the sake of their own future, give thought to the rest of the 
world, that I, as the responsible executive head of the Nation, have 
chosen this great inland city and this gala occasion to speak to you on 
a subject of definite national importance.

The political situation in the world, which of late has been growing 
progressively worse, is such as to cause grave concern and anxiety to 
all the peoples and nations who wish to live in peace and amity with 
their neighbors.

Some fifteen years ago the hopes of mankind for a continuing era of 
international peace were raised to great heights when more than sixty 
nations solemnly pledged themselves not to resort to arms in furtherance 
of their national aims and policies. The high aspirations expressed in 
the Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact and the hopes for peace thus raised have 
of late given way to a haunting fear of calamity. The present reign of 
terror and international lawlessness began a few years ago.

It began through unjustified interference in the internal affairs of 
other nations or the invasion of alien territory in violation of 
treaties; and has now reached a stage where the very foundations of 
civilization are seriously threatened. The landmarks and traditions 
which have marked the progress of civilization toward a condition of 
law, order and justice are being wiped away.

Without a declaration of war and without warning or justification of any 
kind, civilians, including vast numbers of women and children,

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are being ruthlessly murdered with bombs from the air. In times of so-
called peace, ships are being attacked and sunk by submarines without 
cause or notice. Nations are fomenting and taking sides in civil warfare 
in nations that have never done them any harm. Nations claiming freedom 
for themselves deny it to others.

Innocent peoples, innocent nations, are being cruelly sacrificed to a 
greed for power and supremacy which is devoid of all sense of justice 
and humane considerations.

To paraphrase a recent author "perhaps we foresee a time when men, 
exultant in the technique of homicide, will rage so hotly over the world 
that every precious thing will be in danger, every book and picture and 
harmony, every treasure garnered through two millenniums, the small, the 
delicate, the defenseless-all will be lost or wrecked or utterly 

If those things come to pass in other parts of the world, let no one 
imagine that America will escape, that America may expect mercy that 
this Western Hemisphere will not be attacked and that it will continue 
tranquilly and peacefully to carry on the ethics and the arts of 

If those days come "there will be no safety by arms, no help from 
authority, no answer in science. The storm will rage till every flower 
of culture is trampled and all human beings are leveled in a vast 

If those days are not to come to pass-if we are to have a world in which 
we can breathe freely and live in amity without fear-the peace-loving 
nations must make a concerted effort to uphold laws and principles on 
which alone peace can rest secure.

The peace-loving nations must make a concerted effort in opposition to 
those violations of treaties and those ignorings of humane instincts 
which today are creating a state of international anarchy and 
instability from which there is no escape through mere isolation or 

Those who cherish their freedom and recognize and respect the equal 
right of their neighbors to be free and live in peace, must work 
together for the triumph of law and moral principles in order that 
peace, justice and confidence may prevail in the world. There must be a 
return to a belief in the pledged word, in the value of a signed treaty. 
There must be recognition of the fact that national morality is as vital 
as private morality.

A bishop wrote me the other day: "It seems to me that something greatly 
needs to be said in behalf of ordinary humanity against the present 
practice of carrying the horrors of war to helpless civilians especially 
women and children. It may be that such a protest might be regarded by 
many, who claim to be realists, as futile, but may it not be that the 
heart of mankind is so filled with horror at the present needless 
suffering that that force could be mobilized in sufficient volume to 
lessen such cruelty in the days ahead. Even though it may take twenty 
years, which God forbid, for civilization to make effective its 
corporate protest against this barbarism, surely strong voices may 
hasten the day."

There is a solidarity and interdependence about the modern world, both 
technically and morally, which makes it impossible for any nation 
completely to isolate itself from economic and political upheavals in 
the rest of the world, especially when such upheavals appear 

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to be spreading and not declining. There can be no stability or peace 
either within nations or between nations except under laws and moral 
standards adhered to by all. International anarchy destroys every 
foundation for peace. It jeopardizes either the immediate or the future 
security of every nation, large or small. It is, therefore, a matter of 
vital interest and concern to the people of the United States that the 
sanctity of international treaties and the maintenance of international 
morality be restored.

The overwhelming majority of the peoples and nations of the world today 
want to live in peace. They seek the removal of barriers against trade. 
They want to exert themselves in industry, in agriculture and in 
business, that they may increase their wealth through the production of 
wealth-producing goods rather than striving to produce military planes 
and bombs and machine guns and cannon for the destruction of human lives 
and useful property.

In those nations of the world which seem to be piling armament on 
armament for purposes of aggression, and those other nations which fear 
acts of aggression against them and their security, a very high 
proportion of their national income is being spent directly for 
armaments. It runs from thirty to as high as fifty percent. We are 
fortunate. The proportion that we in the United States spend is far 
less-eleven or twelve percent.

How happy we are that the circumstances of the moment permit us to put 
our money into bridges and boulevards, dams and reforestation, the 
conservation of our soil and many other kinds of useful works rather 
than into huge standing armies and vast supplies of implements of war.   
I am compelled and you are compelled, nevertheless, to look ahead. The 
peace, the freedom and the security of ninety percent of the population 
of the world is being jeopardized by the remaining ten percent who are 
threatening a breakdown of all international order and law. Surely the 
ninety percent who want to live in peace under law and in accordance 
with moral standards that have received almost universal acceptance 
through the centuries, can and must find some way to make their will 

The situation is definitely of universal concern. The questions involved 
relate not merely to violations of specific provisions of particular 
treaties; they are questions of war and of peace, of international law 
and especially of principles of humanity. It is true that they involve 
definite violations of agreements, and especially of the Covenant of the 
League of Nations, the Briand-Kellogg Pact and the Nine Power Treaty. 
But they also involve problems of world economy, world security and 
world humanity.

It is true that the moral consciousness of the world must recognize the 
importance of removing injustices and well-founded grievances; but at 
the same time it must be aroused to the cardinal necessity of honoring 
sanctity of treaties, of respecting the rights and liberties of others 
and of putting an end to acts of international aggression.

It seems to be unfortunately true that the epidemic of world lawlessness 
is spreading.

When an epidemic of physical disease starts to spread, the community 
approves and joins in a quarantine of the patients in order to protect 
the health of the community against the spread of the disease.

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It is my determination to pursue a policy of peace. It is my 
determination to adopt every practicable measure to avoid involvement in 
war. It ought to be inconceivable that in this modern era, and in the 
face of experience, any nation could be so foolish and ruthless as to 
run the risk of plunging the whole world into war by invading and 
violating, in contravention of solemn treaties, the territory of other 
nations that have done them no real harm and are too weak to protect 
themselves adequately. Yet the peace of the world and the welfare and 
security of every nation, including our own, is today being threatened 
by that very thing.

No nation which refuses to exercise forbearance and to respect the 
freedom and rights of others can long remain strong and retain the 
confidence and respect of other nations. No nation ever loses its 
dignity or its good standing by conciliating its differences, and by 
exercising great patience with, and consideration for, the rights of 
other nations.

War is a contagion, whether it be declared or undeclared. It can engulf 
states and peoples remote from the original scene of hostilities. We are 
determined to keep out of war, yet we cannot insure ourselves against 
the disastrous effects of war and the dangers of involvement. We are 
adopting such measures as will minimize our risk of involvement, but we 
cannot have complete protection in a world of disorder in which 
confidence and security have broken down.

If civilization is to survive the principles of the Prince of Peace must 
be restored. Trust between nations must be revived.

Most important of all, the will for peace on the part of peace-loving 
nations must express itself to the end that nations that may be tempted 
to violate their agreements and the rights of others will desist from 
such a course. There must be positive endeavors to preserve peace.   
America hates war. America hopes for peace. Therefore, America actively 
engages in the search for peace. 


This address is also known as the "Quarantine" Speech.