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                                PAPER IX

"We in the Americas are no longer a far away continent, to which the 
eddies of controversies beyond the seas could bring no interest or no 

Address at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, 
   August 18, 1938

Mr. Chancellor, Mr. Principal, Lieutenant Governor, Mr. Prime Minister, 
my new found Associates of Queen's University: 

To the pleasure of being once more on Canadian soil where I have passed 
so many happy hours of my life, there is added today a very warm sense 
of gratitude for being admitted to the fellowship of this ancient and 
famous University. I am glad to join the brotherhood which Queen's has 
contributed and is contributing not only to the spiritual leadership for 
which the college was established, but also to the social and public 
leadership in the civilized life of Canada.

An American President is precluded by our Constitution from accepting 
any title from a foreign Prince, potentate or power. Queen's University 
is not a Prince or a potentate but, assuredly, it is a power. Yet I can 
say, without constitutional reserve, that the acceptance of the title 
which you confer on me today would raise no qualms in the august breast 
of our own Supreme Court.

Civilization, after all, is not national-it is international-even though 
that observation, trite as it is to most of us, seems to be challenged 
in some parts of the world today. Ideas are not limited by territorial 
borders; they are the common inheritance of all free people. Thought is 
not anchored in any land; and the profit of education redounds to the 
equal benefit of the whole world. That is one form of free trade to 
which the leaders of every opposing political party can subscribe.

In a large sense we in the Americas stand charged today with the 
maintaining of that tradition. When, speaking a little over a year ago 
in a similar vein in the Republic of Brazil, I included the Dominion of 
Canada in the fellowship of the Americas, our South American neighbors 
gave hearty acclaim. We in all the Americas know the sorrow and the 
wreckage which may follow if the ability of men to understand each other 
is rooted out from among the nations.

Many of us here today know from experience that of all the devastations 
of war none is more tragic than the destruction which it brings to the 
processes of men's minds. Truth is denied because emotion pushes it 
aside. Forbearance is succeeded by bitterness. In that atmosphere human 
thought cannot advance.

It is impossible not to remember that for years when Canadians and 
Americans have met they have lightheartedly saluted as North American 
friends with little thought of dangers from overseas. Yet we are awake 
to the knowledge that the casual assumption of our

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greetings in earlier times, today must become-a matter for serious 

A few days ago a whisper, fortunately untrue, raced 'round the world 
that armies standing over against each other in unhappy array were about 
to be set in motion. In a few short hours the effect of that whisper had 
been registered in Montreal and New York, in Ottawa and in Washington, 
in Toronto and in Chicago, in Vancouver and in San Francisco. Your 
businessmen and ours felt it alike; your farmers and ours heard it 
alike; your young men and ours wondered what effect this might have on 
their lives.

We in the Americas are no longer a far away continent, to which the 
eddies of controversies beyond the seas could bring no interest or no 
harm. Instead, we in the Americas have become a consideration to every 
propaganda office and to every general staff beyond the seas. The vast 
amount of our resources, the vigor of our commerce and the strength of 
our men have made us vital factors in world peace whether we choose it 
or not.

Happily, you and we, in friendship and in entire understanding, can look 
clear-eyed at these possibilities, resolving to leave no pathway 
unexplored, no technique undeveloped which may, if our hopes are 
realized, contribute to the peace of the world. Even if those hopes are 
disappointed, we can assure each other that this hemisphere at least 
shall remain a strong citadel wherein civilization can flourish 

The Dominion of Canada is part of the sisterhood of the British Empire. 
I give to you assurance that the people of the United States will not 
stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil is threatened by any other 

We as good neighbors are true friends because we maintain our own rights 
with frankness, because we refuse to accept the twists of secret 
diplomacy, because we settle our disputes by consultation and because we 
discuss our common problems in the spirit of the common good. We seek to 
be scrupulously fair and helpful, not only in our relations with each 
other, but each of us at home in our relations with our own people.   

But there is one process which we certainly cannot change and probably 
ought not to change. This is the feeling which ordinary men and women 
have about events which they can understand. We cannot prevent our 
people on either side of the border from having an opinion in regard to 
wanton brutality, in regard to undemocratic regimentation, in regard to 
misery inflicted on helpless peoples, or in regard to violations of 
accepted individual rights. All that any government, constituted as is 
yours and mine, can possibly undertake is to help make sure that the 
facts are known and fairly stated. No country where thought is free can 
prevent every fireside and home within its borders from considering the 
evidence for itself and rendering its own verdict; and the sum total of 
these conclusions of educated men and women will, in the long run, 
rightly become the national verdict.

That is what we mean when we say that public opinion ultimately governs 
policy. It is right and just that this should be the case.

Many of our ancestors, your ancestors and mine, and, by the way, I have 
loyalist blood in my veins too, came to Canada and the United States 
because they wished to break away from systems which forbade 

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the to think freely, and their descendants have insisted on the right to 
know the truth-to argue their problems to a majority decision, and, if 
they remained unconvinced, to disagree in peace.  As a tribute to our 
likeness in that respect, I note that the Bill of Rights in your country 
and in mine are substantially the same.

Mr. Chancellor, you of Canada who respect the educational tradition of 
our democratic continent will ever maintain good neighborship in ideas 
as we in the public service hope and propose to maintain it in the field 
of government and of foreign relations.  My good friend, the Governor 
General of Canada, in receiving an honorary degree in June at that 
University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to which Mackenzie King and I 
both belong, suggested that we cultivate three qualities to keep our 
foothold in the shifting sands of the present-humility, humanity and 
humor.  I have been thinking in terms of a bridge which is to be 
dedicated this afternoon and so I could not help coming to the 
conclusion that all of these three qualities imbedded in education, 
build new spans to reestablish free intercourse throughout the world and 
bring forth an order in which free nations can live in peace.