April 14, 1942
White House news release.
Do not let us be formal. We are not having any formalities today, because whenever I make a speech it takes me one week to prepare it, and I have no spare weeks at the present time.
I think it is a fine thing that again we are celebrating Pan American Day. I hope that we are celebrating it in every Republic, because I think it has more significance this year than at any previous time in the history of the Hemisphere. I know that some of you have-one or two of you have-certain problems back home. And I do think that the idea is being understood more than ever before what would happen if any part of any of the Hemisphere were dominated by a successful Germany. We wouldn't live the same kind of lives-that is the easiest way of putting it. Because that new-not the old German civilization-that new German civilization is so totally different from what all of us have been accustomed to since we were born. I shudder to think of what would happen to any part of the Hemisphere that came under German domination.
So I am looking for a word-as I said to the newspaper men a little while ago-I want a name for the war. I haven't had any very good suggestions. Most of them are too long. My own thought is that perhaps there is one word that we could use for this war, the word "survival." The Survival War. That is what it comes pretty close to being-the survival of our civilization, the survival of Democracy, the survival of a Hemisphere-the newest Hemisphere of all of them-which has developed in its own ways. On the surface these ways may be a bit different, but down at the bottom there is the same kind of civilization that has come from a love of liberty and the willingness to pioneer. So I think that survival is what our problem is, survival of what we have all lived for for a great many generations. I think in all of the republics we have, relatively speaking, quite an ancient civilization-reckoned since we have had independence, and even for a good many years before that. That is why I hope that continental Hemispheric solidarity and unanimity are going to continue. At the last Pan American Conference of the Hemisphere down at Rio while some people felt it had not gone so far as it would like to go-we did manage to retain the objective of unanimity.
There may be other problems after the war that we will have to work out among ourselves, sitting around the table, but at the present time we have substantial unanimity. That is a great thorn in the flesh of Herr Hitler. He felt that the success of the Rio Conference was a very serious blow to the Axis' efforts to dominate the world.
And so I hope that we will go on as we have in the past. A few of you were here at the time-in the summer of 1933, after I had been in here for a few months-we had a bit of trouble in the Republic of Cuba. I asked all of the Ambassadors and Ministers of the Hemisphere to come in and sit around the table in an informal way. And I told them that I didn't want the United States to do anything without everybody knowing all about it, and that my thought was that it was a problem for Cuba to decide for herself. Cuba did, and many old-fashioned commentators in this country said it was a terrible thing to let Cuba handle the affairs of Cuba.
So I hope we will continue to have the unanimity of the past. And when it comes to cleaning up the mess at the end of this war, after the Axis is defeated, we will have again an hemispheric council around here to see what we are going to do all over the world, because we will have a very great voice in preventing, in the future, an attack on our American civilization.
I haven't prepared any speech. These are just some thoughts that come to me every day-day and night.
We are going places. We will get somewhere. And we are going to have a couple of years, perhaps three years, before we can make sure that our type of civilization is going to survive. I am perfectly confident of it myself. We have all got to sacrifice. But we are going to come out the winner in the long run.
It is good to see you all, and I hope that next year we will be in an even better state than we are in 1942. Good luck to you.