The greatest assurance that our great association of sovereign and independent peoples-the American family of nations-can survive this world upheaval safely, lies in the unity with which we face the common peril.
Some of us by our own power, by our own resources, by the extent of our population, are able successfully beyond the shadow of a doubt to defend ourselves. Others of us who do not possess these material advantages, equal though they be in their courage and in their determination to resist aggression, must depend for their continued security upon the cooperation which other members of the American family may give them. The only assured safety which this continent possesses lies in full cooperation between us all in the common defense; equal and sovereign partners in times of aggression as in times of peace.
As each one of you knows, my Government has made no suggestion, and no request, as to the course which any of the governments of the other American Republics should pursue subsequent to the Japanese attack upon the United States and the Declaration of War upon it by other Axis powers.
We do not function in that way in the American family of nations.
Each one of the American Governments has determined, and will continue to determine, in its own wisdom, the course which it will pursue to the best interest of its people in this world struggle. But of one thing I feel sure we are all convinced. In accordance with the obligations we have all undertaken under the provisions of our inter-American agreements, and in accordance with the spirit of that continental solidarity unanimously proclaimed, those nations of the Americas which are not engaged in war will never permit their territory to be used by agents of the Axis powers in order that these may conspire against, or prepare attacks upon, those Republics which are fighting for their own liberties and for those of the entire continent.
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The shibboleth of classic neutrality in its narrow sense can, in this tragic modern world, no longer be the ideal of any freedom-loving people of the Americas.
There can no longer be any real neutrality as between the Powers of Evil and the forces that are struggling to preserve the rights and the independence of free peoples.
I urge upon you all the imperative need for unity between us, not only in the measures which must presently be taken in the defense of our Western World, but also in order that the American Republics, joined as one, may prove to be the potent factor which they should be of right in the determination of the nature of the world of the future, after the victory is won.