June 27, 1945
New York Times.
MR. MAYOR (ROGER T. SERMON), FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, AND FELLOW CITIZENS:
I faced the national Democratic convention in Chicago last July when I was nominated for vice president of the United States under my protest-a terrible ordeal, I thought. I was presiding over the Senate one day in April when I had a conference with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and I was instructed to call the White House, which I did.
Mr. Early, the Presidential secretary, told me that he wanted to see me at the White House as quickly and as quietly as I could get there. I thought that the President had come back to Washington from Warm Springs, Ga., to attend the funeral of Bishop Atwood. He was listed as an honorary pallbearer at the bishop's funeral.
I arrived at the White House, was escorted to Mrs. Roosevelt's study, and she informed me that the President had passed away. Well, you can understand how I felt at that moment.
It was necessary for me to assume a burden greater, I think, than any man has assumed in the history of the world-a tremendous burden. We called a meeting of the Cabinet. I was sworn in as President of the United States, and after attending the funeral of the late President it was my duty to address the Congress of the United States, 531 of the most critical gentlemen in the United States of America, and to state to them what, if anything, I proposed to do as President of the United States.
Yesterday I had to face the delegates of fifty nations who had met in San Francisco to prepare a charter for world peace-a terrible ordeal. All these things I am telling you about-and now I have to face and thank the people at home, who are expecting impossible things of me.
I shall attempt, as I have attempted in these other crises, to meet your expectations, but don't expect too much of me. I must have your help and your support.
There are two things that I must accomplish as President of the United States. The first one is to win the war with Japan-and we are winning it. The next one is to win a peace.
The first step toward the winning of that peace has been accomplished at San Francisco. We made the first step following a preliminary step by Woodrow Wilson and a follow-up by his great successor, Franklin Roosevelt.
I have another ordeal to face in the meeting of the so-called Big Three sometime next month in which we shall discuss the preliminaries for a final peace treaty which we hope will maintain the peace of the world for generations to come.
We can't afford to have spilled this blood and tears and sweat-all the young men who are the cream of our population, the cream of the population of Russia and Great Britain and our other Allies. We mustn't under any circumstances allow that expenditure of lives and treasure to be made in vain.
I am telling you all these things to let you know exactly what the responsibilities of your Chief Executive are. He can't assume those responsibilities unless he has the wholehearted support of you. I believe I have that support here in Jackson County.
From the way the people acted in San Francisco and in the great State of Washington and in Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City last night, I think all the people of the United States are just as anxious as I am to have a peace that will work. That is a big job. Number 1-Win the war with Japan. Number 2-Win a peace that will work. That is all I shall devote my time to from now on.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate this demonstration on the part of my people at home. Time and again I have tried to fill this great auditorium. This is the first time I have ever succeeded.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate it. I am going to spend the next two or three days in Jackson County trying my best, with all the handicaps which a President of the United States has, to enjoy myself with you as I formerly did from the time I was county judge until I was President of the United States. Thank you very much.