Franklin D. Roosevelt

Address at the Dedication of the Jusserand Memorial in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.

November 07, 1936

This is far more than the formal dedication of a Memorial to a statesman of great accomplishment. It is an opportunity for many of M. Jusserand's old-time friends to gather here in a spot he loved and think back over the years when he was with us. This delightful place where we meet is hallowed by tender memories for his gentle companion whom we greet again in Washington. All of us are grateful that we may speak to each other in words of affectionate remembrance and appreciation of one whose valiant spirit hovers over this scene.

And there is opportunity also for his thousands of friends in every walk of life in France and in America to remember this afternoon the fine influence which M. Jusserand exerted in so many fields.

We know his splendid career as the representative of our sister Republic, the deep friendship between himself and Theodore Roosevelt, his wide knowledge and understanding of the American people.

But I would say one word of the man I knew so well during the years of the Great War. Few have been placed in a situation more difficult, more open every day and every hour to the possibility of a misunderstanding of grave issues by the American public.

I talked with him often. His poise, his determination to avoid all methods of propaganda, his insistence that the American people could best make up their own minds through the presentation of simple facts and principles had, in their ultimate effect, a telling influence on public opinion when this Nation through its President and its Congress made the great decision in April, 1917. Maintenance of the highest standard of diplomatic ethics brought its own reward.

All of us who knew him were amazed by his culture—a culture not superficial even though it embraced an interest in such a multitude of subjects. We can go far before we match the record of one of the greatest of diplomats, who, at the same time, in the field of letters saw his work crowned by the French Academy on one side of the Atlantic, won the Pulitzer Prize on the other, and in recognition of his learning was elected President of the American Historical Association.

We can almost say, "He was a great American as well as a great Frenchman." We link M. Jusserand's name forever with the names of Lafayette and Rochambeau and De Grasse and the other valiant Frenchmen whose services in this country entitle them for all time to the grateful remembrance of all Americans.

The people of the two great sister democracies will always regard him thus. We, his old personal friends, will often come to this Memorial with the added thought of the inspiring hours we spent with him and the deep affection we shall always feel.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address at the Dedication of the Jusserand Memorial in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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