Franklin D. Roosevelt

Address at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California.

July 14, 1938

Governor Merriam, ladies and gentlemen:

Rarely, perhaps never, in my life have I been as thrilled as I have today, starting with the visit to my old friends of nearly a quarter of a century ago at the Mare Island Navy Yard, and then taking that trip by motor over wonderful highways to that view of your two new bridges that I had never seen before. And that wonderful reception all along the line of march! And then, coming down from what I used to call Goat Island in the old days—although I believe it had a more official and more beautiful name—to this Island with its wonderful buildings that already prove what the Exposition is going to look like next year—all I can tell you is that I impatiently await the passage of months before I come back here to see it all.

Confidence that in the year 1939 the United States and all the Western Hemisphere will be at peace is shown by the fact that in this Nation two great international expositions are about to be held.

It is our hope and our expectation that that confidence is well placed—and that the very fact of holding these two expositions means an added impetus to the cause of world peace. Great gatherings of such a nature make for trade, for better understanding and for renewed good will between the Nations of the world.

It has been suggested that it was a mistake to hold two expositions in one year-but I cannot agree with that because it seems to me that each is a supplement to the other. Thousands of Americans are already planning to visit both of the expositions next year—to see both ends of our wide Nation and perhaps to travel one way by the all-American route via the Panama Canal.

Furthermore, those who visit us from other countries will be stimulated to cross our country, the way I try to do every year that passes. Too often we are judged by those from other lands who spend a few hurried weeks or even days on one seaboard and think they know America.

At New York the other day I suggested, furthermore, that we Americans wish that many more people from other nations would come to visit us. We Americans have the travel habit and we wish that other people would acquire it. The more of them who visit us next year, the happier we shall be.

In the construction of the Golden Gate International Exposition, the Federal Government has been glad to be of material assistance to your plans.

In addition to the allotment by the Congress of a million and a half dollars, I am told that you have received nearly five million dollars in the form of useful work paid for by WPA funds, and nearly another two million dollars in equally useful work paid for from Public Works funds—in other words, total Federal assistance of more than eight and a quarter million dollars.

I am glad that the Federal Government has been able so greatly to help the fine spirit which throughout the western states encouraged and is encouraging this undertaking. And I am glad, too, that we have been able to help the State of California and the municipalities around San Francisco Bay in the construction of the two great bridges which I saw today for the first time. Those bridges form a magnificent illustration of the new saying that "what nature has put asunder, man can join together."

In another two hours I hope to review the United States Fleet, now at anchor in this great American harbor. That Fleet is not merely a symbol—it is a potent, every-ready fact in the national defense of the United States.

Every right-thinking man and woman in our country wishes that it were safe for the Nation to spend less of our national budget on our armed forces. All know that we are faced with a condition and not a theory—and that that condition is not of our own choosing. Money spent on armaments does not create permanent income-producing wealth, and about the only satisfaction we can take out of the present world situation is that the proportion of our national income that we spend on armaments is only a quarter or a third of the proportion that most of the other great nations of the world are spending at this time.

We fervently hope for the day when the other leading nations of the world will realize that their present course must inevitably lead to disaster. We stand ready to meet them, and to encourage them in any efforts they may make toward a definite reduction in world armament.

The year 1939 would go down in history not only as the year of the two great American World's Fairs, but would be a year of world-wide rejoicing if it could also mark definite steps toward permanent world peace. That is the hope and the prayer of the overwhelming number of men and women and children in all the earth today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Address at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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