Franklin D. Roosevelt

Excerpts from the Press Conference

January 01, 1943

THE PRESIDENT: In the first place, a Happy New Year to all of you!

VOICES: Happy New Year to you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I was looking at the front row. The inspection is not bad at all. I don't know—it isn't as large a press conference as usual. (Laughter) And one of your colleagues in the front row suggests it's a matter of mind over matter. (More laughter)

For late comers I have asked Admiral McIntire to set up in your room out there a little dispensary for today—(laughter) which I thought would help in the general merriment.

I haven't anything except a statement on this particular day, because it's the first anniversary of the United Nations. One year ago we signed the original declaration—26 Nations; and three more have signed up since then.

I think it's a very real and important anniversary, because it means a relationship not merely for the actual running of the war and winning of the war, but necessarily for the postwar period. I think all of us want those United Nations to remain united at the end of the war, just as they are during the war ....

Q. Mr. President, would you like to expand on what you just said about the postwar period?

THE PRESIDENT: Of course, as I think has been intimated before, there are a great many objectives when peace comes, so that we won't go back to the old menace of the prewar period—a great many things the United Nations ought to and I think will remain united for.

However, there is one thing which at the present time stands out as the most important war objective, and that is to maintain peace, so that all of us, in going through this war, including the men on the fighting fronts and on the seas, will not have to go through another world cataclysm again, and they will have some reasonable assurance that their children won't have to go through it again. Almost all the other things we hope to get out of the war are more or less dependent on the maintenance of peace- all kinds of planning for the future, economic and social, and so forth and so on. It isn't an awful lot of use if there is going to be another world war in ten years, or fifteen years or twenty years. All the planning for the future is dependent, obviously, on peace.

Q. Could we put quotes around that?

THE PRESIDENT: It isn't very well expressed.

Q. That last sentence, sir. (The President indicated approval, and the reporter read back, "All the planning for the future is dependent, obviously, on peace.")

Q. Mr. President, would you care to say how you think that can be maintained after the war?

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. That's a different thing. In other words, you are talking about details. I am talking about objectives. I think we have got to keep that very firmly in mind on everything we do from now on. The details are not the important thing. The issue is: the objective.

Q. I think that whole thing was very well put, sir. I don't like to press it, but I wonder if we can—?

THE PRESIDENT: Well—(then turning to Mr. Early)

MR. EARLY: I think you will need to edit it a little, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Probably needs a little editing. I am not sure that the English is good. (Laughter) Jack [Romagna—the official press conference stenographer]—why don't you boys wait; it will take Jack three minutes to type it out, and send it in to me, and then I will send it out.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Excerpts from the Press Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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