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Excerpts from the Press Conference in Warm Springs, Georgia

March 31, 1939

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you have never been down here before.

How do you like it?

Q. Fine.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, do you feel better?

Q. All of them in the hay by twelve o'clock, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: That is going some. After being up twenty-six-hours, that is pretty good.

Q. Out of the hay at 8.30. We get fined if we don't. (Laughter)

THE PRESIDENT: I was sorry to make you work yesterday.

Q. We did not mind.

THE PRESIDENT: I did not have anything prepared. You went back to the old days, and had to write your own stories.

Q. It is a good thing, once in a while.

THE PRESIDENT: I never made so many speeches in such a short time in my life.

Q. It carried us back to the old campaign days.

Q. That is right. We would not get that many platform appearances.

Q. Mr. President, have you seen the papers this morning that Great Britain has indicated willingness to fight if Hitler moves in against Poland?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, and I have been in touch with the State Department and Europe and probably will continue to be in touch with the State Department and Europe two or three more times today.

Q. Whom were you in touch with in Europe, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: That I cannot tell you.

Q. By telephone?


Q. We can fix that up. (Laughter)

THE PRESIDENT: You will. (Laughter)

Q. Mr. President, what is the move over there which is threatening Poland at the moment?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, suppose I give you a background story without attribution. Does everybody understand what that means? In other words, do not bring me into it.

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: What is concerning Europe and all the rest of the world—not just Europe but all the rest of the world, meaning the Near East and the Far East and Africa and the Americas—is that the hopes that the world had last September, that the German policy was limited, and would continue to be limited, to bringing contiguous German people into the Reich and only German people, without bringing other races under the Reich—that those hopes have been dissipated by the events of the last few weeks. In other words, they have brought into the Reich a great many million Slavs; in addition to that, they have brought under the domination of the Reich a great many million Hungarians; and they have brought in part under the economic domination of the Reich a good many million Roumanians; none of which squares with the announced intention of Hitler up to and through the events of last autumn.

Therefore, it is felt by people in every continent that where there was a limit last autumn, there is no limit today. It makes a very different picture. And, there being no apparent limit today, this new policy may logically be carried out on an increasing scale in any part of the world.

From our point of view such a policy could, in the absence of any check to it— that is spelled "ch" and not "Cz"—mean German domination, not only in all the small nations of Europe, but very possibly on other continents.

We also know from the newspapers that there have been many stories of the fear of Switzerland, of the fears of Holland and Dutch Colonies, of the fear of the Baltic States, Finland, Esthonia, Latvia, of the fears of the Yugoslavs, and the fear of peoples in Asia Minor, Turkey and Persia, for example. In other words, a general fear of an effort by the Nazis to attain world dominance, and make subject to them a great many other nations and races. That is what is giving the world concern today.

Now, on the current situation, it seems to have been made clear by England and France today that they have decided there must be a halt to the continuation of a policy seeking to dominate other nations and peoples. Therefore, by their action, it has been put squarely up to Germany that if there should be war it would come only by an invasion of some other Nation by Germany; that there will be no war if there is no such invasion.

Thereby, the world is being put on notice as to where the responsibility will lie if there is war.

Now, don't quote this. It is just words of one syllable stuff. I think it covers it pretty well, and that is all that can be said.

Q. I was wondering at the beginning where you said they brought these millions of Slavs, I wondered whether you meant the Czechs?

THE PRESIDENT: They were originally Slavs. Call them Czechs and Slavs, that is the easiest way. . . .

Q. Do you expect to act on the Reorganization bill?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I think so, that and the defense bill. I shall have to do some studying on them.

It is suggested that we save the dedication [of the Warm Springs schoolhouse and hospital] for morning release.

Q. That suits us.

Q. It is a very hot story, but we will do it, Mr. President. (Laughter)

Q. Are you going to take Harry [Mr. Hopkins, who was riding alongside of the President] down in the pool with you?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am going to make him take a bath. He has not had one for two months.

Q. Are you going to give him that medicine ball treatment? [Referring to the game of water polo in the pool which the President had on previous occasions played with some Cabinet Members, particularly Mr. Farley, and which he had turned into a pretty strenuous game.]


Q. Have you been discussing anything with the Secretary of Commerce, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Last night we discussed the relative merits of bridge and poker. We came to no conclusion.

Q. Anything said about the ponies?

THE PRESIDENT: About what?

Q. Ponies?

THE PRESIDENT: No. Remind me to tell you a story about the ponies.

MR. HOPKINS: I will, don't worry. . . .

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

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