Franklin D. Roosevelt

Greetings by Radio to the Pan American Hernando De Soto Exposition

February 18, 1939

President Brorein, Commissioner Dye and my friends of the Pan American Hernando De Soto Exposition:

I like the very name of this Exposition. I am glad that you decided to link the name of the intrepid explorer, who reached these shores 400 years ago, with the Pan American idea. There was nothing narrow or restricted in the perspective of De Soto or of his fellow townsman, Balboa, discoverer of the Pacific Ocean. They and their contemporaries drew their ideas from a vision of a New World. The domains they claimed for their Sovereign were heroic in geographic extent. Their imagination was fitted to the dawn of a new era. So today we commemorate Hernando De Soto as one of the first Pan Americans.

The spirit of Pan Americanism happily is coming more and more to dominate the thoughts and aspirations and the actions of all of the diverse peoples and cultures which comprise the three Americas. It is the certain and unfailing safeguard of our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Although the peoples of the New World are of many origins, they are united in a common aspiration to defend and maintain the self-governing way of life. That way of life is instinctive in all the peoples of the Western Hemisphere.

To show our faith in democracy, we have made the policy of the good neighbor the corner stone of our foreign relations. No other policy would be consistent with our ideas and our ideals. In the fulfillment of this policy we propose to heed the ancient Scriptural admonition not to move our neighbor's landmarks, not to encroach on his metes and bounds.

We desire by every legitimate means to promote freedom in trade and travel and in the exchange of cultural ideas among nations. We seek no territorial expansion, we are not covetous of our neighbor's goods; we shall cooperate in every proposal honestly put forward to limit armaments; we abhor the appeal to physical force except to repulse aggression.

We say to all the world that in the Western Hemisphere—in the three Americas—the institutions of democracy—government with the consent of the governed must and shall be maintained.

This Exposition in Tampa is another link in the forging of that chain of brotherhood.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Greetings by Radio to the Pan American Hernando De Soto Exposition Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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