Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to the Economic Club of New York.

March 12, 1942

May I greet through you the members and guests of the Economic Club of New York who are gathering to hear the distinguished representatives of United Nations bound in the pledge of victory and justice over the evil forces that seek to dominate the world.

Never in history have so many people been united in a more exalted purpose. The struggle is being fought between those in arms against treachery and aggression, and the monstrous hordes regimented to enslave the world. Allied with United Nations and fighting with all the resources of the human spirit are millions of men and women now caught in the vise of tyranny. Courageously they await the day when they, too, can help to create the better world on a new charter of freedom and liberty for all.

We are united against those who willfully and deliberately, and with every weapon of force, propaganda, and terror, are aiming to destroy man's right "to think as he will and to say what he thinks." We are united to maintain man's religious heritage against those who would destroy the great spiritual resources of resistance to injustice. We are united against those who would enslave humanity by substituting terror for law, treachery for statecraft, and force for justice. We are united against the tyranny that has created untold want, privation, and suffering in a large part of the world.

These are the pledges inherent in the four freedoms which are the essence of the Atlantic Charter: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

To attain and maintain this charter of liberty the supreme strategy of victory must be for the United Nations to remain united—united in purpose, united in sympathy, and united in determination. The supreme achievement of enemy propaganda would be to create disunity. Those who cry for divided efforts in an indivisible war, those who are blind to the fact that security at home may be menaced by disaster abroad, those who encourage divided counsels in this crisis, those who viciously or stupidly lend themselves to the repetition of distortion and untruth, are serving as obliging messengers of Axis propaganda.

Such efforts, you and I know, will break into mere foam against our rock-bound resolution and the rising tide of production and manpower by which we shall overwhelm the enemies of freedom and democracy.

Very sincerely yours,

David Sarnoff, Esq.,

New York,


Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the Economic Club of New York. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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