Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on World Peace.

June 29, 1937

My dear Dr. Maphis:

I regret exceedingly that I am unable to be present personally this season at the opening exercises of the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, entering upon its eleventh year of constructive public service. I regret my inability to attend all the more since the Institute will consider at the forthcoming session a topic which all of us must have deeply graven on our minds today when there is so much uncertainty, confusion and even ill-will abroad in the world, namely, "International Cooperation for World Peace."

As Americans, it must be clear to us that a continuation of the existing uncertainties in the international sphere is highly prejudicial to the well being of the United States, in common with all other countries, and to the happiness and security of the American man in the street, in common with plain citizens everywhere, in all parts of the world. It must be evident beyond a shadow of doubt that an accentuation of this unsettled condition will bring disaster and human suffering beyond the mind of man to grasp.

The problem before every thinking man and woman, then, is how to avert this threatened disaster and how to establish conditions which will relieve existing tension, permit the diversion of taxpayers' money expended on armaments to the improvement of the standard of living of the mass of our citizens and assure the firm establishment of economic and political peace. The more squarely and honestly this problem is faced by leaders in all walks of life, in all countries, the sooner will an effective solution be found.

As regards more particularly our United States, and our western hemisphere, I am happy to express my conviction that a constructive beginning has been made. I shall only mention that the nations of the western hemisphere, as good neighbors, in a spirit of mutual collaboration and sacrifice, have been successful in establishing a machinery for peace. Moreover, in the belief that there is an intimate relationship between domestic prosperity, the untrammeled movement of goods between nations and the preservation of peace, this Government has promoted widely and successfully a trade agreements program. Economic armaments and military armaments go hand in hand and since the problems are interdependent they must be attacked in a comprehensive manner, by the concerted effort of all peoples and in international agreement. Only this way may we find the road which will lead from the morass of international misunderstanding to the haven of enduring peace.

With best wishes for the success of this year's session of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Very sincerely yours,

Dr. Charles Gilmore Maphis,

Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia,

Charlottesville, Virginia.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on World Peace. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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