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Radio Address to the World's Conference of the Young Men's Christian Association.

August 08, 1931

IT IS A PLEASURE to extend in behalf of the United States most cordial greetings to the delegates from 50 nations attending the World's Conference of the Young Men's Christian Association, meeting in Cleveland tonight. Your gathering is significant, because, in the long history of your association covering more than three-quarters of a century, it is the first ever to be held on the North American Continent. I would have enjoyed welcoming you in person but the demands of public service make it impossible for me to do so. Happily the radio permits me to participate from a distance in your deliberations.

You have come from every country of Europe, from all the States of our country, from Canada, Asia, and Africa, from our sister republics in Latin America, stretching from Mexico and Cuba on the north to Chile and Argentina on the south, and from Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the island world. You have drawn from all nations upon reservoirs of good will, enthusiasm, and devotion to spiritual ideals.

Common possession of a great spiritual ideal and a great sense of service have brought you together from all corners of the world. You have foregathered to formulate your plans that you may, with renewed vigor, foster among the youth of all lands the development of a vital faith in spiritual life, the kindling of a more passionate sense of social obligations, and the cementing of international fellowship for service to God and mankind.

You approach the problems of youth with sympathy and with confidence assured of the ultimate contributions with which they will refresh the common life of the world. You are right in the abiding confidence that the solution of all social, economic, governmental, and international problems must be guided by an idealism which finds its firm foundations in religious faith. Your interest in the activities of your association has given you an insight into public affairs and a grasp of world conditions. It has developed a leadership from within your membership that is beneficial to all nations. One of those leaders, your friend and mine, is Dr. John R. Mott. I have no need to recite to you the multitude of services he has given to the whole world by a life of complete devotion to an ideal.

The accomplishments of your associations over these many years have quickened the hopes of mankind. You have become a potent world force. No thoughtful person can overlook the profound truth that the ideas and ideals of Christ which you uphold not only have dominated the course of civilization since His time but are the foundations of our economic and social life today. Because of human weakness, the Golden Rule may have its daily violations, but this great principle, aimed at the common good, penetrates and profoundly modifies all the forces in the modern world in which we live.

Yours is an organization devoted to safeguarding the moral and spiritual heritage of youth and to guiding it in the paths of right and joy of service. In its consummation you carry forward vast constructive programs of recreation, community service, observance and obedience to law, character building, and, above all, spiritual development.

Your work has a profound unifying influence. It blends all races in its program. It welcomes to its fellowship young men of all faiths. It holds a strategic position to promote the common good not only within each nation but in international cooperation and good will. The fulfillment of these obligations is at once a challenge and an opportunity for youth itself. Recent weeks have given impressive proof of the hunger of the human spirit for a greater sense of security and a willingness to respond to a common effort to attain this goal. The desire is overpowering. It shall be realized.

In drawing attention to the nationwide and worldwide problems and service of the Y.M.C.A., however, we should not lose sight of the primary object of the organization which is to serve individual men. In all the 10,000 centers where such organizations exist, hundreds of thousands of youth can testify to what the human relationship of the Y.M.C.A. has meant to them in their individual lives. Spiritual safeguards and social influences go hand in hand with the provision of physical necessities for wholesome living. They are part of the vast programs of education which must be carried on beyond the formal schooling of our people. They are powerful forces in the warfare against downward tendencies in public morals and conduct.

Your organization is a great militant body enlisted in the fundamental advancement of human progress. The problems before the world were never greater than today. No small degree of responsibility rests upon you for their proper solution. I and my countrymen have confidence in you and the contribution you will make to the future.

Note: The President spoke at 8 p.m. from Rapidan Camp in Virginia, to the conference meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. His address was carried by the National Broadcasting Company and Columbia Broadcasting System radio networks.
The President referred to Dr. John R. Mott, chairman of the conference.

Herbert Hoover, Radio Address to the World's Conference of the Young Men's Christian Association. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211819

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