Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at a Dinner for the President of Paraguay

June 09, 1943

May I take this opportunity to say what I have had in my heart for a long time. We are very happy to have President Morinigo here, because we have great reasons to be grateful to Paraguay for the magnificent stand they have taken and for the solidarity of their armies.

I shall never forget, not so long ago- it seems many years at the conference in Rio de Janeiro, we needed positive action. We had all agreed on the one subject- on that action for solidarity: breaking off relations with the Axis powers.

At that time at that meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Paraguay, acting on instructions from their President, stepped forward at just the right moment and the right timing, and pledged Paraguay in this great effort of all the Americas—the thought of the hemisphere—that we should break off relations with the brigands of modern civilization.

Paraguay acted in accordance with an old slogan of mine, "Do not only the right thing, but do it at the right time," and thereby gave heart to all of our sister Republics. From that time on we have had closer dealings with Paraguay than ever before in our history.

I do not have to speak, outside of this room perhaps, about the great bravery, the plain, the sheer bravery of the armies of Paraguay. Throughout all these years—many, many years, more than centuries—the soldiers of Paraguay representing their Nation can, I think, be called the bravest soldiers in all the Americas, because they have had the thought of maintaining their independence as the first thought in all their minds. They have lost thousands of the best blood of Paraguay in battle, and they have come through with their independence.

The General and President, as I put it, is one of the most distinguished generals of that magnificent army. We think of him not only as the President of the Republic, but also as the leader of the armies of Paraguay in their latest war. We hope they will not have to go through wars of that kind again. We hope that all of the Republics will work together to see that they do not have to defend their independence any more.

During these years, because of geography, it has been very difficult for us to go to Paraguay. We thought of it as an interior Republic, far up one of the greatest rivers of the continent. And yet, with the advent of airplanes, and the advent of better roads, we look forward to the day when more Americans can go there, and go there as a natural and logical part of their visits to the other countries of the hemisphere.

I hope that those relations- not merely communication, but trade and everything else that goes with it—are going to increase. We think that we have broken the ice, not only in our Pan-American or diplomatic relations, but also in regard to getting to know each other better.

And so I hope that in the years to come Paraguay and the United States will become closer personal friends than we have ever been before. Toward that end this Government—the Government and President— are going hand in hand; and may this association be carried out more greatly, more usefully- spiritually, economically, materially, in every way.

We recognize Paraguay very definitely as one of the great Republics of the Americas.

And so it gives me great pleasure to propose a toast to His Excellency the President of Paraguay.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at a Dinner for the President of Paraguay Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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