Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at Morgantown, Maryland

September 04, 1938

My friends:

For me, this is no new visit to Southern Maryland. When I was in the Navy Department a great many years ago, I used to come down by water. In those days it was very difficult to get down here by land. Today things have changed very greatly.

I remember that more than ten years ago two old friends of mine became greatly interested in connecting Tidewater Virginia with Southern Maryland. One of them was Steve Gambrill; and the other one was Walton Moore, who is now Counselor of the State Department. I, too, became interested when I came to Washington again in 1933. I came down here today, on a Sunday morning, because I think that Sunday is a good day to try to do something for one's neighbors. You are neighbors of us in the National Capital.

For a long time I have been looking at maps, as you know. For a long time I have felt that, for the good not only of the people of Southern Maryland but also for the good of the people of the United States, there ought to be a through road from Baltimore to Richmond—a cut-off if you like. It would be a road which, at the same time, would open up to the general traveling public-and we are traveling more and more every year—this very wonderful section of our country, a section that is good to look at, that is peopled by good citizens.

I have been very much interested in it, not only because of the point of view of you good people who live down here, but also because, as President of the United States, my duty is to try to take care of things as far as I can that meet national needs.

There is one other phase of this proposed bridge across the Potomac, and of the other bridges that are proposed further up the Chesapeake; and that is the phase of national defense.

I suppose there is no nation in the world whose people are more peace-loving than the people of the United States. I suppose there is no nation in the world that is more sincerely desirous of keeping out of war. At the same time, you and I know what world conditions are; and we do have to think sometimes of national defense against some emergency that may come through no fault of our own in the days to come.

And it is very important in thinking of national defense to see to it that the borders of the United States, the portions of the United States that lie fairly close to the seaboard, shall have proper access, in the event of war, for the conduct of defensive operations. Therefore, the whole Chesapeake Bay area is a very vital link in our national defense. The more that we can do to improve communication in this area in peacetime, the more insurance we are taking in the event of some possible future invasion.

I am having a very wonderful day getting better acquainted with a portion of the country that I knew before. As you know, I very often go up and down the River on weekends- weekends when I try not only to rest but also to think things over quietly. And today I am getting a thrill out of this morning's ride.

I have been talking with your Representatives—with the Governor of the State- and I think we are all one in feeling that this proposed bridge is one of the things that has got to be done just as fast as we can possibly do it.

I hope to come back, perhaps before I leave Washington, to talk at the inauguration, the starting, of this bridge across the Potomac River in this neighborhood.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at Morgantown, Maryland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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