Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

July 07, 1934

My friends and fellow citizens of Puerto Rico:

Never as long as I live shall I forget the warmth of your reception to me yesterday and today. The drive from Mayaguez to Ponce and then across the island to San Juan gave me again a wonderful picture of your wonderful island.

I was here thirty years ago and it seems to me that in these years a great deal of progress has been made; but I believe, also, that the progress that you have made in the past is very small compared with the progress that you are going to make in the future.

One thing that seemed to be very clear was that your problems here on the island are very much the same kind of problems that we have in many other parts of the United States. They are social problems and economic problems, and the same methods that we use to solve them in other parts of the country will be applied here in Puerto Rico.

I believe in better homes. That means bringing about a better family life, better living conditions, a better chance for education, and a better chance for every person to earn his livelihood. Then we shall have better health conditions because unhealthy conditions are caused by a lack of opportunity to earn one's bread. With the help of our Government in Washington and with the splendid help of the Island Government and of the Governor, I am looking forward to the solving of these problems here in the island just as quickly as we shall solve them in the continental part of the United States.

We cannot accomplish everything in one year. In fact, we must look ahead for a great many years, and that is why we have all come to an agreement in principle for the rehabilitation of Puerto Rico. That plan, of course, will take a great many years to accomplish, but I hope and I am confident that all of you will do your part in making the plan a success.

I wish very much that I could stay here for many weeks and see many parts of the island that I have not had the opportunity of visiting. I hope to come back here not once, but many times, and see what you have done. I hope to see that a great deal of progress has been made.

I know that you will cooperate with us in what we are trying to do for the United States, not only here but in all parts of the Nation. And so, my friends, I am not going to say good-bye but au revoir.

It has been good to see you again in Puerto Rico. Many thanks for your splendid spirit. I shall never forget how good you have been to me on this visit.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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