Mr Speaker, members of the 77th Congress: I address
you, the members of this new Congress, at a moment unprecedented in the history
of the union. I use the word unprecedented because at no previous time has
American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is
Since the permanent formation of our government
under the constitution in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history
have related to our domestic affairs. And, fortunately, only one of these - the
four-year war between the States ever threatened our national unity Today, thank
God, one hundred and thirty million Americans, in forty-eight States have
forgotten points of the compass in our national unity.
It is true that prior to 1914 the United States
often has been disturbed by events in other continents. We have even engaged in
two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West
Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific, for the maintenance of American
rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce. But in no case had a serious
threat been raised against our national safety or our continued
What I seek to convey is the historic truth that
the United States as a nation has at all times maintained opposition clear,
definite opposition - to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient Chinese
wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our
children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or
for any other part of the Americas.
That determination of ours, extending over all
these years, was proved, for example, in the early days during the quarter
century of wars following the French Revolution.
While the Napoleonic struggle did threaten
interests of the United States because of the French foothold in the West Indies
and in Louisiana, and while we engaged in the War of 1812 to vindicate our right
to peaceful trade, it is nevertheless clear that neither France nor Great
Britain nor any other nation was aiming at domination of the whole
And in like fashion, from 1815 to 1914-ninety-nine
years - no single war in Europe or in Asia constituted a real threat against our
future or against the future of any other American nation.
Except in the Maximilian interlude in Mexico, no
foreign power sought to establish itself in this hemisphere. And the strength of
the British fleet in the Atlantic has been a friendly strength; it is still a
Even when the World War broke out in 1914 it
seemed to contain only a small threat of danger to our own American future. But
as time went on, as we remember the American people began to visualize what the
downfall of democratic nations might mean to our own democracy.
We need not overemphasize imperfections in the
peace of Versailles. We need not harp on failure of the democracies to deal with
problems of world reconstruction. We should remember that the peace of 1919 was
far less unjust than the kind of pacification which began even before Munich,
and which is being carried on under the new order of tyranny that seeks to
spread over every continent today.
The American people have unalterably set their
faces against that tyranny.
I suppose that every realist knows that the
democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part
of the world - assailed either by arms or by secret spreading of poisonous
propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations
that are still at peace.
During sixteen long months this assault has
blotted out the whole pattern of democratic life in an appalling number of
independent nations, great and small. And the assailants are still on the march,
threatening other nations, great and small.
Therefore, as your President, performing my
constitutional duty to give to the Congress information of the state of the
union, [find it unhappily necessary to report that the future and the safety of
our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far
beyond our borders.
Armed defense of democratic existence is now being
gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population
and all the resources of Europe and Asia, Africa and Australia will be dominated
by conquerors. And let us remember that the total of those populations in those
four continents, the total of those populations and their resources greatly
exceeds the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the
Western Hemisphere - yes, many times over.
No realistic American can expect from a dictators
peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world
disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion - or even good
business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors.
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety.
As a nation we may take pride in the fact that we
are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed. We must always be wary
of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the ism of
appeasement. We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who
would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own
I have recently pointed out how quickly the tempo
of modern warfare could bring into our very midst the physical attack which we
must eventually expect if the dictator nations win this war.
There is much loose talk of our immunity from
immediate and direct invasion from across the seas. Obviously, as long as the
British Navy retains its powers, no such danger exists. Even if there were no
British Navy it is not probable that any enemy would be stupid enough to attack
us by landing troops in the United States from across the thousands of miles of
ocean, until it had acquired strategic bases from which to operate.
But we learn much from the lessons of the past
years in Europe - particularly the lesson of Norway, whose essential seaports
were captured by treachery and surprise built up over a series of
The first phase of the invasion of this hemisphere
would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would
be occupied by secret agents and by the their dupes - and great numbers of them
are already here and in Latin America.
As long as the aggressor nations maintain the
offensive, they, not we, will choose the time and the place and the method of
And that is why the future of all the American
Republics is today in serious danger. That is why this annual message to the
Congress is unique in our history. That is why every member of the executive
branch of the government and every member of the Congress face great
responsibility - great accountability.
The need of the moment is that our actions and our
policy should be devoted primarily - almost exclusively - to meeting this
foreign peril. torah our domestic problems are now a part of the great
Just as our national policy in internal affairs
has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all of
our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has
been based on a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all nations,
large and small. And the justice of morality must and will win in the
Our national policy is this:
- First, by an impressive expression of the public
will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to all inclusive
- Second, by an impressive expression of the public
will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to full support of all
those resolute people everywhere who are resisting aggression and are thereby
keeping war away from our hemisphere. By this support we express our
determination that the democratic cause shall prevail, and we strengthen the
defense and the security of our own nation.
- Third, by an impressive expression of the public
will and without regard to partisanship, we are committed to the proposition
that principles of morality and considerations for our own security will never
permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by
appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other
In the recent national election there was no
substantial difference between the two great parties in respect to that national
policy. No issue was fought out on this line before the American electorate. And
today it is abundantly evident that American citizens everywhere are demanding
and supporting speedy and complete action in recognition of obvious
Therefore, the immediate need is a swift and
driving increase in our armament production. Leaders of industry and labor have
responded to our summons. Goals of speed have been set. In some cases these
goals are being reached ahead of time. In some cases we are in schedule; in
other cases there are slight but not serious delays. And in some cases - and, l
am sorry to say, very important cases - we are all concerned by the slowness of
the accomplishment of our plans.
The Army and Navy, however have made substantial
progress during the past year. Actual experience is improving and speeding up
our methods by production with every passing day. And today's best is not good
enough for tomorrow.
I am not satisfied with the progress thus far made.
The men in charge of the program represent the best in training, in ability and
in patriotism. They are not satisfied with the progress thus far made. None of
us will be satisfied until the job in done.
No matter whether the original goal was set too
high or too low, our objective is quicker and better results.
To give you two illustrations.
- We are behind schedule in turning out finished
airplanes. We are working day and night to solve the innumerable problems and to
- We are ahead of schedule in building warships, but
we are working to get even further ahead of that schedule.
To change a whole nation from a basis of peacetime
production of implements of peace to a basis of wartime production of implements
of war is no small task. The greatest difficulty comes at the beginning of the
program, when new tools, new plant facilities, new assembly lines, new shipways
must first be constructed before the actual material begins to flow steadily and
speedily from them.
The Congress, of course, must rightly keep itself
informed at all times of the progress of the program. However there is certain
information, as the Congress itself will readily recognize which, in the
interests of our own security and those of the nations that we are supporting,
must of needs be kept in confidence.
New circumstances are constantly begetting new
needs for our safety. I shall ask this Congress for greatly increased new
appropriations and authorizations to carry on what we have begun.
I also ask this Congress for authority and for
funds sufficient to manufacture additional munitions and war supplies of
many kinds, to be turned over to those nations
which are now in actual war with aggressor nations. Our most useful and
immediate role is to act as an arsenal for them as well as for ourselves. They
do not need manpower but they do need billions of dollars worth of the weapons
The time is near when they will not be able to pay
for them all in ready cash. We cannot, and we will not, tell them that they must
surrender merely because of present inability to pay for the weapons which we
know they must have.
I do not recommend that we make them a loan of
dollars with which to pay for these weapons, a loan to be repaid in dollars. I
recommend that we make it possible for those nations to continue to obtain war
materials in the United States, fitting their orders into our own program. And
nearly all of their material would, if the time ever came, be useful in our own
Taking counsel of expert military and naval
authorities, considering what is best for our own security, we are free to
decide how much should be kept here and how much should be sent abroad to our
friends who, by their determined and heroic resistance, are giving us time in
which to make ready our own defense.
For what we send abroad we shall be repaid, repaid
within a reasonable time following the close of hostilities, repaid in similar
materials, or at our option in other goods of many kinds which they can produce
and which we need.
Let us say to the democracies: We Americans are
vitally concerned in your defense of freedom. We are putting forth our energies,
our resources and our organizing powers to give you the strength to regain and
maintain a free world. We shall send you in ever-increasing numbers, ships,
planes, tanks, guns. That is our purpose and our pledge.
In fulfillment of this purpose we will not be
intimidated by the threats of dictators that they will regard as a breach of
international law or as an act of war our aid to the democracies which dare to
resist their aggression. Such aid is not an act of war even if a dictator should
unilaterally proclaim it so to be.
And when the dictators -- if the dictators -- are
ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our
They did not wait for Norway or Belgium or the
Netherlands to commit an act of war. Their only interest is in a new one-way
international law which lacks mutuality in its observance and therefore becomes
an instrument of oppression. The happiness of future generations of Americans
may well depend on how effective and how immediate we can make our aid felt. No
one can tell the exact character of the emergency situations that we may be
called upon to meet. The nations hands must not be tied when the nations life is
Yes, and we must prepare, all of us prepare, to
make the sacrifices that the emergency - almost as serious as war itself
demands. Whatever stands in the way of speed and efficiency in defense, in
defense preparations at any time, must give way to the national need.
A free nation has the right to expect full
cooperation from all groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders
of business, of labor and of agriculture to take the lead in stimulating effort,
not among other groups but within their own groups.
The best way of dealing with the few slackers or
troublemakers in our midst is, first, to shame them by patriotic example, and if
that fails, to use the sovereignty of government to save government.
As men do not live by bread alone, they do not
fight by armaments alone. Those who man our defenses and those behind them who
build our defenses must have the stamina and the courage which come from
unshakeable belief in the manner of life which they are defending. The mighty
action that we are calling for cannot be based on a disregard of all the things
worth fighting for.
Certainly this is no time for any of us to stop
thinking about the social and economic problems which are the root cause of the
social revolution which is today a supreme factor in the world. For there is
nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong
The basic things expected by our people of their
political and economic systems are simple. They are;
Equality of opportunity for youth and for others,
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the
The preservation of civil liberties for
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress
in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.
These are the simple, the basic things that must
never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern
world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is
dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations.
Many subjects connected with our social economy
call for immediate improvement. As examples.
We should bring more citizens under the coverage
of oldage pensions and unemployment insurance.
We should widen the opportunities for adequate
We should plan a better system by which persons
deserving or needing gainful employment may obtain it,
I have called for personal sacrifice, and lam
assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that
A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more
money in taxes. In my budget message I will recommend that a greater portion of
this great defense program be paid for from taxation that we are paying for
today. No person should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program, and
the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be
constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation.
If the Congress maintains these principles, the
voters, putting patriotism ahead of pocketbooks, will give you their
In the future days which we seek to make secure,
we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human
The first is freedom of speech and expression
everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship
God in his own way - everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated
into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every
nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the
The fourth is freedom from Fear, which, translated
into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and
in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act
of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a
definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and
generation.That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so called new order
of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a
To that new order we oppose the greater conception
- the moral order A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and
foreign revolutions alike without fear.
Since the beginning of our American history we
have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution
which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without
the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we
seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly,
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands,
heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom
under the guidance of God. Freedom means the suremacy of human rights
everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep
them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.
To that high concept there can be no end save