Two Centuries of U. S. Foreign Policy: The Documentary Record

By Stephen J. Valone | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT 35
Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech

Roosevelt vigorously condemned renewed Japanese aggression in China in an address on 5 October 1937.35 Isolationists, however, sharply criticized the president's suggestion that the epidemic of aggression be in some way quarantined.

The political situation in the world, which of late has been growing progressively worse, is such as to cause grave concern and anxiety to all the peoples and nations who wish to live in peace and amity with their neighbors. . . . Without a declaration of war and without warning or justification of any kind, civilians, including vast numbers of women and children, are being ruthlessly murdered with bombs from the air. In times of so-called peace, ships are being attacked and sunk by submarines without cause or notice. Nations are fomenting and taking sides in civil warfare in nations that have never done them any harm. Nations claiming freedom for themselves deny it to others.

Innocent peoples, innocent nations, are being cruelly sacrificed to a greed for power and supremacy which is devoid of all sense of justice and humane considerations. . . .

The peace-loving nations must make a concerted effort in opposition to those violations of treaties and those ignorings of humane instincts which today are creating a state of international anarchy and instability from which there is no escape through mere isolation or neutrality.

Those who cherish their freedom and recognize and respect the equal right of their neighbors to be free and live in peace, must work together for the triumph of law and moral principles in order that peace, justice and confidence may prevail in the world. There must be a return to a belief in the pledged word, in the value of a signed treaty. There must be recognition of the fact that national morality is as vital as private morality. . . .

It seems to be unfortunately true that the epidemic of world lawlessness is spreading.

____________________
35
Samuel I. Rosenman, editor, The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt ( N.Y.: Random House, 1938), 407-11.

-75-

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