JULY 24, 1944
HYDE PARK, Sunday—I know that many people must have felt, as I did, a great interest and pride in Vice President Wallace's achievements during his journeys to the Far East and in his reports on his return. There are not many men whom we could send from this country who would be welcomed in both Russia and China by the people as he was. It is known everywhere that he has consistently proved himself a friend of the average man and woman in his own country.
To those who know Mr. Henry Wallace's background and ancestry, it is no surprise that he has inherited both idealism and the ability to fight for the things in which he believes. His grandfather had that same ability. There is no question in my mind but that Henry Wallace would rather be defeated in a fight which he had undertaken than trim his sails or disavow a belief which he held. There is integrity and pride in all the Wallaces back of him, and history will record no lack of these qualities in the present day Wallace because of the years which he has spent in Washington.
Men of weaker fibre might be changed by contacts with so many people who are ever ready to point out the things that are expedient and the reasons why it is so much easier to make friends with certain types of people than it is to fight them. The fundamental qualities which were in Henry Wallace when he came to Washington as Secretary of Agriculture, are as strong as ever. He believes in the rights of people—all the people, not just a few. He is an economist and he has a practical mind. At times, to meet existing circumstances, he has had to accept certain modifications of his own objectives, but never has he changed his goal.
Mr. Wallace has made far more of the office of Vice President than most men have been able to make in the past. When he has thought things were worth doing, he has done them, no matter how much it cost him personally. I don't remember hearing that our former Vice President, while in office, learned two new languages, and yet Henry Wallace learned Spanish just to talk to the people of Central and South America in their own language. He made a greater contribution to our Good Neighbor policy by doing this. When he reached Siberia, he was able to speak in Russian. Anyone who travels in foreign countries knows what it means to the people of a country to hear a stranger speak their language, and they know also how much more quickly one can learn about a new country if one can speak to people in their own tongue.
For this latest trip and the friendship which he developed for us among the people of Russia and China, we, the people of the United States, owe him our deepest gratitude. As he has told us, some of our greatest opportunities in the future lie in these countries, and Henry Wallace has made it easier for us to build enduring friendships.