MAY 31, 1945
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I listened to Secretary Stettinius' speech on Monday evening and read it the next day, and in addition I have read many of the editorials and comments upon it.
It was fitting, I think, for our Secretary of State, the head of our United States delegation, to report to this nation and to the men in the armed services during the fifth week of the conference. The objective for which we all live and fight today is ultimately to have a peaceful world. This conference is one of many early steps in the direction of world unity. It is the most important one so far, because without the organization which we hope it will establish no further steps could be taken.
I liked the way in which Secretary Stettinius gave the background for his speech. When we think that representatives of almost 50 nations are gathered in San Francisco, and stop to realize for a minute what our internal differences are when we try to agree on some specific policy, we get a better conception of the gigantic task of making all those nations agree on a charter and on the framework of an organization which will bring them together in the future and give them an opportunity to build for peace.
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Two things stand out in my mind as I think of this report. I would like to speak of one point today.
Our Secretary of State did not shirk the unpleasant task of talking to us about Argentina and Poland, and that showed courage. Many of us—and I am among the many—wondered whether the decision reached in Mexico City to grant Argentina the opportunity to join in the conference, if she fulfilled certain conditions, was a wise one. We know that there are many people in Argentina who are neither Fascists nor in sympathy with the Fascists. But we also know that the policy of the government has been controlled by people who either were in sympathy with the Fascists or had made up their minds that it was to Argentina's economic and political advantage to continue close ties with the fascist nations. Today, with Germany decisively defeated, it is quite evident that that was a bad guess.
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The people who could think that way, however—who could ignore the rights and wrongs of the world situation, and believe in fascist doctrines—are certainly no more to be trusted in the democratic family of nations than they were before it became evident to them that their bread would be better buttered by joining with the democracies.
Secretary Stettinius minced no words, however, in speaking of what would be expected in the future. We evidently thought it wise to handle a difficult situation in this way, and as long as the people of our country are aware of exactly what the situation is and why we have done certain things, I think we are safe.