No. 122 & 123: Message from the President of the United States of America to His Majesty the King of Italy
ww2dbase----- The British War Bluebook No. 122 -----
From: Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America
Sent: Wednesday, 30 Aug 1939
To: Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy
It is because of the traditional accord between Italy and the United States and the ties of consanguinity between the millions of our citizens that I feel I can address Your Majesty on behalf of the maintenance of world peace.
It is my belief, and that of the American people, that Your Majesty and Your Majesty's Government can greatly influence the averting of an outbreak of war.
Any general war would cause to suffer all the nations, whether belligerent or neutral, whether victors or vanquished, and would clearly bring devastation to the peoples and perhaps the Governments of some nations most directly concerned.
The friends of the Italian people, and among them the American people, could only regard with grief the destruction of the great achievements which European nations and the Italian nation in particular have attained in the past generation.
We in America, having welded a homogeneous nation out of many nationalities, often find it difficult to visualise the animosities which so often have created a crisis among nations of Europe which are smaller than ours in population and territory, but we accept the fact that these nations have an absolute right to maintain their national independence if they so desire.
If that is a sound doctrine, then it must apply to the weaker nations as well as the stronger. The acceptance of this means peace, because fear of aggression ends.
The alternative, which means of necessity efforts by the strong to dominate the weak, will lead not only to war but to long future years of oppression on the part of the victors and rebellion on the part of the vanquished-so history teaches us.
On the 14th April last I suggested, in essence, an understanding that no armed forces should attack or invade the territory of any other independent nation, and that, this being assured, discussions should be undertaken to seek progressive relief from the burden of armaments and open the avenue of international trade, including the sources of raw materials necessary for the peaceful economic life of each nation.
I said that in these discussions the United States would gladly take part, and such peaceful conversations would make it wholly possible for Governments other than the United States to enter into peaceful discussions of the political and territorial problems in which they are directly concerned.
Were it possible for Your Majesty's Government to formulate proposals for a pacific solution of the present crisis along these lines, you are assured of the earnest sympathy of the United States.
The Governments of Italy and the United States can to-day advance those ideals of Christianity which of late seem so often to have been obscured.
The unheard voices of countless millions of human beings ask that they shall not be vainly sacrificed again.
----- The British War Bluebook No. 123 -----
From: Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy
Sent: Wednesday, 30 Aug 1939
To: Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America
Source: The British War Bluebook; courtesy of Yale Law School Avalon Project
Added By: C. Peter Chen
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Winston Churchill, 1935