I Address before the Governing Board of the Pan American Union April 12 1933


“The essential qualities of a true Pan Americanism must be the same as
those which constitute a good neighbor, . . .”

Address before the special session of the Governing Board of the Pan
American Union in celebration of Pan American Day. Washington, D. C.,
April 12, 1933

I rejoice in this opportunity to participate in the celebration of “Pan
American Day” and to extend on behalf of the people of the United States
a fraternal greeting to our sister American Republics. The celebration
of “Pan American Day” in this building, dedicated to international good-
will and cooperation, exemplifies a unity of thought and purpose among
the peoples of this hemisphere. It is a manifestation of the common
ideal of mutual helpfulness, sympathetic understanding and spiritual

There is inspiration in the thought that on this day the attention of
the citizens of the twenty-one Republics of America is focused on the
common ties-historical, cultural, economic, and social-which bind them
to one another. Common ideals and a community of interest, together with
a spirit of cooperation, have led to the realization that the well-being
of one Nation depends in large measure upon the well-being of its
neighbors. It is upon these foundations that Pan Americanism has been

This celebration commemorates a movement based upon the policy of
fraternal cooperation. In my Inaugural Address I stated that I would
“dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor-the neighbor
who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the
rights of others-the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects
the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.” Never
before has the significance of the words “good neighbor” been so
manifest in international relations. Never have the need and benefit of
neighborly cooperation in every form of human activity been so evident
as they are today.

Friendship among Nations, as among individuals, calls for constructive
efforts to muster the forces of humanity in order that an atmosphere of
close understanding and cooperation may be cultivated. It involves
mutual obligations and responsibilities, for it is only by sympathetic
respect for the rights of others and a scrupulous fulfillment of the
corresponding obligations by each member of the community that a true
fraternity can be maintained.

The essential qualities of a true Pan Americanism must be the same as
those which constitute a good neighbor, namely, mutual understanding,
and, through such understanding, a sympathetic appreciation of the
other’s point of view. It is only in this manner that we

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can hope to build up a system of which confidence, friendship and good-
will are the cornerstones.

In this spirit the people of every Republic on our continent are coming
to a deep understanding of the fact that the Monroe Doctrine, of which
so much has been written and spoken for more than a century was and is
directed at the maintenance of independence by the peoples of the
continent. It was aimed and is aimed against the acquisition in any
manner of the control of additional territory in this hemisphere by any
non-American power.

Hand in hand with this Pan American doctrine of continental self-
defense, the peoples of the American Republics understand more clearly,
with the passing years, that the independence of each Republic must
recognize the independence of every other Republic. Each one of us must
grow by an advancement of civilization and social well-being and not by
the acquisition of territory at the expense of any neighbor.

In this spirit of mutual understanding and of cooperation on this
continent you and I cannot fail to be disturbed by any armed strife
between neighbors. I do not hesitate to say to you, the distinguished
members of the Governing Board of the Pan American Union, that I regard
existing conflicts between four of our sister Republics as a backward

Your Americanism and mine must be a structure built of confidence
cemented by a sympathy which recognizes only equality and fraternity. It
finds its source and being in the hearts of men and dwells in the temple
of the intellect.

We all of us have peculiar problems, and, to speak frankly, the interest
of our own citizens must, in each instance, come first. But it is
equally true that it is of vital importance to every Nation of this
Continent that the American Governments, individually, take, without
further delay, such action as may be possible to abolish all unnecessary
and artificial barriers and restrictions which now hamper the healthy
flow of trade between the peoples of the American Republics.

I am glad to deliver this message to you, Gentlemen of the Governing
Board of the Pan American Union, for I look upon the Union as the
outward expression of the spiritual unity of the Americas. It is to this
unity which must be courageous and vital in its element that humanity
must look for one of the great stabilizing influences in world affairs.

In closing, may I refer to the ceremony which is to take place a little
later in the morning at which the Government of Venezuela will present
to the Pan American Union the bust of a great American leader and
patriot, Francisco de Miranda. I join with you in this tribute.

In the First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933, the President said, “In
the field of world policy, I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of
the good neighbor…. “. The address of April 12, 1933 was the first
occasion upon which the peoples of Latin America were addressed directly
and this policy further developed.