Won a record four presidential elections and directed the federal government during most of the Great Depression.
We have, I think, all of us the thought that at the termination of the European War, whether it comes soon or next Summer or three years or five years from now, there will be a very large number of refugees - refugees of various Christian faiths, as well as Jewish-refugees coming not from one country but from many countries, including even England and France and Italy. See more
These people may be refugees because the place they live in will no longer allow them to stay; or they may be refugees whose homes and property have been utterly destroyed and have no chance to start life anew in the old setting; refugees who for reasons of conscience, Christian and Jewish, feel that they can no longer tolerate the civilization in which they have been brought up; refugees whose family ties have been destroyed and who want to start life in a wholly new environment.
I have received your telegram stating that as the result of the bombing by German aircraft of Polish towns and villages possessing no considerable military objective thousands of the civil population of Poland are dead or wounded.
It had been my hope following the receipt from the several belligerent powers of the replies to my appeal of September 1, in which they stated their intentions to limit the operations of their air forces to military objectives, that the world would be spared the horror of witnessing during this war the bombing of open towns and villages and the slaughtering of thousands of innocent and defenceless men, women, and children.
In view of the hundreds of thousands of lives which may be at stake, it is my earnest hope that the Governments of the belligerent countries will renew their orders prohibiting the practice of bombing civilians in unfortified centers of population from the air, and that they will take measures to assure themselves that their respective air forces are showing that regard for the lives of non-combatants which their replies to my appeal of September 1 have led the world to expect.
Please inform the State Department, in suitable form, that President Roosevelt's messages of August 25 and 26 have been fully appreciated by the Führer. The Führer has, for his part, left no stone unturned in order to settle the German-Polish question in an amicable manner, and, in particular, has even at the eleventh hour accepted a British offer of mediation. All these attempts have been unsuccessful, however, owing to the Polish Government's attitude. Please take all particulars regarding this from today's official DNB communiqué and make use of them accordingly.
The obvious gravity of the existing crisis imposes on everyone the urgent obligation of considering all possible means by which the outbreak of an all-out war could be prevented. With this in mind I consider myself entitled to propose some possible solutions to be considered.
The dispute between the governments of Poland and the German Reich could be a subject of direct discussion between the two governments. See more
If it turns out to be impossible or unenforceable the second approach could be to put the dispute into arbitration. The third option: there could be a conciliation through a third uninterested factor, where it would seem advisable that the parties use the services of one of the traditionally neutral states or an uninterested republic from the western hemisphere, placed completely outside the sphere and contentious issues of the current crisis.
If you decide to try one of these approaches you can count on real and total sympathy of the United States and our nation when considering these alternatives. I appeal to you, as I have appealed to the German Reich’s government, for your agreement to refrain from any specific hostile act.
Some recent work by E.FermiEnrico Fermi, Italian physicist and L. SzilardLeo Szilard, German physicist, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:
In the course of the last four months it has been made probable – through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America – that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future. See more
This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.