Washington, DC: April 5, 1907.
6-1/2 pp. on White House stationery. 4to. TR on War and Peace. Tan cloth chemise, signature neatly cut from last leaf (not affecting text), else fine Morison, ed., The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. V, 638-42. Item #247177
An important letter from President Theodore Roosevelt, summarizing his views on the goal of abolishing war, to Andrew Carnegie, who was then the President of the National Arbitration and Peace Congress, and ultimately the creator in 1910 of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Roosevelt expresses his regret at not being able to be with Carnegie at the International Peace Conference at the Hague: “… I much regret my inability to be present with you … First and foremost, I beseech you to remember that tho it is our bounden duty to work for peace, yet it is even more our duty to work for righteousness and justice … Harm and not good would result if the most advanced nations, those in which most freedom for the individual is combined with most efficiency in securing orderly justice as between individuals, should by agreement disarm and place themselves at the mercy of other peoples less advanced, of other peoples still in the stage of military barbarism or military despotism. Anything in the nature of general disarmament would do harm and not good if it left the civilized and peace-loving peoples, those with the highest standards of municipal and international obligation and duty, unable to shock the other peoples who have no such standards, who acknowledge no such obligations … These warnings that I have uttered do not mean that I believe we can do nothing to advance the cause of international peace. On the contrary, I believe that we can do much to advance it, provided we act with sanity, with self-restraint, with power; which must be the prime qualities in the achievement of any reform. The nineteenth century saw, on the whole, a real and great advance in the standard of international conduct, both as among civilized nations and by strong nations toward weaker and more backward peoples. The twentieth century will, I believe, witness a much greater advance in the same direction … More important than reducing the expense of the implements of war is the question of reducing the possible causes of war, which can most effectually be done by substituting other methods than war for the settlement of disputes. Of those other methods the most important which is now attainable is arbitration …”
A carefull, lengthy, and eloquent statement from this President, who, perhaps more than any others in the nation’s history, has been charcterized as an imperialist and a warmonger.
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