ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT BROADCAST
NATIONSIDE AND WORLDWIDE RADIO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE
210th ANNIVERSARY OF GEORGE
FEBRUARY 23, 1942 AT 10:00 P.M.
EXTRACT (In Transcript: pp. 6-8)
I ask you to look at your maps again, particularly at that
portion of the Pacific Ocean lying west of Hawaii. Before
this war even started, the Philippine Islands were already
surrounded on three sides by Japanese power. On the west,
the China side, the Japanese were in possession of the coast
of China and the coast of Indo-China which had been yielded
to them by the Vichy French. On the north, are the islands
of Japan themselves, reaching down almost to northern Luzon.
On the east, are the Mandated Islands — which Japan had
occupied exclusively, and had fortified in absolute
violation of her written word.
The islands that lie between Hawaii and the Philippines —
these islands, hundreds of them, appear only as dots on most
maps, or do not appear at all, but they cover a large
strategic area. Guam lies in the middle of them — a loan
outpost which we have never fortified.
Under the Washington Treaty of 1921, we had solemnly agreed
not to add to the fortification of the Philippines. We had
no safe naval base there, so we could not use the islands
for extensive naval operations.
Immediately after this war started, Japanese forces moved
down on either side of the Philippines to numerous points
south of them — thereby completely encircling the
Philippines from north and south, and east and west.
It is that complete encirclement, with control of the air by
Japanese land-based aircraft, which has prevented us from
sending substantial reinforcements of men and material to
the gallant defenders of the Philippines. For forty years it
has always been our strategy — a strategy born of necessity
— that in the event of a full-scale attack on the Islands by
Japan, we should fight a delaying action, attempting to
retire slowly into Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor.
We knew that the war as a whole would have to be fought and
won by a process of attrition against Japan itself. We knew
all along that, with our greater resources, we could
ultimately out build Japan and overwhelm her on sea, and on
land and in the air. We knew that, to obtain our objective,
many varieties of operations would be necessary in areas
other than the Philippines.
Now nothing that has occurred in the past two months has
caused us to revise this basic strategy of necessity —
except that the defense put up by General MacArthur has
magnificently exceeded the previous estimates of endurance;
and he and his men are gaining eternal glory therefore.
MacArthur’s army of Filipinos and Americans, and the forces
of the United Nations in China, Burma and the Netherlands
East Indies, are all together fulfilling the same essential
task. They are making Japan pay an increasingly terrible
price for her ambitious attempts to seize control of the
whole Asiatic world. Every Japanese transport sunk off Java
is one less transport that they can use to carry
reinforcements to their army opposing General MacArthur in
It has been said that Japanese gains in the Philippines were
made possible only by the success of their surprise attack
on Pearl Harbor. I tell you that this is not so.
Even if the attack had not been made, your map will show
that it would have been a hopeless operation for us to send
the Fleet to the Philippines through thousands of miles of
ocean, while all those island bases were under the sole
control of the Japanese.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library (NLFDR)