Election 1944: A free Italy pledged again by Roosevelt (10-13-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 13, 1944)


A free Italy pledged again by Roosevelt

Nation told it can decide own destiny

New York (UP) –
President Roosevelt, in a brief radio address from the White House, reaffirmed last night that the Italian people “will be free to work out their own destiny under a government of their own choosing” when Allied armies have completed the liberation of Italy.

Accepting a Four Freedoms Award made by the Italian-American Labor Council, he also said that the United Nations are determined that “every possible measure be taken to aid the Italian people directly, and to give them an opportunity to help themselves.”

“To the people of Italy,” he said, “we have pledged our help – and we will keep the faith!”

Italy is ‘paying now’

The President’s speech was followed by an address, broadcast from Rome, by Premier Ivanoe Bonomi of Italy, who said that Italy now “is worthy of retaking her place among the free democracies of the word” and asked the American people that his country be “welcomed as a sister who has long suffered.”

Bonomi said:

Italy is paying now with her war-stricken land, her destroyed cities, slain or deported citizens and the loss of wealth, for the sims of having too long tolerated the dictatorship of a sawdust Ceasar who had neither honor nor genius.

May I ask you to welcome this returning Italy who, in the day wherein you celebrate the glory of one of her sons and the united fortunes of America, asks only for that justice to which she is entitled.

Aid to Italy cited

Mr. Roosevelt said the American and British governments agreed that their responsibility to help Italy “is great.” Then he outlined what has been done and what the Allies propose to do in the way of aid to Italy.

The mails have been opened for letters to the liberated provinces. Facilities are now available for small remittances of funds from this country to individuals in Italy for their individual support. Shipment of food and clothing have been delivered. Normal life is being gradually introduced. We are taking every step possible to permit the early sending of individual packages by Americans to their loved ones in Italy.

Our objective is to restore all avenues of trade, commerce and industry, and the free exercise of religion, at the earliest possible moment.

Help to Allies lauded

He also lauded the contribution to the Allied war effort of the Italian people, who he said, had been thrown by Mussolini “into an alliance which they detested.”

It was Mr. Roosevelt’s second tribute of the day to the Italian people. Earlier in a Columbus Day address to Latin American diplomats, he told of “Italians bravely fighting for the liberation of their country.”

The President received from Premier Bonomi a Columbus Day cablegram expressing thanks for the “rebirth” of friendship between Italy and the United States and asserting that the ties joining “the new Italy” and the United States were “cemented and reinforced by the blood shed together against a common enemy.”

Biddle presents award

Attorney General Francis Biddle, who received the Four Freedoms Award last year, presented this year’s award to Mr. Roosevelt, asserting that the President’s decision two years ago to regard the Italian people in the United States as non-enemy aliens had been completely justified.

Mr. Biddle said:

The President believed that these 600,000 people who lived in our American land were able and willing to fight against tyranny; the records prove that Italians in our country were proud to do so. The war effort has been benefited immeasurably by their participation.