FDR's Speech Aboard The Tuscaloosa
February 29, 1940


           SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT

At close of Cruise aboard United States Ship TUSCALOOSA
February 29, 1940

Introduction by Captain Harry A. Badt, U. S. Navy
Commanding Officer, U. S. S. TUSCALOOSA:

"Mr. President, it is always a pleasure to have you

on the TUSCALOOSA. We are all sorry to see you leave tomorrow,

but we are hoping that you will make another cruise with us soon

and the officers and men of the TUSCALOOSA all want to wish you

continued good health."

THE PRESIDENT:

Captain Badt, officers and men of the TUSCALOOSA: I

suppose very few of you on our previous cruise up in the foggy

waters of Newfoundland realized how close we were at that time

to pretty serious conditions that might affect the lives of all

of us during those last two nights, or rather three nights, up

off the coast of Nova Scotia. I was getting, as some of you

know, radio messages from the State Department and from Europe,

that made it pretty clear that there was going to be another

World War, in fact I felt so even before I came on board for

that cruise, even though some very wise members of the United

States Senate thought they had better information than I had.

Well, so here we are again in a far different latitude,

in whites, and seeing a new part of the world for some of us,

and again we can't tell, any of us, just what the future will

bring forth, but one thing I am very certain of is that this

war in Europe has taught the United States Navy a lot of lessons.

We had to learn lessons in the past few months and I know all of

us agree that we hope, as every other American does, that this

war is not going to come to our side of the ocean. If the turn

of the wheel should bring war close to the United States, the

United States Navy is ready to meet it, and I am mighty proud,

as all of you know, of the Navy, and I think even General Watson

is proud of the Navy, just as we say to him we are mighty proud

of what the Army is doing down in the canal. The TUSCALOOSA is

going down through history as the ship that brought Columbus

back on the map, and I believe that these things generally go

by three's. I have had two very wonderful cruises on the

TUSCALOOSA and I hope for a third this coming summer if the

international situation makes it possible for me to venture more

than a few miles from the coast.

I hope you have a mighty good overhaul period, and

by the time you get out of overhaul I will be ready to go into

overhaul with you.



Notes on the Speech:

". . . on our previous cruise up in the foggy waters of Newfoundland . . ."
The President's reference to the cruise in Newfoundland relates to his first cruise on the Tuscaloosa which ended on 24 August 1939.

". . . pretty clear that there was going to be another World War . . ."
On 1 September, Germany invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War II.

"Well, so here we are again in a far different latitude, in whites . ."
The president is distinguishing between the cooler climate and more northern location of the prior cruise to Newfoundland and Campobello Island and the warmer climate and more southern location of the just-completed tour of Central America. The President disembarked at Pensacola, Florida, and presumably is referring to the crew dressed in their cooler white uniforms rather than their warmer blue uniforms.

". . . I am mighty proud, as all of you know, of the Navy . . ."
FDR served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913-1920 in the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.

". . . the ship that brought Columbus back on the map . . ."
Probably either a reference to Tuscaloosa rescuing crew and passengers from the scuttled German liner Columbus or a reference to the many trips Tuscaloosa made to the Caribbean and Latin and South America.

". . . I hope for a third [cruise] this coming summer . . ."
FDR did take a third cruise, but not until December, during which he visited the Caribbean, touring some of the bases acquired from Britain in the "destroyers for bases" deal.

". . . mighty good overhaul period . . ."
After disembarking the President at Pensacola, Tuscaloosa proceeded to Norfolk then to the New York Navy Yard for a three-month overhaul.

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