On Campus

Mulroney donates Roosevelt speaking notes to Queen's

Marks 70th anniversary of speech delivered on eve of WWII

Former prime minister Brian Mulroney is donating to Queen’s University a framed facsimile of speaking notes for a speech that former U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered at the school when he received an honourary degree there on August 18, 1938.

The speech itself focused on Canada-U.S. relations, which seemed especially rosy at the time. Roosevelt spoke primarily about how both countries should stick together when facing common enemies, and added that “the people of the United States will not stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil is threatened by any other Empire.”

Towards the end of the speech, Roosevelt focused on education. He closed with the following words:

“Mr. Chancellor, you of Canada who respect the educational tradition of our democratic continent will ever maintain good neighborship in ideas as we in the public service hope and propose to maintain it in the field of government and of foreign relations. My good friend, the Governor General of Canada, in receiving an honorary degree in June at that University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to which Mackenzie King and I both belong, suggested that we cultivate three qualities to keep our foothold in the shifting sands of the present—humility, humanity and humour. I have been thinking in terms of a bridge which is to be dedicated this afternoon and so I could not help coming to the conclusion that all of these three qualities—humility, humanity and humour—embedded in education, build new spans to reestablish free intercourse throughout the world and to bring forth an order in which free nations can live in peace.”

The framed copy of the notes were specially made for Mulroney and presented to him by former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Feb. 5, 1993, when the two leaders first met at the White House.

The full audio of the speech is available for download at iTunesU.

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