Breadcrumb

Address in Bolivar, Missouri, at the Dedication of the Simon Bolivar Memorial Statue

July 5, 1948

Mr. President, Governor Donnelly, Mr. Mayor, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It certainly is a great celebration today. This will be a celebration that will go down in the history of Missouri as the one and only of its kind, and unique in the history of the State.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the way Missourians and our neighbors have turned out for this great occasion.

You know, we are celebrating the birthdays of two great republics in the Western Hemisphere--July 4th, the United States of America, and July 5th, the United States of Venezuela, something that will never happen again, perhaps.

I want to thank the Governor, and the Mayor, and all who had a part in this wonderful celebration. You will all look back on it with pleasure. You will all remember it with pleasure. You will talk about it, I think, for the next generation.

We have come together today to dedicate a statue of the great South American Liberator, Simon Bolivar. This man led the movement for the liberation of half a continent. His memory is part of the spirit of freedom and independence in North and South America alike.

We are especially honored that this statue is presented by the distinguished leader of the Venezuelan people, President Romulo Gallegos. I am proud to be associated with the great statesman who today directs the destinies of Venezuela with the same high purpose and the same lofty ideals that motivated the father of his country, Simon Bolivat.

When Bolivar was born, in 1783, the movement toward independence in the New World had only begun. When he died, in 1830, sovereign states were governing themselves throughout the whole hemisphere. Today, we honor the memory of the Liberator in a spirit of thanksgiving for his great part in establishing freedom and democracy in the Americas.

There are many other great leaders to whom we are indebted for liberty. They, too, were animated by high purposes and inspired by high ideals; but among them all Bolivar stands out far, for his service to the cause of liberty in many different countries and for his clear vision of the eventual solidarity of the American family of nations. In honoring his memory, we are in a very real sense honoring those principles of liberty, unity, and friendship which guide the American nations today.

This monument is the result of a generous desire on the part of the people and the Government of Venezuela to honor this city in Missouri which is named for Simon Bolivar. Not only are the city of Bolivar and the State of Missouri deeply grateful for this friendly sentiment, but it is appreciated also by the people of the whole United States.

A spirit of international friendliness has prompted the private citizens and officials of Venezuela and of this country, and notably the members of the Simon Bolivar Memorial Foundation, who have worked together to erect this statue. This action symbolizes the many bonds of friendship between the citizens of the Republic of Venezuela and the citizens of the United States of America. In the American family of nations, our two countries have been drawn closer together over the years. The spirit of good neighborliness that has marked our national relations has grown more and more into personal friendship between our citizens. That friendship is now cemented more firmly than ever by the visit of our distinguished guests, President Gallegos and Senora Gallegos.

The historic figure of Simon Bolivar was characterized by steady moral balance and by a deep serenity of mind--gifts of a truly great leader. His virtues were great as a military leader, as a statesman, as a tireless organizer, and as a valiant fighter. His burning spirit of freedom was even greater. Although he might have wielded arbitrary power, his ideals never permitted him to do so. In fact, he retired at the peak of this power, as did San Martin in southern South America.

In the United States, we admire the life and deeds of the South American Liberator. We recognize in him a figure of the most commanding force and genius--one who has helped tremendously to shape the destiny of the peoples of the Americas. The overwhelming odds he was obliged to face in his fight for the liberation of the Spanish American colonies made his achievement even more remarkable. While other leaders made valiant contributions to the work of liberation, circumstances, together with his unique gifts, made Bolivar the soul and symbol of that work.

We honor Bolivar today as the great Liberator. We honor him equally as the father of the great concept of solidarity among the American nations. His plans and labors for unity among the countries of the New World constituted a basis of policy for the American republics which has persisted for more than a century.

Over one hundred years ago Simon Bolivar called the first Pan American Congress in Panama City. In historical perspective, we can clearly perceive the great vision of the Liberator in this invitation to understanding. It has led to our present system of regional cooperation which sustains the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere.

As I listened to the eloquent words of President Gallegos, in presenting this monument to the people of the United States, I was again reminded how closely parallel have run the lines of experience, how intimate have been the spiritual associations, among the members of the American family of republics.

Today, the 21 American Republics are bound together by every tie and consideration of political, economic, and cultural interest. All 21 nations stand on equal terms. Pan Americanism means equality of all nations, and sympathetic and effective cooperation among them. And there isn't a single American Republic afraid of an invasion from its great neighbor on the north.

It is these same ideals for which the peoples of the Western Hemisphere are working today in common with other free peoples of the world. Through the United Nations, we are seeking a world order under which all of the countries of the world will live together in the equality and friendship which prevails among the American nations now. We know, of course, that we do have differences between nations in the Americas. But we know also how to settle those differences by peaceful means and on a basis of mutual respect and forbearance.

The example of Pan American cooperation, worked out slowly and painstakingly over the years, shows us that we can succeed in establishing the same kind .of cooperation with other countries in the United Nations. The way before us is not easy. We must expect delays and disappointments. But we can succeed.

If at times our progress seems slow, we must remain steadfast in the faith which sustained the great leaders of the past who, like Simon Bolivar, fought for human liberty and understanding among the nations.

This monument will be an enduring symbol of these great aspirations, of the warm friendship between Venezuela and the United States. In this spirit I am glad to accept this statue on behalf of the Government and the people of the United States.

NOTE: The President spoke in the town square in Bolivar, Mo. In his opening words he referred to Romulo Gallegos, President of Venezuela, Phil M. Donnelly, Governor of Missouri, and Dr. Doyle McCraw, Mayor of Bolivar. President Gallegos presented the bronze statue to the American people in the name of the Government of Venezuela.