Breadcrumb

Radio Appeal to the Nation for Food Conservation to Relieve Hunger Abroad

April 19, 1946

[Delivered from the White House at 7 p.m.]

Good Evening
It is my duty to join my voice with the voices of humanity everywhere in behalf of the starving millions of human beings all over the world. We have a high responsibility, as Americans, to go to their rescue.

I appointed the Famine Emergency Committee to make sure that we do all we can to help starving people. We are particularly grateful to former president Hoover for undertaking a survey of the situation in Europe. The messages he has sent back have driven home again and again the desperate plight of people over there. We cannot doubt that at this moment, many people in the famine-stricken homes of Europe and Asia are dying of hunger.

America is faced with a solemn obligation. Long ago we promised to do our full part. Now we cannot ignore the cry of hungry children. Surely we will not turn our backs on the millions of human beings begging for just a crust of bread. The warm heart of America will respond to the greatest threat of mass starvation in the history of mankind.

We would not be Americans if we did not wish to share our comparative plenty with suffering people. I am sure I speak for every American when I say that the United States is determined to do everything in is power to relieve the famine of half the world.

The United States Government is taking strong measures to export during the first half of this year a million tons of wheat a month for the starving masses of Asia and Europe. Our reserve stocks of wheat are low. We are going to whittle that reserve even further.

America cannot remain healthy and happy in the same world where millions of human beings are starving. A sound world order can never be built upon a foundation of human misery.

I am glad here and now to renew an appeal which I made the other day. I said then that we would all be better off, physically and spiritually, if we ate less. And then on 2 days a week let us reduce our food consumption to that of the average person in the hungry lands.

Once again I appeal to all Americans to sacrifice, so that others may live. Millions will surely die unless we eat less. Again I strongly urge all Americans to save bread and to conserve oils and fats. These are the most essential weapons at our disposal to fight famine abroad. Every slice of bread, every ounce of fat and oil saved by your voluntary sacrifice, will keep starving people alive.

By our combined effort, we will reduce starvation and, with God's help, we will avert the worst plague of famine that follows in the wake of war. I ask every American now to pledge himself to share.

The time for talk has passed. The time for action is here.

NOTE: The President's remarks were part of a special radio program on the world food crisis. Also speaking from the White House were Fiorello H. La Guardia, Director General of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, and Clinton B. Anderson, Secretary of Agriculture. President Hoover, Honorary Chairman of the Famine Emergency Committee, spoke form Cairo, Egypt. The remarks of Mr. La Guardia, Mr. Anderson, and President Hoover were released by the White House.