I have often heard it said that the United States is isolated and is not interested in European affairs. I assure you that this is not the case.
I know that military alliances and armament have been the reliance for peace for centuries, but they do not produce peace; and when war comes, as it inevitably does under such conditions, these armaments and alliances but intensify and broaden the conflict.
Competition in armament, both land and naval, is not only a terrible burden upon the people, but I believe it to be one of the greatest menaces to the peace of the world.
It is idle to say that nations can struggle to outdo each other in building armaments and never use them. History demonstrates the contrary, and we have but to go back to the last war to see the appalling effect of nations competing in great armaments.
Certain it is that a great responsibility rests upon the statesmen of all nations, not only to fulfill the promises for reduction in armaments, but to maintain the confidence of the people of the world in the hope of an enduring peace.
France and Italy have not yet signed this treaty or agreed to naval limitation as between those nations, but I have confidence that in time they will do so.
It is true not all has been accomplished that the earnest advocates would desire, but a start has been made.
There is no short and easy road, no magic cure for those ills which have afflicted mankind from the dawn of history.
Public opinion shapes our destinies and guides the progress of human affairs.
These measures may not constitute an absolute guarantee of peace, but, in my opinion, they constitute the greatest preventive measures ever adopted by nations.
I believe that in the end the abolition of war, the maintenance of world peace, the adjustment of international questions by pacific means will come through the force of public opinion, which controls nations and peoples.
Adequate defense has been the catchword of every militarist for centuries.
Each one of these treaties is a step for the maintenance of peace, an additional guarantee against war. It is through such machinery that the disputes between nations will be settled and war prevented.
I further value this gift as it gave me an opportunity to accept this distinguished honor in a country so devoted to this cause and whose history marks a wonderful chapter in world development.