ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. (1882-1945), President. A collection of 8 typed letters signed ("Franklin D. Roosevelt"), ALL AS PRESIDENT, to Antonio C. Gonzalez (1888-1965), 12 December 1934 - 4 December 1944. Together 9 pages, 4tos, all on White House stationery.
FDR'S SECRET HOPES FOR "THE SUCCESSFUL COLONIZATION BY THE WHITE RACES" OF "UNUSED LANDS" IN VENEZUELA
An extraordinary correspondence between FDR and his ambassador to Venezuela. "I wish you could get me information about that area of Venezuela which lies on high land north and south of the Orinoco River," Roosevelt writes Gonzalez on 3 June 1938. "I am told that a large part of this plateau land...is not only little explored but is, as far as known, of great richness and capable of successful colonization by the white races." He hopes the Venezuelan government will "study the whole subject of immigration with the idea of developing a virile, democracy loving white population over a period of four or five generations. This means, of course, selective immigration....In the long run a selective process among different nationalities would result, over a period of a number of generations, in a mixed race just as such a large proportion of our own population is."
Roosevelt especially hoped to attract refugees from European fascism. The "best type of people" from Spain, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria--even those from "certain...crowded...areas of the United States"--could start a "fairly constant stream of emigrants to the unoccupied parts of the world." But he did not want them clustering into ethnic ghettos. "Venezuela does not want a German colony in one place or an Italian colony in another place or a Spanish colony in a third place or Jewish colony in a fourth place. The incoming people should be thoroughly mixed up with each other as fast as they arrive." Roosevelt wants Gonzalez to broach this subject with the utmost discretion. "Doubtless there are some men in the Venezuelan government who would talk with you somewhat in confidence about this subject. You should, of course, leave me out of it altogether...In any event, you might think this over and put out some feelers." FDR urged him again to do so in the 23 August 1938 letter included here.
Gonzalez, a New York lawyer, was also American ambassador to Panama and Ecuador before retiring from the diplomatic service in 1939. The other letters included here discuss FDR's travels through South America, and his election victories of 1940 and 1944. ALSO WITH: PACELLI, Eugene Cardinal. Three TLS ("E. Card. Pacelli"), to Gonzalez, 11 September 1937 to 22 February 1939. 3 pages, 4to, on Vatican stationery, one letter in Italian. Three letters from the future Pope Pius XII, thanking Gonzalez for his diplomatic services, including the achievement of a modus vivendi between the Vatican and the Ecuadorian government. Together 11 items. (11)