ROOSEVELT, Franklin D. Typed letter signed ("Franklin D. Roosevelt"), as Governor, to Henry Goddard Leach (1880-1970), New York City, 11 December 1930. 1 page, 4to, Executive Chamber stationery. FINE.
PEOPLE "IN THE YEAR 2030 WILL RECOGNIZE THAT MUSSOLINI AND STALIN WERE NOT MERE DISTANT RELATIVES, BUT WERE BLOOD BROTHERS." A stirring statement of Roosevelt's unswerving hostility towards all dictators, and his faith in representative government. Leach, the editor of Forum magazine, lived around the corner from Roosevelt's 65th Street home, and wrote to voice his concerns about what he saw as the centralizing tendencies in the Governors' policies. In response, FDR invites him to "run in and see me" so he can have "a good long talk with you....What I want to do is to get out of your head the idea that there is any question of political expediency in what I am driving at, and I want particularly to go over with you carefully the broad problem of the cities. That includes also the counties, the incorporated villages, the towns, and in our own state alone that means fourteen or fifteen hundred units of local government....I go along with you 100 in the thought that something must be done, but the answer is not State control or Federal control. That is moral cowardice and heads the country straight for the type of government now in effect in Russia and Italy. The editor of the Forum in the year 2030 will recognize that Mussolini and Stalin were not mere distant relatives, but were blood brothers. Of course, by that time the American conception of representative government may exist nowhere in the world--but I doubt it, for the very good reason that in 2500 years [of history], society, when it becomes sorely tried, reverts to representative government." The other "blood brother" to these bloody dictators, Adolf Hitler, had not yet come to power in Germany. But when he did--the same year that FDR moved into the White House--Roosevelt felt exactly the same way about him.