President Franklin D. Roosevelt Radio Message to the Fighting Men of the Merchant Marine, Christmas 1943

BAMS [Broadcast Allied Merchant Ships] from the President of the United States-251503Z

[The original message used the word "STOP" rather than periods, since it was sent in Morse Code.]

A message from the President to the men of the American Merchant Marine as we celebrate this Christmas we must all extend our greetings to the peoples of the United Nations. In their leaders I met open minded men of great vision forecasting a lasting peace and a future of peace and good will toward men. Today we have overseas almost twice the number of armed men that we had a year ago.

We have handed the men of the Merchant Marine the great job of furnishing these men with supplies with food and munitions with planes and tanks with guns and more men to bring closer our victory. As fighting men you of the Merchant Marine are scattered throughout the world far from families and friends on this Christmas Day. The great plans made at the recent conferences will speed the day when you can again be with them. I bring to the people of our nation and to it's proud sons in the Merchant Marine the purposeful intentions of Churchill Stallin [sic] Chiang Kai Shek and the nations they represent that we will fight together until ultimate victory.

The pressure of our united attack is constantly increasing on every front. That pressure will engulf our common enemy. The steel walls of Hitlers and Hirohitos brutal empires will draw tight about their throats. Our plans are made and we are united. Hitler is listening and he would like to know when we are launch the attack that will seal his doom. So I cannot tell you but those plans are set and they will be carried out. A truly great American will lead that attack our own General Eisenhowser [sic] and back of him in a powerful united effort are the full resources of all our nations combined to render a crushing defeat to those who gained what they have through force. We will defeat them.

Those who have been enslaved will be freed even those who have through force been brought under the grinding heel of their own leaders. Three fourths of all the peoples of the earth are joined in a common cause of freedom loving people. We will be strong united strength for freedom not for enslavement there will be no slaves in our free world nor will the aggressor arise again to enslave his fellow men. It will be peace even if we must resort to force to maintain that peace on earth and good will toward men.

On behalf of your friends your loved ones and the people of the United States yes and of the United Nations I send you this greeting. Our hearts are with you as you travel the wide deep oceans. May Gods blessing and comfort guide you and keep us strong in our faith that we fight for a better day for all mankind.

Franklin D Roosevelt
251503Z AR

Source: Daniel Traverso, stationed on the SS Edwin W. Moore in Convoy GUS 25 in the Mediterranean between Malta and Gibraltar on Dec. 25, 1943. Courtesy of his son, Daniel Traverso.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt Greetings to Merchant Marine,
Christmas 1944


Gill-Maritime 62

PR 2116 (W)


For Saturday PM Papers
December 25, 1944

Cleared and Released
Through Facilities of the
Office of War Information


The heroic wartime achievements of the United. States Merchant Marine were highly commended in Christmas greetings extended to the merchant seamen by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice Admiral Emory S. Land, War Shipping Administrator.

"At the Christmas Season particularly these men may feel that they are the forgotten men of the war," wrote the President in a letter to Admiral Land. "They are not. They deserve and receive from all of us, our thanks for the job they have done."

Admiral Land, in a special message to the seamen, urged them to continue their unrelenting efforts to finish the task so that in the future "Christmas may be celebrated in a world of peace among those we love."

The full text of President Roosevelt's letter, follows:

"Vice Admiral Emory S. Land
War Shipping Administration
Washington, D. C.

Dear Admiral Land:

"The men of our Merchant Marine form the essential link between the home front and the millions of men in the Armed Forces overseas. These men, although relatively few in number -- around 180,000 -- have performed an heroic task in delivering the goods. I am informed that since their first casualties, three months before Pearl Harbor, more than 5,800 have died, are missing, or have become prisoners of war while carrying out their assigned duties.

"Most of our Merchant Seamen will be on the job during the Christmas Season. For many it will be the second, third or fourth Christmas away from home on their wartime job.

"At the Christmas Season particularly these men may feel that they are the forgotten men of the war. They are not. They deserve, and receive from all of us, our thanks for the job they have done.

Very sincerely yours,

/s/ Franklin D. Roosevelt"

Addressed "To The Men of the United States Merchant Marine," Admiral Land's message was:

"For three years the mettle of the Nation and the stamina of our fighting men have been tested in a ruthless war. Long months before our troops set foot on foreign soil, the men of the American Merchant Marine had been in the fight. The dark days to Murmansk, to the United Kingdom, to the Mediterranean and to the Pacific are not to be forgotten, nor are those whose lives were given to the cause of freedom. Words cannot express the gratitude that all of us feel for the magnitude and the success of your accomplishments.

"As we enter the fourth year of the war, we may hope that our armed forces, sustained by the labors of the 180,000 men of our fighting Merchant Marine, will bring the inevitable victory to the United Nations.

"Let us pledge among ourselves on this anniversary of the birth of the Prince of Peace our unrelenting efforts to finish the task, that in the future, Christmas may be celebrated in a world of peace among those we love. May God be with you, this Christmas and always."

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