Diary of a Labour Man: 1917 - 1945

Full text Prime Minister


“This is a sad day for the United States of America. It is a sad day for the world because countless millions have lost a great friend and counsellor. Mr. Roosevelt's memory will be evergreen in the hearts of mankind. When the British race had the honour of standing alone against the aggressor, it was this man who guided his people towards the purpose he always had uppermost in his mind. Australia will not forget him for his sympathy, understanding and great help in the dark days of our trial.

The late President, with Mr. Churchill, gave to all peoples the Atlantic Charter and the terms of it might well be his epitaph. His work is now part of history, but his ideas and ideals are a legacy to men of goodwill everywhere to carry out. Franklin Roosevelt, in my view, was one of the greatest men of all recorded time."

The Prime Minister sent the following message to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt:-

“Australian are deeply shocked and grieved to hear of the sudden death of your husband on the eve of the victory of the Allied armies in Europe - an end to which he had so unsparingly devoted himself. We here know that we have lost a great and valued friend, who brought to our local problems much sympathy and patience. I hope that you and your family can draw some comfort from the fact that your husband died in the cause of all humanity and in a duty from which he never swerved."

The Prime Minister sent the following message to President Truman:-

“We have been profoundly shocked at the news of the tragic death of your President. For many years, his words and his work have been an inspiration to all who have at heart the welfare of the human race. With infinite skill and patience he worked to preserve the peace of the world and when all hope of peace was gone and war began, he threw himself into the struggle for the survival of democracy with unremitting self-sacrifice and with a courage which has brought victory within our reach. The name of Mr. Roosevelt is a household word in this country and our admiration of his personal qualities, no less than of his work as the leader of your great people, was unlimited. All Australians to-day feel a personal sorrow at the loss of a true friend, an inspiring world leader and a great humanitarian. His memory will be revered in Australia for all time."

On 14th April, 1945, Mr. Curtin said -

“Following the death of President Roosevelt, the following arrangements have been made:-

Flags will be half-masted, as directed by the King, on the day of the funeral, 15th April, 1945.

The churches have been asked to make appropriate references at to-morrow's services and Commonwealth representatives will be present wherever possible.

The House of Representatives will be asked to adjourn, after a condolence motion has been submitted, on 18th April, 1945.

A memorial service will he held on 18th April, 1945, on the steps of Parliament House after the adjournment of the House of Representatives."

In Parliament.- On 18th April, 1945, the following motion, moved by Mr. Curtin, and supported by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Menzies) and the Leader of the Country party (Mr. Fadden), was carried -

“That this House records its sincere regret at the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, places on record its high appreciation of his devoted and self-sacrificing service to the United Nations in the war to defeat tyranny and aggression, expresses to the people of the United States its profound regret at the loss they have suffered, and tenders its deep sympathy to Mrs. Roosevelt and her family in their bereavement."

The House then adjourned.