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    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as President.
    -March 11, 1941. Washington, D.C. One page. 7" x 9". White House letterhead.
    -To: Mr. Dudley Field Malone, Los Angeles, California.
    -Folds, marginal browning, and light soiling, else good.

    FDR writes "It was good of you to send me that message regarding the passage of the Lend-Lease Bill, and it is a great satisfaction to have your word of approval. Many thanks." Malone writes below FDR's signature "April 21st 1941/ Dear Peter - Franklin D. Roosevelt would back your love of peace, and your faith in him. He gave this thought to me and I give it to you, Dear Friend. Dudley." Divorce lawyer Dudley Malone (1882 - 1950) was a Washington player who had earned considerable fame while a defense attorney in 1925's "Scopes Monkey Trial". The FDR letter offered here was written the very day the Lend-Lease Bill was finally passed.

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    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.


    President Franklin D. Roosevelt writes to a famous attorney mentioning the Lend-Lease Bill on March 11, 1941, the very day the Bill was passed by the United States Congress. Written to Scopes-Monkey trial defense attorney Dudley Field Malone, Esq., FDR writes: "Dear Dudley:/ It was good of you to send me that message regarding the passage of the Lend-Lease Bill, and it is a great satisfaction to have your word of approval. Many thanks./ As ever yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." Written below FDR's signature by Dudley Field Malone, in his own hand: "April 21st 1941/ Dear Peter – Franklin D. Roosevelt would back your love of peace, and your faith in him. He gave this thought to me and I give it to you, Dear Friend. Dudley." In July 1940, after Britain had sustained the loss of 11 destroyers to the German Navy over a 10-day period, newly elected British Prime Minister Winston Churchill requested help from President Roosevelt. FDR responded by exchanging 50 destroyers for 99-year leases on British bases in the Caribbean and Newfoundland. As a result, a major foreign policy debate erupted over whether the United States should aid Great Britain or maintain strict neutrality. In FDR's 1940 re-election campaign, he promised to keep America out of the war. He stated, "I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." Nevertheless, FDR wanted to support Britain and believed the United States should serve as a "great arsenal of democracy." Churchill pleaded, "Give us the tools and we'll finish the job." In January 1941, following up on his campaign pledge and the Prime Minister's appeal for arms, FDR proposed to Congress a new military aid bill. The plan proposed by FDR was to "lend-lease or otherwise dispose of arms" and other supplies needed by any country whose security was vital to the defense of the United States. In support of the bill, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the debate over lend-lease, "We are buying . . . not lending. We are buying our own security while we prepare. By our delay during the past six years, while Germany was preparing, we find ourselves unprepared and unarmed, facing a thoroughly prepared and armed potential enemy." Following two months of debate, on March 11, 1941, Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act, meeting Great Britain's deep need for supplies and allowing the United States to prepare for war while remaining officially neutral. Dudley Field Malone was one of the defense attorneys representing John Scopes in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee, as well as a delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York. In the summer of 1925 a court of law was to decide the fate of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher charged with illegally teaching the theory of evolution. The guilt or innocence of John Scopes, and even the constitutionality of Tennessee's anti-evolution statute, mattered little. The meaning of the trial emerged through its interpretation as a conflict of social and intellectual values. Both Clarence Darrow, for the defense, and William Jennings Bryan, for the prosecution, were the headlining attorneys, but Dudley Field Malone was a key cross-examiner of the Great Commoner, William Jennings Bryan, himself during the trial. Dudley Field Malone, according to one of the defense's experts, impressed one "more as a politician than a lawyer." He was witty, handsome, debonairly dressed, and a superb orator. Malone's "duel to the death" speech received the loudest ovation of any during the Scopes Monkey trial. William Jennings Bryan called it "the greatest speech I've ever heard." In it, Malone thundered "There is never a duel with truth; the truth always wins, and we are not afraid of it!"  The Scopes trial was not Malone's first encounter with Bryan. Malone had served as Undersecretary of State under Bryan in the Woodrow Wilson Administration. Upon leaving government, Malone became an international divorce lawyer and leading light of the New York Bar. An unlikely choice for a civil liberties case, Malone ended up in Dayton, Tennessee for the Scopes Monkey trial because of connections with his legal partner, Arthur Hays. After the trial, Malone returned to his divorce business. Business declined, probably as a result of Malone's drinking problem, and in the 1930s Malone launched a new career as a dramatic actor, playing primarily bit roles. A terrific letter from FDR to a famous barrister, mentioning the Lend-Lease Bill on the very day, March 11, 1941, in which it was adopted by Congress, a very historic letter.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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