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Presidential Statement of the Day

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Theodore Roosevelt, in a message to Congress following the eruption of Mont Pele on the island of Martinique, 12 May 1902:

One of the greatest calamities in history has fallen upon our neighboring island of Martinique. The consul of the United States at Guadeloupe has telegraphed from Fort de France, under date of yesterday, that the disaster is complete; that the city of St. Pierre has ceased to exist; and that the American consul and his family have perished. He is informed that 30,000 people have lost their lives and that 50,000 are homeless and hungry; that there is urgent need of all kinds of provisions, and that the visit of vessels for the work of supply and rescue is imperatively required . . . .

I have directed the departments of the Treasury, of War, and of the Navy to take such measures for the relief of these stricken people as lies within the Executive discretion, and I earnestly commend this case of unexampled disaster to the generous consideration of the Congress. For this purpose I recommend that an appropriation of $500,000 be made, to be immediately available.

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