development of the diabolical art of concentrating fire in one form or another against an enemy certainly reached its most advanced and deadly exposition in the last global conflict – a war which itself is best comprehended when conceived as a world aflame – crowned by a gigantic pillar of smoke, steam, and flame mushrooming miles up into the air above the blast of atomic energy which just left everything below a field of seared, twisted death and destruction.
Against a repetition of this, we have dedicated our lives and our treasure. The best mind of this Nation, in magnificent disregard of our normal partisan political alignments, are working day and night with the tremendous task of evolving with our allies some means of keeping the word at peace. But even in our commitment to this policy, which is of more fundamental importance to the human race than any other problem which history records, we cannot afford to blind ourselves to the fact that in this unpredictable age, erstwhile allies may overnight become mortal enemies, and that any relaxation of vigilance will inexorably imperil our very existence.
Military leaders and other experts who chronicle the lessons of war and utilize them in the evolution of engines or devices for our protection in any future conflict, solemnly assure us that any assault which may come upon us will most certainly be aimed at the destruction, in a matter of minutes, perhaps, of our greatest center of population, which are also our points of heaviest industrial concentrations. Such an assault we may most certainly anticipate would thrust upon us immediately a battle against fire hardly within our capacity to imagine. Protection against the spread of fire and the control of fire once started would suddenly become the most deadly important task in the way of our survival that perhaps we would ever face. Appalled as we are now by a contemplation of the power of fire to destroy human life and property in a nation at peace, and determined as we should be to mitigate this destruction through a general program of public education, forward-looking laws and strict law enforcement for preventive measures, we can well stand aghast at the prospect which might some day be ours if we should become the target in a renewal of global war waged by powers to whom the fantastic weapons of the immediate past may then be obsolete.
From here on, the problem is ours. Our President has issued the order – it is the duty of every American – individually, officially, and cooperatively – to carry out the command. Will you do it? I believe you will.
As one of the 48 Governors, it will be my high privilege to lay before the Executive Committee of the Governors’ Council, which meets in Salt Lake City this coming July, the full recommendations of this Conference, at which time I confidently expect such to be placed on the agenda for discussion and action on the part of the Governors’ Conference itself. I not only anticipate favorable action thereon, but I well know that each of my fellow governors shall not only be highly aware of this matter, but will gladly embrace any workable and worthwhile program, and put it into effect on a State level without delay. Each of you in your respective capacities, whatever they may be, will, I am sure, carry back to your people and to your organizations the same message as shall I, and will there find same hearty reception beyond doubt.
Your Conference can be, and I know will be, a landmark along the great road which has and will continue to lead America and the American people to a better and fuller life. By your