Miller Center

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Presidential Recordings

During the summer of 1940, Franklin Roosevelt had a recording machine installed under the Oval Office with the intent to record press conferences. The machine was often turned on before press conferences and would often continue recording after the press conferences concluded. Because of this, many of the recordings include office discussions immediately before or following the press conference. Also a small number of conversations that may or may not be independent recordings (i.e. not associated with a specific press conference) were recorded. more about the tapes →

The Roosevelt Tapes

The complete collection of Roosevelt Presidential Recordings is available for download below. On the original audio files, conversations often spanned more than one file. We have spliced audio files together when reasonably certain that the two files originally represented a single conversation. To access the uncut and unspliced audio files as we received them from the Roosevelt Library, click Original Audio Files.

Press Conference 674—August 23, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Topics include a Senate proposition to postpone conscription.

Office Conversation—August 23, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Conversation between Roosevelt, Lowell Mellett and others. At the 12:35 point in the recording, the tape becomes garbled. A new conversation may begin at this point that is continued in the recording immediately following this one. Because we are uncertain whether this is a new conversation, we have left these two tapes in two parts as we received them from the Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Office Conversation—ca. August 23, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Continues the conversation above.

Press Conference 675—August 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 28:00 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Press Conference 678—September 6, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 14:20 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference. In this office conversation, topics include the press (specifically, Roy Howard newspaper publisher).

Press Conference 680—September 13, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 17:50 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Press Conference 682—September 24, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference officially begins around the 5:00 point. The recording before this point is office conversation before the press conference.

Press Conference 683—September 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 12:10 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Office Conversation with A. Philip Randolph—ca. September 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

A. Philip Randolph, the leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (the first African-American labor union) discusses the issue of African-Americans in the military with Roosevelt. Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy, is also included in the meeting.

Office Conversation—ca. September 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

We have reason to believe that this conversation is a continuation of the conversation above with A. Philip Randolph. Most of the recording consists of Roosevelt and Frank Knox discussing the issue of African-Americans in the Navy. We believe Randolph can be heard briefly during the discussion.

Office Conversation—ca. September 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

This conversation may immediately follow the above conversation on African-Americans in the military. Roosevelt receives a group of citizens expressing their support for additional aid to Great Britain in its struggle against Germany.

Office Conversation—ca. September 27, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Continuation of the conversation above. At the 3:40 point in the recording the citizens group exits the oval office and a visitor (possibly the British Ambassador) enters. The recording ends shortly thereafter.

Office Conversation—October 1, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Office noise recorded before Press Conference 685 below. Includes brief discussions with aides and staff.

Press Conference 685—October 1, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

 

Press Conference 686—October 4, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference begins around the 3:30 point. The recording before this point is office conversation before the press conference. The press conference ends at the 18:50 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Office Conversation—ca. October 4, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Meeting between Roosevelt and various congressional leaders. Topics include the axis powers and the upcoming presidential election between Roosevelt and Wendell Wilkie.

Telephone Conversation with Cordell Hull—ca. October 4, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

Telephone conversation between Roosevelt and his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Only Roosevelt's side of the conversation is recorded. The men discuss the growing foreign policy conflict with Japan.

Press Conference 688—October 8, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press enters the Oval Office around the 4:20 point. The recording before this point is office conversation before the press conference. The press conference ends at the 15:55 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference. In this office conversation, Roosevelt discusses the growing foreign policy conflict with Japan.

Press Conference 690—October 18, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 11:40 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference. In this office conversation topics include Wendell Wilkie and the hypothetical commissioning of a young officer.

Press Conference 691—October 22, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

 

Press Conference 692—October 25, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 13:40 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Press Conference 693—November 1, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 12:20 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.

Press Conference 694—November 8, 1940

Download Audio Description

WAV
MP3

The press conference ends at the 20:05 point in the recording. The remainder of the recording is office conversation following the press conference.