President Johnson said recently of Europe: "The Europe of today is a new Europe. In place of uncertainty, there is confidence; in place of decay, progress; in place of isolation, partnership; in place of war, peace." Confidence, progress, partnership and peace-what better testimonial could there be to the health and vitality, both political and economic, of Europe today; and what better promise for Europe's future?
During the summer, in a month of hearings, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined "the Europe of today." Our discussions ranged over the entire continent, literally from the Atlantic to the Urals, and beyond. For a diagnosis of the Atlantic Alliance means considering not only de Gaulle's aims, but the prospects for German reunification, Britain's association with the Common Market, nuclear arms control, greater European cohesion, East-West détente, the impact of Viet Nam, and much more. These problems are connected to each other in a seamless web that joins the United States with Europe, linking us together in the future as inextricably as in the past.
When the Committee's hearings began, it was announced that their purpose was educational. In preparation for them, I visited Europe in May for interviews with governmental leaders, including Wilson, Erhard and de Gaulle, along with prominent spokesmen of the opposition parties and other knowledgeable political observers. I have now had a chance to test my tentative conclusions against what the Committee has been told by a number of distinguished American experts on Europe.
The fact that there is in Europe today confidence, progress, partnership and peace is due, in no small part, to farsighted policy decisions we have taken since the end of the war. But we may stand in danger of being so dazzled by past successes that we could easily stumble into future failures. For Europe is now rumbling, not with discontent, but with a new spirit of independence, in both East and West. We seem to hear the sound, but we may not understand its meaning.
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