CRITICS have pointed to many mistakes in the conduct of our foreign relations since the end of the war, especially at points of friction with the Soviet Union. I believe that if such mistakes were made they resulted largely from the initial assumption that the practice of imperialism would hardly survive in the era of the United Nations. Unhappily, imperialism persists; and Soviet policy is an exact illustration of the meaning of the word.
General recognition of this unwelcome fact by the American people lagged behind the awareness of it by American representatives stationed in the areas of direct friction. This was natural enough. Those of us who were serving in the countries of eastern Europe found that Soviet imperialism presented itself in a series of hard, plain actions. Our countrymen at home inevitably learnt of these actions at second hand. Now Soviet Communist propaganda is based, precisely as was that of the Nazis, on the assumption that people judge things by the name they hear given to them. Hence the current belief of Soviet propagandists that if by endless repetition the invidious name "imperialist" can be attached to the policy of the United States, regardless of fact, then Soviet-Communist actions will perforce be thought to be "anti-imperialist" and praiseworthy, regardless of fact.
Writing some years ago in these pages, an authoritative Soviet spokesman, Karl Radek, said: "The foreign policy of the Soviet Government differs as much from the foreign policy of the other Great Powers as the domestic policy of this first Socialist state differs from the domestic policy of the states belonging to the capitalist system." More recently Soviet propagandists and their Communist echoes in all lands have drawn from this thesis the corollary that the foreign policy of the other Great Powers, and particularly of the United States, differs from Soviet policy chiefly in that it is one of "imperialism." From this, they say, the Soviet Union will save the world.
It was my duty to observe the
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