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Essays for the Presidency

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Library of Congress Calvin Coolidge.
Foreign Affairs From The Anthology: Essays for the Presidency
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Foreign Affairs

The Senate and Our Foreign Relations

WITH the assembling of Congress at Washington, speculation is rife concerning the foreign policy which shall be recommended by President Coolidge and adopted by Congress; or rather, by the Senate, for the latter body since the consideration and rejection of the Peace Treaty of Versailles practically has assumed to control not merely the ratification but even the negotiation of treaties. This control, although in defiance of the practice and the declared principles of a century or more of constitutional government, was acquiesced in by President Harding's administration. Apparently the whole policy of the Department of State since March, 1921, has been dominated by the general desire not only to avoid any action which might invite adverse criticism on the part of the Senate, but studiously to avoid any act or expression which might indicate either sympathy or cooperation with that great international organization for the preservation of world peace, the League of Nations, which is anathema to certain Senatorial minds. This undoubtedly was a counsel of prudence. But it inevitably led to the abandonment of the highest avowed ideals with which the administration assumed control of the government.

Mr. George Harvey, in his farewell address recently delivered in London, after stating that his earlier declaration before a similar audience that it was no part of his official task to formulate policies "was a joke," thereupon proceeded to declare that "the national American foreign policy is to have no foreign policy." One cannot but wonder if President Coolidge or Mr. Hughes had commissioned the Ambassador to make such a statement as a part of the American Government's joint pronouncement with the British Government regarding possible methods of dealing with present European conditions.

However that may be, as a matter of history, the foreign policy of the United States--at least until 1921--was not one of aimless opportunist drifting, as Mr. Harvey's statement suggests. We have had certain national foreign policies, in the sense of well-defined principles which have governed our international relations and have

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