Courtesy Reuters

Britain and America

The Prospects of Political Cooperation in the Light of Their Paramount Interests

THE contributions of Sir Austen Chamberlain and of Mr. John W. Davis to "The Foreign Policy of the Powers"[i] present a curious contrast. The underlying assumptions and the general implications of Sir Austen's paper are that British policy is governed by clearly defined principles which promote the immediate security of the Empire and the general peace of the world. Mr. Davis, on the other hand, takes the view that America's policy because of a failure to "join the concert of nations" is no longer "adequate to preserve her peace and insure her prosperity." I should like to raise the question whether this very assumption, that the British policy is adequate and the American inadequate, is not today a serious obstacle to a meeting of minds and to the practice of coöperation by the English-speaking peoples. I believe it is. I believe that the accepted idea that America is "isolationist" and that Great Britain is a member in good standing of a concert of the Powers is an illusion which masks and then distorts the relations between Britain and America.


The ideal of Anglo-American coöperation to preserve the peace of the world is supported by certain general considerations. As between Britain and America there are no disputed frontiers. There are no disputed spheres of influence in Asia, Africa, or the Americas. There is commercial rivalry in certain parts of the world but it does not have and does not threaten to have any serious political consequences. For neither government thinks that it could or should advance its commercial interests by political expansion and both are well aware that political stability and equal opportunity in Asia, South America and continental Europe would be more profitable than a régime of special privileges.

Neither government is interested in extending its empire. Not only does neither covet the possessions of the other, but neither covets the possessions of any other Power. In fact, both are going through a process of contracting their

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