Essays for the Presidency
A Century's Worth of Candidates and Their Advisers Make Their Cases
Rebooting Republican Foreign Policy
Needed: Less Fox, More Foxes
Getting the GOP's Groove Back
How to Bridge the Republican Foreign Policy Divide
The Clinton Legacy
How Will History Judge the Soft-Power Secretary of State?
Renewing American Leadership
Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges
Reengaging With the World
A Return to Moral Leadership
Toward a Realistic Peace
Defending Civilization and Defeating Terrorists by Making the International System Work
Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century
An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom
Securing America's Future
A New Realism
A Realistic and Principled Foreign Policy
America's Priorities in the War on Terror
Islamists, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan
Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?
A Strategy of Partnerships
Foreign Policy for a Democratic President
Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest
Campaign 2000: A Republican Foreign Policy
Campaign 2000: New World, New Deal: A Democratic Approach to Globalization
A Republican Looks at Foreign Policy
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
America's First Post-Cold War President
A Republican Looks at Foreign Policy
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
The 1988 Election: U.S. Foreign Policy at a Watershed
American Foreign Policy: The Bush Agenda
The 1988 Election
Foreign Policy and the American Character
After the Election: Foreign Policy Under Reagan II
The First Term: From Carter to Reagan
The First Term: Four More Years: Diplomacy Restored?
The First Term: The Reagan Road to Détente
Beyond Détente: Toward International Economic Security
For a New Policy Balance
The End of Either/Or
Asia After Viet Nam
Policy and the People
The Presidency and the Peace
Two Years of the Peace Corps
U.S. Policy in Latin America
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
Putting First Things First
A Democratic View
The Senate in Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy in Presidential Campaigns
Korea in Perspective
November 1952: Imperatives of Foreign Policy
The Challenge to Americans
The Foreign Policy of the American Communist Party
The Promise of Human Rights
Our Sovereignty: Shall We Use It?
European Legislation for Industrial Peace
Labor Under the Nazis
The Permanent Bases of American Foreign Policy
Political Factors in American Foreign Policy
Some Foreign Problems of the Next Administration
Our Foreign Policy
A Republican View
Our Foreign Policy
A Democratic View
The Senate and Our Foreign Relations
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1921-1924
American Foreign Policy: a Democratic View
American Foreign Policy: a Republican View
American Foreign Policy: a Progressive View
After the Election
Since the turn of the century we have lost the power of directing our own national destiny. We must regain it. To show how much we have lost control over our destiny I need only point to our unwilling participation in two world wars and to the instability of the American economy during the period between them. We have sought to escape war and to maintain our economy as a separate entity in the world by jealously guarding our sovereign rights. I am forced to the conclusion that something is wrong with what we have meant by the term "national sovereignty" if it produces Hawley-Smoot tariffs; the banking failures, depressions and misery of 1929 and ensuing years; highly nationalistic economic policies, with consequent deficit financing and violent discords among groups within our own society; agrarian unrest and farmers' strikes; and, finally, two decades after we brought our boys home from one war in Europe, the loading of transports to take their sons across submarine infested seas to fight in another.
I believe that if we are to avoid the same disastrous cycle when the present war in Europe and Asia has been won we shall have to give up the idea that sovereignty is something simply to be conserved, like the talent which was laid away in the earth in the biblical parable, and accept the idea that it is an active force to be used. That is the thesis of what I have to say here.
I want to see our Government and people use the sovereign power of the United States in partnership with the sovereign power of other peace-loving nations to create and operate an international organization which will give better protection to the rights of all nations, on a wider political, economic and social basis, than has ever yet been attempted in history. To my mind, mutuality of responsibility and service represents more real freedom, in the sense of freedom from wars and economic disaster, than can be gained through adherence to all the sterile formulas of exclusive national sovereignty written into all the books of international law ever published.
This means that we must expand the use of our sovereignty to the extent that other nations will expand theirs to accomplish the common purpose. If we decide to do this, we may succeed in turning the page of history which we fumbled at but failed to turn 25 years ago. If on the contrary we decide to continue the same static, passive and essentially frightened isolationist policy which we adopted after the last world war I feel sure we shall be heading into a third one.
"It will be a long time, I venture to believe, before there will be any necessity or any justification for the United States engaging in a foreign war." The statement was made in January 1934, one year after Adolf Hitler took control of the destinies of Germany. It was made by the late William E. Borah, Senator from Idaho and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, a man greatly respected, profoundly sincere and, in matters of foreign policy, tragically shortsighted. "Internationalism," continued Senator Borah in the same address,[i] "if it means anything more than the friendly coöperation between separate, distinct and wholly independent nations, rests upon a false foundation. And when undertaken, it will fail as in the name of progress and humanity it should fail."
Ultimate proof of a nation's freedom, Senator Borah saw, resided in its ability to choose freely between war and peace. He also knew that peace was the fundamental condition of all useful activity by the people of the United States or by their Government. The primary aim of governmental policy, then, was the preservation of peace. Near the end of his life he stated the sort of policy which, in the light of the nation's experience, he considered most likely to achieve that aim. It would have to be one which "offers peace to all nations, trade and commerce with all nations, honest friendship with all nations," but it should be based, he thought, on "political commitments, expressed or implied, with none." Only if the United States pursued that sort of policy did Senator Borah think it would have freedom of action—the freedom "to remain aloof or to take part in foreign wars."
Today open-minded and alert Americans are drawing a different lesson from our national experience. They perceive that the United States has not been free to choose peace or war in the twentieth century. Our area of decision has not extended to whether or not we would go to war. We have only been able to decide that temporarily we would postpone going to war.
In 1914 we approached a "foreign" war in a spirit of determined neutrality. In 1939 we did the same, armed with a specific program designed to make us immune to any external shock. Both times we were forced, contrary to our desires and efforts, to abandon our neutrality, point by point. Both times we found that our national existence was at stake. Both times we had to fight to defend it. In the present war, the very hour and minute at which we had to resort to arms was dictated to us by our enemies.
In the modern world, an American foreign policy which assumes that nations are "separate, distinct and wholly independent" is a foreign policy which permits other nations to make decisions affecting vital American interests at their convenience and when they choose.
Our loss of the separate power to control our own separate destiny in economic affairs is scarcely less striking. We have faced the fact with reluctance. For a century—thanks, in part at least, to the fact that our country within itself was largely an undeveloped world—we prospered magnificently on the assumption that we needed to consider only our own wants, our own resources, our own energy—and the enjoyment we took in putting all three to use. Yet even in the nineteenth century the cotton growers of the South discovered important exceptions to the rule that the American economy was self-contained. In 1915 the farmers of the Middle West and West discovered their close relationship to countries 5,000 miles away.
This discovery of the farmers was pleasant at first, for the prices of farm products shot upward under the demand of Allied buying, and 40,000,000 additional acres were put to the plough to meet the world's cry for food. But then came the drastic postwar deflation and the emergence of the 20-year "farm problem." The memorable McNary-Haugen Bill, twice passed by both Houses of Congress and twice vetoed by President Coolidge, represented a first attempt to find a solution for the farmers' problems in terms of the international situation. It was an effort to devise a special kind of farm tariff which would free agricultural prices from the deflationary pressure of surplus production. Perhaps it was not scientific. But it showed that the western farmer was coming to realize that his own well-being was closely connected with policies and actions in other parts of the world.
When the depression began the country turned to extreme protectionism in the search for economic security. The Hawley-Smoot tariff of 1930 raised our duties on imports to the highest level in history. Retaliation followed in the form of discrimination against our products by Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France and a score of other countries. In 1932, Great Britain and the dominions instituted their system of "imperial preferences." Which was cause and which effect in the economic chaos of the depression years need not be argued here. The war debts, the reparations tangle, the foreign loans, the speculative mania, the panic of 1929 on the New York Stock Exchange, the collapse of the Kredit Anstalt bank in Austria, Britain's abandonment of the gold standard—these were only high spots of the general debâcle. All the events were interrelated and the effects of all were worldwide. The United States found out with a vengeance that it was not exempt from those effects, that it was, in fact, an integral part of the wide, wide world.
Our Government, faced with this stubborn fact, pursued contradictory policies. Our only consistency, indeed, was that we stuck to nothing long. One Administration attempted to revive foreign lending and stimulate international trade by pressing for a suspension of reparations payments and placing a moratorium on war debts. But at the same time it raised the tariff. The next Administration initiated a program looking to international currency stabilization and dropped it, spectacularly, soon after its own emissaries had gathered with those of other nations in a World Economic Conference. It then attempted to institute a program of planned economic nationalism of its own, supported by heavy deficit financing.
This program and its inevitable results accelerated the decline of the economic structure of the European democracies which were then beginning to feel the pressures of totalitarianism (a system of political action and economic organization growing, in part at least, out of the nationalistic policies almost universally practised by the nations of the world). Winston Churchill in 1937, on the floor of Parliament, pointed out that, "Those who are keeping the flag of peace and free government flying in the Old World have almost a right to ask that their comrades in the New World should, during these years of exceptional and not diminishing danger, set an example of strength and stability. The well-being of the United States may spell not only the well-being but the safety of all sorts and conditions of men. . . . A prosperous United States exerts, directly and indirectly, an immense beneficent force upon world affairs. A United States thrown into financial and economical collapse spreads evil far and wide, and weakens France and England just at the time when they have most need to be strong."
All this is recalled to emphasize one point: our experience demonstrates that we are not "wholly independent." As Senator Capper said on behalf of the farmers back in 1927: "Wherever we turn we find the Middle West and its economic woes entangled in the elusive 'foreign situation' with which it used to concern itself very little."
Some farmers again show signs of being misled into thinking that high protectionism will give them security after this war. I do not believe that many of them will wish, on second thought, to resume the hopeless effort to "lock up" wheat prices on a purely national basis. The price of wheat in the United States is not a "separate" affair. Similarly, the price of cotton will continue to be determined, not solely in the United States, but also in Egypt and India and Manchester and a dozen other cotton-producing and cotton-processing centers. Conditions in Argentina and Australia will continue to affect the livelihood of cattle and sheep raisers in North America. Our businessmen and our farmers alike know in their minds, if not yet fully in their hearts, that the economy of the United States is irretrievably intertwined with that of other nations.
Congress and the press have been discussing the steps which should be taken to bring the peacetime foreign policy of the United States into harmony with twentieth century realities. Much of the talk has centered about the term sovereignty.
In the whole literature of political theory no word has occasioned more disputes. Students of politics hold generally, I think, that few countries have contributed more significantly to the development of political institutions than the United States. But since the days when Madison, Hamilton and Jay wrote for The Federalist we have made few notable contributions in the realm of theory. Perhaps we should be grateful that Americans are traditionally interested in finding out, not the fine shadings in a word's meaning, so much as the essence of the thing it represents. Even so, we cannot dismiss the conflict in opinion over the term sovereignty as mere juggling with words.
The word sovereignty does represent a most important idea. And it is of additional practical importance for us now because some of our deepest emotions and loyalties, our pride in our country's past and our concern for her future, are associated with it. But we had best be aware also that it often gets into the forefront of our thoughts for other and less legitimate reasons. Often it is deliberately invoked to create confusion. And often, as with other words which receive a lot of attention, it becomes a catchword, a slogan. Many people now feel the necessity of putting the word "sovereign" into any sentence describing our relationship to other nations in the postwar world as automatically as they put on a necktie when they dress in the morning. I believe it is much too important a word to be used as a mere convention of speech.
The word has had many meanings in the course of humanity's long effort to perfect the idea and instruments of self-government. Only comparatively recently did it come into use as a specific name for the source of power and authority within a state. Toward the end of the Middle Ages it described the position of the feudal chief to whom allegiance was due. There were then layers of "sovereign lords," beginning with a very small "sovereign" who controlled the lives and property of a miserable handful at the bottom of the heap, up through somewhat more impressive sovereigns who ruled over several small ones, to a group of great barons who recognized no superiors. In the course of time and much fighting these many sovereigns yielded to one, and the nation-state emerged with all power in the hands of one ruler, the king.
The story of how the absolute authority of the monarch yielded in turn to the authority of the community—that is, of the people—is the story of the development of democracy, the great theme of modern history.
The line of development was by no means straight. Sometimes it doubled back—as in the Fascism of our own time. There have been variations in the theory designed to widen the base of popular authority in the state or to narrow it, to keep things as they were or to make way for change, to restrict the electorate or to extend it—as when the franchise for women was debated. It is sufficient for us to note about these theories simply that they were developed in response to the pressure of practical circumstances—political, military, economic or social.
Some ardent theorists have endeavored to separate sovereignty from reality altogether in their search for a completely logical system built up out of words. Sometimes the search for a mystical point called the ultimate source of sovereignty has turned into a game for special devotees, as in the studies which find the ultimate pinpoint of sovereignty in the sub-section of the Constitution which provides for the amending of the Constitution. I have no quarrel with those who enjoy such academic pleasures. But there need be no confusion regarding the central fact of the matter. Sovereignty within the United States resides in the people of the United States. The people of the United States exercise the supreme power of the state. They are sovereign.
What, then, is the difficulty? It comes from the effort to extend the sovereignty concept beyond the purpose for which it was developed and apply it in the field of relations among nations.
Does the sovereignty of the American people extend throughout the world? The question has only to be put to be answered: obviously not. Two states, at the moment, pretend that they have a right and duty to enforce their will throughout the world. They have dressed their claim up in fancy and most offensive theories based on blood, race and mythology. It is now in the course of being put down. The idea of the absolute sovereignty of any nation in international relationships is as impractical in operation as the idea of the absolute separateness of any nation.
To the extent that the term sovereignty is taken to mean that we have the right to do exactly as we please in dealings with other nations, and that what we choose to do is not properly of concern to any other nation, it is out of date. During roughly 125 years of our national existence we assumed that this conception of sovereignty was valid. We even got into the habit of believing that it was an essential part of national freedom. Its invalidity was brought home to us only with the development of modern communications. To try to defend it against the facts of modern life would be unrealistic and dangerous. Nor would we thereby be preserving freedom.
Many of us remember when there were so few motorcars that each driver was left free to make his own rules of the road. It was generally understood that a good citizen behind the wheel of a two-cylinder runabout would slow down on corners and either stop or make as little noise as possible when he encountered a horse. Beyond that, if he didn't deliberately run into people, "reckless driving" meant only that he would break a spring or his own neck. But as the roads became filled with powerful automobiles there had to be traffic lights and motor cops. A man could no longer make his own rules of the road. Today if there were no traffic laws no one of us would dare take his car out of the garage. The red and green lights give us freedom to use our automobiles.
Let us face the analogous situation in the relationships of nations. The highways of the world now are crowded. From Hong Kong to Narvik, and from the North Pole to the South, there are no empty seas, no air spaces which are not traversed, no land where rights and interests of many peoples do not meet and may not conflict. The United States or any other nation cannot make the rules of the road all by itself.
In this matter I think we must prepare to revise our ideas even further. Nations cannot as a matter of principle refuse to arbitrate international disputes which arise from domestic policies. Speaking on this question, one of the most distinguished statesmen of our day, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, said in 1923 in a speech before the Canadian Bar Association: "In these days of intimate relations, of economic stress and of intense desire to protect national interests and advance national opportunity, the treatment of questions which, from a legal standpoint, are domestic, often seriously affects international relations. The principle, each nation for itself to the full extent of its powers, is the principle of war, not of peace."
Understand, I am not suggesting the abolition of sovereignty. I am merely following out logically what seems to me an obvious line of reasoning. Senator Austin of Vermont recently expressed it when he said: "In order to save sovereignty we must use sovereignty in joining other nations for security."
Sometimes the suggestion that sovereignty be used causes unnecessary alarm lest thereby sovereignty be lost. I think these fears are based on nothing more serious than a misunderstanding of method. "As I speak of sovereignty," said Senator Wiley of Wisconsin in a recent debate in Congress, "I speak of something which is precious. I speak of that which my grandfather obtained when he came to this country. Although he still could not understand the English language, he could obtain 160 acres of land, and he never forgot that that was his soil. . . . After he came to this country he became inspired with something called American sovereignty, and he was a part of the national sovereignty. I say that I do not think we, as trustees, can barter that thing away—the sovereignty of the State or the people."
Each of us shares the feeling for the American soil expressed so movingly by Senator Wiley. Each of us values the backbone which the feeling of self-reliance he extols has given the American people. Each of us, with him, gets angry at the suggestion we might "barter away" something which we hold so precious. But this, it seems to me, is another example of the way in which shades of meaning can obscure the essence of what a word stands for. The actual proceeding of give and take described by the word barter has nothing unworthy about it. Indeed, the phrase "enter into a contract to do such-and-such on such-and-such terms," which might properly be substituted in this connection, carries only honorable and businesslike implications.
I think that if we wish to establish relations between nations based on law instead of force the method which must be followed is the one employed when men enter into a contract of partnership. This has been developed over the years as a practical device for advancing the interests of civilized persons. A proper partnership involves clear rights and equivalent duties for all the partners, proportionate to their respective stakes in the common enterprise. The rights do not exist apart from the duties. This means that anyone who wants to enjoy the advantages of a partnership must give up some of his individual freedom of action. This voluntary limitation on his own future action constitutes the advantage which his partners gain in return for giving up some of their freedom of action in his favor.
It is a simple fact that we have often contracted to limit our theoretically absolute right to do as we liked in dealings with other nations, in return for something which we thought of equal or greater value. Let me cite a single example which we have come to take so much as a matter of course that many people will be surprised to be told it is an example. In 1874 we bartered away our "right" to require that inhabitants of other countries who wished to mail a letter to the United States must abide by postal rules fixed independently by the United States. Did we "lose" any of our sovereignty in joining the Universal Postal Union which set standard weights and rates for letters exchanged between Americans and people in other parts of the world? A hundred other equally elementary examples could be given—the rules of safety at sea of 1889, the international sanitary regulations of 1903, the international regulation of radio wave lengths of 1927. Together they show beyond dispute that in the world today no single state which wishes to have friendly relations with other states is able to exercise all its rights independently of other states.
The subject which therefore ought to be debated now is not whether we should join in any sort of give and take with other nations but what the items of give and take should be.
Let me indicate by a simile the sort of thing I have particularly in mind. Visualize several big apartment houses which touch one another in a single city block or occupy adjoining blocks. Is it sensible and profitable for each to depend for protection against fire exclusively on a fire-fighting organization composed of its own dwellers and employees? Or is it better for the owner of each to make agreements with the others as to the conditions under which he will allow his stand pipe to be used and under which fire brigades from neighboring houses may use his roof in fighting a neighborhood fire? Going one step further, should the owners not agree to pay taxes at agreed rates to maintain a fire department which will serve them all?
Common support of a common fire department does not affect the individual titles of ownership to individual properties. The point is, that unless the owners do arrange for common support of some kind they will wake up one day to find that their title deeds are indeed perfect and without a flaw but that what they apply to are piles of rubble and charred beams. A title deed in a safe deposit box does not afford protection from fire and many other forms of trouble and loss. Only the wise and proper exercise of the rights and powers inherent in the title deed can afford protection. So with sovereignty. The proper exercise of sovereign rights protects sovereignty; the failure properly to exercise sovereign rights puts it in jeopardy.
Much of the current confusion over the term sovereignty comes, of course, from those who are willing from considerations of apparent personal or party advantage to promote discord between the United States and other nations. Usually the nations they seem to hate most are our two chief allies. One of their methods of argument recently has been to shout that they will never permit a "mongrel flag" to be substituted for the Stars and Stripes and to say that the Moscow Agreement was "a victory for the Axis." Senator Reynolds, who contemptuously opposed the measures which put this country in a position to resist Germany successfully, assumes to defend our sovereignty now by managing to imply, in the most insulting language, that we should not have diplomatic relations with Russia.
It is true that today as we try to find the right road through the complicated problems raised by this war we sometimes feel baffled by various aspects of British or Soviet policy. But when that happens we should not be surprised or discouraged and we should not feel unfriendly toward either of them as a result. We do many things which are baffling to them, too. Under our constitutional system, for example, our Government is not permitted to make commitments regarding future action to the same extent they are allowed to do under their systems. Let us remember that none of us can read the future exactly and that what we all are searching for is a means to safeguard our nations from future shocks in unpredictable situations. It would be a sad commentary on the human intelligence if three such great peoples allowed irritations caused by temporary uncertainties to make them cynical. They must not despair. They must not give up the search for a thing they all three want in common—a thing I believe they can find if they have the faith to act in common.
None of the arguments used against necessary international coöperation really pretends to be addressed to reason. One of the chief organs stirring narrow nationalistic emotions in this country is the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper which published the most secret military plans of our army and navy high command for national defense on the eve of Pearl Harbor; which tries to make martyrs of warped and twisted Americans who have been indicted for conspiracy to undermine the morale of the armed forces; and whose proprietor recently announced his heroic action in saving the United States, some years back, from an invasion by a British Army. The hurt surprise of that particular individual when his activities are described as harmful to his country's welfare reminds me of a tag-line popular in my boyhood. It was taken from Owen Davis's famous play, "Nellie, The Beautiful Cloak Model." In the first act the villain pushed Nellie under a descending elevator. In the second he threw her off the Brooklyn Bridge. In the third he tied her to the tracks of the elevated railroad as a train was approaching. In the last act he climbed through her bedroom window in the dead of night, and, as the poor girl drew back in alarm, demanded reproachfully, "Why do you fear me, Nellie?"
Only a very small group of Americans, however, live in those shadowy caverns of the mind. For most of us who look at the problem of sovereignty without personal or party bias the question that arises is simply: What specific actions are necessary and wise for the extension of the use of our sovereignty?
Here opinions can and will differ. Given the premise that some action is proper, and that many forms of action may be necessary, disagreement is natural and healthy. Agreement in such cases can be reached by argument and mutual give and take. As the war enters its final phase, proposals as to how the peaceable nations of the earth should organize to prevent new conflicts will multiply and take more definite shape, and we shall begin to examine and discuss them in detail. Let us enter upon this great debate with the object of coming to an agreement and not, as once before at a similar moment in our history, in an irreconcilable spirit and the determination to vindicate a particular point of view.
In the League of Nations debate of 1919 and 1920 the sharpest differences of opinion within this country arose over the question whether the United States should commit itself to the use of force in upholding international agreements. Friends and foes alike of the proposed international organization saw that this would be the test of its usefulness. Persons who wished to prevent the United States from joining any world organization at all inflamed emotions and awakened prejudice by proclaiming that such a commitment would be "treason." Those who wanted to make the organization the instrument for preventing a second world war saw that it would succeed or fail according to the willingness of member states to pledge themselves to the use of force to maintain the rule of law, by an agreed procedure and in agreed circumstances.
Today this is still the core of the decision which we must take. Are we willing only to talk when any situation arises which plainly threatens war? Or are we willing, in agreed circumstances, to act?
Two episodes gave Hitler his cue and made the present war certain—the unchecked Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931 and the unchecked Italian aggression against Ethiopia in 1935. The chief reason why the Powers now joined together as the United Nations did not check those aggressions was because none of them believed that any of the others was prepared—psychologically or militarily—to do more than talk.
The growth of that state of mind can be traced all the way back to 1919. Apportionment of blame for it among the various countries concerned is not at this moment important. What is important today is that unless the American isolationism which we are now putting out the door is to fly back through the window, we must preface any discussion of details of the international organization which we expect to help create by a clear statement that we are prepared in principle to join with other members of that organization in using force to sustain its decisions.
Would the creation of a joint instrument of force threaten our sovereignty? Or would it, on the contrary, represent a useful extension of our sovereign powers in an effort to protect our vital interests?
First of all let us consider the immediate and concrete postwar situation which will make an international armed force necessary. Obviously, it is the requirement that Germany and Japan be policed to make sure that they do not again acquire the military power to wage wars of aggression. The idea of "policing" parts of the world outside the boundaries of the United States is not a new one for us. Acting unilaterally—that is to say one-sidedly and by ourselves—we have used our armed forces for police work in other parts of the world more than 50 times in our history. (In this connection, incidentally, we might remind ourselves that certain of our one-sided expeditions into Latin America were part of a policy which we now believe to have been unwise and which by agreement with the Latin American countries has now been renounced in favor of coöperative action in cases where police work in this hemisphere may be necessary.)
Besides these instances of unilateral action, we have on 25 or more occasions taken police action in coöperation with other nations. The agreements which we entered into with Great Britain in 1891, and with Russia in 1894, to patrol the Bering Sea against illegal fur sealers might be cited as examples of such international policing. These agreements gave both Russia and Great Britain the right to seize suspected fur hunters and their ships, even if they were American citizens sailing under the American flag. Both those countries in turn gave us a similar right to seize ships and men, of whatever nationality, including their own, if we suspected them of illegal activities. Those agreements were not destructive of our sovereignty or of British and Russians sovereignty. They represented a constructive use of sovereignty, mutually advantageous to all three parties.
This established principle of coöperative international policing gives us the foundation on which to build for the future. No dramatically long step is required. I can see the practical difficulties in attempting to create a closely integrated internationalized police force. But I do not have any difficulty in conceiving of an agreement between the peace-loving nations to the effect that each will maintain certain land, sea or air forces and that each will use them collaboratively, in agreed situations and within agreed limits, to prevent aggression.
This seems to me the minimum requirement to ensure that international disputes which are clearly covered by international law shall be submitted to courts and judges, and that those which are not shall be settled by conciliation and compromise. For such a procedure to work successfully, the members of the international organization must say plainly, in advance, that if peaceful methods fail the aggressor state will encounter sufficient armed forces to ensure his eventual defeat.
In planning how this force would be operated as a practical matter we have a model in the combined chiefs of staff with which this war has made us familiar. Such a staff would make the necessary technical preparations for effective collaborative action in the event that should ever become necessary. I would hope that the mere preparation for action would forestall the need of ever taking it. But if the time should come when collective action had to be taken, it certainly is in the interest of the United States and of all other peace-loving states that it be taken promptly and decisively.
To repeat once more: I think that our use of our sovereignty to create an effective instrument of peace is the best way of protecting our sovereignty. If this is called "bartering," I would say that it is a profitable transaction, and I would rather see the United States enter into it than pursue its own aloof way into a third world war.
After this war we shall face many tough problems which can be met only by international action. Some will be scientific or technological, some cultural or educational. Some will be economic—our struggle, in partnership with our allies, to use the raw materials and the markets of the world to increase living standards everywhere. Some will be political—the delicate and hazardous adjustment to freedom and self-government of millions of people who have now heard those magic words and will need our help as they grope dangerously for a way to turn them into reality.
In an international organization which was backed by the machinery needed to enforce its decisions the United States for the first time in history would be in a position to deal boldly and effectively with the problems which will confront it. In coöperation with our allies, we shall still be leaders by virtue of the strength and ingenuity of our people. To use this leadership, for our own enrichment and that of mankind, will not be to weaken the sovereign power of the American people; it will be to widen it and make it more real.
[i] Made in New York before the Council on Foreign Relations, January 8, 1934.