Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault
The Liberal Delusions That Provoked Putin
IT IS impossible to enter into a rational discussion of Anglo-American relations without reference to the basic and very simple human issue involved. On one side is a rich and prosperous family, already established for a long time, occupying great positions in the land, highly esteemed and treated by all with much consideration. On the other there is a younger generation; one may think of them as nephews, or perhaps as cousins, who have struck out on their own line and become far richer than the established senior branch. They have made their own connections and proceeded from strength to strength, increasing their wealth to a fabulous extent, while the senior branch has remained comparatively static. The pattern is familiar enough. There is danger of friction and lack of mutual appreciation; jealousy plays its part, generating feelings of impatience and resentment. But jealousy is not admitted, and the basic emotions find vent in every kind of criticism.
Whatever the younger generation do must be wrong. The houses that they live in are hideous, their furnishings tasteless; at the parties which they give, everything is done in the way it ought not to be done. They comport themselves in a flashy style, and in all their social relations they say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing. These criticisms are, of course, not grounded in reason. If the young people did everything in quite a different way, they would be criticized no less; in the nature of the case they cannot do right. They, on their side, find the older people stuffy and tedious, attaching great importance to a thousand and one things which are of no real significance, hidebound in meaningless etiquette, pompous and conceited beyond endurance, spoil-sport in their attitude to life and basically stupid, but retaining a certain wily cunning by which they still seem able to continue to feather their nests to a moderate extent. It seems clear that no love will be lost between these groups.
The position appears hopeless, and the advisor may be strongly tempted to suggest that they would be happier if each one went its own way, without paying the slightest attention to the other. Luckily that is not the only possible solution. Human nature is ambivalent; emotions can easily be transmuted into their opposites. By only a slight change of approach, feelings can come to run in quite a different direction. The primary solvent in this case would be a touch of mutual pride. Beginning as the mere suspicion of an idea, it can be greatly magnified if properly cultivated. The one group can come to view the far-reaching successes of the other with growing wonder and applause; the younger group can cultivate a sentimental feeling for the other's old-world attachments and out-of-date mannerisms.
Oddly enough it is the older branch which, despite its apparent rigid conventionality, finds it easier to be appreciative. Just because it is somewhat riper in experience, it can understand that human nature has, and should have, many diverse manifestations. In some remote past, obscured by the starched routine of their present way of life, but green perhaps in their own memories, they too may have had to be rough and tough. It is the younger progressives, breaking new paths, who are more obstinately inclined to the conviction that their own way of doing things must be the only right way; it is indeed this conviction that carries them forward. What the old branch especially craves for, if a good relation between the two is to be established, is an occasional kind word, since it is fundamentally in the weaker position. Or do both sides need that? Happily for the matter which we are concerned to illustrate, Americans are very generous and open-hearted in their bestowal of praise where they feel it due. The great unstinted tribute by the American Commander to the exploit of the Gloucestershire regiment in the Korean war is engraved on all British hearts, and will be remembered as long as the exploit itself.
Thus it may well be that, in the majority of cases of mutual criticism as between British and Americans, what is needed to dissipate the critical feeling is not a change of policy on either side, but a continual frank recognition that what gives rise to the critical feelings is a peculiar family relationship, of which we have all had instances among our circle of acquaintances.
There is no doubt that in recent years the Socialist Government of Britain has been an additional stumbling block. This has been greatly magnified by misconceptions on both sides. Many Americans appear to believe that a form of Socialism has already been set up in Britain that corresponds to the Socialist blueprints of an earlier generation. To those living in Britain, on the other hand, it is obvious that what one might call "true" Socialists, namely those who seek state ownership and control of all the means of production and distribution, have little power in the Labor Party. Not only has Socialism in this sense by no means been realized in practice, but Britain is now going through a vital transition in which this view of society is losing its place in the minds of the Socialists themselves even as a remote ideal. British Socialists are in fact quite rapidly ceasing to be Socialists in anything like the historic sense of that word. Good political judges believe that this process will continue, unless some quite catastrophic setback occurs in the economic affairs of Britain.
As against this, it is perfectly true that British citizens are harassed and oppressed by a network of controls. It is probably safe to say that the greater part of this control has little to do with the specifically Socialist character of the Government, but is the consequence of postwar difficulties. It may be due to lack of a daring resolve to cut through all those difficulties and make a bold bid for freedom--but that is a different matter. For good or ill, it has been thought by many in and outside the ranks of the Labor Party that, when a nation must carry heavy burdens necessitating a restricted standard of living, a modicum of control is essential. It is interesting to observe that when the United States resolved last year to undertake heavy burdens for the sake of defense, Congress was willing to hand over large powers to the Executive, although there has since been some reaction. Yet it is probably true that the projected defense effort will not involve so great a sacrifice in American standards of life as was caused by the heavy burdens which a malignant fate has successively imposed on British citizens. If the projected American defense effort really justified the granting of all those powers of control, then by like reasoning the controls that have been operating in Britain since the war may be justified also. In fact, when faced by the need for exertions altogether beyond the normal, the two countries seem to react in precisely the same way.
American economic freedom is an object of criticism by "true" Socialists. It must be remembered that these are only doctrinaires, a minority in the Labor Party. The fact that the American economy has succeeded under capitalism in providing a far higher standard of living for workers than the "true" Socialists could ever hope to achieve by their methods is naturally a cause of the utmost vexation and fury. It is particularly exasperating to have one's theory killed by a fact. The rage finds vent in all sorts of disingenuous and fallacious attacks upon the United States. There is no cure for this, except the hoped for and expected decline of "true" Socialism in Britain. This decline is masked by the fact that the "true" Socialists who still remain occupy more than their proportionate share of journalistic space.
Among more moderate thinkers, there is much misconception about the actual state of affairs in the United States. Just as many American citizens suppose that "Socialism" has been "introduced" into Britain, so many British imagine that in the United States a degree of laissez-faire amounting almost to anarchy prevails. Thus Americans imagine a Socialism where there is none, and the British imagine extreme laissez-faire where there is no such thing. In practice it does not seem likely that the two countries will in the coming years differ very much in regard to the degree of state interference. Both are likely to be prepared for governmental action to prevent inflation on the one hand and massive unemployment on the other. These will be the main actuating ideas, and they will be implemented, whatever may be said in advance. For the rest, there will be differences of detail.
Marshall Aid not only benefited Britain materially, but much improved British feelings toward the United States. Americans must not suppose that it has passed unnoticed.
The British Government is to be very strongly criticized for having allowed a technical situation to develop in 1950 which made it appear that the British position had greatly improved and that the aid, while still vouchsafed to other countries, was no longer needed in Britain. It is true that the British gold reserve rose rapidly in 1950; this was due to the world-wide ramifications of Britain's banking position and had little relation to the condition of her own internal economy or her own balance of external trade. Actually, Britain's basic position was deteriorating through 1950, and she has now reached a position in which the economic strain and danger will be greater than at any time since the end of the war. This is partly, but not wholly, due to the rearmament effort which she has undertaken.
The current British-American problem that is receiving most attention is the shortage of certain basic materials. The British suppose, not without reason, that Americans have been buying up everything around the world in order to create a good stockpile. This leaves the British without the wherewithal to keep their factories running. Meanwhile the Americans expect the British to make a sizable contribution to the pool of arms, and the British are endeavoring, in difficult circumstances, to do so.
This matter has been sufficiently discussed. The international allocation of materials may be the right remedy, although allocation always has serious disadvantages. It may be that the greatest contribution that could be made to victory in the world-wide fight against inflation would be for Americans to devise adequate machinery to curb the demands of their own defense departments; for it is precisely in that quarter that we have the greatest danger of extravagance. It is an awkward point, because to deny to the defense departments what they claim they require seems to be cramping the defense effort. But it really does not. All armed services have a tendency to overstate the amount of reserve equipment needed. Britain experienced this difficulty during the war, and was so hard pressed by shortages that she was driven to devise methods for applying a sour scrutiny to alleged service requirements. Strict economy in this field might make a very big difference to the world-wide availability of materials for current needs. If carried far enough, it might even avoid the need for international allocation.
The trouble about international allocation is that it seems to necessitate apportionment among different uses within the nation. In conditions in which there is a strong all-round inflationary pressure and all materials are in short supply, this may be the inevitable, although unsatisfactory, solution. But if only a limited number of materials are scarce, it may be better to let their prices skyrocket, because this will promote rigid economy in their use and an active search for substitutes. Under a system of allocation, on the other hand, these forces cannot operate so strongly; important users know that they will have all or most of their needs satisfied in any case.
The shortage of materials is by no means the end of the story of British economic difficulties. There are internal difficulties and still more serious external ones. Britain has had to undertake a large defense program, beginning at a time when many thought that taxes had already been raised to the full limit of capacity. To push them much further up would give rise to very serious problems of tax avoidance and loss of incentive. Consequently, Britain has so far made only a moderate increase of taxes, hoping to fight inflation in other ways, which have not yet become clear.
A word must be said about the high level of taxation already existing at the outbreak of the Korean trouble. Americans are apt to attribute it wholly to the expansion of social services. There were other causes also. The national debt that has to be serviced was, in proportion to Britain's national income, about three times as large as the American national debt. Also, at about £ 800,000,000 a year, Britain was spending more on defense in proportion to her national income than the United States before Korea. It is admitted that the social services have been a heavy burden. For good or ill, Britain decided in 1911, in the days of the old Liberal Government, to turn to compulsory social insurance as a means of meeting certain types of primary need. The system has been expanded by successive steps. The postwar legislation constituted another step forward, and the desirability of a step of this kind was agreed to by the Conservatives as well as the Socialists. The Socialists may have shown extravagance, but the burden on the taxpayer would have been heavy, however efficient the government had been in administrative economy. Critics may hold that this new advance was badly timed, considering the exigent conditions of the postwar world; in fact it was a psychological necessity. The question was not one of party or creed, but of simple human nature. The British workers had been bombed and blitzed and had endured austerities in regard to food, dwellings, transport and fuel for six years. The deterioration in living standards was unprecedented. After these mighty exertions and endurances, the British people could not be told that there would be no easement whatsoever for a long time.
It is difficult for Americans to appreciate what it feels like to be entirely dependent on foreign trade for the basic necessities of life. Between two-fifths and one-half of the total output of all British factories have to go abroad to buy them. This is Britain's primary economic problem. Since the devaluation of sterling in September 1949 an appalling calamity has occurred. The terms on which Britain must trade have turned against her by about 30 percent. This means that to pay for the same quantity of imports as before, she will have to export, on the present terms, about £ 500,000,000 more goods. This addition to her exports represents about 12 percent of the total manufacturing capacity of the country. This cause alone would impose a strain upon her economic resources comparable to that imposed on the American economy by the current defense effort. And Britain has to make a large defense effort as well. This is no laughing matter. The strain may imperil the stability of the British economy and frustrate the arms effort. The United States too has suffered by a worsening in her terms of foreign trade since the Korean outbreak. This is a regrettable fact, but the small degree of dependence on vital imports make it a factor of much less importance to Americans than to Britain.
In this matter of the rate at which manufactured goods are exchanged for primary products, the interests of the United States and Britain lie together. There has been some confusion of thought about it. It is true that the rise in the prices of products in the outer sterling area has caused an inflow of some gold to Britain as central banker for the sterling area, and that is in itself advantageous. But it is far outweighed by the fact that Britain has to pay these higher prices for her imports; and she has to pay for them by means of her manufactured exports just at a time when industry is taking on new defense burdens. The detriment to Britain as a trader far outweighs her gain as a banker.
Britain's position is complex, and indeed is not perhaps sufficiently understood by her own Treasury, which assesses the effect of changes too much by reference to the dollar balance and too little by reference to the possible strain on industrial production. Increased demands on factories set up internal inflationary pressure, cause delays in delivery and reduce efficiency. What should be Britain's normal pattern of trade may, by an oversimplification, be said to have the shape of a triangle. Britain should have a deficit with the dollar area and a surplus with the rest of the world; the rest of the world should have a surplus with the dollar area; and from all this part of the world Britain should receive sufficient gold or dollars to make good her deficit with the dollar area. In the period 1947-1949 this system broke down. After 1947 Britain had a sufficient surplus with the non-dollar world to cover her dollar deficit, yet could not do so because she was not paid in cash for that surplus. Nations inside and outside the sterling area paid her in old sterling which they had accumulated during the war. And she was even obliged, as banker for the sterling area, to pay out dollars for the deficit of that area. She had also to pay out gold or dollars to particular non-dollar countries with which she happened to have an adverse balance. But she never received any gold or dollars for her surpluses; Marshall Aid was of vital importance to her in this period, although she did not herself have a deficit on an over-all balance of trade. She used Marshall Aid to finance her dollar payments. But since Britain was in over-all balance, she was in fact passing on her share of Marshall Aid to other countries. She got no net contribution from it for her own reconstruction or for relief of the strain on her manufacturing capacity. During the time that she was receiving Marshall Aid she was self-supporting on her over-all account.
Now the position has changed. Partly from normal postwar recovery in other countries, and partly, in a later phase, from the rise in prices of primary products, she has been able to obtain more hard cash from other parts of the world. The recent turn of events has imposed a double strain on her manufacturing capacity. She has to produce more in order to pay for her imports--the main point; and also, since the balance of the outer sterling area has become favorable, she has been receiving more gold than has been needed to pay her dollar deficit. She is expected to pay by manufactured exports for this gold also. In so far as Britain uses the gold to pay her deficit to the United States she cannot complain: that is the normal triangle; but still more gold puts a strain upon her manufacturing capacity.
To the extent that she does not pay for the gold by her manufactures, the sterling claims against her accumulate. She may allow this position to continue, especially during the rearmament period; but there is danger in this course. Too great an accumulation of claims against her may tend to break up the sterling area --a calamity for Britain. It would also be a misfortune for the whole world, since the sterling area is now generally recognized to constitute a usefully stable region in a world of all too disorderly currency arrangements. It is quite clear that unless the situation changes in a rather spectacular way in her favor, Britain will be in dire need of assistance.
I cannot pass these matters by without referring to my own opinion, which does not necessarily represent the British view, that the devaluation of sterling in 1949 has been a disaster for Britain. The fact of the matter is that devaluation was not called for at that time by the condition of Britain's own economy. It could be justified only as a mode of disciplining her customers, who were using the sterling claims accumulated from the war, first to finance their trading deficit with Britain herself, and secondly, in the case of the outer sterling area, to pay for an unwontedly large volume of imports from the dollar area. It is not commonly understood in America that the accumulated sterling balances could be freely converted into dollars throughout the sterling area, to meet the deficit on dollar account. Americans tend to suppose that the sterling area currency arrangement constituted a wicked way by which Britain closed markets to American exports. In fact the opposite is true; the sterling balances could be used by the sterling area to finance dollar imports, and they were in fact used to finance a larger volume of dollar imports than that area would have been able to finance had the sterling balances been blocked as the Americans advised. The British authorities from time to time urged upon the sterling area restraint in dollar purchases, but it was only in July 1949, shortly before devaluation, that real earnestness was put into this appeal.
While the worsening in Britain's terms of foreign trade cannot be attributed wholly to devaluation, there is no doubt it was exacerbated by that step. Devaluation put sterling out of equilibrium with the dollar. Now the world situation has changed completely. Britain can now collect good value for many of her export surpluses outside the dollar area. This improvement in the position of her debtors on current account has not mainly been due to devaluation itself, but to the improvement in the position of many countries through postwar reconstruction and to the rises in the export prices of primary products since the Korean outbreak. What is now required is to put sterling back into equilibrium with the dollar.
The impetus to devaluation came largely from the United States. The motive was altruistic. There were persistent doubts that the countries receiving Marshall Aid could become self-supporting after the end of the prescribed period. Why not, it was reasoned, attempt to rectify the world-wide "dollar shortage" by increasing sales in the dollar area by means of a fairly widespread devaluation? The idea was not in itself unreasonable. It was not altogether in tune with the policy of the British authorities; yet, since their policy seemed somewhat wobbly and was anyhow kept locked within the breasts of the British officials, the Americans may be excused for having thought it needful to tender some well-meant advice. The mere rumor that the Americans were of that way of thinking impinged on Britain's international banking position, which, as we have seen, was vulnerable at this time, and, by causing a run on the bank, made devaluation inevitable.
This whole course of events points to the need for closer continuous coöperation between the financial authorities of the two countries. It is true that Sir Stafford Cripps visited Washington before devaluation. But an isolated conference of this kind cannot remove cross-purposes. What is needed is a regular sequence of meetings. Surely there would be no constitutional difficulty in arranging that a body such as the American National Advisory Council, which maintains liaison with the International Monetary Fund, meet a similar British body at regular intervals. Such conferences might even publish a joint report. There would be no harm in publishing also some differences of opinion, since these would provoke thinking which would probably iron out the differences in the long run.
Americans tend to oppose the revaluation of sterling on two grounds. It is sometimes regarded as a clever British device for making American imports from the sterling area still more expensive in dollars. This should by no means be the British intention. Anything tending to aggravate inflationary tendencies in the United States is contrary to British interests. The object of revaluation should be to reduce the sterling prices of primary products (which Britain has to buy and pay for with her manufactures) in full proportion, not to raise dollar prices. The extent to which this result was in fact achieved would depend on the timing of the revaluation. A lull in inflationary pressure, such as has occurred this past summer, would be a better occasion for revaluation than when American buying has regained momentum.
Secondly, Americans may feel that if the British are really sufficiently flush of reserves to risk revaluation, they had far better use their margin for another purpose, namely to reduce restrictions on imports from the United States. The implication here is that revaluation would worsen the British balance with the United States. But this is quite a doubtful matter; it is possible that revaluation would improve that balance. As one who has written in season and out of season since 1945 in favor of a relaxation of import restrictions, I can, without blushing, express a doubt whether this point is of great importance in the conditions of 1951-52. It seems to me to be small by comparison with the vast difficulties with which Britain is now struggling and which a revaluation of sterling might serve to reduce. Furthermore, when the great arms program of the United States and the generous defense aid which she proffers to other free nations will impose a maximum strain on her economy, it may really not be in her interest to have her ordinary non-defense commercial exports stimulated. While one should admire the heroic struggles of the State Department against restrictive practices in international trade, one may wonder whether insistence on this point is relevant in the present very critical and peculiar circumstances.
Furthermore, revaluation might in the event prove to assist the purposes of the State Department. If it turned out that after revaluation (or successive revaluations) Britain's dollar position remained fairly strong, as I believe it would, she would be much more likely to contemplate reducing restrictions than she is now when floundering in a sea of difficulties. I write in terms of what is psychologically and politically probable. Certainly if her gold balance continues to be on the right side, as it may, it would be in Britain's own immediate interest--quite apart from wider considerations--herself to relax restrictions on dollar imports and to prevail upon the sterling area to relax them. Thereby she would reduce the unwelcome accumulation of sterling balances by the sterling area and her own needless accumulation of gold.
Reference to the State Department may lead our thoughts back to wider issues. Many hold that Britain has failed since the war to give her proper lead in implementing the international economic policy that was agreed upon with the United States and set out in Article 7 of the Mutual Aid Agreement. I hold that view myself. Many Americans appear to believe this failure due to sinister imperialistic motives. That, however, is unfair. Rather it has been due to fear, or, should one call it, caution, in the face of a succession of difficulties which have appeared vast and were certainly unmeasured. Britain was faced with the problem of winning a steady flow of food and materials by means of foreign trade in a changed world, in which she had certainly lost longstanding advantages. No one could gauge how great the difficulties would be. It may be correct, and I believe it to be, that she would have been wiser to have taken encouragement from the doctrines of Adam Smith--from which, however, Americans most signally lapse in their own traditional way--and to have proceeded straightaway to a more open commercial policy. That she has not done so has been due to a conviction that it would be far too dangerous. The imputation of a sinister motive, which is often on the lips of Americans, is certainly a cause of irritation.
At a slightly earlier date there was trouble of a similar kind. There were many arguments during the war about whether Britain would be able to risk returning to a more open trading system when the war was over. The American initiative in international economic matters was so encouraging that it should have been possible to secure a wholehearted agreement by a substantial majority of the British that the risks of the experiment were worth taking if buttressed by American coöperation. A fearful stranglehold of restrictions and bilateral clearings had been fastened upon foreign trade in the 'thirties and it certainly seemed worth making great efforts and taking risks to free the world from it. But from an early date it came to be understood that, in the American view, British Imperial Preference should be abolished at the same time. Apparently no distinction was drawn between it and the restrictive devices designed by Dr. Schacht and others in the 'thirties. Once this became clear, it meant that it would be impossible to secure a really wholehearted accord by a majority of the British to the program. A great opportunity was jeopardized.
Again I can write without blushing because I was strongly opposed to the Ottawa Agreements and believe that this British lapse from the more austere doctrine of free trade to have been a great mistake. It is one thing so to think, quite another to hold that Imperial Preference should be lumped indiscriminately in the class of trade restrictions where lie quotas, bilateral clearings, etc. Imperial Preference is more analogous to the straightforward tariffs that the United States imposes on imports, although not so restrictive. The British Commonwealth and Empire is a fact, and general principles relating to the regulation of commerce between sovereign states do not necessarily and without further examination apply to commerce between its members. The fact of the existence of the Commonwealth and Empire was of some importance in 1939-41. Even if it were difficult to draw a constitutional distinction between intra-Commonwealth commercial dealings and those between sovereign states (which it is not), surely an exception could be allowed to stand for a few decades in favor of Britain, the foremost ally who had gone through so much and was faced with unprecedented postwar difficulties in the task of keeping her people alive.
The persistent objection to Imperial Preference in the circumstances of today seems to the British most perverse. The wiser heads deem that the State Department must have a maxim in a copybook laid up somewhere, written in letters of gold, which, after the manner of governmental officials, it is psychologically compelled to apply automatically, without regard to special circumstances or human feelings. The majority of British do not think in terms of the State Department, but of the United States itself. To understand their feelings one must revert to the great obsolescent family and its richer go-ahead collateral branch. These British suspect, no doubt wrongly, that since Imperial Preference cannot seriously be deemed to do the Americans vital injury, the reiterated attacks on it are made just because they are cruel and because it is known that they will hurt. Such are the suspicions that spring up naturally in the complex family situation which I have tried to analyze.
The British Commonwealth and Empire itself continues to undergo rapid evolution, and this may prevent contentious problems ever coming to a head. Yet if the world continues to be troubled in many parts in these coming decades, friction may arise from continued misunderstandings about it. When I was a youth I was taught that this British Empire represented a mission for extending the frontiers of civilization comparable with that achieved by ancient Rome. As things have turned out, the claim perhaps has to be reduced. The British would still, I think, contend that as a civilizing mission it has been second only to that of Rome. Americans may yet place far greater achievements on the unwritten pages of the future. But when Americans refer to these British achievements, the fruits of the devoted toil of many generations, they invariably use pejorative terms--"colonialism," "exploitation." Indeed to the British ear it sounds as if many Americans had accepted wholesale and uncritically the Marxist interpretation of British history. Here are the Americans and British, planning to coöperate according to their respective strengths to protect the world against the potential threat of aggressive Communism. The Communist characterization of American capitalism is agreed by both parties to be a pack of lies; but when it comes to the achievement of which Britain is most proud, the Americans appear to accept the Communist criticism and even to adopt the jargon of Marxism. This is not a happy basis for friendship.
That is the sentimential side; there is a severely practical side also. Britain has shown herself fully ready to allow autonomy to replace British rule, when the time is ripe. She should surely be beyond criticism in that matter. But in cases where the time is not ripe, the British believe it to be most important that their authority should be retained, and they need the fullest possible American moral support in the task of government. A premature surrender of power leaves a vacuum into which Communism is only too likely to enter; or, if not Communism, then perhaps some new "ism" equally dangerous to the peace of the world. Who had heard of Fascism before 1922? Furthermore, political stability is a prerequisite for that raising of the standards of backward people to which we all now aspire; Britain has in the past spent many hundreds of millions of pounds to that end, but still larger sums may be needed. Those projects can go forward only if there is political security.
If the fight for freedom shifts from place to place over the surface of the world--and we see no surcease from it yet--it may be in the general strategic interest for Britain to surrender some position. She will not hesitate to do so for good reason. But if she is asked to surrender some position which embodies the sacrifices of many generations of her people, merely in accordance with a copybook formula--because Americans regard a British overseas interest as null and void and of not the slightest relevance--"mere colonialism"--it is hard to see how coöperation can fail to be damaged.
I have often been told that it is quite in vain to appeal to American opinion on this issue, since there is an ineradicable belief that the British Commonwealth and Empire, as established in the nineteenth century, merely represented a continued application of the policy of George III to peoples who were mugs enough to put up with it. I cannot believe that Americans are not amenable to reason on this topic, since amenability to reason in general is one of their most striking virtues. But it is useless for the British to plead their own case; American leaders must be found who are convinced of the importance of a better American understanding about the British Commonwealth and Empire. American suspicion of British imperialism has exerted a constant corroding influence on many matters of detail in recent years. It enters constantly into the discussion of British trade restriction and policy in regard to sterling, and has frustrated many attempts at economic coöperation, thereby weakening the collective strength of the two countries.
Britain and America are in fact champions of the great cause of freedom, and in this cause they are heart and soul united. This is the truth which deserves the emphasis.