A VISITOR from India is constantly reminded how great is the fund of good will for the Indian people in the United States, and how keen the interest in their problems. No less evident is a perplexity, bordering on dismay, in regard to certain aspects of India's foreign policy; and it is shared by Americans who have a record of friendship and support for India in her past struggle for independence. The bewilderment and concern, not always clearly expressed, revolve around this question: Why does India, which has in her Constitution chosen the democratic system of government and has dealt severely with the Indian Communists who are carrying out the Cominform directive to disrupt and destroy the new Republic, now fail, when she turns her sights outward to the rest of the world, to show the same clarity in distinguishing between democracy and totalitarianism? Why should India profess equal friendship for the democracies on one hand and the Soviet bloc on the other? And what can Americans do about it?

I believe that American public opinion can be helped to an understanding of India's international attitudes, and that there are steps which the United States can take to win the friendship of the Indian people. But first it must be admitted that this paradox of a double standard of morality--one for domestic problems and another for international problems--does exist in India. It is not to be located in India's policy of refusing to enter into military alliances, however, or in her policy of state neutrality in a cold war or a shooting war, or in her recognition of the Chinese Communist régime. Whether or not such policies are wise, there is nothing paradoxical about their adoption by a democratic state. No one could question the devotion of Sweden and Switzerland to the free way of life, for example, yet both have pursued policies of neutrality and intend to pursue them.

Where a certain influential section of Indian opinion does tend to part company with other neutral countries is in an attempt to "think neutral" which goes beyond the needs of state policy. This neutralist attitude is currently dominant in India. Not that it is representative of the Indian people as a whole--for one reason, because the broad masses of the people in the villages are largely unconscious of the world abroad and its problems. And it is important to note that even among the intelligentsia who mould public opinion and influence government there are thousands of men and women who do not share that approach. Evidence of a revulsion of feeling among intellectuals was forthcoming in March last year when the Indian Congress for Cultural Freedom, attended by more than 100 prominent writers and leaders in cultural fields, adopted with near unanimity a Declaration of Cultural Freedom which concluded with this resounding rejection of neutralism: "Indifference or neutrality towards this totalitarian tyranny amounts to a renunciation of the Indian tradition and our human heritage, and a betrayal of all spiritual values."

All this notwithstanding, it must be conceded that a disturbingly large and vocal section of opinion in India is able to express a neutralist attitude without being actively challenged. There are two manifestations of this point of view, both of which must be understood.


First, there is a needless attempt to justify the policy of state neutrality by adopting an attitude of "a plague on both your houses." Those who take this attitude profess that there is little to choose between the two "camps" of American capitalism and Soviet Communism; they assert, as did a speaker not long ago, that "the differences between Henry Ford and Joseph Stalin might not be very great." Certainly this is an attempt to straddle the great moral issue of our time--that of democracy versus totalitarian dictatorship; and those who do so are driven to adopt the double standard of morality--an exacting one for the democracies, a complaisant one for the dictatorships. The result is a refusal to see any difference between light grey and deep black.

The origins of this effort to find a point of balance halfway between two unequal quantities are to be found in the acceptance of the idea of an "Anglo-American bloc." This concept was the creation of Cominform propaganda. As the writer had occasion to observe in the course of a speech during a debate on foreign policy on the floor of the Indian Parliament as far back as December 6, 1950, one of the reasons why we in India have been inhibited, despite a basically sound policy, from defending our part of the world and building a system of collective security is the misconception that "there are two power blocs, that both are of the same quality and level and that we can, therefore, be equally independent or detached from both." This is a basic fallacy. It lies at the root of the distortions that sometimes take place in the otherwise correct policy of deciding each issue on its merits.

A newer and more disturbing manifestation of this line of thinking is a tendency to idealize and glorify the Chinese Communist dictatorship. Here again the question is not so much that of diplomatic recognition of the Mao Tse-tung régime as of entertaining illusions about it and of turning a blind eye to its shocking record of terror at home and aggression abroad. This is probably the reflection of a desire to transfer from Russia to China illusions that still linger in certain quarters. The hope is doomed to failure, since the dictatorship in China is commencing its career as an offshoot of the Soviet dictatorship at a period when every idealistic and progressive impulse of the October Revolution has already been spent and discarded. The proof is there for all who care to see. While Soviet Russia did not trespass for the first two decades of its existence on one inch of foreign soil, for example, Communist China has already aggressed in Korea and Tibet and is believed to be intervening in Indo-China. The régime has already stated that more than 1,500,000 political opponents have been put to death.

Thus, Mr. K. M. Panikkar, India's Ambassador in Peking, delivered an address in New Delhi in October 1951, in the course of which he is reported to have declared that the Peking régime "is not a Communist government" but "a broad-based coalition" that has launched "a dynamic social revolution." Mr. Panikkar had no doubt that 95 percent of the Chinese people regarded the régime as their own, for they were associated with the formulation and execution of the government's policy at all stages and all levels. The alarming extent to which good and well-meaning people may be misinformed and misled is perhaps best evidenced by the words of welcome in New Delhi to a Chinese Communist "cultural" mission last November by an eminent and respected academic figure like Dr. Zakir Hussain, Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh University, delivered in the presence of a distinguished gathering including cabinet ministers:

Already your effort has borne fruit. The Peoples' Government has united nearly 500 million people as they were never before united. It has given the "land to the tiller;" it has generated a tremendous enthusiasm for production; it has brought together the peasant, the worker, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie in one great urge to build up a political and economic system in which each can make the fullest contribution and from which all can derive the greatest benefit. You have evolved the "common program" through full and free discussion and you have created a loyalty and devotion to the purposes of this program which assure its success. You have the best wishes of the Indian people for the attainment of the ends to which you aspire.

Perhaps it is not a matter for surprise that, founded on these quaint misconceptions, the suggestion is now being mooted in certain quarters in India that Communist China and India should jointly pledge themselves to respect the frontiers of the countries of Southeast Asia and that such a "guarantee" should then be made the basis for a demand for the withdrawal of American, British and French forces from the Asian mainland. This naïve acceptance of Mao Tse-tung's good faith does not appear to have been shaken by his duplicity over Tibet.[i]

"But why should this be so?" asks the harassed American observer. Why should otherwise reasonable people find it possible to believe such things in the face of the evidence that is available? Several psychological and emotional factors--some reasonable, others irrational--go into the making of neutralist sentiment in India as elsewhere. Perhaps the most important of these is the desire to assert a newly-found independence--the need of a newcomer on the international scene to make its existence felt. Nobody has seriously suggested that India is a satellite of the Kremlin, and the need to prove our independence of the Soviets has not yet arisen. But the Soviet press and radio, and Chinese Communist propaganda as well (though less markedly in the past year), have consistently referred to the Indian Union as a "British colony" and its government as an agent of "Anglo-American imperialism." Hence the need--sometimes needlessly expressed--to prove that India is nobody's stooge.

Secondly, the desire for security and survival works to create neutralist sentiment in India--mistakenly, it seems to me, but also understandably. "Why," people in India ask, "should we stick our necks out? Why provoke Stalin and Mao Tse-tung? Let the giants, America and Russia, fight it out by themselves. It's none of our business." To Americans it seems clear that collective security is the best insurance of national survival, that "peace is indivisible," that the experiences of Beneš, Jan Masaryk and Tito offer a lesson that no free nation dare ignore. And indeed, the fact is that the only provocation known to the Politburo is the one provided by friendliness or weakness or credulity. But these are considerations not yet present in the minds of people in general in India.

The third factor which produces this state of mind is the slowness with which old ideas disappear from men's minds and new ones take hold--in India as everywhere. British rule is recent and the memory of it is strong; it has not yet been supplanted by an awareness of the extent to which "Western imperialism" has receded. But the "Soviet myth" lingers and sincere men still make public references to the "great achievements" of the Soviet Union. The fact of Soviet imperialism has not yet sunk in; sometimes one feels that there is a lurking supposition that unless water lies between one country and another the relationship of imperialism cannot be said to exist.

Finally, there is a natural and often legitimate distaste in most foreign countries for certain aspects of American life, and irritation with some American policies. These normal responses are aggravated for Indians by economic and racial factors. The disparity in living standards between the United States and India is enormous, and, human nature being what it is, the instinctive reaction of a man who looks out from a slum at a mansion is not that of love for his more fortunately placed neighbor. Moreover, the past claims to superiority by "white" people have bred a heightened consciousness of color among the peoples of Asia and Africa. Every act of racial discrimination in the United States or elsewhere is used with devastating effectiveness by Communist propaganda. This racial factor is the Achilles heel of the United States and of all the Western countries in the clash of ideas in contemporary Asia.

All this adds up to a somewhat discouraging picture, and the American response is apt to be: "Isn't it, after all, up to the Indian people to figure out where India's real interests lie? Isn't the question of her place in the free world primarily a matter for Indians to settle among themselves?"

Let it be conceded at once that it is. The main burden of convincing the Indian people of the nature of India's interest must fall on Indian shoulders. And yet such decisions are never reached without reference to what is happening in the rest of the world, and, above all now, what is done by the United States. What Americans do, individually and collectively, will inevitably tend to help or hinder the struggle for the mind and soul of India. What, then, should they do to help? The insistent questioning I have encountered in the United States on this point encourages me to venture for consideration a few general comments, and some specific ones.


Patience and tolerance are needed. Least helpful of all is an attitude of superior virtue. A plea for the exercise of what are, after all, nothing more than the ordinary Christian virtues can be supported by very concrete arguments in its behalf. They stem partly from the need for maintaining "the balance of mutuality" in the relations between the United States and her friends in the free world. And they refer partly to the record of confusion, vacillation and appeasement that characterized Western policy in general, including American policy, up to the time of the Communist aggression in Korea in June 1950. Righteous indignation at appeasement by India of Communist aggression in Tibet, for example, merely tempts those who are scolded to cite the record of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam--the attempted appeasement of the Soviet dictatorship by the surrender of the liberties of Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe. Indeed, going a little further back, I may be permitted to recall that, when Mayor of Bombay in 1943-44, I had occasion to make a public protest against the efforts made in Anglo-American wartime publicity to sell to the Indian people the virtue of what was then described as "your glorious Soviet ally." The campaign spread a good deal of confusion and illusion in the minds of the Indian people. The fact is that a large number of Indians today think now the way many Americans did a few years back--and perhaps with somewhat better excuse.

While, however, patience and tolerance are prerequisites to understanding and friendship, they are rather passive virtues. Something much more positive and dynamic is required if that third of the world which today occupies a peripheral position alongside the Iron Curtain is to be attracted to the side of the United States and the other democracies. The extent to which the United States places itself in the forefront of the fight for a world order based on the equality of peoples and of races will largely determine the amount of support it will rally to its side in India and the rest of Asia. The assistance given by the United States to the Indonesian people in freeing themselves from Dutch imperialism is still remembered in Asia. If, despite all the doubts and difficulties, America succeeds in her present effort to help the people of Viet-Nam repel the threat to their independence that comes from the Soviet agent Ho Chi Minh, and at the same time helps them free themselves from the relics of French domination, she will find that the Asian people have credited her with the achievement. The vigor of the fight against racial discrimination, whether in the United States or in the U.N., will also be noted. Such are the tests by which Asia will judge where the best hope of happiness and freedom for her peoples lies.

While pursuing such particular ends, it is vital that Americans take care not to identify themselves with the maintenance of the social and economic status quo in Asia. Least of all it is wise for the United States to picture itself abroad wholly in terms of "free enterprise." Free enterprise has undoubtedly "delivered the goods" in the United States, and is the basis of the country's prosperity; but free enterprise in Western Europe means something different; in Asia it is something else again. That it is a sufficient answer to India's overwhelming economic problems is widely questioned. Even those Indians who are conscious of the political dangers latent in centralized planning and the nationalization of industries are driven to advocate a mixed economy of state and free enterprise. The fact is that the United States is now a welfare state, as is every nation that takes responsibility for the unemployed; and a large part of American goods and services are provided by public enterprise in some form. The proper presentation of this development would go far to erase the picture of "reactionary, capitalist America," as painted by the Communists and their friends. The United States has no better ambassador-at-large in Asia than the one which bears the initials T.V.A. Every effort also needs to be made to spread knowledge of the fact that the United States has refused to discriminate between capitalist and Socialist régimes in implementing the program of the Marshall Plan and the Mutual Security Administration.


The question of help for underdeveloped countries is one which requires particular tact and understanding. What people in such lands want is to be helped to help themselves. If a friend of the United States were permitted to offer advice, he would say: "Do not let those who must have aid wait to beg for it; yet do not be provoked by ungraciousness." India, like other underdeveloped countries, has urgent and vital need for international economic aid. The basic problem is that the population is large and growing, yet production is low and stagnant. The average annual per capita income is Rs. 256, or $54, and population is increasing at the rate of about 4,000,000 a year. Obviously there can be little margin for the saving and investment needed to modernize techniques and tools and increase production--in other words, to raise the terribly low living standards that prevail. Indeed, one is driven to entertain the hypothesis that the Indian Union and the other new states like Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia and Israel, have been born a bit too late in history. They have secured the trappings of national sovereignty just at the moment when the attributes of sovereignty have shrunk and the nation-state seems on its way out. Distant countries have become near neighbors; economic and political coöperation are needed as never before. There is no longer a solution for national problems within the four corners of isolationism and national self-sufficiency, whether for the United States or for India.

Unfortunately, an ambivalent attitude toward the acceptance of economic aid from abroad has been common among influential and vocal sections of public opinion in India. There is on the one hand an awareness of India's needs, and a desire for assistance; but alongside of this there are reluctance and suspicion, springing from the fear that acceptance of such aid on a large scale may mean the loss of newly-found freedom. Thus, the same journal that one day publishes an editorial entitled "The Officious Samaritan" will, a few days later--without any feeling of inconsistency--complain bitterly about concentration of aid in Western Europe and the neglect of the undeveloped countries of Asia. Indian thinking on this subject has advanced noticeably in recent months; the draft outline of a Five Year Plan published by the Planning Commission of the Government of India is important evidence of the advent of a more positive approach. All the same, it is difficult to disagree with Professor D. T. Lakdawala, of the University of Bombay, when he writes in his book, "International Aspects of Indian Economic Development:" "To get foreign aid on the required scale, our attitude to foreign capital, direct and indirect, has to undergo a drastic change. There is some evidence of such a change, but the change needs to be carried much further."

Wisdom would seem to lie in recognizing the need of the common people for aid, and ignoring the false pride of a few that may be wounded. An Indian journal, which has attained a degree of objectivity in regard to our international attitudes rare in India, frankly faces these psychological difficulties: "As a people we do not have it in our tradition to ask for help even when we may need it; we remain tongue-tied when it comes to asking a favor; to ask for outside help is contrary to our conception of national dignity."[ii] In this context the agreement recently reached between the Governments of India and the United States in regard to $50,000,000 aid for development in the current year is encouraging.

The lesson of China is sometimes misread in this connection. It was not a mistake for the United States to give aid to the Chinese National Government; the mistake lay in giving aid unconditionally, even though the Government was friendly. There is a good deal of talk to the effect that no strings must ever be attached to foreign aid. It is loose talk, for the interests of the people call for the attaching of some conditions to a large grant of funds. Everything depends, of course, on what the conditions are. If they involved interference in India's political or economic objectives, or in her foreign policy, they would not be acceptable to anybody in India. If, on the other hand, they were such as are attached to E.C.A. or M.S.A., calculated to ensure that the aid is devoted to the purposes for which it is intended and reaches the people for whom it is meant, they should be welcomed. A refreshing note in this connection was struck by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, one of the leading members of the Socialist Party of India, who visited the United States last year. Speaking in Bombay on May 4, 1951, he said that India may legitimately be asked: 1, to check increase in population; 2, to revise laws and holdings of land so as to stimulate farmers to produce more and to encourage voluntary labor of reconstruction; 3, to cultivate new lands through a food army; 4, to develop industries based on the small machine; 5, to give an assurance that India will not provide military assistance to the enemy of the country giving aid. None of these conditions could, according to Dr. Lohia, be called interference in the internal affairs of India and all would further the world-wide fight against poverty and war. Without necessarily agreeing with the criteria suggested by Dr. Lohia, one can appreciate his willingness to realize the need to give as well as to take in an international relationship of this kind.


Certainly we must remember, however, that filling empty stomachs, while helpful, is not the whole answer to the problem of defeating Communism. Czechoslovakia is under a Communist dictatorship today, but not because her people were groaning in poverty in the months before the February 1948 coup. Whatever the causes of Czechoslovakia's vulnerability, empty minds and souls can provide as good a breeding ground for Communism as an empty stomach. The Communists understand this, and in India they are actively waging the civil war of ideas which today cleaves the world in two.

India needs American men and women who want to participate on the side of freedom in the world-wide civil war of ideas, and who will offer active comradeship to all those who would be their friends. In India, international Communism is concentrating not so much on the impoverished workers and peasants as on the intelligentsia, who are relatively better off. The pattern of Communist infiltration is no longer that of the twenties and thirties, when the goal was a mass revolution. It seeks to prepare a coup d'état on the Czech model, through control over a few key points in the national life. In furtherance of this aim, India is being flooded with literature from Russia and Communist China. The literature is in the English language, and is far superior both in quantity and quality to the material put out by the local Communists. The effort is obviously heavily subsidized; the literature sells at every street corner at a fraction of what must be the cost of producing it in Moscow and Peking, and transporting it to India.

A leading member of the Indian Socialist Party has expressed the concern he felt during the recent election campaign when he found that the young men and women who came to solicit his autograph at the close of his meetings in the south asked him to inscribe the book that they were carrying; very often the book was "The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union" or "The Life of Joseph Stalin," printed by the Peoples' Publishing House, Moscow. The advance made by the Communist Party in the south of India is alarming. There is a great thirst for knowledge among young men and women in India, and the only attempt at a serious answer to the world's problems that is made available to them is that which comes from the Communists. When there is an intellectual vacuum, the enemies of freedom hasten forward to fill it. Can this constant poisoning of young minds fail to bear bitter fruit as the years pass?

What is the answer of the democracies to this challenge? Various books published in the West would be useful in this connection (Arthur Schlesinger's "The Vital Center" or Bertram Wolfe's "Three Who Made A Revolution," to cite only two); but they come to India in such small driblets and sell at such high prices that only a few scores of people can manage to get at them. Could not organizations such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the Freedom Crusade and the Committee for a Free Asia come forward to meet this challenge?

Toward the end of last year, Mr. Edward W. Barrett, then Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, conceded that the United States was losing the world-wide cultural war with the Soviet Union in the face of the "gigantic propaganda offensive" launched by the Soviet Government. In Bombay, a columnist had asked a few weeks earlier why it was that Americans, who were the world's best advertisers, should fail so lamentably when it came to the question of presenting their own country in foreign lands. This failure is not the fault of the men and women in the U. S. Information Services and the Voice of America, who are performing a difficult and delicate task. Official agencies can, of their nature, perform only a small part of the work. The greater part of it must be undertaken by unofficial organizations and groups; and the greatest part of the burden of a counteroffensive against Communist infiltration in India must fall on the shoulders of Indians. But they need the support of those abroad who share their democratic values.

Propaganda divorced from deeds, the printed word without the human presence, can have but a limited appeal. One American working with us in India can exert more influence than a large number of dollars or a heavy pile of literature. But how many Americans have come to India to identify themselves with their Indian fellow-democrats in the field? I know of one who came in a non-official capacity--sent out by the International Free Trade Union Committee sponsored by the American Federation of Labor--who achieved splendid results. I wonder if there are more than a dozen others who have come in the same spirit? And how many Indians are asked to participate in the international civil war on the side of the democracies?


But of course there is more to the problem even than this. Ideological warfare cannot succeed unless diplomatic and military strength supply the foundation on which to build. People seldom rally to a cause, however just, if they feel that it is doomed to fail. It is justice holding the flaming sword that rouses masses of people to live, and, if need be, die, for a cause. I began this effort to suggest how India and the United States can come closer together by speaking of the need for patience and understanding from Americans; I would end by asking for firmness and strength. Neither set of qualities will serve without the other. To understand a point of view other than one's own does not mean that one must necessarily adopt it. Public opinion in the United States is relatively ahead of opinion in Europe and in Asia in recognizing, however belatedly, the Kremlin's aim of world conquest and domination; and it is more prepared to meet this challenge politically, and, if need be, militarily. Consistent democrats in India are glad that there is at least one democracy that is equipped with this clear understanding. Outside the ranks of the Communists and their fellow-travellers there is, indeed, little honest doubt in India of the good intentions of the American people, and of their love of peace and freedom. There is, however, considerable doubt about American strength and sagacity. Let me say frankly that confidence in the capacity of the United States to win a global conflict that may be forced by the Communists has still to be carried to the Indian people.

The aphorism that "an idea cannot be stopped by force" is overworked. It is based, in present circumstances, on the misconception that international Communism is a potent idea; in reality it is now primarily a plot and a conspiracy. Neither abstract justice, nor abstract ideas, nor "prosperity" itself is sufficient to defeat a conspiracy that is based on the use of force and fraud, and possesses the instruments to apply them. It is not enough that America's cause be understood to be fair and just; there must be no less a conviction that the United States has the power to uphold justice--particularly in Asia. Since 1945 the tide has moved the other way. Ten countries of Eastern Europe, plus North Korea, China and now Tibet, have successively been engulfed. The Communists in India are taking full advantage of this fact to cajole and intimidate. Five years from now, they say, India will be what China is today: if you want to get on the bandwagon, now is the time. Those who watch the names that appear on Communist "peace" appeals and "Indo-Chinese Friendship" fronts, and study the results of the recent general elections in the south, know that the Communist warning is not without effect.

When in Berlin recently, I listened to the strains of the signature tune of the Berlin Radio Der Insuliner. A fundamental truth runs through this anthem which recalls the words of John Donne and Abraham Lincoln: Berlin will cease to be an island and become part of the mainland of freedom, or it will be engulfed by the seas that rage around it. The truth is as applicable to Europe as to Berlin. And as appropriate to Asia as to Western Europe! If Asia were lost, Western Europe would be an island in no better plight than Berlin today. India's strategic frontiers lie in Indo-China; but so do those of the free world. The successful defense of Viet-Nam against aggression directed and supported by the Chinese and the Soviets, the maintenance of the independence of Thailand and Burma--all are part of the defense of India herself. Failure to halt aggression in Indo-China would not only render fruitless the sacrifice of those who have fought and died in Korea; it would leave all the rest of Southeast Asia undefendable and result in the outflanking of India.

The plainer the military superiority of the democracies relative to their enemies, and the plainer their determination to act, the easier it will be for the bulk of Indians, always democratic at heart, to declare their allegiance free from intimidation. As yet only a few in India share the confidence that the democracies have the strength to win a global conflict, should it be forced on them. The likelihood of such a conflict would, however, be vastly lessened if the indivisibility of freedom for Asia and Europe were understood and implemented now, and the peoples of Asia freed to participate in the building up of collective security in the region east of Turkey and west of the Philippines.

Still, given this confidence, one final doubt would remain in many Indian minds. Have the democracies the capacity to win a peace? Have they the wisdom, the maturity, to lay the foundations of a world community based on the equality of all peoples and races? The basic policies of the democracies have savored too much of a mere bolstering of the territorial and political status quo. Defenses seem constantly improvised--a hole plugged here, a leak stopped there. With the experience of Korea and Iran and Egypt before us, perhaps it would not be unfair to suggest a parallel going far back in history--the reproach that Demosthenes addressed to the Athenians in 351 B.C.:

Shame on you, Athenians . . . for not wishing to understand that in war one must not allow oneself to be at the command of events, but to forestall them . . . . You make war against Philip like a barbarian when he wrestles. . . . If you hear that Philip has attacked in the Chersonese, you send help there; if he is at Thermopylae, you run there; and if he turns aside you follow him to right and left, as if you were acting on his orders. Never a fixed plan, never any precautions; you wait for bad news before you act.

Clearly, mere containment is no longer enough. Something dynamic is needed if a responsive chord is to be struck in Asian hearts. The people of India have everything to lose and nothing to gain by going under the heel of a Communist dictatorship. Their religions, their way of life, their great cultural tradition extending for over thousands of years with its basic concept of unity through diversity, their attachment to home and family, the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, their democratic Constitution, their membership in the Commonwealth and their ties with the free peoples of the world--all these are on the side of the forces of freedom. But India is also a new nation, with a future to build. Given time, and the opportunity to learn the facts, the Indian people should find no difficulty in taking their place without reservations among the peoples of the free world.

But let us all remember that time itself is neutral. It works for that side which makes the best use of it.

[i] The most effective refutation of all these hopes and dreams has come from none other than Mao Tse-tung himself. Ten years ago, in "New Democracy," Mao wrote: "The world now lives in an era of revolution and war, a new era, where capitalism is definitely dying and Socialism is beginning to flourish. In the international environment of the middle of the twentieth century, there are only two ways open to all decent people in the colonies, and the semi-colonies. They must either go over to the side of the imperialist front or take part in the world revolution. They must choose between these two. There is no other way."

Two years ago, Mao was even more specific: "We belong to the anti-imperialist front headed by the U.S.S.R. and we can only look for genuine friendly aid from that front and not from the imperialist front. . . . We also oppose the illusion of a third road. . . . In the world without exception one either leans to the side of imperialism or the side of Socialism. Neutrality is a camouflage."

[ii]Thought, Delhi, August 24, 1951.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • M. R. MASANI, member of the Indian Constituent Assembly and of the Indian Parliament, 1947-52; a founder of the All India Congress Socialist Party, former Mayor of Bombay, and former Indian Ambassador to Brazil; Chairman of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Discrimination and Minorities
  • More By M. R. Masani