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And reluctantly and sadly and with all the knowledge of the horror and terror which has been created, the United States has gone to war, knowing that war settles nothing, but war prevents some things. After each war, American Presidents have hoped and believed that they could create a system in which this would not be necessary any more. Once this system was defeated by the unwillingness of our own country to go into this great experiment.
After the last war the United Nations was created. That great organization is founded on the three great principles which have animated American life and American policy from the very beginning. These are, first of all, that aggression shall not occur and that you shall not use force to settle international disputes. That has been one of the most fundamental concepts of American foreign policy.
Inherent in the Charter ' is the second idea. That is that the human rights, the human freedoms—those great barriers which protect the individual from the incursion of the state
those shall be protected and built up because the very foundation of our moral concepts is that the individual is the test of all value. The worth of the individual is the ultimate worth upon this earth.
Third, we have had the concept in our life, and we have it in the United Nations, that we shall use our whole collective efforts to raise and to improve the standard of living of each person in this world so far as we can. We have this conception and this conviction, because we know that freedom from war, rights to exercise as individuals, all become worthless if the individual is stricken with disease and poverty and misery, so that he cannot have that fullness of human life which is the end of all our democratic efforts on this globe.
That was the great purpose of the United Nations. Think what it would have meant if that had been possible. It was so easily possible, because this whole concept of the United Nations was based on the idea that the great powers that had fought the war were going to continue in amity after the war and that they would subject themselves to the rule of morality and the rule of law and the smaller nations would come in with equal rights to speak and to have their views heard and to vote. But that great dream, or a large part of it, has been frustrated by the action of the Soviet Union.
The United States has gone forward in the economic field, gone forward in the human rights field, gone forward in the effort to prevent war. The Soviet Union has been frustrating these efforts from the very beginning. And so we have come to another series of ideaswe must carry on these efforts within the free world and also, within the free world, we must build up a military shield. We cannot any longer count upon the good faith of nations to settle their disputes amicably.
When we see what happened in Korea, when we see what has happened in other parts of the world which are exposed to Soviet threats, we know that we cannot count upon restraint and on obedience to law and good will. And so through the North Atlantic Treaty and through the Military Assistance Pact 2 and through the whole conception now of a unified force in the Atlantic community, we are building up a shield for the protection of free men. This is the center of the whole force of freedom. Behind this shield, free men can continue to build up their economic power and their economic welfare. And that has resulted in programs which are going forward in the Western World.
1 Infra, pp. 134–161.
At the same time this has happened, we have seen the great surge of nationalism in the Far East. We have seen the great desire of the peoples of the Far East to free themselves from the misery under which they have lived and to build lives which will be worthy of human beings. We have done our best to help that.
Here is something of great complexity. Here is a thing which requires constancy of purpose. Here is a thing which requires year after year after year of effort. It requires building our own force, being faithful to our allies and to our friends, and never allowing discouragements to deflect us from our course, never allowing irritations between free nations to build up into friction which will divert us from our ends. It requires the greatest patience, the greatest courage, the greatest determination, to carry this forward.
In the light of what I said earlier, in the light of all these things, does it make sense to say, “I want to re-examine our programs? ° I want to look at this all over again to see whether we should have started on it?" Is that the role that a leader in these troublesome times, these dangerous times, wishes to take in the world today? I think your answer is that it is not.
We are in for a period of great struggle. We are in for a period of sacrifice. We are in for a time which will take all the courage we have. Anyone who offers you easy answers, anyone who says that your life can go on undisturbed in this time is not telling you the truth. It is not worthy of your courage because you will respond to leadership. But there is hope. This is not a long dismal road with no hope at the end. It is the only road with hope. A road which requires determination and courage is not one from which you will shrink.
Again, in the Book of First Corinthians it is written "that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope." 3
We must look forward both with hope, with courage, and with determination to the future. We are not looking back. We are not pulling up our roots. We have put our hand to the plow and, having done it, there is only one way to look--that way is forward.
1 Treaty of Apr. 4, 1949; infra, pp. 812–815.
? i.e., the Mutual Defense Assistance Act of 1949; see A Decade of American Foreign Policy, pp. 1356-1364.
3 I Cor. 9: 10.
4. THE SHIELD OF FAITH: Address by the Secretary of State,
November 9, 1950 (Excerpts)'
In the complex field of foreign affairs—I hope you will not think it is a vocational exaggeration to describe it as complex-it is very easy to allow ourselves to become preoccupied with one aspect or ano ther of the problems that beset us.
It is all too simple for us to fall into a habit of viewing our foreign relations as a succession of crises, each one momentarily all-absorbing.
We have, as a nation, come but recently into our role of leadership in the world. Because our experience in this role is very brief, the perspective from which we view the problems it imposes on us is sometimes foreshortened in history. It is difficult for us to resist the temptation to let each critical aspect of our foreign affairs become in turn the central continent on our map of the world.
But although it is difficult, it is also essential that we avoid this disconnected and high-keyed approach to our responsibilities in the world.
It is necessary that we keep always before ourselves a sense of the "wholeness" of our relations with the rest of the world, if those relations are to be what we wish them to be.
Matthew Arnold, in praise of Sophocles, wrote that he "saw life steadily and saw it whole.”? This precept, I think, applies with special force to that part of life which we call foreign affairs.
In one sense, to speak of the "wholeness” of our foreign relations calls to mind the fact that it involves, not just the formal acts of a few government officials, but a total contact between peoples.
The impact which our country has upon the people of the world is made up of many elements-the things which people say in this country, which, for better or for worse, are carried abroad by press or radio; the impressions which our people traveling abroad leave behind them; the experiences of visitors to this country.
Indeed, in a democracy, our foreign relations grow out of, and are expressive of, our entire national life. They reflect our total culture. They operate within the context set by public opinion. They are affected by things which we used to think of as purely domestic.
This is one sense in which we can speak of the "wholeness” of our foreign relations.
But it is of another approach to this quality of "wholeness" that I should like to speak tonight.
If we are successfully to fulfill the responsibility of leadership in the world, it is essential that we, as a people, shall achieve a union of our moral purpose and our physical power.
1 Before the World Organization for Brotherhood of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Washington; Department of State Bulletin, Nov. 20, 1950, pp. 799–801.
2 Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (Boston, 1951), p. 545.
It is only by a fusion of these two elements within ourselves that we shall have the integrity, as a nation, to give leadership to the people of the world.
We have been obliged, of late, to concern ourselves with the urgent problem of building military and economic strength in order to meet a great danger.
This effort has led some among us to accept the view that the ultimate reality in international relations is to be found only in terms of power, whether military or economic.
This is wrong. It leaves out of account the powerful intangibles which are an essential part of the reality of international relations. Foremost among these is the moral and spiritual factor in human life.
All but those who hold the most mechanical view of human nature must agree that the moral and spiritual ideal is a powerful motivation in international life, as it is in individual man.
It is possible that we have tended to undervalue the extent to which a sense of moral purpose has guided and inspired our own actions in the world, because we have been to a great degree inarticulate about our moral values.
Indeed, many in this country have been concerned about the problem of why communism has been able to set forth a neat package of its beliefs, whereas democracy seems to have such a hard time explaining what it is about.
În their efforts to give the democratic faith a more dynamic impact upon the people of the world, many have sought a credo, an ideology, that would be expressive of democracy in a more simple form.
But it may be that the democratic faith is one of those things of which Justice Holmes said that they are better imparted by contagion than by argument.
For democracy has no dogma, no orthodoxy. Its genius lies in the diversity which it encompasses.
When we speak of the moral purpose, or the democratic ideal, hich underlies our actions in the world, we do not mean to suggest that it is part of our purpose to export our own form of government everywhere in the world. We must have the humility to understand that democracy as we know it, with the particular political and economic relationships we have come to associate with it, is not the only form a free society may take.
But what we do believe to be universal in democracy is its conception of man's proper relationship to his fellow men-the essential worth of the individual, the freedom that is essential to his growth, and the conception that men shall be brothers unto each other.
This is the nub of it—the minimum upon which all who would call themselves democratic must agree.
For this is the very heart of democracy.
Now, it is not enough that we shall have an occasional oratorical awareness of this moral conception which underlies our conduct in the world. These aspirations and purposes are not ornamental pieces, kept in the Sunday parlor, and dusted off only for such special occasions as the debates at Lake Success, or broadcasts over the Voice of America.
Our moral purpose is an essential part of the "wholeness” of our foreign relations which cannot be left aside. It must permeate all that we do. It must be always in our minds in der that means we employ may never lead us away from the direction in which we wish to go.
I should like to put this as concretely as possible by referring to several principal aspects of our foreign policy program.
One of the major tasks before the free nations is that we shall build our military strength quickly enough, and substantially enough, to protect ourselves against the possibility of aggression.
The threat is a grave one. The consequence of an inadequate response to it may easily be catastrophic.
But in responding to this threat, we must never allow ourselves to forget the purpose of our efforts to build our military strength.
Unless we have a constant awareness that our purpose is to maintain the peace so that the democratic values we cherish may continue their fruition, we run the risk of allowing power to become an end in itself.
We also run the risk of allowing ourselves to respond to this threat in ways which are self-defeating. It is only among those who have lost their sense of proportion about the purpose for which we need to build our military strength that talk of preventive war is possible. Only among these who have lost sight of our goals can there seem to be wisdom in self-destructive hysteria.
It is also clear that strength—even military strength-is not to be measured by a mere calculus of numbers of divisions, of tanks, and of weapons.
The vital adjunct of the strength of free societies lies in the consciousness of high purpose which free men carry with them. We have seen that the superficial strength of highly organized, totalitarian societies is brittle in adversity but that free societies have resilience even in temporary defeat.
This durability arises out of the bond of brotherhood which unites free men. In the times in which we live, brotherhood among free men has become an indispensable condition for the survival of free society.
But this moral conception is not by itself an automatic guarantee of survival. It has to be backed with a very great effort.
To build our strength so that the things we believe in can survive is the practical and vitally necessary expression in our times of our moral dedication.
We cannot afford to neglect either half of the prescription to "put our faith in the Lord and keep our powder dry.
It is equally important that, in the sphere of our activities abroad which we think of as "material," we shall have an ever-present consciousness of our moral values and sense of purpose.
1 A slightly different phrasing, ascribed to Oliver Cromwell, appears in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations (Boston, 1951), p. 329.