Washington Memo

ERNEST K. LINDLEY January 1 1946

Washington Memo

ERNEST K. LINDLEY January 1 1946

Washington Memo


THE brightest omen in the cloudy and confused Washington scene is the way in which Congressional support has crystallized for the act which will put the United States effectively with the UNO. This is the act which authorizes the U. S. representative on the United Nations Security Council to cast his vote and to commit to action an agreed quota of U. S. armed forces, without consulting Congress. The size and composition of this quota of force will be fixed, of course, in the master military agreement to be negotiated later.

In August, when the United Nations Charter was ratified by the Senate all but unanimously, it was widely held that the surviving isolationists had merely executed a tactical withdrawal. According to this theory they would make their real fight on the powers of the U. S. representative on the Security Council. But this line is proving as indefensible as outright opposition to the United Nations Charter.

The U. S. delegate will be the representative of the President, free to vote as the President directs, except on the use of American forces in excess of those which are formally placed at the disposal of the Security Council. If larger forces are needed Congress will have to approve, since Congress alone has the power to declare war. It will have a chance in due course to decide what should be the quota of U. S. forces to be pledged to the Security Council. But it recognizes a distinction between war and the use of force by the United Nations for police purposes.

Those who say the UNO charter is not strong enough far outnumber those who still regard it as a dangerous experiment. Even during the San Francisco Conference many Americans were opposed to the veto provisions written into the charter. Week after week they are becoming more vocal and apparently more numerous. Even the outright advocates of a “world government” are steadily gaining adherents.

This trend is, of course, an intellectual consequence of the atomic bomb. It is not, however, an unmixed blessing, in the Continued on page 47

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minds of Congressional and Administration leaders who are struggling with the problems of setting up the UNO and dealing with the Russians. One wing of the “world government” movement has gone off on a tack which is potentially if not consciously antiRussian. When closely examined its proposals look less like a “world government” than a nuclear alliance of nations which—by western liberal definition—are democratic.

Will The Bear Play?

There is a great deal of pessimism in high quarters about the Russians. The official tactic is firmness—but firmness with the hope of working things out and drawing the Russians, step by step, into closer international collaboration.

On the whole, public reaction to the declaration on atomic energy by the United States, United Kingdom and Canada has been favorable. Congressional leaders were momentarily annoyed because they were not consulted—especially the members of the Senate’s special atomic energy committee which was just beginning its studies. But the assignment of the problem to the UNO pleased those who want to strengthen that organization, while the step-by-step approach outlined satisfied those who distrust the Russians as well as those who believe that an unbridged chasm between Russia and the Western powers would lead to a catastrophe. There is surprising unanimity of opiniop in official Washington that an elaborate inspection system, to hack up international regulation of atomic energy, is not only essential but technically feasible. The main difference in opinion is over whether the Russians would submit to international inspection — or could, without undermining their present political institutions. The only really sharp criticism of the declaration of Messrs. Truman, Attlee, and Mackenzie King came from the small minority who usually seem to trust Moscow more than Washington or London.

A bomb—not atomic, hut a diplomatic block buster—was detonated by Major-General Patrick J. Hurley, in resigning as Ambassador to China. When war broke out Hurley, a lifelong Republican, who became Secretary of War in the Hoover administration, offered his services to President Roosevelt. He is a tall handsome man who shifts without notice from lieartwringing oratory to “you give me this and I’ll give you that” hluntncss, and may punctuate either line of talk with an Indian war whoop. Hurley’s peculiar diplomatic talents were successful in such diverse assignments as Minister to New Zealand; and special Presidential emissary to King Ihn Saud of Saudi Arabia, and Stalin. He impressed Stalin so much that, a few weeks later, when Roosevelt wanted to send General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army, to Moscow, Stalin demurred, pointing out that he had already conferred with Hurley.

The “Hurley Treatment”

In the summer of 1944, when the Japs were making their last drive deep into China, and the American representatives, both military and civilian, were hopelessly at odds with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, Roosevelt decided to give the faltering Chinese the Hurley treatment. Hurley tried persistently to unite the Chinese Communists and the Central Government, with the latter to be boss. When he failed he made it plain that the United States was backing the Generalissimo. He sent back to Washington members of the embassy staff who favored the Chinese Communists or otherwise took a sour view of the Central Government. In recent State Department shake-ups the members of this same group obtained control of the Far Eastern division and began to put the screws on Hurley. Hurley's blast shook Congress and the Truman administration. In some consternation the President drafted perhaps Che most highly respected man in the United States, General Marshall, and packed him off to China. Officially relieved of his duties of Chief of Staff only a week earlier, Marshall, before taking the rest

which he longed for and deserved, was waiting until his successor, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, recovered from an illness.

Hurley’s opponents in the State Department—at least those whom this correspondent knows—are not Russian sympathizers. They are mostly “young China hands’’ who became disgusted with the corrupt and reactionary elements around Chiang Kai-Shek and who thought the Chinese Communist program, especially its land reforms, offered a more promising road to a truly democratic China. Many of them also believed most of the active guerilla warfare against the Japanese had been waged by the Communists.

Roosevelt urged Chiang to make peace with the Communists and to liberalize his internal policies. But he always believed that Chiang was the cornerstone on which to build a united and ultimately democratic China which would co-operate with the United States. To avoid complications he insisted that the Central Government come to terms with Moscow and urged Moscow to accept the Central Government as representing all of China. This accord was reached before Russia entered the war against Japan and was honored in the arrangements agreed upon for the surrender of Japanese troops in China.

Hurley, unquestionably, was carrying out Roosevelt’s policy, which Truman inherited. But neither Truman nor his Secretary of State, James F. Byrnes, seems to have had a clear idea of who, in the State Department, stood for what, and why.

Marshall’s assignment to China is temporary. Truman, who has publicly acclaimed him as the greatest Allied strategist of the war and the greatest soldier in American history, has other jobs in mind for him. Marshall’s main personal interest is in retiring to his farm in Virginia, but he is too much of a patriot, and too vigorous still at 66, to refuse a call to duty.

Military Scramble

Eisenhower, by common consent, is the appropriate man to follow Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army. General H. H. Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, has an equally logical successor in General Carl Spaatz, who was commander of the strategic Air Forces, first in Europe and then in the Pacific. There is less enthusiasm for the selection of Admiral Chester Nimitz to replace Admiral Ernest J. King as top man in the Navy. Nimitz, as commander-in-chief of the

Pacific fleet, was next in line to King during the war. But he is 61, rather inarticulate, and not too adroit in his handling of the press. Secretary James Forrestal and most of the younger officers in the Navy would have preferred a younger man, but they were blocked by Nimitz’s brilliant war record, his support among the elderly Admirals who compose the upper crust of the Navy, and the politicians from Nimitz’s home state of Texas. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sam Rayburn, and many other keymen in Congress, are Texans. When the Texas politicians join in urging an appointment, as they did Nimitz’s, the President pays heed.

Truman is finding, however, that the dividends from making this concession to the southern wing of his Party are thin. For internal legislation, Congress remains in control of a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats. They don’t assail the White House, as they did when Roosevelt occupied it. They just ignore it, with suave silence.

Truman is being pressed, especially by organized labor, to take off his glove and sock this coalition. But in union questions the coalition reflects the sentiment of a majority ot the voters. The wisest men in the labor movement know this. Some of the more powerful unions have escaped from control of their own national leaders. Rank-andfile sentiment, whipped up by ambitious local officials, has caused extreme demands to be made and forced strikes which are probably doomed to failure.

Many large corporations were not too reluctant to close down operations during the last few weeks of 1945, because they had already earned almost all the profits that they could retain under the wartime excess profits tax. They knew this tax would expire Jan. 1. So did union officials. Yet strikes were brought to a head—the big General Motors strike, among them —in November, instead of after Jan. 1, when they would have cut into net profits. Experienced labor leaders warned that premature strikes to back excessive demands would not achieve much except “a bleak Christmas for the children.” Having been overruled they had to turn around and plead with the White House to back up the strikers.

There is a difference between choosing the middle of the road and being “put in the middle.” President Truman is being “put in the middle” too much for his own peace of mind. Outwardly he is as cheerful as ever, but he is not a happy man. He is feeling the pressure too much from too many directions.