IF I KEPT a diary, which I never have done, I would write in it for today: “The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky.” Then if I had the energy I would fill in headlines from the front pages of this morning’s newspapers:
EXPERTS WORKING ON ATOM SHELTERS
NAVY SABOTEURS HUNTED PEACE MEETING HOWLS AT CANON COLLINS
CHURCHILL DEMANDS SECRET SESSION
U. S. TROOPS FIGHT AGAINST TRAP U. S. A. ORDERS 5.000 PLANES, MORE WARSHIPS
Among my letters this morning is one from the Russian Embassy asking me to visit that pleasant mansion tomorrow between 6 and 8 p.m. to meet Ilya Ehrenburg, the famous Russian journalist and broadcaster, whose voice rang out from Stalingrad in 1941 with the words: “Death to the invader!” There is nothing personal in the invitation, just a printed intimation that if I turn up I can have Ehrenburg and sherry. I must be on the political or journalistic list at the embassy.
In the Daily Mail today there is a dispatch from its New York correspondent, Don Iddon, saying that American resentment against Britain is rising. Why are the British leaving the whole Korean business to the Yanks? I gather that once more our cousins are twisting the lion’s tail.
By an unfortunate coincidence the raging Broadway success, “Mister Roberts,” has opened at the Coliseum and is fiercely bombarded by the dramatic critics. Why, ask the critics, does America at this juncture send us a play which depicts American sailors as sex-starved undisciplined neurotics? The author, Joshua Logan, came to my house for lunch and seemed utterly bewildered by the hammering he had received. “The play was intended to be larger
than life,” he said. “Broadway took it all as a joke, so did the U. S. Navy. Why do you treat it as a serious sociological study? And why are you so frightened of sex?”
Everywhere we turn, America is in the news. Oscar Wilde said that youth was America’s oldest tradition; and now that tradition is gone. The United States has come of age and its people are startled and a little hurt that they are expected to act like grown-ups all at once.
We used to condemn the American policy of isolationism which still commands the support of that journalistic Brontosaurus, Colonel McCormick, but America was created by isolationists. The republic was founded and developed by men whose roots were in the Old World but who had ventured across the sea to escape from poverty or persecution or the curse of war. Protected by two oceans, rich in the wealth of the soil, vibrant with the thrill of creating ¡ cities where once animals roamed the plains — is it any wonder that J America was to them not only their country but their world?
That is why the decision of President Truman to intervene in Korea was one of the great moments in history, perhaps the greatest moment in a hundred years. Not only does the Statue of Liberty hold out the light for the incoming emigrants from the Old World but it is signaling across the seas that America is leading the march in the battle for human liberty.
My mind goes back to a winter day in Washington three years ago. The U. S. Ambassador to Britain, Lewis Douglas, had arranged that I should see President Truman, and I was curious to meet the little man from Missouri who had been pitchforked into the presidency by the
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Britain Has a War in
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(CtinUmwdl'iw nmif 45
Continued from page 42
two years the British and the French have been resisting the Russian advance in Asia. For more than two years the Americans have not been drawn directly into the battle. Neither Britain nor France asked for assistance but it does not alter the fact that Asia is the battlefield and the result concerns all the Western Powers, no matter whose troops are engaged and whose disengaged.
The Americans will argue that the war with North Korea was to be waged by the United Nations, not merely the United States. Why then should the responsibility have fallen on one nation alone? Legalistically that question is hard to answer, but the hard facts of realism prove that Malaya, Indonesia, Korea and Formosa are all parts of the same battle, just as an attack on any zone in Western Germany is an attack on all three.
A Deal With Uncle Joe?
It may well be that before these words appear in print there will be allied troops alongside the Americans, but there will still be misunderstandings unless the American people are kept completely informed by the President. The unity of the Western world must be preserved or the day is lost.
This century has been so cursed by war or the threat of war that we have almost forgotten what peace is like. And sometimes I wonder if we are not becoming too fatalistic about it. To be prepared for war is essential but to accept war in its total sense as inevitable is surely a dangerous frame of
The other night I walked home from the House of Commons with Anthony Eden and, naturally, we discussed the international situation. “I cannot understand,” he said, “why there is so little diplomatic activity. After all, in 1914 and in 1939 the diplomats worked to the last minute to try to avert war. The ambassadors in London and Paris and Berlin were in constant touch with the different foreign ministers. They didn’t stop the war in either case, but at least they tried.”
I wish Eden was at the British Foreign Office now. He knows that the 100 years ideological struggle between Communism and Western freedom must go on, but he is not convinced that Russia wants another world war. “I still think I could do a deal with Uncle Joe,” he says. “He told me in Moscow that unlike Hitler he would know when to stop.”
Well, we are building shelters again in London, specially reinforced to meet the blast of the atomic bomb. Men and women are joining up for civil defense again, and once more our factories will turn to war production.
Yet I cling to the belief that when America put away her youth and decided in the name of the United Nations to oppose aggression in Korea, the hand of the clock was stopped. If only we maintain unity, if only we are firm and just, if only we keep the gates open to discussion with Russia, then perhaps the troubled children of the world will be given a chance to live like human beings, to love and learn and
Well, there is the item in my diary. The sun is shining but clouds are drifting toward us from the East. if
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