From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 44, 30 October 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.
The whole Dumbarton Oaks conference is exposed! And exposed by no less a person than the President himself.
The embarrassment of Roosevelt on this question shows how far the world has travelled since the days of the League of Nations. A lot of people believed in the League. It looks as if very few believe in Dumbarton Oaks.
First the President said that there was agreement on ninety per cent of the problems but disagreement only on ten per cent. But even the capitalist press noted that people were more concerned with the ten per cent disagreement than the ninety per cent agreement.
The British capitalist press was cold over the proposals. Their attitude was: “We shall see.” Dorothy Thompson called the Oaks proposals a continuation of the existing power structure. In other words, the proposed agreement merely sanctifies the existing strengths of the powers. But basing future peace on existing power is the surest way to war. As soon as sufficient powers are dissatisfied they merely leave the association. That has happened in the past and will happen again.
The skepticism of the people has stung the President. So in his speech to the Foreign Policy Association on Saturday night last he came out with this:
“The peace structure which we are building must depend on foundations that go deep into the soil of men’s faith and men’s hearts – otherwise it is worthless. Only the unflagging will of men can, preserve it.
“No President of the United States can make the American contribution to preserve the peace without the constant, alert and conscious collaboration of the American people.
“Only the determination of the people to use the machinery gives worth to the machinery.”
Now this is quite a thing to say.
Roosevelt and Hull have had charge of the foreign affairs of this country for the last twelve years. During this time they did exactly as they pleased.
They permitted war material to be sold to Japan to make war on China and to prepare for the present war.
Roosevelt in 1937 shouted loud that he would quarantine the “aggressor” but he telegraphed to Hitler and Mussolini at the time when Munich was being arranged and afterward sent them congratulations.
He refused to let the Spanish government have arms. He refused to help Ethiopia.
He maintained the friendliest relations with Franco and did the same with Vichy until the last possible moment.
He passionately defended the moronic King of Italy and gave the fascist Badoglio every possible support.
He did his best to impose Giraud upon the French people. Giraud, a great admirer of Petain, was rejected by the French resistance movement. Roosevelt had to back down. He was compelled, up until only yesterday, to give a grudging support to de Gaulle and although de Gaulle is no revolutionary, Roosevelt distrusted his demagogic talk (when he was in exile) about “a second revolution” and a “Fourth Republic.” He was especially fearful that de Gaulle would not be able to control the French masses.
What have the people to do with all this? They have been helpless. When they became thoroughly suspicious of Roosevelt’s policies, Roosevelt, on October 30, 1940, at Boston, assured them “again, and again, and again” that their sons would not be sent into any foreign war. Yet a year afterward the country was at war.
Oliver Lyttleton, Production Minister of Great Britain, said openly a few months ago that the United States had provoked Japan into declaring war. That is nonsense, and Lyttleton knew it was nonsense. Lyttleton meant to show that the United States did not sit by like a tame kitten until Japan attacked at
Pearl Harbor. He wanted it understood that all the imperialist powers were jostling one another for position, choosing allies to strike first, or to take such steps as would compel the enemy to take the “moral” responsibility for starting the war which was inevitable.
What did the people have to do with this? Not one thing. The League of Nations carried on its dirty intrigues. The people looked on hoping for the best. When Roosevelt telegraphed to Mussolini and Hitler at the time of Munich he didn’t ask the people.
But the people are undoubtedly sick of the intrigues, the treacheries, the deceptions, the greed and rivalry which result in war. They do not want another one. Roosevelt, Churchill and the rest cook up some proposals at Dumbarton. The people show themselves unenthusiastic, not to say suspicious. Whereupon the President coolly informs them that machinery for peace is no good unless “the determination of the people to use the machinery gives worth to the machinery.”
When the people’s sentiments were against our boys fighting in any foreign war, Roosevelt, who had the machinery of government in his hands, said that the people wouldn’t have to fight in any such war. Wilson got himself re-elected in 1916 by saying that he had kept the people out of war. As soon as he was safely in power he took the country in. How then are the people responsible?
But is it impossible for the people to take over the machinery of government? Only a coward and a slave in his soul can think so. The people have two great organizations, the CIO and the AFL. They are the biggest organizations in the country. Their representatives could get together and formulate a foreign policy that really represents the interests of the people. The elements of this foreign policy are so simple as to be understandable by everybody. Here are some of the planks:
That is good enough to start with. Such a foreign policy would win tremendous support from millions not only in the United States but all over the world. But could we trust Roosevelt or Dewey to carry it out? Of course not. So that the representatives of the AFL and CIO would have to carry it out themselves. Precisely. That is exactly why we advocate an independent Labor Party. Independent because we know that to preserve peace it must be free of the influence of the Democratic and the Republican Parties, which are both tools of American imperialism.
Last updated on 16 February 2016