JULY 24, 1940
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I suppose for many people the question of the three months' closing of the Burma Road, over which supplies go to China, seems rather an academic question. Yet, when a nation is cut off from its ports, its one source of connection with the outside world, it must seem rather important to that nation.
I can remember, when I was young, having had explained to me what a great stride had been taken in drawing together the various nations of the world when trade had been established between China, Japan and ourselves. The "open door" policy was considered one to create better understanding between the yellow races of the Far East and the white races of this Continent. Just as we see understanding receding between us and the nations of Europe, we see it disappearing in the Far East as well.
In a minor way, Japan is doing to China what someday, a combination of nations might do to us. It is hard even to imagine such a thing, but the Continent of Europe under one dictator can have all the advantages that the United States' economic system established when it drew 13 sovereignties into one and extended that sovereignty over 48 States.
With this kind of economy in Europe, under a man who does not have to persuade his people that he is right in anything he wishes to do, but simply gets the best advice he can and orders something done, we may well look with some concern on what is happening in the Far East, for we might find ourselves between two fairly strong pincers.
The Chinese people are making an interesting experiment in cooperatives which we might well assist. Their success and their economic setup may mean freedom of intercourse in the Far East with people living under a democratic form of government—a situation which we must hope to see in both China and Japan in the future.
An appeal has come to me to help China with their industrial cooperatives. They have over 2,000 small industries now established, making over 500 kinds of goods of local raw materials for local needs, with a monthly turnover of $6,000,000 in Chinese money. There are millions of men and women to work in these new industries.
It may sound very selfish, but from the point of view of our own interest, wouldn't it be wise to encourage the growth of economic security in China? I realize the needs of Japan, I am all for peaceful trade with Japan, but somehow it seems to me that this spread of war all over the world must be stopped and the best way to do so in the Far East would be to build up economic security.