OCTOBER 6, 1945
WASHINGTON, D. C., Friday—Reading the reports by Anne O'Hare McCormick and Herbert L. Matthews in the newspaper yesterday morning as I traveled back to New York City from Springfield, Mass., did very little to lift my sense of discouragement. A young Red Cross worker, sitting next to me, said: "It looks as though the difficulties had been largely personal."
I rather think she was right. It is difficult to come to agreements on questions of importance unless the men dealing with them really have goodwill toward each other. The impression left on most of our minds, after reading reports of the press interviews held by Mr. Molotov, Mr. Byrnes and Mr. Bidault, is, I think, of three men each trying to justify his own ideas at the bar of public opinion at home and abroad. I wonder how well they will succeed.
It seems to me that we need to be reminded, all of us, that peace is no longer a question of something we hope to attain in the future. It is an absolutely vital necessity to the continuation of our civilization on earth. For that reason, I believe, something will have to jar us to the point of realizing that we now live in a new era; that when we talk about national defense as we did in the past, we are talking pure nonsense. Armies, navies, air forces, compulsory military service, all of these things have to be reconsidered in the light of a new era. It is comforting to read about doing things in the old way. It gives us a sense of familiarity with the world we live in, which had a rather severe shock when we first heard about the atomic bomb. But we had better not be lulled to sleep by any comfort of this kind, since it has no foundation in fact.
Congress can do all the things which President Truman suggested in the message which I read yesterday, and we can feel safe in controlling the secret of the atomic bomb until, somewhere else in the world, someone makes the same discoveries that we have made. The minute that happens—and there is no reason it should not happen, since the theoretical principles are known to all scientists—we will realize that we only won a race. We didn't stop all scientific achievements for the future.
On the day this occurs, therefore, what goodwill our control be? I think we will feel a little insecure. We have to face the fact, it seems to me, that there is only one way in which we can be safe in the world of tomorrow. That is by universal education in the great art of friendship, and the universal conviction that living together in a peaceful world is to our mutual advantage throughout the world. The only way to begin on this development is to begin. We live in a world where trust and confidence have to be developed, and we develop it by our attitudes and our acts, both personal and national. Failures in understanding among nations and in goodwill cannot be accepted in the future. They are tantamount to self-destruction.