MAY 23, 1946
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I am sure that every citizen listened with as much interest as I did to Secretary of State Byrnes' report to the nation about the Paris conference. It seemed to me a forthright, honest story and, in view of all the elements of the situation, it was less discouraging than I had expected.
I was particularly glad to have him say that we still intend to carry out the original agreements and keep Germany from being able to rearm. Some of us have realized that under the surface, ever since those agreements were made, there have been groups of people in both Great Britain and the United States who have not looked upon them with favor.
For one thing, certain people have thought that, when all was said and done, we had beaten Germany twice, and perhaps it would be better to have her as a buffer in central Europe against the spreading out of the Soviet Union and its influence over neighboring states. In addition, there are large business interests in the international field which tie all nationalities together. Thirdly, since Russia only recently granted freedom of religion within her borders, there has been considerable feeling against wiping out the strength of a country which, except during the Hitler regime, was considered a religious nation.
All these interests added together meant that there was a strong undercurrent against carrying out the original agreements. And yet, twice in 25 years, we have been taken into a world war by Germany.
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It cannot be said that, in the last year, Russia has taken any pains to allay the fears of those who have been worried about her spreading power. To be true, she has assured the world repeatedly that her interests lie along the paths of peace, and all of us know that she feels the loss of her sons and the devastation of her land. However, it has been easy for people to say that Russia was relying more and more on the building up of her own power, and less and less on the joint power which won the war and which the founders of the United Nations hoped would win the peace. We must get together with Russia, but it must be a two-way matter.
Such situations as exist today in Trieste and in the Tyrol arise largely from mistakes made at the end of the last war. It is true that the region back of Trieste is occupied largely by Yugoslavs, but the city itself is predominantly Italian. Therefore, Secretary Byrnes' suggestion that Trieste become a free port for the world seems a fair solution. I only hope that the same type of answer, internationalizing the places where many interests meet, and building up the strength of the United Nations instead of the strength of individual nations, will finally be the accepted pattern.
Our congratulations go to Secretary Byrnes for an honest report which ought to make the world situation clearer to the people of this nation.