JANUARY 9, 1947
NEW YORK, Monday—It will be difficult for Gen. George C. Marshall to take over the work of the State Department at just this time, and the average citizen must be a little puzzled at the suddenness of the change which has taken place. One can only hope that retiring Secretary James F. Byrnes is not seriously ill. The country will be grateful to him for his services and, at the same time, everyone will be wishing Gen. Marshall the health and strength to carry through successfully the difficult negotiations that are now before him. We hope that he will have the loyalty of all those aides in the State Department whom he will need so badly as he takes over this complicated and arduous task on such short notice.
The negotiating of a peace for Europe is not only a diplomatic and political task, but one that requires the best brains in the industrial and agricultural fields. Former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles points out that the recovery and rehabilitation of France plays a great part in the whole European picture—and anyone with a knowledge of history knows that that fact has long been accepted by many nations. The old balance-of-power politics is still in evidence, but if the peace that is made could come measurably nearer to drawing all of Europe into one economic picture, I think we would have a better atmosphere in which to preserve the peace of that continent.
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Like everybody else, I was deeply interested in reading Gen. Marshall's report on China—issued just before the announcement of his appointment as Secretary of State. It is a very balanced statement. He shows us that the reactionaries in the Nationalist Party as well as the extremists in the Communist Party are impeding progress in China today. He explains that the hope for the future lies in the young, less radical members of the Communist group and in the middle-of-the-road, less conservative Nationalists who have tried for many months to bring the two extremes together.
He states that if Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek will lead this group, he may be able to bring peace in China. Many of us have felt that the Generalissimo frequently vacillated when it came to the point of supporting the moderates—which is natural, since he is an Army man and many of the extreme rightists, according to Gen. Marshall's report, are in the army.
It is a fair assumption, I think, that the great mass of the people of China want peace. They need a government that will devote itself to industrial and agricultural development, and to doing away with old forms of government which permitted so much corruption and gave to individuals the power to control so many people, with very little concern for the real good of the people.
No part of Gen. Marshall's report should be taken out of its context. One cannot get a balanced picture unless one reads it as a whole. It is a statesmanlike, concise and honest document. Anyone who reads it carefully can get a better picture of what has been, and still is, a very complicated situation. This document augurs well for the future of open diplomacy.