AUGUST 6, 1947
CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B., Tuesday—This is such a remote spot that we get no Sunday papers, and the radio is extremely difficult because, having no electricity, we have to have a battery radio and getting any program clearly is practically impossible. So one has time to think quite objectively about many of the world problems that surround us today.
Among a variety of other things, I have just read the lead article in Harper's Magazine for August—"Negotiating with the Russians," by James B. Reston. I think Mr. Reston has done a very interesting piece of work.
I wish the USSR would note these words: "To begin with, the United States and the USSR differ on the very nature and purpose of intergovernmental negotiations. The process of negotiation lies at the very heart of our national lives in this country. We negotiate with each other on almost everything: workers negotiate with their employers; employers negotiate with each other; industries negotiate with agencies of the government; the legislature negotiates with the executive; the executive 'negotiates' with the people every four years, etc., etc."
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Our negotiation, however, has to arrive at some results. In some of it, between employer and employee, when they get nowhere there is a strike and then more negotiation. I think it is possible to take this as an example of intergovernmental proceedings because, after a strike, no matter what is accomplished through negotiation, neither side is really as well off as they would have been if the first negotiation had been successful.
Between nations, we now have machinery in the United Nations for negotiation. If those negotiations break down, we have a war. And by now we ought to know that it is to everybody's interest not to have war, since no one really wins a modern war. In the past, the conqueror could plunder, and there was something left to plunder. Nowadays a defeated nation has very little left, and even when you take all the assets you can lay your hands on, the final result seems to be that the victorious nations still have to keep the conquered nations alive and rehabilitate them.
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It seems to me, therefore, that the sooner the USSR learns that negotiation means give and take on both sides, the more stable the U.N. will become and the better prospects we all will have of being able to continue to live on this planet.
We ended the last war proud of our allies, anxious to find a way to live together in peace. I do not think that we have any corner on wisdom or unselfishness but, by and large, we are a generous nation. We want to live well but we are quite willing that the rest of the world should live well too.
If the USSR is not careful, she will destroy the United Nations, and will send them and ourselves back to isolation. Today is not yesterday, and if this should happen, no one can foretell the results.