FEBRUARY 18, 1948
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—The documents published by our State Department on Russian-German intercourse, before their non-aggression pact was signed, have given many of our citizens the feeling that the Russian Government was as willing as the Hitler Government to dominate and partition the world between them.
The Russian Government must realize that this impression has been created, and so it responds that Russia was obliged to do what she did because Great Britain and our own Government had long been plotting to strengthen Germany in order that they might attack the Soviet Union. It must be remembered that, for many years after the Revolution, the Soviet Union was cut off from intercourse with the rest of the world. When nations are isolated, they are apt to magnify the ill-will which they are sure everyone feels against them.
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There were undoubtedly groups of individuals here and in Great Britain, perhaps even some government officials, who feared Russia and Communism. Because they thought they understood the type of government that existed in Germany, they felt that strength in Germany was less of a menace than in the USSR. And undoubtedly there are now some groups of individuals in both Great Britain and the United States who would repeat the old mistake of building up Germany's strength out of pure fear of Communism.
However, neither before Hitler nor now has there been a predominant group in Great Britain or here which held these views. And the only thing which interests me in the interchange revealed in the published German documents is the misunderstandings which so evidently existed then and exist now—and our inability to dissipate them.
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What we need on both sides is a little confidence and goodwill. We know that both sides are strong and will remain so until we come to an agreement on collective strength, and have an opportunity to see a United Nations force organized and trained so that it can take care of aggressors.
However, we need confidence enough to believe that none of us is actually trying to undermine or destroy any other great nation and that we all want to increase a sense of security among the smaller nations. This confidence can be achieved only if the great nations are sure of settling their differences by law and without recourse to force.
If some such simple assurance could be given as that each of us is satisfied with our present possessions, that we hope through the U.N. to guarantee the liberty of all smaller nations, and that we would resort to court action and not to war, no matter what difficulties arose between us, then perhaps the peoples of the world could breathe easily again. All of them, young and old, need to give their full force to reconstruction instead of wondering whether the effort is worthwhile as long as the shadow of war hovers over the world.