MARCH 10, 1948
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I think the time has come for us, as citizens, to review what is happening in our world today. Statesmen have the right to speak, but it seems to me that individual citizens should carefully consider what is being said by their statesmen and what is being done by their governments.
There is no doubt that in the past few years the situation between the United States and the USSR has become increasingly dangerous. Some people in this country feel that it is the fault of the U.S. Others feel strongly that it is the fault of Russia. I personally feel that both countries are to blame. We have done a considerable amount of dangerous talking.
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Our first real action was when, on Great Britain's appeal, our Government accepted the responsibility of upholding the position which Great Britain had taken in Greece, since she announced that she could no longer bear that burden. I have always thought that we acted too precipitately; that it would have been far better if we and Great Britain jointly had referred the Greek situation to the United Nations and accepted whatever action the U.N. requested, in the same way that we should accept the U.N. decision and action on Palestine today.
Our military people probably were afraid to do this because they foresaw that this would require consultation with Russia—and Russia had asked for the right to fortify the Dardanelles and control those straits, while we were supporting Turkey's rights to the Dardanelles under the Montreux Convention. It was quite natural that our military people felt there might be difficulty with Russia in the matter of Greece.
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Whether our decision was a wise one or not is no longer worth discussing because, whether or not it was responsible for Russia's later actions, those actions have occurred. And every time Russia has taken over a new country, she has added to the fears not only of our military advisers but of the people of the U.S., who quite naturally have the feeling that the small nations under the U.N. should retain their freedom.
The people of our country are quite convinced that, though we have agreed to go into Greece on our own, we have no intention of staying there. We will be more than grateful when the day comes when Greece is internally stable and has started on an economic program that promises some hope for her future solvency.
We have been too long accustomed to staying out of other parts of the world to change our point of view quickly. If the Soviets only knew it, their aggression in taking control of one country after another is the only thing today which is changing our old point of view of wanting to keep our military strength at home and depending largely on our industrial contacts for intercourse with the rest of the world.