MARCH 11, 1948
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—I find myself talking and thinking these days primarily of the things which are wrong in the world. The only really cheering thing in the news of late was that an agreement to internationalize the Ruhr was reached at the London conference of the Western powers, and that our Ambassador to Britain, Lewis W. Douglas, said Russia could be a party to this agreement if she so wished. Promptly, however, Russia stated that this internationalization was a plot designed to make the Ruhr a weapon against Russia.
This shows how differently we and the Russians view things. I had thought that this would be a safe way of treating this particular part of Europe, which has potentialities for misuse but which also can be used to control the recovery of Germany so that that nation can be prevented from being a menace to the rest of the world. This shows that, no matter what happens, we can see it from diametrically different points of view.
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I have come to the conclusion that a new start should be made. The heads of the governments of the great European powers and of the U.S.A. should meet again, this time determined to talk truthfully to each other.
It would probably be necessary for the head of our government to admit that there are groups of people in this country who, for financial reasons or because of a political point of view, might be willing to go so far as to jeopardize the peace of the world, thinking that they were assuring greater future security to this nation. But this is not the feeling of the great majority of our people, our leader would have to explain. They want peace—but not peace at any price. They are prepared to arm on a realistic basis and to use their strength in a military way if necessary, but they would much prefer to use it in an economic way to help rehabilitation.
Wanting peace with honor and wanting it on as permanent a basis as possible, our people would expect justice to be done to the smaller nations of Europe. And they would require that those nations be given freedom from the political and economic pressures now held over them by the USSR.
One would hope that the heads of other nations would be as honest in their statements. And one would expect them to agree that defensive alliances on all sides must stop and that some kind of United Nations police force must be set up.
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The deadlock over the control of atomic energy cannot go on forever, since without its settlement suspicion can never be allayed. I would choose the wisest and most conciliatory representatives from each of the nations to sit down together until they could find a solution to present to the U.N. as a joint position.
The fate of the world is at stake today. Future men and women, who are now children and hence unable to act in their own interests, depend on what the statesmen of today can be made to do by the responsible citizens of the various nations. We, the United States, must have a clear-cut policy and stick to it—not vacillate as we have on Palestine, nor talk belligerently and then act with fear, as we have been prone to do on occasion.