MARCH 24, 1948
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I judge from the news that our Secretary of State, re-enforced by our defense officials, has not only convinced Congress we must give all the material aid possible to rehabilitate the Western European nations from the economic standpoint, but that he has also convinced an important group in the Senate that it is essential that we have both universal military training and a temporary draft.
Last night, when I attended in Poughkeepsie a meeting of the Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I found a general sense of unrest, apprehension and confusion. People feel that war hangs over them and yet they haven't any idea what they, as citizens, might do to prevent what they realize would bring unhappiness to all concerned.
It is well for us to understand, I think, that we need military preparation up to a certain point, in order to serve notice that no nation can interfere, with impunity, with the freedom of the peoples of the world. We mean to impress upon our Russian friends that we feel that infiltration and political influence, introduced through key workers among a minority of Communist citizens that may exist in any country, is a method of enslavement which does not leave people free to make their own choice by majority vote in a free election.
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It is quite evident, however, that the preparations on which we and other democratic nations are now embarked will be financed completely by the United States, and the vast majority of men and material will have to come from this country. So it seems to me somewhat inconsistent to cut taxes at a time when we are trying to impress the USSR with our intention to go through with the support of the freedom of all nations. We do not intend that other countries shall be forced into Communism by a lack of economic assistance to rehabilitate themselves as democratic, free-enterprise nations, if they wish to remain so.
I still feel very strongly that these facts could be brought home more clearly, and that some satisfactory arrangements could be made to benefit the Eastern European group in an economic way if the great nations could be called into conference by the United Nations. It would require, I think, joint representation from labor, agriculture, industry and top government officials to formulate a plan of this kind which would carry enough benefit to the Eastern European nations to bring them into a scheme of cooperation rather than of continuing antagonism.