DECEMBER 23, 1950
HYDE PARK, Friday—Everyone who did not hear former President Hoover's address on Wednesday night certainly should read it with care.
He is a man who throughout his life has travelled and lived in different parts of the world. He knows the Far East, he lived in England, and his age and experience deserve careful hearing. From a survey of the military situation, he comes to the conclusion that a war between Communist and non-Communist forces must not be fought on land. He considers North and South America "the Gibraltar of Western civilization." He feels that the Americas alone, with sea and air power, can so control the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that there can be no invasion of the Western Hemisphere by Communist armies.
His economic prognostications of our present situation and the trend we follow are gloomy. Some of his gloom is undoubtedly justified, but I believe our position economically can be strengthened.
His appraisal of what should be the course of the United Nations in the present situation is, I think, open to question. But at least it is worth consideration by the nations of the world.
Mr. Hoover's estimation, however, does not show a very intimate knowledge of the feeling now existing in some of the nations that make up the U.N. It is also abundantly clear that he is no enthusiast for a great effort to strengthen the U.N. and to study our own policies and our own situation in an effort to find ways of creating greater understanding between us and the other nations of the world.
It would seem to me that in his attitude on Western Europe he leaves Great Britain in a rather exposed position and that his reliance for the defense of North and South America on our forces alone on sea and in the air is not very wise. However, I entirely agree with the stress he puts on sea and air power.
Also I do not agree with his suggestion on Formosa, but I do believe that we can count, with sufficient air force, on protecting the Philippines and the island chain which must be our frontier for protection of our Western coasts. This is why I also think it important that Hawaii become a state at once.
Mr. Hoover says nothing of Alaska, and it seems to me that we need to strengthen our defenses there almost more than we need to do so in any other part of the world. First of all, I think Alaska should also become a state and then whatever our chiefs of staff think should be done through air and sea power, but primarily air power, to protect Alaska, should be quickly accomplished. This is one of the vulnerable points of our coast that might easily be the first object of attack.
Mr. Hoover's attitude on Europe is not very understanding, it seems to me, and I am interested to find him finally declaring that his policies constitute no isolationism. He says himself that if we follow his policy and Europe is lost, the future would hold "an uneasy peace but we could carry it on with these policies even if the Communists should attack our lines on the sea."
I am not sure that I share his assurance, and I hope that my party will formulate a policy that is a little more hopeful and shows us the way to a little less precarious peace and gives us the hope of a greater number of friends in the world than our ex-President seems to think we can count on.