MARCH 31, 1951
NEW YORK, Friday—This seems to be an appropriate time—while President Vincent Auriol of France is visiting in this country—for the people of the United States to pay a little tribute to him and his Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, for having worked out the Schuman Plan. This method of operation revolutionized the coal and steel industries of Western Europe. From the economic point of view, this carefully worked-out plan, now accepted by six nations, although Belgium and Italy are given five years as a transitional period, removes an economic strife that has made recovery and progress in Western Europe very difficult. Now instead of France and Germany living in constant fear of each other they are welded together economically, which is a good basis for political cooperation.
We, in the United States, with our large area for free trade, have urged this upon the whole of Europe for a long time. It should build for Europeans a stronger economy than they have been able to attain in the past under a system that led to scheming and government rivalries that were used by private enterprise to further its own particular aims.
The coal and steel industries are so important to a nation's economy that the Schuman plan will affect many other industries that depend on these two for raw materials and for the setting of wages and prices.
The acceptance of this plan, which is open to other European nations in the future, is a real step toward peaceful organization of the European continent. I hope that the visit of the French President to this country and Canada will also be one of the milestones that will weld together the peace-loving nations.
Sometimes I get a wail from someone among our own citizens who may have listened too long to Communist propaganda. They cry: "Is it possible that we have become warmongers; that we are preparing for aggressive war. Why do we want airfields here and there and everywhere. Why do we accept allies who have such different standards from our own if we are not preparing for an aggressive war?"
It would be easy to say, "Don't listen to so much Communist propaganda." But I think we should add something more.
We have come into an era when the United States, in fact our whole Western Hemisphere, has discovered that basically a geographic position no longer means much. Defense against aggression now means defense of all freedom-loving people. We are, therefore, no longer thinking in terms only of defense of our own continent. We are thinking in terms of our own ability to help our allies, the free people of the world everywhere in the world.
That enlarges our outlook enormously. It makes necessary the type of production here that would not have been necessary otherwise.
It changes the plans for defense and spreads them out through almost the whole area of the world. That does not mean we are planning any less for peace. It does mean that we plan on a totally different scale.
What we once thought was adequate would now be totally inadequate. It also means additional cooperation within the United Nations is vastly increased. 27 nations are actively assisting within the U.N. against Communist aggression in Korea; 25 of these nations are members of the U.N. Italy and the Republic of Korea are not members. This is evidence of a growing solidarity among free peoples.