DECEMBER 1, 1955
NEW YORK—In the Sunday Magazine section of the The New York Times for November 27 there was an article by Chester Bowles on the present world situation, and I hope it was widely read.
I am convinced that one of our great difficulties in foreign policy today is that for sometime past we have taken up individual situations as they occurred.
We have not constantly had in mind the whole world picture and how each action could react on some policy which might change in view of an action in another field. This has led to being completely inflexible and when you are inflexible you cannot bargain successfully.
I think our policy at the present should be to make as few firm commitments as possible until we have examined the whole world situation to see where something happening in another area might affect the thing we are trying to do at a given moment.
Chester Bowles' article pleases me because he states more clearly and gives more documentation for some of the things I have been trying to say for the past few months.
He feels, for instance, as I do, that we should not have been surprised that nothing came from the meeting of the foreign ministers and he explains the attitude of the Soviet Union at the summit conference. This gives me encouragement to hope that I am right.
He feels that we cannot afford to weaken our military position, but that we can afford to strengthen our position in the world by an all-out economic program for Asia and Africa and the Near East. If we had not had the vision and courage to do this in Europe the situation might be very different today.
We are faced with a greater and more complicated economic program, but if we really mean to fight a Communist world this is the only way to fight it.
Hand in hand with a strong economic program there should be an increase in cultural and spiritual understanding.
The closing line of Chester Bowles' article is a telling one. He hopes that history will not record that in 1956 we lost the battle against communism in the world because we had a greater interest in a balanced budget.