MARCH 10, 1945
WASHINGTON, Friday—I have been thinking about the efforts which the State Department and so many other groups are making to interest all of our people throughout the country in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. I hope we are really going to be able to reach a great many people, and that by the time the United Nations meet in San Francisco on April 25 there will be very few people in this country who do not understand the basis for the proposals which will be put before that meeting.
I think, however, that we ought to emphasize the fact that these are just proposals, that even here at home there will be objections made to certain details. The conference in San Francisco will have to take these proposals and all the objections—such as France, for instance, will present, or even some of our own leaders—and after considering and going very fully into all the different points of view, will have to reach a compromise.
Compromises are never fully satisfying to anyone, but wherever you do things where a great many people are involved you are bound to accomplish them on a basis of compromise!
Living in the world at all means compromise. If our ultimate objective is the setting up of some machinery where the nations of the world can meet and discuss their problems, and the public opinion of the world can become informed, then we must accept compromise. I notice that many people say that it will be quite all right to compromise on unimportant matters, but that we must never compromise on principles. Sometimes I wonder whether even principles won't bear compromise for a great objective, since what appears to you to be a principle may not appear in the same light to somebody else.
We are dealing with a great many different peoples when we attempt to set up some machinery for world organization. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that many nations are going to change their points of view as the years go on and as fear of aggression and of want is less prevalent. If we think a principle is important, we can work to prove it to them once we have established some world organization; and the only thing which we must be sure to have is flexibility in the original plan so that changes may be possible.
Yesterday morning I saw a group of gentlemen representing the American Legion, department of Ohio. They have some very interesting plans for the care of orphans and veterans in their area, after this war.