NOVEMBER 11, 1946
HYDE PARK, Sunday—Someone said to me the other day that the atmosphere in this country was changing. From having been a non-militaristic nation where the majority of the people wanted only a small army and navy, we were almost imperceptibly moving toward a situation where the wishes of the War and Navy departments carried more weight than did the State Department. That is more or less natural at the end of a war—particularly a war like the one we have just been through, where our men are still scattered throughout the world and where peace has been so long in the making.
Nevertheless, I believe the time is approaching when we had best take thought about where we are drifting. I am sure the vast majority of our people are hoping that we will wholeheartedly support the development of a police force within the United Nations, for we know the United Nations must, for a time at least, wield the "big stick" when necessary. In the back of our minds, however, there is also the hope that support of a joint force will fall less heavily on any one nation and that it will leave us a larger margin of our national income to spend on measures serving the daily well-being of the people.
Whenever our fleet is particularly strong, we have a tremendous urge to send it around the world, or to some faraway point. The Mediterranean has been particularly attractive of late, and I must say it did not fill me with great joy to have the planes from the carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt writing the ship's initials in the sky over Greece at a time when many people wondered just what was going to happen in that country.
Our ships are just paying nice, friendly visits, and it surprises us when anyone thinks that some ulterior motives might lie behind these visits. This is another example of a trait no other nation seems to possess in quite the same degree we do—namely, a feeling of almost childish injury and resentment unless the world as a whole recognizes how innocent we are of anything but the most generous and harmless intentions.
It is true that we do not have a Red Army anywhere in the world, but we do make a pretty good showing with our navy and our air force and—tucked away, out of sight of the rest of the world—a few little atomic bombs. On the whole, our armed services have been doing pretty well in the way of keeping us defended, but I hope our State Department will remember that it is really the department for achieving a peace. We must keep our minds focused on the fact that we are not attempting on a unilateral basis to defend ourselves against the world, but that we intend to develop collective force within the United Nations in order that we may gradually cut down on some of the weapons we now have and outlaw others.
I doubt if even a peace-loving nation like ours can expect the branches of government which are dedicated to the development of efficient defense to change from their original purpose. There is much for the women to do in every home throughout the country, therefore, since they are primarily the ones who are going to worry about the attitude and the climate we will create in the world if we allow our armed services to exercise greater influence than any other branch of the government.