by Sumner Welles ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 9, 1946
Without the impetus of a book club selection (so far as we know) this may not parallel the enormous success of A Time for Decision -- but it is a vitally important book though a disheartening book for those of us who would like to feel some degree of confidence in our international outlook. An informed observer rather than a participant during these past years, Welles bases his considered judgment on knowledge of what had been done in the way of laying foundations for world peace, for interrelations with Great Britain, Soviet Russia, China, for a sound long-range policy of hemospheric unity. And he sees chaos today. He attributes to Franklin Roosevelt two imperatives, -- an international organization as first step to ultimate world government, for which we are not ready, and sound relations with Soviet Russia. He discusses the failures at the London Council of Foreign Ministers, the Moscow and Paris meetings, with a conviction that we, too, have failed to meet the challenge. He sees chaos in Germany, where- prior to the end of the war, agreement should have been reached on military jurisdiction, permanent decentralization (if a centralized form is accepted, he feels the U.S. will have fallen into a trap of its own making), reparations, an industrial and economic overall policy. He discusses, too, the failure to arrive at any peace treaties, the impossibility of reconstruction in Europe, of raising the general standards of living, of consummating population transfers, until such matters as boundaries, (Trieste- the Ruhr- the Saar, etc.), waterways, trade agreements, and so on be settled. He discusses relative situations in Poland, Yugoslavia, the Balkans, Greece, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the Balkans. He points out the alternatives-, an economic federation in the Balkans, or the danger of a political and economic federation of Southern Germany, Austria and Balkans. An important part of the book deals with the South American situation, on which he is probably better informed than any other person. He sees the American system in jeopardy after two and a half years of deterioration- betrayal- missteps. He analyzes the Argentinian picture, is critical of Braden's position with regard to Brazil, Uruguay and the Argentine. He feels that our State Department so-called ""housecleaning and streamlining"" have produced confusion worse confounded, and that Congress, in this instance, has been more alert and objective than those elements in the State Department that should take the responsibility of initiating sound policy.... He turns next to the Near East and the Far East. He sees in the Near East a clash of imperial aspirations between Great Britain and the Soviet; in the Far East between the Soviet and the U.S.A. He weighs the pros and cons of the powder box situation in Turkey, in Palestine, in Iran, and feels that political considerations are outweighing economic and human. He makes clear Roosevelt's undeviating policy of a Jewish Commonwealth. In Asia he feels we have failed to establish in time principles and mechanism for future self government of colonial peoples, hence the confusion in Korea, Siam, Indo-China, the Netherlands East Indies, India. He feels we have misinterpreted the situation in China disastrously- and thrown China back into Civil War we might have spared them. He feels that MacArthur has been efficient and effective, but superficial, and that once controls are relaxed the Japanese will slough off all that has been imposed.... Finally, in summary, he charges the United States with throwing away her assets in internationalism, losing the moral leadership that was hers, and-sacrificing the keystone of sound relations with the Soviet on short-sighted considerations of immediate interest. The handling- or mishandling- of the atomic bomb has been somewhat responsible; the failures in Spain and Germany- all challenge us to immediate reassessment of our policy. Time is on the side of world peace- but what are we doing with the time?.... Walles has much to say. His book is not easy reading. But it needs to be read.
Pub Date: Oct. 9, 1946
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1946
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