Special Supplement: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy || Public Opinion and Foreign Policy

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<ul><li><p>Public Opinion and Foreign PolicyAuthor(s): John W. Davis and Elihu RootSource: Foreign Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 2, Special Supplement: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy(Jan., 1931), pp. i-ixPublished by: Council on Foreign RelationsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20030361 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 04:47</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Council on Foreign Relations is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to ForeignAffairs.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=cfrhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/20030361?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>FOREIGN AFFAIRS Vol. 9 SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT No. 2 </p><p>INTRODUCTION Remarks on the occasion of the opening of the new building of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, November 28, i?jo. </p><p>By John W. Davis </p><p>THIS is a proud moment for the Council on Foreign Rela tions as it settles into its new home. It is made all the more </p><p>proud and significant because of this distinguished com </p><p>pany which is gathered to do honor to the occasion. </p><p>Institutions, like men, measure their progress by their birth </p><p>days, and when I hark back in my own recollection to the time when I first learned of the Council on Foreign Relations, and to the first gatherings which were supposed to outline and chart its future history, I confess that, being more or less of a doubting </p><p>Thomas, I did not think that this happy occasion would come so soon. Indeed, when it was first suggested that we might found a new review dealing with foreign affairs, there were some who had doubts about the success of that undertaking. It was entered </p><p>upon; it is an achieved and proven success; and I think we may justly plume ourselves on the fact that, in Foreign Affairs, we are publishing the premier journal of this sort in this country and </p><p>probably in the world. Our next suggestion was that we should have a program of re </p><p>search. That too was entered on in a more or less tentative spirit; and it has blossomed into a substantial and very useful enterprise. </p><p>Then, something like a year or eighteen months ago, it was determined that the time had come to strike for a permanent home, and again, with more or less of misgiving and some faint ness of heart, the effort was made. I think all of those who par ticipated in it, whether promoters, originators or contributors, </p><p>must be surprised and gratified both at the promptitude with which the enterprise was supported and the readiness with which this very substantial achievement was reached. And now, here </p><p>we are in our own home, a thing which gives us a local hab </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>ii FOREIGN AFFAIRS </p><p>itation, something more than a name, and, I believe, insures the </p><p>perpetuity of an institution which must grow into increasing usefulness. </p><p>We have not been unambitious in the field we have chosen to </p><p>occupy. No angle of foreign relations is immune from our scru </p><p>tiny. No foreign policy is foreign to our investigation, and we hope in our modest way to contribute to the enlightenment, the in </p><p>formation, and the progress of the American people. I presume that anybody who thinks of American foreign affairs </p><p>is somewhat at a loss to discover any continuity of policy and of </p><p>purpose running through it. We have always been pragmatists in our foreign relations. I think at the moment of but four definite aims and objectives which this country seems to have maintained </p><p>throughout the course of its foreign affairs: first, the rather nebulous policy adumbrated in the Monroe Doctrine; second, our determination to achieve, if we could, equality for American trade through the policy of the open door; third, our steady adherence (which I hope we will give very substantial evidence of in the near future) to the cause of the judicial arbitrament of for </p><p>eign disputes; and, fourth, our steady disinclination, in the popu lar language, to entangle ourselves by limiting our freedom through any compact with other nations </p><p>? and we have carried it, I think, something further than that, to the extent of showing a steady disinclination to chart our domestic policies with any consid eration of their results in our relations with foreign powers. </p><p>Whether those four lines of policy are going to be sufficient in the future are grave and serious questions for this country. </p><p>Whether we shall not be compelled to take a broader view and </p><p>implement them further, future generations must soberly con sider. I hope this institution will help them. </p><p>Now so much by way of generalities. I am not the speaker of this occasion. I am merely the presiding officer, and perhaps as a </p><p>presiding officer I have already gone too far. This institution has </p><p>enjoyed a piece of great good fortune throughout its history in that it has had not only the constant interest, but the active </p><p>participation in its affairs of a man whom all Americans delight to honor and whose broad experience of men and things, whose broad learning in foreign questions, and above all whose sane and </p><p>temperate judgment, have been absolutely invaluable throughout its history. Long may he remain with us! I take great pleasure in </p><p>introducing Mr. Elihu Root. </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>PUBLIC OPINION AND FOREIGN POLICY </p><p>By Elihu Root </p><p>I CAME not to make a speech but to respond to a call. For a </p><p>great many years, now, I have taken an interest in the kind of thing that you are undertakng to do, and I take a special </p><p>satisfaction in the opening of this house. The laying of one brick doesn't create any very great disturbance, but without it, how would you have your house? I think the first thing that impresses me as an immediate lesson from the establishment of this building and the centering of the work of the Council on Foreign Relations </p><p>here, is that it indicates an appreciation of a truth very widely neglected, and that is that the work of improving the foreign rela tions of civilized man is necessarily very slow and laborious and </p><p>difficult, and that anyone who is going to contribute materially to it must settle down to steady, continuous and unspectacular labor. The making of great speeches, the writing of brilliant arti cles or impressive books, even the occasional meetings of specially trained men, are not enough. I think about the worst enemies of </p><p>improvement in the relations of the nations are the people who are impatient, the people who are in a hurry, who want every thing done at once and who, unless they can see in anything that is proposed an immediate result, say, "Oh, well, it doesn't amount to much." These people who </p><p>are in a hurry are a serious </p><p>obstacle to the accomplishment of something by people who are </p><p>willing to take the necessary time and do the necessary serious work for accomplishing it. The establishment of this building, the collection of these books, all these facilities for steady work, are a </p><p>striking public exhibition of an understanding of that very im </p><p>portant truth. </p><p>The discussion of questions of law is but a partial treatment of the subject. The discussion of international feeling, international </p><p>manners, international morals ? the discussion of all these is </p><p>necessary to complete the picture, and I think when we have studied the history of international relations we must come to the conclusion that underlying improvement in them is not the result of reaching written or oral agreements, of making treaties, of in tellectual reasoning, but that it is the result of the enlargement and elevation of standards of conduct in all the countries of the </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>iv FOREIGN AFFAIRS </p><p>civilized world. No improvement comes by compulsion; no im </p><p>provement comes merely by intellectual understanding. You have got to get the same change in the standard of conduct which has made possible a change from the recognition of private war as the appropriate means for the settlement of differences into the </p><p>recognition of judicial decisions as the appropriate means for </p><p>accomplishing the same thing. We settle our differences by judicial decision now instead of </p><p>settling them with the pistol or the knife, not because laws have been made but because the individual members of a community have come to a feeling that that is the better way. There must be a long process of instruction, of information, and of gradual effect of example bringing about better conditions. That will not be </p><p>accomplished in my time, or in yours, and it will never be accom </p><p>plished unless people get busy about it, and take the early and </p><p>probably the unnoted steps necessary to bring about such a </p><p>change. This doesn't apply to foreign affairs alone. It applies to all the progress of civilization. Civilization proceeds by changes </p><p>within the individual and not by compulsion from without. The need for work of this kind is not confined to foreign affairs. </p><p>Life is getting so complicated that it is very difficult for anybody to understand it. The best informed of us don't understand most of what is going on; we don't understand one-tenth of what is </p><p>going on in the government of our country, in the government of our own city, still less in the government of other countries of the world. We are not far removed in time from conditions under which people did very well governing by the guidance of first im </p><p>pressions. A lot of honest, hard-working, law-abiding people governed themselves by counting votes, by yielding to the will of the majority, when those votes were dictated by the common ex </p><p>periences of life. </p><p>Today the complication of affairs has become such that ninety percent of the people who cast votes have had little or no experi ence in the affairs to which their votes relate, and they have to </p><p>depend upon what somebody else says. They naturally depend upon what is said by the people who try to please them. The great body of people in any modern country on either side of the At lantic or of the Pacific cannot take the time to go back and be come familiar with all the intricacies of modern industrial and commercial and financial and political and social life. The voters </p><p>who govern modern democracies no longer find the first impres </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>PUBLIC OPINION AND FOREIGN POLICY v </p><p>sions of a simple life adequate as a guide; they must be informed </p><p>specifically regarding the questions under discussion by neighbors who have made a study and who are qualified to be leaders of </p><p>opinion. The process that you are going through here in this </p><p>building is in the early stages of making it possible that competent leaders of opinion in these complicated matters shall arise in this </p><p>country. We are better off in one way for dealing with such a problem in </p><p>this country than they are in most countries of the world, because our people have acquired the habit of thinking about govern </p><p>mental matters; but we are worse off in another respect because our people have never felt the pressure of immediate interests in </p><p>regards to foreign affairs. It is easier for a community which has been in the habit of dealing with municipal government to think about international affairs than it is for a community which has never thought at all on such a subject; but it is more difficult to </p><p>get a community that has never had the pressure of interests, of immediate danger, of possible disaster, to think at all on such a </p><p>subject. A very great number of people in our country have never ac </p><p>quired the habit of thinking about foreign affairs. You see that reflected in their representatives, who themselves have never been in the habit of thinking on such subjects because their con stituents didn't care about them. Our representatives in all our </p><p>great legislative bodies, national and state, correspond pretty fairly to the condition of opinion among their constituents, and if their constituents are interested in water power or the tariff or </p><p>irrigation or </p><p>immigration or roads or what-not, their representa </p><p>tives are interested in those questions and study them. If the constituents become interested in foreign affairs, their representa tives will come to understand foreign affairs. That process, in a vast multitude of people, is a very long and laborious one. I think </p><p>you have taken a good step on the road which leads to our having representatives who are thoroughly informed and interested in the relations of the United States to other countries. </p><p>There are things going on which look towards so improving the </p><p>machinery for international intercourse, and so improving the </p><p>general conception of what is suitable in the relations between </p><p>nations, that there will be some progress towards a better condi tion of thought and feeling in the future, so that when you have had a settlement of one particular difficulty you won't begin the </p><p>This content downloaded from 194.29.185.109 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 04:47:28 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>VI FOREIGN AFFAIRS </p><p>next one where you began the first; you will begin the next where the first ended. The treatment of naval disarmament has been of that character. The idea was started at the Washington Confer </p><p>ence, and continued in the recent London Conference, that each </p><p>country should appropriately and properly consider not merely its own specific naval needs but also what is fair and reasonable to wards maintaining the peace of the world. The world will not, in our time at least, get back to thinking about navies in the same </p><p>way in which it thought of them a few years ago. It is just so, too, on the subject of disarmament. Twenty years </p><p>ago you couldn't have got the minds of public men addressed at all to the subject of regulating the armament of their own coun </p><p>try with...</p></li></ul>