New York, November 8, 1942
New York Times, November 9, 1942.
We have been helping the Russians celebrate this afternoon a glorious birthday. The second announced by the President has come in the best possible way. Conquest of the Mediterranean will open the side door to Germany and give us the shortest possible supply route to Southern Russia. We have now reached the time when victory can be taken from us only by misunderstanding and quarreling among ourselves. This is the reason why this meeting is so important.
From north, south, east and west, Americans have come this day to pay tribute to our Russian ally. It is right that we should do so, because the Russians have thus far lost in the common cause of the United Nations at least 50 per cent more men killed, wounded and missing than all of the rest of the European allies put together. Moreover, they have killed, wounded and captured at least twenty times as many Germans as have the rest of the allies. In all of Russian history there is no more striking example of courage and willingness to sacrifice than Russia presents today.
This meeting demonstrates just one thing-the desire and the determination of the American people to help Russia, and help now. President Roosevelt has told the Army and Navy and all the other war agencies in terms which cannot possibly be misunderstood that help to Russia comes first-up to the limit of shipping possibilities. The American people are solidly behind President Roosevelt in his decision to give Russia priority number one.
It is no accident that Americans and Russians like each other when they get acquainted. Both peoples were molded by the vast sweep of a rich continent. Both peoples know that their future is greater than their past. Both hate sham. When the Russian people burst the shackles of Czarist absolutism, they turned instinctively to the United States for engineering and agricultural guidance. Thanks to the hunger of the Russian people for progress, they were able to learn in twenty-five years that which had taken us in the United States 100 years to develop.
The first person to sense the eventual significance of Russia and the United States was the French author, Tocqueville, who 107 years ago wrote:
"There are at the present time two great nations in the world which seem to tend towards the same end, although they start from different points. I allude to the Russians and the Americans. . . . Their starting point is different and their courses are not the same, yet each of them seems to be marked by the will of heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe."
Russia and the United States today are far closer than Tocqueville could possibly have imagined when he traveled across the United States in 1835. The continental position of both countries and the need for developing rich resources unmolested from without have caused the peoples of both nations to have a profound hatred of war and a strong love of peace.
We in the United States honor Maxim Litvinov, when we recall how as Foreign Minister of Russia he worked for "collective security." Litvinov, in those days when Hitler was rising to power, wanted to preserve the peace by banding together the non-aggressor nations so they could take a decisive stand against any ruthless nation that might be out for loot. He saw Russia bounded by fourteen different nations, many of which were unfriendly for definite historical reasons. He knew that Germany would use one or more of these nations against Russia when she attacked. Litvinov failed for a time, but now he has come into his own again because he was right.
Russia has had her bitter experience with isolationism. So also has the United States. In 1919 Republicans and Democrats alike sought through a League of Nations to express their belief in the collective security of that day. Taft, Hughes, Hoover, Lowden and Root all wanted a league. Then isolationism came out of its cave and not only killed any possibility of our entering the League, but made it certain that we would adopt international policies which would make World War No. 2 almost inevitable.
Both Russia and the United States retreated into isolationism to preserve their peace. Both failed. Both have learned their lesson.
Russia and the United States have had a profound effect upon each other. Both are striving for the education, the productivity and the enduring happiness of the common man. The new democracy, the democracy of the common man, includes not only the Bill of Rights, but also economic democracy, ethnic democracy, educational democracy, and democracy in the treatment of the sexes.
The ferment in the world today is such that these various types of democracy must be woven together into a harmonious whole. Millions of Americans are now coming to see that if Pan America and the British Commonwealth are the warp of the new democracy, then the peoples of Russia and Asia may well become its woof.
Some in the United States believe that we have over-emphasized what might be called political or Bill-of-Rights democracy. Carried to its extreme form, it leads to rugged individualism, exploitation, impractical emphasis on States' rights, and even to anarchy.
Russia, perceiving some of the abuses of excessive political democracy, has placed strong emphasis on economic democracy. This, carried to an extreme, demands that all power be centered in one man and his bureaucratic helpers.
Somewhere there is a practical balance between economic and political democracy. Russia and the United States both have been working toward this practical middle ground. In present-day Russia, for example, differences in wage income are almost but not quite as great as in the United States. The manager of a factory may be paid ten times as much as the average worker. Artists, scientists, and outstanding writers are usually paid even more than factory managers or political commissars.
The chief difference between the economic organization of Russia and that of the United States is that in Russia it is almost impossible to live on income-producing property. The Russian form of State socialism is designed not to get equality of income but to place a maximum incentive on each individual to produce his utmost.
A third kind of democracy, which I call ethnic, is in my opinion vital to the new democracy, the democracy of the common man. Ethnic democracy means merely that the different races and minority groups must be given equality of economic opportunity. President Roosevelt was guided by principles of ethnic democracy when in June of 1941 he issued an executive order prohibiting racial discrimination in the employing of workers by national defense industries.
Russia has probably gone farther than any other nation in the world in practicing ethnic democracy. From the Russians we can learn much, for unfortunately the Anglo-Saxons have had an attitude toward other races which has made them exceedingly unpopular in many parts of the world.
We have not sunk to the lunatic level of the Nazi myth of racial superiority, but we have sinned enough to cost us already the blood of tens of thousands of precious lives. Ethnic democracy built from the heart is perhaps the greatest need of the Anglo-Saxon tradition.
The fourth democracy, which has to do with education, is based fundamentally on belief in ethnic democracy. It is because Stalin pushed educational democracy with all the power that he could command that Russia today is able to resist Germany. The Russian people for generations have had a great hunger to learn to read and write, and when Lenin and Stalin gave them the opportunity, they changed in twenty years from a nation which was 90 per cent illiterate to a nation of which nearly 90 per cent are able to read and write.
Russia has had a great admiration for the American system of technical education and public libraries. If she can continue during the next twenty years the progress made in the past twenty, she will surpass the United States. If, in the future, Russia comes whole-heartedly into the family of nations, we may expect Russian scientists to make contributions to human welfare which equal those of any nation in the world. In any event, the Russian scientists will most assuredly be doing their best to place the results of science more definitely at the service of the average man and woman. Patents based on Russian scientific work will not be held out of use to benefit international cartels.
With regard to the fifth democracy, the treatment of the sexes, most of us in the United States have felt complacent. It has taken the war experience of Russia to demonstrate the completeness of our failure. Those who have visited Russia recently say that about 40 per cent of the work in the factories is being done by women The average woman does about as much work as the average man and is paid as much. Thousands of Russian women are in uniform either actively fighting or standing guard. We in the United States have not yet, in the same way as the Russians, called on the tremendous reserve power which is in our women, but before this war is over, we may be forced to give women their opportunity to demonstrate that with proper training they are equal to man in most kinds of work.
The old democracy did not serve as a guarantee of peace. The new democracy, in which the people of the United States and Russia are so deeply interested, must give us such a guarantee. This new democracy will be neither communism of the old-fashioned internationalist type nor democracy of the old-fashioned isolationist sort. Willingness to support world organization to maintain world peace by justice implemented by force is fundamental to the democracy of the common man in these days of airplanes. Fortunately, the airplanes, which make it necessary to organize the world for peace, also furnish the means of maintaining peace. When this war comes to an end, the United Nations will have such an overwhelming superiority in air power that we shall be able speedily to enforce any mandate whenever the United Nations may have arrived at a judgment based on international law.
The first article in the international law of the future is undoubtedly the United Nations' Charter. The United Nations' Charter includes the Atlantic Charter, and there is little reason why it should longer be called the "Atlantic Charter" in view of the fact that the broader instrument has been validated by thirty nations.
This United Nations' Charter has in it an international bill of rights and certain economic guarantees of international peace. These must and will be made more specific. There must be an international bank and an international TVA, include say an international Dnieper-story dam for that matter, based on projects which are self-liquidating at low rates of interest.
In this connection, I would like to refer to a conversation with Molotov, when he was here last Spring. Thinking of the unemployment and misery which might so easily follow this war, I spoke of the need for productive public works programs which would stir the imagination of all the peoples of the world, and suggested as a starter a combined highway and airway from Southern South America across the United States, Canada and Alaska into Siberia and on to Europe, with feeder highways and airways from China, India and the Middle East. Molotov's first reaction was, "No one nation can do it by itself." Then he said, "You and I will live to see the day."
The new democracy by definition abhors imperialism. But by definition also, it is internationally minded and supremely interested in raising the productivity, and therefore the standard of living, of all the peoples of the world. First comes transportation, and this is followed by improved agriculture, industrialization and rural electrification. The big planes and skilled pilots which will be ours when the war comes to an end will lead us into a most remarkable future as surely as day follows night. We can make it a future of new democracy based on peace. As Molotov so clearly indicated, this brave, free world of the future cannot be created by the United States and Russia alone.
Undoubtedly China will have a strong influence on the world which will come out of this war and in exerting this influence it is quite possible that the principles of Sun Yat-Sen will prove to be as significant as those of any other modern statesman. The British Commonwealth, England herself, the democracies of Northwest Europe, Latin America, and in fact all of the United Nations, have a very important role to play. But in order that the United Nations may effectively serve the world it is vital that the United States and Russia be in accord as to the fundamentals of an enduring peace based on the aspirations of the common man. I am here this afternoon to say that it is my belief that the American and Russian people can and will throw their influence on the side of building a new democracy which will be the hope of all the world.