Waging the Peace


By CLARE BOOTHE LUCE, Congresswoman from Connecticut

Delivered before the New York Herald-Tribune Forum, New York City, October 18, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 43-45.

FRIENDSHIP and faith bring us all to this platform: personal friendship for a great woman, Mrs. Ogden Reid; political faith in the proposition that during the next few years all political things will be ordered better if the candidate of our choice becomes the President of our nation. But not one of us, in this Forum, can prove that faith, for no man can prove or disprove what the future will bring.

The past is the only witness we can call into a Forum to testify for the future. Those who refuse to remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Let us remember so much as we can, in the twelve minutes allotted, about peace plans and peace leaders.

In time ago out of mind the Prophet Isaiah said: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace." For thousands of years, mankind, tortured by war, has cried aloud in anguish for a leader to publish a plan that would bring the world a just and happy and lasting peace. Yet, we know that such a plan has long been published. None has ever been more widely published, or more widely approved. And by a strange coincidence, it takes exactly twelve minutes to read it: Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Unhappily, mankind has never fully accepted that Leadership, or ever put that plan for a just and lasting peace into effect, despite the fact that all other leaders and all other plans, deemed more politically practical in their day, have proven ineffectual.

"Peace With Justice"

Still, as Sir Thomas More said: "All things can not be well unless all men are good, which I think will not be these many years." That was four centuries ago. Sir Thomas is still waiting. Meanwhile our generation can take comfort and counsel of history.

The League of Nations was not, as some people suppose, the first comprehensive political plan for world peace that ever failed. For centuries men have made blueprints to prevent war. All the devices we propose or debate today have been proposed and debated and sometimes tried by other generations: peace by disarmament, peace by arbitration, peace by an international police force. Serious proposals for world disarmament began in China as early as 546 B. C. Later the idea took such deep root in the heart of the Chinese people that they have been known, even down to our time, as the most pacifistic people on earth. We must note that disarmament, as a plan to prevent war, began to fail the Chinese people most pitifully when the nineteenth-century white imperialists, and today's yellow imperialists, showed no similar enthusiasm for it.

The Greek Scheme

Ancient Greece had a scheme of collective security: a federation that was a near approach to the League of Nations. The Greeks even had a name for it: "The Greek Amphictyony."

Then there were the long Pax Romana and the long Pope's Peace of the Middle Ages. We may note, in passing, that these great periods of peace were not planned in any blueprint sense. The secret of these peaces was law—the interpretation and growth of law, divine and human.

But as they lasted longer than any other peaces since, perhaps it is the beginning of wisdom today, in speaking of peace, US speak first of "peace with justice."

After independent or "sovereign" nations developed again in western Europe in the sixteenth century political machines to keep the peace were invented by the score, and failed by the score.

Among them were the plans of Emeric Cruse in 1623, Hugo Grotius in 1625, William Penn in 1694, Abbot St. Pierre in 1731, Jeremy Bentham in 1786 and Immanuel Kant's untried "Perpetual Peace" plan in 1795. Government by law, not by men, was Kant's keystone for a peaceful modern world structure. A great contrast to Kant's plan was the personal plan of Czar Alexander the First in 1804.

Basis of Holy Alliance

This became the basis of the Holy Alliance of 1815, finally pressed upon Europe with the full weight of the Czar's prestige as the absolute ruler of Europe's most powerful nation. His plan was a curiously Russian blend of shrewdness and mysticism, generosity and ambition which perhaps did not die with him. In the Czar's secret instructions to his ministers in England, which he wrote in his own hand, we find these phrases: . . . "never beginning a war until all the resources which the mediators of a third party could offer have been exhausted . . . and (then) give birth to a league . . . a new code of the law of nations . . . (so that) those who should try to infringe it would risk bringing upon themselves the forces of this new union."

Another peace plan—and perhaps the most elaborate and important of all was the "Great Design" of Henry the Fourth in 1584. Very recently this name has been used by President Roosevelt, the fourth-term candidate, to describe his own plans for a lasting world peace.

The great design of Henry the Fourth provided for a confederation of states, each contributing specified quotas of foot soldiers, guns and ships to a common military peace force, this force was to act under the direction of a senate, or sort of supreme security council, representing fifteen participating states of Henry the Fourth's day. The senate, sitting in perpetual session, had the power to create appropriate subcommittees, or an assembly. The plan was never put into effect, probably because France's rival powers worried less Henry the Fourth, a wily diplomat and a strong leader of a strong nation, might use its "police force" to achieve the domination of Europe. Nevertheless, the "great design" became the master pattern for many other peace machines. The latest edition of the "great design," which we all must hope is the best one, has just been published under the name of "The United Nations" by the conferees of Dumbarton Oaks—published, but not complete in detail, so not yet accepted by any of the Allied governments.

Here the past offers its testimony to the future for whatever it is worth to those who can interpret it correctly. The main incompletion of detail in "The United Nations" great design for world organization is the very detail that prevented Henry the Fourth's original from being tried out at all. This is the detail concerning the ultimate control by the senate—or security council—of the international police force to be put at the disposition of the organization. For in Roosevelt's and Churchill's and Stalin's day, as in Henry the Fourth's, the international police force is plainly recognized as the "teeth" in the plan; and in our times, as 360 years ago, the great unanswered question about those teeth is, "Who puts the bite on whom?"

More Than Blueprints Needed

Several days ago Under-Secretary of State Stettinius called upon the American public to ponder that question, in order to hasten the realization of a truly effective world organization. No doubt in great public debate in this free democracy we will find a fair and a workable answer where the men of Henry the Fourth's time failed. But it must be an answer that will be accepted, not only by Soviet Russia and Great Britain and China, but acceptable to all the little participating nations of Europe and Asia.

But why did the peace plans that were tried out in the past fail? The answer is relatively simple: they failed because they were technical machinery—blueprints—and nothing more. Then what more than good technical machinery is needed? Winston Churchill gave part of the answer in a telegram he recently sent a great League of Nations statesman, Viscount Cecil of Chetwood, on the occasion of Cecil's eightieth birthday. Churchill wired: "The war could easily have been prevented, if the League of Nations had used courage, and had there been loyalty to associated nations."

History has justified Mr. Churchill's verdict. The League's machinery never received the full and constant support of the great powers pledged to it.

All the past gives witness to this great lesson for the future: a machinery for peace will be no better than the willingness of governments and peoples to support it with continuing courage, and use it with constant vision.

Mockery of Armistice

On Nov. 11, 1918, a great war-time President, Woodrow Wilson, hastily penciled a message to the American people. It began: "The Armistice was signed this morning. Everything for which America fought has been accomplished."

Twenty-four years of League of Nations history have made a mockery of that thrilling message. For not only did Asiatic and European governments fail to use the League machinery with courage and vision but the world's greatest power refused to use it at all. In 1920, the American people, through their Senate, formally rejected the League. Afterwards three Republican Presidents made no effort to enter it. Then in 1933 came a Democratic President-Franklin Roosevelt. Because of the waxing power of Hitler and Japan, the need for collective security from then on became ever greater. But in his seven years in office before the war broke, in Europe, our President again and again renounced the League. The lack of courage and vision deplored by Churchill in Europe's statesmen was also lacking in America's.

Plato said: "No one can be a true statesman . . . who has not room for courage in peace as in war."

Lacking true statesmen with the courage to wage peace, the Allies are now waging war.

Confidence in Dewey

Let us hope that when our second V Day comes, our President, whoever he is, will not assure us that a peace plan alone will guarantee that Utopia lies just around the corner. Let us hope that our President will have the valiance of spirit even in the jubilant hour of victory to tell us that tears and sweat and sacrifice still lie ahead in the waging of a just and durable peace; and that not only he, but his many successors must wage it.

Governor Dewey has clearly grasped this courageous concept of waging peace. I believe that he will wage it unremittingly.

In our national unity lies our real strength to wage peace. We the People must be one in spirit with our President.

We pray that our armies will soon be victorious everywhere, so that we and our President may embark on that endless adventure of peace-making.