University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

Information bulletin
(June 1951)

Reber, Samuel
US policy in Europe,   pp. [15]-19 PDF (3.0 MB)


Page 18

There are some who argue that the United States
wishes to use Europe as a buffer to ward off an attack on
itself. They reason that defensive measures will provoke
attack and that then the most that can be hoped for is the
ultimate liberation of a Europe of blackened ruins and
devastated industries.
To this I would reply that our primary purpose is not
to repel an aggressor once he has attacked but to prevent
that attack before it has got underway. The North Atlantic
system envisages building such defensive power that no
aggressor will dare risk war against it. Our vast reserve
power must provide concrete proof that no war could be
won. And even today we possess formidable weapons which
could strike through the air at the centers of aggression.
llE HAVE MADE CLEAR that Germany is to be in-
" vited to share the responsibilities and the protection
afforded by the North Atlantic security system. The
Federal Republic and Berlin have been given assurances
that they will be defended in the event of attack. Ger-
many will have an opportunity to make its contribution
but there will be no new Wehrmacht, no new German
General Staff. On the other hand, we are not looking for
mercenaries. Whatever contribution in the way of armed
units the Germans make, and it is theirs to decide, will
be merged in the collective security force on the same
basis as the military contingents of the other European
nations and will be subject to international control.
I have emphasized the true character of our common
defense effort because I realize that in many countries
of Europe today there are those who advocate neutrality
in the present crisis. This mood of "neutralism," which
is merely an expression of defeatism and nihilism, is due
in large measure, I believe, to the feeling that war is
probably inevitable and that Europe cannot be defended.
The neutralists hold that the existing world tension is
due solely to the antagonism between America and
Russia which would make Europe a battleground in their
struggle for mastery. Hence they maintain Europeans
should stand aloof and avoid commitments to either power.
When we look at the realities it becomes apparent that
such thinking is blind and dangerous. It is obvious and
significant, that the Communists throughout the West
seek to foment neutrality sentiment. The reason is clear.
However the Soviets may utilize neutralism as a con-
fusing and paralyzing tactic, for them it is only a station
on the direct road to Communist domination. For nothing
is more clear today than the Kremlin's determination to
expand the Soviet system over all Europe and add a
series of new satellite states to its vast empire. The
vacuum created by neutrality constitutes a tempting in-
vitation for conquest.
NEUTRALITY FOR EUROPE is today tantamount to
unconditional surrender. It would mean renunciation
of the possibility of defense and removal of the chief
barrier to Communist imperialism. For Europeans, the
decision to act in the common security involves great
sacrifices but the minimum of risk. To preserve freedom
men must be prepared to fight for it.
Neutralism is an expression of impotence and a lack
of faith in the future which does not correspond to the
realities of today. Europe, viewed collectively, is an
aggregate of peoples and cultures adding up to immense
potential strength. That it has survived at all is a tribute
to the enduring greatness of its peoples. The strength of
the free peoples of Europe can be enormously augmented
if only they unite. The concept of a European Federation,
which was conceived in the wake of World War I by
such men as Briand and Stresemann, emerges from the
last conflict an achievable reality. That such unity, long
dreamed of, is today on the point of realization is clearly
foreshadowed by the recent signature of the Schuman
Plan. The "cornerstone of European Federation," it was
called by Chancellor Adenauer.
A long step in the direction of European unity was
taken when the representatives of six European powers
signed the Schuman Plan. That Plan will create economic
unity in the two industries which are basic to all others,
coal and steel. It will create in Europe the condition
which, more than natural resources, has enabled the
United States to lead the world in steel production: an
enormous single market, free of artificial restrictions and
barriers to efficient production.
Let us hope that it may be the prototype of unity in
other fields; that the increased production which it will
make possible in the coal and steel industries will be
expanded to others; and that Europe will have a single
market for, and greatly increased supplies of, all sorts of
consumer goods, which is to say a high and rising
standard of living.
M OST IMPORTANT OF ALL, let us hope and work
for the ideal which animates the Schuman Plan; the
building of a structure of political unity on this economic
foundation. Always before Europe has attempted to build
unity wrong end first -by trying to create political unity
with no foundation of common economic interests. Worse
yet, it has often attempted to do so by bloody wars of
conquest. The Schuman Plan represents the first attempt
to create the solid basis of economic unity without which
political unity can be only an artificial and sickly growth.
We heartily welcome the initiative taken in the formation
of the Council of Europe and Germany's admission as a
full member.
We Americans hope that Europeans will get together.
Our nation was built upon the principle of federation,
and we too have had many conflicting interests to recon-
cile. We believe that in these critical times it is more
than ever imperative that the peoples of Europe should
submerge their differences and establish a firm and abid-
ing union. Only such a union can mobilize the immense
resources of material and moral strength necessary to
establish a counterweight to Soviet power.
This union, I believe, must be threefold. It must over-
come the economic barriers which have stifled trade and
production, depressed living standards and exacerbated
national animosities. It must establish effective political
machinery to restrain nationalistic forces and safeguard
the common interest. And it must create a new loyalty
INFORMATION BULLETIN
JUNE 1951'
18


Go up to Top of Page