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American Academy of Political and Social Science

Is American Coöperation Necessary for European Rehabilitation?


Author(s): Edward A. Filene
Source: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 102,
America and the Rehabilitation of Europe (Jul., 1922), pp. 183-189
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. in association with the American Academy of
Political and Social Science
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Is AMERICAN COOPERATION NECESSARY? 183

about
about confidence
confidenceinin
the
thestability of ofeconomic situation is critical. It is
stability
the
the governments
governmentsofof thethe
European
European apparent that the European countries
nations,
nations,but
butthe
thereal
real
work
work
of of rehabili-cannot start the machinery to make
rehabili-
tation
tation must
mustbebedone
donebyby
thethe
people.
people.the world function again as a going con-
The
The efficiency
efficiencyofofthe
thegovernment
government of ofcern without our cooperation. Their
any
any country
countrydepends
dependsupon
uponthethe
intelli-
intelli-attempt to settle the economic troubles
gence
gence and
andvision
visionofof
itsits
people.
people. of Europe at Genoa without our
For
For years
yearsbusiness
business organizations presence is as futile as to try to
organizations
have
have been
beena apart
partofof
the
the
national lifelife rearrange or adjust the affairs of an
national
of every European country. Each individual bankrupt in the absence
important business center in Europe of his chief creditor. When and where
has such an organization. During the we shall engage in another conference
last fifteen years the business men of with the European nations, and where
this country have realized the efficacy and on what terms we shall recognize
of business association. The Chamber Russia as a nation may be left to the
of Commerce of the United States is judgment of our President and his
a splendid national organization. cabinet-to such strong, courageous
The International Chamber of Com- and patriotic men as Secretaries
merce, with a membership of twenty-Hughes, Hoover and Mellon.
two countries, is exerting a great in- It is the function of organizations
fluence on the European situation. like the American Academy of Politi-
Through its instrumentality businesscal and Social Science to do what the
men of all countries may come to- Academy is now trying to do-edu-
gether and agree as to policies to becate the people of this country to think
pursued by their governments, andinternationally, so that when Congress
then exert their influence on the gov-may be asked to authorize the par-
ernment to secure results. In addition,ticipation of the United States in the
plans to improve world conditionssolution of international problems, the
may be conceived and carried throughmembers of our national legislature
without governmental action. may think and act as becomes the
The reports of the Genoa Confer-representatives of the richest and most
ence indicate that the European progressive country on earth.

Is American Cooperation Necessary for


European Rehabilitation?
By EDWARD A. FILENE
President, William Filene's Sons Company, Boston, Director, International Chamber of Com

T HE answer to this question is One


One who
whounderstands
understandsthethe
problems
problems
"yes." If the rehabilitation of
that have for some weeks been under
Europe is to come within the present discussion at Genoa can hardly doubt
generation, if new wars are to be that if three years ago we had seen the
avoided and we are to have a stabilized actual needs of the situation, as great
world during our lifetime, it seemsnumbers of us see them now, and had
clear that American cooperation is then whole-heartedly assumed the
indispensable. responsibilities for that part of the

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184 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY

rebuilding of civilization that belongs ceed even without our cooperation.


to this great people, the entire world- But it is certain that such a recovery
situation would be different from what will be considerably postponed-prob-
it now is and much more satisfactory. ably long postponed-through our
If even now we can begin to deal in continued aloofness.
sane vision and courage with these
EUROPEAN TURMOIL A NATURAL
problems, Europe can be placed on her
RESULT OF WAR
feet at no distant day and the situation
saved both for her and for us. Three years have now elapsed since
If we present-day Americans, how-the conclusion of the Great War,
ever, prove unable to see how essentialwhich, to use Premier Clemenceau's
it is, both for Europe and for ourselves, phrase, deserved "a great peace."
that we cooperate in this rehabilitation, What are the results? If we face the
then will it nevertheless come about,facts squarely, we must admit that
but not in this generation. And eventhe nations are not yet at peace; that
when it comes, it will be without ourthough military operations have, for
help, honor or profit. Mr. Lloyd the moment, ceased, yet economic
George has a faculty of succeedingwarfare, which is a breeder of war, still
when all others think he will fail. It
goes on. There is a mutual distrust
may be that he will succeed at Genoa
everywhere and in every nation a desire
and even now create an association of to be prepared for a future contest.
European nations which will bring Deplorable as such a situation is, it
about rehabilitation without our aid. is not one that ought to surprise or
puzzle us. What is happening in
But if this is accomplished, it will be
hardly less than a miracle. Europe is inevitable and, on the whole,
Even if the European nations now simple. Given certain premises, it is
assembled at Genoa' should be able to relatively easy to foresee what trend
achieve enough harmony to sign events a must take. To do so, one does
ten-year pact not to disturb the peace,
not need to be a prophet or the son of a
yet I do not believe that such an agree- prophet. As far back as 1917, in an
ment will furnish a sufficiently strongarticle published on May 27 of that
year, I said:
guaranty for the future without the
participation of the United States. I
Suppose this war is ended by a con-
do not mean that without us Europe
ventional treaty and that no other way is
will go immediately and utterly to
left open to settle future disputes. Then
pieces. Civilizations do not disappear
not only will the nations of Europe be
in that way. I have little doubt that
compelled to face their tremendously
after a few generations more of war burdensome war debts, but they will also
and increasingly unbearable taxes and
be obliged to keep up their armaments on a
revolutions there will come a reaction scale that the present war has taught them
which will establish international law, to be necessary in international clashes.
backed by the sanction of all the It is probably conservative to say that this
means that the peace-time expenditure
European nations. It will come by for armies and navies will be at least
very reason of the unbearableness ofdouble what it was before the War.
the situation. This reign of law as a
substitute for war will gradually suc- We now learn that, whereas the
combined armies of Germany and
This paper was written before the conclu-
sion of the Genoa Conference.-C. L. K., Austria-Hungary numbered before 1913
Editor. only about a million men, the combined

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Is AMERICAN COOPERATION NECESSARY? 185

armies of France, Poland and the conference, as has been done, for being
Little Entente today number almost political rather than economic. In the
two million. We also learn that, World article of last fall I wrote,
despite the Washington Conference, "There are political adjustments that
must precede the economic adjust-
the naval expenditures of Great Britain,
the United States and Japan are not ments; but the economic adjustments
less than they were before 1914. must be understood in order to make
After returning from a study trip the political adjustments possible."
to Europe last summer, during which Secretary
I Hughes emphasized this
visited nine countries and conferred same point when he characterized the
with the leaders of all classes in each,
Genoa program as political rather than
I said in an article published on No-
economic.
vember 27 last in the New York World: In order to make the economic ad-
We now witness an economic war in justments possible, the European
process, with increasing hatreds between states must first come to some degree
of mutual understanding. There must
nations-a situation full of peril to Europe,
destructive to the economic well-beingbeand a return of confidence before there
possibilities of peace of the whole world,can
andbe a restoration of trade. When
all because of a hopeless attempt to get on
youa wish to start a business concern
"defensive war" footing, when every eco-
you organize your company, adopt a
nomic consideration points to the wisdom
charter and by-laws and elect your
and necessity of a sound business footing.
officers and directors, before you issue
And since last fall the situation has stock or begin actual operations. It is
not much improved. the same with Europe. Its component
On April 26, addressing the as- states must first come to a political
sembled press representatives at Genoa, agreement before they can achieve
Mr. Lloyd George, the British Prime economic cooperation.
Minister, compared Europe to seething
racial lava, which, like the earth's PROPOSAL OF A TEN-YEAR TRUCE
crust, was seeking a proper level. What is the program at Genoa? In
This adjustment, he said, was full of brief, it is, first of all, an agreement not
peril. In his opinion the disorganiza- to fight, at least not for ten years, and
tion of Europe would affect the entirean agreement to talk things over before
world, including the United States.resorting to force. In general, the
"We must realize," he said, "that
problem before the European states
Europe is not on good terms and that
today is similar to that before the
storms are now arising with which we
thirteen American colonies at the close
must deal. We had hoped that the end
of the War meant the end of brute of the War for Independence. There is,
however, this difference; that, whereas
force, but unless Europe's problems are
solved there is no assurance that force the thirteen colonies had fought side by
has given way to right." side against the same enemy, the
European states have been fighting
GENOA CONFERENCE AN ATTEMPT TO each other. It took several years to
SOLVE EUROPE'S POLITICAL frame the American Constitution and
PROBLEMS
several more to get it ratified by the
It was to solve these problems that required majority of states. The
the conference at Genoa was called. European situation, being much more
I believe it is a mistake to criticize that complex and difficult, cannot reason-

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186 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY

ably be expected to clarify itself im- into war. The lack of American
mediately. cooperation is the chief reason wh
Whether such an agreement not to France has been obliged to base he
violate the national borders for at least German policy on fear of attack. Twi
ten years, as now established, would within the memory of men now living
keep the peace or not it is difficult to France has been attacked by Germany
predict. At any rate it would be a and has suffered grievously. The
beginning. But, in the long run, the Treaty of Versailles was based on
people of Europe, as well as of the American participation with the Allies,
United States, will realize that there is and since that support was suddenly
only one permanent substitute for war withdrawn, France has had to keep
as a means of settling international her men under arms instead of setting
disputes. And that substitute is a them to work at economic reconstruc-
tion. This reconstruction, if under-
court that would deal with them
taken,
according to international law. Justwould, in turn, have improved
as one of the functions of the Supreme our own business conditions. Fear of a
Court of the United States is to settle new attack makes the French govern-
differences between the states, in casement unstable unless it panders to
of disputes between them, so the this fear, instead of doing the un-
states of the world must have an dramatic, burdensome things necessary
for rehabilitation. In France, as in
international court in whose integrity
all have confidence. Now the question
other countries, the party in opposition
arises whether such a court could uses these fears that possess and domi-
nate the public mind, to unseat the
succeed without the support and back-
government. When Premier Briand
ing of the United States, the nation
tried
with the greatest material resources in to be conciliatory he had to
the world. resign because he could not allay this
"America could exercise an in- haunting dread of another invasion,
fluence no other could command," which American cooperation alone
said Mr. Lloyd George, when ad- could banish.
dressing the assembled press represent-
AMERICAN ALOOFNESS MAKES FOR
atives at Genoa. "She could come
GERMAN-RUSSIAN ALLIANCE
here free and disentangled and with
the prestige which comes from Indirectly,
her our absence is the cause
of despair
independent position. She would come in Germany. Without an
adequate guaranty of safety, France
with the voice of peace. But America
is not here; so Europe must do cannot
her best afford to let Germany revive
economically.
to solve her problems in her own way." A Germany strong in-
dustrially means a Germany potentially
ABSENCE OF AMERICA A SOURCE
strong militarily. So, while France
OF PERIL
insists on a strict enforcement of the
Already the absence of the UnitedTreaty of Versailles, Germany sees
nothing but economic subjugation
States from the League and conferences
of the nations has been the cause of ahead. This is the fundamental reason
many of the immediate dangerswhy to she has turned to Russia, the only
peace. This absence has made in- country that will be both able and
operative those international tribunalswilling to supply her steadily with raw
that would adjudge peaceably the materials and a continuous market for
disputes that now threaten to flare up her manufactured goods. A rap-

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Is AMERICAN COOPERATION NECESSARY? 187

prochement between the two coun- and necessity for a sound busines
tries has been certain, since the refusal footing. Since even the best traine
of the United States to grant a guaranty soldiers are of little use, unless back
of safety to France has driven that up with a modern industrial organiz
country, through terror, to a strict tion to supply them with materia
enforcement of the Versailles treaty. nation after nation is reaching out
An agreement with Russia thus secure such an organization. Instea
becomes Germany's only recourse. As of developing along its normal an
long ago as October 14, 1920, I profitable channels, it must make
itself a forced, hothouse, industrial
made the following statement: " Sooner
or later there will be some kind of concern, even though as an agricultural
understanding between Germany country
and it ought to be a land of plenty.
Russia. If there is, and Germany is Ofa course the dread is that of being
red and revolutionary Germany, the defenseless against the possible sudden
world will have to arm itself to defend
onslaught of an even smaller nation
the principles of democratic govern-which is industrially prepared for war.
ment against Bolshevism and anarchy." It is for this purpose that economic
The present Germany has given abun-barriers, such as high protective tariffs
dant evidences that it does not want
and political barriers to trade, are
to become revolutionary; but if built
the up between nations that are
really economically interdependent.
present impasse continues, if living
conditions continue to become worse Such economic wars are but real wars
in their infancy. But as economic
and there is little hope for the future,
distress under such conditions is bound
then the extreme left wing of radicals,
who expressed such joy at a public
to continue, there is danger of forma-
demonstration in Berlin when the tion in the Balkans of the long talked
of Panslavic Union. Under the tute-
Russo-German trade pact was an-
lagea of a revolutionary Russia this
nounced from Genoa, may combine
revolutionary Germany with a would
Bol- include a threateningly large
shevist Russia. If this comes to pass,
part of Europe and great portions of
all of the other powerful nationsAsia.
will It is this possibility that Mr.
have to combine to form a counter- Lloyd George undoubtedly had in
balance. During our own lifetime mind
and when, before going to Genoa, he
possibly for another generationpictured
we to the House of Commons the
shall have a world of growing arma- scene of western Europe overrun by
ments and war, while taxes, becomingrevolutionary hordes from the East.
ever more and more unbearable, If this should come to pass, how long
would the United States remain im-
will, in turn, make for radicalism and
revolution everywhere. mune?

"DEFENSIVE WAR FOOTING" IN THE AMERICA MIGHT HAVE PREVENTED


BALKANS MOHAMMEDAN UPRISING
In the Balkans there is another Another great danger to peace is the
danger spot, where the lack of an uprising of the Asiatic races,
recent
international tribunal with thewhich,
power if Europe and our own United
of the United States behind it, States
forcesremain divided and weak, is
bound to become a menace in ever
each little country to get on a "defen-
greater and greater degree. There i
sive war footing" when every economic
consideration points to the wisdom of brewing, not only in India, bu
trouble

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188 THE ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY

in Egypt, Morocco, Arabia, Persia and the welfare of the next generation, the
in Central Asia, where the Bolshevist risks of delay in the rehabilitation of
movement joins hands with Pan- Europe are too great to be properly
Mohammedanism. In my judgment, incurred. As a matter of fact, I think
and in that of many very much better that Europe will be rehabilitated and
students of world-conditions than I, that it will be done with our aid. As
this Mohammedan revolt, which long as we do not give our aid, do not
threatens primarily England, but assume
in the responsibilities that are
reality all of her allies, would not have
necessary for a return of confidence,
occurred had not our own cooperation good times will not be restored in our
been lacking. Under the League of own country; we shall not be able to
Nations there would have been a chanceput our unemployed to work, or make
for international adjudication of such reasonable profits in our businesses.
troubles and such adjudication, No in country can be self-sufficient and
view of the confidence these peoples ours is no exception.
had in the leadership of the UnitedOur producing ability, as now organ-
States, would have forestalled the
ized, is greater than our capacity to
avalanche that now threatens. consume, and without markets for our
Already one of the chief results of thesurplus products we shall be forced into
Peace Treaty, the expulsion of thea long period of adjusting our output
Turk from Europe, which would haveto a greatly limited home market,
made it possible for Russia to reachwhich will bring years of over-competi-
warm water by peaceful means, hastion, super-competition that will de-
been lost. Until Russia gets such anstroy profits and cause unemployment,
outlet we shall forever be faced with a constantly lowering standard of
the danger of another war. You can- living, and labor troubles on a large
not bottle up an empire like thatscale. Nor can we economically manu-
without incurring the danger of anfacture everything we need, no matter
explosion. The makeshift settlement to what heights the tariff walls are
of the Armenian question, which we raised. Moreover, by remaining iso-
have recently witnessed, cannot helplated we shall inevitably raise through-
causing future troubles, unless we getout the world a spirit of anti-American-
into a combination that is strongism, which will injure us for a long
enough to give full justice and pro-time to come.
tection to this cruelly abused race.
ENTRANCE TO INTERNATIONAL COURT
RISKS OF NON-PARTICIPATION IN THE NEXT STEP
WORLD-PROBLEMS
Not only will such a course work to
A lifetime or a generation is only a our material disadvantage, but, unless
split second on the clock of progress we assume the responsibilities for
and to the historian of two or three Europe that our duty demands, we
hundred years hence it will make shall not satisfy the conscience of the
little difference whether the substitu-nation. But we shall not stand out-
tion of international law for warfare side. We shall soon be doing our duty
takes place in our generation or two orto Europe and the rest of the world.
three generations hence, but to us and This nation is founded on faith in law
to our children the difference will be a and there is no substitute for war as a
basic one.
means of settling international ques-
For our immediate interest, and fortions except law. The practical next

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Is AMERICAN COOPERATION NECESSARY? 189

step in our effective assistance of Europe their sense of justice, all their idealism,
is to help institute this new regime of all that they have learned of the horrors
law and order by backing the interna- of war, all their dead and maimed and
tional court which has already been or- crippled, the thousands of those still
ganized at The Hague and on which there suffering in the hospitals from disease
is already serving a leading American and wounds, will together make an
jurist most experienced in international irresistible force that will demand
law. The overwhelming sentiment of American cooperation in European
this country is in favor of such a court. rehabilitation. Against such a force
No irreconcilables can stop the Amer- misunderstanding, prejudice, and even
ican people from getting behind it, once mistaken party loyalty, will not long
the issue is put clearly before them. avail. We shall then, under the urge
Both of the major parties are pledged to of the knowledge that American co-
support it through their platforms, operation is necessary for the rehabili-
adopted and reiterated when in power tation of Europe, act once more with
and out of power. the sincerity, enthusiasm and effective-
All that is best in the Americanness that characterized our participa-
tionall
people, all their business judgment, in the War.

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