"A FAITH FOR THE FREE"
An Address by HIS EXCELLENCY A.H.J. LOVINK Netherlands Ambassador to Canada
Thursday, November 27th, 1952
CHAIRMAN: The President, Mr. John W. Griffin.
MR. GRIFFIN: Members and Guests of The Empire Club of Canada: Our speaker of today has had a most distinguished career in the colonial and diplomatic service of his country. Although born at The Hague he spent part of his childhood in the Netherlands East Indies, little knowing that it would fall to his lot some forty years later to surrender the sovereignity of these ancient Dutch possessions. In December, 1949, the Netherlands forces and the western European genius for government were withdrawn from the islands largely due to pressure from a third party who had no business being interested at all.
His Excellency has served in many parts of the world and has seen at first hand the terrible things than can happen when the sword of violence is unsheathed. His homeland was overrun by the Nazi fiends in 1940 and the terrible bombardment of Rotterdam in that year will ever be an affront to the decent men of this world. In the period that followed it was our privilege to entertain his Most Gracious Sovereign in Canada. A year and a half later the war-mad beast of Nippon stabbed the Christian West in the back and began his systematic rape of the colonial empires of the east. His Excellency knows at first hand what that era was like since his wife and two children spent three years in a Japanese prison camp. Any of you who have read Neville Shute's novel "The Legacy", will know what it was like, too, as that story was based on the prison-camp experience of a Netherlands lady captured in Java. It is an honour to present to this club the Ambassador of a great people who have been in the forefront of order, progress and the Christian culture of the West for so many centuries. His Excellency's topic is "A Faith for the Free". His countrymen fought for and won their freedom 400 years ago. They lost it for a time during the Hitler War. They know what freedom is. And if they lacked faith they would not have accomplished what they have. The Lowlands will always be high lands in the affections of us all.
MR. LOVINK: What should a diplomat talk about, if he is given the pleasure to do so, as here in your midst? The safest way for a diplomat, would be to follow the advice of your famous late Sir William Osler:
"Look wise, say nothing and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought."
Contrary to his advice, I would like to give you some of my thoughts in a speech.
These thoughts are quite common; will surely not bring you anything new; they might even weary you, but they form part of my absolute belief in the continuation of our way of life in our world, because I have seen the other one and fought against its principles for nearly twenty-five years in one way or another:
Totalitarianism and communism. Your immediate question might then be:
Do I believe a third world war is unavoidable or do I believe that we will have peace in our time?
I could never answer these questions, for the simple reason that so much--if not all--depends on our peoples, our belief in ourselves and our power to hold our convictions and continuously act upon them.
For us, peace-loving citizens, living in a free world, international politics have become more and more complicated; events follow one another with alarming speed; we feel ourselves submerged in an avalanche of propaganda, of words, of opinions, of reports and of speeches, both national and international, on the world situation, on the cold war as well as on the shooting war and on the possibility of peace, while, in the meantime, we prepare for a defensive war, to make certain that we can defend ourselves against the communist aggressor.
There is no doubt, the danger is grave, we must arm ourselves, not only in order to be strong to be able to defend ourselves, but also in order to avoid, if possible, an attack from the aggressor and it is up to everyone of us of the freedom-loving world to conserve world peace.
This is our just responsibility, but to resist or guard against the dreadful peril which threatens us, we need not only material resistance but--and not in the last place--we need spiritual resistance.
We should resist by implementing the fundamental principles upon which our society hitherto has always been founded.
These principles are the right of conscience, the human dignity of the individual, his personal liberty and his individual personality.
In his letters to his children, Whittaker Chambers, as we read in his book "Witness", writes that he sees in communism the forces of the concentrated evil of our time.
There undoubtedly is--as he remarks--a power in communism, or at least in the other world which presents itself as such.
The power of the communists, as he feels it, is that they hold convictions and act upon them with animal ferocity and cunning.
Whittaker Chambers calls this the same power that moves mountains and the unfailing power to move men. He reminds us that there certainly is a definite tie that binds their kind across the frontiers of nations, barriers of language, differences in class and education, in defiance of morality, truth, law, honour and that they believe that the world should be changed into theirs.
According to him communists bear witness to their faith, a simple rational vision, and a faith that inspires men to live and die for it.
This leads him to the crux of this phenomenon that the communist vision is the vision of Man without God, of Man's mind displacing God as the creative intelligence of the world.
To combat this frightful vision and faith, it can and should be met by another and stronger vision and faith--OURS.
And here we find in "Witness" the reason why ours is stronger, when Whittaker Chambers points out that there exists, and will exist, in every man, however he may deny it, a hidden soul.
When a communist breaks away from the vision of the Almighty Man as he did, he feels he breaks away because he wants to be free:
Freedom is a need of the soul and nothing else.
He who has carried the vision of Almighty Man without God, cries out now in his book that without a soul there is no justification for freedom and, rightly, calls out to us that the Western world has already the answer to communism, provided that its faith in God and the freedom He enjoins is as great as communist faith in Man.
Here seems to be what is required of Western man, with his European or his North American way of life, which are essentially the same.
Recently the British Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony Eden, said it so clearly in his speech before the session of the Council of Europe two months ago, when he talked about the urgency of defending the European way of life, the institutions of which are, and should always be, founded upon respect for men, which distinguishes our system from the totalitarian practices.
Freedom of the West rests in the first place on the conjunction in harmony and strength of the British Commonwealth, Europe and the United States of America.
Whittaker Chambers is right when he states that freedom is a need of the soul and that without a soul there is no justification for freedom.
That is just what communism tries to stamp out: man's soul, so that he has no justification for freedom anymore and even forgets what the meaning of freedom is.
Therefore it is all-essential that Western man in Europe and North America should work as all for one and one for all, as we now are trying to do, and maintain his vision and his faith as well as confidence in himself, act on it and live and die for it.
If communism can produce power that moves mountains, surely we can, if we continue to act as one for all and all for one, to the utmost of our ability, everyone in his own work, whatever it might be.
None of us will break away from our faith, because we are free.
Not long ago I bought the marvellous edition "Life's Picture History of Western Man", in which we see how toward the eighteenth century a new and distinct branch of the Western Man appears in North America, where, under new and different circumstances he proceeds to meet his own problems and solves his own destiny, reversing the historic trend in the twentieth century, when the Western man, with his North American way of life, returns to Europe as a mighty new force for the defence of Western civilization.
In the capstone article on the United States as the ultimate heir to Western Man's civilization, of the well-known scholarly writer John Knox Jessups, we read:
"When Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 said:
'Our American frontier is on the Rhine', he felt obliged to deny he had said it. That frontier has subsequently been placed on the Elbe without objection.
Instead of 'Gibbon's ten thousand vessels for the rescue of civilization', a new vehicle called the Atlantic Community now carries Western Man on his long way".
The Western Man of the North Atlantic Community, aims to organize security against intolerance, and claims the right to protect his philosophy of freedom, individually and collectively, with faith to gain peace through strength and faith that our institutions are able to ensure that freedom from fear and want, which is so ardently prayed for.
It is heartening and in harmony with everything we know and have experienced from Canada and its people that you and we, as many others, do not look upon the North Atlantic Treaty Organization merely as a military alliance but see that Treaty as an expression of the reality of the North American Community and of the determination to strengthen its free institutions, to promote conditions of stability and well-being and to defend the Liberty of each of the nations belonging to it.
Your eminent Secretary of State for External Affairs expressed himself so very clearly on that subject in his speech last year in June in a meeting of the Council of Deputies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization where he touched upon the broader vision of the Atlantic Community and asked whether in these past two years we had not taken at least the first steps toward something much greater and more positive, a genuine community of the Atlantic.
We now very recently have heard again from Moscow that nothing will be left undone to destroy that coming Atlantic Community of Western Man and all those who live outside the communist orbit.
Moscow considers war inevitable among capitalist countries and asserts that one has to believe in miracles to think Japan and Germany will not break out of American slavery and rise anew in an effort to smash the United States.
The recent 19th Congress of the All Union Soviet Communist Party produced an open declaration of ceaseless political economic war on the United States and, for that matter, on the Western world.
The Soviet press announced a few days later that the Moscow-born World Federation of Trade Unions will step up its infiltration of labour ranks in "colonial and dependent countries", foment labour trouble wherever possible- especially in Western Europe-and promote such things as "hunger marches" and mass demonstrations in economically troubled countries, all keyed to the tune of hatred for the United States.
Only a few days ago Mr. Andrei Vyshinsky stated enthusiastically in a meeting of one of the committees of the United Nations, that the capitalist nations of the world were already at each others' throats and that things would get worse.
Indeed, the communist aim is to destroy our new community and is especially directed against the return of North American Western Man to Europe for the defense of Western civilization.
We know that that is just what Moscow fears and that the voice from Moscow, sowing dissention between Western Man in Europe and his brother across the Atlantic, is evil and full of passion through failure, because Western man from North America, who also calls his soul his own and has the same freedom and faith, returned for the third time to Europe for the defense of his Western civilization.
Why would communism with all its might try to sow dissension among us and compromise the Western man in North America with his brother in Europe by making him believe that the danger does not come from the East, but lies in being so closely associated with the United States?
Has it occurred to you that communism may fear our faith, the faith of Western man, joining hands for the defense of his civilization?
Faith in the justice and the rightfulness of our world. The faith that is part of our being.
Faith in God and in the liberty of man.
Faith in the liberty by which we can surmount every obstacle in order to defend ourselves.
We have a right to have faith in our future, in our cause of freedom, in our destiny and in our civilization.
But we have the moral obligation to defend ourselves by every means at our disposal, material and spiritual. Never for one moment under-estimate the strength of the communist hordes, whose normal state is the state of siege.
Never under-estimate the fact that the communist mind is one set on conquest and that its final goal always remains the domination of the world.
Never believe that they will give up quickly.
We are already at war, mostly "cold", but in Korea red hot.
It is up to us, however, through our spiritual strength, to build with a common aim and without communist interference, on our own future and, by our material strength, to prevent communism from turning this "cold war" into an all-out "hot war".
Our faith, which forms part of our soul, is a strength indeed, provided our peoples continue to act as one for all and all for one, with confidence and persistence.
So much depends now and in the years to come on the unity of purpose of our peoples.
Faith gives us the spiritual force and confidence that the "without God" will never have.
Because they do not have the right to own their own soul.
We have that right, that privilege, that good fortune and that possession, which cannot be replaced by all the gold in the world.
And that is the reason for my absolute faith in the continuation of our way of life, our world and our institutions.
THANKS OF THE MEETING were expressed by Mr. T. H. Howse.