- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 19 Mar 1940, p. 384-393
- Cromwell, Honourable James H.R., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Canadian Club of Toronto.
Trade between the United States and Canada outranking the commerce between any other two countries in the world. The speaker, pledged to a policy of neutrality, which has active support of the majority of the American people. Facing the facts and weighing the issues. Reference to a remark by the speaker, and response to it: that the Allies are fighting for the perpetuation of individual liberty and freedom. Functions of a diplomat. Reasons for the speaker's statement. A consideration of the Policy of the Allies, should they win the war. Basing judgment of what the British Empire will do in the future by what it has done in the past. A review of that record. A consideration of the outlook should the autocracies win the war. A lengthy quotation from an authenticated article on war aims of the National Socialist party, written by Otto D. Tolischus, correspondent of the New York "Times" published just one month ago. What is happening today in Austria, in Czechoslovakia and in Poland. A comprehensive report recently submitted to the Pope by Cardinal Hlond of Poland, describing the actions of Germany in a part only of the occupied territories. The speaker's belief that any intelligent citizen of any of the world's neutral democracies must have an interest in the outcome of this war, and that there are issues at stake which can affect him. The possibility of true democracy only after the Industrial Revolution. The close union of capitalism and democracy. Individual freedom and liberty directly responsible for the creation of those economic conditions upon which our well-being and progress depend now, and have depended in the past.
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- 19 Mar 1940
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- Full Text
THE ISSUES AT STAKE
AN ADDRESS BY HONOURABLE JAMES H. R. CROMWELL
Toronto, March 19, 1940
A Joint Meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club of Toronto was held in the Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Canada, on Tuesday, March 19, 1940.
Professor N. A. M. Mackenzie introduced the guest-speaker, the Honourable James H. R. Cromwell, United States Minister to Canada.
PROFESSOR N. A. M. MACKENZIE: Gentlemen: The Members of the Empire and Canadian Clubs meet today for two purposes. The first, to honour the country that our distinguished guest represents here in Canada. (Applause) I don't think I need to say how much we respect and admire the great country to the south of us. I believe, basically, that they stand for the same things and believe in the same ideals and as compared with the relations between other great and small countries, to wit, Finland and Russia, or Germany and Czechoslovakia, I think we can consider ourselves among the most fortunate peoples of the earth. (Applause)
The other reason is to do honour to our very distinguished guest, the American Minister to Canada. He has had a colourful and interesting career. In other circumstances, as in the case of other individuals, he might well have been content to have been a playboy and to have found his outlet in mere adventure and interesting living. In place of that he has entered into public life and into public affairs and is a student. I am not an economist and perhaps that is fortunate, because I understand that his books provoke as much or more discussion, and are as stimulating as anything that has been written for many a day. We, the Members of these two Clubs, are delighted to honour him today as our guest. We are happy that he and his charming wife have seen fit to come and make their home for a time among us. (Applause) And we would hope that, if it is his desire and our good fortune, that visit might be a long one. (Applause) He is to address us today on the subject, "The Issues at Stake". I have great pleasure in introducing His Excellency, the Honourable James H. R. Cromwell. (Applause)
HONOURABLE JAMES H. R. CROMWELL: Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen of the Canadian Club and the Empire Club of Canada, Distinguished Guests
In addressing a gathering so representative of your great industrial and commercial metropolis, I am naturally conscious of the fact that I myself am the representative of the Government of your best customer. According to recent statistics our purchases from you last year amounted to some one hundred and fifty millions of dollars more than those of your second largest customer.
And you, in your turn, imported more from us than any other single entity. In fact, the trade between the United States and Canada outranks the commerce between any other two countries in the entire world.
The continuance and furtherance of this mutually profitable exchange of goods and services, however, is by no means the only responsibility of the mission of which I have the honour, at this moment, to be the head. And in this connection I cannot be unmindful--or rather, let me say, we are all of us mindful at home--of the fact that your country--as part of a great Empire--is now engaged in war with another Empire. An Empire equally powerful in the military sense, although possessed perhaps of rather less extensive material and human resources.
As Minister of the United States, I am pledged to a policy of neutrality. As you know, this policy has the active support of the overwhelming majority of the American people. But, gentlemen, that is no good reason why we should not face the facts and weigh the issues which confront us.
Considerable comment seems to have been evoked by a statement I made in Val d'Or ten days ago; to wit, that I believe the Allies were fighting for the perpetuation of individual liberty and freedom.
Perhaps comment was occasioned because the diplomatic representative of a neutral nation expressed an opinion concerning the war aims of a belligerent power. Perhaps some people were surprised because they feel that the utterances of a diplomat should be confined to platitudinous pleasantries.
Certainly that is the feeling of many of my countrymen -indeed of some of my very distinguished countrymen who, it would seem, believe the fulfilment of the handwriting on the wall can be avoided by pretending the handwriting is not there.
Well, my friends, that is not my idea of the functions of a diplomat. To me a diplomat is still a citizen. The duty of every citizen is to uphold and defend the institutions and the social and economic order upon which the government of his nation is founded. And, furthermore, when that diplomat--citizen, or rather, let me call him a sentry at an observation outpost--when that sentry sees approaching a force which frankly and openly seeks to destroy those aforesaid institutions and the social and economic order upon which the government of his nation is founded--then, it seems to me, it is the duty of that sentry to tell his fellow citizens what he sees.
And, gentlemen, let me assure you, that upon this interpretation of my duties as a diplomat I am content to risk my official head. If I be wrong then let the executioner
be summoned and wield his axe. Head chopping is just an old family custom with the Cromwells anyhow.
But let me pause at this point, and digress for just a moment to express my appreciation to the gentlemen of the Canadian press, who took the trouble to telephone me at Val d'Or from Montreal and Toronto. Who took that trouble because they hold their profession so highly that they would not quote the Minister of the United States as having uttered such an apparently significant statement without direct confirmation.
They inquired if I had been correctly quoted. Let me say once again that I was correctly quoted. But why the surprise? Why was such a simple statement of opinion considered so significant?
Let me tell you why. It is because certain short-sighted and cynically minded groups in the United States today declare that there is in actual fact little to choose between one belligerent and another. Are they not, they ask, rival Empires engaged in an imperialistic war? Were they not founded upon the conquest of one people by another? And not for the first time, they say further, our foreign trade, our domestic peace and our well being, is directly and harmfully affected by this quarrel between two grasping and selfish imperialisms? So, they say, a plague upon both your houses!
How easy it is for unthinking people to proclaim that what happens in Europe is no concern of theirs and to pretend the dangers that threaten their future safety do not exist.
How easy it is to shut one's eyes and thus seek to avoid the horrid sight of the bloody and seething world revolution which threatens to overwhelm us all.
How easy to say that this war is a war of greed-a war fought merely for trade, for territory and for power, that the neutral democracies have no interest in its outcome, that there are no issues at stake which can affect them.
Yes, certainly, that is the comfortable and easy road to take. But is this attitude sound? In my opinion the facts will prove that it is not sound, that it is merely attempting to make a virue of expediency. So let us look at the recorded facts to determine, in truth, whether the neutral democracies of the world have an interest in the outcome of this war.
Now I am not interested and I do not propose to waste time arguing as to whether or not the respective belligerents are fighting a war of greed for trade, for territory and for
power. That is a matter of individual opinion. What I am interested in, however, as a citizen of the world's greatest neutral democracy, is how the respective belligerents. are going to satisfy this alleged greed once they have gained the power to do so. Just what will the Policy of the Allies be if they win the war? I will not quote the statements issued by the leaders of the British Empire as to their ideals and aims and as to what they will or would like to do. If I did . some of the numerous isolationists at home might accuse me of falling a victim to the so-called insidious propaganda of the Allies. I prefer, therefore, to base my judgment of what the British Empire will do in the future by what it has done in the past. And what is that record?
The history of this great Commonwealth, the history of the Dominion of Canada, is known to us all. Only recently we celebrated with mutual joy and thanksgiving
the anniversary of a hundred years of peace between our countries. And in that time we have developed along parallel lines a civil organization and domestic institutions so similar as in some respects to be almost identical. This development on your part, was evolved within the framework of the British Empire.
Much the same can be said as to the other great self-governing Commonwealths; Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. In the latter country, the scars and ill feeling left
by the bitterly fought Boer War were so healed that-in less than two decades-the armed forces of the state were in the field on behalf of the very Empire with which it had so recently been in conflict.
In short, I come to the conclusion from this lesson of history, that if the Allies win the war, they will conduct themselves in the future very much as they have in the past. So there is, in this eventuality, no threat to the well being, to the peace, or to the social and economic order of the neutral democracies, be they large or small.
And now, let us consider the outlook should the autocracies win the war. With your forbearance I shall quote at some length from an authenticated article on war aims,
written by Otto D. Tolischus, correspondent of the New York Times, and published just a month ago. I quote: "Taking the war aims as publicly proclaimed in the latest National Socialist pronouncements, they may be summarized as follows:
"(1) Complete elimination of British influence from the European continent by the destruction of British military and naval power, and, perhaps, the destruction of the British Empire itself.
"(2) Organization of a 'New Europe' under the decisive influence of Germans as the greatest people on the continent and on the basis of 'Socialism of nations', involving international 'socialistic planning', which presupposes the creation of controlled national economies and therewith the establishment of authoritarian governments everywhere, which in turn means the end of democracy and the free economy on which democracy depends.
"(3) World-wide extension of this system until there shall be destruction of the 'plutocracies' and 'international Jewish capitalism' based on free world trade and the mone tary function of gold-and substitution of bilateral exchange of goods, based on managed 'labour currency', the domestic value of which would be determined by government fiat and wage and price control-and the international value by government clearing agreements.
"(4) Extension of the 'Lebensraum' (living room) of the German 'master race' in proportion to that now possessed by other conquering (races) such as the British, the French, the Americans and the Japanese."
But, gentlemen, what is happening where that Lebensraum is being extended-what is happening today in Austria, in Czechoslovakia and in Poland? What kind of rule is this master race, this conquering race, applying to the vanquished? Did the Austrians, the Czechoslovaks or the Poles have a voice in the determination of their present form of government? To what extent do they enjoy a free development of their social and economic aspirations?
For an answer to these questions let us turn to a comprehensive report recently submitted to the Pope by Cardinal Hlond of Poland, describing the actions of this conquering race in a part only of the occupied territories. The report is too long, and in parts too terrible, to read in its entirety, so I will quote only a small part of what the Cardinal has to say.
"Most of the Catholic dioceses of Poland, with more than 7,000,000 faithful, are destined to become a land of infidels.
"We cannot help but refer to this as one of the most serious enormities in all history, that is to say, the expulsion of a population of this large size. Nearly all the Polish nobility, especially all those that were landowners, tens of thousands of peasant families, tens of thousands of urban families and almost all the cultured class have been, by now, exiled to the Gouvernement General of Poland.
"The people lose everything, land, houses, farms, factories, furniture, cash, bank deposits, precious things, family jewels and even their clothes. All this is taken with out pity for them and without a minimum of recompense. On the contrary, their money is even stolen from them and they can take with them only ten marks.
"Young men from the age of fourteen up are all to be deported to Germany and will probably go there to be forced to receive a Hitler education. Even girls-and especially the pretty ones--are deported and cause their families that desperation that is easy to understand. "According to information in the German press the obligatory transfer of the Polish population of that region must be completed by April 3, 1940. Therefore the emigres arriving in the Government General will be millions--millions without money, without clothes, without the possibility of earning a living, millions condemned to the hardest privations from the lowest possible conditions of life to famine.
"This is a true extermination, conceived with diabolic evil and executed with a cruelty without equal."
And now gentlemen, permit me to give you another quotation, a quotation which bears with peculiar emphasis upon my Val d'Or statement. My statement, I mean, that I believe the Allies were fighting for the perpetuation of individual liberty and freedom.
Again I quote
"The Germans openly proclaim themselves in their speeches to be the owners of the occupied territories and say 'that the Poles are their slaves."
All this is, mind you, from the formal report of Cardinal Hlond to His Holiness the Pope, upon conditions in the conquered districts of Poland. A report that has been formally issued by the Vatican itself and concerning which, so far as I know, no refutation has ever been attempted. And now--having learned what sort of a social system will exist under autocracy, let us see what sort of an economic system a totalitarian victory would portend.
And again I repeat "a system which presupposes the creation o f controlled national economies and therewith the establishment of authoritarian governments everywhere, which in turn means the end of democracy and the free economy on which democracy depends."
Really, gentlemen, I am at a loss to understand how any intelligent citizen of any of the world's neutral democracies can state with conviction that he has no interest in the outcome of this war, or that there are no issues at stake which can affect him.
To me, it is only too apparent that the life, the liberty, the livelihood and the very safety of this same neutral citizen may be dependent upon the outcome of the present war. Whether he recognizes the fact or not, his future, and the future of his children's children, are, in all probability, now at stake.
As an economist, even more than as a diplomat, the present world struggle appears to me, not only as a clash between rival political concepts, but also as a clash between rival and totally different economic systems. Economic systems of which the forms of government are but the outward manifestations.
Do not let yourselves be deceived by the frequently proffered description of the democratic-capitalistic system as one which is old and outworn, ready for the scrap heap,
and to be superseded by some autocratic ideology. For it is the latter which has misruled and misgoverned the world from time immemorial.
It was not until the Industrial Revolution took place early in the nineteenth century, that true democracy, on a broad basis of universal suffrage and individual freedom, as we conceive it on this continent, became possible.
To me, capitalism and democracy are as closely united as Siamese twins--one cannot live without the other. And hold and maintain that individual freedom and liberty are directly responsible for the creation of those economic conditions upon which our well-being and progress depend now, and have depended in the past.
On the other hand, in practically every one of the totalitarian states, despite the utmost efforts of their all-powerful governments, one finds widespread scarcity of all the means of life in practically every social level, except in that of the governing officials themselves.
However, it is a cause of much tribulation that the very progress made possible by our free and enlightened institutions, and which has brought us so far on the road of betterment, has also brought grave problems with it. Our world has grown constantly and consistently smaller in proportion to the improvement in the means of communication. So much smaller, indeed, that it begins to appear doubtful if two such totally different systems of economy and government can exist side by side.
Much the same problem faced my forefathers in the middle years of the last century, when our Republic was torn by a clash between two such rival economies:--that of the North, and that of the South, the latter based upon the utilization of slave labour. I think that all fair-minded observers agree that an economy based upon slavery was then and is now an anachronism.
Abraham Lincoln foresaw coming events in 1858, when, in accepting the Republican Senatorial nomination in Illinois, he remarked: "A house divided against itself can not stand. I believe that this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free."
At home, we sing "America" to the same tune that you use for "God Save the King". And whatever the dark future may bring forth let me quote from that song, this ardent prayer:
"Long may our land (and your land) be bright With Freedom's Holy Light!"
(Prolonged applause followed by three lusty cheers for Mr. Cromwell)
MR. H. C. POWELL: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Cromwell: First, we want to thank the Canadian Club for their cooperation in joining with the Empire Club today in welcoming Mr. Cromwell at their Luncheon.
I haven't got very many words to say to keep you, but to Mr. Cromwell I would say I am sure that the members of both Clubs, on whose behalf I speak, join with me in conveying to you our sincere thanks and appreciation for the splendid address you have just given us. We request you to please accept our thanks for coming here today to address us. (Applause)