- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 20 Mar 1941, p. 419-437
- Mott, Dr. John R., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Some background on the speaker's visits to many different countries. His visits to Latin America over the last 35 years. Some impressions. The expansion of the population. The texture of the population of South America and how it has changed over the years. The Latin population of the Western Hemisphere. The Western Hemisphere as a cosmopolitan one. Unprecedented material development, with Brazil as an illustration. The financial stake in South America, with some dollar figures, by the British and the Americans. Canada's investments in Brazil and on the west side of the Andes. The need for Britain, Canada, and the U.S. to get together and talk over these economic questions as they concern our relations with Latin America. Cultural development of the Latin countries; a look at their press, books, universities and school system. Learned societies. Interest in social uplift. Attitude towards this war. The speaker's estimate that nine-tenths of the intelligentsia of Latin America and other influential classes think with the Allies and are against the aggressive powers. German propaganda in Latin America. What Latin America thinks of the United States. The speaker's belief that the 22 countries which make up the North and South American Continents could become the greatest stabilizing force around which others could gather. Advantages in contiguity, chronological and geographical. Suggestions as to how these countries could be more closely woven together. Ways in which Canada and the United States can identify themselves more with the feeling of the Latin American people. Character traits of the Latin American people. Advantages of a larger mutual exposure to each other's cultures.
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- 20 Mar 1941
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- Full Text
- THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SOUTH AMERICA TO CANADA
AN ADDRESS BY DR. JOHN R. MOTT
Chairman: The First Vice-President, Mr. C. R. Sanderson
March 20, 1941
MR. C. R. SANDERSON: Gentlemen: The speaker at the Empire Club of Canada today is Dr. John R. Mott, who is known all over the world. He is an outstanding missionary statesman and a great religious leader whose whole career has been given over to movements of worldwide concern. I could go through a long list of his present and past offices, but may I just particularize by saying he was the founder of the World Student Christian Federation; he was the Chief Executive of the Foreign Division of the Young Men's Christian Association; he is President of the World Alliance of the, Young Men's Christian Association; he is Vice-President of the World's Council of Churches; and he is Chairman of the International Missionery Council. In recognition of his work and his achievements he has been honoured by universities on both sides of the Atlantic and he has received decorations from twelve different countries. Despite all his other activities he has had time to write over a dozen books, and together with all this he has made a special study of South America. Today he comes to talk to us on "The Significance of South America to Canada."
Gentlemen, I present to you Dr. John R. Mott. (Applause.)
DR. JOHN R. MOTT: Mr. Chairman and Friends: I value highly the privilege of meeting in this somewhat intimate way with a company that I recognize as men of really wide outlook and of true responsiveness to the serious purposes that are moving across the world right now. As the Chairman has indicated, my life has been a life of service, of organizations and movements that are literally world-wide, and this has not been accomplished by remaining at a headquarters or in an office chair, but has necessitated my moving ceaselessly among the nations.
These journeys have taken me over the world many times. I was asked the other day in one of the countries of South America how many countries I had visited. I had to give it up, but that was an industrious reporter and he kept at me until he had proved, in a way that I couldn't go back on, that I had been to seventy-eight or seventy-nine different countries; and what fascinated him more was that I had been in most of them again and again.
Now, I grant you there is a certain advantage in moving over the world at intervals. It enables one to study the contrasts that are constantly in evidence and the currents of thought and feeling that are ever surging, literally across the world. It is a most fascinating experience, but more important, it gives you the chance of studying at first hand the workings of the law of progress and I must add, the working of the law of retrogression.
Now, this is background. I am asked if I would not specialize in any comments I might make today upon Latin America. This I gladly do.
My first visits to Latin America were about thirty-five years ago, and my latest visit to Latin America was during the last year, when I made four separate trips to as many parts of Latin America. In January, to Mexico; in March, to Porto Rico and the neighbouring islands of the Caribbean; in April, to Cuba; and from May to July inclusive, the countries of eastern South America, that great area of Argentine, Uruguay and Brazil. And I start down next week to cover the countries of the northern belt of South America and the west coast, and on my way back, that interesting little cluster of Central American States.
Now, you are anxious, I am sure, that I should plunge in at once and give you the outstanding impressions that I think we ought to keep vividly in our consciousness here in Canada at the present time.
One is the expansion in the population. In the period between my visits the population has just about doubled in some countries and in others it has more than doubled. Look for a moment at cities. When I first went down to Argentine, Buenos Aires had six hundred thousand people. It now has three million. Montevideo had less than three hundred thousand and it now has six hundred thousand. Sao Paulo had two hundred thousand and it now has one million, two hundred and fifty thousand; Rio had, I recall, six hundred thousand and it is now nearly if not quite two million.
There is nothing comparable to this, except in the case of Tokyo following the earthquake, and possibly the city of Los Angeles. And the texture of the population of South America has markedly changed in the years covered. There is woven into the population something like two to three million Germans, and an Italian element to the number of over five million. When I was there the first time there were probably only half a dozen Japanese and they were attached to the Embassies. Now I found in Brazil alone, about two hundred thousand Japanese.
Thus I could go on and speak of other elements woven into the population. Now, it may interest you to have me point out that, if you add to Latin America the French Canadians--and why shouldn't we?--and add possibly seven million Italians of the United States of America--and why shouldn't we?--we would find the Latin population of the Western Hemisphere is almost the same as that which we call the Anglo-Saxon population, plus certain elements like the Scandinavians. People don't generally realize that. They simply think of this as an Anglo
Saxon hemisphere or as a Latin hemisphere. It is becoming increasingly a cosmopolitan hemisphere. Moreover it is still in the foundation-laying period, the most plastic of all the continents of the world, and this has a very real meaning to us all.
Another impression that I bring is of the unprecedented material development. I think parts of Latin America have witnessed greater expansion than almost any other part of the world, but more important than that, I would emphasize the material possibilities of Latin America, the undeveloped possibilities. They are of concern to us in Canada.
Now, take Brazil as an illustration. That is a country as large as the United States of America, plus an area larger than Texas. It is a country that is surrounded by eight other countries. We speak with great pride and deep satisfaction of the United States and Canada having a border of three thousand miles and no fortifications. Brazil has no fortifications between her and her eight neighbours. I have never visited a country in my travels with larger material possibilities. The only countries I can bracket with Brazil in respect to undeveloped possibilities, are the Dominion of Canada, the Siberian stretches of Russia and the Belgian Congo.
Consider, under the ground in Brazil, the resources in diamonds, gold and iron alone give it distinction. Or take right on the surface. When I was down in North Carolina the other day they told me that they have about one hundred and twenty varieties of trees, largely hardwood. In the Amazonian belt they tell me they have eleven hundred varieties of trees, largely hardwood. There is a wealth of timber in range of variety and quality, the like of which the world does not have elsewhere, excepting perhaps the Congo basin of Africa.
Or, you could supply the whole demand of the world for coffee in Brazil. She could take care of the whole demand of the world for sugar and could almost do the same for cotton. She could do the same for fruit, and the list runs on. They have 15 percent of the water-power of the world in Brazil. By the way, that Amazon Basin is the most impressive physical phenomenon in the world, I sometimes think. There is the great Amazon Basin and the river itself, with a width of one hundred and eighty miles at the outflow, and you have to travel up the river twenty-eight hundred miles in order to reach a width the size of the Mississippi at the outlet in the Gulf of Mexico, and then you go eight hundred miles or more up into Peru, and before you reach the end of the great river you have gone over four thousand miles, with great rivers running out in each direction. I have seen nothing like it, only when I took a flying trip over the Belgian Congo, not long since, and looked down on the network of rivers there.
I was told by economists that Brazil could maintain nine hundred million people and then not be cultivated as intensively as Denmark or Holland.
So here are unlimited material possibilities and I have only referred to Brazil. If I took you to Argentine I could tell you similar things. For example, they told me they shipped five thousand tons of meat each week to Great Britain, and I notice the convoys are helping to keep up the pace. I will not trouble you with a whole mass of statistics about the live stock and other resources of Argentine, or what might be more impressive, pick out some of the little countries that we hear so little about, and tell you of their resources.
Now, this reminds me of another impression--of the great financial stake we have down there. Great Britain now has invested, quite securely, about $4,000,000,000, chiefly in railways, and they have got a splendid record, as some of my friends here know.
The United States of North America has in all Latin America--not simply South America where British investments are chiefly--we have in all Latin America somewhat over $4,000,000,000. I am not talking of a lot of wildcat ventures or projects, but solid, reliable investments. I made enquiry of friends here the other day about Canada. I couldn't get the statistics I wanted, but probably one of your best authorities passed on the word to me that you have down there not less than $600,000,000 invested, largely, I believe, in Brazil, but partly over the Andes on the west side.
Let me say this in passing. On my first visit down there the Sao Paulo Light and Power Company--I don't know exactly what they used to call it-impressed me as the finest foreign corporation with which I had come into contact, and I found last year that it has continued true to its earlier record. I mention this among Canadians, that spanning a whole generation you have been able to do a piece of work that commands the confidence and the friendly feeling of the Latin Americans, and that says a great deal.
We of the Mother Country, Canada and the United States in particular, have got to get our heads together and talk over these economic questions as they concern, our relations with Latin America. Britain and the United States got in on the wrong foot in some respects. The Latin Americans speak of the United States as "the Colossus of the North." They are afraid of us. That is where Canada is going to have the great advantage. With reference to England, they don't like the way she regards them--almost as if she were an absentee landlord and not interested in developing Latin initiative and collaboration.
I am only touching, incidentally, something that should be the subject of profound consultation and participation, particularly among us English-speaking countries.
But, my friends, don't let me leave this point without putting myself on record by saying I think Canada has the opportunity of the ages-materially, commercially, financially, in the Latin American Republics, from Mexico and the Islands, right down to Argentine and Chile. This I honestly believe.
Now, a word about the cultural development of the Latin countries. In some ways that puts us to shame. Take the press of Latin America. I don't know of any country in the world that has papers quite like La Prensa and La Nacion, in Buenos Aires, and Jornal do Commercio of Rio. I was told that these three papers devote, on the average, some thirty-five columns a day to international affairs. Now, the New York Times which, I suppose, is the paper that does the most in this respect in North America, does not average twenty-five columns. I found the Latin American press much more fully in touch with all that is going on overseas, looking eastward, than we are. When I speak of those three papers, I could pick out other examples in other parts of Latin America.
We are away ahead with reference to the Orient-news about Japan and China and India, and so on. I came to take off my hat to the press down there. Of course they have some sheets of which they ought to be ashamed, and surely we have, but generally speaking, they deserve distinction.
Then when I think of the outflow of books and brochures, not only their own, for which they have won a reputation, 'but their awareness of the best material that is coming out, not only in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Italy, but in Great Britain, in Holland, in the Scandinavian countries, and in the new countries like Czechoslovakia, and to some extent the Oriental countries, like India.
My wife says this is my most dangerous hobby-the frequenting of the book-shops. I go a good deal. I have good interpreters; I don't trust my own knowledge. I was amazed and humbled by the wealth of their bookstores in foreign works, in contrast with what we have in Canada and the United States and in some of the European countries. They are sitting literally at the feet of the scholastic world, as set forth in our literature in certain departments.
We brought down there from the United States an exhibit of twenty-six hundred books, brought out in the United States of America. This has awakened wide interest and appreciation. Then I think of the universities and the school system. That is very spotty. In some parts it is worthy of our study, but, generally speaking, I think we must in honesty, without boasting, say that our two great English-speaking countries lead in the educational world. They have some brilliant universities. The two oldest universities in this hemisphere are in Latin America-the one in Lima, the other in Mexico City; they antedate Harvard and the oldest colleges in Canada. Some of those universities have a unique record in the leadership they furnish, not simply for their respective countries, but in international affairs.
The little country, Uruguay, has the distinguished honour of conceiving the idea of the League of Nations, even before Woodrow Wilson, and anybody here who has been in touch with the League of Nations knows what a contribution came from these Latin countries as a whole, including some of the smallest ones.
So, I would praise, with restraint, but with great heartiness, the intellectual product of Latin America; and I repeat, some of the universities, some of the middle schools, some of the lower schools, are good, but generally speaking, however, they can well look to us.
Speaking still of the cultural development, I am reminded of the so-called learned societies there. We might bow before them in many cases. We have been so absorbed with the money-making process that we have probably not given as much attention as we might to the fostering of scientific, literary and other cultural societies. I think also of clubs. We are doing fairly well in clubs here in North America, but every traveller in Latin America will agree with me, that they have the most expensive equipment. I mean, the largest buildings, the best adapted buildings, costing enormously more than anything we have here on either side of the line or in the British Isles. Not only are large sums of money invested, but there is a great membership-ten thousand, fifteen thousand, twenty thousand-and they have great programmes in physical culture, social progress and along countless other lines. They have much for us to study and heed.
Then I would emphasize their interest in social uplift. I am not so sure but that they manifest greater social consciousness than we do, generally speaking. I don't know of a country up here that I would bracket with that little country of Uruguay, a country of two million people. If you have never read the book called, Utopia in Uruguay, just get it and it will make you ashamed of our social legislation in America and in the Canadian provinces. And, by the way, Mexico, that we look on with suspicion and anxiety, and, at times with some reason, for our solicitude, I would say that Mexico has some things to teach us in North America and in the British Isles. I say it with some humiliation, but it was just burned into me down there on my last visit. I must in honesty admit they are up in front. They are in an almost impossible position. I don't blame them for wanting possession of what is below the ground. I don't blame them for wanting to have the great estates broken up so that the poor man may have his chance. I don't blame them for wanting enough food to provide for more than one meal a day. I say they have a conscience and a purpose and they are putting some of us in a position which I hope will quicken our consciences.
Now, I want to pass on as you would expect me to do, to say a word about their attitude in this war. Here again, my judgment is that of one person, although a world traveller who has no axes to grind and I trust no wrong motive. I myself estimate that nine-tenths of the intelligentsia of Latin America and other influential classes think with the Allies and are against the aggressive powers. I estimate nine-tenths. Some will take issue. This varies; there are parts of Brazil where we wouldn't say 90 per cent, but taking Latin America as a whole--and I speak with intimate knowledge for I had countless interviews with people who were in the know and had chapter and verse, and have poured over all the material. I thus record this, and I would go further and say that is all the more remarkable, in view of these things, that this war has caused all Latin America to suffer economically, in a way that we are not suffering in Canada or in the United States. I think you all know it has taken two-thirds of their markets right off.
They have been put under a supreme test, with the German propaganda which is very effective. I heard it and saw it among them when I was there last summer, saying, "Order from us. By October we will be here to defend you." The calculations have been missing, but they have a great purchase on us in having given them a good market-over two-thirds of their market. I say it is all the more remarkable in view of these things, that I can say with sincerity that probably nine-tenths of the people most in the know, and here I include the men in industry, commerce and finance, as well as the intelligentsia proper, have their sympathies, not with the aggressor. If there is anybody who doubts this, I am prepared to be cross-questioned. (Applause.)
Now, you say, what do they think about the United States of America? Well they were glad that we were increasingly lining up with the Mother Country and with Canada. They were glad of that but they were beginning to be very skeptical. They were reading our Congressional debates, they were reading that it would take nearly five years, at least four years, to develop another navy, so we would have a navy for each ocean. They said to me, "No, Mr. Mott, if it is going to take America that long to get ready, aren't we in danger if we should line up on this side? Aren't we in danger of being left on a limb the way Czechoslovakia, the way Poland, the way Holland was?"
Thank God, my friends, the events of the last month, summarized in the purpose expressed by our President Roosevelt, will have disabused their minds of that.
I won't discuss here the seriousness of the situation down there. It is a matter of profound concern to us here. The so-called fifth column business is, I would say, at its best and at its worst. By at its best, I mean that I know of no part of the world where it is so ably led, intellectually, where the plans are so comprehensive or call forth more of your admiration--if you forget your conscience. I don't know of a place where there has been so much money put in it or so much sacrificial devotion and I use that word sacrificial, advisedly. It isn't in spots, it covers all Latin America, as with a web, with central direction. Now, there are many exaggerated things said in our press but I don't think we can well overstate the seriousness of it.
My friends here know that I am in no sense a pacifist. I think, I hope, I am a realist. I prefer to take no chances on the thing I am talking about now. We had better err on the other side. Here is one of my strongest convictions -that right here in this Western Hemisphere we have got twenty Latin American Republics, we have got the United States of America and we have got the Dominion of Canada. Now, notice, follow me closely. Here we have got twenty-two nations, the largest contiguous bloc of countries to be found anywhere on earth--not in Africa, not in Asia, not in Europe-I say it is the largest contiguous bloc. And notice, what is more important, possessing common political traditions, common political ideals, and more than I used to think, common political institutions, in the sense of democratic institutions.
Now, it is my belief that if these twenty-two countries not only see eye to eye-in my judgment we do, measurably-but, more important, if we should give the world the unmistakable impression that we do see eye to eye, then we on this hemisphere could become the greatest stabilizing force, the most magnetic unifying core around which will gather others, emphatically the whole British Commonwealth of Nations, and the list will run on.
I hope I make my meaning clear. There is an advantage in contiguity-chronological and geographical. There is an advantage in having a core that is not in the full maelstrom. The bombs are not falling on us here. Thank God, we are identified with the suffering over there, and it is my belief that my country will be there too before long. We are here between the oceans, and by the way, that brings me to pause, and say the Havana Meeting didn't meet a day too soon.
I said to the New York Times the day I landed at New York from South America last July, that if the Havana Meeting doesn't adopt a single resolution or make
a single decision, it is infinitely worth all it is going to cost. My idea was that it would create an atmosphere. The atmosphere was surcharged with suspicion and forebodings and Havana cleared the air like a great thunder storm. Thank God, that made possible what some people didn't believe was possible. We went there and adopted some of the most statesmanlike measures ever adopted in international affairs, in which Great Britain and the United States of America, including Canada, committed themselves, and performed a great act of trust in saying we are going to have some common bases for air and navy, up and down this coast. That was only an entering wedge and, by the way, that went further than the prophets predicted. It was only an entering wedge of the things that will follow.
Therefore, my friends, you don't wonder that I come among you, heavily burdened with the conviction that we must busy ourselves in weaving together these twenty-two countries that God has so blessed on this Western Hemisphere, these plastic countries, these countries that are not ashamed to make changes, that are not ashamed to take the initiative, that are not ashamed to stake their all on their initiative. There is everything to gain by our seeing eye to eye and moving together. There is nothing, as far as I can see, to be lost by it.
Now, you ask this question, you say: Before you sit down share with us some of your deepest constructive suggestions as to how we shall be woven more closely together.
First, I would say we should bring it about so that Canada hereafter becomes an official part of all the Pan-American Conferences. Why not? I ask myself, why not? And I cannot think of one reason. Now, we have had eight of these great Conferences. The first was in Washington in 1889, the last in Lima in 1938. I am well acquainted with all the gatherings. I attended one of the most notable in the Munroe Palace in Rio in 1906. They have an honourable record. I can think of no reason for Canada not being integrated with every such gathering.
Secondly, I want to see Canada become a part in what we call the Pan-American Union. This is something quite different. It is a permanent organization in which all the American Republics and the United States of America have definite seats. Mr. Carnegie, with splendid international vision, just as he gave the Peace Hall in Holland at The Hague, gave the splendid home in Washington that some of you have visited. If any of you have not visited it I wish you would the next time you go to Washington. There is a network of activity, basic to what we are talking about here to-clay. The best research work being done in any of the countries is being done there under the International Committee in which the Latins have twenty votes and the United States of America has one. Why shouldn't Canada be there? Again, I say I see no reason. We want you to be a party to the investigations, and not only the investigations, but to do a score of things that you expect a body called the Pan-American Union to do.
Now, thirdly, I am eager to see some of your great statesmen of Canada follow the lead, all too tardily taken in the United States of America. Two of our Presidents have gone down there. Hoover did, and it was one of the best things he did after he was elected. He went to Latin America the first thing. I never knew him to miss a point in the programme that I am talking about here and I trace that largely to the fact that he went down there.
Our present President has been down there and in his busy life it wasn't easy to go. He also sent Mr. Hull, Secretary of State, who to a unique degree has the confidence and the affection of the Latin American people. They took me up to the House of Congress in Montevideo and were proud to point to the seat where Mr. Hull sat. He won their hearts. He took hold of their imagination.
I remember also one of the three greatest international minds the United States has ever produced-Senator Root--I sat at his feet-President Wilson sent him out on a Commission to Russia, and I crossed the Pacific both ways and travelled through the great wilds of Siberia with him. He went down to South America. If you have never seen his speeches, and probably they are only to be found in the Congressional or Parliamentary Library, get the speeches that he gave in capitals on the east coast and the west coast as models of what I call statesmanship in international matters and commercial matters. His address in Kansas City or St. Louis, on his return, to the men of industry. commerce and finance, is a classic in its interpretation of what our men of industry, commerce and finance should be doing with Latin America.
My next word would be that we interest ourselves, just as the State Departments have done recently by calling on young Nelson Rockefeller to co-ordinate the economic and the cultural. Some people say that can't be done. The other day I congratulated Mr. Hull and young Rockefeller on attempting what others call the impossible. If we can co-ordinate our economic contacts in Latin America, with the cultural, we will do something that ought to have been done long ago.
Now, my next word may strike you as presumptuous and awkward from me, as an American. Don't forget I have had my summer home in Canada for forty years. Two of my children are married to Canadians, and I have got some grandchildren-don't forget this.
I will tell you what I was going to lead up to with reference to your contacts over there. That is, we should make much more of these fraternal things-the intimate contacts. Coming back on my boat there was a whole company of American women representing the women's clubs of all the leading cities in the United States. They had been over all of Latin America. One woman was eighty years old. By the way, I don't know any part of the world where women have a more powerful voice than in South America, so the women's clubs in going down there made a splendid move. Why shouldn't the Canadian women line up and make such a visitation?
That leads me to another point. Professor Stephen Duggan, of Columbia University, conceived the idea of a great interchange of students between Latin America and the United States. As a result there have been thousands of Latin American students up in the American universities, and now a smaller number of United States students is beginning to go clown that way. The other day one hundred and forty students from different universities of Latin America came up here and located themselves at the University of North Carolina to study English and American institutions. Before that we had sent something like sixty to Lima, Peru, and there they held institutes and retreats under the guidance of Latin Americans.
Now, the United States made this notable resolution which was adopted at the Lima and Pan-American Conference. Look at this: That every American State, that is every one of the twenty Latin American Republics and the United States--and I now ask: Why not Canada? that every American State should send one professor and two students each year to every other American State. That would mean that Canada would pick out twenty-one professors and twice as many students and send them to each of the twenty-one countries, including the United States, for one year. They would do the same with you.
Now, that has been adopted by I think nine countries already. Others will adopt it. It is a drop in the bucket but it is very important when you think of the strategic value. You see the intelligentsia-that is the word they use down there--the intelligentsia of Latin America is a great reality. If we want to carry Latin America with us we have got to carry the thinking, leading minds of those brilliant Republics, and this is one good way to go about it. I have said to my friend here, President Cody, and also to my friend, Bishop White, that nothing could be more helpful than that you might some day have in this city an International House. My older son, who was, by the way, a soldier in the last war and went to serve in India for several years, has served and is now serving in such International Houses for students. First, at Cornell University, then he was at the head of one in New York, made possible by Rockefeller, where they have five hundred students from sixty nations. First, are the Canadians, next the Chinese, and thirdly, the Latin Americans, and the list runs on down to sixty countries.
Now, I have been pleased to find that the Chinese have found a place here at the University of Toronto. That is splendid. I see great things for the future. But I asked the President of the University of Toronto, why not have scores of Latin American students coming up here? They will be less afraid of you than they are of the United States of America. I repeat that they call us "The Colossus of the North." They are afraid of our money power. They are not yet afraid of you. You can mediate, you can help us in the United States, you can introduce us a little better.
Let me mention another thing we want to be doing. That is to support right away the work of our churches--Protestant and Roman Catholic. I am going to another lecture this afternoon and I will amplify this point, but I will ask your permission to pass by this merely saying that I have discovered, largely because of religious views, that we must implement man's industry, commerce, finance. education and culture with a power infinitely more than human. What we need is superhuman wisdom and love and power manifested. Now, I enter the plea that you put yourselves behind these great forces.
Now, my last word is this. It may strike you as strange but I would rather you would forget many things I have said and let this have full weight. That is, let us of Canada and the United States study how we can identify ourselves more with the feeling--I am using that word advisedly--more with the feeling of the Latin American people. They are swayed more by feeling than by argument or by force. They are open-hearted, demonstrative, out-going. They have a word in Spanish--"sympatico"--that means more than our word "sympathy," it means sympathy with deep understanding and full response. If they say a man is "sympatico," they cannot pay a higher tribute than that. In business it opens every
door. In the religious realm they look on him as a prophet from heaven. That is one thing of which we cold Anglo-Saxons can't have too much.
Also, they are very courteous, very polite. It is almost a mortal sin to violate some of the laws of that kind, but I couple with it the thought that they are kindly, considerate. Though they may be very punctilious themselves, they are so kindly they overlook our awful breaks, and that is a trait we might well envy them.
Again I think of a trait that we have not got that is exceedingly important there--that is their leisureliness. They are the opposite of what we call strenuous. Time doesn't mean much to them. The watch and the clock and the bell might just as well be eliminated. With them, tomorrow is the day of decision; with us, it is today. And with my busy programme lined up, I found I had to adjust myself to tomorrow. I have to do a lot of things tomorrow that I wanted to do today. When I did that I began to find doors open and they began to think I was a little "sympatico."
Another great trait they have got is that they love beauty and all the finer graces. This applies to both the men and the women. There is no part of the world where you would be more impressed by that, and again, I say it is not without its advantage that we have exposure to them.
Then they are intensely national, and of course I hope we all are, but I don't know of such intense manifestations of extreme nationalism-not in the totalitarian form-God forbid-but in love of country, as shown by every test. Again, coupled with that, they are very internationally minded. I spoke of the little country, Uruguay. I spoke of what I saw at the League of Nations. Mr. Rowell will bear testimony to this. He can bear testimony to the little Latin American countries. It is the little countries to which we are most indebted. I mean the little countries like Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Greece, the little Balkan States and some of the little Latin American Republics. You see the world was afraid of itself in the bigger dimensions and in the League the little countries have their inning. That is one reason I believe so strongly in the League and believe that we will have to come back to it at all costs.
One more trait, and I stake the whole argument on this. It is the mystical note in the Latin American character. I didn't think this would be the case. I found the mystical element. The book that helped me most-my wife and I read it all the way down there-is The Invisible Christ, written by a man called Ricardo Rojas, who was born a Roman Catholic. He is more of a rationalist now. He has written one of the most helpful books on Jesus Christ that I have read, not excepting The Imitation, because it is written for this time. It is written by a native of Argentine, with an introduction by my friend, Robert E. Speer, who wouldn't be translating that book, as we men here who know him deeply realize, if it were not all that I say.
So with all the things I say about the material crust of the civilization of Latin America, carry away in your memories, friends, these last hints that I have given you of the traits of the Latin people. Ask yourselves, wouldn't it be helpful to us if we could have larger exposure to them and that they might have larger exposure to us? God grant that all of us may live long enough to see our vision fulfilled. (Applause-prolonged.)
MR. C. R. SANDERSON : Gentlemen, Dr. Mott has not only given us that illuminating and penetrating analysis of South America which we knew he would give us, he has really given us a synthesis of the whole American Hemisphere. And as I see it, it is not only the knowledge which he has brought to us today, it is the special emphasis he has so strongly and directly placed on the importance of our thinking internationally, that makes this address so wonderful. We talk about the increasing significance of Canada in world affairs. It is true, we can see Canada becoming more important, month by month, internationally. But what Dr. Mott has driven home today is the importance of our educating ourselves for the position which Canada is going to occupy in world affairs when this war is over.
Sir, I need not express our appreciation. The unfailing attention which every member of the audience has given to you must have told you how much your address has been appreciated. But, Sir, I do offer you an expression of our gratitude for a great address which we shall read again with the same intense interest that we have listened to it. (Applause.)