ANGLO-AMERICAN FREEDOM VERSUS RUSSIAN COMMUNISM
AN ADDRESS BY LAWRENCE HUNT,
Lawyer, Author and Student of International Affairs
Chairman: The President, Mr. Tracy E. Lloyd
Thursday, November 20, 1947
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
The Empire Club of Canada is glad indeed to have as its guest of honour today Mr. Lawrence Hunt, eminent New York lawyer and a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Our guest is one of his country's greatest advocates of AngloAmerican friendship and co-operation and it is a happy circumstance that his visit to Canada synchronizes with the wedding day of our Princess Elizabeth.
In January, 1940, Mr. Hunt published a letter in the New York Times, strongly advocating his country's assistance to Britain in her desperate need and during the same year, addressed a luncheon club in Toronto, and the people of Canada at large through a nation-wide broadcast at the invitation of the Director of Public Information, and his message at that time seemed very sound and timely.
Mr. Hunt's outstanding contribution has marked him as one of the best friends of the British Empire in the United States today and, as we all know, is to be recognized by Toronto University tomorrow in the conferring of an Honorary Degree at a special Convocation.
Our guest of honour is a native of Baltimore and he graduated at Williams College in 1928 and from Harvard Law School in 1931. In 1938 he was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and is chairman of New York State Bar Association's Committee on Labor Law. He is a partner of Hamlin, Hubbell, Davis, Hunt and Farley in New York, specializing in corporation law. An author, lecturer, student of history and of international affairs and a product of his distinguished southern ancestry. Few other men do as clear thinking nor have equal gift of clear expression, both of which attributes are evidenced in his widely known book "A Letter to the American People".
We welcome for the first time to the Empire Club of Canada, Mr. Lawrence Hunt, who will now address us on the subject:
"Anglo-American Freedom Versus Russian Communism"
Mr. President, Members of The Empire Club,
Friends and Neighbors of Canada
May I, first of all, extend to you congratulations and best wishes on a certain wedding which has taken place today in London. The bride, with her sincerity and charm, has already won the hearts of all true men and women. And at this time when Britain is sorely distressed, I venture to predict that the future reign of your Princess will prove to be another and equally glorious Elizabethan Age.
This luncheon is in the nature of a family gathering. There are Britons and Canadians and Americans present, and whenever men of good will from our countries gather together there is an unmistakable sense of family. It's true that when money matters are being discussed the family atmosphere becomes a little strained. But today you have asked me, as an old American friend, to be your guest, and I am highly honored and deeply grateful for the opportunity to speak briefly about some of the great questions for which we are all seeking honest and sensible answers.
In these troubled and challenging times, we English-speaking peoples should have more family gatherings to discuss and to work out together the ways and means of meeting our problems. And let's make no bones about it. The rest of the world should know, and the enemies of man's freedom should know what they did not know before 1939, to their bitter cost and to ours, that despite all our differences, the English-speaking nations are a family, that we are going to help each other, that we will stick together as a family should in the hour of need, and that together we shall keep from our door both the wolf and the bear.
Two and a half years ago, when I last spoke to my Canadian friends, we still saw the vision of the Four Freedoms and believed that at last we would have peace in our time. Today we are dismayed by the spectre of the Four Horsemen galloping across a great part of the earth, and our hearts are troubled because we do not yet enjoy the fairer world which brave men died to win for us. On our fortunate continent the spirit of Pontius Pilate is again telling us to wash our hands of the mess, and the Levites in our midst are urging us to pass by the people who need our help. The dull discourtesy of Slavic oratory has left some of us weary and almost without hope. Brave and good men in your country and mine have become discouraged. The pessimist is in all his sombre glory.
Some people are even prophesying or lamenting the doom of Britain as a great nation. That is wishful thinking on the part of the Anglophobes, and the others are dismally ignorant of British history and British character. Britain's doom has been wished for by her foes or prophesied even by her friends in ages past and will be wished for or prophesied in future ages. This is not surprising, because those men who think only in the bleak terms of materialism are genuinely puzzled that a magnificently decent people can survive in a hard world. Of course, the vast majority of men and women in our English-speaking civilization do not believe any such nonsense. Britain has had her ups and downs in her long history, but only a fool can say in his heart that Britain is doomed. Most of us Americans who entertain grave doubt about the doctor's prescription now being administered to the British people have not the slightest doubt that they will survive both the malady and the remedy.
Yes, the world is in a bad way. But Americans are not afraid. We shall pitch in and help our neighbors who want to enjoy the blessings and benefits of freedom rather than accept the lurid promises of a Marxist mirage. True, we shall help as a matter of enlightened self-interest. But I am sure that the other members of our English-speaking family will understand when I say that there is something more that moves us to help. As a decent people, we must do it. That is our responsibility and our privilege as the richest and most powerful nation whose people still cherish their spiritual heritage of good will and helpfulness even more than their material possessions. And as far as Britain, our most helpful ally, is concerned, our contribution will be a deserved though belated recognition of that lonely year-the most heroic year in the history of war--when Britain, aided by the Dominions, with her blood and treasure gave us the time and showed us the need to save our freedom and our soul.
In my country, Congress will soon debate the Marshall Plan. The price of democracy is high, and the world must wait until nearly every Congressman has achieved the most obscure form of immortality known to man-a few pages in the Congressional Record. During the coming months our friends in Canada and Britain and in other lands may be disturbed and deafened by the din and clatter of this Congressional debate. But no matter what is said and no matter what may happen, at the end, when the roll is called, America will not fail mankind.
The Russians do not seem to like the Marshall Plan. It does not fit in with their plans. They cannot expect much help from American isolationists, because the isolationists in America are not nearly as numerous today as they were in 1939. Many of them were fundamentally fair-minded people who could learn. And they have learned a great deal. Therefore, we can detect a note of impotent exasperation in the Russian attacks on the Marshall Plan. At least, the Russians have not been very polite about it.
Americans are now being attacked by Russia's leading diplomats as "greedy imperialists." We are finding that criticism a little hard to bear, because it is not true and possibly because it was once the favorite epithet of many Americans when Britain alone was doing the thankless jobs of the world. At any rate, our British friends can certainly assure us that the first hundred years are the hardest.
Russia's vituperative diplomacy is ineffective largely because it is terribly out of date. Hitler tried it ten years ago and created quite a sensation. But bad manners are no longer persuasive in international affairs. We cannot expect in the foreseeable future to convince the Russian Communists of the blessings of Anglo-Saxon freedom, but we should continue to hope that Russia's diplomats will learn to present their case in a manner consistent with the dignity of a mighty people whose history has many chapters of epic achievement and supreme heroism. Meanwhile-we'll keep our powder dry.
Although we may be bored by the barbaric tirades of her diplomats, we must remember that Russia is the secular arm of the Communist faith, and that her propaganda is a tremendous weapon which we shall ignore at our peril. That propaganda is very largely aimed, as was that of the Nazis, at dividing the British Commonwealth and the United States by trying to sow distrust, dissension and discord between those two great branches of our English-speaking family. Such will always be the primary aim of the enemies of man's freedom.
Like the Nazis, the Russians profess to warn the British against "American imperialism," asserting that the United States is trying, directly or indirectly, by economic coercion or otherwise, to weaken or attenuate the British Commonwealth and Empire, to loosen the bonds which unite the British nations to each other and especially to the Mother Country, and to make Britain herself a mere buffer state.
Unfortunately, there are a few mean-hearted and shortsighted men in both your country and mine who are not Communists but who aid and abet this evil propaganda. The few Canadians of that stripe apparently think they can curry favor with Americans by criticizing or deprecating great Britain, by murmuring formulas about a commercial or some other form of union with the United States, and by insinuating that their country is no longer loyal to the British Commonwealth and Empire. And the few Americans of the same stripe talk glibly about Canada being no longer a British nation but in the American orbit or sphere of influence. Mr. Stalin should be grateful for such unwitting accomplices. These mischief-makers are men of guile who usually speak "off the record." We should mark them well. Their views or schemes can never prevail, but in these nervous times they can do some mischief to the unwritten but developing Anglo-American partnership upon which the peace of the world so largely depends.
Canada's loyalty to Britain and to the British Commonwealth and Empire has endured from generation unto generation and has been consecrated on a thousand battlefields. Your people have no desire to turn your nation into a mere "geographical expression." You would scorn any attempt to play your Mother Country and your best friend one against the other. Canadians know what the rest of the world knows--that Canada, outside of the British Commonwealth, would lose her spiritual and political significance as a nation.
The self-respecting friendship of a loyal member of the British Commonwealth is vastly more important to the United States than the sly subservience of a satellite. We Americans don't want any satellites. We want friends who can differ with us without fear and can agree with us without servility.
Before the First World War and again before the Second World War, the enemies of man's freedom actually believed that the nations of the British Commonwealth would not stand together and that America would not play her part with the rest of the English-speaking family, or, if she did, would be too late to help. Any reasonable man would think that two world wars are sufficient proof of the fundamental unity of both the British Commonwealth and of our Anglo-American civilization. But the dictators of totalitarian states are not reasonable men, as we use the term. The Russian Communists are materialists who simply do not comprehend what we mean when we speak of "Anglo-Saxon liberty," or "our spiritual heritage," or "our common ideals," or "the intangible bonds which unite us." Those things cannot be seen or touched or measured or weighed. They are of the spirit. And Communism is a false and terrible denial of the spirit of man.
But the Russian dictators understand power and political and economic co-operation between nations. Therefore, a strong and closely united British Commonwealth and a close family partnership between the British Commonwealth and the United States are vital to our very survival. The nations of the British Commonwealth, including Canada, by regular and frequent consultation and in more tangible ways, should be very explicit, for the benefit of friend and foe alike, that on all fundamental questions they are more united than ever before. And our friends and foes must have no room for doubt that the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America have joined forces for the preservation of the freedom and the peace of mankind.
Our English-speaking family is a good family. The neighbors like to talk about our family skeletons--and so do we. Our faults and failures, our sins and follies are known to all the world. We have sometimes fumbled and faltered, and have known hard days and fearful moments. Our boasting and our complacency have not endeared us to others. We have been cursed by our foes, misunderstood by our friends, plagued by perfectionists, and denounced by doctrinaires.
But we have been a free people and, most of the time, a pretty decent people. We have known, at moments, the saving grace of shame and repentance and have made amends with humble and contrite hearts. We have wanted and tried hard to wipe away the tears from the face of mankind. Our English-speaking family is the greatest force for the protection of human liberty and man's gradual progress toward a better world. Together, we would neither threaten nor need to fear any other nation.
Our friends and neighbours in Europe are beginning to sense our growing unity and our high resolve to save the spirit of freedom on this earth. They are still groping in the night of hunger and fear. Our great family--the British Commonwealth and the American Republic working together and with God's help, will bring them the dawn.