DO WE FACE IDEOLOGICAL CONQUEST
AN ADDRESS BY STUART ARMOUR
Chairman: The President, Mr. Major F. L. Clouse
Thursday, October 24, 1946
MAJOR CLOUSE: Gentlemen of the Empire Club of Canada and our audience of the air, today-as last week -we welcome as our guest of honour a home town boy. The family name "Armour" has been long and favourably known in this city and in this country. When we find ourselves at war, we can always count on an Armour to acquit himself with distinction. Our guest today is no exception. He served in World War I from 1914 to 1919. In civilian life he has been a journalist and author of note, presently connected with Prof. Gilbert Jackson and associates. He is the author of a recent brilliant article appearing in one of our weeklies on the Russian ideology which article has been the subject of much favourable comment. This background, gentlemen, enables him to write and to talk so effectively and so convincingly. It is my pleasure to turn the microphone over to Major Stuart Armour D.S.O., Croix de Guerre, whose topic is-"Do We Face Ideological Conquest"? Major Armour.
STUART ARMOUR: Gentlemen of The Empire Club
There is a great, and often very bitter, debate going on around the world today. It is perhaps the most important debate in which mankind has ever engaged; since it has for its subject the sort of world which will emerge from the terrible wreckage of the second world war within a third of a century.
Famous men and women are still engaged in this debate in London and Washington and Paris and Moscow and Chungking. Here in Toronto, as in Winnipeg and in Montreal, Mr. Summer Welles has just added his influential voice to those of such figures as Truman, Molotov, Attlee, Bevin, Eden and Churchill. Dorothy Thompson and Walter Lippmann, and a host of lesser commentators, all have their say.
Who will win this debate no man yet knows. But that the democracies shall emerge as victors is of the most vital importance to you and to me; and to our children and their descendants.
It might well be asked why, as a mere layman, I should seek to take part in so great a controversy. My only excuse for doing so is that we Canadians, despite having achieved a new status as a result of our colossal effort during the late war, appear still to think in terms of a world which ceased to exist at the outbreak of World War II on September 3rd, 1939.
Mr. Sumner Welles spoke on world affairs in Toronto on Monday night of this week at the invitation of the John W. Dafoe Foundation. In the course of his very important address, Mr. Welles said that it was "a dangerous delusion" to think that Democracy and Communism cannot exist simultaneously in the same world. He added, however, that if the world was to live half Communist and half free, the advocates of Communism must be "willing to confine their own beliefs within their own sovereign jurisdiction".
With the sentiments expressed by Mr. Welles in this fashion, I, in common with all men of goodwill, most heartily agree. In fact, I think it safe to say that no responsible person in the democracies has any desire to interfere with what the Soviets may do in Russia. But in the same way, the majority of those in the democracies are most anxious to be left to the enjoyment of their own way of life.
However, whether we are to have peace, or a new world war, is not a question which is likely to be settled in Toronto. It is most important to remember, in fact, that the future peace of the world may now be said to depend not on what democratic statesmen, however eminent, may say or think; but on what Stalin, Molotov, Vishinsky and the Moscow Politburo may do.
In this connection, it must reluctantly, and with great regret, be recorded that there still continue, what Senator Arthur Vandenberg, on his recent return from the Paris Peace Conference, described as the "campaigns of reckless vilification which flow constantly from Moscow". Unfortunately, as far as one is able to observe, the Communists appear to regard peace as a very sturdy plant indeed, since Communist propaganda and intrigue seem to be going on unabated throughout the world. There is ample evidence from many sources to support that statement, including the disclosures of Communist infiltration .n Canada, supplied by the investigation of our Royal Commission on Espionage.
But in any event, Mr. Welles, in his Toronto speech, called for "a positive policy" on the part of the democracies toward Russia. If we Canadians" are to play a part in the evolution of such a policy, I take it that we should most carefully examine our position in the world, lest we remain blind to the dangers which now confront as; or which may develope in future.
While it is difficult for Canadians, who have always dwelt secure under the joint protection of Britain and the United States, to imagine Canada falling a victim to Communism, it must be remembered that we live in a changed and changing world. Strange as it may seem, what has happened elsewhere might happen here.
The accident of geography has placed Canada in the very centre of the world struggle which seems to be developing between the Russian and Anglo-Saxon ways of life.
Communism is undeniably on the move; with the overthrow of capitalism as its oft-declared objective. Canada stands as a land bridge between Russia and the United States, and is perhaps still the keystone of the British Commonwealth. Remember, then, that Canada today is economically very vulnerable vis-a-vis Russia. Hence it is that one stops to ask in all seriousness: Do we indeed stand in danger of ideological conquest?
What, in other words, are the prospects of Canada finding herself a satellite of Russia; or living within the Russian orbit? For that, of course, is what I mean when I talk about ideological conquest.
My purpose today is not to try to provide a definite answer to the question (for only Moscow can do that), but rather to explore with you some of the implications arising out of it.
The New York Times said recently, in an obviously inspired story from its Ottawa correspondent, that our military men deplore the suggestion that Canada is to be the principal battle ground of World War III. Moreover, these unnamed warriors are quoted as declaring that "an invasion of this continent, except in the event of flagrant and extensive treachery from within, is not possible at present".
You will observe the reservation "except in the event of treachery from within", which the statement contains. In the light of the disclosures of our Royal Commission on Espionage that reservation seems to me an exceedingly important one, especially in relation to what I have to say today.
This whole statement creates, in fact, the suspicion that our military authorities may be falling into the error of trying to visualise World War III in terms of World War II; just as in 1939 so many of them still appeared to think in terms of 1914-1918.
The third world war, whose preliminary moves may already be discernible, promises, if it comes, to be unlike any other war. Next time the clash will be to a greater degree than ever before a struggle between rival ideologies; and psychological factors will thus inevitably bulk large. In carrying on psychological or ideological warfare, such weapons as envy, hatred and malice will be used without stint with the object of causing the greatest possible economic, social and political disintegration.
In this type of warfare no weapon is too mean; and no tactics are too dirty. Drive a wedge between old allies; sow suspicion between classes; make existing authority look ridiculous; create dissension everywhere. Those are among the means by which such wars are won; and it cannot, I think, be denied that they are even now being employed to bring about the downfall of our system, to ensure the elimination of the middle class throughout the world so that ruthless dictators can control an otherwise leaderless proletariate.
In trying to visualise the possible character of a third world war, it is well to bear in mind that Russia has two armies. The one is the great military machine which did so much to smash Germany. The other, a most sinister army having a revolutionary creed as the basic for its strategy and tactics; an army which goes into action under no banners; and which uses no brass bands in its relentless drive for recruits, and for results.
The first of these armies has just seen its 1947 budget cut by ten billion dollars. It may be that this is the best evidence yet produced that Moscow realises the essentially different character of the next war. On the other hand, it may be an indication that Churchill was right when he said at Fulton, Missouri last winter, that Russia did not want war, but only the fruits of war.
Perhaps the Kremlin believes that intensified ideological warfare, using economic and psychological weapons, can bring about the downfall of capitalism without the need for throwing great armies into the field. All these are suppositions, and they must, of course, remain in the realm of speculation. For the moment at least, they are interesting conjectures and nothing else.
Of one thing we may be sure, however, and that is that the second Russian army of which I have spoken; the subversive, underground army, which uses perfidy as one of the most potent of its weapons; and which wins its victories through the creation of class bitterness and social unrest, has all the funds it needs.
Of course, both of these two Russian armies work together for the achievement of the World Revolution. The fact, therefore, that one has more money to spend than the other in some given year is not particularly significant. Social unrest in Russia may make it expedient to spend less next year directly on the military forces and more on social services and scientific research; and, indeed, an extra sum of $566,000,000 has been set aside by Russia in its 1947 budget for scientific research. But, after all, the purpose of this vast increase in research expenditure has been declared by Moscow to be the furthering of the "growth of the economic and military might of the Soviet Union". Authorities suspect that much of it will go to the development of an atomic bomb, but in any event, it is clearly at least quasi-military in character.
As a matter of fact, a good deal has been made lately in North American newspapers about the discontent of the Russian people. At the same time, we have been told that Stalin's influence is now less than it once was, because Molotov and Vishinsky have found in that famous Man of Steel, signs of growing softness and sweet reason.
But if the Soviet pursuit of the overthrow of capitalism, and the elimination of the middle class, is to become more ruthless than ever because of this change in Stalin, then domestic unrest in Russia may well be a new danger signal for us. Remember that war has long been a favourite device for taking the minds of discontented people off their grievances.
As I have already said, our geographical position makes it certain that we cannot remain neutral in any clash between Russia and the West. Surely then, it behooves the citizens of Canada to try to visualise the economic, political and military situations with which their country may in future be confronted.
While another shooting war may not be near at hand; while it may even be far in the future; ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917 the world has been engaged in ideological warfare, with Communism on one side, and the Anglo-Saxon democracies on the other. For long periods that warfare was on such a small scale as to attract little attention. But while we may have ignored it, the Communists have never done so.
We have proof in our Royal Commission Report that the opening phase of the ideological assualt upon Canada began some years ago, and that even before VE Day, the Communists were trying to subvert the servants of the Canadian people. More recent events especially in the realm of disputes between capital and labour, testify that this ideological assault upon us is becoming ever more intense.
It should never be forgotten that this ideological warfare which is even now taking place within our own boundaries, is warfare of the most ruthless character. It is carried on by fanatical and ruthless men and women; with no weapons or strategems outlawed by any feelings of chivalry or good sportsmanship. One need only read the weekly and monthly Communist press of Canada to realise that important fact.
Nor should we be under any misapprehension as to the objective of this undercover offensive. It is nothing short of the total elimination of the middle class -an objective laid down quite explicitly, and with great emphasis, as early as 1848 in the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It is well to remember, then, that you and I are included in that middle class; and that our whole existing capitalist system, and its concomitant democracy, are products of middle-class effort and self-sacrifice.
While we are on the subject of the Communist Manifesto, it might be interesting to digress for a moment to consider the other principal objectives it lays down. These are the abolition of private property; abolition of the right of inheritance; centralisation of credit in the hands of the state; centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state; extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state. Then, lest you feel that the Communist objectives of 1848 do not differ greatly from those toward which Canada has striven in 1946, let me read the closing words of the world-shaking document
"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."
Briefly, the Communist Manifesto further says that Communism supports every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things. It represents the enemy in every case to' be the private ownership of property: Only by eliminating the private ownership of property can the ends of Communism be attained, so says the Communist Manifesto.
Some of those best informed in such matters go so far as to see in the present trend of events in Canada a menace not only to our 'future, but to the future of the whole Anglo-Saxon world. Indeed, they' go so far as to think that our spy ring disclosures face Canada with a situation, which 'if not adequately dealt with, may well constitute a grave danger to all of Western civilization. They think, in other words, that we are in a very real sense the soft under-belly of democracy.
Their view, based primarily on the fact of geography; is that if the people of Canada could be won over to an ideology out of step with that of the other democracies; or that if our territories were to be overrun by those embracing such an ideology, the whole safety of the Anglo-Saxon world would be brought into peril:
Of course, only by the downfall of Britain as a widescale imperial power, and by the destruction of capitalism in the United States, can the Communists hope to achieve the eventual goal of a world order under the control of Moscow.
The withdrawal of Britain from India and Egypt, coupled with her inability to keep Russia out of the 'Atlantic (nor very far away from the Adriatic and the Mediterranean); all indicate the extent of Communism's progress toward achievement of the first of those twin objectives. . .In the light of its progress toward one objective, is it not logical to suppose that it may be encouraged to look toward the second? Remember that there still remains before the greedy eyes of Communism that most glittering of all prizes for the world revolutionary-the overthrow of capitalism in the United States. If this could be accomplished, Russia could indeed look forward to having the world as her oyster.
Let us suppose, then, that the Communists, encouraged by the success of their dynamic and ruthless policy, now see before them the possibility of achieving the overthrow of capitalism in the United States. Then let us try to imagine ourselves in the position of the Moscow dictatorship, in the face of a decision to push toward that goal. Let's see how the Muscovite mind would in all probability work.
Our weapons would, of course, be both economic and military. As a start, we should probably tell our people (the Russians) that dreams of a plenitude of consumer goods must give way before the "world plot" against us; that all efforts must therefore be on the production of capital goods. That is precisely what the Russians have already been told in a whole series of speeches by Stalin and other Russian leaders. It is also the very core and essence of the current Russian Five-Year Plan.
At the same time, we, as Russians, would start looking for, or even creating, soft spots in Anglo-Saxon defenses. Now Canada constitutes the weakly-held outer-works which form part of the only remaining citadel of capitalism in this world. This fact means that, willy-nilly, we stand together with the United States, as an obstacle to the ambitions of Communism. It is something to remember, then, that the air age has made Russia a closer neighbour to vast areas of our country than is the United States.
Canada would thus be sure to attract our early attention; for Canada is a country peculiarly dependent for prosperity on world trade; and without prosperity, social unrest would soon create here just such a situation as the Communists know so well how to exploit.
Unfortunately for us Canadians, but not for the Russians, Canada is also a country demonstrably without inherent unity; and, moreover, we are a country in which a small population controls a territory vast in size and rich in resources, both actual and potential. Could any better soft spot suggest itself to us if we were Russians?
That it has already so suggested itself to Moscow can, perhaps, be deduced from the actions of Colonel Zabotin and his collaborators in the spy ring exposed by our Royal Commissioners. Futhermore, the evidence before the Commission shows that, even in times of national emergency, and while we were enjoying our greatest prosperity, there were Canadians most eager to help in establishing Russian Communism here.
Our situation, in fact, lends itself so well to economic attack by Communism that possibly no shot need ever be fired to bring about our downfall.
The idea of conquering us without the firing of a shot may be heretical to our naval, military and air force authorities. But even while we continue intently to watch our sea coasts and our Arctic frontiers, the Communists may cause such economic hardship in Canada, and its resulting social and political confusion as to make the ideological conquest of Canada well within the bounds of possibility.
Since I have indicated that both political and military situations tend to develop from the state of our economy, let us look briefly at the sort of world economic situation which Russia might conceivably develop at Canada's expense.
Here the important fact to be borne in mind is that of our enormous dependence on external trade. Canada is one of the least self-sufficient countries in the world (still a matter of surprise to many Canadians brought up on the myth of our "limitless resources",) Hence we must be both exporters and importers on a very large scale.
Our economic vulnerability vis-a-vis Russia arises out of the fact that we raise, and the Muscovites raise or control, great sources of the same sort of raw materials. We are great wheat raisers; so are Russia and her satellite Hungary. We are great producers of forest products. But Russia has the world's greatest forest resources; and her relations with Finland, and other timber producing areas of Europe, give her control of vast new quantities of forest products. We have been the world's greatest exporters of nonferrous metals. Here again Russia may be in a new position to challenge our supremacy.
What, then, are Russia's present intentions toward the world economy? Can she be persuaded to join with other countries in an effort to up-build world trade on the scale necessary to avoid International disaster? Or will she deliberately invite economic chaos on a world scale in order to further the spread of Communism?
These are questions of vital interest to all the world. But there is another question; a question which our vast dependence on export trade, makes equally important to every man, woman and child in Canada. It is: Will Communism, in pursuit of its aims, use its new sources of raw materials to break world markets in the commodities we must sell abroad at profitable prices if we are to avoid depression?
Unfortunately, we must depend upon the Kremlin for the answers to all the questions I have raised; and the Kremlin either preserves a stony and mysterious silence, or indulges in what sounds, at least, very much like double talk.
With our relatively high costs of production, arising in part from our post-war wage structure, and in part from our newly enacted and most expensive programme of social legislation, we are now peculiarly at the mercy of any country which can break world prices in the commodities which form the bulk of our export trade. In the old days we always had in Britain a certain market for our primary products--provided that we were prepared to accept the British price. Today Britain is a debtor nation on an enormous scale, sore beset by her own economic problems.
While the scale of our exports is very great, their range is comparatively narrow. Thus we send out into the world mainly our surplus of cereals, forest products and. non-ferrous metals, and use the profits from these exports, not only to keep many of our own factories busy, but also to pay for a great variety of imports without which we could not support here the world's second highest standard of living.
The large volume of our imports has been matched by their great diversity. Great Canadian industries are almost wholly dependent upon outside raw materials for their continuance. Indeed, our whole industrial machine would soon come to a stop without very large-scale imports of coal, petroleum, machine tools, and raw cotton, to name only some of the most important.
Loss of our export markets for primary products for any length of time would, thus, of itself cause widespread hardship, confusion and discontent among us. But this would be only half the story, since without a large volume of exports we could not for long continue to import those things which our economy must have if it is to continue to function.
Where would we be without U.S. parts for the motor cars w e make, and without gasoline made from imported petroleum to run them; without cotton for our textiles, and machinery to spin and weave it; to say nothing of orange juice for breakfast, coal to cook and heat with, and green vegetables to keep us in health during our long winters?
Should Moscow decree the continuance or the extension of austerity within her borders, and within those of her satellites, she could undoubtedly create export surpluses with which to cause us the most acute embarrassment and danger. For Russian dumping on the commodity markets of the world would be certain to lead to such depression and hardship as we have never known.
In the face of such a situation, we must watch for every sign of Russia's intentions, since they seem bound to be of vital interest to us.
Here is, perhaps, a straw in the wind: It was recently announced from London that the Russians are meeting the price rises in the United States by reducing the price of their commodities for export. It is also said that, coupled with it, there is to be a new drive by Russia for overseas trade. This may, in fact, be the opening shot of a campaign for the capture of markets in which we have hitherto enjoyed a preferred position.
It must thus be said that despite the belief of Mr. Welles that Communism and Democracy can both inhabit the same world, Moscow's recent actions do not give much assurance that we are free from the threat of destructive Russian competition in world markets.
Although she was present at Bretton Woods, Russia has so far declined to ratify the resulting agreements he has also refused to enter into any of the more important International trade organizations sponsored by Britain and the United States in the hope of rescuing the world from economic chaos. As if to make matters worse, the recently concluded Russo-Swedish trade agreement does considerable violence to the policy of non-discriminatory trade which the United States regards as essential to post-war multilateral trade.
Out of depression might well come the degree of social and political confusion most essential to the spread of Communism amongst us. With large sections of our country already supporting radical political movements; and with the Communists pursuing relentlessly their declared objectives, it is far from inconceivable that a prolonged depression would see Canada within the Russian orbit.
But no one really begins to know at this moment either what Russia plans to do, even in the near future; nor the actual extent of Communism's progress toward the ideological conquest of our country. One suspects, indeed, that the extent of such an ideological conquest may not become really apparent until we fall upon the bad times which the Canadian communists are quite evidently determined to create here by their subversive actions.
What, then, would be the effect upon the democracies of our ideological conquest? What would happen if we found ourselves within the Russian orbit? Britain's position as an independent world power would certainly be well-nigh hopelessly compromised thereby. For if Russia were to control the "granary of Empire", she could always back up the exercise of her will in the field of international politics with very potent threats of starvation against Britain.
In the second place, the United States would have lying on her very frontier a regime, totalitarian in method if not in name, inherently stronger than the totalitarian governments of Latin America, and backed by one of the strongest of world powers.
Furthermore, a Canada lying within the Russian orbit would not only be a formidable ideological bridgehead, it would also constitute a military threat of no mean order. If only for that reason, most Canadians will probably be disposed to assume that the possibilities here outlined will never be allowed to come to pass-that somehow the United States would prevent.
But would the United States appreciate the trend of events in Canada in time to, do anything about it? What, in fact, could they do about it? Remember--the conquest of Canada in the first instance at least, would be ideological, and the result of economic measures taken against us to bring on depression. Experience has proven only too clearly that measures for counteracting the effects of depression are difficult to devise; and usually unsuccessful.
What could we ourselves do in such a situation? It would be useless of course, to expect our social legislation to offset the effects of a collapse of world primary production prices; since our dependence on exports is so great that there can be no substitute for the contribution they make to our national income. How likely indeed would we be to recognize sufficiently early the cumulative results of the various subversive activities which, even today, are going on all about us?
When you ponder all these facts, the importance of the disclosures of our Royal Commission on Espionage becomes more evident; especially since the Commission itself admitted that only one of five alleged espionage rings in Canada has been so far uncovered. Let me sum up my remarks by reminding you again that Communism is still on the move; with the overthrow of capitalism as its declared objective: that Canada stands between Communism and the last great citadel of capitalism; and that Canada is now economically very vulnerable vis-a-vis Russia.
But you will notice that in all I have said I have not been able to answer the pregnant question which forms the title of my remarks today. I warned you at the outset that such would be the case.
All anyone can do, and all that I have tried to do, in fact, is to raise the question in your minds. My hope is that by so doing, I may help to ensure that if the question "Do we face ideological conquest?" ever has to be answered, the answer will be a resounding negative.
Let me warn you, however, if the answer is to be in the negative, it is clearly necessary that the people of Canada become alive to the dangers in which the postwar world abounds. There are, unfortunately, many indications that, as a nation, we are not yet fully aware of the perils which may lie in our path.