Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Miscellaneous Single Episodes
Show: The State Department Speaks: Episode 1
Date: Jan 08 1944

PARTICIPANTS

EDWARD R. STETTINIUS, JR. - Under Secretary of State

JAMES CLEMENT DUNN - Adviser to the Secretary of State on Political Relations, for the European area

LEO PASVOLSKY - Special Assistant to the Secretary, in charge of post-war planning

MICHAEL J. McDERMOTT - Chief of the Division of Current Information

RICHARD HARKNESS - Representing the public

WASHINGTON ANNOUNCER:

For the American people, the National Broadcasting Company launches tonight a limited series of programs called "The State Department Speaks". To introduce the series -- to tell you the ideas behind it -- we present the Honorable Edward R. Stettinius, Under Secretary of State. Mr. Stettinius.

STETTINIUS:

A few weeks ago the National Broadcasting Company invited the Department of State to participate in four broadcasts to tell the American people more about our work in the Government, and something about the problems involved in carrying out an American foreign policy. We in the Department of State were very glad to accept this proposal because we want to use every opportunity to keep the public informed about what the Government of the United States is doing to meet our international problems. It is your Government and it is you who in the long run determine what our foreign policy shall be. As most of you know, the Department of State is the only department of your Government which deals directly with governments of foreign countries. At its head is the President's senior Cabinet officer, Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

During this evening's program and the other programs in this series, Mr. Richard Harkness, NBC commentator, will undertake to represent you, the public, in putting questions to the State Department officials who appear on the program. Mr. Harkness has warned us that he is not going to be satisfied with any "handouts". He says he is going to ask questions which he thinks you people would ask, if you had the chance. We have told Mr. Harkness that we would try to answer them as fully as we can.

We shall make available to him as many of the responsible officials of the Department as he wants to talk to, and his list for the four programs already includes Secretary Hull, all the Assistant Secretaries of State, several division chiefs, special advisers, at least one Ambassador, and myself as Under Secretary. Because the Department of State works closely with the Congress in the formulation of foreign policy, you will also hear from some of our congressional leaders during the course of these broadcasts. The National Broadcasting Company is to be congratulated for this effort to bring closer together the State Department as a whole and the millions of people it represents in their dealings with foreign nations. Now Richard Harkness will carry on with the first program of "The State Department Speaks".

HARKNESS:

Thank you, Mr. Stettinius, and good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is Richard Harkness. I'm speaking to you from a large four-storied building on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, next door to the White House. If you're ever looking out of a window in this building, and you see a man on the street shudder when he looks toward it, you can bet your life that man is an architect. For this building -- the Old Lady of Pennsylvania Avenue they call it -- is no aesthetic treat. Its pillars and columns and cupolas, its whole gingerbread granite construction, goes back to a time that is dead and gone. Amen. But don't get me wrong! The Old Lady of Pennsylvania Avenue has no hang-dog appearance! For this grand old building is the home of our Department of State -- the official address of the man who would succeed to the Presidency in case of the death or incapacity of the President and Vice President. Its rooms are shrines to many stirring events that dot the pages of our national history -- tragic reminders of others.

I'm sitting here in the office of the Secretary of State. Across the way is the waiting-room where Messrs. Nomura and Kurusu sat on that fateful Sunday in 1941. Up on the walls of this room are the portraits of some of our most distinguished Secretaries of State -- men who have moulded and guided our foreign policy down through the years. There's Stimson, Secretary of State when the Japanese first started their conquest in Manchuria in 1931 -- now our Secretary of War.

There's Kellogg, the author of the Kellogg pact, who tried so hard to outlaw war forever. There's Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State Lansing, and the venerable, bearded Charles Evans Hughes, who served under Harding and Coolidge. Yes, there are memories in this room, many of them, and a spirit of dignity and integrity seems to be part of it -- a spirit that is the proud heritage of our Department of State. Yes, this is the room where Secretary Hull meets the press every day, but I'm the only newsman here tonight. I'm here as your representative. I'm here to find out what goes on within these walls -- to try to peek behind the veil of mystery and secrecy which popular tradition says surrounds the activities of the State Department. But I can be successful as your representative only if you help me. Write me the questions you want answered about our State Department. I can't promise to use them all, nor to acknowledge them, but I'll use some of them, and, in any case, your questions will help guide me in laying out my interviews with the individuals Mr. Stettinius mentioned a few moments ago.

And now let's get on with the first set of them. I found through experience that one of the best men to go to for information down here is Michael J. McDermott, known affectionately throughout the State Department and to every newspaperman in Washington as "Mac". He is the Chief of the Division of Current Information. He's the guy who keeps us newsmen posted on what's going on in foreign affairs and he's always ready for us, day and night. Mac is right here with me now, as are two other gentlemen you will be glad to meet. But before I talk to them, Mac, tell me, does your division have any share in formulating the foreign policy of the United States?

McDERMOTT:

Let me answer you this way, Dick. Every man and woman in the United States who is so inclined can have a share in formulating our foreign policy, but in order to do this, they need accurate information to guide them in forming their opinions. We help to make information on foreign affairs available to them through press and radio fellows like yourself, and so we help them judge and analyze for themselves what is going on in the world. And, as I said before, they in turn -- I am talking now about the man in the street -- decide in the last analysis what our national foreign policy shall be.

HARKNESS:

I see. In other words, you're saying that the work of our free press and radio has a lot to do with the actual formulation of our foreign policy by giving the people the facts on which they form their opinions.

McDERMOTT:

Right, but I know what's on your mind primarily tonight, Dick. You're interested in getting some straight dope on the Moscow Conference and what goes on in our post-war planning work.

HARKNESS:

You bet I am.

McDERMOTT:

Well, here are two gentlemen, two experts, who will be able to help you out. Each of them has made a life study of international affairs. Mr. James C. Dunn has specialized particularly in international political relations, and Mr. Leo Pasvolsky is known as an outstanding expert on international economic affairs. And so all I can say to you, Dick, is go ahead and ask them anything you want. I am sure they'll do their best to answer you.

HARKNESS:

O. K. Mac, I think I'll start with Mr. Pasvolsky, who, I understand, is a Special Assistant to the Secretary of State in charge of post-war planning. Is that right, sir?

PASVOLSKY:

Yes, that's right.

HARKNESS:

Well, do you mind telling me something about what you post-war planners do, and how you got started and what not?

PASVOLSKY:

Certainly, Mr. Harkness. When war came in Europe we faced one of the most difficult jobs of international relations in our history. It entailed not only the conduct of foreign affairs in a world at war, but also preparation for meeting the problems which this country was bound to face after the fighting was over.

HARKNESS:

Are you saying, Mr. Pasvolsky, that our State Department's preparations for meeting post-war problems began upon the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939?

PASVOLSKY:

That's right. And, we were actually at work early in 1940.

HARKNESS:

How did you begin?

PASVOLSKY:

We started off with a group of committees to study the future implications for this country of what was happening elsewhere in the world. In February 1941, the Department created a special research unit for this purpose. Of course, both the committee and research work became real post-war planning after December 7, 1941.

HARKNESS:

Well, that's getting an early start; tell me -- what are the main subjects your planning unit is working on today?

PASVOLSKY:

First of all there is a group of subjects relating to arrangements necessary for the conclusion of the war. These comprise the terms to be imposed on the enemy nations after their surrender, including control of the enemy countries after they have been occupied by the United Nations forces, and the eventual definitive peace terms.

HARKNESS:

I see.

PASVOLSKY:

Another group of subjects relates to liberated areas. Briefly, this entails exploring the problems of reestablishment of independence in those countries which have been deprived of their freedom by the Axis invaders. Many of those countries, don't forget, will be starving and disorganized. They will need relief and other help in reestablishing their economic life.

HARKNESS:

Of course. Go on, Mr. Pasvolsky.

PASVOLSKY:

A third group of subjects relates to the all-important problem of providing for the future maintenance of peace and security.

HARKNESS:

Now you are reaching right into the hearts of almost two billion people -- two billion people who have learned now what total war is and who never want to see another one. What are our State Department's plans on how to preserve the peace, Mr. Pasvolsky?

PASVOLSKY:

Well, we start with the basic assumption that the elimination of war and the establishment of security for all nations requires cooperative effort on the part of the peace-loving nations, based on order under law.

HARKNESS:

Yes, but how are you going to get nations to cooperate? No one has ever yet succeeded in doing that for long.

PASVOLSKY:

We know that, Mr. Harkness, only too well. But we are not and we must not be discouraged. We believe that cooperation between peace- and freedom-loving nations can be achieved in time of peace as it has been achieved in time of war. To do this these nations must create certain facilities and instrumentalities for international action.

HARKNESS:

Such as?

PASVOLSKY:

Well, there must obviously be arrangements for settling international disputes by pacific means, rather than by recourse to war. But above all, there must be arrangements for suppressing aggression.

HARKNESS:

Now wait a moment, Mr. Pasvolsky. Seems to me that was tried once before, with the League of Nations.

PASVOLSKY:

Yes, it was -- up to a point. But this time, as Secretary Hull has long maintained, there must be the clear certainty for all concerned that breaches of the peace will not be tolerated, that they will be suppressed -- by force, if necessary.

HARKNESS:

Good! You suggested a question to me which I will ask you later, Mr. Pasvolsky, but please continue. Sorry to interrupt.

PASVOLSKY:

Think nothing of it, Mr. Harkness, we're used to interruptions. The fourth group of subjects in our post-war work covers the problem of developing relations among nations which will help improve their economic and social conditions. This field includes so many ramifications dealing with trade barriers, tariffs, cartels, aviation, shipping, labor standards, migration, education, and so forth, that I could keep you here for hours talking about them. We are trying hard not to miss one practical idea or plan through which international cooperation can help make this a better world to live in. I might add, Mr. Harkness, that we are not so foolish as to think we can solve these problems in the State Department alone or even in the Government as a whole. It's a tough job which will take the best thought and effort of all of us.

HARKNESS:

I sure agree with you on that. But tell me, what happens to all these plans of your group? As soon as they're formulated they immediately become part of our foreign policy -- is that it?

PASVOLSKY:

Oh, indeed no! Not that easy! It's more like the camel going through the eye of the needle. Here's what happens, Mr. Harkness. Each question is thoroughly explored by the Department's expert staff, in cooperation with experts of other departments and agencies. All available information is analyzed and woven into memoranda which set forth the pertinent facts about the particular problem and the alternative methods open to us for solving the problem. The memoranda are examined and discussed by committees or less formal groups, and the resulting conclusions are embodied in recommendations as to the most desirable of the alternative solutions. These recommendations go to the Secretary of State and, through him, to the President. But even then, before taking final decisions, the Secretary and the President discuss the matter with high officials of the Government and also with members of Congress and with competent persons outside the Government.
These decisions become our basic line of policy to be pursued in negotiations with other governments.

HARKNESS:

Safe and sane is the word for it, Mr. Pasvolsky. Seriously though, it's good to know, as just an ordinary everyday American, that so much careful thought and consideration are being given to the planning of our foreign policy.

PASVOLSKY:

Of course, you mustn't forget one important thing, Mr. Harkness. All the careful plans in the world are of no use until they are agreed to by the other nations involved, and such agreement can come only after discussions and negotiations with those nations.

HARKNESS:

I can see that. Wouldn't you say that one of the best examples of translating postwar planning into action was the famous Moscow Conference?

PASVOLSKY:

Without a doubt, Mr. Harkness.

HARKNESS:

Fine! Let's see then what happened to those plans of yours at Moscow. Mr. McDermott, you went to Moscow, didn't you?

McDERMOTT:

Yes, I did, but here's the man who really can tell you what happened there: Mr. James C. Dunn, Adviser to the Secretary of State on Political Relations for the European Area.

HARKNESS:

O. K., Mr. Dunn. Let's get right down to business. You went to Moscow yourself, and I suppose you were in on all the arrangements that had to be made before the Conference could be held.

DUNN:

Yes, I was.

HARKNESS:

I imagine making the preparations for such a momentous meeting as the Moscow Conference is not exactly child's play, Mr. Dunn.

DUNN:

You're certainly right about that, Mr. Harkness. The Moscow Conference didn't just up and happen over night. A lot of mighty hard work went into the preparations for that meeting of Mr. Hull, Mr. Molotov, and Mr. Eden. As Mr. Pasvolsky just explained, we had behind us almost three years of general preparations on post-war problems. That was the bedrock on the basis of which we were able to compress our final preparations into four or five weeks.

HARKNESS:

That's very interesting and significant -- you had four or five weeks' actual preparation for the Conference. Let's see now, your meeting in Moscow began on October 19 -- that means the actual decision to hold the Conference must have been made sometime in early September 1943. Am I about right, Mr. Dunn?

DUNN:

Yes -- you're 100 percent correct on that one, Mr. Harkness. The decision to hold the Moscow meeting was made by President Roosevelt, Marshal Stalin, and Prime Minister Churchill very shortly after the Quebec Conference.

HARKNESS:

That's an interesting piece of news. What were the reasons for the Moscow Conference? What did you expect to accomplish? What did Russia want -- and what did we want?

DUNN:

Well, bringing it down to almost ridiculous simplicity, the Russians were primarily interested in matters of military aid and cooperation to crush Nazi Germany as quickly as possible. We, of course, were equally concerned with this question. But, in addition to that, we were vitally interested in finding out Russia's attitude on cooperation in building a durable peace after the victory had been won. Secretary Hull knew that that question had to be faced and that the sooner it was faced the better for all of us -- Russia, Britain, China, and the United States. And that's why there was a Moscow Conference and why the Secretary traveled 25 thousand miles by air and sea to make our contribution to its success.

HARKNESS:

Well, what happened at the Conference, Mr. Dunn?

DUNN:

Secretary Hull, as soon as he arrived, pointed out to Marshal Stalin and Foreign Minister Molotov that the nations represented at the Conference and their leaders faced a greater responsibility for the future life, liberty, and happiness for their own and all other peoples than any nations or statesmen had ever faced before.

HARKNESS:

That's no kidding!

DUNN:

He made it quite clear that he would speak frankly in the national interests of the United States, but he also said that he was convinced that there was sufficient common ground between the national interests of the three countries to lay the basis for a better world.

HARKNESS:

How did the Russians take that?

DUNN:

I think they liked it.

HARKNESS:

What would you say was the greatest achievement of the Moscow Conference?

DUNN:

I'd say it was the Four-Nations Declaration, including, as the President and Secretary Hull so strongly desired, the great Republic of China.

HARKNESS:

What are some of the big points in the Four-Nations Declaration?

DUNN:

Well, here are several of the main points: In the first place, the four nations reaffirm their determination to continue the fight until their respective enemies have laid down their arms in unconditional surrender; secondly, the four nations will continue their present united cooperation into the future to organize and maintain peace; and finally, a general international organization should be established as soon as possible, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peaceloving states, and open to membership of all such states, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security.

HARKNESS:

Then, as I understand that important last point, this does not mean that the "Big Four" nations expect to run the world alone, according to their own desires.

DUNN:

Absolutely not, Mr. Harkness! And that's a very important point. The President and Secretary Hull had long held the conviction that the only sure method of maintaining the security of the United States in the future and avoiding other terrible wars was the establishment of a general system of international cooperation in which all nations, large and small, would play their part. This basic principle became the core of the preliminary draft of the Four-Nations Declaration which the Secretary of State took with him to the Moscow Conference.

HARKNESS:

What was that you said, Mr. Dunn? Did I understand you to say that Secretary Hull took the draft of the Four-Nations Declaration with him to Moscow?

DUNN:

Yes, that's correct -- he did.

HARKNESS:

Hmm! Mac, that's something you didn't tell us. Well, anyway, Mr. Dunn, you really mean without any reservations that the Moscow Conference was a success?

DUNN:

Yes, Mr. Harkness. The Moscow Conference marked a dramatic and monumental milestone in the development of our foreign policy, not because it settled all the difficult issues but, rather, because it settled the most important single question, which up to that time no man could answer with certainty.

HARKNESS:

What was that?

DUNN:

That question was whether the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, China, and ourselves were determined to seek their, and the world's, salvation through international cooperation, or whether they had other plans and designs for the future.

HARKNESS:

And the answer to that question was what we wanted?

DUNN:

Yes, it was, I am happy to say. These four nations committed themselves to a policy of continuing cooperation. If they hadn't done so, the international future would indeed be a hopeless one. The dread certainty of a third world war would have settled on us even before World War II was finished. I believe that this is the true meaning of Moscow -- by their pledge of a continued cooperation both among themselves and with the other peace-loving nations of the world, these nations have given assurance that the world has at least the possibility of a peaceful future.

HARKNESS:

Thanks a lot for those interesting slants on the Moscow Conference, Mr. Dunn.

I've got several other questions I want to ask you, but right now I'd like to put one to Mr. Pasvolsky before it slips my mind or he gets away from me. Mr. Pasvolsky, a little while ago you mentioned that the State Department believes that in the future, breaches of the peace must be suppressed by force, if necessary. Now does that mean an international police force?

PASVOLSKY:

You know, a lot of people are talking about an international police force, but nobody has as yet figured out just what it means. So I can't give you a yes or no answer. But I would like to say this: There are many ways in which police power can be exercised to suppress aggression. We are exploring several possibilities, but we cannot tell at this stage what precise arrangements the nations will be able to agree on. That will depend on a lot of things here and abroad. But one thing is certain: there will be no commitment involving this country without the clear approval of the American people.

HARKNESS:

In other words, that is one of the answers which is yet to be worked out and agreed upon, is that right?

PASVOLSKY:

It certainly is.

McDERMOTT:

Dick, might I add a word there?

HARKNESS:

Surely, Mac, go ahead.

McDERMOTT:

That discussion between you and Mr. Pasvolsky illustrates pretty well one of the toughest problems we have in the State Department. In a sense you didn't get an answer to your last question, and yet Mr. Pasvolsky did explain why he couldn't answer more fully.

HARKNESS:

Yes, and quite satisfactorily for me.

McDERMOTT:

The point is that we're up against that sort of thing day and night in the State Department, and quite often there are equally good reasons why a particular question cannot be answered.

HARKNESS:

Well, why, for instance?

McDERMOTT:

Well, it might be for reasons of military security, or possible use and distortion by enemy propaganda, or possible embarrassment to one of our Allies or a country whose friendship or at least neutrality is important to us. Whatever the reason, Dick, you can be sure that we don't hold back simply for the sake of being mysterious.

HARKNESS:

I know that, Mac, and I think most of us would feel the same way you do about those "no comment" cases if the tables were switched and we were in the Department's place.

Mr. Dunn, let me ask you this-- Some people have been saying that we are indifferent as to whether Fascism stays in Italy so long as Mussolini is out. Is there anything to that?

DUNN:

There most certainly is not. We intend to see that Fascism in Italy is pulled up by the roots. This point was covered definitely by one of the important declarations issued at the Moscow Conference.

HARKNESS:

That's right, it was. And I'm glad you reminded us of it, because I happen to think that declaration on Italy merits a mighty important and solid place in our foreign policy.

Mac, getting back to something you said earlier and which a lot of people are always saying around the State Department. You say it's the 130 million American citizens who in the final analysis decide our foreign policy. Now that sounds swell, Mac, and makes us all seem very important, but what is the average citizen supposed to do -- pick up the phone and call Secretary Hull in Washington and tell him what he wants? How about it, Mac? How can the average person help guide American foreign policy?

McDERMOTT:

Very simply, Dick. We have a free press and a free radio in this country, and we have representative government, and a mailing system that is very, very inexpensive. Anybody who wants to play a part in forming our foreign policy has merely to sit down and write a letter to his favorite editor, or write to his Congressman, or his Senator, or to the President, or to the State Department and say what he thinks. Also don't forget almost every individual belongs to some group, whether it's a labor, business, agricultural, church, or educational group, and through these or similar groups, he can make himself heard in an effective way.

HARKNESS:

In other words, it's democracy at work again. Right, Mac?

McDERMOTT:

Right.

HARKNESS:

Well, time flies, gentlemen, even in Washington. Our first half hour here at the State Department is almost up.

I think it's been profitable and I want to thank all of you, Messrs. Stettinius, Dunn, Pasvolsky, and McDermott, for making it so. We've learned a lot from all of you this evening; we've been taken behind the scenes in the State Department's post-war planning; we saw how that planning became foreign policy in action at the famous Moscow Conference; and we've had a chance to get some important questions answered.

Next week, ladies and gentlemen, I have another fine group of interviews lined up, with Under Secretary Stettinius, Assistant Secretary Shaw, Ambassador Winant, who will talk to us from London, and Ambassador Robert D. Murphy. Our general topic will be "The Organization of the State Department and the Foreign Service". Some questions I intend getting the answers to are: How much wealth must a young man possess before he can hope to get a position in our Foreign Service? Is it true that the graduates of one or two particular universities are favored as candidates over others? What kind of work is done by the men and women in our Foreign Service? What salaries do we pay them? And so forth, and so forth. If there are any questions that occur to you, won't you send them to me immediately? They'll help me to slant my interviews. And now -- till next Saturday evening at the same time -- this is Richard Harkness saying "Good night" from Washington.

WASHINGTON ANNOUNCER:

Goodnight, Richard Harkness. Ladies and gentlemen, we have just concluded the first in a limited series of programs to be broadcast from the State Department building in Washington, D. C. The series, entitled "The State Department Speaks", was launched as a public service by the NBC University of the Air, to acquaint you, the American people, with the inner workings of one of the most important departments of your government. These four programs will be published in booklet form and single copies may be obtained free of charge by writing to "The State Department Speaks", NBC, New York. And write, too, if there's a question you'd like to hear answered on this program. We can't promise to answer all questions received, but we'll do our best. So write tonight and be on hand again next week at the same time when -- "The State Department Speaks".