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in relation to foreign affairs where the Department concerned has sources of information which generally are not available to others.
I should not favor a change in the distribution of power or any modification of practice which would encourage the notion that the Executive is responsible to the legislative branch of the Government in matters which under the Constitution are exclusively of executive concern. I should also deplore any method so contrived as to facilitate antagonism between the executive department and legislative leaders or which would merely provide opportunities for the censorious. But speaking in my private capacity and expressing only a personal opinion, I do believe in multiplying the facilities for appropriate cooperation between responsible leaders, who understand their respective functions, in a manner suited to the full discussion of great international questions when these fall within the constitutional competency of the Senate. To enable Cabinet officers to vote in either House of Congress would require & constitutional amendment and I should not favor it, but it is quite consistent with our system that the Head of a Department should have the opportunity personally to be heard where important departmental measures and policies are under consideration. Indeed, the propriety of this method of promoting a better understanding was recognized at the outset, and instead of being foreign to our system it found for a time a place in our original procedure. You will remember that the long continued abstention from such appearances followed the refusal of Congress in 1790 to hear Hamilton when he desired to make in person his Report on the Public Credit. Mischiefs will not be cured by methods which make misapprehension easy. Every facility should be provided, consistent with our system, which will aid in avoiding misconstruction, allaying suspicion andpreventingunjust aspersions. The remedy for misunderstanding is explication and debate and the opportunity for thus informing the public judgment in a responsible manner should not be curtailed by any unnecessary artificiality of method.
The paramount importance of contact with the Press is fully recognized, but in the nature of things, this contact for the most part must be informal. Occasional public announcements are expected, but the representatives of the press desire to write in their own way and to obtain material by their own inquiries. What is desired is not control of news but accurate information. To meet this demand, the President himself meets the correspondents twice a week and Department Heads still more frequently. The Secretary of State has two press conferences each working day at which either the Secretary or the Under Secretary is present. The officers are not quoted, but there is frank disclosure of facts and aims within the widest possible limits. There is thus the most direct contact with those who are the principal purveyors of information and the chief educators of the public. This is our substitute for parliamentary interpellation. It is in this manner that, in substance, account is rendered to the final authority.
But open diplomacy must still be diplomacy, and it cannot be open at the cost of losing its essential character and of frustrating its proper purposes. By diplomacy, I mean the art of conducting negotiations with foreign Powers, and when we refer, with suitable discrimination, to open diplomacy, we have in mind the appropriate publication of international engagements, and, with respect to negotiations, the absence of intrigue, the avoidance of unnecessary secrecy, candor and directness. The diplomacy of the United States has been, and is, open diplomacy.
The management of negotiations with foreign Powers, however, has its essential conditions which relate (1) to the interest of one's own State; (2) to the requirements of honorable intercourse between States; and (3) to the maintenance of international good will. These conditions impose a measure of reticence in the course of negotiations, with which the most high-minded negotiators cannot afford to dispense. Thus Washington, maintaining the right of the President to refuse information with respect to pending negotiations when he deems its disclosure incompatible with the public interest, said:
The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success must often depend on secrecy; and often when brought to a conclusion a full disclosure of all the measures, demands, or eventual concessions which may have been proposed or contemplated would be extremely impolitic; for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconvenience, perhaps danger and mischief in relation to other powers.
Even the most democratic governments must desire to succeed in their negotiations, and there is no reason why democracy should turn upon itself and deprive its agents of its essential means of defense. Premature disclosures may prevent the accomplishment of the most enlightened aims, giving opportunity for the insidious efforts of selfish interests as well as favoring opposition abroad. If both the peoples and governments concerned were in complete accord, there would be no need for negotiations, and when they are not in accord and are endeavoring to reach a basis of agreement, it is fatuous to suppose that negotiations can be conducted without prudent reservations on each side. The observations that are sometimes made on this subject seem to presuppose the existence of some dominant external authority which can impose its will, whereas the peoples concerned are themselves sovereign, and if they are not to resort to force, they must have opportunity to reach an agreement mutually satisfactory. The wholesome pressure of world opinion for peaceful solutions is quite consistent with such a conduct of negotiations as will make peaceful solutions possible.
As the parties to the negotiations deal with each other upon the basis of the equality of States, they must recognize the obligations of honorable intercourse between equals. The confidence with which suggestions are received must be respected. Each must be free to make tentative suggestions and withdraw them. There must be opportunity for the informal discussion which does not represent the final stand of governments, but reflects the proper desire to ascertain to what extent there is accord and the state of mind of each party to the controversy. It is an essential condition of intercourse that representations made by one government to another or the publication of the details of negotiations must rest upon the express or implied consent of both parties. Any government that refuses to recognize this basis of intercourse would find its opportunities for suitable adjustment of controversies seriously impaired and its influence and prestige greatly diminished.
Moreover, the maintenance of international good-will during negotiations is of vital importance. While it is assumed that democracies are peace-loving, it cannot be forgotten that the activities of democracies frequently make it difficult to arrive at a good understanding. The press in each country, in large measure, is likely to voice extreme demands and to resist accommodations. Often the pseudo-patriotic spirit is developed, most probably in the interest of local politics, and efforts are made to prevent settlements by inflammatory appeals to passion in one or more of the countries concerned. It is most desirable that such endeavors should not be facilitated by information of mere proposals,arguments and tentative positions; by disclosures which at the best, pending the efforts at adjustment, can but afford glimpses of the situation. At least we may appreciate the fact that peoples cannot deal directly with peoples; that there must be agents of negotiation; and that when these are selected as wisely as may be practicable, there must be a reasonable freedom to enable them to secure results. They cannot adequately perform their task under a fire of criticism or successfully conduct negotiations which are practically taken out of their hands and directed by a clamorous public.
With all these considerations, it remains true that there should be no secrecy for its own sake; that general policies should be made clear; that particular aims should be appropriately disclosed; that there should be public announcement of all proceedings to the extent consistent with the essential requirements of negotiation; and that nothing should ever be done by our diplomatic agents which so far as its actual character is concerned could not be publicly proclaimed and justified as being free from artifice and deception and in full accord with American principles.
The attitude of the public toward foreign relations is almost as important as the securing of adequate information; that is, there should be a suitable appreciation of the objectives of diplomatic effort. There is, of course, the fundamental matter of national security, and the instinct of self-preservation causes a quick response to any appeal on this score. Indeed, the danger is not that the people will become indifferent to the essential conditions of their security, or will lack information as to any policy or procedure which actually threatens it, but that the endeavor will be made to frustrate peaceful settlements which are eminently judicious, and which really promote the safety of the country, upon the ground that in some indirect way they will diminish the opportunities for protection. We have had recent illustration of this. The need for enlightenment, in this aspect of the matter, is with respect to what really makes for national security.
However, in emphasizing the importance of public appreciation of the aims of our diplomacy, I do not mean to imply that there is any great lack of understanding or of support of our historic policies or of the economic interests, the protection of which has become more and more the object of diplomatic effort. It is rather my desire to emphasize the importance of peace as the object of diplomacy, and the necessity of intelligent opinion, not merely as to the desirability of peace as an abstract conception, but with respect to the conditions that are essential to the maintenance of peace. With these conditions public opinion should be deeply concerned. Attention has been directed to formal institutions, to international agreements relating to the maintenance of peace. But the fundamental fact is that, however well-devised, these will be of little worth in the absence of that state of international feeling which will promote amicable cooperation and permit the removal of the causes of discord.
It must be remembered that only a small portion of the controversial matters of great consequence, which are now engaging the attention of foreign offices, admit the application of juridical standards. They are matters demanding not legal decisions but adjustments by mutual consent. It is not simply the dispositions of old controversies that are needed, but understandings with respect to new situations and novel enterprises. In this world of intimate relations, you are likely to have either hostility or cooperation. There is no artificial method by which adjustments can be reached in the absence of a sincere desire for accord, and the cultivation of the spirit of mutual friendliness is thus the primary consideration. Without it, even the most direct contacts and the flexible arrangements of Conferences will be of no avail.
The nation that can most easily settle its differences and promote its interests, the nation that can look most hopefully for a recognition of its claims, is the nation that by its reasonable and friendly disposition, its poise and sense of justice, inspires confidence and wins esteem. Here we touch the point where the authority of sound public opinion is most necessary. It must frown upon the constant efforts to create suspicion, distrust and hatred. There can be no assurance of peace, and few of the necessary and just settlements which make for peace, in a world of hate. It should be recognized that what is more necessary than formulas is a new sense of civic responsibility in matters of international concern. The chief enemies of peace are those who constantly indulge in the abuse of foreign peoples and their governments, who asperse their motives and visit them with ridicule and insult. We resent attacks upon American character and motives when they come from abroad and we should rememberthat other peoples are quite as sensitive as ourselves. Intercommunication is so easy that domestic discussions of foreign affairs are not confined within the three-mile limit but are immediately published abroad as indicative not of the sentiment of particular individuals, who may be of little relative consequence, but as indicating the sentiments of our people. It is in this way that peoples become separated by a mutual distrust, even while their responsible agents of government are endeavoring to bring about beneficial settlements and mutual confidence. The public-spirited and wellinformed American, the intelligent patriot, will approach all discussions of foreign affairs with the full understanding that every reckless attack upon foreign peoples and governments reacts upon his country's prestige, impairs its influence, and to some degree threatens its peace. The principal difficulty at this time in our conduct of foreign affairs is not with method, or organization, or aims, but with the untruthful, prejudiced and inflammatory discussions in which some of our citizens and certain portions of the press permit themselves to indulge.
If there is to be less reticence in diplomacy, there must be, if not a greater reticence, at least a keener sense of responsibility in the discussion of international questions. Open diplomacy and blatant and injudicious utterances will not go well together. The corrective can only be found in that state of the public mind which will unsparingly condemn and ostracize those who by their base imputations imperil our friendly relations with other nations.
An intelligent attitude toward foreign affairs will also take account of the essential instrumentalities of intercourse and of the importance of making these as efficient as possible. The many millions of our people cannot conduct their foreign relations, and the inescapable conditions to which I have adverted make it necessary that our people should have at their command the most expert diplomatic organization. I shall not at this time review, as I have had the privilege of doing recently, the requirements of our diplomatic and consular service. I merely wish again to emphasize the point that intelligent opinion will demand that there should be an opportunity for career in this service which will draw to it as many as may be needed of the best of the educated young manhood of the country. This is not in the interest of the development of a caste; it is in the interest of the American people and public opinion should demand it.
It is apparent that this attitude of the public mind, this instructed public opinion, cannot be had save as it is produced by the conscious endeavor and constant influence of men and women who have had the special advantages of higher education. It is the interaction of the influences of the university on the one hand and of the many schools of experience on the other, that produces that clear, practical and intelligent view of affairs which we call the dominant American opinion. With respect to matters the importance of which is not immediately or generally perceived, where special study and instruction are needed, it is especially the example and influence of those who have had the advantage of college or university training that is imperatively needed.
It is not my purpose to dwell upon ideals in American education further