The Neutrality Policy of the United States

By Julia E. Johnsen | Go to book overview
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NEGATIVE DISCUSSION

COST OF PEACE1

When the man in the street refers to the necessity of maintaining neutrality, all that he means is that the United States should avoid being drawn into war. He is not primarily interested in the enforcement of any particular body of neutral rights, or in any particular code of neutral obligations. Of course, after war once breaks out, and our citizens see rich opportunities for profit unless they are restricted by our national laws, they object to the imposition of prohibitions at that time. In time of peace, however, our public could probably be brought to acquiesce in the formulation of a new national policy of neutrality and a stringent revision of our neutrality laws, if they had any assurance that these steps would help to any real extent in preventing us from becoming involved in war.

If this is fair analysis of our problems as a neutral, the following conclusions might be drawn:

First: Our traditional policy of neutrality is possibly adequate to meet our problems in the case of a war which does not involve the major sea powers of Europe or of the Far East, or which could be localized in those areas.

Second: In the case of the two major conflicts in Europe since our independence, namely, the Napoleonic wars and the World war, we were forced to abandon

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1
From article by Allen W. Dulles, legal adviser to the American delegation at the Three Power Naval Conference in 1927 and at the Disarmament Conference in 1932 and 1933. Foreign Affairs. 12:573-8. July, 1934.

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