Russia and America, Dangers and Prospects

By Henry L. Roberts | Go to book overview

FOREWORD

BY JOHN J. MCCLOY

IN THE autumn of 1952 the suggestion was made that a group of men of varied experience and background, not burdened with the responsibilities of government, should come together to discuss problems creating world tension, especially as they concerned Soviet-American relations, and try to identify policies and actions to provide conditions for peace. Government officials and representatives of both political parties supported the proposal.

The group, as it was later constituted by the Council on Foreign Relations, included men who had formerly served in responsible governmental positions in Washington and abroad, scientists with knowledge of atomic developments, scholars and experts in the area of Soviet studies, and men with large experience in the business and industrial life of the nation.

It was understood that the group would concentrate on long-term problems and not allow itself to be lost in the labyrinth of immediate issues and policy. People outside the government, without access to the cables, are not in a position to deal with the day-to-day decisions of foreign policy. Even in respect of long-range problems it was appreciated by those who took part in the discussions that there might be no result other than the self-education of the participants.

The search assumed organized form in May 1953 when the group met at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. This was the first of many meetings, held over a period of more than two years. During the course of its work individual members of the group had many opportunities to discuss major international problems with officials and others in this country, Asia, Africa and Europe. Throughout, the group had the support of an able research staff brilliantly headed by Professor Henry L. Roberts of Columbia University.

One or two aspects of the group's deliberations demon

-vii-

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