The Foreign Service of the United States

By Tracy Hollingsworth Lay; Charles Evans Hughes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
THE NEED FOR A STRONG FOREIGN SERVICE

General considerations. --Eminent authorities have held, with extraordinary unanimity, that a democracy, as contrasted with a monarchial government, is virtually impotent in the practice of diplomacy; that it is quite incapable of giving enlightened direction to the conduct of its foreign relations, or consistency to its adopted policies. Without attempting to rehearse their arguments or to give validity to their conclusions, certain it is that popular opinion, especially in the United States, is indifferent to international issues and, as in all other countries, is largely ignorant of their true significance. Only in moments of great international stress does the average citizen awaken to the fact that both our national security, and the every-day prosperity of the individual are inextricably bound up in what others think of us and how they act toward us.1

There is no loyal American who will not admit the desirability of fostering cordial and friendly relations with other nations, not for selfish but for altruistic rea-

____________________
1
"Despite the fact that the murder of an Austrian Archduke was the occasion of our (the British) being involved in a world-war; and although there is an obvious connection between unemployment at home and the condition of Continental Europe, the general public seems hardly to consider the vital importance to its daily life of Foreign Affairs. Unskilled conduct of our Foreign Policy--not merely at moments of crisis, but from month to month--may bring ultimate unavoidable disaster: its skilful conduct brings respect, prosperity, and peace."-- A. L. Kennedy, "Old Diplomacy and New," p. 1 of Preface.

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