25 APRIL 1941, Page 12



Sta,—You who hear nightly over your heads the sinister drone of German planes, who are giving your blood while we are offering only our money : how can you help feeling impatient with what seems to you our slow unfolding of consciousness and sense of re- sponsibility? Please remember that the huge composite mind of millions in a democracy cannot be expected to work rapidly and logically, and that your own minds worked slowly till the danger was close at hand. Perhaps you can thus sense in part why, with life still normal, and hostilities still -far away, the American mind has seemed slow in being aroused. There is, moreover, another factor that did not exist with you ; one that makes those who know of it wonder, uot at the slowness, but rather at the rapidity, with which we over here have come so far, in spite of remoteness and our universal hatred of war. You did not have the tradition that we had—a tradition handed down through a century and a half, from our wisest and best, that we should not mix in the complications and entanglements of European affairs.

That tradition came from sound reasoning based upon conditions that then existed but have, with comparative suddenness: ceased to exist. It came from the isolation that then was a fact, and is a fact no longer. We began to sense the vanishing of isolation twenty odd years ago, but were not ready to realise the facts or face the conse- quences. Now we know that isolation is dead. We all know it except those of a certain mentality ; a mentality that you also know well ; one that it takes a bomb or two to convince. The radio and a free Press have brought consciousness of the change into millions of homes, and our somewhat bewildered...representatives have suddenly learned that the bulk of the people are behind Roosevelt and Willkie.

How the resulting action by Congress was brought about is worth noting. With such a momentous change at stake, the people did not call for peremptory suppression of opposition, although delay meant danger. Through radio and Press they heard every word that was to be said by those who sincerely opposed this change of policy, and then they turned them down. That kind of action was far more significant and effective than if the opposition had been silenced and over-ridden without a full hearing and the weighing of what they had to say. Once that was settled a large part of the opposition have got ready to fall into line ; glad at last to be freed from an embarrassing body of isolation's supporters, composed of Bundists, fascists, and communists now left to carry on with a much thinner false front of genuine isolationists than they had before.

Isolation now appears to be out of the running in both parties, and is being mourned as dead by some of its most sincere and strenuous supporters. The tradition of ,a century and a half is ended through the instinctive realisation of new facts by the bulk of an entire people. It was not logic and learning but clear perception and common sense that did it, and it was not a small thing to do with so many in so short a time. There is much toil and tribulation ahead, but that at least seems to have been accomplished.—I am, Sir, yours, &c.,