26 MARCH 1954, Page 28

World Affairs

Survey of International .Affairs, 1951. By Peter Calvocoressi. (O.U.P. for R.I.I.A. 45s.) Documents on International Affairs, 1951. Edited by Denise Folliot. (0.U.P. for R.I.I.A. 60s.) The United States in World Affairs, 1952. By Richard P. Stebbins. (R.I.I.A. for Council on Foreign Relations. 30s.) WITH the volumes of the Survey and the Documents for the year 1951 the Chatham House chronicle of our times reverts to its original plan of treating events within the framework of a yearly volume. For the Documents—an invaluable compendium—this is clearly right. Some would say indeed that the Documents together with a chronology and a bibliography might suffice: for the Survey in its revived form raises many questions. This is in no sense a reflection upon Mr. Calvocoressi, who has already shown remarkable talents in his role of chronicler; the question is rather whether this role worthy of his talents or of those of his collaborators—particularly of Mr. F. C. Jones, who contributes a characteristically lucid chapter on developments in China and Japan during a period which covered the conclusion of the Japanese peace treaty. The fact is that a bare narrative which attempts to rise above a merely national or partisan view of world affairs may if it attempts comprehensiveness become almost unreadable. Who but an expert (who would want to go to the sources) has time for nineteen large pages on developments in the Saar? For purposes of reference the volume is admirably designed; the year's developments are set out clearly and in proportion (apart from the total omission of Latin America and the absence of a direct discussion of developments in the United Nations and its associated institutions). But the ordinary reader will hardly have the patio oe to take it as a whole, nor would he receive much illumination if he did. One's feeling that the whole formula of the Survey demands reconsideration is enhanced by the very different impression made by the volume devoted to the succeeding year in the series sponsored by Chatham House's American counterpart. (How typical that the American volume for 1952 should have appeared some months before the British volume .for 1951!) Although the title might suggest a more restricted theme, Mr. Stebbins's work is in fact a survey of the whole field of international relations, and is not more slanted towards the American viewpoint than Mr. Calvocoressi's towards the British one; impartiality as opposed to fairness would be impossible in these times. Why pretend to it? Unlike Mr. Calvocoressi's volume, Mr. Stebbins's book is highlY readable; nor has readability been attained-by sacrificing reliability-- [ though it must be admitted that footnotes are very much fewer. Mr. Stebbins has attained this desirable quality because he l as allowed himself to decide that the year in question had two main themes, and that if the available material were explored in the light of this decision it could be given shape and meaning. His first theme is provided by the difficulties which faced the NATO powers in their attempt to consolidate their organisation and defences, and the impact upon these attempts of Soviet policy as exemplified in the nineteenth Party Congress, and of American policies as exemplified in the presidential election. His second theme is the refusal of important parts of the world, including much of Asia and of Latin America, to accept the Soviet-American notion of the ' two camp and the effect of this' particularly upon the United Nations. What we get is not just narrative but also analysis and argument—the whole representing a rare combination of good sense and wide sympathies. It is a most impressive book, and Chatham House ought to take its lessons to heart before deciding to perpetuate the Survey in its present form and at its present price.