7 NOVEMBER 1952, Page 6

Eisenhower's Triumph


Washington. GENERAL EISENHOWER as President-elect has won so sweeping a victory that he is under no special debt to the reactionaries or isolationists of the Republican Party. Eisenhower as President—with a senate in which the Democrats will exercise if not complete control at least very substantial influence—will be faced with a constant reminder that he owes his election in large measure to the Democratic support he has received all over the country. These appear to be the first important conclusions to be drawn from a result as decisive in its different way as was the post-war Labour victory in Britain. And they encourage the hope that, after ,the inevitable chaos of a change-over in a Government as huge as the American Government now is, a period of steady and not illiberal administration in Washington may be in prospect.

The Americans, in the exercise of their inalienable right, have put their trust in a soldier (as they have several times done before) who is an amateur in politics but by no means an amateur in international affairs. It is a matter for philosophic contemplation that, whereas six months ago Eisenhower was held in almost unchallenged esteem and respect throughout the free world, that same free world is now displaying con- siderable uncertainty about the consequences which may flow from his elevation to the Presid6ficy of the United States.

When Eisenhower was known and judged as what the Americans call " soldier-statesman." there were few reserva- tions about him. The reservations have formed, in astonish- ingly little time, since he has been judged as politician. And there is a further important if ironical truth to be noted. When the President-elect was being eulogised as soldier- statesman it was held highly in his favour that he had a genius for drawing together dissentient groups and forces and imbuing them with a common determination, so that they found themselves working with zeal and in a hitherto un- attained unity under his command. When Eisenhower was being judged as politican the reservations that sprang up were largely based on objections to the way in which he was exercising this same genius. He was bringing together the dissentient elements of the Republican Party—the liberals and conservatives and even the reactionaries, even the out-and-out demagogues.

So long as Eisenhower was the soldier-statesman nobody raised the question whether some of those upon whom he was exercising his unifying genius were undesirables. The question arose only when he translated the accomplishment into terms of election-year politics. Then it was felt that he had made sacrifices of principle in order to gain public office. Methods which were applauded when they were applied on the battle- field or in the international field were denounced when they were applied to secure a political victory.

I believe, without claiming any first-hand knowledge of Eisenhower's inmost thoughts, that this is the case he would make for the course he has pursued during the campaign—the course which has made him the President and brought the Republican Party back to power after twenty years in the wilderness. He has said many times: " I am the same man as I was before," and he has seemed sometimes to be angry or grieved that anyone should believe that his character and his deepest beliefs should have been changed by five months of political campaigning. The fear of many of his critics during the campaign was that there were among the dissentient ele- ments he had embraced and sought to unify those, such as Senator Taft, who would be too strong for him, so that they, not he, would be found calling the tune once he was established in the White House. But Eisenhower is entitled to say that this lack of faith in him which never occurred when he was soldier- statesman is no more justified now than it was then.

And indeed the least that can be granted to a good man who has served his generation well is a suspension of any hasty conclusion that he will be over-ridden by right-wing Republicans. Those who have been inspirited by Adl Stevenson and have seen greatness in him cannot be expect not to be bitterly disappointed over his defeat. But that ' in itself a poor reason for despairing over Eisenhower's victory The flesh of the free world has been made to creep in at last weeks of the campaign. President Truman, who laid abo him with the same vigour he brought to bear four years ag when his own election was at stake, argued that the peac would be gravely endangered if Eisenhower and the Republi cans were returned, on the ground that they would so reduce expenditure on rearmament, and so neglect the well-being o America's allies, that the anti-Communist alliance would be weakened and frustrated. Governor Stevenson, in one of h. eve-of-the-election speeches, concurred in this view. Gener Eisenhower, as the campaign reached its rough and raw clitnax, raised no less fearful a spectre. He said that Stevebso betrayed " a mentality that is comple,tely untutored in tough business of world relations " and could produce nothin better than a " formula for dealing with Soviet aggression .. openly stated in terms of ' give ' and ' concede."

The case oh both sides was overstated; and what neith side ever got around to acknowledging was that there ar certain immutable truths and certain incontrovertible fa which would not be -affected by the accession to power either party or either candidate, and would have to be me with policies to which there are no acceptable alternativ What can be seen in retrospect to have been most importan about the campaign—as distinct from what was m spectacular, or most nerve-racking, or most interesting at time it happened—was the great area of basic agreement foreign policy which existed between the two embattled sides Eisenhower said that the Administration had bungled its wa into the Korean war, and that there should be more So Koreans in the front lines. But neither he nor anyone with responsible voice in his party advocated either a retreat fro Korea or the enlargement of the conflict into a world war Both sides were agreed that aggression in Korea must fought; both accepted the proposition that the war there canno be honourably ended by submission to the Communist deman that prisoners should be forcibly repatriated. And—Gene Eisenhower's project for a trip to the scene notwithstanding neither showed any belief that a fundamental change in design of the war is desirable. Stevenson accused Eisenhowe of flirting with isolationism and of promising impossible tax relief by economies which could be effected only at the expen of America's security. But both sides gave uncompromi.sin support to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and neithe proposed the withdrawal, or even the drastic reduction, o military aid to the N.A.T.O. countries. And neither sid questioned the nature or the extent of the Communist threa to freedom and peace throughout the world. Even the uncomfortable argument that if America wan to end the system of big grants and loans to friendly nation abroad she must lower some of her tariffs and otherwise pr vide the means by which those nations may earn dollark b selling their goods to the United States—even this was no disputed. What Eisenhower said about it was that Amen should both " maintain tariff policies that operate in the interes of our agriculture and industry " and " seek out opportuniti to increase imports of commodities, goods and services win will . . . help make our allies self-supporting." Only on surface, in fact, were the candidates fighting over forei policy. An immense measure of agreement on the essenti now exists among the American people. Very deep in the waters lies the immutable truth that t United States and Britain are bound together by hoops o steel. There are not many men who have had better reaso to know this than Eisenhower has. He does not la Socialism, and he is apt to get his facts a little askew on suc matters as the right of a British farmer to cut down one 0 his trees. But there is no justification in that for the conch sion that Eisenhower does not understand the reasons why Anglo-American partnership is vital to both countries, or th he will listen to and accept advice to the contrary. Eisenhower is, as the New York Times has said, " a living symbol of the fact that democratic nations can co-operate successfully to defend. their liberties." • If there are uncertainties about his future in Washington there are also certainties about his past in London and Washington which ought, even- in the after- math of a violent political campaign, to encourage the free world to see Eisenhower in a larger perspective than that of the five months' election campaign.