The Atlantic Report on the World Today: Washington

SECRETARY ACHESON’S stock has been lifted out of the slump as the result of his performance as presiding officer of the world conference on the Japanese treaty. It seemingly took the television spectacle, of the Secretary of State konking Gromyko (and his Polish and Czech aides) on the head to convince millions of Americans that Acheson is no Communist.

The reaction to Acheson’s performance has had an extraordinary effect upon Acheson supporters as well as upon the man in the street half indoctrinated with McCarthyism. The Secretary is held to have proved himself a statesman as a result of his perfect exhibition of gavel-banging. President Truman led the chorus. From his statement that Acheson will remain his Secretary of State, it almost seems that Truman hopes to translate Acheson into an asset instead of a liability in the 1952 campaign.

Actually Acheson had little to do with the San Francisco conference. He had left the negotiations and the preparation for the parley entirely in John Foster Dulles’s hands. And the conference itself was Dulles’s conference. Acheson thought he might be a jinx and did not want to go to San Francisco at all. Aside from his personal feelings, he has always thought that a Secretary of State should stay in the Department, leaving duties outside Washington to others. He came to that conclusion while he was deputy to the globe-trotting Secretary Byrnes. He was persuaded to go to Sun Francisco by, among others, Mr. Dulles.

Even when Acheson got to San Francisco, he felt he should not take the chair, and again bowed to persuasion. He knew he would have to be the hatchet man, and he has no zest for sued a role. To be sure, the State Department denies any such reluctance on Acheson’s part, but the word quickly got around, and it came from the delegates themselves. According to the Manchester Guardian, Acheson “spent a part of Tuesday evening offering the chairmanship to the highest ego.” But the delegates would have no substitute.

Acheson wielded the club with all the quickness of mind and the urbanity of which he is capable, and the “Good old Dean!” comments of the television audience were faithfully recorded in the newspapers. In the public mind the conference had become a battlefield, and public acclaim went to Acheson as a St. George.

There is a chance that Acheson’s authority may be further reasserted if there is a deterioration of our relations with Formosa. A scandal has come to light in Chiang Kai-shek’s bailiwick. He has discharged two high officers who were his representatives in Washington; but instead of going back to Formosa, these officers are staying here, feeding the press with stories of corruption in Formosa.

The corruption puts some of the Americans associated with Formosa in a poor light and the so-called Formosa-Formsa-Firstere appear to be alarmed. Senator Knowland and Representative Judd are Chiang’s principal backers in ( ongress. Yet Knowland has publicly complained about C hiang’s “inactivity” toward the countercharges of the two Chinese officers, and Judd says that the Chiang-denounced officers are “honorable and loyal.”

The results of San Francisco

Le Figaro headed its report from San Francisco “Gromyko Disappoints His Adversaries,” and the Manchester Guardian headed its story “Mr. Gromyko Declines to Reveal His Hand,” saying that the Russians came, saw, and “declined to conquer.” Mr. Gromyko simply blustered and blew.

But on second thought, why should the Russians be displeased? They may be secretly delighted, because they live in fear of neighbors ganging up against them, and this treaty, with its alliances, must seem to them an assurance against any gettogether by Japan and China.

The defense arrangements in the Pacific are not the counterpart of those in the Atlantic. They are distinct as well as separate. The pacts in the Pacific are all bilateral, with the United States a common signatory. The pacts that the United States has signed with Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, respectively, are aimed at assuring these countries of America’s protection against any revival of Japanese militarism. The pact that America has signed with Japan is aimed at the Soviet Union. Perhaps a Pacific concert may some day be achieved, but that day is far off.

The European army

The Atlantic concert, on the contrary, seems to be drawing near to some degree of political unity. Such a prospect took a great leap forward when the foreign ministers of France and Britain, meeting with Secretary Acheson in Washington shortly after the windup in San Francisco, agreed upon a European army including German contingents. A European army will mean that there will be a supranational authority over the men in uniform contributed by the sovereign states. This is bound to lead to other sacrifices of national sovereignty in order to complement and complete the European organization of military force.

A European army is seen more and more to be the only solution to the general problem of Europe. When Paul Hoffman wanted to make European unity his crusade, he was deterred by the State Department. And Senator Fulbright year after year pleaded for an American declaration, but he never got any aid or comfort from State. Now, however, State regards unity as the only hope for Europe — Europe exclusive of Britain.

The Germans, of course, cannot have their peace contract without some assurance, nor can we get manpower aid out of Germany without a preliminary peace contract. Here is the analogy with the Japanese. The Japanese could not have had a peace treaty without an engagement which would assure them and us that no power or military vacuum would remain in Japan. But there the likeness ends. What we want from the Germans is agreement to join with their fellows in protecting the integrity of Europe, whereas we are content with an exclusive

alliance with us by the Japanese.

German participation in a European army is, also, seen as the only way of absorbing any residual demand for the restoration of the lost territories. There would be little hope of preventing such a move by Germany alone if the incentive were to be left to a sovereign German army.

Lovett Marshall

General Marshall goes into retirement in good health, in good relations with President Truman, and in sympathy with Truman foreign and defense policies. It is Mrs. Marshall’s health that has persuaded him to quit. She seems to have almost a physical reaction to the traducers of her husband, who, taking their cue from Senator McCarthy, are charging him with furthering the Soviet plan of conquest.

It is interesting that the President appointed as the new Secretary of Defense Robert A. Lovett, Marshall’s deputy. Hitherto Secretary Lovett hasn’t been too well liked at the White House, for he put the crimp in the Truman plan in 1948 to send Chief Justice Vinson to Moscow. Now, however, the White House recognizes that Lovett has a great fund of ability and a dedicated patriotism. Though he works from morning to night, Lovett can delegate work, and this is all to the general good, for his successor as Deputy Secretary of Defense is William C. Foster. Foster, who has been Under Secretary of Commerce and ECA Administrator, is said to be one of the best administrators in Washington. The Lovett-Foster duo will bring about civilian supremacy.

Wilson wants more scrap

Defense Mobilizer Wilson, who began his mobilization career by raising the ire of organized labor, is now upsetting organized business, recently the steel industry. Steel is the centerpiece of rearmament, and Wilson is not satisfied with steel production. The criticism was somewhat surprising. For eighteen months past, the industry has been working virtually at capacity, and output at the year end is estimated at the fabulous amount of 106 million tons. By comparison there is said to be little more than 30 millions of output in Soviet Russia. Plans for expansion of the American industry are likewise being realized on schedule. However, there has been a cutback in metal allowed for expansion, so that if there is any lag in this respect, the blame, according to the industrial chiefs, cannot be attached to the industry itself.

The truth is Wilson is afraid of a shortage in scrap metal, one of the ingredients of steel production. Plenty of scrap exists, but Wilson feels that supplies are not being mobilized. Factories, apparently, like housewives, don’t bother to turn in used material. Wilson is now thinking of governing raw material allocations to individual manufacturers by the amount of used material turned in.

Other schemes for scrap mobilization are under consideration. Dealers in scrap are smart traders, and it is felt they are hoarding for higher prices. If there is price control, then they may become convinced they cannot get better prices, and unload. Experiments, finally, are being conducted on new methods of screening slag heaps not only for scrap iron but also for manganese, which, it is said, can be reseparated.

All the anxiety in the Capital under this head shows the superimportance of steel. Our allies want access to our steel for fulfillment of their rearmament goals. Wilson caused an outcry with a statement attributed to him that he intended to let Britain have a couple of million tons. He never said any such thing.

And what if steel were exported? The United States imports steel from Germany — special-purpose steel. Why the hue and cry about steel exports to Britain? Surely, as among allies, the criterion of trade should be economy of effort, just as the criterion of trade with Iron Curtain countries should be balance of advantage.

Teamwork in the West

Neither criterion is considered by some of our narrow-minded legislators, even by officials in the Pentagon. Take, for example, commerce with countries back of the Iron Curtain. There has been much grumbling about British trade with Russia. But Britain simply must have timber and coarse grain from Russia if we do not supply her minimum needs.

To be sure, Britain has done some foolish things in the past, such as allowing excessive rubber exports to Red China, and this is undoubtedly one reason why Britain’s commerce is regarded nowadays with suspicion. But a sense of proportion is now lacking in the prevailing suspicion.

As for economy of effort, there had been no such thing from the time the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was set up until the September conferences in Washington and in Ottawa. Unused capacity is to be found in almost all the countries in Europe, as, for instance, in the vital ball-bearing industry. There are many workers without jobs in northern Italy. Why cannot they be put to work in making silk for ammunition bags and parachutes for all the member nations? France still pokes along making prototypes for heavy artillery, and Belgium likewise is lagging. The tendency, as General Eisenhower has said, is for the nations to look over each ot her s shoulder and see what t he other fellow is doing.

Kene Mayer, France’s Deputy Prime Minister, was the only European leader who came to Washington and Ottawa with a constructive solution lor the lag in arms production, He granted the justice of the disappointment over European performance. He gran led the justice of the help for self-help theory underlying our mutual-aid program. But he suggested a mobilization balance sheet.

The Frenchman had a further contribution. If, he said, the Ended I States, out of its fabulous arsenal, produced all the heavy stuff, then the nations in Europe could be made responsible for maintenance and span’ parts. This may sound a trifling contribution. But maintenance nowadays means not only care of things: it means sta king airfields out of home farms, provisioning for foreign solI diers on home soil, and 1 he like.

The proposal is said to have impressed Wilson and other lop officials. If it is adopted, it would mean that the United States would become a sort of mother arsenal. Clearly there would also be an end to the foolish competition for raw materials among member nations of the NATO. In this respect, what the nations have hitherto been doing is selling inflation to each other. However, sound as would be some such scheme, the problem of unused capacity in Europe cannot and will not be neglected.