The Atlantic Report on the World Today: Washington
THE Eisenhower-Macmillan talks mark the beginning of a new type of Anglo-American relationship. The warborn alliance grew to greatness out of sheer necessity and through the personal relationships of Roosevelt and Churchill. That partnership began to wane when those wartime leaders departed from the political scene, and in many ways it already had been transformed before the guns went off last fall.
The Bermuda relationship was that of a great and rich nation attempting to get back on close speaking terms with an old relative. Wartime Britain and America were not military equals, of course, but British diplomatic leadership and skill as personified by Churchill brought the balance closer to even. In the old days the top leaders argued out the issues and compromised the results. This was less so with Truman and Attlee or Eisenhower and Eden, but the fiction of the old partnership’s continuation carried on and often applied.
The discussion at Bermuda over the Middle East alone was enough to demonstrate the new relationship. The British in advance fed out to the press a strong line opposing American dependence on the United Nations, and when they came to the midAtlantic island they were saying they would talk tough to the Americans.
Perhaps in private they did. But Eisenhower and Dulles were adamant that America would work through the UN because only in that way did they feel they could continue to woo the Arabs and avoid the stigma of Britain’s disastrous colonial policy in the Middle East.
Macmillan had no alternative but to back down. He put the best face on it he could. But this did not and does not mean that Britain and America cannot function together as a team in areas where their interests are more parallel. That demonstration came in the American decision to turn over to Britain the American intermediate ballistic missile now under development. Here the military thinking of the two nations agreed. The truth of the matter is that Britain, which for long had criticized America for putting all its eggs in the atomic basket lest. America be unable to fight a so-called small war, now is doing exactly the same thing — and under the same compulsion of cost. In Washington it used to be called “more bang for the buck.” In London it’s “more punch for the pound.”
This decision will free Britain of the Soviet atomic blackmail exercised by the Russian missiles currently in place in Communist East Germany and aimed at London. As Macmillan said at Bermuda, there now will be a mutual deterrent. And as he also truly said when asked if the move would lessen British fears that American bombers in the isles had made Britain a Soviet target: “We’re all in this together. It’s no good if somebody is trying to opt out of it.”
Where the two nations are indeed in it together — in NATO, in the German reunification issue, in the satellite problem — they can and will work together, framing policies with something approaching the frankness and friendliness which formerly marked the partnership down to the lowest echelon.
When differences occur
But where there is a determined American view contrary to the British — in China, over colonialism, about Arab-Israeli relations — the American position will presumably predominate out of sheer force of power and because there is no longer any British ability to add the strength of personality to the scales. Despite all of the Bermuda talk of “old comrades in arms,” the fact is that Macmillan was only an aide to Eisenhower in wartime North Africa and that the President has not changed his view of that relationship whatever the amenities.
The corollary of the altered Anglo-American relationship is a new attitude on the part of Britain toward its neighbors on the continent of Europe. This is will be a historic summer for the free world if it does indeed see the ratification of the common market and European atomic pool treaties. As Britain turns toward these Continental self-help devices, a new series of transatlantic problems will arise. Already at Bermuda the Americans were warning Britain, and by inference the Continental nations, not to raise a common tariff wall around a free trade area. Much more will be heard of that issue if the common market springs to life.
The splits in the parties
The first session of the 85th Congress brought to the surface the internal convolutions within each party. The Democrats, of course, have long been split on the civil rights issue. But to this division has now been added a new schizophrenia, for the party is showing signs of a major division on foreign policy. In short, the South not only stands apart from the North and West on the race issue but it is moving away from the rest of the party on internationalism.
The Republicans, long divided on internationalism, now find themselves riven as well over what President Eisenhower calls “modern Republicanism.” With Eisenhower eliminated as a candidate for 1960, the GOP is involved in an internal struggle between its liberal and conservative wings for dominance at the next presidential election. The budget issue has demonstrated this along with the preliminaries to the 1958 midterm election when most of the party’s Neanderthals in the Senate (Messrs. Goldwater, Jenner, McCarthy, Malone, Martin of Pennsylvania, and Revercomb) will face the voters.
The reaction of Congress to the President’s request that he be authorized in advance to use the armed forces in the Middle East did much to demonstrate that the Senate in general was disenchanted with the Administration’s handling of the crisis in that area. The roll calls also showed the new fissure in the Democratic Party.
On the Russell amendment to knock out the economic and military aid features of the Eisenhower Doctrine, 15 of the 25 “yea” votes came from the Old South (including pairs). Only the two Alabama senators and the two from Texas said “no.” And when the roll was called on final passage, 10 of these same 15 Southerners opposed the plan as a whole.
In both Senate and House a handful of Northern and Western Democrats also voted “no” on the final roll calls, chiefly because they distrusted the President and Dulles. The party division was emphasized, however, by the fact that all the new Northern and Western Democratic senators elected last November (Messrs. Carroll, Church, Clark, and Lausche) voted with the President because many of them shared Senator Kennedy’s view that they could do otherwise only at the risk of tempting the Russians to move against the Middle East.
New voice of protectionism
The Southern defection on foreign aid is not, of course, new. But the vote against the Eisenhower Doctrine, in essence a warning to the Kremlin to keep the Red Army out of the Middle East, was something new. Here the Southerners were deserting their traditional internationalist stand, a position going back to the early part of this century.
The common explanation in Washington is that Southern economic interests have shifted from the age of free trade, which benefited cotton exports, to protectionism, which presumably benefits the new textile mills and other forms of Southern industrialization.
That this is true in Georgia at least is demonstrated by a story. A year ago Georgia Tech was on the point of signing a government contract to furnish some members of its engineering faculty to a Japanese university under one of the exchange programs. The professors were to teach engineering, but not in the textile field. Yet when word of the plan got around to the university’s alumni in the textile industry the pressure was put on to kill the agreement. And Georgia Tech did not go through with the proposal.
In time, perhaps, Southern industrialization will reach a stage of such diverse and counter interests that there will be no clear economic motivation either for or against protectionism. But until that day arrives, and while textiles remain as important as they have now become, the Democratic Party is likely to be more and more represented in the South by protectionists.
The Elephant and the budget
Mr. Eisenhower has stated the case, on the Republican side, for modernizing his party. His massive $72 billion peacetime budget represents, he says, the government services which the people demand and are entitled to. The political efficacy of this approach was well demonstrated by the Eisenhower vote last November and by the Democratic wailing that the President, had stolen the New and Fair Deal platforms.
Yet it is perfectly clear that the Eisenhower approach is unacceptable to many Republicans, especially to many at the top of the congressional seniority ladders. Senator Knowland’s decision not to run again for the Senate (and the presumption that he will run for governor of California in order to challenge Vice President Nixon for the Presidency in 1960) offers a conservative, traditional Republican pole around which those members of the GOP can coalesce.
Mr. Eisenhower has taken some pains to declare that his big peacetime budget has no connection whatsoever with his new Republicanism. Yet it is difficult to accept that thesis. The budget is huge because the President is determined to have America play its proper role in the world, with force of arms and economic aid to back up that role, and because he believes that the American population, growing so fast, demands and is entitled to the services called for, whether they be schools, post offices, superhighways, or medical research.
To many Democrats, the President has not asked enough for some of these services. But it is also true that the Administration is not united in backing the Eisenhower program. Secretary of the Treasury Humphrey’s “hair-curling depression” warning made that clear. And the way the organized business community and professional tax-cut advocates rallied behind the President’s invitation to cut the budget seriously threatened the Eisenhower program.
The congressional hacking at the Eisenhower figures has not been entirely political. The coalition of Southern Democrats and conservative Republicans is at the base of much of the so-called economy drive. The President simply has not converted any great part of his party, as represented in Congress, to his “modern Republicanism.” The public excuse for budget cutting may be economy or anti-inflation. But fundamentally the issue is over the GOP’s attitude toward the role of the federal government itself.
This division applies as well to foreign affairs. On the Eisenhower Doctrine roll call there were a bare 4 Senate and 27 House Republican ”no” votes. But no one in Washington believes this is an indication that the President has reduced the old Republican isolationism to such a vanishing point. The foreign aid votes later this year, as well as the Senate roll call on the peaceful atomic energy treaty, will be a better indication of GOP support for the Eisenhower version of America’s role in the world.
The net result of the party divisions as indicated in this new Congress is likely to be a series of contradictory actions, puzzling to many Americans and to many foreign nations as well. It probably will tend to limit the effectiveness of what the Administration is trying to do abroad, for no one will be sure that even the very popular President can have his own way.
Mood of the Capitel
Six years ago Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg wrote: “A rule of conduct — as well as a rule of accommodation— requires some sort of unity between the legislative and the executive branches of Government. We found it before. We must find it again. Or we shall have no foreign policy worthy of the name during these next two critical years.”
The Senate struggle over the Eisenhower Doctrine this year demonstrated the truth of the late senator’s thesis. The fiery, open breach between the Senate Democrats and the President (with Secretary Dulles taking the heat directly) continued until Eisenhower altered the nature of the Administration’s relationship to Congress. Only when the President himself began to talk frankly and privately to the Democratic leaders did the storm subside.
The emergence of Senate Democratic Leader Lyndon Johnson as a party spokesman on foreign policy has helped to provide a “rule of accommodation ” or at least the means. But the Middle East row and its outcome have not entirely resolved the problem of how to conduct a bipartisan foreign policy, especially when rival parties are in control at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.