Memorandum by the Counselor (Bohlen)
Consistency of U.S. Policy
American policy, as General Bradley said in a speech a year ago, “must be guided by the stars” and not by the lights of a passing ship. (The exact quote and date can be ascertained from PL.)1
Our foreign policy is based upon the best estimate we possibly can make of the permanent interests of this country, our national security and the well-being of our people, and our responsibilities in the world for the development of conditions of stability and health under which the peace of the world can be made progressively more secure. It must be a wise blend of realism and idealism. Realistic in the sense that it must deal with the world as it is and not with the world as we [Page 278]would like it to be. Idealistic in the sense that its direction must always be towards the furtherance of the goals which represent the aspirations of our people and those of mankind.
In the case of the continent of Europe, our policy has been to assist the free nations of the European community to recover from the damages of the war, to help them to create conditions whereby the free institutions which are their tradition as well as ours can survive and flourish, to help them to create a community that will be in a position to give their people a sense of security and confidence in the future and thereby to make their individual and collective contribution to the maintenance of world peace and security.
If we are to have any hope of achieving these goals our policy must be a calm and consistent pursuit of these aims and not subject to the temporary fluctuations in the international situation. Governments, organizations and even individuals who do not wish to see recovery, stability and tranquility return to the continent of Europe will seek through propaganda and other devices, to deflect the United States and the countries associated with us in this endeavor from these purposes. We must not allow these maneuvers to succeed. We must not be stampeded into unwise or hysterical action because of a “war scare” or other type of crisis deliberately stimulated, nor must we be lulled to sleep by any propaganda “peace offensive”. To do so would be to put our foreign policy at the mercy of foreign-inspired propaganda. If this were to happen, the masters of the greatest propaganda machine in the world could cause American policy to fluctuate as they saw fit. We must pursue the course we have set ourselves, consistently, calmly, and not allow propaganda to mold our foreign policy.
- The substance of the quotation appears in Department of the Army press release entitled, “Notes for an Address by General Omar Bradley, Chief of Staff, United States Army, at the Memorial Day Interment of Corporal Edward G. Wilkin, Medal of Honor, Company ‘C’, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division, Killed in Action in Germany, April 18, 1945, at Longmeadow, Massachusetts, May 30, 1948, at 2:45 P.M. (EDT).”↩