Tonight M. Georges Clemenceau will board the liner "France", and tomorrow morning he will leave American probably never to return. He has 'spoken his message, and completed his "Journey-of good will", but "in closing" he does not give empty words of thanks or flattery, nor try to add to what he has already said. With a graceful gesture he turns over the complete proceeds of his lectures to a fund which is being raised "for sending American boys to France, and bringing our students here". A gift ends his tour of America-a gift which strikes a note of sincerity characteristic of the man, and which adds more to his plea for closer relations between the two countries than a hundred lectures could have done. It calls to mind a passage from his first speech in New York: "I am not going to ask you for money, you have too much of it. I want something much more than that, much more valuable. I want yourself, your heart and soul."
The point which he has stressed in every utterance is the need for "Keeping our friendship in repair". During the war France and America were more than allies-they were close friends, whose people grew to understand each other better than has ever been possible before or since. Even in the days of the American Revolution, when the Marquis de Lafayette came here to help in our fight for independence, there was no popular or personal friendship such as existed four years ago. But since the armistice an intangible barrier has arisen between the peoples. The French orphan is in danger of forgetting the help which he received from his "foster-mother" across the sea; and the American may look with distrust upon the French so-called "militaristic" attitude, and forget what France has had to suffer from German invasion. National prejudice is inevitable, and has caused the two nations to drift apart.
The proposed system of scholarships will produce the same mutual understanding between France and America that the Rhodes scholarships now create between England and this country. Approximately 127 students will be sent yearly to France universities-the same number as there were American ambulance and camion drivers killed in the war. It is in memory of these volunteers that the fund is to be raised, and to them Clemenceau dedicates the proceeds of his last visit to America.
Propaganda, even of the best sort, has failed so signally in the past few years that the word itself is looked on with suspicion. The most effective means left of making one nation understood by another is through the work of individual missionaries, and the hundred odd scholarship men coming back to America every year will be missionaries of France in the highest sense. It is safe to say that if each of these can interpret the spirit of the French people as well as the grand old man who leaves American shores today, Franco-American relations for the future are in safe channels.