This is the first of a series of articles to appear in the Crimson dealing with the newly formed student section of the Foreign Policy Association. The Crimson also intends to report in detail the discussions at the meetings of the Association to be held during the coming year.
The editorial in this (Wednesday) morning's CRIMSON approving the formation of a student membership in the Foreign Policy Association was of course sound in pointing out American over-concentration on purely domestic issues and the necessity for greater awareness of the domestic importance of international relations. Not in our generation has this country been steadily concerned about transoceanic matters; now with local difficulties looming large it is more than ever shrugging its shoulders at Europe and at Asia. But even were this otherwise, the issues are so often technical, so often conducted with the mysterious formalities of diplomatic usage, that one might well doubt the competence of a democracy to handle them with awareness of general implications instead of with sporadic excitability. Indeed observers have asserted that in the foreign field democracy finds consistent policy impossible, and either comes to grief directly in an international imbroglio or falls into such disropute at home that "strong-arm" men are called upon to govern.
Of the Foreign Policy Association many students have probably never heard. Those who have may think of it--and not too unjustly--as, locally at least, a collection of nice old gentlemen and dowagers, sentimentally busied with international relations who meet on Saturday afternoons in that most dowager of hotels, the Copley Plaza. Yet, in the light of the above, their unique and vital importance must be clear: they furnish a tribunal, disinterested and acquainted with the main issues, before whom the State Department must justify, must rationalize its policies, while the research and publicity bureaus which the Foreign Policy supports place an added check on the Departments arbitrary action. The more intelligent state officials appreciate the value of this function, much as judges depend upon and respond to continuous scrutiny from an alert and interested bar. For obviously the officials must act and frame policies whether disinterested outsiders watch or care or no.
Also it must be clear that if the dowagers are thus important in influencing American relations, an alive and intelligent University group would serve that purpose equally or better. The Foreign Policy Association, recognizing this possibility has therefore decided to offer a special student membership and to attempt through University committees to secure adherence from the institutions in and around Boston. Membership, formerly five dollars, has been reduced for them to one dollar; it entails receipt of the weekly bulletins and sporadic larger documents published by the Association dealing with recent international events of American significance, and permits attendance at the discussions, ten a year, held at the Copley on important issues and led by competent statesmen, professors, publicists from all the world.
On Tuesday afternoon plans got under way when students and teachers from various institutions met with Christian A. Herter '14, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Association's Boston branch. A Harvard committee was formed consisting of John H. Morison '35, Henry Walston, Arthur R. Humphries 2G, Comstock Glaser '35, Peregrine White 1L, Gilbert Kerlin '32, a second year law student, and David Riesman, Jr. '31. The committee hopes to organize several luncheon tables, under the tutelage of Carl J. Friedrich, Associate Professor of Government, William P. Maddox, instructor in Government, and Merle Fainsed, instructor in Government, to talk over the topic of each Foreign Policy meeting before the discussion is formally begun.