In her apartment high above midtown Manhattan, Clare Boothe -- America's most photogenic intellectual--was blasting some of the arguments used to oppose the Hoover Plan for feeding the five small democracies. "Of course it may help the Germans, but it will help as a great deal more. By starving those peoples we will be developing a race of weaklings completely unfit for operating a liberal democracy."
"These days things humanitarian are hard to find, so when you get something that's both Christion and politic then you should hit it as hard as you can."
Having put this point across the chic blonde whose personal appearance belies her cranial capacity leaned back and lit her fourth cigarrette. She explained that she would not be able to come up to Harvard to speak in support of the Hoover Plan because she and her hus-husband. "Time"-publisher Henry Luce, were leaving the following week for Chung-king.
She continued by saying that although she was an interventionist she still thought that "the very concept of war--profiting by others' troubles--is completely immoral. It's the immorality of being tickled to death seeing someone mutilated. After all in the worst Harvard-Yale fray no Harvard rooter gets up and cheers when a Yale man gets kicked in the groin. But that's exactly the attitude war breeds. I'm convinced that we in the United States have a great opportunity to take some of the stigma away from the war by doing something decent at the same time."
"From a political point of view I've always felt it would have been better if Churchill had outlined his reasons for the blockade of these small countries and then left the decision up to the American people. The issue would have been debated at great length, but either way a decision was made I think it would have been to Britain's advantage".
"If the U. S. did decide to send the food abroad, the public would admire the British gallantry and feel doubly responsible to support them and see that no harm came to them from this American action. On the other hand if we rejected the plan, the burden of liberating these peoples would be on us and we would be under obligation to see them freed."
As she was putting together the bits of this argument Miss Boothe leaned further and further forward until the final sentence found her sitting bolt upright on the edge of her chair. She reached down for another cigarette, lit it and continued.
"On the question of delivery the British may have a point. There are not enough bottoms to go around and if it becomes a question of ships for British guns or fat for Holland--then I think they have a case. But there are still some sources of neutral shipping. The Swedish ships would be available for this sort of work and certainly never for guns for Britain. The Swedes are too much under German domination.
"The Germans are trying to use food as a weapon. To people who'll work in their factories and camps food is a bribe. We can use food as a weapon too, for supporting those who share with us a distrust of totalitarian governments.
"Nobody can intelligently say what ought to be done who doesn't have all the facts at their command. But if the Hoover facts are accurate and the ships are available I can see no good reason for opposing the plan."