William Yandell Elliott spoke Tuesday night on "The Polities of One World," and it seemed like a pretty good idea to go and hear him. Evidently the 200-odd people who sat for an hour and a half in the Littauer auditorium thought so too. They were as attentive as a pack of Freshmen sitting down for the first time in History 1.
For me, the most interesting, and perhaps the most newsworthy part of his speech was the mention of a forth-coming official paper that will show how the countries of Eastern Europe are being squeezed dry by the Soviet Union, and that they face a possible deterioration--and soon--as the direct result of being yanked out of their normal and necessary trade relations with the West. And Professor Elliott said he was happy that the Communists were running things in Bulgaria, Romania, etc.... because they'd be blamed for it, and rightly.
There was a good deal of rustic rostrum-thumping about the specter of "red fascism" as a world menace, something you'd expect to hear just about anywhere except in Littauer. But between these blasts he made careful and professorial defenses of the position of the United States. In the address, he kept to a general support of the Truman Doctrine. Our "imperialism" always has been pretty shoddy, he said, meaning that it has been half-hearted, naive, and oven sort of generous. He then took the occasion to compare our expansion and that of the Soviets--the Truman and Stalin Doctrines--and concluded that the men who created what he termed "the Russian ice age" must be mystified at our decadent lack of ruthlessness."
Our record, for all its blunders, he said, was that of a country that sincerely desired peace and "one world." The U.S. has always been ready for the millenium, he continued, but has unfortunately been balked at almost every turn by Russia. About our activities in Greece, Elliott declared that we would be "untrue to our tradition" if we held back. He spared no pains to remind his audience of Soviet machinations in Eastern Europe, which he felt were "violations as flagrant as any in history" of agreements between nations.
Questions about such sore snots as Greece and China were handled neatly. The audience was amiable and the only real seething followed his attack on U.S. support of the UN Palestine partition plan. He prefaced his denunciation with the remark that he's smelled a rat when the Russians agreed with us.
Elliott was convinced that Palestine was merely another Russian football, and that we were about to be mouse-trapped on it. He thought that Zionism would totter off the stage just as quickly as "indoctrinated" Jews from central Europe were ushered in.
He pounded the perfectionists who roared like lions when the San Francisco conference in 1945 didn't whip up a lovely world government. The all-or-nothing group is still moaning about the "lost chance," but Elliott declared that such a full-blown super-state, if somebody had tried to enforce it, would have torn the world to tatters right there and then. The men who framed the charter were practical, he said; they knew that the basic differences between the big powers were too great for paper laws to resolve.
Elliott drew some chuckles when he referred to the State Department (not the recent string of Secretaries of State) as those "poor devils." And when he made a sly remark about "omniscient" PM. "The Daily Worker" was always good for a laugh.
But aside from the gags and the wall-shaking blobs of oratory, the most lasting impression created by Elliott's speech was that the men in the Kremlin are black-hearted so-and-sos, while by comparison, we are a bunch of choir boys.