For a man who is perpetually saying things that he ought not to say and not saying things he ought to say, Mr. Dulles has made one remarkably good statement on the subject of aid to Hungary. "The captive peoples," he said, "must know that they can draw upon our abundance to tide themselves over the period of economic adjustment which is inevitable as they rededicate their productive efforts to the service of their own people. . ." Standing alone, this statement expresses almost perfectly the attitude which America should present, and follows the lead taken last week by both President Eisenhower and Candidate Stevenson.
Fortunately, Mr. Dulles has not offered the Hungarians aid outright.. Had America pushed aid on them instead of letting them take the initiative, the United States would have appeared to be sponsoring the revolution, as Russia has charged. This, of course, is patently false, and an idea most distasteful to Hungarian revolutionaries and the world's many neutral nations. Furthermore, an outright offer would make American intentions suspect, thus discrediting the ideals of the revolution among some uncommitted Hungarians and other East Europeans. As a reaction against outright American intervention, Hungary's revolution, which retains its Communist aims, could take an unfortunate turn for the worse--back toward allegiance to Soviet Communism. It is important that Hungary be allowed to have her glory undefiled, just as the American Revolution became crystallized before France was requested to step in with important aid.
Aside from considerations of pride, aid for the moment would be impractical. Granted, mobs have called for help, but the appeal must come from Nagy or from any organized government which may happen to replace him. Otherwise, United States aid would amount to illegal interference in the internal affairs of another country and international opportunism of the most blatant sort.
Considering the delicacy of the situation, it is fortunate that Mr. Dulles hit upon the formulation above; it is indeed uncanny, especially considering the context from which it emerged. Over and over in the same address, he reiterates the need for strength in the West ("we cannot rely on the cement of fear alone") and America's "historic role" as a virtuous nation. Also, as usual, he insists on "waging peace."
To Mr. Dulles, and to many Americans, this attitude seems harmless, and moreover, laudable. After all, they think, waging peace is seventy times seven better than waging war. But Dulles, and whatever company he has, fails to realize how aggressive this is. They cannot see that even "virtuous" aggressiveness is offensive to the Indians, the Middle East, and the satellites. To the neutral country, it is not a question of strength and virtue. Both America and Russia are strong, and both say they are virtuous. The real question to them is of motive--does America want the world to be American, or merely non-Russian? The satellites and Asian countries do not want to be Russian. Nor do they want to be American.
In some of his promulgations Mr. Dulles seems partially to have realized this. He has stood for U.N. action and aid only on demand. But, his foreign policy would be vastly improved if he would not also imply that Russia's weakness is America's strength. For the rest of the world wants only to hear that Russia's weakness is Russia's weakness.