The climate at Paris this week can grow considerably colder unless the American delegation becomes considerably warmer. The representatives of the U.S., from page-boy to President, seem to have brought their anti-Soviet smugness with them into the conference room.
But in the face of recent Russian advances, technological and propagandistic, our allies are less ready than ever to countenance our uncompromising and bellicose attitude. They are no longer convinced that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. The President's heroic epithets and titanic cliches in the Palais de Chaillot seem to be falling on skeptical and impatient ears.
It appears that Mr. Stevenson's moderate and yielding policy has been left at home with its author. But now more than ever before America must at least seem willing to listen to opposing arguments and the advocates of diplomatic arbitration. Regardless of our subsequent action, we must restore our allies' confidence by adopting a frank and temperate posture before them.
The strategy behind the grandiose words and quixotic gestures filling the NATO meeting this week probably is intended to give the lie to recent Soviet boasts and bellows. America is trying to show her friends that she is not the slightest bit impressed by the Kremlin's noises. But obviously, our allies are impressed.
It would be a mistake to attempt to allay their fears by waving America's big stick in the faces of Mr. Macmillan and M. Gaillard. Rather, the U.S. must appear a bit more tractable, more the friend and less the Protector. Words, in this case, can be mightier than The Word. An open ear is often more effective than an open mouth.