We have heard in recent months the growing volume of criticism from across the water, and with an apologetically guilty conscience we have bowed our heads and accepted the just complaints of our recent allies. Immediate hope of American participation at the League council table is at an end. Are we going to sit back, at a time when our help is most needed to assist in the reconstruction of Europe, and withhold that help?--and do nothing? It is not the American spirit to quit. And from a Harvard man who is now in Europe comes the statement of the true feeling which has crystallized abroad while our Senate continued to disagree over the Treaty.
Professor Whipple of the School of Hygiene sailed last January for Europe where he is to head the Red Cross Commission meeting at Geneva. All activity, he writes, in France, Belgium, and Poland, has been held up pending our entrance into the League of Nations. Rehabilitation of the devasted regions, restoration of means of transportation, even the proper and vitally necessary steps to restore agricultural production to a pre-war basis, have not in any practical way begun. The means are not available for these nations to help themselves without outside assistance, and that assistance they anticipated from the League of Nations, itself helpless without America. If there is one thing Europe needs at the present time it is encouragement, and this we are failing to give. France and England are losing confidence in our sincerity. The criticism of the people is barely echoed in the regrets and insinuations of their governments.
There seems to be a belief among most Americans that with the completion of the war our task, too, ended. The aid which we must render in the future should be of as great and lasting value as any we have rendered in the past. We must build up the civilization that has been torn down. Now that active assistance through the League has been blocked by failure of the Treaty, individual effort must be applied to the task of building up the stricken fields of enterprise. Individual capital, private organizations for reconstruction, must take up the task in the absence of Government action, by lending American resources to give that aid which the Government does not see fit to offer.