New York's Mayor LaGuardia, in his capacity as President of the United States Conference of Mayors, recently refused to accept an invitation to a congress of the International Union of Local Authorities to be held next month at Berlin. He declined on the ground that "it would be a paradox to hold a conference on municipal government in a nation where local self-government has been obliterated." Mayor LaGuardia's refusal smacks more of a consistently biased opinion than any reasoned judgment.
It is indeed hard to understand why the nationality or political convictions of a particular section of the world should have any influence over the discussions of an international congregation. Citizens of democratic countries are becoming increasingly huffy and high-handed with dictatorial governments like Fascism and Naziism, but to what end? Autocracies, disagreeable as they may seem to a liberal people, must be dealt with. We who have been born and bred in democratic traditions are wont to treat European dictatorships like provisional governments merely waiting for the day of democratic revelation.
Mayor LaGuardia, and the many mayors of all large cities in the United States whom he represents, refuse to recognize the reality of present German politics and the possibility, if not probability, of their long continuation. Their attitude does infinite damage to international feeling, and positively no good to anyone.