- To the Editor of The Nation
- The Johns Hopkins University Press and Faber & Faber Ltd
- View Citation
- Additional Information
772 ] To the Editor of The Nation1 The Nation (London), 24 (9 Nov 1918) 158, 160 SIR,–AsanAmericanofsomeyears’residenceinthiscountry,Ifeelimpelled to call attention to the conflict actually taking place between President Wilson and his domestic opponents. The information obtainable through English newspapers is meagre and the importance of the issue may easily be overlooked. It bears not only on the coming peace conference, but on future Anglo-American relations. TheRepublicanparty,nowtheopposition,hasforsometimepastapplied itself to the publication of its grievances against the party in power. Many of these grievances, including charges of administrative incompetence, concerntheAmericanpeoplealone.Manyarequitelikelytobewellfounded; with the exception of a small number of men close to the President, the Democratic Party is probably inferior to the Republican in the quality of its leaders. More recently, however, the Republicans have not confined themselves to criticism of internal policy of internal blunders; some of their spokesmen have attacked Mr. Wilson’s foreign policy, or maintained tenets wholly opposed to that policy. The effect of this campaign will soon be patent, if it is not already visible, inthiscountry.SolongasitwassupposedthatMr.Wilsonwasunanimously supported by his own countrymen, his policy was acclaimed with universal approval by the English Press; now that domestic dissension has asserted itself, we may expect to discover who are and who are not Mr. Wilson’s sincere supporters in England. You have stated in The Nation that “The old guard of the Republican party, with Senator Lodge at its head, is undoubtedly opposing, as openly as it dare, the whole League of Nations idea.”2 An examination of some of Mr. Lodge’s speeches confirms the accuracy of this allegation. The attitude of Senator Lodge and his friends will not find favor with those elements in this country which have favored President Wilson’s peace programme. My question is, whether it should commend itself to any English opinion whatever. HenryCabotLodgehasbeensenatorfromMassachusettsforsomeyears, and he has the best connexions in Boston society. He belongs to a section [ 773 To the Editor of The Nation of the American public which has loyally supported Great Britain from the beginning of the war. And his peace programme certainly appears to offer as much historical advantage to England as England could ask. He would seem, in short, to be at least as good a friend to England as President Wilson is. But his policy is potentially even more nationalistic than it is at present pro-British. The “Old Guard” of his party is traditionally associated with a high protective tariff, and Senator Lodge is traditionally associated with the Old Guard. The history and composition of the Republican party and the present emergencies of its mere conservative elements do not encourage one to believe that it would sacrifice business interest to international amity. It would mean universal disaster if the participation of America in the war does not lead to closer friendships and understanding, to freer intercourse of ideas, between America and England. No understanding based on economic interest alone could survive; even the legitimate interests of the two countries may cause delicate situations; the economic interests of America and England are compatible, but not identical; there are difficulties to be solved, and suspicions to be dispelled. Should affairs be simultaneously directed by Extremist factions in both countries, it is hardly to be expected that the extremes would meet. Nothing but ideas can bind the two countries together. Since the entry of America into the War, the Republican party has not yet succeeded in producing a single idea of importance. The question whether America should not have entered the war earlier is now a dead issue. The policy of President Wilson is the only one which offers any security for the continuance and development of Anglo-American harmony.–Yours, etc, T. S. Eliot Notes 1. This letter was printed under the editorial title “The Future of Anglo-American Relations.” 2. In its “Events of the Week” column of 2 Nov, The Nation, which supported President Wilson’s Fourteen-Point Peace Plan, reported that Wilson had allegedly “interfered” in the congressional elections due on 5 Nov, leading to accusations of “political profiteering” and “advocating Free Trade” by the Republicans. The column concluded that “Far more turns on these elections than on our own. They may confirm Mr. Wilson’s world-wide and beneficent power, or cripple it” (118). Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924), Republican senator since 1893 and at this time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, successfully opposed President Wilson’s attempt to make the United States a member...