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The Western Mail, Wednesday, June 27th, 1934


But Mr. Hearst Wants Debts Question Settled

By Gareth Jones

“If the British Empire and the United States had the greatest sea and air forces in the world they could probably (if the had the sense and unselfishness) work together to make sure that peace and security of the world be maintained.”

William Randolph Hearst, the biggest figure in the American newspaper world made this confession of his faith in the Anglo-Saxon peoples to me in an interview yesterday at St. Donat’s Castle, his Welsh seat. 

“ There has not been universal peace in the world since the ‘Peace of Rome‘ 1,800 years ago, when Rome dominated the world and compelled for some centuries at least conditions which fostered peace and progress,” he said. 

“I have always hoped that a cooperative union of English-speaking peoples could accomplish the same beneficial results.”

Then I asked a few questions.  Here they are, with Mr. Hearst’s replies: - 

Barrier to Union 

Is not the continuation of the war debts question a barrier to this union? 

Mr. HEARST: Unfortunately, the repudiation of the debts has to a degree destroyed mutual confidence and esteem.  I wish it could be settled fairly. 

Was not America’s contribution to the War millions of dollars, whilst that of Britain and France was millions of men? 

Mr. HEARST: It was their war, not ours.  The Allies said: “Our backs are to the wall, and it you do not come in we shall be destroyed.”  But now they have their obligation to us.

We in Wales were amused at your statement that England had “welshed on her debt.”  Now that you have lived in Wales do you think that “welshing” is a Welsh characteristic? 

Mr. Hearst has definitely a sense of humour.  He twinkled in the first part of his reply and then grew serious. 

“‘Welshing on a debt’ is a phrase devised by Englishmen to gratify the vanities and prejudices of Englishmen,” he said. 

“But I said on Sunday, in an interview, that since England had defaulted on its debt it would be more proper and more accurate and more definitely descriptive to say that a man who had repudiated his obligations had ‘Englished’ on his debt. 

“I do not know any occasion, public or private, when the Welsh have repudiated obligations.  Certainly there has never been in all history such a con­spicuous example of national default of honourable obligations voluntarily incurred and advantageously employed as the repudiation of England’s debt to America. 

League of  Nations 

Do you believe that the League of Nations can preserve peace? 

Mr. HEARST:  I do not believe that peace is to be established in a League of Nations the majority of whose members are warlike.  The present League of Nations is not a Peace League, and the peaceful nations, instead of influencing the warlike nations and leading them into peaceful paths, will inevitably be dragged into the wars of the warlike nations. 

For this reason I have urged that America should keep free from all entanglements with the present League of Nations, which is controlled - and selfishly controlled - by the European Powers.

I should think that the people of the British Empire would feel the same way, and I am already confident that the people of the Dominions do feel the same way. 

I next mentioned Lord Davies’s ideal of an international police force, but it aroused no enthusiasm in Mr. Hearst. 

“I should be opposed to an inter-national police force,” he said. “I do not want anything that would commit us to the possibility of being dragged into another war.

“The supporters of the League of Nations advocate that we must put our teeth into the Kellogg Pact.  That means that we must put bayonets into the Kellogg Pact. Those are the teeth of war.” 

Japanese Menace 

What do you think of President Roosevelt’s naval plans, in view of the Japanese menace? 

Mr. HEARST: I think the President’s idea is that the world should disarm in the interests of peace and civilisation, but if there is to be a world race in armaments the United States is not going to be outdistanced and endangered in the race. 

The Congress has given the Roosevelt Administration billions to spend in providing employment for the people.   The people who need work might just as well be employed in building ships for the defence of our nation as in any other way. 

Japan says she wants a great navy and can afford it. 

I don't think that any civilised nation can really afford to spend in armaments the money which should be devoted to developing the arts of peace, but the United States will surely not allow the forces of Japanese aggression to surpass our forces for defence. 

War-like Japan 

Japan is a warlike nation.  The United States is a peaceful nation.  We are so much opposed to war that we are willing to spend freely our treasure and our blood to keep our shores free from warlike attack and from the horrors of invasion. 

It there is to be a contest in shipbuilding and aeroplane building the British Empire and the United States will win the contest. 

First, because they have the determination and the endurance.

Second, because they have the money.

Third, because the extent of their territory and the necessity of maintaining and protecting communication all over this territory provide the necessity for great fleets on the sea and in the air even in peace, and those flotillas of peace may easily be transformed into squadrons of war. 

Case of China 

I have advocated that we keep our hands off the situation in the Far East, for I believe that we should not entangle our nation in the disputes of aliens.  If China cannot take care of herself it is her own fault, and it is due to an ultra-pacifist policy that prevented China from adequately protecting herself.  If a nation of 350,000,000 people cannot defend herself from the aggression of a nation of 90,000,000 people, that is her misfortune.  We can sympathise with her; we can sorrow at her folly; but there is no reason why we should entangle ourselves in her disaster. 

Roosevelt’s Cheerfulness 

My final question was: “What do you think of President Roosevelt’s influence?” 

Mr. HEARST replied:   “Roosevelt’s cheerfulness has been a fine factor in his work for the American people.  Wilson said that a depression was largely psychological.  It helps to end the depression if the public can be kept from being depressed. Mr. Roosevelt exercises a heartening and inspiring influence.”








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