5. Enemy propaganda to the contrary,
remember that this man is
not a hypocrite. He is occasionally stupid; he is at times
obstinate; he is frequently high-handed; and often he would
rather be misunderstood than explain. But he is neither
tyrannical nor corrupt. He went into this War because he
felt it his duty to do so, and not because he coveted any
6. Remember that your nation has
done a great deal for this
man’s nation during the War. Tell him all about it: it will
interest him, because he did not know.
Practically every one in this world improves on closer acquaintance. The people with whom we utterly fail to agree are those with whom we never get into close touch.
Individual Americans and Britons, when they get together in one country or the other, usually develope a genuine mutual liking. As nations, however, their attitude to one another is too often a distant attitude—a distance of some three thousand miles, or the exact width of the Atlantic Ocean—and ranges from a lofty tolerance in good times to unreserved bickering in bad. Why? Because they are geographically too far apart. But with the shrinkage of the earth’s surface produced by the effects of electricity and steam, that geographical abyss yawns much less widely than it did. So let us get together, whether in couples or in millions. The thing has to be done. No rearrangement of the world’s affairs after the War can be either just or equitable or permanent which does not find Great Britain and the United States of America upon the same side. What we want is common ground, and a sound basis of understanding. Our present basis—the “Hands-across-the-Sea, Blood-is-thicker-than-Water” basis—is sloppy and unstable. Besides, it profoundly irritates that not inconsiderable section of the American people which does not happen to be of British descent.
We can find a better basis than that. What shall it be? Well, we have certain common ideals which rest upon no sentimental foundations, but upon the bedrock of truth and justice. We both believe in God; in personal liberty; in a Law which shall be inflexibly just to rich and poor alike. We both hate tyranny and oppression and intrigue; and we both love things which are clean, and wholesome, and of good report. Let us take one common stand upon these.
We must take certain precautions. We must bear and forbear. We must forget a good deal that is past. We must make allowances for point of view and differences of temperament. And we must mutually and heroically refrain from utilizing the unrivalled opportunities for repartee and pettiness afforded by the possession of a common tongue.