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The following contains the answers to a questionnaire sent to all Rotary clubs outside of the USA, by Rotary Club of Rawlins, Wyoming. See previous story The questionnaire itself is, so far, lost to history, so one must imagine the questions to ones best ability.

However, this much is known. It was this event in Rotary's history which caused Paul Harris to suggest that Rotary should be a strictly "non-political" organization.



(1) There does not exist in England an unfriendly feeling towards

U.S.A., nor, as far as we can judge, does such a feeling prevail to any general extent among other European Nations. It is a fact however, that friendly resentment is felt against U.S.A., this is due to an number of causes, some of which we attempt to explain in the following answers.

We think the misunderstanding between America and Europe is chiefly due to the difference in the economic conditions which obtain in the two continents, and to a lack of understanding of each others internal and domestic problems.

Most of the Nations in Europe have been financially crippled by the War and their condition, contrasted with American prosperity, has perhaps created a feeling of jealousy and envy. It is felt that America was started on an unparalleled period of prosperity through profits which she made by supplying war material before she entered the conflict on the side of the Allies.

We think the psychological effect of prosperity on the American mentality has resulted in a feeling of false security and superiority, this has led her to ignore the problems and entanglements of the older European civilizations, and she has as far as possible adopted an attitude of aloof isolation in international affairs.

Since U.S.A. has been involved in the World Slump, her sense of financial security has been shaken, as has that of most other Nations. The crisis emphasizes that modern civilization can only be maintained by international co-operation and agreement. We think our common difficulties should have the beneficial effect of bringing America and the other Nations into closer understanding. ..........................................

(2) We think U.S.A. should become a member of the League of Nations;

the League cannot have an effective influence on international affairs unless all the great powers are in it.

The League was founded by President Wilson and it is strongly felt in Europe that the greatest setback to world peace was sustained when Congress repudiated President Wilson and withdrew from the League ...............................................

(3) We are members of a debtor Nation, therefore our opinion may be

biased, but the general feeling in Europe s that War Debts should be cancelled by U.S.A.

The efforts made by U.S.A. which helped to terminate the War in favour of the Allies, cannot be forgotten, but it is felt that the other Allies had to make proportionately greater sacrifices in lives and money owing to the longer period during which they were engaged in the War, whereas America derived enormous prosperity from it until she entered during the latter part of the conflict.

It is considered that the money loaned by America to the Allies for the conduct of the War, was expended in the common cause, and therefore it is not unreasonable to ask America to make a gesture of renunciation and relieve the European Nations of an unproductive debt which can only be repaid in gold. The removal of this burden should be of great practical and moral help in assisting the revival of world trade. America should indirectly benefit by assisting to put the European Nations in a financial position to trade with her.

We attempt to briefly explain the British position in regard to War Debts in order to show that we have on our part endeavoured to carry out the principle which we had hoped that America would adopt.

The total British War expenditure in U.S.A. has been estimated at 2,400,000, 000. Britain borrowed approximately 1,000,000,000 from America, which was spent in America, and the materials purchased were passed on to the Allies. Britain could have borne her own War expenditure, this debt to America was incurred on behalf of the Allies.

At the end of the War, it has been estimated that Britain was owed by other European Nations, 3,400,000,000. 588,000,000 was owed by Russia and it had to be written off as a bad debt. These figures do not include any reparations from Germany.

It was not in a spirit of pure philanthropy, but because she considered it a sane constructive policy towards world trade revival, that Britain agreed to cancel all her War Debts, except the amount she herself had to pay to U.S.A. When she gave this undertaking she sacrificed 1,000,000,000.

Britain has received from her debtors only half the amount which she has paid to U.S.A., the other half has been met by British Taxpayers and amounts to 134,000,000 and when interest is taken into account, the sum reaches 200,000,000. ....................................

(4) We consider that it is impossible to ensure complete disarmament

owing to the difficulty of devising a form of physical inspection and control. We think an Arms Holiday for ten years would assist the cause of peace. ......................................

(5) Under present conditions we think it would be foolish for U.S.A.

to dismantle her Navy, as she would increasingly become vulnerable to attack from better armed and more aggressive Nations. It is felt however, that America could help disarmament by limiting her own naval armament. It seems at the present time that America preaches disarmament in Europe while she is leading a world race for naval arms.

(6) We think if a Referendum Vote were taken from the citizens of all

the Nations, it might give moral proof of a universal desire for peace, but that this vote would be of no practical value in preventing war if national passions were aroused. ......................................

(7) We are of the opinion that it would benefit U.S.A. to lower her

tariff barriers. U.S.A. as a creditor Nation holding a large proportion of he World's gold, should not in her own interest make it more difficult for other Nations to trade with her, by raising prohibitive tariff barriers.


(8) We consider we are unqualified to judge America's Immigration Laws,

but we appreciate that a Nation comprising a number of races, must endeavour to preserve the dominant proportion of her best stock; this might become extinct if the laws were weakened and the country were flooded by people of inferior type and physique.

It seems to us that there are a number of irritating formalities in connection with disembarkation which might be dispensed with or modified. ....................................

(9) We are unable to comprehend the gist of this question.


(10) The Church is not sufficiently unanimous to exercise a strong

international influence, therefore, we consider circumstances might arise under which she might be justified in acquiescing in war, but she should use every effort to prevent such a catastrophe. ...........................................

(11) We consider commercial rivalries might be abolished by forming

industrial federations of States in each continent and by the continents co-operating under a system of rationalisation and quotas. .........................................

(12) We consider R.I. should do more to encourage contacts between the

members of different Nations and endeavour to educate her members more thoroughly in international problems.

R.I. might also give strong support to any religious or spiritual movement which helps to counteract the spirit of materialism and "grab-all" which is prevalent throughout the world today. ........................................

We think this questionnaire is one of the small ways in which Rotary may help members of different continents to appreciate each others national viewpoint.

Basil Lewis

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