JUNE 27, 1944
NEW YORK, Monday—Over the air there came yesterday the news of the tremendous gains of the Russians. Marshal Stalin is quoted as prophesying the collapse of Germany at almost any moment!
Of course, none of us can tell when that collapse will actually take place, but when it does take place, the months of planning which have been going on, first under the military authorities covering their period of responsibility and then under the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Committee, will bear fruit.
I could not help thinking again, however, of the steps which must follow. Do you remember an article which came out in the New York Sunday Times of August 15, 1943, written by Mr. Upton Sinclair, entitled "To Solve the German Problem—A Free State?" I mentioned it at the time but have since reread it. He reminded us that, on entering Europe, we would find that Germany had wiped out, during the war, the lines of competition among the different countries, had centralized all industry, thus doing away with tariff walls, customs, etc., for the whole of Europe.
In his article, Mr. Sinclair made the suggestion that, wherever Germany had concentrated this economic empire, we create a free state and set up a corporation made up of representatives of all the United Nations, to run these industries and manage this free state for the whole of Europe. It would be a non-profit undertaking planned along the lines of a great cooperative. This would be the most rapid way of providing people of Europe with the things they must have to become self-sustaining, Mr. Sinclair thought. He listed, as the immediate needs, farm machinery, textiles, processing plants, canning factories, railroad rolling stock, automobiles. In fact, everything which people need to start again a peacetime economy would have to be created from scratch.
Whether Mr. Sinclair's idea of a free state and a non-profit corporation or cooperative organization is a good one or not, I cannot tell. However, I am glad that, as much as a year ago, he threw out this challenge, for I am sure it must have started many competent people to work on the problem of how the people of Europe are to be provided with these necessities as rapidly as possible. It is obvious that it will take a long time to unscramble everything the Nazis have done. Therefore, if we can use what they have set up to the advantage of the whole of Europe, it is worth considering.
Perhaps these plans have already been made, but I am sure the people of the world are anxious to know about them, for uncertainty on all of these problems must weigh heavily on men and women all over Europe, and we too will be greatly affected by whatever is undertaken.