Source: Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr., justifies a Bipartisan Foreign Policy, 1947

May 12, 1947

You ask me whether there is any "precedent" for the action we are taking in Greece and Turkey. Of course, there are many partial precedents in respect to relief for stricken countries and even for "military missions." But I doubt whether there is any over-all "precedent." But I am afraid we cannot rely upon "precedents" in facing the utterly unprecedented condition in the world today.

Certainly there is no "precedent" for today's world-wide cleavage between democracy and communism. Perhaps, however, there is something of a "parallel" in remembering what occurred prior to a similar cleavage between democracy and naziism when we surely learned that we cannot escape trouble by trying to run away from it and when "appeasement" proved to be a fatal investment. Of course, we shall never know whether history would have been different if we had all stood up to the aggressor at Munich. But at least we know what it cost to "lie down." Perhaps this is a "precedent" . . .

Greece must be helped or Greece sinks permanently into the communist order. Turkey inevitably follows. Then comes the chain reaction which might sweep from the Dardanelles to the China sea. . . . I do not know whether our new American policy can succeed in arresting these subversive trends (which ultimately represent a direct threat to us). I can only say that I think the adventure is worth trying as an alternative to another "Munich" and perhaps to another war (against the occurrence of which every human effort must be made).

March 24, 1947

The trouble is that these "crises" never reach Congress until they have developed to a point where Congressional discretion is pathetically restricted. When things finally reach a point where a President asks us to "declare war" there usually is nothing left except to "declare war." In the present instance, the over-riding fact is that the President has made a long-delayed statement regarding Communism on-the-march which must be supported if there is any hope of ever impressing Moscow with the necessity of paying any sort of peaceful attention to us whatever. If we turned the President down-after his speech to the joint Congressional session-we might as well either resign ourselves to a complete Communist encirclement and infiltration or else get ready for World War No. Three. . . .