Republicans and Foreign Policy

August 27, 1948

Report Outline
Foreign Policy and the Presidential Election
Republicans and Bipartisan Foreign Policy
Party Differences on U. S. Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Views of Dewey and Dulles
Special Focus

Foreign Policy and the Presidential Election

The Recent exchange between President Truman and A Gov. Dewey over the Republican nominee's remarks on disposition of the Italian colonies demonstrated that adherence of the two major parties to a so-called bipartisan foreign policy will not keep foreign affairs out of the 1948 presidential campaign. Dewey is not expected to make issues of any questions in the realm of foreign relations that bear directly on national security. But when the President took his political opponent to task, Aug. 19, for advocating return of the Italian colonies to Italy under a United Nations trusteeship, Dewey's secretary issued a statement saying that the Governor felt under “solemn obligation to lay fully and frankly before the American people his views on world affairs and the steps he considers necessary in the interests of the United States and the peace of the world.”

The Republican platform suggested the extent to which the G. O. P. would feel bound to exclude foreign affairs from partisan treatment in the campaign when it spoke of “those limited areas of foreign policy” in which Republicans had been “permitted to participate.” At a press conference, July 1, Dewey likewise distinguished between those questions of foreign policy which had been the subject of bipartisan collaboration and those on which he said Republicans had not been consulted in advance. He seemed to limit the first category mainly to the United Nations and the European Recovery Program. In the second category he placed the Greek-Turkish policy, the “entire China policy or lack of policy,” and handling of the Palestine problem. Those questions, he indicated, would be the object of Republican campaign criticism. And his Aug. 19 statement made it plain, as had the statement on the Italian colonies two days earlier, that he would also discuss other foreign policy matters.

Foreign Policy Platform Planks of Major Parties

Dewey's disposition to campaign on foreign as well as domestic issues apparently had been strengthened by the Democratic party's inclusion in its platform of what the Republican nominee referred to, July 14, as “extremely partisan and provocative assertions concerning foreign affairs.” The Democrats took full credit for originating the bipartisan foreign policy and failed to acknowledge Republican cooperation in execution of the policy. On the contrary, the platform implied that Democrats alone were responsible for organizing the United Nations, for extending postwar aid to other countries, and for forging “the instruments for resisting Communist aggression.” However, so far as pledges of future action in the foreign field are concerned, there are few differences between the Democratic and Republican platforms. Those that occur are, for the most part, variations of emphasis rather than of substance.

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