chapter  13
7 Pages

The American Way in Foreign Policy

It is not surprising that Mr George Kennan’s recent book should have attracted so much attention both in the United States and here.1 Despite its slenderness, it is a book that deserves careful study and that will, or should, provoke much salutary reflection, and that not only among Mr Kennan’s countrymen. But the most remarkable thing about the book is that it should ever have been published and written at all. Here is an author who has been for a quarter of a century an official of the American foreign service, rising to be the director of the Policy Planning Staff set up after the Second World War with the object, he tells us, of ‘looking at problems from the standpoint of the totality of American national interest, as distinct from a portion of it’. Does our Foreign Office have such a department or even feel the need for it, or is foreign policy still the same hand-tomouth improvization that one would gather to be the case from certain recent incidents in Britain’s relations with foreign countries? Is the need of such long term and all-round study appreciated? Would we have men of Mr Kennan’s calibre to manage such a department if one were to be set up?