Dramatic Moments in American Diplomacy/Foreword

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The public apathy in regard to our foreign policy and the cheerful indifference shown by the majority of our people towards the Diplomatic Service has had a baleful influence upon our country. Even since the disclosures of Germany's designs in the world war have turned attention violently towards the realm of world politics, and thrust the slumbering questions of our international rights and duties into the glare of newspaper headlines, the discussion thus aroused in our press and in our legislatures has revealed a comprehensive ignorance of the first principles of our foreign relations. It displays a total disregard for more than a century of painstaking upbuilding by that successful and farseeing body—the American Diplomatic Corps.

It is not and could not be the object of this volume to give a chronological history of the diplomatic achievements of the United States. My purpose is rather to present in simple form a few of the most striking incidents in the service—to picture the outstanding figures and big dramatic actions in our dealings overseas which should be common knowledge to all Americans, but is not.

I have no fear that the story will be old or stale. Part and parcel of our very life though they be, I venture that a large proportion of both the actions and the principles set forth will be not only new but amazing to most readers. Yet they are the A B C of American diplomatic history. I claim no historical erudition whatever. This book adds not a syllable to the literature of the subject, and it is not intended to.

It is hoped that perhaps a narrative, told rather in the language of the man on the street than in the dignified diction of the historian, and setting forth the adventurous and dramatic episodes in the lives of our envoys, the plots they have discovered, the Empires they have defied, the kingdoms they have acquired, may help to create some interest in this most vital matter. It is hoped that it may, for instance, bring some appreciation of the mutual interdependence between Great Britain and America. If the casual reader was aware that under the guiding hand of our Revolutionary heroes we had three times before joined forces with the Navy of Great Britain to face the predatory forces of despotism, and had been defended by that Navy from that day to this, he would be better prepared to debate "the freedom of the seas."

While this book does not pretend to give even a cursory review of American diplomacy, I hope that, having taken this much of a glimpse into our world situation as it has developed, the reader may acquire an appetite for the real facts in the case, for future reference at the primaries, and elsewhere.

R. W. P.

Pinehurst, N. C.
Feb. 8, 1918.