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During the mid-1960s, as tensions grew between the United States and Europe, many

sought a re-evaluation and updating of trans-Atlantic ties.

MARCH 1967





James A. Ramsey, a former Foreign Service officer and frequent con-

tributor to the


, was president of International Affairs Associ-

ates, an organization specializing in foreign trade questions. At the

time of writing in 1967, he had recently returned from a three-month

tour of 15 European countries, both East and West. Here are excerpts

of his article by the same title that appeared in the

March 1967 FSJ



s a result of WorldWar II and its

disasters, the United States has for

over 20 years been a participant on

the European scene on a scale not

before known in its history. During

this time the Americans have estab-

lished a strong military presence in

the Western half of the continent

and have actively influenced the

defense, foreign and, to a certain extent, even the internal policies

of most of the states in this area.

In retrospect, the development of an active American role in

European affairs appears to have been both inevitable and neces-

sary—inevitable because the Europeans managed their own affairs

so badly that U.S. intervention was required to save the situation;

and necessary, at least from the Americans’ point of view, in order

that the security of their country should not again be threatened

from that part of the world.

In the early postwar period, the U.S. presence on the European

continent was generally taken for granted as a natural conse-

quence of the most disastrous conflict in history. Evenmore,

Americans were, with few exceptions, welcome there both as a

stabilizing influence and for the economic resources they pos-

sessed. The strong Soviet challenge to the existing political and

social order made the development of an effective counterforce

appear more essential than ever, and the American presence was





in time institutionalized through a military alliance and a series of

other collaborative arrangements.

Until recently the relationships so created were accepted by

most West Europeans as being in the natural order of things. Since

the Soviet Union was generally less than accommodating toward

its Western neighbors, the latter were only too glad to have the

active support and assistance of a major power in their efforts to

rebuild the political, economic and social structures shattered by

the war.

This state of affairs is now undergoing a substantial transfor-

mation with changes occurring almost daily. The reasons for the

changes are complex and range from certain resentment over

U.S. predominance on the continent to uneasiness concerning

the American stance on various world problems. The underlying

cause, however, appears to be a desire on the part of all Europeans,

both inWest and East, to lead again a normal life free from the ten-

sions and threats of cold and occasional hot wars.

Changes Afoot in Europe

In this picture of an order which the Europeans are now grop-

ingly fashioning for themselves, the United States occupies a much

less prominent place than it has been accustomed to assume in the

past. In a sense this is only natural in that if the Europeans show

competence in handling their own affairs, there is a reduced need

for intervention by an outside power. But evenmore, it reflects a

growing feeling of urgency on the part of the Europeans about put-

ting their own house in order.

The desire of the Western Europeans for greater stability arises

both from the abnormality of the circumstances created by the war

and its aftermath, and from a growing realization that the United

States no longer has the answers to the problems facing their conti-

nent. For many years, the U.S. position on vital issues affecting their

countries was accepted without serious questioning by European



APRIL 2017