This gives the impression that he simply wanted the opinion on record, and wanted it duly noted that the clause was unconstitutional so that if there were ever any difficulty, there would be a record of what Roosevelt thought (Ibid). Where does repayment of debt fit into the scheme of things? In his Foreign Affairs article, Louis Rasminsky makes the case that the United States needs to move from its continued plan of isolationism and into a position of being a world player.
Rasminsky advocates the creation of an International Monetary Fund, by which all nations would contribute and the money would be redistributed to the countries that loaned or leased materiel to repay the war debts (Rasminsky, 1944). The International Monetary Fund would also be used to loan money to countries in order to rebuild their infrastructure that was destroyed during the war (Ibid). Rasminsky is also concerned with the exchange of goods, and not just money.
He sees the bigger picture and realizes that the basis of all the problems has been the fact that the United States refused to trade with other nations, and in fact passed restrictive tariffs in the form of Hawley-Smoot which severely restricted the European nations’ ability to trade with the United States. Additionally, the very protectionist attitude that led to the United States being isolated from the world stage in the post World War I era is what caused European nations to come running for help when things got rough.
European nations did not want a handout. They wanted to earn the goods honestly and pay back what they owed. Restrictive measures by the United States did little to help them. In addition to these restrictive measures, things like the Johnson Debt Default Act did nothing to help the countries. The creation of the International Monetary Fund would alleviate the burden on the European nations, plus give them a way to save face on the world stage.
It would also give the United States a chance to open itself up on the world stage and become a world power instead of an isolationistic nation that refused to move from its position and remain a small player. Roosevelt was slowly beginning to remove the barriers of isolationism and bring the United States onto the world stage. Lend-Lease was a very important act in bringing America out of its collective shell and on to the world stage. It also gave us a soft entre into the massiveness of the Second World War.
By gently guiding us into war, Roosevelt gave us a way to extricate ourselves if we decided to get out. In other words, Lend-Lease gave us a way to join the war without getting too dirty. It also allowed us to maintain a modicum of neutrality and isolationism. The constitutionality of the clause in question was simply a bizarre coincidence, and designed to make sure that the President did not expand his powers unnecessarily. The creation of the International Monetary Fund to repay the debts of Lend-Lease and other war debts was a great option, and allowed the United States to take the lead on the world stage.
Options like Lend-Lease should remain on the table for future conflicts, as it allows us to participate without providing troops to regional conflicts. We can learn a lot from the process and use of Lend-Lease and we should continue to apply it to future conflicts. Bibliography Jackson, Robert. “A Presidential Legal Opinion. ” Harvard Law Review, no. 66 (June 1953): 35- 43. Loveman, Brian. For La Patria: Politics and teh Armed Forces in Latin America. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1999. Purvis, Thomas. A Dictionary of American History.
Cambridge : Blackwell Publishers, 1997. Stettinius, Edward. “Lend-Lease Works Both Ways. ” Saturday Evening Post 11, no. 215 (9/12/1942): 116-118. Academic Search Premier. [Online Database. ] Super, John. The United STates At War. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2005. United States Government, “Lend-Lease Act of 1941. ” 1, no. 1 (1941): 1-3. Academic Search Premier. [Dateabase online. ] 2009. White, Donald. The American Century: The Rise and Decline of the United States As A World Power. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.