Cooper a distinguished engineer engaged in building

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Cooper, a distinguished engineer engaged in building the Dnieper dam, come talk to him about Russia. Though he was not ready to offer recog-nition in the spring of 1933, his actions were another expression of his desire to improve the state of world affairs.6 Nothing in world affairs, however, loomed as large for him as the im-pending Washington talks on the world economy. He appreciated that world economic recovery and international political stability depended on getting some measure of agreement in these discussions. But formidable obstacles stood in the way. "There never was a time when an economic conference looked less hopeful or was more needed," Tugwell wrote in a newspaper article shortly before the preliminary conversations in Wash-
40 INTERNATIONALIST AS NATIONALIST, 1932-34 ington."Measures taken by nations individually with the hope of pro-tecting themselves from the impact of the depression," he explained, "have further restricted the exchange of goods and aggravated the dis-tress." Though the nations of the world now appreciated that recovery would be very difficult without common international action, their tradi-tional ways of doing things made this an unlikely event. But even if it were to occur, he foresaw no more than a start toward the revival of world economic life. "Privately," Tugwell wrote in his diary, "we have no hope, or hardly any, that anything will come of it." America's departure from gold on the eve of the preliminary discussions added to this belief. Roosevelt's action infuriated the British and the French. London viewed it as a blow to Britain's export trade, while Paris saw it as a threat to the gold-backed franc. Moreover, because FDR acted while MacDonald and Herriot were on their way to the United States, London and Paris believed it an attempt to improve America's bargaining position in the talks. "The whole business," one English paper declared, "has been deliberately planned in cold blood as a piece of diplomatic blackmail." 7 But whatever the appearances, Roosevelt badly wanted to establish fundamental points of monetary and economic agreement with his visi-tors as initial steps toward a successful world conference. His principal guests reciprocated this wish.Britain's sixty-six-year-old Prime Minister, former Labor Party leader,Ramsay MacDonald,held a "mystic confi-dence ... in his providential call to save the world from its present crisis." More to the point, his continued leadership of a national gov-ernment dominated by Conservatives seemed to require some success in Washington. His French counterpart, Edouard Herriot, who had been forced out of the premiership in December 1932 over his advocacy of paying the war debt to the United States, hoped to vindicate his stance by achieving some agreement with the Americans.

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