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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 5. May 7, 1946

Debating Society Condemns American Foreign Policy

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Debating Society Condemns American Foreign Policy

"A clash between opinions already held; scoring of points, however trivial; use of dishonest tricks of argument; selection of one-way material." This was the definition of debating quoted by Mr. W. J. Scott during his judgment of the debate on Friday, April 5. In spite of this, he found the dialectic standard high, but considered the interjectors had "an almost pathological tendency to irrelevance," and displayed a remarkable facility in "argumentum ad hominem, and especially ad feminam." He placed the speakers as follows; Miss Patrick, Mr. Collins, Mr. O'Connor, Mr. Falconer, Mr. O'Brien, Mr. Hume. The audience gave its verdict in favour of the motion, which was "that the present foreign policy of the USA is one of imperialist expansion." Mr. Scott thought the affirmative deserved their win.

Mr. Falconer: "Imperialism is no longer acquiring empires by conquest; it is the economic, military and political domination of one country by another." Mr. Churchill, that one bold democrat, now the running-dog of American imperialism ... a foreign policy dominated by the same type of interest a as financed Germany and Japan, by standard Oil, General Electric. Dupont and J. P. Morgan." The fact that his speech was received in attentive silence appeared to indicate that his arguments were provoking some thought.

Mr. O'Connor: "We've heard a lot of half truths from the other side." (Interjection (hereinafter referred to as Int.): "We'll hear some more now.") "Mr. Falconer has really been talking about imperialist investment. There has been no interference with the sovereign rights or nations. In British and French imperialism the flag followed the investment, now the flag stays at home. America declined to control the Chinese forces or to interfere in Greece, and invited the Panama Republic to join in the defence of the Canal Zone! His arguments were well marshalled but he lost ground by an irrelevant attach on the USSR, and by adopting a truculent attitude to the audience.

Miss Patrick: "Imperialism is no longer flag waving; it is a policy of maintaining financial superiority and ensuring favourable conditions for monopoly capitalism. In Japan, USA rules by conquest, accepting only the advice it wants. She ousted the military Baron's, not for love of democracy but for love of Wall Street. Reports of US forces leaving China do not mention what 45,000 Marines are doing there (pandemonium) in the daytime. She was amusing, lucid, and well informed.

Mr. R. W. Smith told a shaggy dog story about soviet designs on occupied territories. "Where will they go after Berlin?" (Int.: "Into the Irish Free State.") "America's foreign policy is guided by idealism. She has no more love of Wall Street than we have for the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street."

The odds....

Mr. Higgin: "Inevitability of imperialism…too shrewd to wave flags…harnesses nationalism in front of the cart…Miss Patrick with the aid of Spanish I.

Miss Kelly: "No consistent policy for the last 50 years…dominated by electioneering power seekers,"

Mr. O'Klynn: "Did we depend on USA in vain?"

Mr. Collins: "USA insists on keeping the secrets of the atom bomb because she emerged from the war as the dominant imperialist power. The American century…China America's India…blatant intervention." Mr. Collins is our pick for Union Prize.

Mr. Solomon: "Insidious campaign to make NZ the 49th State…monopoly of the taxicab service… con-canonistic continuity."

Mr. Berry: "Things are not what they seem." But he seemed to be judging the debate.

Mr. Ron Smith: "A little pressure from the White House, and they get no more tooth-paste." (Int.: "Squeeze 'em.")

The Chairman, Mr. Nigel Taylor, intervened here, saying: "Some of the speakers are not trying to be humourous. Try to listen to them."

Mr. Ziman: "The atom bomb scientists work as if under Fascism. Science cannot flourish under these conditions."

Mr. O'Brien: "A verdict of not proven."

Mr. Lovell: "I just got up to correct a few facts. I read Harper's and the 'Readers' Digest.'

Mr. Hume: "Public opinion is against imperialism, wishes for peace and no foreign entanglements. Government has refused to obtain oil concessions in Saudi Arabia. Mexico has not constipated American assets."

Mr. Minogue: "Not imperialist but self-defence…just getting there to forestall a German rebirth in the Argentine, the Japanese in Java and the Russians in China."

During the counting of the votes, a familiar voice was heard to whisper: "You'd be surprised who's on our side."