February 7, 2012

At this point I’ve written about 8 pages that focus on the period from the Atlantic Conference (August 1941) through Pearl Harbor. Because I’m framing the Atlantic Charter within the context of FDR’s state of the union, “Four Freedoms,” speech and earlier Wilsonian internationalism, I’ve begun to introduce what I mean by “liberal internationalism,” and who J.J. Singh and the India Lobby attempted to affiliate themselves, and Indian independence, with.

Using sources like Warren Kuchl’s article on internationalism in Alexander DeConde’s Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy: Studies of the Principle Movements and Ideas (1978) and  G. John Ikenberry’s, The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century (2009), I’m trying to get an idea of the historical transformation of internationalism without delving into the political science meaning of “liberal internationalism.” In Bruce Cummings’ study, The Origins of the Korean War (1990), for example, Cummings describes two camps of internationalism at the end of WWII: the left-liberal-internationalism that would be embodied by Henry Wallace and his 1948 presidential campaign that emphasized an “open door” and principles of universalism and democratization vs. the Republican internationalists, who in the Cold War would advocate containment to combat the spread of communism (27-29).

In a more practical application, I’ve been able to find connections between the ACLU and the India League of America. Roger Baldwin and John Haynes Holmes, who were cofounders of the ACLU, and were members of the League’s Advisory Board by March 1942. The League elected Baldwin as its treasurer in December 1942. Holmes wrote to Walter White on January 18, 1943 (not in his capacity as a member of the League), before White joined the League. I’ve flipped through a history of the ACLU, Judy Kutulas’ The American Civil Liberties Union and the Making of Modern Liberalism, 1930-1960 (2006), which describes the institutionalization of the ACLU from a radical organization to one that “deliberately cultivated liberal respectability,” which seems in line with the evolution of the India Lobby to a certain extent (Kutulas, 2). Kutulas’ book also introduced me to the “People’s Front,” which she describes as promoting “the fusion of civil liberties and liberalism by shifting the national conversation toward shared values” (Kutulas, 6). Because this coalition was intertwined with undercurrents connected to the American Communist Party, I’m not sure if this is the type of liberal group I want to explore further as an example of the India Lobby’s tactics.

Based on my recent discovery of the Baldwin connection between the India Lobby and the established American liberal coalition, it seems like I can draw the lines between the India Lobby and liberal internationalists (like Pearl Buck for example), but my evidence for these characters is based on letter heads and not necessarily firsthand testimony. Because I do have more substantial evidence for both White and Celler, perhaps I can use them as tactical case-studies to demonstrate Singh and the Lobby’s larger strategy vision–placing Indian independence in the greater coalition of liberal internationalists.

On a side note, a passage in Christina Klein’s Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961 (2003), seems to confirm Professor Pinsker’s suspicions that American missionaries in Asia weren’t connected to the liberal establishment:

The Protestant missionary movement, although not allied exclusively with the Republican party, provided right internationalism with a number of outspoken advocates and a steady stream of intellectual energy. Grounded in the universalist values of Christianity, missionaries had been powerful promoters of internationalist thinking since the nineteenth century. In general, they encouraged a U.S.-centered internationalism based on spreading American values and institutions and transforming other nations along American lines (Klein, 29-30).

As a counterexample, however, Pearl Buck’s parents were Christian missionaries in China, and Buck aligned herself with not only the China Lobby, but the India Lobby, and black civil rights activities in the U.S.

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