Continuing Deadlock For US Diplomacy

Saturday 8th February 1936

A personal statement by the Chairman of the Foreign Relations of the US Senate, Key Pittman, offered a glimmer of hope that US isolationism was not going to get worse. He did not think that there would be a permanent extension of the Neutrality Act and, correctly, predicted that the Act due to expire at the end of the month would be replaced by one of only a year's duration. Pittman felt that the President and his advisers were privately opposed to a permanent act but that they would not say so publicly. President Roosevelt faced re-election later in the year so this was unsurprising.

The Acts were strongly supported in Congress and by the public on the grounds that the US had suffered by entering the First World War, financially, in human terms and in diplomatic prestige. US reluctance to intervene in Europe was a counter-part to the visceral pacifism and horror or rearmament which still ruled in western Europe. Together they hampered any hope of resisting the dictators.