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Magazines: Advice to the World

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TIME

“I think we shall have to take the Chinese in hand and regulate them. I believe in the ultimate partition of China. The Aryan stock is bound to triumph.” The speaker was not talking about Red China and its assistance to Viet Nam. Nor was it the danger of an H-bomb in Chinese hands that alarmed him. The year was 1901, and 26-year-old Winston Churchill, fresh from widely publicized exploits in the Boer War, was addressing himself to the problems of the Orient in general—to say nothing of the rest of the world. But even though a reporter was on hand, busily taking notes, Churchill’s opinions were not published until this month, when the 65-year-old interview appeared in the Michigan Quarterly Review.

Factory of National Fibre. Churchill was traveling through the U.S. on a lecture tour, and he found the atmosphere at the University of Michigan less than congenial. While defending British colonial wars, he was hooted and hissed by the students; afterward, he beat an uncharacteristic retreat. Most of the boisterously anti-imperialist student body were happy to see him go. But Gustavus Ohlinger, a cub reporter for the campus magazine, thought his fellow newsman was worth a story. He trailed Churchill to his hotel, talked his way past an aide, and asked for an interview. Churchill ordered two bottles of whisky, and proceeded to entertain Ohlinger with his wide-ranging opinions until 5 in the morning. A Churchill sampler:

>”I was lucky enough to start with a name very well known in England. In your country, it is somewhat of a handicap to have a great father; few of your great men have had great sons.”

>”I think the press affords a ladder which is available to everyone in a way afforded by no other profession; put out good stuff and in time people will say ‘We must have this.’ “

>”Your millionaires could do a great deal better than founding hospitals, endowing universities and building libraries by starting some good national newspaper that would give correct news that would aid in forming national sentiment. My advice to the young correspondent? Verify your quotations and avoid split infinitives.”

>”It is well that a number of men should be exposed to the ups and downs of life; that they should be compelled to cudgel their brains and fight for their existence as independent producers. That is the factory where the national fibre is made.”

Inoffensive Predictions. Because he had just been elected to Parliament, Churchill asked Ohlinger not to publish anything that might jeopardize his career. The young reporter, who later became a successful Ohio attorney, was super-scrupulous. He quoted only a few inoffensive remarks in his story in the Inlander. After Churchill’s death, Ohlinger, now 89, decided it would do no harm to publish the remainder of the interview. What if Churchill had suggested that Russia should be permitted to move into China? Considering his youth, the hour, and the amount of whisky he had consumed, the young imperialist said nothing to tarnish his place in history.

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