Friendship Is a Passport

by Julien Bryan

[. . .]

I was raised a Protestant, and as I look back I can see that somewhere along the line I learned to be suspicious of and condescending to all other sects.  Then, at seventeen, during the First World War, I joined the Ambulance Service of the French Army and served for six months at Verdun.  My friends were simple French soldirers.  With one or two exceptions, they were all Roman Catholics.  I went to Mass with them, carried them when wounded, saw them die.  And I came to like them as people, to admire their courage, to respect their right to their faith which was so different from my own.

[. . .]

I came to find that the peoples of this world have much more in common with one another than they have differences.  I have found this true wherever I have gone–even in Moscow and the far reaches of Siberia.  The most hardened Communist would eventually break down if you were kind to his children.  This was true even though he knew he might be arrested the next day for becoming friendly with a foreigner.

As for the common man in Russia, my belief is that in spite of thirty-four years of Stalin and regimented thought-control, he still loves his land and his church and his family.  And he hates the cruelty of the secret police and the incredible stupidity of the Soviet bureaucrats.  In fact, I believe that in a fundamental way he is very much like us; he wants to live his own life and be let alone.

[. . .]

For myself, I believe in people–and in their given right to enjoy the freedoms we so cherish in America.  I believe in justice and knowledge and decent human values.  I believe in each man’s right to a job and food and shelter.  And I sincerely believe that one day all of these things will come to pass.

[. . .]

Julien Bryan has been a world traveler since he was seventeen.  Born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, his journeys have taken him to thirty countries.  Since 1930 his time and talents have gone chiefly into exploration and the making of ducumentary films showing how people live in other lands.  He is at present executive director of the International Film Foundation, an organization which produces documentaries to promote better international understanding.

Involved directly in both World Wars, he has written several books on his experiences, including his war diary, Ambulance 464.  He was the last foreign correspondent to leave Warsaw in 1939 before the Germans occupied that city.  The motion picture footage which he shot of those last, terrible days was incorporated into Siege, the first movie to be made of the Second World War.

[. . .]

Morgan, Edward P.  (Catalogued under Murrow’s name.)  This I Believe: the living philosophies of one hundred thoughtful men and women from all walks of life—as written for and with a foreword by Edward R. Murrow.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952.  Pages 19-20.

Keep in mind, after the first paragraph I quoted, that these are all Christians here.  That he had to stress that he saw them as people . . .

Bryan clearly establishes his dislike for Communism.  So please note his belief “in each man’s right to a job and food and shelter”— a belief that, professed too loudly, is likely to get oneself called a Communist by ignorant or self-serving people.  I do not know if he feels America had at the time of his writing (before 1952) all the freedoms worth cherishing, but he clearly believes that America and the world can go further in terms of justice and the rights just listed.  Freedom and justice.  Freedom and justice.

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