America has gone to war for many reasons, but in each of its major wars economic issues have been at stake and economic goals have been important war aims. Central among these has been the advocacy of free trade, and appended to that advocacy has been the unproven but oft-spoken assumption that in the long run such a policy would benefit the commercial interests of all trading nations. It is probably no exaggeration to say that most Americans have genuinely felt that in economic matters what was best for America was best for the peace and security of the rest of the world. This view was given succinct expression during World War II by President Roosevelt himself when he wrote in a letter published in September 1944: "Any marked improvement in the economic well-being of the United States will not only improve the economic well-being of the other peace-loving peoples of the world, but will also aid materially in the building of a durable peace." 1