President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., spent his professional career, spanning some twenty-seven years, as an international lawyer. From the time of his graduation from the Columbia Law School in 1906 and his appointment as assistant Solicitor (an assistant legal adviser in the Department of State) in the same year, to his appointment as second counselor in the First Presidency in 1933 following his resignation as Ambassador to Mexico, President Clark devoted himself almost exclusively to the problems of international law. His experience during these years developed in him a concern for particular issues which remain central to a determination of the nature of the international system.
His views of the proper place for the United States in world affairs stemmed both from his perception of the ideal international system and from his understanding of the particular role this country had played and had yet to perform according to Mormon theology. He opposed interventionism, colonialism, and imperialism, and had a strikingly current recognition of the limits of this country’s ability to direct the course of world history by force of arms.