The Gazette (February 8, 1943)
DOROTHY THOMPSON SAYS —
For a “world charter”
New York – (Feb. 7)
A short time ago in this column, I pointed out that one of the most distressing features in this war was the “American uncertainty,” the doubt in many minds whether, when the war was over, the United States would be counted on to participate in the reconstruction of the world. Over the heads of all our Allies hovers the recollection of the last war, when Wilson’s peace was repudiated by Congress. So far, the Atlantic Charter is merely a personal declaration of the President.
Now, Senator Guy M. Gillette of Iowa has introduced into the Senate a resolution which would remedy this state of affairs. His resolution would instruct the President to make a joint treaty agreement with each and all of the United Nations, this treaty to embody the basic principles of the Atlantic Charter. These are: first, that the signatories seek no aggrandizement, territorial or otherwise; second, that they respect and will approve the right of all people under proper opportunity to choose the form of government under which they will live, and will countenance the restoration of sovereign rights and self-government to those who have been deprived of it by force; third, that they will collaborate in formulating a just peace embodying formulae for post-war collaboration to maintain peace and security throughout the world; fourth, that they will recognize the necessity for just and equitable collaboration for all signatories to secure for all nations economic advancement, improved labor standards, social security, and access on fair and equal terms by all people to the raw materials and international channels of the world.
The Senator suggests that such a treaty might be entitled “The United Nations Post-War Peace Charter.”
Since the present Congress will probably have to deal with the peace, and since, as the whole world knows, it is by no means a “Roosevelt Congress,” such a resolution would assure the world of what America as a whole is fighting for and commit us now to collaboration for the future. At once, the American uncertainty would be removed and the way be opened for a clear policy on the part of all the other fighting nations.
It would give the United States a foreign policy – not merely the State Department and the President. And the lack of a clear American foreign policy has been one of the most disturbing factors in the world for the past generation.
The creation of such a treaty would have numerous consequences, all of them desirable.
First, it would remove the issue of foreign policy from the next elections. It would permit the American people to choose their representatives without fearing that changes might upset the whole world situation. It would remove the temptation to the opposition to use foreign policy as an issue merely for the sake of opposition and for wholly internal reasons.
Secondly, it would make clear to the world that our expediencies during the war are really just expediencies during the war and no modification of fundamental war aims.
Third, it would reassure Britain that she can base her own policy on permanent collaboration with the United States and must not, therefore, be hedging bets.
Fourth, it would reassure Russia that she must not make her own policy in anticipation of a possible reactionary reconstruction of Europe which would try to isolate her from collaboration. A permanent reconciliation between Russia and the Western world would be implied.
It would mean that the Eastern European powers would have to find their place in such a world, not as the outposts of an inimical Western world against Russia – a situation which would be catastrophic for them and catastrophic for future peace – but would be in a favorable position of being a bridge between the Western world and Russia, mutually guaranteed. As far as Russia herself is concerned, it would mean that she would have to adopt a good neighbor policy towards them. That this is not only possible, but has been the traditional Russian policy, is illustrated by her relations, for more than 20 years, with the small state of Turkey.
Fifth, China would know that the policy of equality between nations, regardless of their racial constriction, is assured, and that the Western nations are not going to advocate one thing for Europe and another for the Far East. For the same reason, it would assuage the frictions in India.
Sixth, it would be a powerful weapon in our political warfare against the Axis, a weapon which has been lacking up to now.
The demand for unconditional surrender would be accompanied by the certainty of existence and the hope for later equality. It would break down the loyalty of the Axis satellites who are all looking for a way of escape. And to a country like Italy, where the propaganda that “one man and one alone is responsible” has served only to strengthen Mussolini, it would put matters into a large and intelligible perspective.
And last, but not least, it would increase and restore the prestige of the United States Senate. It would prove that our democratic institutions and our party system are capable of producing political unity where political unity is essential.