Courtesy Reuters

The European Territorial Settlement

FIVE peace treaties were signed at Paris on February 10, 1947. These treaties -- with Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland -- have aroused no strong opposition, and no noticeable enthusiasm, in the United States. The Senate ratified the Italian treaty by 79 votes to 10 and the others without a recorded vote. They were regarded as a necessary step in putting an end to armistice régimes and the military occupation of former enemy states. But the terms themselves and the manner of their negotiation seemed a far cry from the firm basis of an enduring peace for which the United States had hoped and planned during the war. Former Secretary Byrnes, who negotiated the treaties, ran no risk of contradiction when he called them "not perfect;" he defended them as the best we could get in the long, hard process of bargaining with our Allies. President Truman, on signing the instruments of ratification, stated that the terms were "not in full accord with our desires," and held out the possibility of later revision within the framework of the United Nations.

When we think of a peace settlement, we think first of all of boundaries. We want to know what the new Europe looks like on the map. And, as Dr. Isaiah Bowman recently pointed out in these pages, it is not just a question of lines and colors on the map, for territorial settlements touch deeply-rooted sentiments of individuals and groups and involve "all the complexities of civilization." [i] History has taught the American people to be concerned with the boundary disputes of Europe. Such disputes have been the occasion of the outbreak of two world wars into which we have been drawn. The territorial settlement of 1947, or rather of 1944-1947, deserves our attention. How was it made and how does it conform to American ideas of justice and American hopes for a peaceful Europe?


America, which had taken a leading part in tracing the frontiers of 1919-1920, only to withdraw from Europe

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