Courtesy Reuters

Our Treaty Procedure Versus Our Foreign Policies

"It is not the atomic bomb that will destroy civilization. But civilized society can destroy itself -- finally, no doubt, with bombs -- if it fails to understand intelligently and to control the aids and deterrents to coöperation." -- Elton Mayo

THE attention given by Americans to substantive policies in foreign affairs has increased greatly during the last thirty years, but the procedures by which our policies are made have received comparatively little attention.

During the first 150 years of our national history our major foreign policies were in the main unilateral in form, negative or merely declaratory in character and restricted in scope. Today they are dominantly coöperative, i.e., contractual in form, and involve positive undertakings as to men and treasure. There is no place, there is no subject, not touched by our concern.

There is, moreover, another sharp contrast with the past. We have become the foremost advocate of international organizations in all fields. Twenty-five years ago we regarded international organizations as hardly safe for anything more controversial than coöperative letter-carrying and hunting icebergs. Today there is hardly a phase of life not covered by an existing or proposed international agency. Support of international organizations is a logical counterpart of being committed to the principle that national interests can best be advanced by reaching agreement with the countries concerned with the other side of the same matters. The international organizations we know today are essentially organized forms of international coöperation. They remain negotiating rather than legislative bodies; their success depends on agreements being reached by the agents of sovereign states and on those agreements being ratified and given effect.

The interrelationship between policy and procedure in human affairs generally is recognized today. In the sciences, business and the professions, men have learned that the way you do things in large measure determines whether you really do them. Policy and procedure tend to fashion each other. Whenever policy and procedure get too far out of harmony,

Loading, please wait...

Browse Related Articles on {{search_model.selectedTerm.name}}

{{indexVM.results.hits.total | number}} Articles Found

  • {{bucket.key_as_string}}

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue