WE ARE passing through a period of acute pessimism in relation to international affairs. A feeling of disillusionment prevails among our victorious armies, despite the magnificent victories they have gained over our enemies. To a great extent, of course, the feeling arises from first impressions and incomplete knowledge. But it is not confined to returning veterans and it is not without some justification. Many people in widely scattered countries are wondering whether the sacrifices of the war will be reflected in the peace.

A great part of the responsibility for this state of disillusionment must be attributed to those leaders amongst the Great Powers who have attempted, and are still attempting, to make both the writing and the execution of the peace treaties their own exclusive prerogative. Their intentions are probably of the best. No doubt they genuinely believe that the countries with a preponderance of population have the right to lay down the conditions of peace throughout the world. But in actual practice this will not work. A settlement imposed by a few cannot be expected to evoke general assent and must evoke considerable resentment. Nor can these leaders make sure of agreement, even amongst themselves.

At every stage of the war, Australia and other nations which have a clear record of active and sustained belligerency have been trying to establish the principle that it is not only just, but also essential, that all of them should participate in the peacemaking process. This war has shown, more clearly perhaps than any other in history, that peacemaking does not begin or end with a formal conference. It has its origin during the progress of hostilities, in alliances, agreements, understandings and declarations between the belligerents. It is continued in the armistice negotiations, and in the post-armistice machinery for control of enemy territory. Finally, even after the signature of a formal treaty, it can be, and has been, projected into the permanent organization for the maintenance and modification of the settlement. These stages do not always follow in strict chronological order, but each has its own distinct features.

During the war it was natural that the countries with the largest armed forces and the most highly developed and productive industrial machine should claim and receive a dominant rôle in the determination of war strategy. This was accepted by all countries, including Australia, despite the fact that our war effort was "total" in character and, proportionately speaking, was not exceeded by any nation; absolutely speaking, it was crucial and decisive at certain times and in certain theaters.

Within a few weeks after the outbreak of the war against Japan, Australian armed forces were placed under the operational control of General MacArthur, in the full knowledge that he would in turn be subject to directives of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and ultimately to President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill. Even in this purely military field, however, the smaller nations had an interest and could make a contribution. That was the reason why the Prime Minister of Australia, the late Mr. John Curtin, sent me to Washington early in 1942 to advocate the establishment of the Pacific War Council to enable Powers other than the major Powers to consult and coöperate in relation to the prosecution of the Pacific war. While the Council was not executive in character, some important decisions were put into final effect at or through the Council, notably President Roosevelt's decision to send vital additional aircraft and other supplies to Australia in 1942 and 1943 -- a decision which helped to turn the tide, first to successful defense and then to the offensive in the Southwest Pacific. These decisions could not have been made but for Australia's representation on the Pacific War Council.

Apart from this informal Council, it was always understood by the middle and lesser Powers that once hostilities ceased and the immediate urgency for unified direction of strategy and for global logistics had passed, all the countries which had made a real contribution to the defeat of the enemy would be given an opportunity to make an equally real contribution to the making of the peace. This was expressly stated, on more than one occasion, when the limited participation of the smaller Powers on wartime bodies was being criticized and justified. It was inherent in all these wartime expedients that nothing should be done during the war which would prejudice the possibility of a peace made according to democratic procedure, i.e., one in which the active belligerents would participate fully. Accordingly, Australia and New Zealand, in the Agreement of January 21, 1944, publicly announced, as one of the fundamentals of their external policy, that the final peace settlement should be made in respect of all the enemies of the United Nations only after hostilities with all of them had been successfully concluded.

It was with no little anxiety and concern that during the war period we had watched the gradual development of political and territorial understandings and commitments between the Great Powers, regarding which the smaller nations had either not been adequately consulted or had not been consulted at all.

The Cairo Declaration, which laid down not only general principles for the peace settlement in East Asia but also new territorial boundaries, was an example of such a commitment. The decisions made at Cairo vitally affected the future of the Pacific. Despite the vital interest they had in this matter, and their great war contributions, Australia and New Zealand were not present at those discussions and were not informed of the political decisions mentioned until they were announced by press communiqué. I am not suggesting that to strip Japan of the possessions she had acquired by force and to return them to China, and to promise Korea independence, were wrong. Much the same conclusions might very well have been reached by a general assembly of the nations participating in the war against Japan. But the fact remained that it was a pronouncement by a self-selected few and not the result of the reasoned deliberations of all those concerned.

Fearing that the Cairo procedure would be adopted when the time came to laying down the terms of surrender, Australia and New Zealand sought to guard against its repetition. The conditions of surrender and the armistice terms would plainly have a big influence on the later stages of the peace negotiations. If the terms were too specific or too lenient, it would be difficult if not impossible to introduce changes at the peace-treaty stage. The announced insistence on "unconditional surrender" was some safeguard against this danger, but even unconditional surrender might mean little more than surrender on the conditions laid down by the victorious belligerents. It seemed reasonable, therefore, to expect that all the belligerents would be made parties to the surrender agreements, not merely associated with them; and Australia and New Zealand sought "representation at the highest level on all armistice planning and executive bodies," and active participation in any Armistice Commission to be set up. The object of the two Governments was to avoid premature or piecemeal settlements which would tend to endanger a just and enduring world peace. This is clearly stated in Article 26 of the Australian-New Zealand Agreement:

The two Governments declare that the interim administration and ultimate disposal of enemy territories in the Pacific is of vital importance to Australia and New Zealand, and that any such disposal should be effected only with their agreement and as part of a general Pacific settlement.

Vitally interested as they were in the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand really were no less concerned with the armistice arrangements in Europe, where they had made a very substantial military contribution, both in the First World War and in this war from 1939 until V-E Day. Their troops had taken a prominent part in Libya, Greece, Crete, Syria and Alamein. Indeed, their war effort extended to nearly every theater of war and to all arms of the services. In addition to their independent squadrons, Dominion air crews made up a large part of the R.A.F. The New Zealand division fought right through the Italian campaign after the Australian divisions had been compelled to leave Africa to bear the brunt of the terrible land fighting against Japan in the New Guinea jungle warfare. In Europe both countries had important stakes. Their direct interest extended to the establishment of a just and stable peace. Their soldiers had fought against dictatorship in two European wars.

But the claims advanced by the smaller nations were given scant consideration in the European armistice arrangements. The names of these countries were not even mentioned specifically in the armistice terms where the major Powers purported to act "in the interests of" all other belligerents, even though they did not have the authority so to act. A similar attempt to brush aside nations like Australia and New Zealand was made in the Japanese instrument of surrender. Indeed, it was only after they had made a strong and public protest that these nations were permitted even to sign the surrender instrument. Even when this was permitted, no care was taken to alter the key words in the instrument, which still mentioned by name only the four "major" Powers. The war histories will show how unjust and offensive this was to Australia, regard being had to comparative contributions to winning the Pacific war.

All this was bad enough in itself. A reference back, however, shows things in an even worse light. On January 1, 1942 representatives of the Allied nations at war with Germany, Italy and Japan met in Washington and signed a solemn declaration by which each Government pledged itself inter alia "not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies." This declaration was clearly broken whenever armistices were signed by the major Allied Powers without the express authority of other Allied Powers at war with that particular Axis country.

The process did not stop there. The European Advisory Commission set up in October 1943 was limited in its membership to the United Kingdom, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Even the later addition of France left unrepresented many countries which would be affected by the European settlement and would be called upon to make it work. Besides the British Dominions, belligerents like Greece, Jugoslavia, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Czechoslovakia were ignored. In my view, much of the trouble in the post-armistice administration in Europe would have been avoided if care had been taken to bring into the picture all the other Powers which had been active belligerents. It is quite fallacious to suppose that an addition of members to a small assembly necessarily makes agreement more difficult. San Francisco goes to prove the opposite.

After our enemies had actually surrendered it was possible both to associate the lesser belligerents with the machinery of control for the territories of the defeated Powers and to give them an appropriate voice in the shaping of the final and definitive conditions of peace. As early as January 1944, Australia and New Zealand had declared that they were vitally concerned in the interim administration of enemy territories in the Pacific, for it was even then apparent that the policies adopted by the control bodies would tend to harden into principles and would even determine many details of the peace. That is the reason why Australia and other countries have pressed for representation on the various bodies determining policy in respect to both the European and Pacific settlements. In Germany, zones of occupation have been allotted to the Great Powers, including France. Although there is some show of coordinating policy, the smaller Powers have little or no direct influence on it. In relation to Japan there is reason to hope, with the establishment of the Far Eastern Commission at Washington, that a more democratic system of control may be worked out.


The preparation of the Charter of the United Nations Organization was begun before Germany had actually surrendered, even though the Organization was designed to meet situations which would arise after the cessation of hostilities. The preparatory discussions at Dumbarton Oaks, however, were limited to the Big Three. It would have been possible, and it would have been just and wise, for the smaller nations to have been actively associated with the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. They were not.

At San Francisco the middle and small nations were anxious to secure an effective voice in making and operating the new World Organization to maintain peace and security and promote human welfare. They considered that, just as with the peace treaties, the machinery for the maintenance of those treaties could be effective only if their fundamental principles were based upon the will of all the United Nations who had been active belligerents, and not three or four of them. The peoples of countries which have made sacrifices out of all proportion to their size are not willing to accept direction by any power or group of powers, however friendly, however powerful. Leadership is acceptable; domination is intolerable.

Fortunately, the Conference at San Francisco to establish the constitution of the new World Organization was open to all the United Nations concerned in the war against the Axis. World opinion would have revolted against any suggestion to the contrary. While the declaration on general security signed at Moscow on October 30, 1943, was issued by the Governments of the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and China, it made reference to "the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states." On the other hand, the Dumbarton Oaks draft not only represented the proposals of the major Powers, and of them alone, but the Yalta Conference of the Big Three gave a further rigidity to the Dumbarton Oaks decisions, particularly in connection with voting on the Security Council. This big Power arrangement was treated at San Francisco as implying that each of the parties to it was bound not to support any alteration in the proposals unless they all acquiesced. To some extent this "inner group" arrangement was broken down at San Francisco. Many representatives of the Great Powers were surprised at the scope and extent of the amendments presented by nations which they had been inclined to regard as of small importance. They were also surprised at the steadiness and persistence with which these amendments were pressed. There is now general agreement that the Charter as eventually written was an immeasurably more democratic and liberal document than the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, as amended at Yalta. Once again it was proved that democratic ideals are advanced by democratic procedures and by the force of world opinion.

The vast power which the Dumbarton Oaks plan proposed to give to the Security Council was not balanced by the bestowal of similar power to a world Assembly which would not only be democratic in make-up but endowed with authority to check the Security Council by exercising to the full the rights of discussion, of free criticism in public, of recommendation and initiative. As a matter of fact, the Dumbarton Oaks draft restricted the Assembly's power in vital respects. A main achievement of the San Francisco Conference was to strengthen the democratic character of the new organization by enlarging the authority of the Assembly. This was only part, however, of the work done at San Francisco. An illustration of this work is provided by a summary of the proposals put forward by Australia. Nine Australian objectives publicly announced before the Conference began may be summarized as follows:

(1) To prevent the possibility of a single Great Power vetoing amendments to the Charter, providing such amendment is twice approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly including three permanent members of the Security Council.

(2) To exclude the "veto" of the permanent members from all arrangements relating to the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to confine such "veto" to decisions involving the application of economic and military sanctions.

(3) To require a pledge from all members to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of other members.

(4) To declare that justice and the rule of law shall be the principles guiding the action of the Security Council; and for this purpose to require the maximum employment of the Permanent Court in determining the legal aspects of international disputes.

(5) To see that the Security Council is in fact composed of "security" Powers, i.e., Powers which by their past military contribution to the cause of world security have proved themselves able and willing to assume substantial security responsibilities, or which are willing, and by virtue of their geographical position in relation to regions of primary strategical importance are able, to make a substantial contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.

(6) To require members to pledge themselves to take action both national and international for the purpose of securing for all peoples, including their own, improved labor standards, economic advancement, employment for all, and social security; and as part of that pledge to take appropriate action through the Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the International Labor Organization and, in particular, to make regular reports to the Assembly as to what they have actually done to carry out the pledge.

(7) To elevate the Economic Council into a principal organ of the World Organization and to give the Economic Council under the General Assembly specific new functions, including power to initiate action for the making of international conventions on all matters not being dealt with by other specialized agencies.

(8) To give the General Assembly a wider jurisdiction over, and a fuller share in, the general work of the Organization and in particular to vest the Assembly with power to prevent situations and disputes from becoming "frozen" in the Security Council, as occurred in the League of Nations in the notorious cases of external aggression against China, Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia.

(9) To lay down the principle that the purpose of administration of all dependent territories is the welfare and development of the native peoples of such territories, and to place a specified obligation on nations controlling particular dependent territories to report regularly to advisory bodies consisting of expert administrators.

With the enthusiastic coöperation and support of many smaller nations, but only after a strenuous fight, Australia's proposals in the end were found to have had a substantial effect on the Dumbarton Oaks draft. Australia originally proposed 38 amendments of substance. Of them, 26 were either adopted without material change or adopted in principle, or were made unnecessary by other alterations; two led to significant alterations. Besides these, six important new obligations in relation to the trusteeship of dependent peoples were suggested and included in the new chapter. The following summary of the position is, I think, a sufficient illustration of the useful improvements effected on the initiative of one only of the smaller nations:

(1) The amendment to lay down a governing principle aimed at protecting the territorial integrity and political independence of member states was adopted.

(2) The provision that peaceful settlement should proceed not arbitrarily but in conformity with the principles of justice and international law was adopted.

(3) The proposal for the inclusion of a specific provision that the only permissible intervention of the Organization in matters of domestic jurisdiction should be in the case of actual enforcement measures by the Security Council was adopted.

(4) Also adopted was the vital proposal to extend the Assembly's right of discussion and recommendation to all matters and questions within the scope of the Charter (which matters include the wide preamble and the statement of purposes and principles contained in the Charter).

(5) The proposal designed to prevent the freezing of disputes in the Security Council, by requiring it to report to the Assembly or the member states immediately it has ceased to deal with the dispute, was accepted.

(6) Also adopted was the amendment designed to ensure that all the special military agreements to place forces and facilities at the disposal of the Security Council should be made with each member or group of members by the Security Council itself.

(7) The amendment that in the election of non-permanent members of the Security Council, special regard should be had, first, to proven ability to contribute to international security and, second, to geographical representation was adopted.

(8) The substance of Australia's amendment specifically providing for the right of self-defense in case of inaction by the Security Council was incorporated in Senator Vandenberg's broader formula on regional arrangement, which was unanimously accepted.

(9) The Conference accepted Australia's amendments to the economic and social chapter to include the promotion of full employment and higher living standards within the purposes of the Economic Council.

(10) The Conference also accepted Australia's proposal to include a definite pledge by each member to take action to promote (inter alia) the objective of full employment by joint and separate action in coöperation with the Organization.

(11) Other amendments designed to enlarge the powers of the Economic and Social Council by enabling it to call conferences, to prepare conventions, to coördinate agencies, and generally to act as a coördinating economic body were adopted.

(12) In the important new chapter on Trusteeship, seven Australian amendments were adopted. These include a general declaration of trusteeship in relation to all the peoples in non-self-governing countries. In this declaration the obligations of the parent state were expressed as including: (a) just treatment of the peoples concerned; (b) their protection against abuses; (c) the promotion of constructive measures of development; (d) encouragement of research; (e) full coöperation with other international bodies; and, most important, (f) the transmission regularly to the World Organization of full statistical information relating to economic, social and educational conditions of the native peoples. As a result of this chapter, it is clear that the "parent" state is under an international obligation to promote the political and economical development of the peoples of all its non-self-governing territories, whether or not those territories have been formally placed under trusteeship.

The removal of the individual veto on constitutional amendments was not obtained by the smaller Powers: but their efforts resulted in a provision which will at any rate facilitate opportunities for special constitutional review. The smaller Powers also obtained a solemn undertaking by the five permanent members of the Security Council that every dispute before the Security Council would at least be given some -- how much is very uncertain -- preliminary discussion and consideration. This fell far short of Australia's proposal that there should be no individual Great Power veto whatsoever on any of the processes of conciliation, i.e., the pacific settlement of disputes. Our proposal was lost, although it would certainly have been adopted but for the plain intimation by the Great Powers that the Charter would not be signed if the amendment were carried. I am satisfied that the retention of the veto of each permanent member upon the processes of international conciliation in the Security Council was quite unnecessary in the interests of the permanent members -- apart from being indefensible in principle.

I have dealt with the Australian proposals merely to drive home the point that the operation of liberalizing the Dumbarton Oaks text and making it more democratic was performed by the cooperation of many smaller nations. Australia could not possibly have succeeded to the extent indicated above but for the resolution and steadiness of able and determined delegates from the British Commonwealth and from influential Latin American, European and Middle Eastern nations. In the light of this valuable coöperation at San Francisco, I am confident that the General Assembly of the World Organization will turn out to be its most important organ.

On the success of the United Nations Organization will depend the political shape of the world for a generation at least, and very possibly the future of modern civilization. It remains to be seen how it will work in the rough and tumble of a rapidly changing world. We cannot tell at this stage whether the veto which has been given to the Great Powers will be used with wisdom and a sense of responsibility or in a way to nullify the purposes of the Organization. By the exercise of the veto on pacific settlement, it is possible for any one of the five permanent members to throw the consideration of international disputes out of the Security Council (with its regular and orderly processes subject to the principles of law and justice) into the area of private and secret bargaining along the lines of power politics. The Munich "settlement" is an illustration of the second type of operation. Signs are not wanting that some of the major Powers will be tempted to paralyze the Security Council by the use of the right of individual veto. If the veto is abused in the way indicated, then the Assembly of the Organization, with its practically unrestricted right of discussion and initiative criticism, will, by a determined use of its powers, help to redress any unfair exercise of power and may save the world.


The first step in the formulation of the peace treaties for Europe was the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London in September. On this occasion the Great Powers again adopted a policy of excluding other active belligerents. The Council was limited to representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States, the U.S.S.R., China and France. Thus the procedure improvised to meet the urgent requirements of the conduct of the war was carried forward for the very different purpose of making a lasting peace settlement.

The justification advanced for this procedure was that it would be impracticable for a peace conference composed of representatives of all the active belligerents to attempt to draft the details of peace treaties, including such matters as frontiers, minority rights, transfer of populations, reparations and a host of other problems. It was argued that the Foreign Ministers of the Great Powers, on whom the major responsibilities had fallen, could reach agreement rapidly and that a draft could then be presented "for acceptance" by the other United Nations. Whether such acceptance was to be "formal," whether the other active belligerents would be entitled to modify and amend the "draft" -- these vital questions were left unanswered at Potsdam, showing clearly that it is dangerous for the lesser Powers to assume that their interests will be or can be protected except as a result of their separate representation and their own determined effort.

The fundamental assumptions on which the limited membership of the London Council was based were clearly disproved by the event. Quick agreement was not reached on any great issue, while even on comparatively minor problems the results were inconclusive. Press communiqués were terse, uninformative and, on occasion, actually misleading. The limited membership of the Council meetings contributed, in my judgment, to its failure. Only European settlements were under consideration; yet China, whose interest in those settlements was indirect and remote, was represented on the Council, while Greece, Jugoslavia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway, whose very life is involved in a just European settlement, were not represented. Italy, an ex-enemy country, was permitted to attend and state her case in relation to the Italian-Jugoslav problem, but Greece, whose gallant and prolonged resistance foreshadowed the doom of Mussolini and whose interest in the Italian settlement was direct, substantial and proximate, was left completely out of the picture. Once again it was overlooked that the major Powers are not unnaturally concerned with questions of priority and spheres of influence, whereas lesser Powers, being more detached, at least on many issues, are often able to assess the fairness and justice of a proposed settlement and its prospects of permanence.

At one stage during the London Conference the public protests of Australia and other countries against the restricted membership of the Council, and the possibility that its conclusions might be definitive for the European peace settlement, produced some little effect. Accordingly, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and India, together with Italy and Jugoslavia, were invited to attend meetings of the Council dealing with the Italian-Jugoslav frontier. The representatives of those countries which accepted this invitation were not, however, admitted to the full freedom of Council discussions; they simply stated their views, without having any exchange with the Council members. While the invitation was a step in the right direction, it fell far short of a procedure which would give an adequate opportunity for full and frank consultation around the table, with the representatives of the Five Powers, or for that effective participation in the peace settlement to which active belligerents are clearly entitled. Moreover, it is insufficient for the Council to invite views on separate and isolated matters. The problems of each peace settlement should be weighed and considered as a whole.

Admitting that a relatively small body can greatly assist in preliminary drafting, the upshot of the London proceedings made clear that one of two alternatives should be adopted. Either the active belligerents -- those nations which have maintained active and sustained belligerence throughout the war -- must be given the right of participation on a footing of equality at the Council table with the representatives of the Five Powers; or it should be laid down unambiguously that conclusions reached by the Council as to the terms of the peace settlements will be submitted to a conference in which all the active belligerents will take part, and at which the draft terms of settlement shall be open to full and free discussion and amendment. If the Council or a similar body is retained, its deliberations must at least be subject to review in the same way as the recommendations of Dumbarton Oaks were reviewed at San Francisco. Almost as important as the peace is the way it is reached. It must not only be calculated to achieve quick results, but must also commend itself to the conscience of the world as being just and democratic.


There have been suggestions in one or two quarters that it is not necessary for the Dominions of the British Commonwealth to be represented separately from the United Kingdom either in the control of enemy territory or in the discussion of terms of peace. Such suggestions are based on a complete misunderstanding of the evolution of the British Commonwealth during the last 40 years and of the present international status of each of its members. There was little justification for such a misunderstanding, even in 1914. Subsequently Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Eire became members of the League of Nations. For many years they have, by unanimous consent of all concerned, participated actively as separate members of the family of nations. They exchange ambassadors and ministers with foreign countries. They become parties to international agreements.

This is not to say that the Dominions have severed their connections with the United Kingdom. Far from it. They are still united by bonds of both kinship and kingship. Their common allegiance to the King is not a fiction but an enduring reality. However, the international status of each of them is so clear that no misunderstanding is possible, except amongst those who are quite unacquainted either with the basic Balfour Declaration of 1917 or with the facts of history. One need only add that the Dominions, which had in practice long enjoyed separate and complete control of their own external policies, conclusively demonstrated their status as separate belligerents by issuing their own declarations of war. In the case of Eire, its declared status of neutrality was recognized by all belligerents and by all neutrals.


Since the London meeting, and owing largely to the initiative of the lesser Powers, the necessity for making the peace treaties in a democratic manner has been admitted in principle by spokesmen of two, and perhaps of all three, of the Big Three. Nothing, however, has as yet been done to set up the appropriate machinery necessary to give effect to this principle. One important step forward has nevertheless been taken. The right of all belligerents in the Pacific War to take part in the formulation of post-surrender policy for Japan is now recognized; and the Far Eastern Commission has been sitting at Washington for the purpose of recommending a just policy to follow in the occupation of Japan. If this democratic experiment can be made to succeed, it may show the way for peacemaking in Europe.

Of course it is not enough merely to secure a peace settlement by a democratic procedure. It is essential that the whole international system should be imbued with the democratic principles. All governments and peoples must take just as great an interest in preventing a revival of Fascism as they did in its overthrow. The machinery has been built; but it will require altruistic and sustained effort to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. What are the steps which can be taken immediately to create confidence in the United Nations Organization as an effective instrument for the security and betterment of humankind?

In an article in the last issue of FOREIGN AFFAIRS, John Foster Dulles pointed out that "the rôle of the Security Council is predominantly negative" and that "it is the General Assembly which will have to plan the campaign of the United Nations against their newly proclaimed enemies" -- intolerance, repression, injustice and economic want. He suggests that the goals first chosen by the Assembly should include some which will arouse popular interest and secure popular backing, such as the solution of international problems of an economic character and the development of international law for binding individuals as well as nations.

What I have said above shows that this approach of Mr. Dulles is right. The Assembly, constituted as it is on democratic lines, has a great opportunity of achieving success in the fields mentioned. The Food and Agriculture Organization, which will be one of the agencies related to the Social and Economic Council, has been successfully launched, and its work is designed to assist in a world-wide attack on poverty and malnutrition. The trial of war criminals is a new and important application of an international criminal law to individuals. In future, war crimes will be as much a part of the jus gentium applicable to all persons of all nations as the law of piracy itself.

The fact remains, of course, that at the present time the peoples of the world are primarily interested in international security. Without some assurance of a just and lasting peace, they will find it difficult to concentrate on the positive ideals of general international welfare. The atomic bomb and other rapidly developing instruments of destruction have created tremendous anxiety in the minds of all peoples.

The problems involved are urgent and difficult, but they provide special opportunities. For this reason the struggle by the lesser Powers for a democratic peace has immediate significance. It is essential that they should not relax for a moment their efforts to secure for themselves, as belligerents, an adequate voice in the making of the peace settlements. It is equally essential that they leave no stone unturned to ensure adequate and prompt action by the major Powers. If the major Powers do not unanimously and promptly shoulder the special responsibilities with which they have been entrusted in relation to security, especially in the Security Council, the lesser Powers should take the initiative in the field of security as in the field of welfare. It is erroneous to suppose that only the Security Council can take up and deal with matters affecting international security. In important respects the Assembly will have a jurisdiction concurrent with that of the Security Council; and it is a jurisdiction which cannot be blocked by the individual veto of any major Power.

The objective of freedom from fear can and must be pursued by the Great Assembly of the United Nations as well as the objective of freedom from want. The important gains made by the lesser nations at San Francisco, especially in relation to the powers of the Assembly, the Economic Council and the Trusteeship System, take on new significance in the light of recent events. The future of mankind may well be determined as much by the courage, initiative, determination and democratic idealism of the lesser Powers as by the strength, leadership and responsibility of the major Powers.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • HERBERT V. EVATT, P.C., Minister for External Affairs and Attorney-General of Australia since 1941; Australian Delegate at San Francisco and at many other international conferences; author of various works on legal and historical subjects
  • More By Herbert V. Evatt