San Francisco

San Francisco is the place where “The United Nations Conference on International Organization” is being held.  This meeting takes the news today.  With Germany in her death throes, delegates of 46 nations of the world, representing four-fifths of the world’s population and nine-tenths of the land area of the world, are met here to erect a structure for international security.  The world’s power and strength are represented at San Francisco.



The purpose of this meeting should be clear to you.  This is not a peace-making conference, but rather a peace-keeping one.  It will not deal at all with the defeated Germany, her punishment or boundaries; that problem will be left to the victors after the war is over.  The chief problem here is future security, including, of course, plans to prevent future wars.  That is not all for this organization aims to set up plans to solve International problems, such as industrial, social, food, health, educational, and all related problems that need attention for peace and progress the world over.  It has been said that two-thirds of the people in the world never had enough to eat, about half of the adults in the world cannot read and write, factories in general are still sweatshops.  This conference is to set up organization to solve such problems.  That is its purpose.


Machinery of the plan—

Young people should be familiar with the set-up of the Dumbarton Oaks proposed plan.  Remember this conference is working on the Dumbarton Oaks proposals and naturally will make many amendments.  The machinery follows these definite forms: the United Nations will consist of three main branches and the Secretariat.  First there is the General Assembly which will include all the “peace loving” nations—eventually may even include Germany and Japan.  The Assembly meets once a year to discuss problems of relief, air routes, trade, etc. and under it will be associated many agencies, as Economical and Social Council, Labor Council, Food Organization, Health Agency, Monetary Council.  Second there will be the International Court which will deal only with International laws.  The third branch is the Security Council—the real power house.  It proposes to have eleven members: five permanent (the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, China, France) and six rotating members; the latter members are elected by the Assembly for a two term period.  Hence the Council has the Big Five and six small nations.  It will be in session the year around.  This body can make decisions and even call upon military forces to put down threat of war.  In case of trouble the Council may investigate and make recommendations providing seven out of the eleven are in favor of it.  But it is a different case when it comes to enforcing; the Big Five must vote alike before any action can be taken.  Even if ten of the eleven are in favor of it, one of the Big Five can block an action.  No force can be applied to small countries if one of the Five is not in favor of so doing.  The Big Five must stick together in order to enforce a decision.  A Military Staff is to be associated with the Security Council.  A fourth branch is the Secretariat, the function of which you can conclude from its name.



Forty-six nations are met to reach objectives under such machinery.  Problems are easily seen.  Where does the small nation come in?  The Big Five will have dictatorship for they can control, prevent, or veto any step; even if the whole world be against one member of the Big Five, that member can protect itself by veto power.  Will the small nations be able to safeguard their interests in this set-up?  Look what happened to Poland just recently.  Russia did it and that ends it.  What can the small nations do?  Can they rely on Senator Vanden Berg’s idea of “justice” to be done always?  This voting in the Council and the place of small nations seem to be the big thorns to be threshed out.

Another problem is the demand of Russia to have three votes in the Assembly.  The original plan calls for only one vote for each.  This was announced after the Yalta Conference and F.D.R. seems to have given Russia the Green Light on it.  Russia evidently figures that the British Dominions all count up and Russia will add a vote each for her Ukraine and White Russia.  Why she should want two more votes in that large Assembly of fifty or more, we do not know; probably no more than mere demand for diplomatic recognition.

How shall the Colonies be handled after the war?  The idea of Trusteeship has been suggested.  Shall the U.S. be trustee over the Japanese islands (the Marianas, Marshall, Caroline, etc.) or shall a strong power control over a dependent area and report to the United Nations regularly?  How can that be worked out?

Finally, there is the problem of Alliances.  Shall we have them?  It is said that it is possible but they must be under strict supervision of the United Nations.  Shall the Wilsonian idea of open alliances be practiced?


The Last Step-

The whole plan will be drawn up into a treaty or an agreement.  Then what?  Stalin, or one appointed by him, needs only to affix his signature and it goes into operation.  Churchill can do the same; it is not necessary for Parliament to pass on the document.  The heads of other nations represented at the Conference need only to do the same—sign.  But it is different for the U.S.  This agreement or document must be ratified or approved by a two-thirds vote in the Senate.