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STRUCTURE OF THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE UNITED NATIONS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 1948
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee convened at 10:25 a. m., in the Foreign Affairs Committee room, United States Capitol, Hon. Charles A. Eaton (chairman) presiding
Chairman EATON. The committee will be in order.
We have as our first witness this morning our very distinguished fellow citizen, Mr. Dulles. I do not know whether he is willing to identify himself for the record or not; but, if he is, we will have him tell who he is and from whence he comes.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN FOSTER DULLES
Mr. DULLES. I am John Foster Dulles, of New York City, N. Y.
Mr. DULLES. Mr. Chairman, the resolutions which your committee is considering seek an all-important goal, namely the development of international law and its impartial enforcement. I am impressed with the soundness of this approach. Some seem to think that it is enough to have enforcement machinery. They forget that force is despotism unless it is subject to law.
Stalin has described Soviet dictatorship as “rule unrestricted by law and based on force.” He and his followers are seeking to extend that rule to the whole world and thereby to achieve world government.
The American people do not want world government which can be had only by accepting despotism. That wholesome fact is recognized by the resolutions before you. They seek the rule of law, not of men. They would define aggression, establish control of atomic energy, reg. ulate armament, and then enforce such laws through an international council in which no nation would have a right of veto.
That approach to the problem of world order is basically sound and the moral stature of the United States would be increased if the Congress were to make it clear that, at this critical time, when the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, our great Nation is ready to take the lead in surrendering its sovereignty to the extent necessary to establish peace through the ordering of just law.
Your committee should, however, understand-as no doubt you dothat the suggested program will have to surmount many difficulties before it is realized, and that, unless it is handled carefully, it could destroy more than it created, or even precipitate the catastrophe it would avert.
I doubt that the desired results can now be achieved by amending the Charter of the United Nations. The Soviet Union has the right to veto any such amendments and it would almost certainly do so. I say this as the American who, at the last Assembly, handled the United States proposal that the Assembly should study modification of the veto power, and I debated this matter vigorously with Messrs. Vishinsky and Gromyko. The view I express is shared by all who have dealt at first-hand with this problem. The reason for the Soviet attitude is simple. Communist doctrine does not look upon "laws” as being embodiments of impartial justice which restrain even those in outhority. To Communists, "laws” are merely the means whereby those in authority achieve their ends. Therefore, the program you are studying would, according to Soviet ideas, mean delivering the Soviet Union into the hands of a hostile majority.
Obviously, Soviet perverseness should not be allowed indefinitely to prevent the realization of international order under law.
A time may come when it would be useful to confront the Soviet Union with a conference for revision of the Charter. That, however, would at the present time be a tactical move, rather than a move from which we could genuinely expect Charter amendments which would embody the program you are considering. Present progress will have to depend primarily on either proceeding within the framework of the present Charter or else establishing a new international organization of which only some of the nations are members.
In my opinion, much progress is possible without radically amending the present Charter. To some extent that progress can be made by voluntary renunciations of the right of veto and by interpreting more liberally the Charter provision which excludes veto power over Security Council action which is “procedural.” Most Security Council action under chapter VI, dealing with the pacific settlement of disputes, is, by fair interpretation, procedural only.
Perhaps the most hopeful avenue of progress is opened up by article 51 of the Charter, dealing with the inherent right of collective selfdefense. The possibilities in article 51 are indeed recognized by two of the resolutions before you, House Concurrent Resolution 163 and House Concurrent Resolution 194.
Article 51 is a key article, which embodies a basic policy shift from the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. They would have prohibited any collective action, unless it was authorized by the Security Council. That meant that the veto in the Security Council could be used to block all measures of regional and collective self-defense.
Those who made up the American delegation at San Francisco, as your chairman will recall, realized that, in view of the veto power, the Security Council could not itself be relied upon to provide effective protection and that being so the nations ought to be free to organize effective protection of their own. Consequently, at San Francisco, we proposed that the Charter authorize collective self-defense.
That proposal was adopted, despite Soviet obstruction. The result is that the United Nations Charter contemplatetes national association at two levels. There is, as the top level, universal association, which is loose. Underlying that there may be regional and collective selfdefense associations which can be as tight as the members want.
Pursuant to that Charter concept, the United Nations system has already been supplemented by the defense system of the American states, concluded last year at Rio, and by the western European defense system initiated this year at Brussels. Such regional and collective defense associations, under articles 51 and 52, can be developed without limit, and the United States is entitled to join any of them if it considers that doing so will promote peace with justice.
Some may consider article 51 inadequate because it speaks of a right of action "if an armed attack occurs.” That suggests that members of a collective self-defense group might have to remain passive until atomic bombs actually strike them. As one who worked on that article at San Francisco, I can say that it probably would not read as it does if, when it was drafted, atomic warfare had been known. But the basic feature of article 51 is its recognition that there is an "inherent” right of collective self-defense. Article 51 does not attempt to define exhaustively that inherent right. So, I believe it is permissible for a collective defense group to treat as aggression the violation of rules for the regulation of armament which the General Assembly has determined to be necessary for international peace and security and which the defense group accepts for itself. In this connection, it may be noted that the General Assembly has already voted unanimously, including the Soviet Union, that atomic weapons should be eliminated and atomic energy should be internationally controlled to insure its use only for peaceful purposes.
It is my judgment that if some nations want to begin to establish a rule of law under the auspices of the United Nations, they may do so now under article 51, interpreted in the light of General Assembly action with regard to regulation of armaments and development of international law. It is not necessary to do away with a universal association that is loose in order to have a partial association that is highly organized.
I will go further and risk the prediction that any such program as you are considering can be developed more easily and more broadly within the framework of the present universal organization than if we start afresh. There are several countries that might join a collective defense organization under the Charter that might not join a new organization which would seem to split the world into two opposing blocks.
If it is possible to develop an effective rule of law without destroying the universality of the present United Nations, that course ought, in my opinion, to be preferred.
The present United Nations, with all of its weaknesses, is an asset rather than a liability. It does provide Soviet leaders with a world forum for propaganda purposes. That is undesirable, but their propaganda is now wearing thin. On the basis of my experience and I have participated in all the regular sessions of the Assembly—these "town meetings of the world” have served to enlighten world opinion about the nature of Soviet leadership. Soviet tactics, obstruction, boycott, and smear have alienated many who were originally disposed to be friendly or neutral. General Assembly debate promotes worldwide moral judgments that are influential even though their implementation is not well-organized.
Also, it is to be born in mind that the much discussed “veto” operates only in the Security Council. The Assembly and its organs have very
great authority and in them there is no veto power. The Assembly has coordinate jurisdiction with the Security Council with respect to security matters except when it comes to final action. Thus the United Nations can do much through the Assembly which the Soviet would block in the Security Council.
At its last regular meeting, the Assembly set up a Greek Commission to help protect Greece against attacks launched from her northern neighbors. It set up the Commission which arranged the election held this week in Korea as a step toward making Korea free and independent. It established a so-called “Little Assembly” so that the United Nations would have a vetoless political security body functioning all the year around. These three acts by the Assembly were taken over violent Soviet objection and the Soviet Union and its satellites have boycotted the Greek Committee, the Korean Committee and the “Little Assembly," Nevertheless, these three bodies are functioning,
The Assembly has a mandate to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms. These rights and freedoms are now subject to attack in much of the world by a highly organized Communist campaign, which has already subjected to terrorism some 500,000,000 people of 15 different nations. One of the most important tasks that faces the free societies is to take joint action to meet that attack and that they are pledged to do by article 56 of the Charter. The Soviet Union has no power to veto such action.
The United Nations is carrying on a great work in promoting free institutions among colonial peoples. All the colonial powers are committed, under chapter XI, to develop self-government and the Trusteeship Council is exercising special responsibilities in certain areas. The Soviet Union violently opposed the establishment of the Trusteeship Council and has, until the last few days, boycotted it. It wanted revolution, not evolution. Nevertheless, the work of the United Nations with respect to dependent peoples has been going ahead in an encouraging way and there is no possibility of Soviet interference by veto.
There are many other great projects which lie within the authority of the General Assembly and where no veto applies.
The United Nations, as a universal organization, has great actual and potential value. Concededly, it does not realize the hopes of many, but many of these hopes were from the beginning exaggerated. Prog. ress at the universal level is bound to be slow. But it still must be attempted for only at that level can durable peace be achieved. But efforts at the universal level should not preclude more rapid progress at a less than universal level. Under the United Nations Charter both possibilities are open and I advocate a United States policy which would develop both possibilities with resourcefulness and determination and with high resolve born out of a sense of the awful predicament in which mankind now finds itself.
Chairman EATON. Mr. Dulles, we thank you for your very informative and illuminating statement.
We have heard a great deal of talk and suggestions about the surrendering of national sovereignty. I note that you say that our great Nation is ready to take the lead in surrendering its sovereignty. What do you mean by “sovereignty”?
Mr. DULLES. Perhaps "surrendering sovereignty” can be misunderstood: It may be better to say “exercising sovereignty” by agreeing to
certain rules of procedure by which we would be bound. I believe that we can agree and in fact we have agreed under the Charter of the American States to certain rules of procedure by which we are bound and to that extent we have given up our complete freedom of action.
As a matter of fact, every treaty involves to some extent a surrendering of sovereignty because by the treaty a nation foregoes its complete freedom to do whatever it will that is contrary to the terms of the treaty. Mr. Bloom. Is sovereignty divisible, Mr. Dulles ? Mr. DULLES. In my opinion, it is. Mr. BLOOM. Either you have sovereignty or you do not have it. I do not see how you can divide sovereignty.
Mr.DULLES. I think we divided it here in the United States. Some of our sovereignty resides in the States and some of our sovereignty resides in the Federal Government.
Mr. Bloom. The people of the States are sovereign, under the State constitution, and the people of the United States are sovereign, because in the United States Constitution the people are all sovereign.
That is a new interpretation to me. You may be right but I did not know you could divide sovereignty. You either have sovereignty or you do not have it.
Mr. DULLES. I believe that sovereignty consists of a bundle of rights and you can dispose of the contents of that bundle in different places, but it represents a metaphysical question we are discussing; that is not of great practical significance.
Mr. Bloom. Is there such a thing as a sovereignty or is it the people of the State who are sovereign!
Mr. DULLES. Again you have a division. Under the Constitution, certain sovereign rights are invested in the Federal Government; other sovereign rights are invested in the States and rights which are not specifically delegated either to the Federal or State Government reside in the people.
Mr. Bloom. But, Mr. Dulles, we are not the Federal Government, this is a national government. Therefore, under the Federal Constitution you may have been right but today, under this Constitution, which proclaims the national government, the people are sovereign, and the people can change or do whatever they want.
Under the State constitution, the States are sovereign. Either you have a sovereignty or you have no sovereignty at all. You have given your sovereignty away. However, I do not see how you can divide it.
That is all.
Chairman Eaton. The chairman has yielded to his distinguished predecessor long enough to be more completely confused by a layman than he ever was by a lawyer.
I just have one more question, Mr. Dulles.
Is it not your view that we should best continue the United Nations and develop it as it is now and go on from there, or try to substitute something else? That is what we are considering.
Mr. DULLES. I believe we should continue with the United Nations as it is, provided we use resourcefully the full potentialities that are within the United Nations Charter. I think those potentialities are adequate to accomplish everything that can be accomplished, practically, at the present time.