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nation represented at San Francisco was in a state of war when the Conference began. Many were engaged throughout the weeks of its deliberation in bitter and costly fighting. Not only the peoples of the United Nations but the more than sixty million men and women enlisted still in the armed forces of those nations regarded the Conference, and had a right to regard it, as a meeting of their representatives engaged upon a labor of immediate importance and concern to them. It was a peoples' conference and a soldiers' conference in the sense that it met under the eyes of the soldiers who fought this war and the peoples who endured it, as no previous conference to deal with peace and war had ever met. It was a conference, also, which met in a world which knew of its own knowledge that another war would be fought, if there were another war, with weapons capable of reaching every part of the earth—that similar weapons had indeed been brought to the point of use in the present conflict.
These facts exerted a compelling influence not only on the work of the Conference but on the Charter it evolved. It was the common and equal determination of all those who participated in its labors that the Conference must reach agreement: that a charter must be written. The possibility of failure was never at any time admitted. It was the determination of the delegates, also, that. the Charter which the Conference produced should be a charter which would attempt to meet and to satisfy the concern and the anxiety of those who had suffered war and who knew at first hand the realities of violence. It would be a charter which would combine, with a declaration of united purpose to preserve the peace, a realistic and suitable machinery to give that purpose practical effect.
The Charter drafted by the Conference at San Francisco is such a charter. Its outstanding characteristic and the key to its construction is its dual quality as declaration and as constitution. As declaration it constitutes a binding agreement by the signatory nations to work together for peaceful ends and to adhere to certain standards of international morality. As constitution it creates four overall instruments by which these ends may be achieved in practice and these standards actually maintained. The first function of the Charter is moral and idealistic: the second realistic and practical. Men and women who have lived through war are not ashamed, as other generations sometimes are, to declare the depth and the idealism of their attachment to the cause of peace. But neither are they ashamed to recognize the realities of force and power which war has forced them to see and to endure.
As declaration the Charter commits the United Nations to the maintenance of “international peace and security”, to the development of "friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”, and to the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems", together with the promotion and encouragement of “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all”. More precisely, the United Nations agree to promote “higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development; solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.
Further, in its capacity as declaration, the Charter states the principles which its Members accept as binding. “Sovereign equality" of the member states is declared to be the foundation of their association with each other. Fulfillment in good faith of the obligations of the member states is pledged "in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership” in the Organization. Members are to "settle their international disputes by peaceful means" and in such manner as not to endanger international peace and security, and justice. Members are to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations". At the same time Members bind themselves to give the Organization "every assistance in any action it takes" in accordance with the Charter, and to "refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action".
Finally, the Charter as declaration binds those of its Members having responsibilities for administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained the full measure of self-government, to recognize the principle “that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount" and to "accept as a sacred trust” the obligation to promote their well-being to the utmost.
These declarations of purposes and principles are notable in themselves. They state, without condition or qualification, a first and overriding purpose “to maintain international peace and security”. International peace and security are the essential conditions of the world increasingly free from fear and free from want which President Roosevelt conceived as the great goal and final objective of the United Nations in this war and for the realization of which he and Cordell Hull worked unceasingly through twelve of the most decisive years of history.
But neither these declarations, nor those others which assert the intention of the United Nations to bring about the economic and social conditions essential to an enduring peace, or to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, would suffice, in and of themselves, to meet the evil of war and the fear of war which the Conference at San Francisco was called to consider. What was needed, as the Charter itself declares, was machinery to give effect to the purpose to maintain the peace—"effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace". What was needed, if the United Nations were really determined to have peace, was the means to peace-"to bring about by peaceful means ... adjustment or settlement of international disputes”.
These means the Charter in its capacity as constitution undertakes to establish. It creates, in addition to its Secretariat and the Trusteeship Council with its specialized but vital functions, four principal overall instruments to arm its purposes and to accomplish its ends: an enforcement agency; a forum for discussion and debate; a social and economic institute through which the learning and the knowledge of the world may be brought to bear upon its common problems; an international court in which justiciable cases may be heard. The first is called the Security Council; the second, the General Assembly; the third, the Economic and Social Council; the fourth, the International Court of Justice. Their functions are the functions appropriate to their names.
It will be the duty of the Security Council, supported by the pledged participation, and backed by military contingents to be made avail. able by the member states, to use its great prestige to bring about by peaceful means the adustment or the settlement of international disputes. Should these means fail, it is its duty, as it has the power, to take whatever measures are necessary, including measures of force, to suppress acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace. It will be the duty of the Security Council, in other words, to make good the commitment of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, turning that lofty purpose into practice. To that end the Council will be given the use and the support of diplomatic, economic and military tools and weapons in the control of the United Nations.
It will be the responsibility of the General Assembly to discuss, debate, reveal, expose, lay open—to perform, that is to say, the healthful and ventilating functions of a free deliberative body, without the right or duty to enact or legislate. The General Assembly may take up any matter within the scope of the Charter or relating to the powers and functions of any organs provided in the Charter. It may discuss the maintenance of peace and security and make recommendations on that subject to the Security Council calling its attention to situations likely to endanger peace. It may initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of promoting international cooperation in the maintenance of peace and security. It is charged with the duty of assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and encouraging the development and codification of international law. It may debate any situation, regardless of origin, which it thinks likely to impair the general welfare, and recommend measures for its peaceful adjustment. It may receive and consider reports from the various organs of the United Nations, including the Security Council.
Stated in terms of the purposes and principles of the Charter, in other words, it is the function of the General Assembly, with its free discussion and its equal votes, to realize in fact the sovereign equality" of the member states to which the United Nations are committed and to develop in practice the "friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” which the chapter on Purposes names as its second objective. Furthermore, it is the function of the Assembly to realize in its own deliberations the "international cooperation in the solution of international problems" which the Charter recites as one of its principal aims, and to employ the weapon of its public debates, and the prestige of its recommendations, to promote and encourage “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms".
The relation of the Economic and Social Council to the stated purposes of the United Nations is similarly direct and functional. The attainment of the ends which the United Nations lists among its Purposes in economic, social, health and other related fields, requires expert knowledge and careful study and the development of collaborative programs of action. The instrument devised by the Charter to that end is a Council in the economic and social field acting under the general responsibility of the Assembly and consisting of representatives of eighteen states.
The Economic and Social Council is empowered to make and initiate studies in its field, to frame reports and to make recommendations on its own initiative not only to the General Assembly, but to the Members of the Organization and to the specialized agencies in the fields of economics, health, culture, labor, trade, finance, human rights, and the like, which will be associated with the United Nations under the Council's coordination. Furthermore, the Council is authorized to call international conferences “on matters falling within its competence"; to prepare, for submission to the General Assembly, “draft conventions” in this field; “to perform services at the request of Members of the United Nations and at the request of specialized agencies”; and to obtain reports from the member states and from the specialized agencies on steps taken to give effect to its recommendations and those of the General Assembly. In a field of interest which concerns the peoples of the world as directly as the field of social and cultural and economic improvement, the power to study, report and recommend the power to call conferences, prepare draft conventions and require reports of progress—is a power which can be counted on to go a long way toward translating humanitarian aspirations into human gains.
The role of the International Court of Justice in the realization of the objectives of the Charter is obvious from the general nature of the Court. The purposes of the Charter include the adjustment or settlement of international disputes “in conformity with the principles of justice and international law". The International Court of Justice is the instrument of the United Nations to effect this purpose in the case of justiciable disputes referred to the Court by the parties. Where disputes are referred to the Court, or where member states accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court in certain categories of cases, its decisions are, of course, binding upon the parties. Moreover, under the Charter, all members of the United Nations undertake to comply with the decisions of the Court. Where a party to a case decided by the Court fails to comply with its decision, the matter may be brought to the attention of the Security Council for apprvpriate action.
These four overall instruments of international action constitute the principal means by which the Charter proposes to translate the world's hope for peace and security into the beginning of a world practice of peace and security. There are other instruments, adapted to other and more special ends. There is the Trusteeship Council, which will have the heavy responsibility of attaining in non-strategic areas the objectives of the trusteeship system established by the Charter. There is the Secretariat which, as an international civil service responsible to the Organization alone, will constitute its staff. The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Court are, however, the principal tools through which, and by which, the general aims and purposes of the Charter would be carried out.
They are instruments admittedly of limited powers. The jurisdiction of the Court is not compulsory unless accepted as such by member states. The Assembly cannot legislate but merely discuss and recommend. The Security Council is obliged, when force is used, to act through military contingents supplied by the member states. Measured against the magnitude of the task to which the United Nations have committed themselves and considered in the light of the long history of previous failures in this undertaking, such limited instruments may seem inadequate to the labor to be done. They have, nevertheless, characteristics which justify a greater hope for their success than the extent of the powers delegated to them would imply. They have behind them the history of humanity's long effort to suppress, in other areas of life, disorder and anarchy and the rule of violence. These four instruments are, in effect, the four principal agencies through which mankind has achieved the establishment of order and security as between individuals and families and communities.
On the frontiers of democratic society-not least upon the American frontiers—the instruments of order have always been, in one form or another, an agency to enforce respect for law with moral and physical power to prevent and to suppress breaches of the peace; a court in which the differences and disagreements of the citizens could be heard and tried; and a meeting place where the moral sense of the community could be expressed and its judgments formed, whether as declarations of law or as declarations of opinion. To these three fundamental and essential instruments of order, time and the necessities of advancing civilization have added a fourth institution through which technical knowledge and accumulated experience can be brought to bear upon the social and economic problems of societyproblems with which learning and science and experience can effectively deal.
These four fundamental instruments—the enforcement officer, the Court, the public meeting, and the center of science and of knowledge are instruments to which free men are accustomed. They are instruments in the use of which self-governing men have become adept over many generations. They are instruments the efficacy of which has been demonstrated by the whole history of human civilization. Their establishment in the international world, though accompanied by limitations upon their scope, will not alter their quality nor diminish their prestige. To transplant vines and trees from familiar to unfamiliar environments, is necessarily to cut them back and prune them. To transplant social organisms from the world of individual and group relations to the world of international relations, is necessarily also to limit them and cut them back. Nevertheless, instruments of proven social value taken over from the domestic to the international world carry with them qualities of vigor and of fruitfulness which the limitations placed upon them by their new condition cannot kill. They have behind them an historical momentum and a demonstrated usefulness which means far more, in terms of ultimate effectiveness, than the precise legal terms by which they are established in their new environment.
Moreover, if the work of cutting back is done realistically, the chances of survival are increased. The four social instruments taken over by the United Nations have been adapted to the conditions of the actual world of international relationship with a realistic appreciation of the limiting factors to be faced. The Security Council is not the enforcement agency of a world state, since world opinion will not accept the surrender of sovereignty which the establishment of a world state would demand. The Security Council, therefore, depends