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nations themselves to settle their trouble peacefully. The right of the Security Council to intervene develops by carefully graduated stages only as it becomes necessary to do so for the maintenance of peace. The General Assembly has wide powers to watch over the conduct of the member states, and new avenues have been opened which can remove the causes of disputes even before they arise. The judicial settlement of legal questions is encouraged and the optional clause in the Statute of the Court makes possible, as regards those states which accept it, a wide degree of compulsory jurisdiction over such disputes. If member states fail in the end to settle their disputes peacefully, and this failure is regarded as a threat to the peace, the authority of the Security Council carries on, under Chapter VII of the Charter, to the use of force.

In comparison with the League of Nations system, the Charter provisions for peaceful settlement are both stronger and more flexible. Primary responsibility is centered in the Security Council, in distinction to the concurrent jurisdiction given to the Council and the Assembly under the League Covenant. As has been shown in Chapter V of this Report, much greater power is available to the Security Council under the Charter than to the League Council under the Covenant to act effectively when any dispute or situation becomes a threat to the peace.

It is clearly an advantage, from the viewpoint of decisive action, that the Security Council is not so restricted as the Council of the League, in determining what is a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression. Under the League system there had to be “resort to war, in disregard of ... covenants under” certain designated articles of the Covenant. The Charter of the United Nations, on the other hand, leaves the Security Council free, within the purposes and principles of the Organization, to determine whether any situation is a threat to the peace.

Finally, the Security Council of the United Nations, when it has decided that a threat to the peace exists, has at its disposal much more effective economic and military powers than were available to the League. Since these powers are ready to be used if a threat to the peace results from the failure of member nations to live up to their obligation to settle disputes peacefully, the fact of their existence increases the chances that the Security Council can bring about a peaceful settlement which will make the use of force unnecessary.

The obligations for peaceful settlement undertaken by the Members of the United Nations under the Charter are much the same as those under the League of Nations Covenant. But the means provided for fulfilling these obligations are better and the sanctions that will follow failure to fulfill them are far stronger. Nevertheless, as the experience of the League showed, the success or failure of the United Nations will in the last analysis depend not upon the terms of the Charter, but upon the willingness of members to meet their responsibilities. All the Charter can do is to increase the chances for success. That has been done. But only the member states, by their conduct, can assure success. If they do, the use of force will atrophy, and conflicts among nations will be settled by peaceful means.





(Chapter VII)


Chapter VII of the Charter provides the teeth of the United Nations. While the novel quality of the enforcement measures envisaged in that Chapter may attract undue public attention at the expense of other vital functions of the Organization, the fact remains that upon the confidence which member states repose in the efficacy of the measures designed to halt aggression—a confidence which may have to meet the test of successive crises--the survival of the entire Organization and of world peace itself must ultimately depend. Certain other provisions of the Charter which have undergone the most intensive public scrutiny and debate, such as the so-called Yalta voting formula, derive much of their importance from the manner in which they may affect or be affected by the operation of Chapter VII.

In this Charter, governments have for the first time undertaken to conclude agreements to provide armed forces and attendant facilities to be used on the call of an international agency in enforcing international peace and security. The acceptance of these provisions by the United States will mark the formal assumption by it for the first time of responsibility for maintaining world security, and will constitute concrete evidence of the recognition by this country that its own security is founded upon its cooperation with other countries in the maintenance of world peace.

This will represent a notable change in our foreign policy and in our military policy. But if it means a far-reaching commitment, entailing expense and some limitation on our freedom of action, it must be weighed against what it is designed to prevent—the appalling cost in men and material wealth of another war. Nor can we overlook the fact that other states, not so powerful as we, will assume relatively heavy obligations without retaining the large measure of control which the United States will enjoy as one of the permanent members of the Security Council.

The thirteen articles of Chapter VII, which follows closely Chapter VIII, Section B, of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, fall into four groups. Articles 39-42 endow the Security Council with the powers necessary to deal effectively with threats to the peace and with breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. The next five articles contain all the provisions designed to enable the Council to employ military measures swiftly and effectively. Then follow in Articles 48, 49 and 50, the obligations of the Members in respect of enforcement action and a provision designed to assist Member states which encounter special economic problems in fulfilling these obligations. The last Article, 51, is the new "self-defense” provision which is discussed in detail 'in connection with regional arrangements (Chapter VIII of this Report).

There was little disposition on the part of the Conference to challenge the concept that the Organization must take enforcement action and have force at its disposal to do so; nor, even more significantly, was there much evidence of a desire to limit the obligations of members. However, the proposal to concentrate in the Security Council the responsibilities for the enforcement of peace was the subject of much debate, as were some of the important details of the chapter.

Four principal questions were dealt with in the consideration at San Francisco of Chapter VIII, Section B, of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals: (1) Should the authority for the Council's decisions be altered, either through granting the Assembly the right of participation in those decisions or through enlarging the permanent membership of the Council! (2) Should the liberty of action of the Council be restricted, either by providing definitions of aggression which would be binding upon it, or by other means! (3) How could the measures for creating and using military forces for international security be perfected? (4) Should the Military Staff Committee be enlarged or otherwise altered from the pattern set down in Dumbarton Oaks? A good deal of attention was also devoted in a few instances to clarifying the language of the provisions on which general agreement already existed, but in general the provisions of this Chapter underwent very little change at San Francisco. On the issues involved in this Chapter the interests of the United States differed little from those of the other great powers, and the unanimity of agreement among the so-called “Big Five” was especially prominent throughout the consideration of this Chapter.


At San Francisco there was a ready recognition as at Dumbarton Oaks of the need to grant the Organization authority to determine when a situation has become a threat to the peace and to decide when an act of aggression has occurred or a breach of the peace exists.

The Conference decided, however, that Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Chapter VIII, Section B, of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals with reference to the making of such determinations contained some over-nice distinctions concerning the different phases of a dispute and the particular measures which might apply in each case. The old first paragraph provided that the Security Council should take measures to maintain peace and security if it should determine that the failure to settle a dispute under certain of the provisions of Chapter VIII, Section A constituted a threat to the peace. The old second paragraph gave the Security Council general authority to determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, and to make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken upon such an eventuality. The discussion of these provisions by the Conference made it clear that the second paragraph contained all of the authority required to enable the Security Council to make the necessary determinations, and that as a consequence it was unnecessary to provide for any separate procedure with respect to a situation arising from the failure to settle a dispute under Chapter VIII, Section A (Chapter VI of the Charter). It was decided, therefore, to eliminate the old first paragraph as redundant and to incor

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porate the second with slight modifications into the Charter as Article 39, reading as follows:

“The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore

international peace and security. If any single provision of the Charter has more substance than the others, it is surely this one sentence, in which are concentrated the most important powers of the Security Council. It leaves a wide latitude to the discretion of the Security Council, which decides whether a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression exists, and having so decided is free to choose whether to make recommendations to the disputing parties or to proceed with sanctions or to do both. While there was some sentiment for laying down more precisely the duties of the Security Council in particular circumstances, an overwhelming majority of the participating governments were of the opinion that the circumstances in which threats to the peace or aggression might occur are so varied that the provision should

be left as broad and as flexible as possible. The general duties of the Security Council are clear, and reliance upon the fulfilment of those duties is based, as it must inevitably be, on the good faith of its members.

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One of the most significant lines upon which debate concerning the liberty of action of the Council proceeded, was that which concerned the proposed inclusion in the Charter of provisions with respect to determination of acts of aggression. Various amendments proposed on the subject, including those of Bolivia and the Philippine Commonwealth, offered a list of sharply-defined eventualities (such as invasion of, or attack on, another state, interfering with its internal affairs, etc.) in which the Council would be bound to determine by formula not only the existence of aggression but also the identity of the aggressor. These proposals also implied that in such cases the action of the Council would be automatic. The United States Delegation, believing that the acceptance of such a concept was most undesirable, played an active part in opposing the amendments. The Conference finally agreed that even the most simple and obvicus cases of aggression might fall outside any of the formulae suggested, and, conversely, that a nation which according to a formula strictly interpreted could be deemed the offender in any particular instance might actually—when all circumstances were considered—be found to be the victim of intolerable provocation. Since it was admittedly impossible to provide a complete list, the Security Council might have a tendency to consider of less importance acts of aggression not specifically covered therein. The problem was especially complicated by the progress in modern techniques of warfare and the development of novel methods of propaganda and provocation.

Finally, it was recognized that if the Council were bound to automatic action, the result might be that enforcement measures would be applied prematurely. The Technical Committee dealing with this

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question therefore decided to hold to the provision quoted above which gives the Council ample authority to decide what constitutes a threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression, and to decide also which of the disputing parties has been mainly at fault.


Related to the general question of the enforcement authority of the Security Council was the matter of provisional measures designed to prevent a deterioration of any disturbance pending the definitive recommendations or decisions of the Security Council. While such an authority was implicit in the original paragraphs which introduced the section on enforcement measures in the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals, the Sponsoring Powers decided to propose the insertion of an entirely new provision, incorporated in the Charter as Article 40. The measures envisaged in this Article are measures which the disputing parties will be asked to undertake themselves upon recommendation of the Council, and are therefore not to be regarded as preliminary sanctions.

It is anticipated that such provisional measures will in no wise delay the final recommendations or decisions of the Security Council, but that on the contrary compliance with them will greatly facilitate and expedite a final solution of the dispute. As specifically stated in Article 40, compliance with provisional measures will in no way prejudice "the rights, claims, or position of the parties concerned". The Security Council shall on the other hand "duly take account of failure to comply". It was felt that the language of the latter statement, which leaves a certain discretion to the Council, was preferable to a more positive statement binding the Council to direct all its measures against that side which had failed to comply. As in the matter of defining an aggressor, it was recognized that while failure to comply with provisional recommendations must be regarded as serious, the burden of provocation might nevertheless in some instances be overwhelmingly on the other side.

Provisional measures will be used only in appropriate cases. If they are not used or if they do not resolve a particular dispute, the Security Council will proceed to use other measures either non-military measures under Article 41, or military measures under Article 42. It should be pointed out that the sequence of Articles 41 and 42 does not mean that the Council must in all cases resort to non-military measures in the first instance. While ordinarily this would be the case, since crises generally take a long time to develop, in a case of sudden sion the Security Council may resort at once to military action without proceeding through any intermediate step, and the language of Article 42 has been refined to make this clear.



In the opinion of the United States Delegation, the effectiveness of the Organization as an instrument of international peace was at stake in two groups of amendments to Chapter VIII, Section B, of the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals. One group was intended to permit the General Assembly to participate in the Security Council's decisions,

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