Organization of Power in the Post-War World


By FREDERICK L. SCHUMAN, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government, Williams College,Williamstown, Mass.

Delivered before the Institute of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., July 11, 1942

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VIII, pp. 656-661.

IN all transactions involving profit or loss, it is simple common sense for buyers to bargain for the lowest price. But in all transactions involving the values men live by and die for, it is everywhere deemed wise and right to spare no expense and shrink from no sacrifice, even unto life itself, to preserve them from destruction. The total war in which we are engaged is clearly not a matter of gain or deficit but a mortal struggle for the annihilation or survival of all that has hitherto given meaning to the lives of freemen.

We know this surely. We say this often. With high resolve we repeat the words of Patrick Henry: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

And yet, in their deeds if not in their words, most Americans and most of the peoples and leaders of the other United Nations are still dealing with the dangers and opportunities

of their self-inflicted tragedy by a niggardly effort to balance accounts on an unseen ledger. Unacknowledged questions trouble our spirits more than the burden and grief of war itself: what is the lowest possible price we must pay for victory? How cheaply can the war be won? How little must we pay to win the peace? By such a miser's reckoning as this our generation bartered away the peace of yesterday and squandered utterly the victory of the day before for which so much was paid in wasted blood and tears. By such penny-pinching bookkeeping the war of today and the peace of tomorrow may be lost beyond recovery, along with the fairest and final promise of our century.

Our miserliness does not lie in the value we place upon our money or our lives. If the lavish expenditure of gold and blood would give us victory, then victory would already be within our reach instead of looming doubtfully beyond some dark horizon we cannot see. What we have hitherto been unwilling to give up for the fulfillment of our purpose are the goods of the mind and heart which men always part with far less willingly than they part with their fortunes or their flesh. The goods we clutch at gaspingly, as if they were the most priceless of treasures, are pride and prejudice, old habits and time-worn grooves of thought and action, familiar superstitions and beloved myths, and all of the confused legacy of loyalties left us by our forebears. Because we know that most of our inheritance of beliefs and practices is worth preserving against the barbarians, we cling grimly to all of that inheritance. In stubborn desperation. we refuse to see that much of our cherished past has brought us to this monstrous present and that we are more than likely to lose it all unless we exchange some of it for newer and better ways.

This much most of us are ready to grant—in words. We applauded Vice-President Wallace's evaluation of the war as a People's Revolution to inaugurate the Century of the Common Man. We cheered Sumner Welles' denunciation of "unenlightened selfishness," his condemnation of imperialism and his plea to rectify past mistakes by undertaking "the maintenance of an international police power" and by making the United Nations "the nucleus of a world organization of the future to determine the final terms of a just, an honorable and a durable peace. We nodded assent when Mr. Welles, seconding Mr. Wallace, said: "This is in very truth a people's war. It is a war which cannot be regarded as won until the fundamental rights of the peoples of the earth are secured."

We are none the less unwilling still to translate words into deeds if the deeds which are called for conflict with our fixations on the symbols of a dead yesterday. We know in our hearts that words without deeds are the empty mouthings of hollow men. But let anyone propose concrete action to achieve the objectives we say we desire and he will at once be assailed by a host of critics, complaining that his suggestions are contrary to diplomatic precedent, that they are revolutionary or un-American, or that they are politically impracticable and probably subversive. Our political leaders still strive for unity and re-election by resting their appeals on the lowest common denominators of mass support. Our tradition-ridden diplomats remain earnest and small-minded men, wedded to the past and afraid to face the future boldly, lest by so doing they lose friends and alienate people or jeopardize their own stake in the status quo.

Yet our leaders in fact represent us. Even our diplomats, albeit less touched by the dynamic forces of our time than many other groups of public servants, are but reflections of ourselves. Responsibility for sluggishness and indecision in the face of the challenge of change lies in our preoccupation with ancient magic and obsolete rituals. Confronted with

danger, we take fearful refuge in old formulas which seem somehow less terrifying than the perils of novelty, even in the presence of the disasters to which they have brought us. Like Hamlet, we prefer to suffer the evils that we know rather than fly to others we know not of. The enemy, however, has no fear of what is strange and new. And he has given his oath to his pagan gods to rebuild the world, after his own Satanic design, over the ashes of our homes and the earth of our graves.

We say, as we do battle with his fanatic hordes, that we want freedom of religion everywhere in the world. But we are timid and furtive about the practical implications of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, lest we be summoned to treat all men and women of all colors and creeds as truly our fellows, entitled to the rights and opportunities which we claim as our own. We say we desire freedom of speech everywhere in the world. But we prefer that the speech be limited to feeble phrases, since bold words calling us to new deeds are disturbing to the contentment which goes with avoidance of thought. We say we wish freedom from want everywhere in the world. But we shun the burden of planning a world economy of abundance, and some of us hope against hope for a return to normalcy and for a plenty to be miraculously gained by a restoration of economic anarchy. We say we wish freedom from fear everywhere in the world. But we show small eagerness to accept the duties of organizing the World Society for security and peace.

We want democracy, but not too much and not for everybody. We want self-determination for ourselves and for the good Europeans, but we display no sign of desiring self-determination for the people of Hong Kong or Indo-China or Java or Burma or Syria or Madagascar or even Puerto Rico. We want victory for the United Nations. But we scarcely want them wholly united or permanently united, lest we be obliged to surrender the fond belief that we can live alone and like it. Some of us want America to win the war but have no desire for Britain to win it or for China or Russia or Roosevelt to win it. We still fear communism because we lack faith in our own capacity to offer a betrayed generation anything better. We are still desperately jealous of our national sovereignty because we refuse to lift our vision to anything broader and more hopeful than national sovereignty. We wish peace and safety, but we seek to keep the attitudes and habits that destroy peace and safety. We are entangled and trapped, now as before, by the narrow provincialisms and the entrenched interests, material and spiritual, of an epoch upon which the morticians hold a mortgage that is already foreclosed.

No easy prescription is at hand for resolving this dilemma, nor is it helpful to dwell upon it in any spirit of melancholy satisfaction or pessimism nor to search for scapegoats or villains to whom it may be ascribed. Our most dangerous enemies are those within our minds and hearts. Those who want things which are incompatible and mutually exclusive must either make up their minds as to what they want most and accept the consequences, or they must remain forever frustrated, forever unable to reconcile ends and means, forever irresolute and doomed to defeat at the hands of those who know what they want. The English-speaking peoples among the United Nations, along with their pathetic house guests of governments-in-exile, have not yet decided what they want most. Until they do, they will remain incapable of formulating war aims and peace plans in any terms more substantial than such devalued words as "freedom" and "survival."

Here again we all agree, in principle, that a concrete declaration of goals and programs for building the world oftomorrow is an indispensable and perhaps a decisive weapon for waging the war itself. Without it we cannot persuade the enemy peoples and the conquered peoples and the colonial peoples and even many of our own people that we are fighting for a future better than the past and better than that promised by the foe. And we know, or will presently know, that until we have carried this conviction far and wide over the world as a burning faith, we will be lacking in the political and psychological prerequisites for a second front, for successful military attack anywhere, for ultimate victory itself.

But, like diplomats bargaining with our own consciences, we shrink from practicing the principles we accept. We cannot formulate an effective declaration of our purposes because we cannot choose sharply among our own conflicting desires. So long as we refuse to choose, so long will our every move be hampered by our own confusions, so long will we continue to believe blindly that the war can be won by money and blood, or by mass production, or by the frantic fear of defeat in our souls, or by the loathing to which decent men and women everywhere are moved by the crimes of the enemy. Yet every day the voice within and the news without tell us that the cost of the triumph we pray for is quoted in different figures on some quite different price list.

The invisible barriers to victory within our heads are reflected in the organization, in the obligations and in the stated objectives of the United Nations—or, to put it bluntly, in the lack of organization, in the confusion of obligations and in the absence of clearly stated objectives. The weaknesses of our coalition are too many and varied for brief enumeration. Suffice it to say that our Grand Alliance still has no common central organs with powers of decision, no unified high command, no adequate representation of many peoples whose aid is essential for victory, no universal commitments beyond a pact to fight together and make no separate peace, no program whatever for winning the peace, and no common statement of goals beyond the Atlantic Charter. The Charter itself, whatever we may think of its pale platitudes and however frequently it may be mentioned in new agreements among the United Nations, has no meaning to the subject peoples and the enemy peoples save as a reckless formula to restore the world of yesterday by putting Humpty-Dumpty back on the wall. It is a statement of desirable ends wholly devoid of any indication of relevant means by which the ends are to be attained. It is a declaration, noble in purpose, of the rights of men and nations, unaccompanied by any suggestion of those duties to the World Community without which no rights can be maintained. If these judgments seem harsh and dismal, they are less so than the facts themselves or the fruits of the facts in the course of the war which is plain for all to see.

The question of whether the war can be won through the use of such weapons of the spirit as we now have available is almost "academic," a word which is the layman's euphemism for unanswerable and unimportant. The war is in fact being lost. The enemy is conquering ever wider spaces and ever longer time intervals within which to prepare for us the irreparable defeat, preceding the final kill. It is clear, or should by now be clear, that our succession of defeats is due less to lack of courage or of arms or of resources than to lack of willingness to undertake new departures in the conduct of war and the planning of peace and to resultant lack of ability to move the peoples of the world to that measure of purposeful devotion which is needed for victory. If nevertheless, as all of us hope, the tide of battle can yet be turned by the sheer brute power of our production of soldiers and guns, unaccompanied by political imagination to reshape the world, then the further question of whether we can win

the peace will have found its own answer. In this event, at once welcome and heartbreaking, we shall prepare our children as best we can for the next epoch of power politics with its renewal of the sickening cycle of concert and balance, disunity and unbalance, aggression and appeasement, futile evasions and ultimately world-shattering war once more.

The alternative to this prospect is willingness to pay the price of victory now. The price of victory is, in the largest sense, the price of peace. For it is almost as certain as death and taxes, despite widespread belief to the contrary, that the winning of the war will not precede, but will follow, the formulation of our plan for winning the peace. That plan will be the principal weapon of our victory. The price of peace has been stated over and again in sundry shapes and is everywhere being discussed in many tongues, thus far without agreement. The way of freemen, however, is to arrive at a consensus through discussion. Everyone whose mind is clear and whose will to victory is firm therefore owes it to himself and his fellows to think through the issue, while there is yet time, and to state the price as best he can, with humility and full awareness of the obstacles in the way of its payment, but also with frankness and with hope that wisdom and action will flow from debate.

The first step toward winning the war through a program for winning the peace is to obtain general acceptance of a few simple and familiar propositions which may be stated quite briefly, even at the risk of appearing dogmatic. The basic premise has been constantly reiterated through the centuries by all who have ever given serious thought to the issue. As good a statement as any is that of Alexander Hamilton: "To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent and unconnected sovereignties in the same neighborhood would be to disregard the uniform course of human events and set at defiance the accumulated experience of the ages." Armed violence between nations is not a consequence of tyranny or sin but a concomitant, invariable and inevitable, of the presence of a multiplicity of sovereignties in the same community, whether that community be as small as ancient Greece and medieval Italy or as large as all our shrunken globe. Such sovereignties, so long as they are wholly sovereign, independent, and unconnected through any supreme law or higher authority, must necessarily play power politics with one another. For power politics is the only possible form of politics in a society whose members live in a condition of anarchy. War is the final and inescapable form of power politics. Its abolition is impossible without the abolition of power politics. The abolition of power politics is impossible without the abolition of anarchy among rival sovereignties. The abolition of anarchy is impossible without the establishment of government. The prerequisite of government in the World Community is the merging of sovereignties into a permanent World Authority, created by all for the protection of each and so devised that its agents will have power to maintain a world order, to enforce a world law, and to prevent or suppress all violence save the organized violence of the World Community against evil-doers. Only in this fashion can world politics be made an orderly process of compromise and planning for welfare and justice rather than a hideous nightmare of fraud and force.

However dim their perceptions may be of the relationship between ends and means, however deep their affections may be for the tribal divinities and the local absolutisms making for world anarchy, the vast majority of men and women everywhere are now so weary of ruin and slaughter that their deepest hunger is for harmony, order, and peace. They want world order more than they want national sovereignty, though they see no means as yet for attaining the former without destroying the latter. They want world order more

than they want freedom, a value which we have all but emptied of content by our refusal to organize the security and the opportunity without which freedom is meaningless. Because all of humankind now needs and wants world order with such imperative urgency, it is reasonable to believe that a way will be found in our time to establish world government and therewith to abolish international anarchy, power politics and the war.

The hard journey towards the world commonwealth can follow one of two routes. World government is possible through the armed subjugation of the many by the few, with the freedom and sovereignty of all sacrificed to conquerors who keep peace and order by the sword and the lash. World government is also possible through the voluntary establishment of a Free World Order on the basis of the consent of the governed, incorporated in a new world law, with all citizens enjoying a new freedom and with all nations participating in a new interdependence affording their peoples true independence and security. The first way is the way of our foes. We are fighting against it with all our strength. We can never make it our own, now or in the future, without betraying all the values we live by. The second way is the only way open to freemen. We cannot pursue it with any hope of accomplishing our purpose, however, through the mere cooperation of sovereign governments with sovereign governments, through diplomatic conferences and military alliances, or through any new effort to establish an international government composed of national governments pledged to keep the peace by coercing those national governments which break it. All such attempts, from the Achaean League of the Greeks to the American Articles of Confederation and the Wilsonian League of Nations, have invariably failed and must always fail. Sovereign governments by their nature pursue their own interests and not the commonweal, whether they act alone or together. The old conception of the sovereign independence of nations, so dear to the framers of the Atlantic Charter, is a formula for anarchy. The ancient principle of the sovereign equality of nations, so dear to those who sing the praises of Pan-Americanism, is a prescription for irresponsibility and inaction. Never can world government be attained by bringing local governments together but only by bringing peoples together through their directly chosen representatives into a larger mansion of freedom wherein human fraternity will become politically possible.

How then, granted the ultimate acceptance of these propositions, can the enterprise be launched? One possible method was resorted to in an hour of disaster by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Mid-June of 1940 when he perceivedthat the Anglo-French alliance, with its bonds as firm and tightly drawn as the present alliance of the United Nations, was about to crack asunder under the blows of the enemy. He proposed to Premier Paul Reynaud the formation of an Anglo-French Union with a written constitution, a joint Cabinet, a common citizenship, a single supreme command and a pooling of all the sovereign powers of the two nations in the fields of defense, foreign affairs and financial and economic policies.* This daring proposal was the product of a bold mind, spurred to a truly creative effort by the imminence of catastrophe. The proposal was not too little, but it was assuredly too late. It was forthwith rejected by the French defeatists who surrendered to the Axis in preference to continuing the war from the colonies in close union with Britain. Yet the proposal itself, which reappears in greatly diluted form in the agreements between the Polish and Czechoslovak Governments-in-Exile and between the Greek and Jugoslav Governments-in-Exile, offers a workable basis of permanent unity for all the states of Europe, for the United States and Britain, for the American Republics and perhaps, if one may venture on large hopes, for all the United Nations. But such a forward step as this is still pronounced dangerous and Utopian by all conservative diplomats and patriots, who prefer to believe that defeat and slavery are less dangerous and Utopian. No such program of reconstruction can apparently be expected on the part of governments now in power save in the face of further disasters or in the aftermath of collapse and exile when the hour for action will have passed.

What steps short of this and yet still relevant to the task in hand might be currently urged upon our leadership with some chance of success? Most urgently needed now is a Supreme Political Council of the United Nations to direct the war as a global struggle requiring an effective common demand. Such a Supreme Political Council, already urged by Mr. Walter Nash, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, must be established before we can hope to begin winning the war. If we are also to win the peace, such a Council must be envisaged as a provisional World Executive to function in peace and war alike for the organization and direction of a World Police Force and for the rational planning of a post-war economy.

The broad conditions for successful achievement on the part of such a Council deserve to be stated clearly. Its members should not be professional diplomats or soldiers but, wherever possible, elected representatives and majority leaders in their respective countries. Under their direction there should be brought into being three indispensable administrative agencies: a United Nations Military General Staff, composed of experts in the science of arms, for the management of coming campaigns and the planning of the World Police Force: a United Nations Psychological General Staff, composed of experts in the skills of education propaganda and psychological warfare, for the waging of the war of ideas and for the re-education of the citizenry of the World Community; and a United Nations Economic General Staff, composed of experts in the arts of business administration (with employers and workers perhaps represented along with governments, as in the International Labor Organization), for the conduct of economic warfare and the development of the controls and practices needed in the world economy of the days to come. The officials in these lesser bodies should be regarded not at all as spokesmen for national states but as professional administrators and members of a World Secretariat, answerable only to the Supreme Political Council.

On the Council itself a majority of votes must be held by the Great Powers, namely, the United States, the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Soviet Union, China and ultimately Free France and a self-governing India, each withequal representation. All the lesser belligerents should be represented equally, with their combined votes in a minority. Let no one contend that the rights of small nations demand that they control the enterprise. There can be no possible security for the lesser countries without an effective union for security among the Great Powers. There can be no possible security for any one Great Power without a union with the other Great Powers in which all assume equal responsibilities. Equality of rights is impossible without equality of duties, and great and small nations alike must assume equal duties if they would share in the benefits of equal rights. But in the planning and execution of duties there can be no equality among communities which differ enormously in population, resources, and power. To treat the microcosms of world politics as the sovereign equals of the great continental states is to defeat the project and negate the democratic principle of popular representation. To permit the pretensions of lesser sovereignties to interfere with the efforts of the greater sovereignties to devise a world order in which all sovereignties will be pooled for the good of all is to invite the destruction of all.

Let there be further established now a World Commission of Jurists, consisting of eminent authorities of various nationalities chosen by the Supreme Political Council to represent the major legal systems of the world. Let this Commission prepare plans for a new World Court, modeled upon the old and having obligatory jurisdiction over all legal controversies among states, but envisaged also in bolder terms as a court of appeal from the highest national courts for the protection of fundamental rights of individuals. If such a World Court is to be effective as the judicial branch of the World Government to come, it must have appellate jurisdiction in constitutional questions. Only thus can the world order of the future be enforced through the rule of law and the orderly processes of litigation and judgment.

Now, or at latest tomorrow, is also the time for an Inter-Continental Congress of legislators, made up of delegates from the Congress of the United States, the British Parliaments, the All-Union Congress of Soviets, and such lawmakers of China, India and the lesser United Nations as their governments may care to designate. Let such an Inter-Continental Congress of the United Nations act as a convention to draw up a World Bill of Rights, defining and safeguarding the elementary human freedoms everywhere, as part of a World Constitution, establishing a permanent World Executive responsible to a permanent and popularly elected World Parliament. That Constitution should in no sense supersede the national constitutions of the United Nations, save insofar as they are inconsistent with its terms, but it should be planned as a supreme public law for mankind, binding on all national governments and their citizens and enforceable in national courts. It must grant limited but effective powers of world legislation to the World Parliament, established as a permanent and continuous peace conference for the rational governance of the planet. Those powers must include authority to administer all the non-self-governing colonial territories of the earth, held in trust by the World Parliament as mandatory, pending their admission to the ranks of the United Nations as equal and autonomous communities. Those powers must embrace the right and duty of discussing and settling by statutory enactment all political disputes among the nations, including all questions of frontiers, disarmament obligations, provisional administration of occupied and enemy territories, admission of the vanquished to the ranks of the United Nations, reparation for damage inflicted by past aggression, and indictment for trial before the World Court of all individuals charged with international or interracial crimes against their fellow-men. These powers mustencompass the maintenance and direction of the World Police Force under the command of the World Executive.

The central function, and at the outset the only function, of the World Parliament, the World Executive and the World Court of the United Nations should be the abolition of international violence. The means thereto must not be sought in old ways which have tragically failed so often and so utterly. They must be sought in the acceptance of the principle that the fabrication and the use of heavy armaments must never again be a function of national governments, large or small, but only of the United Nations, acting through the World Executive and the World Police Force. This principle must be at the core of the World Constitution, enforceable on individuals through judicial procedures, with anything to the contrary thereto in the laws or practices of the member states to be held invalid through judicial review. On this basis, and in all likelihood only on this basis, can the United Nations effectively forbid any state henceforth to take up arms against another. On this basis, and only on this basis, can international security and justice be achieved through the adjudication of legal disputes and the legislative settlement of political controversies, with all the armed might of an organized world, resolved upon the defense of freedom and order, turned against any individual or group seeking by self-help or violence to break the law and defy the common will. Beyond this goal, and as a result of its achievement, stretch limitless vistas for the enrichment of human experience and the further liberation of all peoples from fear and want and frustration. In this enterprise the World Government of the United Nations will have great and growing opportunities for creative service. But the first step, without which our only future may well be a return to the Dark Ages, is victory over the hosts of tyranny through the replacement of international anarchy by a World Constitution of freedom and peace.

Is the task too hard? Is our vision too warped, our imagination too fettered, our talent for agreement and construction too feeble to vanquish the obstacles and master the details attendant upon such a project as this? Perhaps so, if we choose so to believe out of inertia or despair. If so, we shall, beyond the slightest peradventure of a doubt, lose the war or the peace or both. The most dangerous defeatists among us are those who say these things cannot be done. The most vicious, because the most unwitting, enemy agents among us are those who say these things must not be done and that we must cling to our last black hour to the bloody rags and tatters of an age long dead and now in full decay.

These things can and must be done by leading the people of the United States and of the United Nations to tell their leaders that the time is now. This is the test of our worthiness to survive and of our fitness for freedom. Let us take courage from the words of George Washington, who said of another liberating enterprise in human unification: "Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the respective subdivisions will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment."

Here is our best hope, and perhaps our last hope, to win the war by winning the peace through a Free World Order now. Here is our chance to build the temple of tomorrow on such foundations that no conference of diplomats need ever be held, no "long armistice" or transitional period to chaos need ever be risked, no entangling alliances need ever be made, no punitive and patched-up treaties need ever be debated by neo-isolationists and neo-internationalists. All ourwar aims will be reduced to one: to defend, to extend and through the years to perfect our program-in-action for the emancipation and self-fulfillment of the human family. Our allies and friends will be with us from the outset, inspired with new courage to crush the foe. Many neutrals will be eager to join, less they be left in limbo. The enemy peoples will be required to join, once they have laid down their arms, cast out their despots and cleansed their souls. The requirement will be for them a challenge, an invitation and an opportunity, at once our road to victory and their road to

redemption. Here, beyond the valley of the shadow, is the new day. Those with eyes for the dawn, those who can turn the vision of men and women everywhere toward the promise it offers them, will ultimately win the gratitude of their fellows all over the flowering planet and the thanks of all posterity during the bright generations ahead. To fail in the duties of this task is to forfeit not only our honor and our lives but all the legacy of liberty that has been given us to cherish, to enrich and not to cast away. To succeed is to conquer the future and inherit the earth.

* "At this most fateful moment in the history of the modern world the governments of the United Kingdom and the French Republic make this declaration of indissoluble union and unyielding resolution in their common defense of justice and freedom, against subjection to a system which reduces mankind to a life of robots and slaves. The two Governments declare that France and Great Britain shall no longer be two nations but one Franco-British Union. The constitution of the Union will provide for joint organs of defense, foreign, financial, and economic policies. Every citizen of France will enjoy immediately citizenship of Great Britain, every British subject will become a citizen of France. Both countries will share responsibility for the repair of the devastation of war, wherever it occurs in their territories, and the resources of both shall be equally, and as one, applied to that purpose. During the war there shall be a single war Cabinet, and all the forces of Britain and France, whether on land, sea, or in the air, will be placed under its direction. It will govern from wherever it best can. The two Parliaments will be formally associated. The nations of the British Empire are already forming new armies. France will keep her available forces in the field, on the sea, and in the air. The Union appeals to the United States to fortify the economic resources of the Allies and to bring her powerful material aid to the common cause. The Union will concentrate its whole energy against the power of the enemy no matter where the battle may be. And thus we shall conquer."