Six Pillars of Peace


By JOHN FOSTER DULLES, Chairman of the Commission to Study the Bases of a Just and Durable Peace

Delivered at a Luncheon Meeting of Financial, Labor, Religious and Educational Leaders, New York City, March 18, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. IX, pp. 405-407.

I DEEPLY appreciate your being here. By your coming you are making an essential contribution to the sound working of democracy. Significant proposals, such as those our Commission is making, need to be tested by the judgment of experienced and thoughtful citizens, representative of different viewpoints. Only if men and women such as you support what we propose, can we be assured of the success of our program.

In 1940, the Federal Council of Churches voted to set up a Commission to study the bases of a just and durable peace. For over two years we have been at work. Until now we have primarily emphasized spiritual factors. We have urged upon the churches that they inculcate in men thequalities that Christ taught. We have pointed out that Christ's way was not to tell men what to do in relation to worldly matters, but to give them qualities of vision, of mind and of soul so that they would be enlightened and filled with a righteous faith. We have not sought, indeed we have opposed, the preaching from the pulpits of politics and economics. We have said to the churches, give us men and women possessed of Christian qualities, and then our citizenry can be counted on to take enlightened action.

Our Commission is now entering upon a second phase of our task. We are about to address ourselves to the citizens of this country and say to them that, in our judgment, considerations of morality and enlightened self-interest combine to require this nation now to commit itself to a future of organized international collaboration.

Why do we do this and why do we do it now? There are several answers to that question.

In the first place, our Commission feels under a duty to respond to a tremendous demand upon us from citizens who seek guidance as to how to translate their faith into their acts as citizens. We cannot ignore that demand, nor do we want to do so. For faith will shrivel unless it is made manifest by works. We must try to help those many who turn to us and say: What shall we do?

In the second plate, our Commission feels under a duty to do for itself what it has urged upon others, namely, to seek to bring the Christian approach into our life as citizens. We do not pretend to speak with divine sanction nor is there anything exclusively Christian about our proposals. We do not want them preached from our pulpits. We are, to be sure, availing of church organizations as a way to reach millions of laymen. But we make clear that what we say is merely the practical proposal of a group which has some competence and which has tried to bring to the problem the spiritual approach Christ taught.

Our timing is due to the fact that we are deeply impressed by the critical nature of this hour. There are, of course, those who say: Let us get on with the war; when that is won it will be time enough to talk about the peace. To an extent, I agree with that viewpoint. It would be folly to divert our effort and imperil our unity by forcing debate on the details of hypothetical future problems.

But there is a decision which must be made now, both from the standpoint of winning the war and winning the peace. That decision is: Will the American people now commit themselves to a future of organized international collaboration within the areas of demonstrated world interdependence? It is that decision which our proposals are designed to force, and it must be made now or the opportunity for such collaboration will inevitably disappear and the world will be doomed to continuance of the war system. Indeed, unless it is made now, this war may he greatly prolonged and its outcome thrown into doubt.

The last war was fought to victory and the peace was made on the assumption that this nation was committed to organized international collaboration. It was a profound and unforgettable shock when we rejected that collaboration and decided to go it alone. Will history repeat itself? That question raises a fundamental doubt, and until we conclusively resolve it, it will plague us at every turn. Let me illustrate:

To produce military aircraft most efficiently involves specialization between Britain and ourselves. Actually, we are concentrating on long-range craft and Britain on short-range craft. The latter have little peace-time value, and Britain is thus faced with a serious post-war disadvantage. So much is this so that the British government is now being pressed to undertake immediate work to design civil aircraft for post-war use. Lord Cranborne said last week that while Britain preferred international collaboration "if other nations insist upon cut-throat competition, we are quite ready to enter the fray against them." It this helping to win the war? If not, where lies the responsibility?

Let us look at France. De Gaulle is one of the French leaders who is friendly to Britain. Darlan was violently anti-British. If the post-war system is to be one of power politics, it is important to Britain that French leadership pass into friendly hands. We cannot, under such circumstances, expect French affairs to be dealt with with a single eye on winning the war.

Our greatest problems will arise with the Soviet Union. Decisions may have to be made during the war in relation to Finland, the Baltic States and Poland. I see no hope that such decisions will be generally acceptable if they crash human beings and human aspirations between the millstones of power politics. The only hope lies in building a world order under which such treatment may not seem a permanent harsh necessity.

Let us look to the East. In China there lies the unresolved conflict between the so-called "Red-Army" faction and the Kuomintang faction with which the Soongs are primarily identified. As Japan weakens, that struggle may re-emerge and, if power politics are to be the order of the day, Russia and the U. S. each may seek to secure the supremacy of their particular friends. China may again be the victim of Western politics and peace in the Far East may be indefinitely postponed.

What will be the position of Britain as between Russia and the United States? I was in Britain last summer and clearly sensed the dilemma in which she is placed. She would, I am sure, prefer a post-war system permitting close collaboration with the United States. But she does not and cannot know whether the United States will elect that role. Thus she must keep open the possibility of seeking, through Russian alliance, a balance of power in Europe and the Far East. Such a policy may lead to a deterioration in Anglo-American relations. That would be a calamity. But Britain has no practicable alternative so long as our future policy is unpredictable and so long as important elements in this country seem attracted toward going it alone with a seven ocean Navy and strategic bases throughout the world.

I attended, and was close to the center of, the Paris Peace Conference. Then the principal powers were nations with similar outlooks and similar standards. We belonged, as it were, to the same "club". Furthermore, solutions were eased by the fact that it was universally assumed that there would be international organization with the United States a member. Even so, there developed many violent clashes which several times nearly broke up the Conference.

Today the problems we face are infinitely more serious and, as between the four principal allies, there exist great gulfs formed by differences in outlook, ideology and material standards. Tremendously difficult and controversial problems will require decision while the war is still on and while we are still faced by formidable and resourceful enemies. Only the ignorant or the sentimentalists can believe that the United Nations will automatically remain friends. It is sobering to recall that the Treaty of Versailles named five nations as the "Principal Allied and Associated Powers." Of these, two—Great Britain and the United States—are now fighting two—Japan and Italy—with the fifth—France—divided in its collaboration.

If the United Nations of this war are to continue to be united, the time to cement that unity is now and the only cement that may work is organized world collaboration. The United States cannot safely postpone showing its hand in that matter. It is basic to the solution of all the grave problems that will increasingly he thrust upon us. If the United Nations must deal with each other on the assumption that the future is to be a repetition of the past, with a world of anarchy and of power politics, then I doubt that even a unity of expediency can be preserved until victory and I know that any "peace" that ensues will be no more than a time for recuperating strength for another war.

Our Commission has therefore determined to seek that the American people make dear their intention to work fororganized international collaboration within the critical areas of national interdependence. We have tried to state our proposals in a way which is both simple and significant. We say1st—There must be organized political collaboration, in the first instance as between the United Nations, with others to be subsequently included. We point out that within an over-all framework there can also be regional collaboration. This might, for example, apply to Europe and the Americas.

2nd—Wherever, in the economic and financial field, interdependence is such that the acts of one nation may have acute international consequences, then—we say—such acts must be brought within the scope of international agreement and not left to purely unilateral decision. We make clear that we do not advocate "free trade" as now practicable.

3rd—There must be a standing international body to study the need for change. Initial decisions will not be perfect and may inevitably be influenced by short-range expediency. This will not be fatal if, in the international field, as in the domestic field, change is taken for granted and organization is set up to promote it. We do not, however, propose that any international body now be given power to dictate or impose change.

4th—There should be some form of international organization to promote the ultimate autonomy of subject peoples. But we expressly recognize that in many cases suchself-rule is now neither practicable nor desired by the people themselves.

5th—We propose international control of armament, both to ensure effective disarmament and limitation of armament and also to facilitate mobilizing such armament as remains in support of international order.

6th—and finally, we assert that the right of spiritual and intellectual liberty must be both recognized and made a matter of international concern. Only if the peoples of the world move toward common standards of knowledge and morality can international organization achieve the broad popular support needed for its effective development.

Our "six pillars of peace" deal, I think, with the areas within which world organization is indispensable. We do not attempt to go into details. This might, I think, be premature and certainly it is not within the competence of our Commission. But what we propose is sufficient to force an intelligent and significant decision on the part of the American people. If they are firmly resolved to move in the direction, and on the fronts, proposed by our Statement, then it will be the duty and the right of government to implement that mandate. Under such conditions it may be possible to solve, in amity with our allies, the grave issues which, from now on, will increasingly be forced upon us. If so, we will have made a momentous advance toward victory and done that which will give us a reasonable chance for a durable peace.