Moscow Pact a Basis for World Organization


By CORDELL HULL, Secretary of State

Delivered before U. S. Congress, Washington, D. C, November 18, 1943

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 100-103.

MR. Vice President, Mr. Speaker: I am immensely pleased to be back in these legislative halls and to meet numerous friends, old and new, particularly those former colleagues in the two Houses for whom I have long entertained sentiments of greatest respect and the most genuine affection.

I appreciate deeply the compliment of being invited to meet with you today. But I appreciate even more the fact by your invitation you have emphasized your profound interest in the principles and policies for which the Moscow Conference stood, and in the progress made by the participating governments in carrying them forward.

In the minds of all of us here present and of the millions of Americans all over the country and at battle stations across the seas, there is and there can be at this moment but one consuming thought—to defeat the enemy as speedily as possible. We have reached a stage in the war in which the United States and United Nations are on the offensive in every part of the world. Our enemies are suffering defeat after defeat. The time will come when their desperate movement to destroy the world will be utterly crushed. But there are in store for us still enormous hardships and vast sacrifices. The attainment of victory will be hastened only in proportion as all of us, in this country and in all of theUnited Nations, continue to exert all possible effort to press home our advantage without the slightest relaxation or deviation.

The glorious successes which have already attended our arms and the confidence which we all feel today is assured, though still immensely difficult, victory would have been impossible if this country, and Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, and China and the other victims of aggression had not each risen as a unit in defense of its liberty and independence. They would have been equally impossible if all these nations had not come together in a brotherhood of self-preservation.

"Fruits of Victory Can Be Lost"

While we are thus engaged in the task of winning the war, all of us are acutely conscious of the fact that the fruits of victory can easily be lost unless there is among us wholehearted acceptance of those basic principles and policies which will render impossible a repetition of our present tragedy and unless there is promptly created machinery of action necessary to carry out these principles and policies. The Moscow Conference is believed to have been an important step in the direction both of shortening the war and of making provision for the future.

The convocation of the conference was the result of a profound conviction on the part of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin that, at this stage of the war, frank and friendly exchanges of views between responsible representatives of the three Governments on problems of post-war, as well as war, collaboration were a matter of great urgency. Up to that time such exchanges of views had taken place on several occasions between our Government and that of Great Britain. But the exigencies war had been obstacles to the participation of the Soviet Government in similar exchanges to the same extent. With the acceleration of the tempo of war against Germany, the necessity became daily more and more apparent for more far-reaching discussions and decisions by the three Governments than had occurred theretofore.

I went to Moscow, by direction of President Roosevelt, to discuss with the representatives of Great Britain and the Soviet Union some basic problems of international relations in the light of principles to which our country, under the President's leadership, has come to give widespread adherence. It has never been my fortune to attend an international conference at which there was greater determination on the part of all the participants to move forward in a spirit of mutual understanding and confidence.

The conference met against the background of a rapidly changing military situation. From the East and from the South, the Nazi armies were being steadily hammered back into narrower and narrower confines. From the West, the Allied air forces were relentlessly and systematically destroying the nerve centers of German industrial and military power.

Allied Problems Bring New Problems

Formidable as the war task still is, it has been increasingly clear that the time is nearing when more and more of the territory held by the enemy will be wrested from his grasp and when Germany and its remaining satellites will have to go the way of Fascist Italy. In these circumstances, new problems arise which require concerted action by the Allies, to hasten the end of toe war, to plan for its immediate aftermath, and to lay the foundation for the post-war world. Our discussions in Moscow were concerned with many of these problems. Important agreements were reached, but there were no secret agreements, and none was suggested.

Of the military discussions which took place it can be stated that they were in the direction of facilitating closer cooperation between the three countries in the prosecution of the war against the common enemy. I am glad to say that there is now in Moscow a highly competent United States military mission, headed by Maj. Gen. John R. Deane.

The attention of the conference was centered upon the task of making sure that the nations upon whose armed forces and civilian efforts rests the main responsibility for defeating the enemy will, along with other peacefully-minded nations, continue to perform their full part in solving the numerous and vexatious problems of the future. From the outset, the dominant thought at the conference was that, after the attainment of victory, cooperation among peace-loving nations in support of certain paramount mutual interests will be almost as compelling in importance and necessity as it is today in support of the war effort.

At the end of the war, each of the United Nations and each of the nations associated with them will have the same common interest in national security, in world order under law, in peace, in the full promotion of the political, economic and social welfare of their respective peoples—in the principles and spirit of the Atlantic Charter and the declaration by the United Nations. The future of these indispensable common interests depends absolutely upon international cooperation. Hence, each nation's own primary interest requires it to cooperate with the others.

Comment on Four-Nation Declaration

These considerations led the Moscow Conference to adopt the four-nation declaration with which you are all familiar. I should like to comment briefly on its main provisions.

In that document, it was jointly declared by the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China 'That their united action, pledged for the prosecution of the war against their common enemies, will be continued for the organization and maintenance of peace and security."

To this end, the four governments declared that they "recognize the necessity of establishing at the earliest practicable date a central international organization, based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states and open to membership by all such states, large and small." I should like to lay particular stress on this provision of the declaration. The principle of sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, irrespective of size and strength, as partners in a future system of general security will be the foundation stone upon which the future international organization will, or should, be constructed.

The adoption of this principle was particularly welcome to us. Nowhere has the conception of sovereign equality, been applied more widely in recent years than in the American family of nations, whose contribution to the common effort in wartime will now be followed by representation in building the institutions of peace.

The four Governments further agreed that, pending the inauguration in this manner of a permanent system of general security, "they will consult with one another and, as occasion requires, with other members of the United Nations, with a view to joint action on behalf of the community of nations," whenever such action may be necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.

Self-Denying Ordinance Cited

Finally, as an important self-denying ordinance, they declared "that after the termination of hostilities they will not employ their forces within the territories of other states, except for the purpose envisaged in this declaration and after joint consultation."

Through this declaration the Soviet Union, Great Britain, the United States and China have laid the foundation for a cooperative effort in the post-war world toward enabling all peace-loving nations, large and small, to live in peace and security, to preserve the liberties and rights and facilities for economic, social and spiritual progress. No other important nations anywhere have more in common in the present war, or in the peace that is to follow victory over the Axis powers. No one, no two of them, can be at all most effective without the others, in war or in peace.

Each of them had, in the past, relied in varying degrees upon policies of detachment and aloofness. In Moscow, their four Governments pledged themselves to carry forward to its fullest development a broad and progressive program of international cooperation. This action was naturally of world-wide importance.

As the provisions of the four-nation declaration are carried into effect, there will no longer be need for spheres of influence, for alliances, for balance of power, or any other of the special arrangements through which, in the unhappy past, the nations strove to safeguard their security or to promote their interests.

The conference faced many political problems growing out of the military activities in Europe. It was foreseen that problems of common interest to our three Governments would continue to arise as our joint military efforts hastened the defeat of the enemy. It is impracticable for several Governments to come to complete and rapid understanding on such matters through the ordinary channels of diplomatic communication. The conference accordingly decided to set up a European Advisory Commission with its seat in London. This commission will not of itself have executive powers. Its sole function will be to advise the Governments of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. It is to deal with non-military problems relating to enemy territories and with such other problems as may be referred to it by the participating Governments. It will provide a useful instrument for continuing study and formulation of recommendations concerning questions connected with the termination of hostilities.

Council for Italy Described

For the purpose of dealing with problems arising from the execution of the terms of surrender of Italy and with related matters growing out of the developing situation in that country, the conference established an Advisory Council for Italy. This council will consist of representatives of the Governments of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union, of the French Committee of National Liberation and of the Governments of Yugoslavia and Greece, as early as practicable. The members of the council will advise the Allied commander in chief and will make recommendations to the respective Governments and to the French Committee concerning non-military problems relating to Italy.

It was already understood that the setting up of these two agencies was not intended to supersede the usual diplomatic channels of communication between the three Governments. On the contrary, arrangements were made for expeditious and effective handling of questions of concern to die three Governments through tripartite diplomatic conversations in any one of the three capitals.

In a declaration on Italy, the conference set forth a number of principles on the basis of which democratic restoration of that country's internal political structure should take place. These principles—including freedom of religion, of speech, of the press and of assembly, and the right of the people ultimately to choose their own form of government—are among the most basic human rights in civilized society.

In a declaration on Austria, the forcible annexation of that unhappy country was pronounced null and void. It was further declared that Austria is to be given an opportunity to become re-established as a free and independent state, although the Austrians were put on notice that in the final analysis the treatment to be accorded them will depend upon the contribution which they will make toward the defeat of Germany and the liberation of their country.

Due Punishment for Nazi Crimes

The conference also served as an occasion for solemn declarations by the heads of the three Governments with regard to the perpetrators of the bestial and abominable crimes committed by the Nazi leaders against the harassed and persecuted inhabitants of occupied territories—against people of all races and religions, among whom Hitler has reserved for the Jews his most brutal wrath. Due punishment will be administered for all these crimes.

Finally, the conference gave preliminary attention to a number of other specific problems relating to the eventual transition from war to peace. A fruitful exchange of views took place on such questions as the treatment of Germany and its satellites, the various phases of economic relations, the promotion of social welfare and the assurance of general security and peace.

These were among the outstanding developments at the Moscow Conference. The intensive discussion, lasting two weeks, did not and was not intended to bring about the solution of all the problems that are before us. Much less could we anticipate the problems that are bound to arise from day to day and from year to year. There were other problems such, for example, as questions relating to boundaries, which must, by their very nature, be left in abeyance until the termination of hostilities. This is in accordance with the position maintained for some time by our Government.

Of supreme importance is the fact that at the conference the whole spirit of international cooperation, now and after the war, was revitalized and given practical expression. The conference thus launched a forward movement which, I am convinced, will steadily extend in scope and effectiveness. Within the framework of that movement, in the atmosphere of mutual understanding and confidence which made possible its beginning in Moscow, many of the problems which are difficult today will, as time goes on, undoubtedly become more possible of satisfactory solution through frank and friendly discussion.

High Praise for Collaborators

I am happy on this occasion to pay personal tribute to those with whom it was my privilege to confer in Moscow. Mr. Molotov arranged for the business of the conference in a most efficient manner. Both as chairman and participant, he manifested throughout the highest order of ability and a profound grasp of international affairs. Mr. Eden, with his exceptional wisdom and experience, exhibited the finest qualities of statesmanship. I found in Marshal Stalin a remarkable personality, one of the great statesmen and leaders of this age.

I was deeply impressed by the people of Russia and bythe epic quality of their patriotic fervor. A people who will fight against ruthless aggression, in utter contempt of death, as the men and women of the Soviet Union are fighting, merit the admiration and good-will of the people of all countries.

We of today shall be judged in the future by the manner in which we meet the unprecedented responsibilities that rest upon us—not alone in winning the war, but also in making certain that the opportunities for future peace and security shall not be lost. As an American, I am proud of the breadth and height of the vision and statesmanship which have moved you, ladies and gentlemen, in each house of the Congress, to adopt, by overwhelming nonpartisan majorities, resolutions in favor of our country's participation with other sovereign nations in an effective system of international cooperation for the maintenance of peace and security.

Only by carrying forward such a program with common determination and united national support can we expect, in the long range of the future, to avoid becoming victims of destructive forces of international anarchy which in the absence of organized international relations will rule the world. By the procedure of cooperation with other nations likewise intent upon security we can and will remain masters of our own fate.