World Security A Task for All


By CORDELL HULL, U. S. Secretary of State

By SIR ALEXANDER CADOGAN, British Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs

By ANDREI A. GROMYKO, Russian Ambassador to U. S.

Delivered at the Opening Session of the International Security Conference, Washington, D. C, August 21, 1944

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. X, pp. 674, 676-678.


ON behalf of President Roosevelt and on my own behalf, I welcome you to Washington. In the name of both of us, I desire to offer some brief remarks on the opening of this important meeting.

The series of conversations which we initiate today marks another step toward establishing a lasting system of organized and peaceful relations among nations. We meet at a time when the war is moving toward an overwhelming triumph for the forces of freedom. It is our task here to help lay the foundations upon which, after victory, peace, freedom, and a growing prosperity may be built for generations to come.

The very character of this war moves us to search for an enduring peace—a peace founded upon justice and fair dealing for individuals and for nations. We have witnessed—and are witnessing today—the sweep of forces of savagery and barbarism of the kind that civilized men hoped and believed would not rise again. Armed with the weapons of modern science and technology and with equally powerful weapons of coercion and deceit, these forces almost succeeded in enslaving mankind because the peace-loving nations were disunited. During the years while these aggressors made their preparations for attack, the peace-loving nations lacked both unity and strength because they lacked a vigilant realization of the perils which loomed before them. These forces of evil now face utter defeat because, at long last, their intended victims attained the unity and armed power which are now bringing victory to us.

Lessons of Disunity

The lessons of earlier disunity and weakness should be indelibly stamped upon the minds and hearts of this generation and of generations to come. So should the lessons of unity and its resultant strength achieved by the United Nations in this war.

Unity for common action toward common good and against common peril is the sole effective method by which, in time of peace, the nations which love peace can assure for themselves security and orderly progress, with freedom and justice. In the face of what modern war means to the physical and moral being of man, the maintenance of such unity is a matter of the highest and most enlightened self-interest. In the final analysis it is, first and foremost, a thing of the spirit.

Peace, like liberty, requires constant devotion and ceaseless vigilance. It requires willingness to take positive steps toward its preservation. It requires constant co-operation among the nations and determination to live together as good neighbors in a world of good neighbors. Peace requires an acceptance of the idea that its maintenance is a common interest so precious and so overwhelmingly important that all differences and controversies among nations can and must be resolved by resort to pacific means.

But peace also requires institutions through which the will to peace can be translated into action. The devising of such institutions is a challenge to the wisdom and ingenuity of men and women everywhere. That is why the United Nations, in the midst of a relentless prosecution oi the war, have been working together to create the institutional foundations for a just and enduring peace.

Joint Use of Force

These foundations must support arrangements for peaceful settlement of international disputes and for the joint use of force, if necessary, to prevent or suppress threats to the peace or breaches of the peace. They must also support arrangements for promoting by co-operative effort the developmentof conditions of stability and well being necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations and essential to the maintenance of security and peace. These are basic problems of international organization.

Substantial progress has already been achieved through the food and agriculture conference, the conference on relief and rehabilitation and the financial and monetary conference. These and other similar steps are indicative of the profound desire of the United Nations to act together for advancing the well being of their peoples. They have been achieved by united effort of more than forty nations, large and small.

The governments represented here are fully agreed in their conviction that the future maintenance of peace and security—the supreme objective of international co-operation—must be a joint task and a joint responsibility of all peace-loving nations, large and small. They solemnly proclaimed this conviction in a declaration of their foreign ministers at Moscow on October 30, 1943. It can not be emphasized too often that the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving states, irrespective of size and strength, as partners in a system of order under law, must constitute the foundation of any future international organization for the maintenance of peace and security.

Cites Moscow Declaration

In the Moscow declaration each government also assumed its share of responsibility for leadership in bringing about the creation of an international organization for this purpose through joint action by all peace-loving nations. Success or failure of such an organization will depend upon the degree to which the participating nations are willing to exercise self-restraint and assume the responsibilities of joint action in support of the basic purposes of the organization. There must be agreement among all whereby each can play its part to the best mutual advantage and bear responsibility commensurate with its capacity.

It is generally agreed that any peace and security organization would surely fail unless backed by force to be used ultimately in case of failure of all other means for the maintenance of peace. That force must be available promptly, in adequate measure, and with certainty. The nations of the world should maintain, according to their capacities, sufficient forces available for joint action when necessary to prevent breaches of the peace.

For a long time before the Moscow conference, and especially during the months which have elapsed since that conference, each of our governments has been making diligent preparations for an effort to reach the agreement to which i have just referred. We have committed our tentative thoughts to writing, and each of us has had an opportunity to study the remits of the work done by the others. All this should make easier the task which is now before you of reaching a concensus of views which you can jointly recommend to your respective governments.

It is the intention of the government of the United States that after similar consultations with the government of China, the conclusions reached will be communicated to the governments of all the United Nations and of other peace-loving nations.

Public Debate Proposed

It is our further thought that as soon as practicable, these conclusions will be made available to the peoples of our countries and of all countries for public study and debate. We are fully aware that no institution—especially when it is of as great importance as the one now in our thoughts—will endure unless there is behind it considered and complete popular support. The will to peace must spring from the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere, if it is to achieve enduring peace.

For us in the United States, it is as natural as it is desirable that we gather around a table with the representatives of other nations to devise means for maintaining peace and security. No passion runs deeper in the thoughts of the people of this country than the belief that all men should enjoy liberty under law. It has been our faith from the beginning of our nation, it is our dream for the future, that every individual and every nation should attain freedom and the security to enjoy it. The people of this country are now united as never before in their determination that the tragedy which today is sweeping the earth shall not recur.

The people of all the United Nations are hoping and praying for the opportunity to build anew toward a system of decent and just relationships among nations. Their noblest capacities and their highest skills have been divested from the creative pursuits of peace to the grim and terrible tasks of battle. They see the destruction of their homes and the resources of their lands. They will not be content with a precarious peace. Their sacrifices can only be rewarded by the fulfillment of their reasonable hopes.

It is the sacred duty of the governments of all peace-loving nations to make sure that international machinery is fashioned through which the peoples can build the peace they so deeply desire. The President is confident, and I share his view, that this thought will govern the deliberations which you are now undertaking.


The discussions which open today arise out of Article A of the Declaration of Moscow, in the framing of which Mr. Hull played such a notable and prominent part. We have listened with admiration to the wise and powerful words with which he has initiated our labors, and we are, I know, all profoundly grateful to him for his indefatigable efforts in the cause of international understanding. Of him it may be said that he embodies in his own thought and person the qualities which have been responsible for the creation and the development of the country which he represents.

To the Soviet government, too, we all have reason to be grateful. It was, I think, on M. Molotov's initiative that the decision to hold these discussions was taken; and it was evident from their attitude at the time of the Moscow conference that the Soviet government attached the highest importance to the establishment of a system designed to prevent a recurrence of Nazi and Fascist aggression.

My government, for their part, have from the outset favored such discussions as these and have done their best to facilitate them. We have expressed our provisional views in the papers which have been circulated, and are most happy to find that in the papers of all three governments there is such a large measure of agreement.

There seems, in fact, to be a general will on the part of what are at present the three most powerful states in the world to achieve some kind of world organization, and, what is more, to achieve it soon. That should itself be a good augury for the success of our labors.

Hopes For Agreement

Chinese statesmen also have declared their wish to join in the establishment of such an organization, and I am confident that the subsequent discussions with the Chinese delegation will show that there it a community of aim on the part of the most populous and ancient of our civilizations. We shall thus, 1 hope, be able to achieve agreement on principle be-

tween officials from states comprising about half the inhabitants of the globe, and from states moreover whose combined power and determination is now playing so prominent a part in overthrowing the sinister forces of evil, which only a few years ago came near to dominating all mankind.

The victory of the United Nations, whenever it comes, must be complete, the military defeat of the aggressors must be made clear beyond all doubt, and most of all to the German people themselves and those responsible for the wanton outrages that have horrified the civilized world must receive their just retribution. On that basis we may hope to build more securely for the future. In 1919 there was a widespread feeling in many Western countries that force was in itself an immoral thing: Now there is a much more widespread conviction that it is only by the victors remaining both strong and united that peace can be preserved. We* have, I believe, learnt many salutary lessons during the last few years.

Small Nations Included

We are met here to plan a system which will enable individual nations to co-operate effectively for the common good. Individual nations, small and great, must be the basis of our new World organization; and our problem is to construct a machine which will give to each of them the responsibilities commensurate with its power. This is no light task, but it can be accomplished. No one wishes to impose some great power dictatorship on the rest of the world; but it is obvious that unless the great powers are united in aim and ready to assume and fulfill loyally their obligations, no machine for maintaining peace, however perfectly constructed, will in practice work. On the other hand, even Hitler has surely learnt by now, what we ourselves have long known, that it is not by riding rough-shod over the smaller powers that the vital interests of the larger can in the long run best be protected.

Another lesson I submit we may learn from experience is that we should not attempt too closely to define what is perhaps undefinable. As I have already said, no machine will work unless there is, at any rate on the part of the great powers, a will to work it; and equally even an imperfect machine may function satisfactorily provided such a will exists. We might do well, therefore, to concentrate on certain guiding principles and on certain basic institutions, rather than on a set of detailed regulations, which, however ingeniously drafted, will probably have to be revised in the light of subsequent experience.

One other consideration I would put before you: we must remember that peace, in the negative sense of absence of war, is not enough. No world system can endure unless it permits of growth and unless it tends to promote the well being of humanity as a whole. Hence, however we may fit the various non-political world organizations into our general system, we must attempt to discover means whereby the expanding force of modern scientific discoveries is turned into constructive rather than into destructive channels. For this reason we must arrange for at least a measure of co-ordination between the various functional organizations now created or to be created, and in some way gear them to our world international machine. All I would emphasize here is that we should always recognize that, if there is acute political instability, no economic or social organizations will function successfully, and, on the other hand, let us never forget that acute discomfort in the economic and social field will constantly hamper the smooth operation of the best political plans. In other words, freedom from fear and freedom from want must, so far as human agency can contrive it, move forward simultaneously.

Talks Only Exploratory

In conclusion, I must, for my part, emphasize that the working party from the United Kingdom is recruited from the humble official level. From that it follows that, so far as we are concerned, these talks are necessarily exploratory and non-committal. Within these limitations we will make the best contribution we can, and I can pledge every one of us to devote his best energies and such knowledge and experience as he possesses to the search for agreed recommendations for submission by our governments, if they approve them, to all the other United Nations. We may take comfort in the fact that, as will be seen from the memoranda already circulated there is already much common ground.

Let us also not forget the time factor. Events are moving fast and peace may come sooner than some expect. It would be folly to delay the construction of at least some framework of future international co-operation until the problems of peace confront us with all their insistency. Moreover, the time even of officials is limited. If, therefore, we are to establish the points on which there seems to be provisional agreement, we must work fast and well.

Much depends on our efforts, and some give and take will probably be required. Let us go forward with a full sense of our responsibilities, not only to our own nations but to the world at large. Let us go forward above all with the determination to produce a scheme worthy of the men and women of the United Nations who are giving their all to make possible the construction of a better world.


The present meeting is the first meeting of exploratory discussions between representatives of the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union on the establishment of an international security organization. I fully share the thoughts expressed by Secretary Hull in regard to the importance of the present discussions. The peoples of our countries are waging a life-and-death struggle against the worst enemy of humanity—Hitlerite Germany. This struggle has already cost our countries, as well as many other freedom-loving countries of the world, heavy human and material sacrifices. Waging a struggle for its freedom and independence, the people of our three great nations are also saving the freedom and independence of other freedom-loving peoples of the world. As a result of the combined efforts of the Allies, our common foe—Nazi Germany—is nearing its inevitable catastrophe. Our brave warriors are squeezing the enemy from the east, west and south. As a result of the latest offensive of the Red Army military operations are already being carried to enemy soil. The time is not far off when the combined efforts of the freedom-loving countries of the world and, first of all, the efforts of our nations, will bring a complete and decisive victory and will force Nazi Germany to her knees.

War's Prevention Sought

In view of the heavy destruction and countless sacrifices which the present war has brought to humanity, the freedom-loving peoples of the world are naturally looking for means to prevent repetition of a similar tragedy in the future. They have shed too much blood and made too many sacrifices to be indifferent to their future. That is why they are striving to establish an international organization which would be capable of preventing a repetition of a similar tragedy, and of guaranteeing for the peoples peace, security and prosperity in the future. Members of such an organization can be, as itis said in the four nations' declaration signed at the Moscow conference on Oct. 3, 1943, all big and small freedom-loving countries of the world. All of us are glad that one of the distinguished participants of the Moscow conference, Secretary Hull, is among us at the present meeting.

It goes without saying that in order to maintain peace and security it is not enough to have the mere desire to harness the aggressor and the desire to apply force against him if it should be demanded by circumstances. In order to guarantee peace and security it is absolutely necessary to have resources with the aid of which aggression could be prevented or suppressed and international order maintained.

Must Use All Resources

In the light of the above, it becomes clear what responsibility falls to the nations, members of the future security organization and especially to the nations which bear the main brunt of the present war, and which possess the necessary resources and power to maintain peace and security. That is why all those to whom freedom and independence are dear cannot but draw the conclusion that this freedom and independence can be preserved only if the future international security organization will, in the interests of the freedom-loving peoples of the world, use effectively all resources in possession of members of the organization and, first of all, the resources of such great nations as the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain.

The unity displayed by these countries in the present struggle against Hitlerite Germany and its vassals gives ground for certainty that after final victory is achieved these nations will cooperate in maintaining peace and security in the future as they are co-operating at the present time in saving humanity horn enslavement by the Fascist barbarians. In this noble striving our countries naturally cannot but find support on the part of the other United Nations, big and small, which will be participants of the international security organization, which will be based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all freedom-loving countries and which will bear joint responsibility for the maintenance of peace.

Positive Results Expected

The unity of the Allies displayed in the struggle against the common foe and their striving to maintain peace in the future is a guaranty that the present exploratory discussions will bring positive results. They are the first step leading to the erection of a building in the foundation of which all freedom-loving peoples of the world are interested—for an effective international organization on maintenance of peace and security.

In closing I consider it necessary to note the initiative taken by the government of the United States in calling the present conference. The Soviet delegation is glad to begin discussions with the American delegation headed by Edward R, Stettinius, with whom I have had the pleasure since 1941 of meeting and discussing at different times various matters of mutual interest, and also with the British delegation headed by Sir Alexander Cadogan. I have no doubt that in the course of the present discussions the representatives of the three nations will conduct their work in a spirit of mutual understanding and in a friendly atmosphere which cannot but add to the successful outcome of the discussions.