International Police Power


By FRANK G. TYRRELL, Judge, Los Angeles Municipal Court Delivered before the Center for International Understanding, Los Angeles. Cal., April 7, 1945

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 434-436.

WHILE most people are familiar with the word, "police," its use has been confined to the domestic affairs of the various nation-states. Now that we are at long last beginning to think of it in relation to international affairs, we should be sure that we understand it. No matter what is done at San Francisco, it is a subject for study and experiment.

It has been repeatedly defined by our courts of last resort; a synthesis of these judicial definitions gives us this description: "The police of a state, in a comprehensive sense, embraces its whole system of internal regulation, by which the state seeks not only to preserve the public order, and to prevent offenses against the state, but also to establish for the intercourse of citizen with citizen, those rules of good manners and good neighborhood which are calculated to prevent a conflict of rights, and to insure to each the uninterrupted enjoyment of his own, so far as it is reasonably consistent with a like enjoyment of rights by others. Whatever affects the peace, good order, morals and health of the community comes within its sweep."

It is necessary only to extend the area in which the police power operates, from the territorial limits of a nation, to

the world, to give us an adequate conception of "International Police". It contemplates a complete system of regulation, by which the United Nations will prevent aggression of State against State, thus preserving order in the world, and establish for world intercourse the rules of good manners, decency and neighborhood which are calculated to prevent a conflict of rights, securing to each nation the uninterrupted enjoyment of its own, consistent with a like enjoyment of the rights of all other states. There is no valid objection to it.

Thus we see that international police power is much more than the organization and maintenance of a mobile air, naval and land force. Not only so, but the work of promulgating and enforcing a system of rules of international intercourse will often make the actual employment of armed force unnecessary. The more or less haphazard rules of what is euphoniously called international law have already functioned in that manner, to a limited extent. This is a concept which we should keep constantly in mind, for there is a tendency among those who see fit to oppose international police power to discuss it as if it meant exclusively the use of armed force. That must of course be provided for, but it is only the dernier resort.

It may be admitted that there was a time, when the nation-state was just beginning, that a general government for the world was not demanded. But nationalism has grown, and through the years it has made its contribution to social evolution. Conditions are not merely approaching, they have reached a climax, when the very survival of separate nations, whatever their form of government, depends upon the creation of a world government. More than that, any reasonable measure of human freedom depends upon it. To put it bluntly and briefly, we have come to a crisis in human affairs when it is either a world government, and collective security, or a world despotism, and the misery of slavery, for a subjugated humanity. Is that not obvious? Is it not vociferously declared by what happened to Europe? And, we may add without exaggeration, what very nearly happened for all the world.

It is not strange if there are those who do not see this denouement. Traditional thinking makes the perception of a new idea slow, painful, and for many good souls, impossible. That was the impasse against which we were flung twenty-five years ago. The politicians who won the election, utterly incapable of statesmanship, tried to engineer this nation back to normalcy, forsooth; hence this paroxysmal global war.

It is the merest commonplace that the world has shrunk; it has become integrated; it is one world. There is not, nor has there been for many years, an "independent" nation; they are and have been interdependent, and this interdependence will increase in weight and power with every decade. The recognition of this obvious fact, and making the necessary adjustment to it, conditions the survival, not only of separate nations, with a measure of ordered freedom in each, but the survival of civilization as we know it.

Can mankind start a general government for the world? We do not ask or expect perfection at the start, but can we not begin it? Yes, we can, because we must! I believe this supreme imperative is recognized and understood by a host of statesmen numerous and influential enough to bring it about.

The corridors of memory and of history reverberate with voices clamoring for this supreme step. H. G. Wells in his "The Outline of History" reminds us that "Two thousand four hundred years ago, and six or seven or eight thousand years after the walls of the first Sumerian cities arose, the idea of the moral unity of mankind and of a world peace had come into the world." The Hebrew prophets proclaimed the idea of one God for the whole world, and therefore one rule or reign over the world. "He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

We sometimes speak in terms of admiration of human intelligence, of man's capacity to acquire knowledge. Haven't we gotten our ideas mixed? Should we not rather speak of man's infinite capacity to resist the acquirement of knowledge? Two thousand four hundred years is a long time, for any idea to percolate into the human mind. November 28, 1872, an interpreter of the times in which he lived said,—"The time has come, or at least is now near, when there shall be an organization of the nations for the peace of the world. We have an organization in every town and village in this land by which no one man is allowed to let loose his passions as he pleases. The good of every citizen in the town requires that the lawless forces of men shall be regulated. The law undertakes to do for men what in a savage or barbarous condition they undertake to do for themselves. But the time is coming when nations shall organize for the same purposes that villages and towns do now, and when it shall be as unlawful for a nation to let loose its avaricious and vindictive desires in the community of nations, without law and without the leave of a magistrate." (Henry Ward Beecher.)

If Beecher in 1872 could say the time is "now near", we may and must say, the time has come! And for many free governments, for all the democracies, it is now or never.

One of the foggy notions about police, is that it is an undefined and irresponsible element in government, whereas it is sharply defined, and responsible, and its abuses are met with condign punishment. And government as a whole is regulated and restrained, in any well ordered state. The American Bill of Rights protects us against government encroachment, usurpation, and tyranny. The people have said to this Federal Government, and to the State government likewise, "Thus far shalt thou go and no farther." Such a suggestion with reference to an International Police Power is the veriest bugaboo.

Another fallacy is the assertion that such a power requires the surrender of sovereignty. Does it? Does that expression accurately describe the process? On the contrary it is a misnomer. Instead of a surrender of sovereignty, it will be the exercise of sovereignty and in the only way it can be legitimately exercised in the area of international relations, by co-operative action. No single nation has any sovereignty, nor is it possessed of any other right of power, by which it can command the field of international relations and intercourse, alone. To do so is war, and war is murder; war is a crime. No government, no state, has any more right to declare and wage aggressive war than an individual has to assassinate his neighbor.

What is a nation-state? It is a moral person. It is composed of people,—men, women and children. Every individual among them is subject to moral obligations from the cradle to the grave. One is bound to be and do right, it has been said, on the religious scale of rectitude, not because he is a Christian but because he is a man.

Now when you amalgamate and organize men into a nation, it is plain that you have not canceled these moral obligations, you have merely changed the terms on which and the methods by which they operate, made them collective instead of individual, national instead of exclusively personal. In other words, the very composition of a nation declares and evidences its moral character and its obligation

to act justly and righteously. It argues nothing that nations

have not always so behaved themselves. Jurists and judges unanimously declare this doctrine. In

1889 a New York Chief Justice, in a case he was deciding,

said,—"Vattel defines nations or states to be bodies politic, societies of men united together for the purpose of promoting their mutual safety and advantage by the joint effort of their combined strength. Such a society has her affairs and her interests. She deliberates and takes resolutions in common, thus becoming a moral person who possesses an understanding and a will peculiar to herself, and is susceptible of obligations and rights."

I do not hesitate to say that the neglect to recognize this obvious truth, that a nation is a moral person, subject in all things to the moral law, and the persistence of the war $y$~ tern as if it were of right, has slowed down human progress incalculably, and nourished lawlessness and crime in defiance of all government. Undoubtedly there are men and women in jails and penitentiaries today who would not be there but for the pernicious example of transgressing the moral code furnished by their own government. Already, as an inevitable aftermath of this war, peace officers are predicting and preparing for a wave of outbreaking lawlessness.

The international police force must be adequate. It may have regional contingents. It must be self-operative, self-starting, so as to check aggression in its very beginning. The technique of it, the detailed structure, must of course be left to specialists and experts. Its very existence will be a deterrent to lawless war.

The nations now on earth, as international units, can no longer exist in a state of chronic secession. They find themselves drawing nearer and nearer together, on the same little planet, and yet heretofore refusing to establish any form of government to safeguard their individual and collective interests. What a spectacle! Each nation zigzagging on in its own orbit, and egotistically assuming the right to act according to its whim, caprice or passion, as it may feel constrained, even to the point of declaring war against any or all the rest! It is the acme of anarchy, enough to cause every intelligent person to hide his head in shame.

But such a condition can no longer be tolerated, if we are to survive. The changed world no longer admits of secession, no more than the Federal Constitution admitted it for the States of the Union in Lincoln's day. In one of his first State papers the message to Congress July 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln laid down the principle the world now must recognize: "The relative matter of National power and State rights, as a principle, is no other than the principle of generality and locality. Whatever concerns the whole should be confided to the whole—to the General Government; while whatever concerns only the State should be left exclusively to the State. That is all there is of the original principle about it." Application to world government for the nations is obvious.

So careful and competent a thinker as Mr. Sumner Welles says he does not believe the time is ripe for the establishment of an international police force under the control of the Executive Council; as an alternative he proposes that the major powers bind themselves by agreement to furnish each its quota of military, naval, or air strength whenever the peace of the world is menaced by a belligerent. It remains to be seen whether he is not unduly apprehensive and skeptical, though it must be admitted that probably less than a score of men in the world have the wide information on which Mr. Welles bases his brilliant book, "The Time For Decision."

However, that does not seem to be material, nor is it entirely inconsistent with the immediate establishment of at least a world air force, with bases scattered over the globe at strategic points, and with a monopoly of bombers, pursuit planes, etc.

Whatever the plan finally adopted, it will permit and require the gradual disarmament of all the nations, thus lifting the crushing burden of continuous armed preparedness from the taxpayers of the various peoples.

International Police Power cannot operate in a political vacuum. It is but a feature or element of effective world government, and there is a wide area in which police power operates before coming to armed force in action. Men who form the personnel of the mobile police force will have enlisted voluntarily for such service, and will yield instant obedience to the central authority. The objection that it may require sending "our boys" into remote corners of the earth, is absurd. Have we not, without it, been obliged to do that very thing? And "our boys" now Ik buried in soldiers' cemeteries in the islands of the far seas and in remote and strange continents,—just because we had provided no supranational police.

Clearly it is the next stage in the evolution of law and government. The clan or tribe has been subordinated w the city-state, that to the nation, and the nation here and there on the earth to the federation. This proposal merely lifts the world to the next higher plane, and brings all nations into the federation. When finally achieved, it will be only the recognition of inevitable political growth, and the furnishing of the organizational technique to facilitate it. May God speed the day!

Spring Leaves on Dumbarton Oaks


By PHILIP C. NASH, President, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio

Delivered before the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Philadelphia, Pa., April 13, 1945

Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 436-441.

IT is admittedly a daring adventure for me to presume to discuss with you the probable changes and growths JL in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals which will be debated and perhaps enacted into a treaty at San Francisco. This is dangerous for two reasons, first because there are many in this audience who know more about the subject than I do, and second, no one can possibly tell just what will emerge from the give and take debates of the coming weeks.

Dumbarton Oaks, like the tree from which it accidentally got its name, has been hibernating during the winter while sincere statesmen, scheming politicians, and everybody I between all over the world have been studying its provision* to see on the one hand how they can be implemented into * world organization for the good of mankind, and on to* other hand how each selfish wish for prestige and advantage can be gained. Now all this germination is beginning to sti* in our oak tree and the main trunk and branches will