That We May Serve Humanity As Equals
SMALL NATIONS NOT IN OPPOSITION TO BIG FIVE
By JAN MASARYK, Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, Chief of the Czechoslovak Delegation to the United NationsConference, San Francisco, Cal.
Delivered at the close of the San Francisco Conference, June 26th, 1945
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XI, pp. 594-595.
THE great San Francisco Conference has terminated its all important historic deliberations. To some it seemed too long. But if we consider the magnitude of our task, the conditions prevailing in this world of ours in April 1945 and even today, if we realize how thoroughly our civilization has been shaken up by years of concentrated destruction of values, material, moral and cultural, we are bound to come to the conclusion that the time spent on drafting the Charter, in my estimation, one of the most important documents in human history, was neither long nor wasted. From fifty different countries—and how different—representatives came to the Golden Gate for a tremendous purpose, our handling of which shall be judged by many coming generations. The Czechoslovak Delegation is proud of the opportunity to cooperate modestly in this epoch-making task.
A great deal has been said about the great, medium and small nations. Although the Czechoslovak Government from the beginning full-heartedly agreed with the thesis that the Great Powers, who will have to carry the overwhelming brunt of the political and economic responsibility, should have more to say than the rest of us, we realized at the same time that an honorable and dignified role could, would and should be played by any Delegation who had something worth while to contribute. The Charter is the proof of both these points. There may have been created in some quarters the impression that the forty-five so-called small and medium nations—though some of them are great in tradition and in achievement—had been in a steady opposition to the Big Five. That is certainly not correct. On the contrary, a friendly and fruitful cooperation between all the fifty powers represented here was very much in evidence throughout our labors, even if sometimes differences of opinion were not unnoticeable. Let me repeat what I have often said before, that there are so many vital interests we have in common—the big and the small—and that the common denominator of peace with security is overwhelming. This has been so gloriously manifested on the fields of battle and we all hope will be equally strongly manifested once peace is established.
The small and smaller countries need security, crave security, pray for security, so that they can keep step with the great ones and serve humanity as equals among equals.
In a short while now we shall disperse into all corners of the earth to explain to our peoples what we did, why we did it and how we did it. It is my considered opinion that we can face our respective Governments, Parliaments, and peoples with a calm conscience and a feeling of modest satisfaction.
This Charter is a good document, honestly arrived at, and if the same spirit of friendly cooperation prevails in bringing it into actual force, I do not see any unsurmountable difficulties looming ahead.
We have in our hands an effective weapon against the repetition of wanton aggression by the beaten Nazi and Fascist evil-doers, and after the second part of the war is crowned with the same absolute military victory—as it surely will be—also against the medieval imperialism of the Japanese. There will be many important, complex and far-reaching problems to solve—but we can, we shall solve them, because we know that sorely wounded humanity could not stand another cataclysm such as the one out of which we are laboriously, but victoriously, emerging at this moment.
May I in conclusion utter a humble word of warning? Let us please stop talking of the next world war. The language one hears in certain places is lamentably unconstructive, it arouses suspicions at a moment when mutual confidence is all important. Not one of us in this room wants another war. None of us want the children of these selfless children of ours, whose graves are scattered as sacred mementoes all over the face of the scarred earth—none of us want these children to die in another war in another generation—we want them to live and work for their respective countries in peace and security in a socially just and safe world. That's why we assembled here, that's why we drafted the Charter. It contains all the necessary safeguards against future wars. Let us see to it that our lofty aims are carried into deeds worthy of the memory of our heroic beloved youngsters.
The spirit and ideals of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt are present here today. I know they would give us their blessing, and we the fifty nations united here are wishing God speed to their successor, Harry S. Truman—for his journey to the next meeting and for a successful accomplishment of the gigantic task which he took over so ably, so efficiently and so humbly.