Page 1, 20th April 1945

20th April 1945
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Page 1, 20th April 1945 — San Francisco, Poland, Baltic States, The Enemy, Marxian Totalitarianism
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San Francisco, Poland, Baltic States, The Enemy, Marxian Totalitarianism

AMERICAN HIERARCHY ISSUES STATEMENT : SOLUTION IS BILL OF RIGHTS

The members of the American Hierarchy, who constitute the Board of the N.C.W.C. and who speak in the name of all the Bishops, have issued -a statement in which they ask that a "Bill of inter-Nation Rights" should be adopted by the Nations and made the condition of active participation in the world peace organisation.

In their statement the Bishops comment very plainly on the many morally disqttrrfeatures of present p lans,.and emphasise the opposition betweenaaxantotatarianism,andchrisan-basecjemcracy

The American Bishops said :

I• ' The organisation of the corn . niunity of nations in an international institute to maintain umld peace and to achieve world co

operation will test the fullness of our victory. A sound world organisation is not a Utopian dream. With honest goodwill in all the victors it will be realised, and a new era in international relations will begin. If any one of these refuses its full support or insists on introducing into as charter provisions which radically vitiate it, we shall witness the tragedy, so often lecorded in history, of a glorious martial victory Largely muffled by sheer politica' expediency.

° SAN FRANCISCO Great-Power Alliance

Experience • warns us that unless Strong, courageous leaders, with the full support of their peoples, mu their hands to this task, there will be no genuine progress in international life. To yield to feat that this thing cannot be done is defeatism. In nations. as well as in individuals, we' must indeed face the fact of human weakness, but we must face it to conquer it. We must not accept it in a spirit of paralysing fatalism. An opportunity is here, as in every world crisis. to begin a new era of genuine progress in the community of nations.

Isolationism, whether expressed in the refusal of a nation to assume its obligations in the international community, or \masked in the setting up of the sphere of influence in which a great nation surrounds itself, with weak puppet States, or disguised in a balance of power policy. is no answer to the problems, nor indeed to the problems of any nation.

There is however, danger present at this time that if in the name of realism an attempt is made to substitute for a juridical world institution what is in effect only an alliance of the Great Powers, many nations will take refuge in isolationism. Disillusionment in our country will express itself in the isolationism of the abstentionist. We fall to ,ser that the voting procedure in the Security Council agreed upon at Yalta is consistent with the sovereign egualfity of peace-101111g 'rations recognised as basic In the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.

Whatever concessions may, tinder existing conditions, have to be made to certain nations in view of their power and corresponding responsibility, it seems inequitable and dangerous to give any nation a virtual veto on parity of treatment for all.

It is a manifest denial of the prime attribute of a juridical institution to extend the veto to the execution of decisions of the world court to which, by explicit provision, all justifiable disputes should be referred and the concession in question is not even limited to cases directly involving the nation to which it is made.

This makes the Charter give a preferred status. not only to the powerful aggressor, but even to any aggressor with a powerful patron.

IL is hoped that the Security Council will be made more responsible to she General Assembly, and, at least in time, will become merely its executive committee. It is imperative, too, that :here be lodged in the international organisation and ultimately in the World Court the authority to make changes in the past settlements and other treaties which, in view of past mistakes or changed conditions, may

be required. t •

BILL OF RIGHTS The Best Test The proposals, as they .stand. outline, not the plan for an organisation under law, of the international cornminim, but rather the draft of an alliance between the great victorious Powers for tire raniptettance of world peace and the promotion of international co-operation in which these Powers definitely refuse to'. submit themselves in every eventuality to the World authority which they propose to invoke in compelling other nations to maintain world peace.

Sovereign equality among the

nations demands that each nation he free in its internal government, and that its juridical personality be reeognised in its international relations.

In all history and particularly in modern history dangers to world peace have come from the unjust treatment of minorities. the denial of civil and religious liberties and other infringements in the uniform rights of men.

To relieve these dangers the nations should adopt an Inter-Nation Bill of Rights, in which men and groups everywhere would be guaranteed the full enjoyment of their human rights.

That this is definitely a matter of international concern is evident in the problem now confronting the intergoverernental community in regard to Displaced Persons. .If they are reluctant to return to their home lands, it is largely because they cannot look forward to the enjoyment of fundamental human rights under the new tyrannies and control.

Active participation in the international organisation ought to he conditioned by the acceptance of this Bill of Rights, Will a nation which does not make its own citizens secure in the enjoyment of their human rights work honestly and sincerely for the maintenance of world peace and mutual cooperation in the international community ?

POLAND Disappointing Solution

The solution of the Polish question agreed upon by the representatives of the three great victorious Powers in the Crimea Conference was a disappointment to all who had both their hopes on the Atlantic Charter. Poland which stood against the Nazi .aggressor from the very beginning of the war —Poland which has suffered more than any other nation in the war—Poland which has fought and is fighting with our arms on every European front— has been forced by her Allies to surrender a very large part of her territory. In apparent exchange it was guaranteed at Yalta that in the reconstructed world there will be a strong, independent Poland with a Government chosen in a free election by its own people. • Pending the action of the people of Poland in a free election, claims were made to set up a provisional r6gime which would be recognised by the three Great Powers. This provisional Government must not be the creation of a single foreign Power, but the choice of all the parties to the Yalta engagements.

Our President has pledged to see that in the choice of a permanent Polish Government the people of Poland be guaranteed their right of a free secret ballot.

THE BALTIC STATES Ominous Silence

In reading the official reports on current peace discussions, we are struck by the ominous silence of the three Great Powers on Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

Contrary to the protests of our Government four years ago and the assurance of Soviet authorities even before that time, but indications are that they will be 'incorporated without free consent in an alien system of government. Sympathy of all lovers of freedom goes out to them in their distress.

We hope that when the final peace treaty is framed and approved, it will not he recorded that our own country condoned the enslavement of these freedom-loving nations. We hope, too, that our Government will discharge its full responsibility in re-establishing all the liberated nations of Europe under genune democratic regimes which will accord to all their citizens the full enjoyment of their human rights and open to them an era of prosperity.

THE ENEMY PEOPLES The Common Good

In the treatment of the enemy

nations justice must obtain. Justice, indeed, is stern. It is, not, however. born of hatred or vengeance and pmvails only when the mind is clear and calm.

Moreover, the common good of the

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