THE SAN FRANCISCO CONFERENCE
Molotoff Heads Soviet Delegation.— Some disappointment was expressed both in London and Washington when it was originally announced that the Soviet Union would be represented at San Francisco, not by Foreign Minister Molotoff, but by Ambassador Gromyko, though it was realized that the latter was well qualified through his earlier participation in the talks at Dumbarton Oaks. Following the death of President Roosevelt, however, Marshal Stalin quickly approved a suggestion from President Truman that Mr. Molotoff should come to this country both to attend the San Francisco meeting and to join in preliminary talks at Washington.
Votes in the Assembly.—On March 29 a surprise announcement came from the White House revealing a decision at the Crimea Conference that the Soviet Union and also the United States were to have three votes in the Assembly of the world security organization, supposedly in compensation for the six votes of the British Commonwealths. Later, after the change had met with much unfavorable comment, it was stated on April 3 that the United States would not insist on three votes, but would still support the Soviet proposal. In general, there appeared a divergence between the Anglo-American and the Soviet view as to whether the sponsor powers were bound to support the Dumbarton Oaks plan in its original form or were free to propose and approve alterations. The Soviet attitude apparently called for support without major changes. Writing on the importance of voting strength, either in the Council or the Assembly, the Review of World Affairs for April remarked truly that the only conceivable danger to world peace in the future would be “from a member of the League, one of the Great Powers,” and that
Everything, therefore, resolves itself into the simplest proposition. Forms of voting, types of membership, and all such academic questions, have no meaning whatever in a real crisis in which world war threatens. Humanly speaking the only thing which then deters an aggressor and attracts collective resistance, is the independent power of the leading anti-aggressor nations. If Britain and America base their policies upon illusory theses, instead of upon the blunt lessons of history and elementary common sense, it will be crazy in the last degree of madness.
In criticism of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, prior to the San Francisco conference, ex-President Hoover suggested changes along two main lines: (1) to make possible periodical changes in territorial and other settlements in order to keep up with changing conditions, and (2) to permit regional machinery to deal with controversies in their early stages. Senator Vandenberg, in a memorandum to the State Department on April 1, proposed eight amendments, chiefly in the direction of stressing justice as a league criterion.
Delegates at San Francisco.—It was stated early in April that 37 nations had accepted invitations to the “Conference of the United Nations on an International Organi-zation” and that the addition of Peru and Yugoslavia would bring the number to 39. The final number attending was 46. The British delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, with Clement R. Atlee and Viscount Cranburn, Dominions Secretary, as additional ministerial representatives.
On April 8 the United States delegates began a series of preliminary meetings at Washington to seek agreement on a common policy. It was agreed that, while the individual members of the delegation should retain full freedom in discussions, decisions as to policy should be reached by a majority vote.
Early in April there was also a series of preliminary meetings of jurists of 38 nations to draft a statute for setting up the proposed International Court of Justice and determining its jurisdiction. Rumors that the main conference might be delayed were put to rest by an announcement of Secretary Stettinius on April 3 that the need of holding the conference on time was only increased by the accelerated tempo of the war. Hopes of its success were somewhat increased by optimistic dispatches from Moscow quoting the remarks of Marshal Stalin after the Crimea Conference:
Can we count on it that the international organization will function effectively enough? It will be effective if the great powers that bore the greatest burden of the war against Hitler’s Germany continue to deal in a spirit of understanding and harmony. It will have no results if they offend against this essential condition. The Crimea Conference was an example of unity and understanding.
UNITED STATES AND LATIN AMERICA
Holding Pacific Bases.-—Speaking early in April in New York at a joint session of the Academy of Political Science and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King advocated not only the maintenance of a strong Navy but the retention of Pacific air and naval bases as a measure for insuring peace in the post-war world. Admiral King pointed out that neglect of sea power had led to near disaster in the early stages of the present war. The Admiral said in part.
Possessed as we are for the moment with naval greatness, it is difficult to believe we will permit this power to be squandered or bartered away thoughtlessly. We will never do this, I am sure, if we understand what it might mean in terms of America’s future.
Hence our sea power should be maintained. Furthermore, it should be dedicated, in war and peace alike, to promote the security and wellbeing of our people and the peaceful stabilization of an improving world orderliness.
We who have gone through this war have paid the penalty of forgetting the lessons of the years between wars. This time we shall win the victory despite our past mistakes. But next time, the penalty of forgetting may be the loss of America and of liberty ....
These atolls, these island harbors, will have been paid for by the sacrifice of American blood. They will have been scooped out of sand and rock, coral and volcanic ash, by a generation of Americans giving their service, ingenuity, and money.
Failure to maintain these bases essential for our defense raises the fundamental question— how long can the United States afford to continue a cycle of fighting and building and winning and giving away, only to fight and build and win and give away again?
Rich as we are, we do not have the human or physical resources to dissipate our patrimony, generation after generation, in this manner.
Joint Pacific Command.—At Washington on April 5 the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced certain changes in the command of the Pacific made desirable by the prospect of reinforcements drawn from the European theater and the rapid progress made in operations against Japan. According to the announcement, General MacArthur will have “command of all Army forces and resources in the Pacific theater,” and Admiral Nimitz will have “command of all naval forces and resources in the Pacific theater.” The Joint Chiefs of Staff “will continue to exercise strategic direction of the entire Pacific theater and will charge either General MacArthur or Admiral Nimitz with the over-all responsibility of conducting specific operations or campaigns . . . dependent on the nature of the operation or campaign that is to be undertaken.” The directive further indicated that General H. H. Arnold would continue in command of the 20th Air Force, covering operations of the B29 Superforts against Japan. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (American) are to be distinguished from the Combined Chiefs of Staff (Anglo-American), and Pacific operations will thus continue under American strategic direction.
Argentine Regime Recognized.—On March 27 Argentina by a decree of the Farrell Government slipped quietly into a state of war with Germany and Japan. The declaration was directed primarily against Japan for her attack at Pearl Harbor, and secondarily against Germany as Japan’s ally. After this essential step in bringing Argentina’s policy into harmony with that of the other American republics, Argentina on April 4, in a formal ceremony at Mexico City, became a party to the Act of Chapultapec. Thus, in the words of Dr. Padilla, Mexican Foreign Minister, “Pan-American solidarity” existed once again. Recognition of the Farrell Government in Argentina followed quickly on the part of the United States, Britain, and the Latin American countries. It now appeared likely that, if the U.S S.R. raised no objection, Argentine representatives might be invited to the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations.
French Plans for Empire.—Late in March the De Gaulle Government in France announced plans for a Union Francaise of all parts of the empire, somewhat similar to the Association of British Commonwealths. Each French colony would be given self-government commensurate with its political development and eventually each would have its non-elective assembly. Each would also send delegates to an “Assembly of the Empire” which would meet in Paris alongside the assemblies of metropolitan France. French Indo-China would have a federal government presided over by a Governor General, with a ministry composed of both French and native residents. Citizens of the Indo-Chinese Federation would at the same time be citizens of the Union Francaise and eligible to hold civil and military offices within the Union. All the democratic liberties would prevail in Indo-China and elsewhere. This liberalizing of the organization of the French Empire and strengthening of ties with the mother country was evidently set forth to forestall unwelcome proposals which might come up at the San Francisco conference for “international trusteeship of colonies” or for otherwise terminating “colonial empires.”
Greek Premier Ousted.—On April 7 Archbishop Damaskinos, Regent of Greece, dismissed Premier Nicholas Plastiras and called on Admiral Petros Voulgaris to form a new cabinet. The ousting of General Plastiras was the outcome of the publication in the Greek press of a letter indicating that in 1941 the General had favored German intervention in the Greek-Italian war. It was further revealed that since 1941 Plastiras had been secretly at the head of the EDES faction in Greek politics. The EDES party, though anti-monarchist, has been the chief opponent of the pro-Communist EAM; and neither of these groups was supposed to be represented in the ministry set up under British sanction last January.
Admiral Voulgaris, a devoted follower of Venizelos in earlier times, is credited with having halted the mutinies in the Greek Navy a year ago, and afterward he served as commander in chief of the Greek fleet.
Czech Rule in Homeland.—On a special train from Moscow early in April President Edouard Benes of Czechoslovakia re-entered his homeland with the political leaders of the Government in Exile. At Kosice the Exiled Government resigned and a new Cabinet which had been arranged in Moscow took control. The new ministry was based on a coalition of liberal and leftist parties, with the Social Democrat Zdenek Fierlinger, ex- Ambassador to the Soviet Republic, as Premier. Jan Masaryk retained his post as Foreign Minister and Deputy Premier. On April 10 the new Premier gave a pledge that the question of control over the Carpatho- Ukraine (Ruthenia), a small district at the eastern tail of Czechoslovakia inhabited chiefly by Ukrainians, would be decided “in accordance with the wishes of the population.” This evidently meant a plebiscite, which would doubtless result in a big majority for union with the Soviet Ukrainian Republic and would bring the Soviet frontiers in direct contact with Hungary. The Premier further stated that Czech foreign policy would be based on collaboration with the Soviet Union, and that as soon as possible a tripartite pact with the Soviet Union and Poland would be negotiated.
Polish Regime Active.—While the reorganization of the Polish Government remained unaccomplished, the Provisional Government established at Warsaw took active steps to consolidate their control. A new province of Danzig was set up in April to include the city and district of Danzig, occupied by the Red Army, as well as several cities of the Polish Corridor. The decree was signed by President Bierut and Premier Osubka-Morawski. A broadcast declared that Danzig would “now become an inseparable part of the Polish Republic” and that a “broad basis on the Baltic” would guarantee strength and power to a renascent Poland. It was further reported in April that a general exchange of populations was being carried out across the eastern Polish frontier, Poles in White Russia and the Ukraine being transferred to Polish territory.
Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia in April announced recognition of the Provisional Polish Government and the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Polish Reorganization Delayed.—On April 18 the Washington State Department announced the receipt of a new Soviet note on the Polish question, repeating the Soviet proposal that the Provisional Government of Poland, as originally constituted, should be admitted to the San Francisco conference. This proposal was again opposed by the United States, presumably acting in accord with Britain. At the same time it was announced that both the British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Archibald Kerr, and the American Ambassador, W. Averell Harriman had come to Washington. Thus, with the arrival of Foreign Commissar Molotoff, all three members of the special committee on the Polish question would be in the American capital together, and since Foreign Minister Anthony Eden and Secretary of State Stettinius were also available, it was hoped, though vainly, that some agreement might be reached over the week-end of April 20-22.
As arranged at the Yalta Conference, the Polish Provisional Government was to be reorganized “on a broader democratic basis” by a committee at Moscow consisting of the Soviet Foreign Commissar and the American and British Ambassadors. But early in April this committee reached an impasse, chiefly because no additional Polish leaders of a nonleftist slant could be found on which all three representatives would agree. Ex-Premier Mikolajczyk was acceptable to the American and British and on April 15 he declared his belief that Polish policy must be based on a “close and lasting friendship with Russia.” But the Soviets objected even to him. In these circumstances it looked as if the Polish question must be referred back to another conference of the three major powers. The matter was further complicated, as already noted, by the Soviet proposal that the Provisional Government as already set up be granted a seat at San Francisco, and by the objections of both England and the United States to such a procedure as stated in similar notes of March 31.
Meanwhile Polish leaders in London continued to ridicule the leaders in power at Warsaw, and to scout the possibility of collaboration. They declared that no less than 15 prominent non-communist Poles within Polish territory had been invited to confer with Red Army military authorities and had then “disappeared.” It appeared likely that they were still “in conference,” but up to April 15 British inquiries failed to reveal their whereabouts.
Elections in Finland.—Results of the March elections in Finland indicated that the conservative parties had lost their majority in the Finnish Parliament, though by a very narrow margin, holding 97 seats out of a total of 200. The majority was about evenly divided between the new Popular Democratic Coalition with 51 seats and the Social Democrats with 52. The Popular Democrats favor a reorientation of Finland’s policy toward co-operation with the Soviet Republic. The Finnish Nazi party, which held eight seats in the old Parliament, was denied a part in the present elections. Premier Juho Paasikivi resigned on April 9, but remained in office until a new government was formed. Premier Paasikivi was later asked to head the new ministry, and invited a number of Popular Democratic leaders to share in the administration.
Yugoslav-Soviet Treaty.—On a visit to Moscow in mid-April Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia joined with Foreign Commissar Molo- toff in signing a 20-year friendship treaty between their two governments. The treaty is similar in terms to those previously entered into by the Soviet Union with Britain, France, and Czechoslovakia. It pledges mutual aid in the present war, co-operation in “international activities for peace,” and the “development of economic and cultural ties.” In subsequent press statements Marshal Tito denied any Yugoslav designs on Greek territory but asserted claims to Trieste and the Istrian peninsula.
PACIFIC AND FAR EAST
Soviets Denounce Japanese Pact.—On April 5, Soviet Russia gave to Japan the one- year notice required to end the Russo-Japanese Non-Aggression Pact of 1941. Though the pact has another year to run, the language of the denunciation of the pact was significant in that it indicated that the Soviet Government might feel justified in ending the treaty at any time. The note to the Japanese Ambassador read:
The pact of neutrality between the Soviet Union and Japan was concluded on April 13, 1941—that is, before the attack by Germany on the U.S.S.R. and before the outbreak of war between Japan on the one hand and Great Britain and the United States of America on the other.
Since that time the situation has radically changed. Germany attacked the U.S.S.R. and Japan—Germany’s ally—helped the latter in her war against the U.S.S.R.
In addition Japan is fighting against the U.S.A. and Great Britain, which are the allies of the Soviet Union. In such a situation the pact of neutrality between Japan and the U.S.S.R. has lost its meaning and the continuance of this pact has become impossible.
On the strength of the aforesaid and in accordance with Article III of the pact mentioned, which envisages the right of denunciation one year before the expiration of the five-year period of validity of the pact, the Soviet Government by the present statement announces to the Japanese Government its desire to denounce the pact of April 13, 1941.
In press comment it was remarked that there has been almost constant conflict between Japan and Russia since the Chino- Japanese War of 1894-95. This developed into war in 1904-05 and into an undeclared war along the Manchurian frontier in 1938. Some estimates place the Soviet military forces still in Siberia at upwards of 2,000,000. The denunciation of the neutrality pact raises the question of Soviet entry into the Pacific War and also into the peace settlements in the Far East and Pacific. Participation in the war might be regarded as essential to participation in the peace, just as war declarations were required for a place at the San Francisco conference.
New Opponents for Japan.—On April 11 Spain broke off diplomatic relations with Japan, primarily because of brutalities committed against Spanish nationals in Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines. This was Falangist Spain’s first open break with any one of the Axis powers. Reports to Spain indicated that among other offenses Japanese troops had broken into the Spanish consulate in Manila and murdered the consular officials and others present.
Among the Latin American nations, Chile declared a state of belligerency with Japan, dating from April 12.
New Japanese Cabinet.—After having undergone no less than four reshufflings within the preceding nine months, the Government of General Kuniaki Koiso in Japan was forced to resign on April 5, as a result of “the gravity of the situation” and “in order to open the way for a far more powerful combination. An elder statesman, Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, former president of the Privy Council, was called upon to form a new ministry. In general, the change was regarded as decreasing slightly the militaristic domination of the cabinet and increasing the influence of powerful business interests. Suzuki, 77 years of age and in retirement since 1937, was described by one commentator as a “front man for a Japanese peace offensive.” However, this view of the moderate trend of the new cabinet was somewhat discounted by the retention of Admiral Mitsumasa Yonai as Naval Minister and the choice of General Korechika Anami for the War Ministry. Shigenori Togo became Foreign Minister, and Baron Suzuki himself combined the duties of Premier and Minister for greater East Asia. In the completed cabinet as announced on April 7 there were four naval and two army officers, or about half the cabinet composed of military men. In his first speech after taking office, Foreign Minister Togo declared that Japan was today “fighting only a war of self-defense.” He promised every effort to avoid hostilities with Russia, in view of the denunciation of the Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact.
Prior to the cabinet crisis, Admiral Kobayashi, former president of the Imperial Rule Assistance Party, was released from the Koiso Cabinet in order to form a new “sure victory” totalitarian party. This new “Political Association of Great Japan” was formally set on foot on March 30. Headed by General Minami, its members are solemnly pledged to defense of the homeland and support of the Government.
No Arms tor China Reds.—In an interview early in April, Major General Patrick J. Hurley, United States Ambassador at Chungking, stated that in the present circumstances the “overall objectives” of the Allies in China would preclude fostering or giving aid directly to the Chinese Communists, except as they might become associated with the government at Chungking. The United States Government, he pointed out, recognized the National Government under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, and aid for any faction not a part of that government would amount to recognition of a new regime. At the same time, American policy aims to encourage Chinese unity both to further the war effort and as a foundation for a strong government after the war. The present policy of the Kuomintang is to turn over the government to the people, rather than to an aggregation of parties, by promulgating a new constitution this year. A preparatory meeting for this purpose was set to meet in May.