- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 17 Apr 1947, p. 316-330
- Salmon, Dr. E.T., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The difference in atmosphere that exists between the year 1947 and the year 1920. The lack of an optimistic attitude two years after the Second World War. The large number of international conferences since the Second World War ended, marked by a good deal of acrimony, name-calling, vilification, and even downright abuse. The nature of a Peace Conference. The idea of "open covenants," originating after the First World War. The speaker's belief in open covenants, but that the old system whereby they were arrived at through confidential processes would be very much better. The tendency lately for that procedure to be restored. The reason the atmosphere is so tense today: Russia's attendance at the Peace Conference. Russia's evident determination to be disagreeable, secretive, abusive, and obstructionist, with examples. Evidence of Russia's expansive nature. The world divided. The accusation of the formation of a Western Bloc by the Slavic nations of Eastern Europe and Russia. The actuality of a Slavic Bloc. An examination of the situation, particularly with Russia, in the past. The need to make a deal with Russia; two ways to do so. An exploration of what way might work. The moral and argument that firmness is required. Who is to work out this policy of firmness. Indications of increasing firmness on the part of the United States. The "Truman Doctrine" and what it signifies. The agreements of Teheran and Yalta. The dangers of a negative peace. Looking for an enduring peace.
- Date of Original
- 17 Apr 1947
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- Full Text
THE MAKING OF THE PEACE
AN ADDRESS BY DR. E. T. SALMON, M.A., Ph.D.
Chairman: The President, Major F. L. Clouse
Thursday, April 17, 1997.
MAJOR CLOUSE: Gentlemen of the Empire Club of Canada and ladies and gentlemen of our audience of the air: Last Sunday, in speaking from London, Eng., over the B.B.C., Henry A. Wallace, vice-president of the U.S.A., told his audience: "There will be no peace until the whole world gets a "New Deal" on the Roosevelt model. Do you recall that Roosevelt model? I will remind youin March, 1940, the late President Roosevelt, speaking from Washington, said:
'Today we seek a moral basis for peace. It cannot be a real peace if it fails to recognize brotherhood. It cannot be a lasting peace if the fruits of it are oppression, starvation, or cruelty, or human life dominated by armed camps. It cannot be a sound peace if small nations must live in fear of powerful neighbours. It cannot be a moral peace if freedom from invasion is sold for tribute. It cannot be an intelligent peace if it denies free passage to that knowledge of those ideals which permit men to find common ground. It cannot be a righteous peace if worship of God is denied.' "
The title of today's address "The Making of the Peace". It is our good fortune today to welcome as our guest of honour a scholar, a linguist and a keen student of international affairs.
Dr. Salmon was born in London, England, educated in Sydney, New South Wales and received his B.A. degree from the University in Australia. He later graduated from Cambridge University, receiving his M.A. and Ph.D., to be followed by post graduate studies in Italy. Since 1930 Dr. Salmon has occupied the chair of Professor of Ancient History at McMaster University. He has for quite some time been the news commentator on station CKOC.
It is my pleasure and privilege to introduce Dr. E. T. Salmon, M.A., Ph.D.
DR. E. T. SALMON: Mr. President, Members of The Empire Club of Canada, and Ladies and Gentlemen of the Radio Audience: In rising to speak to you about the making of the peace after the Second World War; I suppose that the first thing that I could do would be to state a truism. Everybody must be profoundly aware of the difference in atmosphere that exists between the year 1947 and the year 1920. Two years after the First World War I think it is true to say most people were very greatly relieved. They thought that the war to end war had been fought. They thought the Armageddon was behind them. They had supreme confidence that the League of Nations was going to make any renewal of a holocaust absolutely impossible.
Yet, now, just two years after the Second World War we are living in no such optimistic atmosphere. This time there is no feeling that we fought a war to end all wars. This time there is not, I venture to suggest, a great deal of confidence in that fledgling organization of the United Nations.
There have been since the Second World War ended a large number of international conferences. Those conferences have been marked by a good deal of acrimony, a good deal of name-calling, a good deal of villification, and even of downright abuse. No doubt it can be said, that many, if not most, international conferences are characterized by something of that sort. Even the Peace Conference at the end of the First World War was not entirely free of such distressing occurrences. You will doubtless all remember how during that Peace Conference the Italian Delegation became so indignant at some of what it considered to be injustices that it packed up its bags and walked out of the Conference and went home.
So that people last time, when a much better atmosphere austensibly prevailed than today, still showed a good deal of ill feeling at the Peace Conference.
But this time, so it seems to me at least, the ill feeling is unusually great. This time the display of bad temper is, so it seems to me, very marked. To a certain extent, that can, I think, be explained to the tremendous degree of importance that has been attached to a slogan that was first originated by President Wilson at the end of the First World War. On that occasion President Wilson in arriving at Paris announced that he was going to insist upon "Open Covenants Openly Arrived At."
Now, no one in his senses would raise the slightest objection to open convenants. Secret treaties and all that they stand for must be condemned. I think it is monstrous that any nation, probably without its knowledge of will should be committed to something in a secret document in a treaty, in a treaty of a secret document. It might be in that way a nation might be committed without its knowledge or consent, to a course of action which might involve it in national disaster, or it might be that the nation without its knowledge or consent had pledged its word to a course which subsequently might involve it in national dishonour.
So there is a great deal indeed to be said for open covenants. But to arrive at them openly is another matter indeed. We sometimes tend to forget that peacemaking is not a parliamentary procedure. At Ottawa in Canada we have our National Parliament, and there the representatives from the various constituencies and districts can get up and speak their minds and finally a decision is made on the basis of majority voting. That, however, is not the way it is done in international affairs. That is not the way it is done at a Peace Conference. A Peace Conference, in essence, involves bargaining. Each Nation is represented there by individual men, and sometimes women, and their jobs is to confer with their opposite members from other Nations and work out a deal with them. One Nation will be expected to give a little here in order to gain something there. All that, I would suggest, involves a great deal of bargaining, and bargaining cannot be conducted openly. There has to be a great deal of secrecy about it. It is a confidential procedure and only if the delegates can carry on with the knowledge that every word they say is not going to be blazoned forth will they really speak their mind freely.
Now, since the end of the First World War, this slogan about open covenants being arrived at openly has gained very wide currency and the result is at the end of the Second World War we have seen an attempt actually to put that slogan into force. Now this has involved a good deal of mutual abuse by the various delegates. It has involved a talking to one's own nation instead of talking to the representatives of other Nations. If at a Peace Conference the representative of Great Britain knows that every word he says will immediately be broadcast to the far winds, then there is only one thing he can do. Then he must make every word he says acceptable to the people of Great Britain. So half the time he is not even bothering to talk to the members of the other delegations. He is putting himself on record for the benefit of the people back home. And that is true of every delegate at the Conference.
I think myself that it would be much better if we did indeed have open covenants, but that the old system whereby they were arrived at through confidential processes would be very much better. I might say that lately there is a tendency for that procedure to be restored. At the early conferences in Paris and for instance at the United Nations Organization at New York, or at Lake Success, the open procedure was adhered to as well. Now here at Moscow, we find there is a growing tendency to have closed sessions. Personally, I think it is all to the good.
However, I should express here and now, that it is not merely the difficulty of arriving at understanding, under this method, of arriving at covenant openly, that is chiefly to blame for the somewhat tense atmosphere in which the world is living today. It is not only that at all. Let us be perfectly frank. Let us call a spade a spade and say quite candidly that the reason the atmosphere is so tense today is that Russia is present at the Peace Conference. Russia, at least so it seems to me, is evidently determined to be disagreeable. They are extremely secretive. They won't speak out, they won't share knowledge. Even during the time when we were their fighting Allies at war, they gave us none of their secrets, even though they willingly accepted any secrets that we turned over to them. We have Mr. Churchill's word for it that we turned over to them such secrets as radar, whereas they in return gave us nothing. They are not only secretive, they can be abusive. When the Moscow Conference opened, practically the first statement Mr. Molotov made was to raise a storm of abuse against Britain and the United States.
Not only are they abusive, they are also obstructionists. You can see that from their attitude toward the Atomic Commission. At one time it seemed as though they were prepared to an International Commission on Atomic Energy, which of course, would involve international inspection. I would say, at one time it seemed as though they were going to agree to that. And suddenly, Mr. Gromyko announces he will do nothing of the sort.
Not only are they obstructionist, they are also expansive. Since 1939, let us remember, Russia has acquired a good deal of territory that she did not possess hitherto. She has taken over the former Baltic States of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. She has taken over a slice of Finland. She has taken over a considerable portion of the State of Poland, as it existed before 1939, including some sections of Poland that had never been Russian in the whole of history before that time. She has taken a bit of what used to be Czechoslovakia. She has taken a bit of what used to be Rumania. And, in this particular, I think it is fair to say, she has not merely been recovering territory which she could legitimately claim as her own. Some of it, so it seems to the observer on this side of the ocean, is grabbing of territory merely for grabbing's sake.
Take the case of Rumania. Russia in June of 1940, demanded that Rumania surrender the Province of Bessarabia, and the neighbouring province of Bukovina. Roumania complied. The Russian troops therefore moved in and getting from Bessarabia to Bukovina, had to traverse a small section of the ancient Rumanian Province of Moldavia. Subsequently, they were asked to restore that section of the province, not included in their original demand, but they refused to vacate even though the territory in dispute was so small you would have thought it wasn't worth while a mightly country like Russia bothering with it. So far as I know they are still in that portion of Moldavia, and I understand it has been annexed to the Soviet Union.
So there are all those factors in front of us. What do they add up to? Well, you all know that the former candidate for the American Presidency, Mr. Wendell Willkie once produced a book called "One World". It hardly needs Mr. Willkie to tell us that advances in aeronautics and the field of science generally have narrowed the physical boundaries of the world. It is possible to get from one place to another with incredible speed and rapidity today. But merely because transportation has been accelerated in that way is no proof that we are in actual fact living in one world.
Just look around us today. Who would dare say that there is only one world? Do you believe in Mr. Winston Churchill's phrase about an iron curtain? Whether you do or not, it is pretty clear that you do not have freedom of access, you do not have free transmission of news. You do have the world divided.
The Slavic nations of Eastern Europe and Russia accuse the nations of the west of forming a Western Bloc. Actually, the accusation is without grounds because if you look at the proceedings of many International Conferences, you will find that it is very, very rare indeed that the nations of the west vote unanimously. As often as not New Zealand will vote against Great Britain and I think you all realize that Australians are not exceptionally noted for the way that they will follow somebody else's lead.
Actually, there is, a Slavic Bloc. The Slavs themselves glory in this fact. They have had various Slavic Conferences since the end of the war. If you look for example in this morning's newspaper, published in this city of Toronto, you will find, if I remember correctly, on the very front page, a despatch from Warsaw which reads as follows: "The Foreign Minister of the Polish Government is certain that Poland's Western Frontier will be effected along the line of the rivers Oder and Dneister".
This border, according to him, will be the border not only of Poland, but of all Slav countries. So that is as good as an admission of a Slavic bloc.
Opposing that there is not as yet any Western Bloc, so called. But it is, I think pretty good evidence that the world is indeed not one world.
As Walter Lippman, the well known American publicist, also in this morning's Toronto newspaper, put it, there are now two worlds.
Now, I might say that all of this is nothing very new. It all has a very, very familiar ring. After all, how different is the policy of Soviet Russia from the policy of Czarist Russia? I know of course that the personnel has changed. It is not the same men directing affairs in Russia today. I know too that their economic way of running their own country has been altered. I am aware that the administration inside Russia is different from what it was in the old Czarist days, but nevertheless I seriously ask the question, how different was the foreign policy of Czarist Russia from the foreign policy of Soviet Russia?
If you look at history, I think you will find that Russia always was more or less cut off from the west, just as she is today. Russia always was a very secretive country. Russia always was a country despotically ruled. Russia always was a country where conditions were primitive in the most brutal way. Russia in the 19th century at least showed the same desire to expand as she seems to be showing today. You all know about the drive toward the Dardanelles and the drive toward warm water ports that was so marked a feature of the foreign policy of Imperial Russia in the 19th century. I might say that Russia in the past was obstructionist and difficult to deal with just as she is today.
We know of these things from the simple fact that this is not the first time that Russia has participated with us in a peace conference at the end of a great World War. Russia participated in the Peace Conference at the end of the great World War which we usually call the Napoleonic War. On that occasion too, Russia's behavior was extraordinarily similar to the behavior of Russia today.
No doubt many of you will have read that book by the great English publicist and Liberal and former Diplomatic servant, Harold Nicholson, a book that appeared just a few months ago, dealing with the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic War. I will quote a little from that book. In that book he says, "It was indeed, true that Russia having endured hard suffering and achieved magnificent triumphs was assuming an attitude of arrogant secretiveness which caused dismay in her partners in the quadruple alliance".
That is not spoken of the Russia today, but of the Russia of over 100 years ago.
I will quote a speech of a well known statesman: "To re-establish Poland, in order to give it entirely to Russia and extend the frontiers of Russia to the Oder would mean creating so great an imminent danger for Europe that if its execution could only be stopped by force or arms, not a single moment should be lost in taking them up.
That is not spoken by a statesman today. It is the year 1816.
Here is another quotation from a speech: "We ought to avoid irritating Russia by a pertinacious opposition which is unlikely to be successful".
That again sounds as if it were spoken by a statesman of today, when in actual fact it was spoken by a statesman of over 130 years ago.
In actual fact, the tenseness, the excitement that prevailed in Britain on the aftermath of the Napoleonic War was very much greater than the tenseness that prevails today. In 1816 the average man in Britain was very much alarmed whether he wouldn't be at war with Russia in 24 hours. Today no one in his senses thinks that Russia and ourselves are going to be at war like that.
Now, even though there was that extremely tense atmosphere in 1816, even though everybody did feel in Britain at any rate, that war once again was just around the corner, war was averted.
Peace was made, a deal was worked out that endured 100 years. It was true that that was not a peace that was absolutely universal. There has been no such thing as universal peace since the dawn of recorded history, but it is true that for the 100 years from 1815 to 1914 the world did escape world wide conflict. That is an achievement that we should remember, especially when we bear in mind that that was achieved in the atmosphere that prevailed immediately after the Napoleonic War. If that achievement could be brought about in the kind of atmosphere that existed in 1818 shouldn't a somewhat similar achievement be produced in the less tense atmosphere that prevails today? Cannot some deal be worked out?
Now, I am aware of course that many people say that it is impossible to come to an agreement with the Communist Party which is in charge in Russia today, that the Communist Party and the Members have no scruples, that they don't' do things the way we do them, and that in fact it is just impossible to get along with them.
Now then, if that is so, if it is true that we cannot work out a deal with them, then logically there is only one thing for us to do. Logically, if we cannot come to an agreement with them we should be at war with them already. That would be the logical situation. In other words, we should be dropping atomic bombs on them already if it is true we can't work out a deal with them. Yet everybody in this room and everybody beyond this room knows we are not going to be dropping atomic bombs on them immediately, that we have no intention of dropping atomic bombs on them. In other words, whether we like it or not, we have got to try and make a deal with them.
Now there are two ways of doing it. We can either win the Russians over to our side by the use of sweetness and reason. By appealing, shall we say, to their better instincts, and appealing to their generosity, and saying, "Well, we are decent fellows, you are decent fellows, let us sit down together and work this thing out". That is one way of doing it.
The other way is to be extremely tough and brutal and see if we can't extract from them a concession which they will only give through the method of force, which happens to be, I think, their own method of extracting concessions. Now I might say it is my own conviction we have already tried to use the former method. We have already tried to use the soft answer that turneth away wrath. In the record of our collaboration with them in wartime, we know the tremendous outpouring of goodwill that featured our relations with them up until a few months ago and we know that that is no longer the case. We know that all of that seems to have gone for nought. In fact it begins to look as if we would be guilty of appeasement if we made any further gentle steps. Appeasement didn't work in the case of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy. It seems very doubtful if it will work in the case of Soviet Russia. In fact there are some of us who would think it has already failed pretty badly. All you have to do is look at the United Nations Organizations. The Russians, it is true have joined that, but they seemed to have joined merely to demonstrate its futility.
If Britain, for example, seeks to investigate the placing of mines in the Korfu Channel off the coast of Albania, what happens? The Russians veto the whole proposition to make sure their stooge government in Albania shall not be arraigned. It looks just from that single instance, apart altogether from their failure to join such organizations as UNESCO, it looks as though the policy of appeasement won't work with them any more than it will work with other nations, Well, what about using different methods? Methods of firmness? Many observers have noted how the Russians respect firmness. I won't give a lot of examples. One example will suffice. During the war, Lieut.-General Sir Gifford Martell, formerly Commanding Officer of the Royal Armoured Corps in the British Army, took charge of the British Mission in Moscow, actually in April of 1943. His job was' to see that military liaison should be established. At the time he took over the job, in April of 1943, when already Russia had been in the war for two years, and military liaison at that time did not exist.
Recently in a book just published in England, General Martell has told us of his experiences. He says that the military liaison did not exist when he arrived in Moscow in April of 1943. Therefore, he decided to get tough with the Russians and he achieved some results.
During an early visit which he paid to the Russian front, the Soviet Commander wanted to withhold facts about Russian disposition and strength. General Hartell, trying to look angry, spoke out strongly and said: "Do you imagine I have come all the way from England to put up with tomfoolery of that sort? I have never been so insulted before in my life. I don't intend to put up with that kind of nonsense". Whereupon the information was handed over to him. He felt confirmed in his policy of toughness. He pursued that policy for four months and got along pretty well with the Russians with that method.
At the end of the four months, on orders from on high, that goodwill was to be substituted for toughness, that was the end of liaison.
The moral would appear to be that firmness is required. I, personally, don't think that the Russian leading men, like Mr. Molotov. Mr. Vishinski, and higher still, Mr. Stalin, I don't think that any of those men will be seriously offended if we start to use the method they use already. I know for the record, papers like "Pravda" and "Izvestia" will come out with some pretty nasty comments, but these men themselves will respect us for doing exactly what they do. In fact, I might suggest, they might be highly flattered. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
At the moment, if a policy of firmness like this is to be pursued in an effort to work out a peace deal, and as you all know, simply from reading the papers during the past few days, a deal hasn't yet been worked out, at least for Germany, if a deal is to be worked out by methods of toughness and firmness, who is to do it? Britain at the moment is going through a period of weakness. You only have to look at the crisis that developed there owing to the shortage of coal only a few weeks ago. Already she has announced that she will be withdrawing from India and Burma. She has tried to put the problem of Palestine on the doorstep of the United Nations, and she has announced that the burden in Greece is beginning to be something that she finds extremely difficult to carry. Accordingly, it would look as if, to use a rugby metaphor, the ball will have to be carried by the United States.
Now, as a matter of fact, the United States already is beginning to act in a rather tough manner. You all remember that on March 12th, the President of the United States, Mr. Truman, enunciated the program which has since become known as the "Truman Doctrine". You probably have all noted that he brought forth this manifestation, at a special time.
You have probably all noted that when General Marshall, as the Secretary of State of the United States arrived in Moscow, he didn't pay a visit to Mr. Stalin, and as a matter of fact for a long time behaved as if Mr. Stalin didn't exist. It is true during that period Mr. Stalin was visited by what I would call a number of "lesser fry" from the United States, but General Marshall didn't go near him or even seek an interview until a couple of days ago. To some of us, that looks pretty much like a snub.
Now there is no doubt that all of this indicates increasing firmness on the part of the United States. It does of course, also put an end to, shall we say, the historical American doctine of isolation and freedom of entanglement in European affairs.
However, I think it is also fair to state that we ought not to be under any illusion about the so-called "Truman Doctrine". It is a good deal less sensational when you examine it carefully than it seems to be at first glance. What the President is asking for, is an appropriation of $400,000,000 which is to be used to bolster Greece and Turkey. Well, what is $400,000,000? Britain, since the liberation of Greece, has poured almost that sum into Greece alone, apart from anything that Turkey may have got. Furthermore, even though the President does call for $400,000,000 to support these countries he made his statement at a time when he knew that compulsory military training was on the way out in the United States, and I have no doubt that the fact was not overlooked in Moscow, that on the 31st, of March, just about three weeks after the President's speech, the conscription system was due to come to an end in that great Republic.
In other words, that is as good as admitting that there is to be no Armed Force to back up the Truman Doctrine. It is even possible, it is conceivable that the Congress may reject the President's proposal. It certainly has not been carried through with the speed and the despatch that the President hoped. So you can see that the whole move is, shall we say, not quite so forward a step as it at first glance appeared to be.
When Mr. Wallace, the former Vice-President of the United States goes off on a crusading tour in Great Britain and elsewhere and in effect compares Mr. Truman's speech to a declaration of war, I can only think that Mr. Wallace is only extremely naive or else must be becoming a little fanatical in his views.
What does the Truman Doctrine signify? If it is not being backed up by force, I think it means that the United States is beginning to talk tough in order to force an agreement. If it is true that the United States hasn't the force at the moment or won't have within the next few weeks to back up the Truman document, it is equally true that Russia at the moment hasn't the force she disposed of at the war's end. Russia too, has been demobilized. So it is really an attempt, I think, to make sure that agreed spheres of interest, agreed vital interests should be defined. The Americans, I think, are adopting this line in order to find some agreement with the Russians.
The agreements of Teheran and Yalta, undoubtedly contained many ambiguities. You can see that from the considerable argument that has been raised about them ever since, with 11-Ir. Molotov interpreting in one way, and Mr. Byrnes or General Marshall interpreting in another way. In other words, it is high time some agreement was reached that was free of ambiguity. The Truman Doctrine, I think, gives an opportunity for the Americans and the Russians really to get down to cases, and the Americans know where the Russians stand, and the Russians know where the Americans stand, and in that way some kind of deal might be worked out.
If you look once again to this morning's paper, to the column describing the doings of General Marshall in Moscow, you will see that it is the consensus of opinion of observers on the spot in the Russian capital.
Now, if agreement is to be reached with Russia, and it is only by reaching agreement with Russia a peace can be made, I suggest it can be done only by a policy of firmness. We don't need to respect the feelings of the Communists in the matter, any more than they will respect our feelings. If we are firm, if the policy of toughness is pursued, then some deal can be worked out and in that way there might be a lasting peace.
I don't think this will be easy, and I don't profess to be able to outline the sort of peace that it will be. One thing seems perfectly certain. That is that any peace obtained by those methods will be essentially a negative peace. You will have one nation saying to another nation, "You shall not do this". You will have the other nation replying, "All right, we won't do that, if you in turn don't do something else".
The dangers of a negative peace of that sort are perfectly obvious. There have been many negative peaces in history. In fact up to now, I would say all peaces have been negative and none of them have lasted forever. Undoubtedly, if you had a constructive peace, a peace in which the various nations agreed not to refuse to do something, but agreed instead to do some positive program in common, and one can think of a lot of things that ought to be tackled by the nations working together in common, I say if you had a constructive peace of that sort it might very well be a good deal more enduring. But even a negative peace, as the example at the end of the Napoleonic War shows, can be a very enduring peace. It might be a peace that would be for our time and the time of our children, and of our children's children. If we really want to get some kind of peace that will wipe the curse of war from the brows of men, as long as we can foresee in the future, then I suggest that we can only do it by arriving at some kind of understanding that we won't do so unless we are firm, and that once we have achieved that we can perhaps all sit back and say that, well, possibly bur fears at the end of World War II were just as unjustified as our hopes at the end of World War I. And undoubtedly we would be able to murmur that "Fully blessed indeed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."