San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks

April 5, 1945

Report Outline
Foundations for a World Security Organization
Peace Machinery of Dumbarton Oaks Charter
Development of Methods of Peaceful Settlement
New World Court and International Law

Foundations for a World Security Organization

Peaceful Adjustment vs. Enforcement of Security

The central feature of the draft charter for a world security organization formulated at Dumbarton Oaks in 1944 by representatives of Great Britain, Russia, China and the United States is its provision for the use of force to stop aggression. Numerous changes in the charter have been proposed during recent weeks for consideration at the conference of all the United Nations summoned to meet at San Francisco on April 25, 1945. Wide support for many of the proposed amendments has been generated by the announced agreement of Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt that the great powers shall have special voting rights in the Security Council of the world organization and the more recent disclosure of a secret understanding at Yalta that additional votes in the General Assembly will be sought by Russia, with the support of Great Britain and the United States.

The individual veto privilege given the great powers at Yalta was generally accepted as a concession necessary to insure participation in the world organization of all the principal Allied nations. It constituted a recognition that no world organization could survive a serious division among the dominant states. By reducing military action to a policing job against weaker states, it removed the possibility that any nation might be committed in advance to engage in a major war.

At the same time it is apparent that the Yalta voting plan would make it possible for any one of the great powers to reject proposals for peaceful settlement of an international dispute without fear of punitive action, while smaller nations may be compelled to accept dictated settlements under penalty of military or economic sanctions. In view of the special position to be occupied by the great powers, an insistent demand has arisen among the lesser states—and among influential groups in the United States—that primary attention be given at San Francisco to perfecting machinery for the adjustment of disputes between nations by pacific means and on an assured basis of international justice.

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Apr. 05, 1945  San Francisco, Yalta, and Dumbarton Oaks
Alliances and Security Agreements
International Law and Agreements