"A PEACE MADE ON MAIN STREET"
Our tale is now told of how private Americans helped make the UN Charter. Let me offer for our coming discussion four theses flowing from this story.
--(A) The UN is like a grafted tree in need of further grafting.
--(B) American minds essentially non-governmental conceived the UN.
--(C) UN Charter-making vindicates participatory foreign policy-making.
--(D) Now is the time for new partnerships in foreign policy.
THESIS (A)delivered orally 07/26/1991
THE UN IS LIKE A GRAFTED TREE IN NEED OF FURTHER GRAFTING.
At the beginning of my talk I said that it was easier to grasp the planting of the UN seed in 1914 than to take in the UN oak and its branches in 1991. To some of you dating the origin of the UN to 1914 may seem like a flight into ancient history. But to many scholars 1914 is not early enough. To Eugene Rostow, for example, the world had been moving pretty steadily toward the United Nations since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. As the League of Nations tried to improve and extend the Concert of Europe, so the UN improved upon the League. In all three instances Rostow sees "a system of peace directed by the great powers" (n. 70).
If that is so, I have not described for you the planting of the UN seed, but rather two successive graftings onto the Concert of Europe. Arguably, a UN style concert of sovereign states cannot carry the world into permanent peace without another grafting. Such a graft would create a true, albeit very carefully limited, international security federation. Such a federation would make enforceable law covering a narrow range of hostile acts and threats of aggression, a powerful court and independent financial and military power. As likely a model as any is sketched in Cord Meyer's 1947 book PEACE OR ANARCHY. The transformation from great power concert to limited world federation, if and when it comes, will be a wrenching one, requiring Hegel's strong political emotions. For the next few years the challenge is more modest: to make our weak but functioning UN concert of nation-states continue to build the preliminary spirit of belonging to a world community.
AMERICAN MINDS ESSENTIALLY NON-GOVERNMENTAL
CONCEIVED THE UNITED NATIONS
The basic ideas behind the United Nations, especially in its economic, educational and cultural roles, were not originally conceived by career politicians or full-time government employees. In A HISTORY OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER (1958) the meticulously honest Ruth Russell shows that most if not all ideas for a postwar security organization came from outside the U.S. government. To its undying credit, the State Department reached out proactively for these ideas through systematic reading and through steady dialog with informed individuals and private groups. Within the Department of State a team largely recruited from outside Government by and under the direction of Dr Leo Pasvolsky then collated those ideas, debated and packaged them and sent them upward for decision to the Secretary of State and to the President.
After studying the abundant State Department records of postwar planning discussions, Russell found it virtually impossible to discover where any given idea originated. She argues that, when policy is concerned, "What mattered ... was not so much where ideas started, as where they ended" (n. 71). By this she means that no matter how good an idea was, if it was not embraced by the President of the United States, it did not become policy.
James T. Shotwell gives a concrete example of how his Commission to Study the Organization of Peace (CSOP), founded in 1939 around private citizens like Virginia Gilderleeve, Clark Eichelberger and John Foster Dulles, was in advance of the State Department in its methods and conclusions. Early on, the CSOP had tried the mental experiment of rigorously excluding prior knowledge of the workings of the League of Nations from its new project to design the ideal, practical postwar IO. Later on, in 1943, the professor was a private sector member of the Presidential State Department Advisory Committee on postwar foreign policy. At that time Shotwell watched Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles insisting on making the same mental experiment a second time, with the same result: the new organization would of necessity resemble the League of Nations. (n. 72)
Here, then, is a lesson from the making of the UN Charter: political ideas do not have to originate in goverment offices. I take exception, on the other hand, to Ruth Russell's thesis that it does not matter where ideas originate. It matters to the originators and to their collaborators and to the historians of the age. When private people and groups have confidence that the government which they support will welcome their ideas and their collaboration, then those people and groups will make time to be creative. They will participate in the governing process, even if not paid to do so.
VINDICATES PARTICIPATORY FOREIGN POLICY-MAKING.
American history reveals four major modes of interaction between the Executive (President and Secretary of State) and Congress in the making of foreign policy. At one extreme, the President makes policy decisions with no Congressional participation (e.g. Harry S Truman's commitment of troops to South Korea). At the other extreme, policy is made primarily by Congress, e.g. the first Neutrality Acts of the late 1930s. But there are also more collegial interactions. More often than not, the Executive first conceives and the Congress later ratifies a policy, e.g. the 1941 Lend-Lease effort. This is the mode of Executive-Legislative cooperation with which most of us are probably familiar. In that pattern, there is indeed partnership, but Congress is by far the junior partner. So rare as to be exception are policy decisions reached through true Executive-Congressional collaboration. The first and still unsurpassed example of such collaboration was in creating the United Nations and making the United States a member. (n. 73)
That the UN Charter partnership was both unprecedented and welcome is made clear by Senator Connally and other Congressional players (n. 74). But there was also a third partner: the American peoople organized in private voluntary associations. These groups generated ideas. These groups educated and mobilized publics. As Consultants and Observers at San Francisco, they became visible, albeit not dominant, players in negotiations and in corridor exchanges with foreign delegates.
The product of this unique private-public partnership was confidence all around. As never before or since in making and carrying out US foreign polity, the people came to trust their Department of State and their federal government. The Congress believed in the Secretary of State. The resident had confidence in the Senate and House of Representatives. The fruit of trust, which is itself an undersung but powerful positive political emotion, was massive public support for the United Nations, support lasting well into 1946. From 1942 through mid-1945, as never before or since, the State Department was the congenial, non-confrontational home and laboratory of three great democratic achievements: bipartisan foreign policy, executive - congressional cooperation and two-way government partnership with informed publics.
In January 1944 the Department announced formation of a new consultative structure with Congress and American publics intended to be permanent. Called the ADVISORY COUNCIL ON POST-WAR FOREIGN POLICY, it ws to be a large, non-partisan body, meeting once or twice a month. In less than five months, however, by May 1944, the Advisory Council had ceased to exist and has never been revived. For domestic political reasons he White House insisted on including more groups than the State Department considered manageable. But the story was just beginning and the advisory council morphed into something better. Nearly a year later the smaller 1944 State Department list of candidates for the aborted Advisory Council reappeared as Consultants to the U.S. Delegation at San Francisco. The rest of the larger 1944 White House list, in efffect, came to make up the Observers at San Francisco.
Thus, the failure in May 1944 of the Advisory Council, a breathtaking State Department consultative initiative in how to make foreign policy, was triumphantly sublimated into a far more daring and effective form from April to June 1945. As Consultants and Observers, as partners with right of access to the American delegation, as sympathetic assets to such foreign delegates and experts who dealt with them in the corridors, representatives of American private groups were in the thick of the action at San Francisco. Through their work the UN Charter became a document by and for Rotarians, Legionnnaires, women, churches, peace foundations, the NAACP, the AFL, the CIO and the National Association of Manufacturers (n. 76) American non-governmental groups active at San Francisco through their words, deeds and examples also did indispensable work towards a UN Human Rights Commission and to guarantee todays access for all qualified non-governmental associations to economic and social organs of the United Nations (n. 77).
In their work as a team to make the UN Charter, two American Presidents, the State Department, the Congress and private American groups developed techniques capable of being used again and again. Such planning teams, such official consultants selected by a cross-section of voluntary associations, and hence such public trust and confidence in foreign policy, have not yet made their second appearance. But the UN Charter experiment in participatory foreign policy was a success: it worked. The story is true: there once was a time when the State Department made foreign policy democratically.
Whenever, therefore, one or other partner is ready (either the State Department or the voluntary associations), the example of how they once made the United Nations Charter together is there waiting to be emulated. Needed also, of course, is the collegial, bridge-building style of leadership once provided by Cordell Hull, Sumner Welles, Edward Stettinius, Leo Pasvolsky, Archibald MacLeish and John S. Dickey at State and among the voluntary associations by James T. Shotwell, Clark M. Eichelberger and the John Foster Dulles of 1939 - 1945. A man or woman representing either potential partner -- State Department or associations -- who wants to rekindle the Hull - Dulles way of leading need only go to the library or tap the data banks. For on shelves gathering dust are doctoral dissertations, histories and monographs which tell in great detail how the American people and the Department of State did what they did to make the Charter. (n. 78)
NOW IS THE TIME
FOR NEW PARTNERSHIPS IN FOREIGN POLICY.
All levels of American government and thousands of American private groups have independent power to link America to the world beyond our borders. Governments and associations can do this either as a team, or in deliberate concert or, as a third alternative, ignoring each other or, finally, in contentious opposition.
Here is one example of private initiative not as a team but in loose association with government. On May 1, 1945 Rotary International hosted a banquet at San Francisco's Bohemian Club for the 27 Rotarians who were UNCIO delgates or technical advisors. Five Rotarians headed national delegations. Among the eight U.S. delegates, Cordell Hull, Tom Connally and Arthur Vanderberg happened to be Rotarians. Rotarian Ben Cherrington, Associate Consultant representing the National Education Association, was also one who attended the banquet. (n. 79)
For both private individuals and voluntary associations, independent, even uncoordinated and oppositional international acivities and foreign policy-making are legal, proper and can do much good. But there is also a time and place to go beyond these modes into conscious cooperation. The years 1939 - 1945 and the USA when the UN Charter was being crafted made up one acceptable time and place.
Consider the four New Yorkers who helped make the UN Charter. For the greater part of their lives they worked outside government. In that respect they were a lot like most of us here today in Black Mountain, North Carolina. They were aware that our world is one. They advocated a policy of positive, vigorous outreach for peace across frontiers by American society and government. Being "international" was not some alien thing which the four New Yorkers did with distaste or only in time of direst emergency. Having an international mind was an integrated, self-consistent part of their daily living. Sol Bloom, Virgiia Gildersleeve, James Shotwell and Clark Eichelberger were mainstream Americans. They were patriotic contributors to the life of their local communities: successes in their profession or business and men and women of vision. When the State Department required their help, the four New Yorkers had made themselves ready by a lifetime of international involvement.
Both to them and to us the United Nations is relevant to our hometown and counties. If we learn to work better with UN assets, we can build more satisfying, creative, thoughtful local communities. Like our four New Yorkers, we too are "joiners." Like them we are fulfilled through the fellowship of singing in church choirs and of going to club meetings of Kiwanians or Soroptimists. Like the New Yorkers we make a measurable difference in the world around us through private groups such as today's meeting of the Southeastern World Affairs Institute. Long before they worked on the UN Charter, the four New Yorkers honed their intellectual and leadership skills within (and were linked to like-minded wider publics through) their clubs, patriotic organizations, synagogues and alumni associations.
Precisely because they were joiners and volunteers, numerous other makers of the Charter found attentive, supportive audiences and collaborators across the land: Senator Tom Connally in the America Legion, John Foster Dulles in both the Presbyterian Church and the Federal Council of Churches; Harold Stassen and his aide Cord Meyer, Jr., among soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors and veterans' groups. Many a Mason and Elk identified with Sol Bloom, as did Columbia University and Barnard College with Virginia Gildersleeve. Professor Shotwell and Mr Eichelberger were known to and leaders of thousands of Americans in dozens of serious foreign policy study and action groups throughout America. Through their associational link-ups, the Americans at San Francisco who helped make the Charter stood in vicariously for millions of other Americans who could not be there but who wrote to them, trusted tem, praised them and listened to them. Private Americans felt confident that "their" Delegate, "their" Consultant or Observer saw to it that "their" interests and viewpoints were aired at San Francisco. And they were correct to do so.
The right of private association access to international bodies was created by private Americans at San Francisco in 1945. Ironicallly, so far as I know, no similar domestic right exists of systematic access by nongovernmental organizations for joint action with any level of American government, from town council through State legislatures to the US Congress, State Department or White House. Of course, there are the single issue Political Action Committees (PACs). There are well financed conservative and liberal think tanks. But where today is that necessary Hegelian political passion that gets great deeds done via participatory foreign policy? Time was when such passion energized private and public Americans to make the UN Charter. Our Federal government not too long ago led and won a coalition war against Iraq. American emotions remain high and positive in war's aftermath and can be mobilized for great acheivement once again. But behind what great cause? Where is the Sumner Welles or James Shotwell to inspire us once again to make foreign policy democratically?
Without giving up on White House, State Department and Congress, private Americans increasingly look as well to new domestic arenas and to new leaders to shape foreign policy democratically. Americans are finding eiher ready-made and already close at hand or creating new laboratories for participatory international effectiveness in our towns, counties, State legislatures and private voluntary associations. For Clark Eichelberger was right: there will be no lasting peace if much of that peace is not made right here on America's Main Street.
Making international peace on Main Street America happens whenever thoughtful Americans donate their time and talents to energetic voluntary organizations and forge up to date partnerships both with one another and with all levels of government in the United States. Now is the time to tap into the data banks, visit the libraries and dust off the "how to" literature on international effectiveness. The State Department from 1939 to 1945 pioneered techniques of participatory foreign policy-making. The Department of State worked congenially and without turf fights with scores of Observers and Consultants at San Francisco, but only after these groups had demanded that the United Nations be created democratically.
What the State Departmen did then, governors and legislatures, mayors, county executives, town councils and school boards across America can do today. For the same techniques still lie ready to hand. People want all levels of American society to reach out effectively abroad for trade, investment, tourism, good ideas and, above all, for peace. If American private associations in 1945 could win right of access for nongovernmental organizations to UN bodies, they can today win the same right of access for themselves to be working co-operators with any level of American government. Making peace on Main Street may also mean making peacemakers (within their legal charters) within a State House of Delegates or a County Commission or a School District.
It is up to us, if we choose, to create once again broad-based foreign policy partnerships exemplified for all time during World War II when private Americans on Main Street, in Washington and at San Francisco, helped make the Charter of the United Nations. (n. 80)
Thank you. Let the discussion begin!
T. Patrick Killough
U.S. Senior Foreign Service
Senior Research Fellow
Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs
1400 Key Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22207
written June 21, 1991
(70) Eugene Rostow. Interview in April 1991 United States Institute of Peace JOURNAL 6 - 8.
(71) Ruth B. Russell (1958) A HISTORY OF THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER 217.
(72) James T. Shotwell (1960) THE LONG WAY TO FREEDOM, 580, n. 2.
(73) This "spectrum" of Congressional - Executive contribution to foreign policy-making is presented in Robert A. Dahl, (1950) CONGRESS AND FOREIGN POLICY, Appendix B, Tables XVI through XIX, 290 - 295.
(74) Dahl (1950) 207 - 210. Tom Connally (1954) MY NAME IS TOM CONNALLY 261 - 267.
(75) The private side of the triangular American partnership in foreign policy is amply docmented in works so far cited by Russel, Notter, Dickey, Josephson, Shotwell, Robins, Divine, Eichelberger and Gildersleeve. For education and the UN see the NEA's William Carr's 1945 pamphlet ONLY BY UNDERSTANDING.
(76) On the State Department's stillborn but tantalizing 1944 Advisory Council on Post -War Foreign Policy see Harley A. Notter (195O) POSTWAR FOREIGN POLICY PREPARATION 1939 - 1945, p. 213. The idea was that the State Department would regularly brief the Advisory Commission on major interntional issues. The Secretary of State would benefit from the Commission's discussions, debates and advice. But Secretary Hull would not permit the Council to make decisions or to send to him formal recommendations for action. As a quid pro quo the Secretary expected that the Council's private members keep their organizations continuously informed about policy (Notter  213). COMMENT: as reincarnations go, the 42 Consultants were far livelier and worked more intimately with the State Deparment than the Council would have done.
For the manner of selecting the 42 consultant groups see note 14 to the INTRODUCTION (I.D).
In a precedent-setting meeting at the State Department on October 16, 1944 some 95* private groups had been given an "off the record" briefing by key Department participants in the just completed Dumbarton Oaks conversations. All 95 private groups had good claims to be made Consultants six months later at San Francisco. Yet half of them were dropped. The cuts were heaviest in four groups: interntional studes, traditional peace groups, religion and women.
[* NOTE: for the numbers of groups actually present that day see Robins (1971) 182ff.]
Also not seen among the Consultants at San Francisco were groups such as World Federalists, World Government Association and Federal Union which advocated a far stronger international organization than what had been proposed at Dumbarton Oaks. Nor did the Consultants at San Francisco include patriotic and commemorative groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, fraternal lodges or associations representing sub-federal government units such as the United States Conference of Mayors or National Governors Conference. But these latter groups appeared among the Observers.
The executive's bipartisan use of Senators as negotiators had been pioneered at the 1921 Washington Naval Conference by the distinguished Republican Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes.
He selected the official American delegation to the naval conference with great care, excluding the recalcitrant Borah but including the Senate's majority land minority leaders, Lodge and Oscar W. Underwood. By consulting the two senators on every important decision, Hughes made it almost impossible for the Senate to make effective protest against any of the conference treaties. (Norman A. Graebner (1961) AN UNCERTAIN TRADITION: AMERICAN SECRETARIES OF STATE IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, p. 139.)(77) Chiang Pei-heng (1981) NONPGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AT THE UNITED NATIONS, p 5f -- among others.
(78) See the recent (April 1991) 441 page product of the U.S. Institute of Peace, APROACHES TO PEACE: AN INTELLECTUAL MAP. The Institute hopes that this book will bring scholars and practitioners together.
Few diplomats, negotiators, and arms control policymakers have seemed to find much utility in scholarly, theoretical writing, and scholars tended to be unlikely to interest themselves in the practitioners' experience. (Institute of Peace JOURNAL, IV, 2, April 1991, p. 4.)COMMENT: if this assertion is true, then the 1939 - 1945 State Department of Hull, Pasvolsky, Welles, Stettinius, Dickey and MacLeish is a striking exception. Pasvolsky designed and managed an effective structure for making scholarly and popular thinking continually available to and used by State Department planners and decision makers.
(79) The ROTARIAN MAGAZINE, July 1945, 13f.
(80) Innovative approaches to private - public partnerships in foreign policy abound in the writings of l lawyer Michael Shuman, e.g. his 1991 CITIZEN DIPLOMATS and the journal which he founded, BULLETIN OF MUNICIPAL FOREIGN POLICY. Also seminal for new aproaches to partnership is John Maxwell Hamilton's MAIN STREET AMERICA AND THE THIRD WORLD.
Among State legislatures the one in Oklahoma, to my knowledge, has gone farthest in foreign policy partnerships with the State Department and with its own private citizens: both individuals and voluntary associations. Thus in June 1987 a two day State Department - Oklahoma Legislature-University of Oklahoma symposium was held in the House of Representatives Chamber and committee rooms in the Capitol at Oklahoma City. Suppported by displays in the Capitol rotunda mounted by internationally active private groups, the symposium probed Oklahoma's International Future.
In April 1991a senior Foreign Service officer of the State Department was invited back to the Capitol. There he met with the Speaker of the House, the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislature's unique Joint Special Committee on International Development for which he had once been an informal consultant. The parties reviewed ups and downs since 1987 in forging Oklahoma's international linkages. They also discussed likely areas for fresh initiatives. An abiding question in the Legislature is how to involve attentive publics in the Joint Committee's work. COMMENT: the State Department's aproach 1939 - 1945 can be a model for Oklahoma and other States.
lightly edited 03/23/2004
Black Mountain, NC