W.F. Carlton

Re-Heating an Old Dish at Dumbarton

(October 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 41, 9 October 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

At Dumbarton Oaks, British, American and Chinese delegates are discussing an organization to assure world peace. This is the second phase of the conference. The first ended a few days ago, when the Russians, who had been discussing with Britain and America, departed.

These discussions have one purpose. They are to make the people everywhere believe that this war is the last one. The people must feel that their rulers, who led them into World War I and World War II are serious about the question this time: Why, we are so serious that, look! before the second one is finished we are actually working out an organization to prevent a third!

Labor Action never under any circumstances allows itself to be deceived by the conferences, speeches, communiques, plans for world peace, world trade, etc., of capitalist governments and capitalist politicians. This Dumbarton Oaks Conference is a huge fake. A huge fake? Yes. Exactly that. Here is the proof.

What Stalin Is Taking

Stalin, ruler of Russia, has let everybody know that he intends to take over the Baltic states, a part of Finland, a large part of Poland, etc. He says he wants to be sure to preserve peace as he sees it. Obviously Russia does not trust world peace to any sort of organization. Not only that. Stalinist Russia carries these plans to Dumbarton Oaks. The conference has not issued any official statements as yet. But the press is full of news of one disagreement. It is this.

The Big Four, Britain, America, Russia and China, cannot agree as to the use of the veto. Britain and America propose that if one of these nations is charged as an aggressor, that nation should not have the right to vote on the dispute. Russia objected. Why? Because Poland and the Baltic states are still “independent” countries. They have exiled governments, ambassadors, ministers, trade commissioners and what not, representing them at other governments, notably Britain and the United States. Suppose one of them carried a case to the proposed League against Russia for stealing their territory? The fat would be in the fire at once.

Russia does not want the new League constituted in such a way that her plans against the territory and independence of these countries could be checkmated, exposed and denounced. So for the moment there is no agreement.

But the very nature of the disagreement shows that the violent imperialist lusts and greed which wrecked the League of Nations, and the Kellogg Pact for world peace (you remember that one?) are as alive as ever. They will play around this new League until they are ready for war and then it will fall apart.

“Honest,” “Sincere” Imperialists

If Russia does not believe in any “world peace organization,” the United States does not believe in it either. General Marshall is now busy working out plans for a peacetime army and military establishment after the war. Roosevelt is busy acquiring military, naval and air bases. The League is for the people to look at and argue about and feel some confidence in for the future. But the real business of war-mongering goes on.

You think that this is unfair to the “honest,”, “sincere” politicians struggling to build “world peace”? Listen to this from the British representative, Sir Alexander Cadogan:

“We are all anxious to give the new organization life by basing it on the moral ideas on which our civilizations are founded.”

Do you think he doesn’t know better? Churchill, Cadogan’s chief, has said: “We shall hold our own.” He has said: “As the war ends it becomes less and less ideological.” Does Stalin rage like a tiger through Eastern Europe and Roosevelt grab for bases all over the world, does Churchill hold on to India and defy China to take back Hong-Kong for “moral ideas”? That is bluff – bluff for the people and the weaker nations. Conscious bluff.

Cadogan said this while welcoming the Chinese delegate. China is weak. Chiang Kai-shek and his government can plunder only the Chinese people. In the capitalist scramble the real gangsters are the big imperialist powers. Dr. Wellington Koo, Chinese statesman, knowing that the Big Three can turn on China at any time, said as follows:

“The proposed structure should have at its disposal an adequate force which it can promptly use whenever and wherever it may be needed.”

He wants an international police force or international army.

But there Sir Alexander, had already made it clear that there was a certain lack of agreement. He said:

“We ... recognize that responsibility should be commensurate with power ... It is for us to find the methods by which power may be rightly applied in the best interests of all nations.”

Another League

In other words, the strong nations have the power. They haven’t yet worked out how it will be used. We can tell in advance. They use it for themselves and to support friends. They form pacts and break them as soon as convenient.

They formed a League in 1919. When Japan and Germany found that the League didn’t suit them, they left it, Italy remained, but when Mussolini wanted Ethiopia he left the League also.

The big ones use the little ones to advance their own interests. Britain and France used the last League to maintain their own imperialist domination. But they would not apply sanctions against Japan or Germany and they played with sanctions against Italy. All through the Ethiopian War, Russia, while shouting loudly for sanctions against Italy, sold oil steadily to Italy.

In those days, however, Russia was the enemy. The imperialist powers, still believed that Russia was a fomenter of world revolution. So as soon as Russia attacked Finland, Britain got Argentina to make a motion to expel Russia and Russia was unanimously expelled from the League. Now that Stalin has proved that he is as counter-revolutionary as the next man, the Big Three are busy cooking up another “world peace” organization which will play the same games as the last until the imperialist rivalries explode in war.

We shall get rid of war when we get rid of imperialism. Not before. That is why the workers should not concern themselves too much with the number of big nations which will be on the council and the number of small, and whose vote will veto aggression and whose will not. That is the basic aim of the conference. To make the people believe that the capitalists are really going to organize world peace this time. It is a lot of stuff and nonsense.

Lenin, the great leader of the Russian Revolution, had an immortal phrase for the last League. He called it a thieves’ kitchen. We cannot do better. That is what Dumbarton Oaks is. Thieves’ kitchen No. 2. And Lenin did not use this phrase for mere abuse. It was his way of saying: Let the capitalists carry on their dirty tricks in their own way. Let us not be distracted from our task – the overthrow of capitalism. The advice is as good today as when it was given.

Last updated on 16 February 2016