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The New International, November 1946


Notes of the Month

Paris Conference Another Zero


From New International, Vol. XII No. 9, November 1946, pp. 260–261.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The diplomats have been successfully transported, in their “Sacred Cows” and “Queen Elizabeths,” from the marbled, if somewhat shabby, halls of the Luxembourg Palace to the equally marbled, but not shabby, halls of the World’s Fair ex-swimming pool located on the meadows of Flushing, New York. Quiet has been restored to the Luxembourg Gardens, and the children of Boul’ Mich’ and the Quartier Latin are reported back at play, at least until the venerables of France’s newly-created upper House are prepared to meet in the emptied building. Our Paris correspondent reports that even a few birds, who previously had deserted the area in terror, lest they be mistaken by Molotov’s bodyguards for the Dove of Peace, have timidly ventured a return, having learned that the apostles of peace have departed.

Conference Bankrupt

As is well known, the accomplishments of the conference added up to a scanty zero, unless one had previously not been acquainted with the two basic facts in modem international politics: (a) the principal, irreconcilable conflict in the world today exists between expanding American finance-capital imperialism and expanding Russian totalitarian-collectivist imperialism; and (b) each of these major rivals has constructed, and will continue to construct with might and main, a bloc made up of smaller, subordinate nations which it has succeeded in dragging in its orbit, by means fair or foul. Fifteen votes against six votes – this was the monotonous roll-call of the conference’s last days – an ominous roll-call, a listing of the roster for World War III, Atomic War I.

On the final day of the conference, the wheel had revolved its full circle, and matters stood precisely where they had thirteen weeks before, in so far as the basic issues at dispute and their settlement were concerned. Even a temporary agreement, a modus vivendi, had not been worked out! Back into the laps of the Big Four and their Foreign Ministers went the issues. Twenty-one imperialist and capitalist powers had proved again the Marxist tenet – under capitalism there can be no lasting, secure peace or even tangible efforts in such direction! Above all, in the chaos of Europe and its general social decline, the ministrations of capitalist and Stalinist diplomats and rulers can only serve to spread further infection. and social injury; they cannot cure or heal. Another dread winter approaches, threatening to be even more bleak and miserable than the first post-war winter. Yet neither Russian collectivism nor American capitalism have brought to Europe sufficient food, medicine, raw materials, supplies, loans and machinery, etc. – in a word, those things so essential for the beginnings of a restoration in Europe. Not even the formalities of peace treaties with long-since defeated and overcome minor partners of Hitler have been completed! The conference of the twenty-one was a conference of bankrupts.

After an initial sharp struggle over the issue of the actual powers of the conference, and the system of voting, it was dear that at best the conference could not make decisions. but merely recommendations in accordance with the desires of the American fifteen-vote bloc. But America joined together with Russia in a common interpretation as to the weight and value of these recommendations, assigning a greater “weight” to those adopted by a two-thirds vote than those passed by mere majorities. Neither vote, of course, had more than symbolic significance and could become actuality only if accepted by the Big Four in unanimity. In accepting such procedure, American imperialism revealed that it had, at least, this much in common with Russian imperialism: that is, no intention of accepting anything put forward by the seventeen smaller power that did not suit and satisfy its desires.

The completed work of the conference is therefore subject to acceptance, modification or rejection by the pending Foreign Ministers Council meeting, consisting of the Big Four and set for November 4 in New York City. The five draft treaties adopted (with Rumania, Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Finland) are imperialist. predatory and scheming in essence, as a terse summary of their contents win show. But it must be borne in mind that these drafts, leaving out the disputed issues between the two blocs. cover the area of common agreement and can be assumed to be parts of whatever ultimate treaties may be drawn:

Draft Treaties

Territorial Transfers: Dodecanese Islands from Italy to Greece; small Alpine border regions (Briga, etc.) from Italy to France; postponement of Italian colonies’ fate; Transylvania from Hungary to Rumania; Dobruja from Rumania to Bulgaria; Bessarabia-Bukovina from Rumania to Russia; Petsamo port, Finnish Karelia and various Finnish military bases to Russia.

Not a one of these transfers, it goes without saying, is to be put to a vote by the millions of people concerned in the action.

Reparations: Italy to pay $325 million; Hungary to pay $300 million; Rumania to pay $300 million; Bulgaria to pay $125 million; Finland to pay $500 million.

Of this total sum, Russia alone stands to collect $1 billion! So much for the area of approximate conference agreement. The area of disagreement covers a still larger territory. The whole problem of Trieste and its future, involving the definite fate of the Italian treaty, is as hotly disputed as ever. The whole problem of trade and commerce in the Balkans and the Danubian nations, involving the economic fate of these countries, is still under dispute. The whole problem of final fixing of reparations is still an issue. since America refuses to recognize the current Russian demands. The whole problem of a final treaty with Austria, certainly decisive for that minor but important nation if it is ever to breathe again, remains up in the air. The whole problem of a treaty with Germany, unquestionably the key social and political problem in Europe, has only been scratched. [1] The whole problem of how to remove the blood-sucking Russian troops of occupation, and how to ease off the comtant American threat of stopping shipments and loans (a threat increasingly employed by the crude and callous Mr. Byrnes) – the vital problem, in a word, of how to remove the small nations, all of Europe indeed, from American and/or Russian clutches has yet to be solved. But the Paris Conference, of course, was not convened for such purposes.

All of these matters will come up again, in one form or another, at the General Assembly of the, United Nations, and the meeting of the Big Four Foreign Ministers. In all likelihood, additional if slow progress will be made toward temporary working agreements. In reality, these two new gatherings in New York are but continuations of the Paris Conference and the long-drawn-out series of negotiations between Russia and America which have become familiar since the late FDR met Stalin at Teheran. For the two world giants to live without precipitously and prematurely drawing the sword against each other an almost endless and constant state of negotiation is required. But this will not “liquidate the war and give the peoples of this world a chance to live again under conditions of peace,” to quote Mr. Byrnes in his October 18 summary of the Paris Conference. At best, it can delay and postpone the inevitable conflict. The Paris Conference brought as little assurance to the world as prior conferences had, or future conferences will.


1. Cf. Post-Stuttgart Germany, by Henry Judd, in the next issue of The New International.

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