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Henry Judd

Diplomatic Hypocrisy Is Keynote of
Big Four Peace Conference at Paris

(5 August 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 31, 5 August 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On July 29, one year after the cessation of the war, twenty- one victor nations will convene in Paris to draft and sign peace treaties with certain of their former opponents, Italy, Finland, the Balkan nations. This Conference, we are reliably informed, will end the state of war and post-war tension that exists in Europe and pave the way for that continent’s transformation to a peaceful, unified area.

This optimistic picture, unfortunately, does not describe the Conference as it really will be when it gets down to business. To begin with the convenors of the Conference, the Big Four, have already worked out the terms of the treaties to be signed and the Conference will be largely a formality. The small powers present, each one of which is under the domination of one of the Big Four to one degree or another, will have little to say on the real issues. Whatever disagreements or disputes take place will, therefore, merely reflect the differences among the Big Four themselves.

Is the Peace Conference a democratic assembly of peace-seeking delegates? Or is it an assembly of bargain-hunting, deal-seeking and double-dealing slick capitalist politicians? We believe the latter to be true, based upon the whole manner in which the Conference has been organized.

Each of the Big Four imperialist powers, anxious to extend and consolidate her sway in Europe is responsible for this prearranged gathering. Not a single delegate has been elected by his people. All are self-appointed by the same government that is trying to outmaneuver its rivals. Not a single one of the issues involved in the various treaties, the internationalization of Trieste, reparations from the Balkan countries and Italy, transfer of lands from one nation to another (Breda to France; Bessarabia to Russia; Tyrol to Italy, etc., etc.), not a single serious issue has been submitted to popular vote for ratification by the people. The dirty deals have been made between Mssrs. Bidault, Bevin, Byrnes and Molotov and now 17 additional imperialist politicians will endorse them. What has all this to do with peace and the reorganization of Europe?

The most striking issue facing Europe today is the fate of Germany. Yet it is clear that this Conference cannot settle that problem. Perhaps it will not even consider it. Any issue on which the Great Powers do not have a pre-arranged agreement cannot even be talked over by the twenty-one ostensibly peace-making powers! Yet nothing is more revealing of the general state of Europe than the condition of Germany with its divided economic and political life.

Problem in Germany

The Big Four are basically divided on the issue of Germany. In this division the chief rivalry is between the United States and Russia. The issue is: Which power shall most successfully milk the German cow. To achieve this, each power has its own scheme:

Of all the powers, Russia wants the strongest Germany PROVIDED it will be under Stalinist domination. Molotov, in his final speech at the Big Four July Conference, appealed to German nationalism to join with him in political war upon the Western Powers. Whether he is heading for an ultimate renewal of the Russian-German alliance against Poland and France, as Walter Lippman believes, is too early to state definitely.

What may be expected to come out of the Paris Conference? Treaties with the defeated minor powers that will legalize the situation of stagnation prevailing today, with Russia in control of huge portions of Europe. Little or no effort will be made to settle the problem of Germany since the powers are still too far apart to make a deal. There will be much talk about peace, of course, but everything about the Conference, the manner of its calling, its domination by a few big powers, and its evasion of fundamental problems, will give the proper hypocritical tone to the diplomatic words. The Paris Peace Conference assembles not for peace, but to rubber-stamp the imperialist deals already negotiated.

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