Stanley Plastrik Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Henry Judd

“Peace” Conference Stymied as Disputes Grow

(9 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 36, 9 September 1946, pp. 1 & 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On every front – at the gathering of the “peace” diplomats in Paris; at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council; in half a dozen strategic areas of the world – the fundamental antagonism between the two great powers of the world, Russia and America, has grown. Every political event and action of the day, diplomatic or strategic in character, reflects this struggle between the two master imperialist powers, to one degree or another.

At the Paris Peace Conference, now wearily entering its sixth week with not a single finished job to its credit, the keynote, is stagnation, paralysis and delay. Although appointed commissions are now examining the Treaties drawn up, with their multitude of points under dispute, no progress has been made toward resolving these differences. In many cases, the 21 Powers are still disputing the preambles to the Treaties!

The issues of economic control of the Balkan states by Russia, versus Anglo-American efforts to open up these areas for “free trade” still exist; as well as the whole question of Trieste and its delicate implications. Clearly, without an arranged understanding between America and Russia not a single one of these matters can be settled at the impotent gathering of the 21 nations.

With this in mind, the Big Four (America, Russia, England and France) who had arranged the conference, held a private session last week. This session aimed at breaking the deadlock and bringing some results before world public opinion’s attitude toward the gathering becomes completely cynical. Obviously, something must happen shortly at Paris, or the Conference will simply adjourn with zero as its accomplishment. But even this private meeting of the Big Four failed to yield results, or to provide an impetus to the dying meeting.

Now “no-man” Molotov has gone back to Russia, to consult with Joseph Stalin and receive further instructions in the game of wearing out Russia’s imperialist rivals. But it is certain that the Power Masters of Europe and the world will shortly begin to bring forth results in the dividing up of Europe, or else the Paris meeting will be disbanded. The complete powerlessness of the so-called democratic Small Powers is revealed by the fact that nothing can be done without prior Russian and American accord.

Outside the walls of the Paris assembly, disputes mounted and grew in number and depth. Over and over again, the basic Russian-American clash was underscored, clearly outlining the battle-arena for World War III. Moscow renewed its violent press campaign against Turkey and for the right to participate in military control over the Dardanelle straits; the expanding,“civil war” in China passed through a few days of comparative quiet, during which truce talk was timidly renewed, but soon yielded to a new series of clashes between Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist, American-supported forces and Stalinist Yenan’s, Russian-supported forces. Harsh words were exchanged in the press between Australia and Russia over Stalin’s reparation demands from the Balkan countries. (The Australians had better re-examine their reparation demands on Japan before they curse out others as robbers and plunderers!)

Sharpest clash of all was over the Greek plebiscite on the monarchy issue. Greece, now a satellite of British imperialism, even down to the point of being occupied by tens of thousands of Tommies, is considered by the Allies as their last secure foothold in the Balkans. A “fortress of democracy,” as the imperialist journalists describe this land of military dictatorship, foreign occupation and now, Monarchy. Russia, bearing down hard upon Greece, for its conquest and enslavement would mean (a) complete domination of the Balkans, and (b) control of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and half-encirclement of Turkey, likewise was deeply interested in Greece and its election.

After a week of violent attacks upon one another, during which both sides neatly explained their sinister interest in Greece and their equally hypocritical contempt for the Greek people, Anglo-American imperialism won a victory, with, the pro-Monarchy vote. Another country had been forced to make the Devil’s choice, between “democratic” imperialist occupation and domination, or “totalitarian” Stalinist rule and domination. But, win one or the other, popular democracy and national freedom had lost out in another struggle. Where will the next fight take place? China? Or over Turkey? We know only that it will inevitably occur ...

Meanwhile, at the Lake Success (!), New York, gathering of the United Nations Security Council, the American-Russian dispute took the form of debate, diplomacy and clever motions. “Veto” Gromyko, Stalin’s United Nations man, introduced a motion proposing that Allied nations report on their military strength in non-enemy countries. This bit of cleverness would, of course, reveal American strength throughout the world, without forcing Russia to tell how many troops it has in Poland, the Balkans, Germany, Austria, etc., etc. The British would, of course, also have to give reports on their Empire military establishments.

America will propose to extend the reports to all countries and then, undoubtedly, this bit of diplomatic demagogy will die a silent death, in the archives and pigeon-holes. A sharp struggle also took place over the issue of admitting Russian satellites (Inner Mongolia, Finland, etc.) to the United Nations. Again, we have the same conflict, the same general impotence and inability to organize anything. These disputes now promise to have an indefinite career. Neither the world of capitalism, nor that of Russian totalitarianism can bring peace or tranquility to the world.

War of Nerves

Does all this add up to war, in the immediate future? To believe so would be a serious error in judgment. Between analysing the situation today as one in which war is ultimately inherent, and one in which war may be precipitated at any moment, there is a great deal of difference. We hold to the former view – war will not come today; this is a period in which the strategic, diplomatic, military, propagandistic, etc., preparations for an ultimate, inevitable war are being laid down.

This is what we are seeing today – an imperialist “war of nerves,” conducted by the Kremlin gangster and his American rival. But we have no illusion that, without definite and sharp successes for the cause of socialist. revolution, all this will ultimately end with World War III – that is, Atomic War I.

The task, meanwhile, is to understand what these two imperialist rivals are up to, what they are preparing for and how they must be subdued by the people before they overwhelm us with their rivalry.

Stanley Plastrik Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 3 April 2019