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FDR and the Creation of the U.N.

by Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley


The United Nations is the embodiment of the second great effort in this century to organize the international community....the first effort brought forth the League of Nations in 1920. (ix)

But because Franklin D. Roosevelt...the new organization [the United Nations] emerged in 1945....alliance comprising the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and pre- Communist China. (ix)

Chapter 1 The Ghost of Woodrow Wilson

[To sell the League to the American people, Wilson] traveled 9,800 miles, making twenty-six major stops and giving ten rear- platform speeches every day. (5)

[The League Treaty] margin of defeat was increased by the votes of a handful of "Irreconcilables," extreme isolationists who were opposed to U.S. participation under any circumstances. (6)

These evil men intend to destroy the League. (8)

As the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1920, Franklin Roosevelt made more than eight hundred speeches in support of the League of Nations. (9)

[Roosevelt felt the purpose of the United Nations document] was not to "dissect the document," but to "approve the general plan." (9)

But he [Roosevelt] also came to believe that the organization's inherent structure and its rules of procedure were grossly inadequate to the basic task of safeguarding peace and preventing war. (9)

This sounded like an impressive armory of collective responses, but a fatal weakness lay in the unanimity rule, which flowed directly from Wilson's belief in the necessity for the sovereign equality of member nations. The Council could therefore respond to situations of external aggression only by unanimous decision (Article 5). Moreover, whatever might be the normal prospect for unanimous agreement to act against aggression, it was fatally compromised by a provision that any member nation whose interests were affected by the matter under discussion was permitted to sit with the Council as a member thereof and thus to cast a vote (Article 4). This meant that an aggressor nation could sit with the Council and veto proposed sanctions against itself. The Council's only recourse was to expel the aggressor from the League, which happened in the cases of Japan and Italy. (10)

In 1923, Franklin Roosevelt, as a private citizen, developed a "Plan to Preserve World Peace" for a competition for the American Peace Award sponsored by the Saturday Evening Post....the use of collective force. (11)

Chapter 2 - A Grim Road to War

[D]uty of Germany to "protect" fellow Germans who lived in adjacent countries but were being denied full freedom to be German, combined a threat of unrestrained military force with ethnic propaganda and subversion to secure Austria's bloodless surrender to German occupation and control. (14)

...."peace with honor"....The Munich agreement also made World War II a virtual certainty. (14)

At the League of Nations headquarters in Geneva, a huge bronze sphere was lowered into place. It reads, "To the memory of Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, Founder of the League of Nations." (16)

As Assistant Secretary of the Navy before and during World War I, Franklin Roosevelt had shared the Navy's conviction that Japan was America's number one potential antagonist,... (17)

FDR made a forceful speech on October 5, 1937, in which he urged the "decent" members of international society to "quarantine the "aggressor nations." The domestic American reaction was, however, decidedly hostile, with isolationists and even some Democratic leaders in the Congress charging that the President was preparing to plunge the country into war. (18)

Clark Eichelberger, the energetic executive director, formed the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies and persuaded....Professor James T. Shotwell of Columbia University resigned from the League Association to found the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace....Dulles....Max Lerner, Owen Lattimore, Virginia Gildersleeve, and William Allen White. This group, beginning January 1940, presented its views in a series of 15 minute Sunday evening radio broadcasts entitled, "Which Way to Peace." In one broadcast, Eichelberger said, "We are at last aware that the challenge to world peace has become a challenge to civilization itself." The commissions first formal report stated that international law could be enforced only if "the power of the community" overwhelmingly exceeded the power of any of its power. (19)

John Foster Dulles formed the Commission to Study the Bases of a Just and Durable Peace, under the auspices of the Federal Council of Churches....he declared, "the sovereignty system is no longer consonant with either peace or justice" and said that he was "rather appalled" at the lack of any agreed peace aims "to educate and crystalize public opinion." (19)

And how to achieve it in a world system of national sovereignties? And how to organize collective force to oppose aggression? (20)

In a 1939 book called Union Now, former New York Times journalist Clarence Streit brought to the public debate a plan for postwar organization....that attracted...most old-line internationalists. To succeed, therefore, the League must undergo the same metamorphosis, must become a federal union with a single defense force, a single currency and customs-free economy, and a single postal and communications system. Streit's fundamental criterion for membership was democracy (emphasis added). Streit stress[ed] democracy and the exclusively Nordic/Anglo-Saxon orientation. One historian complained that Streit's plan would mean a "new order imposed on the world by an Anglo-Saxon federation.' That, of course, was precisely its appeal. (20)

World events in the latter half of the decade had transformed America's geopolitical situation, creating on the Atlantic flank the probability that Europe's vast resources would be consolidated against America by Nazi Germany, and establishing on the Pacific flank the rising likelihood of attack by an armed and expansionist Japan. Congress was persuaded to amend the Neutrality Laws, which opened the way for the British and French to purchase American arms on a cash-and-carry basis. (21)

Roosevelt took the unprecedented decision to run for a third term. To the surprise of many, his Republican opponent was a maverick internationalist, Wendell Willkie. He won the backing of the Eastern internationalist wing of the GOP. (22)

[Britain ran out of cash] the problem was how the United States could go on sending war materials to Britain in the face of the cash-and-carry requirements of the Neutrality Laws. Roosevelt's ingenious solution came to be known as the Lend-Lease, a means of providing munitions to allies without immediate charge and to be repaid not in dollars, but in kind, after the war.....the United States must become "the great arsenal of democracy," a message that sent a thrill of hope across the whole anti-Nazi world shifted, American opinion toward greater support for preparedness (though not war), and assured the passage of Lend-Lease legislation. (23)

Chapter 3 - Argentia and the Atlantic Charter

[Roosevelt, in his 1941 State of the Union Address] gave his famous declaration of hope for a "world founded upon four essential human freedoms"freedom of speech and expression; freedom of religion; freedom from want; and freedom from fear. The Four Freedoms, which became the moral cornerstone of the United Nations marked, "the opening of a new era for the world." (27)

....moral cornerstone of the United Nations,....Welles on....Argentia Bay..."a new world order based on those principles...that would hold out hope to enslaved peoples."....What became the Atlantic Charter a declaration that led, within six months, to the creation of the "United Nations" coalition... (27)

Now facing a common foe, Britain and Russia had begun negotiating a military alliance in late June. Russian Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov hinted at the need for a guarantee of Russia's pre-invasion boundaries which included its 1939 seizure of eastern Poland and its annexation of the Baltic states, in consequence of Stalin's sordid nonaggression pact with Hitler that same year (emphasis added). (28)

Churchill told the House of Commons, "We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets; we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." (29)

Roosevelt was keenly aware that if Britain were swept away, the "all our traditional concepts of security in the Atlantic would be gone"; and America would be living constantly "at the point of a Nazi gun." (30)

Roosevelt stretched his constitutional authority by consummating in September 1940 a destoyer-for-bases deal under which the United States transferred fifty older destroyers to the hard- pressed British Navy in exchange for ninety-nine-year leases on British air and naval bases in the western Atlantic and the Caribbean, including Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. (30)

Negotiating the Atlantic Charter

On the morning of August 10, 1941, Sir Alexander Cadogan handed to [Undersecretary of State] Sumner Welles the British draft of what became the Atlantic Charter. It was the personal handiwork of the Prime Minister himself, which he later confirmed in his memoirs: "Considering all the tales of my reactionary Old-World outlook, and the pain this is said to have caused the President, I am glad it should be on the record that the substance and spirit of what came to be called The Atlantic Charter was in its first draft a British production cast in my own words." (36 )

Welles thought that the fifth article, although it proposed an "effective international organization" to keep the peace, did not adequately express the need for the Anglo-American coalition (emphasis added) to lead the world to a "true reduction and limitation of armaments." (37)

[Roosevelt] said he would not favor creating a new League of Nations or anything like it, until the United States and Great Britain had functioned as a world police force for a number of years after the war and had effectively disarmed aggressor nations and established a stable international situation. (39)

On November 10, 1939, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the need to establish "a stable international organization" after the war. (43)

Chapter 4 - Postwar Planning Begins

Into this planning vacuum stepped the private Council on Foreign Relations with an offer to study postwar issues secretly and make its deliberations available to the State elitist mix of prominent New York bankers and lawyers with European interests and prominent academics and intellectuals, many of whom had served as advisers to Woodrow Wilson at the Paris peace conference. The businessmen provided the money, while the scholars furnished most of the intellectual leadership....through off-the-record conferences, study groups, and small dinners confined to members, who were addressed by foreign or American statesmen. (44)

Secretary of State Cordell Hull accepted the council's offer with alacrity and, with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation, (44)

On December 27, 1939, Hull formed a high-level committee, composed mainly of State Department officials, to consider and use the reports from the New York group as a basis for developing future U.S. foreign policy. At the same time he created a new research unit under his principal assistant, Leo Pasvolsky. Fearing any disclosure that the U.S. government was discussing postwar issues would reinforce public misgivings about the League of Nations and trigger divisive protests from isolationists, he was careful to disguise the true purpose of the undertaking. (44)

On January 1, 1942, the Soviet and Chinese ambassadors in Washington joined with Roosevelt and Churchill (who had arrived at the White House in late December) in signing the Declaration by United Nations....twenty-two other nations at war with the Axis powers added their signatures to the document, which created a wartime alliance of states....Atlantic Charter as "a common program of purposes." The President apparently thought up the name "United Nations" and secured the Prime Minister's approval. (45-46)

The order in which the declaration was signed, first by the four major powers and subsequently by the other nations, was not inadvertent, but reflected FDR's ingrained belief in the rightful primacy of the strong, combined with the moral concept of "trusteeship of the powerful" for the well-being of the less powerful. The President now privately referred to these major powers as the Four Policemen. (46)

But Welles, a devoted Wilsonian who was deeply committed to respecting the sovereign equality of small nations, believed that a multilateral approach was essential. (49)

The central proposal was for the prompt creation of the United Nations Authority composed of all twenty-six nations who had signed the Declaration by United Nations in January.....(the United States, Britain, Russia, and China, [The Four Policemen]) (emphasis added). (50)

Chapter 5 - The Widening Public Debate

The President's State of the Union address on January 6, 1942, just one month after the attack on Pearl Harbor was praised by George Orwell on BBC radio as a "complete and uncompromising break...with isolationism." (55)

The Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, whose president, Columbia professor James T. Shotwell, was an occasional adviser to the State Department planning effort, accepted the need for an "Anglo-American directorate" to run the world in the immediate postwar period (emphasis added). (55)

The Carnegie Endowment was persuaded to give Shotwell's group $50,000 to establish regional centers for the study of foreign affairs. On March 5, 1942, the Commission to Study the Bases of a Just and Durable Peace, headed by John Foster Dulles, proposed a far more radical solution. It called specifically for a world government complete with a parliament, an international court, and appropriate operating agencies. The world government would have the power to regulate international trade, settle disputes between member nations, and control all military forces, except those needed to maintain domestic order....but felt that all Christians should focus on it as the essential requirement for lasting peace. There were secular echoes of this religious impulse. By an overwhelming vote, the North Carolina legislature supported a "Federation of the World," and six other states, including New York and New Jersey, passed similar resolutions. (56)

In April, Professor Nicholas Spykman of Yale published America's Strategy in World Politics, which insisted that the underlying realities of the international system were not subject to change. "Plans for far-reaching changes in the character of international society are an intellectual by-product of all great wars," he wrote, but they have never altered "the fundamental power patterns." (56)

Former President Herbert Hoover published in June a more popular but equally sobering book, in collaboration with Hugh Gibson. Their thesis was that Man could learn to control, but could never abolish, the dynamic forces that make for war and peace.....responsibility to "build up the fabric of international law and steadily guide the movement of nations toward abolition of war." (57)

Vice President Henry Wallace delivered a major address in which he said America had failed civilization after world War I because "we did not build a peace treaty on the fundamental doctrine of the people's revolution." Wallace argued that "the American century" proclaimed by Henry Luce was historically mistaken. "I say that the century on which we are entering the century which will come out of this war can and must be the century of the common man." It was apparent that Wallace's aim was a kind of New Deal for the world. (58)

World War I had gone unredeemed, owing to the failure of the United States to join the League of Nations. That act of "unenlightened selfishness" had led to world War II, and "we are now reaping the bitter fruit of our own folly and lack of vision" [for not passing the League of Nations Treaty]. (59)

Wendell Willkie reported to the American people in a radio address on October 26, "some international agency must be created which can by force if necessary keep the peace among nations in the future." (61)

"We must fight our way through not alone to the destruction of our enemies, but to a new world idea," [Willkie] declared to an audience estimated at 36 million people. (63)

Chapter 6 - Progress in 1943

Freshman Congressman William Fulbright (D-Arkansas) called upon the House Foreign Affairs Committee to "develop a specific plan or system" for the maintenance of international peace. A small group of Senators led by Joseph H. Ball (R- Minnesota)....After Pearl Harbor, Ball decided that it was imperative for the United States to take the lead in forming a new world organization, and he found three like-minded colleagues who were equally determined to prevent the issue from being pushed under the rug. They were Harold Burton (R-Ohio), Carl Hatch (D-New Mexico), and Lister Hill (D-Alabama). (65)

The resolution also galvanized major elements of the internationalist movement by providing a sharper focus and a power lever in the Senate, neither of which these private-citizen groups had hitherto possessed. (67)

The President had authorized Sumner Welles to develop a "draft constitution" for a new international organization. According to Welles, the more hopeful war developments near the end of 1942 the American victory at Midway, the British victory at El Alamein, and the North African landings in November had given the President time to turn part of his attention to postwar problems.....Roosevelt concluded that "no lasting peace was possible...unless an effective international organization were founded, and founded, if possible, before the conclusion of the war" (emphasis added) (68)

The plan Welles presented to the President was not strikingly different from the one he had recommended the previous April. The world structure would include all "peace-loving" nations, but it would operate through an executive committee to which supreme authority would be delegated. This would be composed of the Big four (Roosevelt's Four Policemen) plus seven representatives of "regional organizations." The plan recognized implicitly that each of the Big four was the dominant power in a particular region, and that collectively they covered the world. The Big Four would have permanent status on the executive committee, whereas the regional members would be periodically rotated. The Big Four would be exclusively responsible for maintaining the peace, but the employment of their armed forces would require the affirmative vote of nine members of the executive committee, including at least three of the Big Four. This qualified veto power, would, Welles believed, provide "legitimate security" for the major powers. The regional organizations would handle local and regional disputes under the broader authority of the executive committee, a division of responsibility that represented Welle's earnest attempt to reconcile "the sovereign equality of all states with the inevitable demand by the major military powers for such freedom of action as might be required." FDR appeared to accept Welles plan in prinicple but doubted whether regional groups for the Pacific and the Middle East were feasible. (68-69)

The basic structural idea was "a three-legged stool the World Council resting on three Regional Councils." (72)

Six weeks later, on July 14, the arrival of a formal aide-memoire confirmed these views as the official position of the British Government, indicating that, despite internal resistance, Churchill's views were being imposed on the Foreign Office. The British note dealt only with the creation of a United Nations Commission for Europe. This would be the supreme United Nations authority on the continent and would deal with the full range of military, political, and economic problems inherent in the maintenance of order after hostilities including the coordination of armistice commissions, occupation policies for several enemy countries, relief and rehabilitation, shipping, inland transportation, telecommunications, and reparations. The commission's authority would also apply to long-range problems well beyond a transitional period. Membership in the United Nations Commission for Europe would include Britain, the United States, and Russia, as well as all the other European allies. (73) favor of a central global authority to maintain peace in the postwar period. The real differences were with the British. (73)

Chapter 7 - Will the Russians Participate?

Churchill and Roosevelt had been unable to persuade Stalin to attend the Torch Conference in Casablanca in January or the Trident Conference in Washington in May; now Stalin had declined to join them for the impending Quadrant Conference in Quebec City, citing the seriousness of his military situation. (75)

He also endorsed the idea of establishing an interim United Nations organization before the end of hostilities, and economic functions,.... (77-78)

Welles was also drunk. Staggering back to his compartment, he rang for coffee. The porter who answered the buzzer was allegedly "offered money for immoral acts," which he politely refused. (79)

The liberal press lamented the loss of the "most far-sighted internationalist," ..."a known and respected advocate of U.S. cooperation in international affairs"; indeed, the "forced resignation" of Sumner Welles made the murky uncertainties of U.S. foreign policy "even more obscure." (82)

Chapter 8 - Quebec and Moscow

In Quebec, Roosevelt and Churchill approved the text of the Four Power Declaration, which called specifically for the establishment of a new international organization and related postwar collective security arrangements. (85)

The influential Postwar Advisory Council of the Republican Party, meeting in early September on Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan, adopted a resolution favoring "responsible participation by the United States in postwar cooperative organization among sovereign nations."....of internationalist governors, including Thomas Dewey of New York, Earl Warren of California, and Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut; at the same time, his formulation retained sufficient safeguards to national sovereignty to reassure conservatives and strict constructionists. (86)

The House debate in September revealed strong bipartisan support and reduced the isolationists to desperate arguments (one of these, pointing out that Fulbright had been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, charged that his resolution was a naked attempt to surrender the United States to the British Empire). (86)

The discussion of military plans for the Normandy invasion appeared to satisfy the Russians that a major Anglo-American invasion of Western Europe would take place in 1944. (88)

With the language of the Four Power Declaration approved, there arose the question of how to coordinate detailed planning for the new international organization. (90)

Meanwhile the Senate was bogged down by a combination of Senator Connally's resentment and timidity. Hull was already well into the Moscow conference when Senator Claude Pepper (D- Florida) proposed substituting "international organization" for "international authority" and adding a reference to the need for "military force" to keep the peace, but the committee rejected his amendments. Senator Ball...decided to wage a floor fight, well aware that they risked splitting an internationalist Senate majority that seemed unwilling to accept a more specific U.S. commitment. (91)

Nearly every element of the press hailed the declaration as a major diplomatic triumph. Walter Lippmann praised Hull for cementing the Four Power alliance, saying that this ushered in "the next period of history." (92)

He said that the continued cooperation of the Four Powers "will be the foundation stone upon which the future international organization would be constructed." (92)

Chapter 9 - Cairo and Teheran

The Moscow Declaration was a major encouragement to prospects for Big Three cooperation in the postwar period, but a follow-on meeting of the heads of government was necessary to confirm commitments made at the second level, and specifically to ensure that Stalin himself accepted the idea of an international organization to keep the peace.

The meeting was between Roosevelt and Stalin - Of the two leaders, the President made by far the greater concessions to make the meeting a reality. (94)

A separate meeting Chiang Kai-shek (China) was necessary, for the Russian position was that China must be "absolutely excluded" from the Teheran Conference. (95)

FDR suggested to Churchill that Russia might be invited to send a military observer to take part in the Combined Chiefs of Staff talks with the Chinese. (95)

In January 1943 Roosevelt had persuaded Churchill to join with the United States in abandoning extraterritorial rights in China, an action of significant political importance to Chiang. Now he had succeeded in obtaining British and Russian agreement to China's adherence to the Moscow Declaration. (95)

At Teheran, military discussions occupied the greater part of the formal sessions and were centered on the coming Anglo- American invasion of Western Europe, now set for May 1944. Stalin made the welcome announcement that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan after the defeat of Germany. (98)

FDR laid out a plan for a postwar United Nations organization which differed in several important ways from the State Department's Staff Charter,....First, there would be a worldwide assembly comprising all the United Nations; executive council composed of the Big Four plus six or seven representatives selected from several regions two from Europe and one each from Latin America, the Middle East, the Far East, and the British Dominions. This executive council would deal with "all non-military questions," such as food, health, and economics. Finally, there would be a third entity an enforcement body, composed of the Four Policemen, with authority to deal swiftly with any emergency or threat to the peace. (100)

FDR had failed to explain that the British regional approach "contemplated a Supreme United Nations Council, of which the three regional committees would be the components." It was regrettable that he, Churchill, had been unable "to correct this erroneous presentation." (101)

But the President was engaged in an assiduous courting of the powerful, enigmatic Bolshevik whose cooperation was absolutely essential to Roosevelt's hopes and plans for future stability and peace. (102)

The idea of U.N. strategic bases, to contain both Germany and Japan and as part of the general enforcement machinery in the hands of the Four Policemen, was also central to FDR's conception of a postwar collective security system.....they referred this problem to the new European Advisory Commission. (103)

[The writer Robert E.] Sherwood later wrote that in the press dispatches, and even in the 'deliberately dry and guarded' official accounts of the meeting, readers could not fail to sense the extraordinary drama: 'That here were Titans determining the future course of an entire planet.' (106) (emphasis added)

Pledging themselves to work together "in war and in the peace that will follow," the three leaders said, "we are sure that our concord will win an enduring peace." (106)

The President, who gave close personal attention to the text of the communique, was the acknowledged author of the final sentences, which read: 'We came here with hope and determination. We leave here, friends in fact, in spirit, and in purpose.' [Roosevelt had found] the dictator much tougher than he had expected and at 'times deliberately discourteous,' but he was drawn to the man's lack of hypocrisy. 'The President likes Stalin,' Harold Ickes recorded after a Cabinet meeting, 'because he is open and frank.' (106) (emphasis added)

Of Stalin, the President said, "He is a man who combines a tremendous, relentless determination with a stalwart good humor. I believe he is truly representative of the heart and soul of Russia; and I believe we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people very well indeed." (108)

The speech did not expressly identify or describe the Four Policemen concept, but the passages on necessary force were a thinly disguised paraphrase. And the paraphrase made clear that the Big Four primarily or exclusively would hold and wield the military power to prevent or punish future aggression; the peace would necessarily be based on Big Four primacy, which the President argued would be benign. (109)

Chapter 10 - High Hopes But Inherent Limits

Franklin Roosevelt had conceived the term "United Nations" a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, and sold it to Winston Churchill by bursting in on the Prime Minister's bath at the White House. The term was used to describe the twenty-six nations who signed the United Nations Declaration in Washington on January 1, 1942, a document that bound them together in the effort to wage war against the Axis and work for a just peace. (110)

Hull had earlier rejected, for the same reason, a State Department proposal to call it "Commonwealth of Nations." Russia and Britain then somewhat grudgingly accepted the strongly held American view. (110) (emphasis added - JV Note: This is the same term which the Rhodes trustees had come up with for the League of Nations see page 10 of Prince Charles the Sustainable Prince. I quoted from Carroll Quigley's book The Anglo-American Establishment, p. 137, both available from The Women's International Media Group, Inc.)

The agreements reached at the Moscow and Teheran conferences had for the first time provided authoritative and reasonably clear guidelines to detailed planning for a United Nations organization. (111)

The proposed new organization would consist initially of a Security Council, a General Assembly, an International Court of Justice, and a Secretariat. Agencies for economic and social activities, for trusteeship responsibilities, and for other appropriate purposes could be brought into being "as needed." The organization's primary functions would be "first, to establish and maintain peace and security, by force if necessary; and second, to foster cooperative effort among the nations for the progressive improvement of the general welfare." After a session with Hull and his advisers on February 3, 1944, FDR approved the Outline Plan as the basis for a more detailed effort. By mid- April, the State Department had developed and refined something close to a complete plan. Postwar planning now became an integral function of the State Department, which viewed a new international entity as the logical place to deal with the full range of postwar problems first and foremost security, but also trade, economic development, monetary stabilization, colonialism, and human rights. (111)

The basic problem facing departmental planners after Teheran was how to convert a wartime alliance into a permanent organization to keep the peace by means of Big Four cooperation and the collective use of force. (112)

The use of force in any particular case would require the consent of the Big Four, who would not put their armed forces at the disposal of the United Nations organization without retaining a controlling voice in their deployment.....palatable to the whole world.... (113)

A supranational "federal form" of organization was not in the cards, for "nations should retain, and will insist on retaining, a large degree of freedom of action; no international super- government is feasible at this time, even if it were desirable." Advocates of world government or a supranational federation were passionately opposed to retaining the system of sovereign nation-states, which they accurately pointed out was a condition of political anarchy and a primary cause of war. (113)

If political reality dictated no basic change in a world system of sovereign nation-states, there were only two possible solutions to keeping the peace: the continued unity and cooperation of the Big Four, or an equilibrium maintained by a complex balance of power between and among them. Within this iron framework, these were the only practical alternatives. (114) (emphasis added)

One was to merge the Four Policemen (which under FDR's conception were to constitute a separate entity) with the larger (ultimately eleven-nation) Security Council. The other was to assign exclusive jurisdiction for security matters to that council, which assigning the initiative for all nonsecurity matters to the General Assembly, in which all U.N. members would have a vote. The League Covenant had generated confusion by giving jurisdiction in security matters to both the League Council and the League Assembly. (115) (emphasis added0

In the February 3, 1944, meeting with his advisers, FDR decided that temporary members should be elected annually by the General Assembly. This meant that they would be representatives of nations rather than of regions, and it ended the ambiguity of the American position on that point. (115)

Here again the problem was how to reconcile power realities with considerations of equity and justice for the world community as a whole. There was agreement that all U.N. members must be bound by decisions of the Security Council that is, bound to support sanctions against an aggressor. (116)

The State Department planners proposed that the Big Four veto should not be absolute, but they drew an odd distinction between two kinds of situations: decisions involving "peaceful settlement" of disputes should require a two-thirds affirmative vote, including all of the Big Four; and decisions involving the use of force to suppress aggression should also require a two-thirds affirmative vote, but only three of the Big Four. (116)

The third major problem was how to organize and employ armed force on behalf of the United Nations organization. (117)

Close examination revealed, however, that the acquisition, operation, and re-supply of such bases and aircraft would unavoidably give the international organization the attributes of national sovereignty land, resources, population and such a foreseeable development was unacceptable to the U.S. Government....They preferred strategic bases under national control which could be made available to the international organization. (118)

The President's early notion that the four Policemen should be solely responsible for keeping the peace, and that all or most other nations should be disarmed, was abandoned as politically and physically impractical, and was replaced by the concept that all member nations should be obligated to provide forces for collective enforcement missions. (118)

Churchill was a categorical defender of British imperialism, but the Foreign Office was willing to accept the idea of regional consultative commissions, provided they were headed by the "parent" state in each case and were purely advisory. (120)

Chapter 11 - Domestic Politics in 1944

Domestic Politics in 1944. Although he had set in motion the development of a detailed American plan to create the United Nations organization, President Roosevelt declined to discuss the issue publicly... (123)

An editorial in the Nation expressed the fear that Roosevelt and Hull were "tiptoeing toward a new world order" that looked suspiciously like a reaffirmation of the status quo, which could only mean 'a new cycle of economic disintegration, dictatorship and war.' (123) (emphasis added)

In the Saturday Evening Post article entitled "Your Move, Mr. President," Senator Joseph Ball (R-Minnesota) took FDR to task for not including members of Congress in the American delegations at Moscow and Teheran, and warned that such continued omission could imperil Senate ratification of postwar treaties. In mid-March, twenty-four freshmen Congressmen complained in an open letter to Hull that the United Nations Council approved by the Moscow Declaration did not yet appear to be functioning; indeed, the American people had received no information on foreign policy for several months. (124)

In addition to Connally, the group included three Democrats (Walter George of Georgia, Alben Barkley of Kentucky, Guy Gillette of Iowa), three Republicans (Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, Warren Austin of Vermont, Wallace White of Maine), and one Progressive (Robert La Follette of Wisconsin, who was a leading isolationist)....Vandenberg, who proved to be the key figure on the committee because he served as a bridge between internationalist and isolationist Republicans, was amazed and delighted that the plan was "so conservative from a nationalist standpoint." ... 'This is anything but a wild-eyed internationalist dream of a world state...It is based virtually on a four-power alliance.' (125) (emphasis added)

[The group's next meeting dealt with difficult questions] relating to the authority to commit American military forces in collective security actions. The Administration believed that it was essential for the President to possess this power without having to consult Congress on each occasion, but the Constitution gave Congress the exclusive power to declare war, and it was this rock on which ratification of the League of Nations treaty had foundered in 1920..... 'the peace will create a new status quo in the world.' (125) (emphasis added - JV: NATO is an example).

FDR opposed 'a heavily organized, bureaucratic world organization' with its own police force, preferring to rely on the major powers acting together to establish a situation analogous to the 'fruitful Pax Britannica' of the nineteenth century in which 'the powers able to make war are convinced their self-interest lies in peace.' (127)

'History does not record any example of a military alliance between great nations which was endured...' (127)

The Davis articles had confirmed Vandenberg's hunch that Roosevelt had already made secret commitments to Stalin and Churchill and, as the recognized GOP leader on foreign affairs, he was unwilling to commit his party and its 1944 candidate to any specific program. (127)

Eli Culbertson denounced it as an attempt to 'ressurect the bullet- ridden League of Nations' and insisted that the country wanted 'a true system of collective security...supported by an effective international police force.' (128)

Political scientists like James Shotwell and Dexter Perkins argued for a new and stronger League of Nations. Sumner Welles's new book, The Time for Decision, supporting similar Wilsonian themes, sold half a million copies. In U. S. War Aims, Walter Lippmann argued that no international superstructure could eliminate the inherent power of nationalism; the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr thought that the United Nations was a necessary experiment, but warned that human nature was too perverse to sustain its idealistic premises. (129)

Why was Washington chosen as the site for the definitive Big Four negotiations to establish the United Nations organization?...The Russian Communists apparently had no objection to meeting in the citadel of the capitalist world....As a partial solution, Alger Hiss, a member of the State Department planning group, suggested Dumbarton Oaks, an estate on the flank of Georgetown and Rock Creek Park which had been owned by Robert Woods Bliss, a former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden and Argentina who had bequeathed it to Harvard University as a center for Byzantine studies. (130)

[The Russians nam[ed] the new Russian ambassador to Washington, thirty-five-year-old Andrei Gromyko, to head the Russian delegation. (132)

Chapter 12 - The Dumbarton Oaks Conference I

They announced that "general agreement" had been reached on the nature and purposes of a world organization, and they briefly outlined a description of a General Assembly, a Security Council, and a World Court. (136)

The American Group of eighteen people, including six from the Army and navy, was the largest and best prepared of the three delegations. The group was divided into three working sections: one for the establishment and the structure of the organization; one for the peaceful settlement of disputes; and one for the security arrangements. (136)

Ideally, the discussions at Dumbarton Oaks would be conducted as a Socratic dialogue on the future of humankind, and at times this seemed to be the case. (137)(emphasis added)

He [Gromyko] then dropped his own bombshell (mentioned above) by announcing that Russia wanted all sixteen Soviet republics enrolled as charter members of the United Nations organization. This pronouncement, which in turn left Stettinius and Cadogan "breathless," has been taken by some historians as an extemporaneous reaction to the surprise American shift on the veto question. (147) (emphasis added - JV note: Now with the spin off of all of these republics from the USSR, they are now members of the United Nations and are in the process of becoming members of NATOwhat this means is that the Russians waited 50 years to get what they wanted and they have been given it !!!!)

'My God,'...'privately, personally, and immediately' that this 'might ruin' any chance for U.S. participation in the United was as nonsensical as demanding forty-eight votes for the United States.... 'X matter,' and the few highly secret documents pertaining to it were locked in Stettinius's office safe. (147)

Chapter 14 - The 1944 Election

Roosevelt ran for a fourth term. Wendell Wilkie, the GOP candidate in 1940, was out of favor with his party four years later, having proved too explicit an advocate of a U.N. organization and an international police force. In a series of magazine articles, he urged his fellow Republicans to create immediately a United Nations Council and to help establish 'an effective international organization for the good of all.' He warned especially against 'hoarding' American sovereignty which he regarded as incompatible with effective international cooperation. (161)(emphasis added)

it was evident that the election was going to be close, and seemed likely to turn on the terms of U.S. participation in a new international organization. Wilkie, who saw an opportunity to be the swing factor, attacked both party platforms for 'their insistence on preserving American sovereignty' and urged all independents to vote for the man who took the most advanced position on the authority of the new world bodywhich for him meant the man who came closest to supporting an international police force.' (163)

Internationalists like William Fulbright (D-Arkansas), Wayne Morse (D-Oregon), an Leverett Saltonstall (R-Massachusetts) entered the Senate, while bitter-end isolationists like Senator Gerald Nye (R-South Dakota) and Congressman Hamilton Fish (R-New York) were defeated. Almost without exception, isolationist incumbents, whether Republican or Democrat, were turned out of office. There was general rejoicing among internationalists of both parties. (164-165)

Chapter 15 - An Unsettling Winter

The limited attainments of Edward Stettinius a genial personality and an unsubtle mind were widely recognized, but he was in fact well suited for the task of selling the United Nations to the American people. A born salesman, he understood the importance of generating public support, and his business background was reassuring to Republicans in the Congress and thus helpful in sustaining a bipartisan approach to international organization. (167)

[Stettinius ordered the State Department to prepare a phamphlet on the United Nations.] Nearly two million copies of a pamphlet entitled "Questions and Answers on the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals" were distributed to civic groups throughout the country. MacLeish organized teams of State Department experts who gave more than five hundred speeches in six months to church, labor, business, and professional leaders in all the major cities. He arranged an informal exchange of views between Stettinius and leading writers and editors, and reinforced this with thorough briefings for the nation's best-known lecturers on international affairs. He arranged a series of informative radio lectures over the NBC network and persuaded the movie industry to produce a documentary film on the virtues of the United Nations. (168-169)

The single aim of this extensive effort was to build sustained public support. Its main themes were: (1) the impracticality of isolationism in a shrinking world, as evidenced by the attack on Pearl Harbor and by new weapons like the German V-2 rocket...(2) the need to use force to prevent new aggressions. At the same time, care was taken to avoid any implication that American sovereignty would be compromised. (169)

At the same time, State Department spokesmen sought to couple realism with a sense of pioneering into a new and more hopeful era: if immediate prospects for the United Nations were limited and imperfect, they projected the expectation that experience with the proposed new forms of international cooperation would bring lasting peace to future generations. There were serious doubters and dissenters, even among convinced internationalists. In February 1945, the Catholic Association for International Peace called the proposals a "death sentence" for small nations, and soon thereafter the Catholic bishops warned that the chasm separating the values of democracy and Communism made it impossible for the two systems to cooperate within any world organization. (169)

In his State of the Union address on January 6, 1945, the President sought to restore a sense of proportion to the debate. Refusing to minimize the glaring divisions in the Alliance caused by the emergence of dramatically divergent interests and value systems, he pleaded for patience and understanding. "We must not let these differences...blind us to our more important common and continuing interests in winning the war and building the peace." (171-172)

The speech had a generally salutary effect on public opinion, and won the praise of leading editors and commentators for its historical perspective, firm reasoning, and moderation. Polls indicated that 60 percent of the country now endorsed participation in the United Nations, even if the new organization fell short of satisfying American aims. (172)

To bring the United Nations into being, it was necessary to resolve both the veto issue and the quixotic matter of Stalin's demand for extra seats in the General Assembly. As to Poland, FDR understood there was no practical way to deny Russian military and political dominance there or throughout Eastern Europe Stalin held the whip hand. The President was accordingly prepared to settle for essentially paper agreements that spoke of "self-determination" and "free elections" agreements, that is, aimed at mollifying American opinion and thus preserving American support for the United Nations. FDR had no illusions that such words could change the harsh facts or deflect Moscow from its determination to exercise total control, but he needed them to obtain Senate ratification of a United Nations treaty. U.S. participation and leadership in an operative United Nations was, in his mind, the supreme key to peace. (173)

On February 6, the third day of the conference, Stettinius presented the new American proposal for resolving the veto deadlock, ... (174)

The first Russian reaction to the American proposal was flatly negative, but Molotov announced acceptance the next day, as Stettinius grinned happily. Molotov further sweetened the spoon by announcing that Russia had also reduced its demand for extra seats in the General Assembly from sixteen to three, "or at least two," of the Soviet Republics: the Ukraine, White Russia, and Lithuania. FDR, who had told both Stettinius and the Senate Committee of Eight that he was "unalterably opposed" to any extra seats, suggested that the question be left for decision by the U.N. organizing conference, but Stalin refused. The matter was then referred to the three foreign ministers, who met for an hour and proposed that the United States and Britain ask the U.N. organizing conference to grant General Assembly membership to the Ukraine and White Russia.... Byrnes was so upset by this concession and so fearful of its negative impact on domestic politics that he persuaded FDR, on the last day of the conference, to ask his Russian and British counterparts to support a future American request for three votes in the General Assembly. In an exercise that had not descended to ward-level political logrolling, they agreed to do so. The conference failed to resolve basic differences of approach to the treatment of Germany, but FDR....Stalin confirmed that Russia would enter the war against Japan within three months after Germany's surrender, but only in return for major concessions, including control of Outer Mongolia, transfer of the Kurile Islands from Japan, return of the southern half of Sakhalin Island, and extensive rights to railroads and harbors in Manchuria. On Poland, instead of accommodating the Anglo-American desire for a coalition of London and Lublin Poles, which would have greatly helped Roosevelt's domestic political problem, Stalin agreed only to a "reorganization" of the Lublin group into a provisional government, coupled with a vague promise of later "free" elections. (175-176)

As the (Yalta) conference ended, the mood of the U.S. delegation was one of exhilaration and confidence. 'We really believed in our hearts that this was the dawn of the new day we had been praying for,' Hopkins said later. The Russians had proved that they could be 'reasonable and farseeing,' and everyone in the delegation from FDR on down was confident of getting along with them peacefully 'for as far into the future as anyone could imagine.' (176)

The final communique, naturally designed to put the best face on the conference decisions, said that the Big Three would occupy Germany after the war and stamp out every trace of Nazism; 'free' elections would ensure 'democratic' governments in Eastern Europe; all nations who had signed the United Nations Declaration would be invited to a conference at San Francisco on April 25. There was no mention of Stalin's agreement to enter the war against Japan, nor of the large concessions (many at the expense of China) granted to Russia for this commitment. Nor was there any hint of the deal on extra seats in the General Assembly. On this later matter, FDR was almost obsessively concerned about secrecy, insisting on personally explaining the concession to Congressional leaders before it became public knowledge. (176)

Newsweek asserted that no citizen of Russian, Britain, or America 'could complain that his country had been sold down the river.' Clark Eichelberger, head of the United Nations Association, said that the results of the conference 'have surpassed the hopes of the idealists and to a great extent confounded the cynics.' (177) (emphasis added)

Calling the Yalta Conference a turning point "I hope in our history and therefore in the history of the world" FDR said that whether it could bring forth lasting results "lies to a great extent in your hands.".... "We shall have to take the responsibility for world collaboration, or we shall have to bear the responsibility for another world conflict." The Yalta agreements "ought" to spell the end of unilateral actions, exclusive alliances, spheres of influence, and balances of power that "have been tried for centuries and have always failed." It was time to substitute "a universal organization," and the President was confident that the Congress and the American people would accept the Yalta agreements as laying the foundations of "a permanent structure of peace." In private, Roosevelt was less confident. (178)

To prevent a U.S. reversion to isolationism after the war, U.S. participation in a new world organization was the sine qua non, but the United Nations could not be brought into being without genuine Russian cooperation, and that depended on Western accommodation to unpalatable manifestations of the Soviet Communist system in Eastern Europe. (178-179)

Following the Yalta Conference, polls showed that Americans who favored U.S. participation in the United Nations had risen from 60 to 80 percent, and that those "satisfied" with Allied cooperation had increased from 46 to 64 percent. (179)

Stettinius revealed the agreed voting formula for the Security Council, as approved at Yalta, in a speech delivered in Mexico City on March 5, and it was broadly accepted. Dulles called it a "statesmanlike solution to a knotty problem." (179)

On April 6, the President asked Archibald MacLeish to prepare a speech which he intended to make to the opening session of the San Francisco conference. But on April 12, about one-fifteen p.m., as he sat perusing documents and posing for a portrait, FDR pressed his left hand to his temple, complained of "a terrific headache," and slumped in his chair. He had suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage, and efforts to revive him were unavailing. (182)

The new American President, Harry S. Truman, promptly ended press speculation that the San Francisco conference would be postponed owing to FDR's death. It would be held "as President Roosevelt had directed," and Secretary of State Stettinius added that the United States would press toward "the establishment of a world organization endowed with the strength to keep the peace for generations." Truman was a convinced internationalist who believed that the United States could not evade the responsibilities of its abundant power. He had been a key supporter of the B2-H2 resolution in the Senate, and as Vice President had said in a radio address of February 23, 1945, that "America can no longer sit smugly behind a mental Maginot Line." (184)

As the 282 delegates from forty-six nations began gathering at San Francisco for the April 25 conference, it was clear that Big Three relations had never been more tense or strained, and that many small nations were strongly opposed to the concentration of power granted to the permanent members of the Security Council by the proposals before them....These questions included control of Poland, the extent of the veto power, the authority of the General Assembly, and the extra General Assembly seats for White Russia and the Ukraine. Taking no chances, the United States used electronic intelligence to intercept the diplomatic messages of all the foreign delegations (except Britain and Russia) at San Francisco. Washington thus had advance knowledge of the negotiating positions of the participating nations. It used this information to set the agenda, guide the debate, and press for a U.N. Charter that was consistent with the U.S. blueprint. (184-185)

FDR and the Creation of the U.N.

Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley

1997, Yale University Press

New Haven and London

President Truman addressed the delegates by radio, welcoming them to America and encouraging them in their momentous task: "We must build a new world," he told them, "a far better world one in which the eternal dignity of man is respected." (185)

Before any substantive issues could be addressed, however, the conference was forced to deal with another Russian surprise the assertion that equality among the four sponsoring powers required that there be four presidents of the conference. To underline his demand, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov threatened to go home unless his view prevailed. This ploy alarmed the American delegates, who saw it as an effort to set a precedent for permanent multiple management of the United Nations organization. Stettinius told President Truman that, if Molotov's view prevailed, it might be impossible to establish a single U.N. Secretary General. Fortunately, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden broke the deadlock by proposing that there be four presidents, but that Stettinius should double as "chairman of the presidents." Molotov's prompt acceptance of this artful diplomatic device suggested that Moscow's concern for equality was mainly symbolic, for it left management of the conference largely in American hands. (185)

...most of the critical decisions were taken by the Big Five in the Secretary of State's penthouse atop the Fairmont Hotel, after consultation with selected chairmen of other delegations. This concentration of power caused widespread discontent among the many smaller delegations, for whom the Australian Foreign Minister, Herbert Evatt, soon made himself the most visible and disputatious spokesman. (185-186)

The principal American goal was to bring the United Nations into being without delay and with the full participation of the Big Three. President Truman was scheduled to meet with Churchill and Stalin at Potsdam in August, and he wanted the San Francisco conference brought to a successful close before he tackled serious and growing tensions in the wartime alliance. (191)

On May 2, Eden, Molotov, Stettinius, and Chinese Foreign Minister T.V. Soong began two days of continuous meetings to consider and agree upon amendments to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals that the Big Four would submit to the conference. U.S. amendments included proposals urged on the delegation by James Shotwell and Clark Eichelberger for a declaration on human rights in the charter and a broadening of the Economic and Social Council to include a commission on human rights. These were approved by the four foreign ministers, along with twenty-five other amendments. None of them changed the fundamental nature of the proposed United Nations organization, but all tended to make it more open and democratic. (191)

The end


In doing a tremendous amount of research, I have been keenly aware that I am ignorant of the times and history surrounding the organization of the United Nations. I saw this book in Barnes and Nobles and started to read itin my spare time. I could not put it down for it showed all of the players and behind the scenes politics. I thought it would be very helpful and provide you with a mental picture of the birth of the organization which the Bible tells us will never provide real peace. All of the text is taken from the book with their quotes in single quotes.

The book's bibliography is quite extensive and provided me with a number of books to find for my library. This book clearly shows FDR was no lover of our Constitution or the principles found in our laws. He was an Anglophile and worked extremely well with Churchill and Stalin to secure "peace" for the world. Of course their definition of "peace" is the "whole piece!"

I have just returned from the three day NATO conference and as I have put finishing touches on this, found that much of what is going on today in NATO is based on "collective security" and the "policemen" theory.

While time does not permit me to go into details of the NATO conference, I found that it is economic. It was announced a number of times by Clinton, Secretary-General Solana, and Albright that the intent is to take the Balkans Yugoslavia and that region and integrate it into Europe. A "second Marshall Plan" for that area is being put together. The IMF/World Bank are part of this package as well as the United States. These and other players will be meeting the end of May in Bonn, Germany to put it together. Their package will then be presented to the Group of Eight which meets several weeks later in Bonn/Koln Germany. I will be there.

I am also putting the final touches on Global Straitjacket which will be out the first of June. An order sheet is provided for you. We have just acquired Visa/MasterCard services to help you in your ordering.

These are very dark days. It will be our faith in Jesus which supports us to Stand in the GAP!!!!


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In this issue, a synopsis of the book

FDR and the Creation of the U.N.