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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 14, No. 7. June 25, 1951

Socialists celebrating King's Birthday Decide That — Two Worlds are Better than none

Socialists celebrating King's Birthday Decide That

Two Worlds are Better than none

Maybe the novel with the widest scope of any ever written is that called "War and Peace." Maybe the Socialist Club's King's Birthday Weekend School, with the same title, broke some records in the width of scope of the discussions it provoked.

The main addresses were on American foreign policy, Soviet foreign policy, the peaceful co-existence of socialism and capitalism, and the world peace movement.

No Card Vote

"If anyone suggested the abolition of the 'card vote' in the trade union movement, he would be defeated by the squeals," was the opening remark of Mr. James Ferguson (M.A., B.Sc., Dip. Ed.) speaking on US foreign policy. "Yet in the General Assembly of the UN, countries like New Zealand with two millions are equated with countries like India with 347 millions."

Thus the US resolution branding China as an "aggressor" was carried when seven countries with a population of 632 millions opposed it and 43 countries with a population of 562½ millions (plus a government claiming to represent the 463 millions in the country being branded) voted for it.

This event, claimed Mr. Ferguson, epitomised the type of crooked dealing by which the US "managed" the United Nations.

Mr. Attlee had stated on 23rd January (six days before this vote) that "We are of the opinion that the UN should not at this stage take a new and important decision." The subsequent British surrender on this point was a result of blackmail.

Breaches of Charter

Other decisions had been taken by the US in open defiance of the spirit and letter of the UN Charter; they had been either later ratified or entirely overlooked by the servile majority in UN.

The Atlantic Pact, said Mr. Ferguson, contravened Articles 52-54 of the Charter which make it quite clear that all such "regional arrangements" must be under the authority of the Security Council unless they are directed against a former enemy.

The Wall Street Journal had stated editorially, 5.5.49:

"The proponents of the Atlantic Pact might object to designating it as Jungle Law. But the thinness of the veneer of civilisation covering it is revealed by the most cursory glance. It makes military might the determining factor in international relations . . . We do not bemoan these developments. We think that the Jungle principle fits the facts better than the ideally human principle of the United Nations."


The old lie that the Soviet Union used UN merely as a "sounding-board for propaganda" was carefully nailed by Mr. Ferguson. He pointed out that the Soviet Government had followed up their UN resolution against war propaganda by carrying a law in the Supreme Soviet making propaganda for war a criminal [unclear: offence]. He compared this with the US-sponsored rejection (7-4) by the Human Rights Commission of a Soviet-French resolution condemning race-hate propaganda. The British apology was that such a move would "limit freedom of speech." (Evening Post, 2.5.50.)

At the very first session of the Human Rights Commission in December 1948 the American delegation had proposed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be not binding on its signatories. The American suggestion that only "arbitrary" racial and religious discriminations be condemned was defeated 6-9. A Soviet suggestion that the more concrete words "and before the courts" be added to the right of "equality before the law" was vigorously opposed by the Americans, who also fought against a further Soviet suggestion that there be an article stating "that everyone has the right to participate in the elections for the government of his country." The Americans also opposed "the universal right to medical care."

Many such examples could be listed.

Slave-Camps and Smoke-Screens

Mr. Ferguson suggested that the sounding-board charge could be more justly levelled against the US representatives. He cited the noisy assertions they had made about "slave labour" in Soviet Russia. The NZ Federation of Labour had "joined its yelps to the general hubbub," but little publicity was given to the cablegram which the All-Soviet Central Council of Trade Unions sent to the Federation in reply (Southern Cross, 10.3.49) which read in part:

"The Council fully supports the proposal submitted by the Soviet delegation to the 8th session of the Economic and Social Council of UN for establishing a large international commission of trade unions and international bodies' representatives for thorough and impartial investigation of the real conditions of workers and employees in capitalist countries, the U.S.S.R. and popular democracies. The Council hopes that the Executive of the NZFOL will agree with this proposal and appeal to the NZ government to support the proposal of the Soviet delegation at UN."


The Federation did not accept the invitation, neither was the Soviet resolution carried. "Can it be," asked Mr. Ferguson, "That America and her satellites are frightened to have conditions in Siberia compared with those in Nigeria, Alabama, Malaya, Tanganyika, Brazil?"

Shadow of Hiroshima

Mr. Ferguson carefully outlined the history of UN discussions on atomic energy. He stated that many Americans (including Einstein) preferred the Gromyko Plan to the Baruch Plan. In Chapter XI of his book "The Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy." Prof. Blackett characterised this latter plan as "an astute diplomatic move ... a specious plan." He declared that in it the US was expressing a desire not to outlaw atomic energy for war purposes, but for ownership by an international trust (American controlled like other UN agencies, and in this instance badly "capitalist" to boot of all atomic plants.

Blackett commented (P. 135) on one section of the plan:

"Its explicit meaning seems clearly that the US did not contemplate relinquishing its atomic bombs, until a firm guarantee was obtained against all weapons of mass destruction. Thus even if the USSR accepted the full American plan for control of atomic bombs, Mr. Baruch's statement implies that America would be justified in refusing to dispose of her bombs till a satisfactory system of Control say of biological warfare had also been accepted."

In other words it was only to be a "maybe" control for America, but unconditional for everyone else.

The Russian plan, on the other hand, was clear and straightforward—Malik (8.2.49) said in the Security Council that it aimed at "conventions on the prohibition of the atomic weapon and atomic energy control, to go into effect simultaneously"; and Vyshinsky declared (23.11.49):

"We wish to make it clear that periodic inspection means whenever the International Control Commission deems it necessary. It is obvious that there would be no veto."

Mr. Ferguson quoted another interesting statement of the same gentleman, from the Evening Post, 30.10.50:

"If you accept the principle of one-third arms redaction, I promise you solemnly you will get authenticated information on the Soviet armed forces and every possibility to verify this."

"If that is bluff, why doesn't somebody call it?" asked Mr. Ferguson. He suggested that the present policy of the US was not concerned with peace or arms production, but with imposing its will on other nations.

Gore in Korea

To support this contention, he cited the intrigues that led up to the Korean war. He quoted from the Southern Cross, 20.12.48:

"Mr. Chang, Foreign Minister of South Korea, served notice today that his government would use force if necessary to bring North Korea under its control."

An interesting interview with Mr. Syngman Rhee 10 months later showed little difference in attitude:

"He said that his government would not much longer tolerate a divided Korea . . . 'If we had our way way we would, I am sure, have started up already'." (N.Y. Tribune 1.11.49).

These facts, together with Truman's jump-the-gun order of troops for Korea, the later fast move put across an incomplete meeting of the Security Council, backed up by hearsay evidence which would be laughed out of any court, and the Security Council's decision for War as opposed to their Conciliation moves in Indonesia, Palestine, and Kashmir—all these things convinced Mr. Ferguson that US-dominated UN policy did not serve the interests of world peace.

Side by Side?

The only answer to that policy lay in insistence on the peaceful co-existence of socialism and capitalism side by side, so that all the world could see which system could use atomic energy and the other resources of the earth most profitably for the peaceful betterment of mankind.

This was the theme of an address by James Winchester M.A.

Lenin had certainly stated that he believed Socialism would ultimately win the open battle of ideas by her example. But no Communist ever said they could not co-exist in peace. In December 1949, to quote but once, Malenkov stated:

"The USSR regards as fully acceptable the path of peaceful competition with capitalism." (Evening Post, 22.12.49).

The question of whether this view did not conflict with Lenin's "State and Revolution" was answered by statements that the Soviet Union had never provoked revolution outside her own borders—such policies went out with Trotski. Allegations of Soviet support to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War had been proven false. Judge Lowe had said there was no foreign money or orders given to the Australian Communists (Evening Post, 31.4.50).

If the people of any nation chose to move to socialism, that was their business. The Italian elections of 1948, events in Greece and France, made it apparent that US policy was to resist such changes to the utmost.

Mr. Matthews' talles on the World Peace Movement as a practicable way of forcing the peaceful co-existence of the two systems onto the world, will be reported in the next issue.