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86 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 205[A] LONDON, 3 December 1942, 7.39 p.m.


Post War Problems-my telegram 199. [1]

Things have moved much more rapidly on the political side than I had dared to hope and there is a prospect that you may be approached on the matter by the United Kingdom Government in the near future. [2]

The main question to be faced is how security is to be provided and the fear of aggression removed. The two methods that might be employed are- (1) The association of the major powers in an agreement for the preservation of peace and (2) the establishment of some form of International Police Force.

With regard to (1) the major objections are that it would involve the maintenance of large armed forces by individual nations and that there is no guarantee that the association of major powers for the maintenance of peace might not progressively disintegrate.

It would also involve the necessity, in addition to disarming the present aggressor powers, of indefinitely keeping them weak industrially and economically so that there would not be a repetition of Germany's re-armament which led to the present war.

With regard to (2) this would have the advantage that the burden of armaments for all nations could be lightened and the necessity to keep any nation industrially and economically weak would be removed.

The above considerations have led to the swing of thought being towards (2) but it is recognised that time would be required before the point was reached when an International Police Force could be set up. This period of delay, it is contemplated, should be filled by the United Nations undertaking the task of policing until an International Police Force could be established. This in practice would mean the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia assuming the obligation. This has led to the view that there should be co-operation between the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia, to whom would be added China, to a great extent in order to meet the sentimental views of the United States of America in giving leadership to the United Nations. If such leadership is to be given, however, it is necessary that the four powers concerned should reach agreement as to the direction in which that leadership should go. This means agreement upon a definite policy and it is felt that in formulating such a policy China could not contribute a great deal and if U.S.S.R. is to be brought into agreement it will be necessary to put before her definite proposals. This means that the United Kingdom and the United States of America must arrive at an understanding as to what that policy should be and I am hopeful that early steps in this direction will be taken. A prelude to these steps is to determine the line of policy on which we desire to get American co-operation. At the moment the broad thought as to what that policy should be is that it should have as its ultimate objective the establishment of an International Police Force which owing to modern developments would probably be composed almost entirely of air and naval forces. Pending the time when the International Police Force could be set up the policing to be undertaken by the United Nations, but it is probable that this would in fact mean by the great powers.

Regional councils are contemplated for handling political problems and one suggestion for these councils is that they should be- (1) European (2) American (3) Far East (4) British Commonwealth (5) U.S.S.R.

with a supreme world council upon which each of these regional councils would be represented.

This idea of regional councils with primary responsibility for their own areas has long been canvassed as an alternative to the all-inclusive but somewhat over-optimistic basis of the League of Nations. Previously, however, the regional councils have been based on geographical areas with representation of the powers interested in such areas. The constitution of the British Empire and U.S.S.R. as regional councils is a thought which originated with Cripps and is one which I think well worthy of consideration.

It is recognised that Europe constitutes the greatest problem and it is contemplated that Great Britain, the United States and U.S.S.R. would all be members of this council in addition to being members of the British Empire, American and U.S.S.R. councils respectively. Africa is contemplated as falling in the area of the European Regional Council. This, however, will probably require further consideration as will the position of the countries of the Middle East which do not fall into any of the regions suggested above.

For the American Region the Pan-American Union would probably be the basis on which the American Regional Council would be founded and its composition would probably be confined to nations on the American Continent.

On the Far Eastern Council the United Kingdom, the United States of America and U.S.S.R. would probably be members as well as the countries situated in the area.

The British Empire Council would be based upon the Imperial Conference.

The Supreme Council of the U.S.S.R. would be the basis of the Soviet Council.

It is recognised that the practicability of a scheme of this character would depend upon the functions which the regional councils and the Supreme World Council were to carry out. A closer definition of these functions is being worked on now.

With regard to the ultimate aim of an Air Police Force it is recognised that great problems in connection with civil aviation will have to be faced and that in certain areas, particularly Europe, it is to be internationalised and that in all regions some control may have to be exercised over aircraft production.

The above gives you an indication of the trend of thought here to which as far as the Government is concerned Cripps has made the biggest contribution. It may be materially altered before you are approached, but what I am sending you will give you a basis for preparatory consideration.


1 Dispatched 30 November. On file AA:M100, November 1942. It reported and endorsed a speech made by Sumner Welles on 7 November in which the latter urged that the essential principles of international political and economic relations in the post-war world should be agreed on in advance and fully supported by each one of the United Nations, rather than worked out hurriedly amid all the pressures of a peace conference at the end of the war.

2 See Document 90.

[FA:A3195, 1942, 1.48648/68/71]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History