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C. B. Purdom
Editor of book and chairman of discussion: James Avery Joyce
Contributors: George Catlin, Edvard Hambro, David Mitrany, C. B. Purdom, Patrick Ransome, H. G. Wells
First published: 1945 by C. A. Watts & Co. Ltd.
Format: Hardback 7½" by 5" with 62 pages
This book is the transcript of a round-table discussion held on 5th February, 1944 at the City Literary Institute, London W.C.2. The discussion was held "under the auspices" of the International Forum, and the booklet published by Watts on behalf of the World Unity Movement. The Editorial Note at the beginning of the book is dated November, 1944. The publication date is given as 1945.
The City Literary Institute (where the talk was held), was opened in 1919, one of six adult education colleges created by the London County Council after WW-I, to strengthen non-vocational education. It still exists, although in new premises. I think the International Forum was a group within that Institute. For information about the World Unity Movement, formed in 1938, see Appendix (3) below.
I have prepared the following notes about those involved with the discussion and the book, and also about some terms used by the participants.. [A.C.]
David Mitrany (1888-1975), historian and political theorist, was the creator of the theory of functionalism in international relations. This theory advocated international co-operation as a means of reducing conflict between nations by means of agencies in specific areas, especially technical and economic. He was opposed to federalism which advocated world or regional forms of government. He became well known through his 1943 pamphlet A Working Peace System which is described in the current volume editorial notes as the "pivot of the present discussion". Born in Romania, Mitrany became a British citizen. In the introduction to the discussion, the chairman (James Avery Joyce) indicates it was on Mitrany's suggestion that the discussion was convened, but Mitrany did not attend himself as first hoped, but did provide an introduction for the book. At the time, Mitrany was Professor of Political Science at Princeton.
Patrick Ransome (d. 1954) was a freelance journalist and lawyer, who founded the Federal Union movement along with Derek Rawnsley and Charles Kimber in 1937. Federalism was the theory that relations between states should be conducted under the rule of law. Conflict and disagreement should be resolved through peaceful means rather than through coercion or war. The aim of the Federal Union was to promote democratic and effective federal systems of government for the UK, for Europe and for the world. He edited the book Studies in Federal Planning published in 1944.
C. B. Purdom (1883-1965) had published in 1941 the book The New Order which was about the functional approach to international planning. I think it was because of that book that Purdom was invited to participate in the discussion. Use the link at the top of this page to reach my C. B. Purdom menu which includes biographical information about him.
George Edward Gordon Catlin (1896-1979) was a political scientist and philosopher. He was a strong proponent of Anglo-American co-operation, and even advocated a union between the two countries. At the time of the discussion he was Professor of Politics at Cornell. His book One Anglo-American Nation was published in 1941. He married the novelist Vera Brittain in 1925. Their daughter is Shirley Williams, originally a Labour Cabinet Minister, now a Liberal Democrat Peer.
Edvard Isak Hambro (1911-1977) was a distinguished Norwegian politician. In 1943 he was appointed First Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in London. He later represented Norway in the United Nations and became President of the United Nations General Assembly (1970-1971). His book How to Win the Peace was published in 1943.
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), as well as being the well-known writer of science fiction novels, was also a socialist political thinker. He was a Fabian; he wrote in favour of a World State; he thought only an intelligent elite should be enfranchised; he was a supporter of the League of Nations; he was a believer in the theory of eugenics; he was an opponent of Zionism. Wells did not take part in the discussion but provided a short article which appears at the end of the book under the title "How are we to get out of this War".
James Avery Joyce, the Chairman of the discussion, was an Irish barrister. He later wrote on human rights. (He is not the same person as the author of Ulysses and other novels, who was James Augustine Aloysius Joyce.) I have not managed to find out much about the life of James Avery Joyce including his dates or a picture of him.
The League of Nations was established as part of the Versailles Treaty following World War One. 44 nations signed the Covenant of the League of Nations in June 1919. The United States did not join because of opposition by Republican senators despite Woodrow Wilson's support for the League. The main aims of the League were the support for human rights and the settlement of disputes between countries by negotiation. The League was replaced by the United Nations in 1945.
The term "United Nations" was first used by Roosevelt and Churchill in 1942 to refer to the WW-II Allies. In 1943, Roosevelt proposed to Congress the formation of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (U.N.R.R.A.) to provide relief for areas liberated from the Axis powers. 44 countries signed the founding document in November 1943. The countries included U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R. and the republic of China. In the current book, the term "United Nations" is used by one of the speakers to refer to the WW-II Allies, not the organization of that name which was not yet in existence.
The Big Four referred to in the discussion were the WW-II Allied powers of Britain, U.S.A., U.S.S.R. and France. (The "Big Four" of the first world war were Britain, USA, France and Italy.)
Below is the text of the booklet. I have colour-coded the speakers in the actual discussion - Ransome, Catlin, Hambro, Purdom and Joyce (Chairman).
[End of my notes - A.C.]
- FEDERAL OR FUNCTIONAL ?
A Round-Table Discussion
First published 1945
This booklet consists, in the main, of a verbatim record of a public discussion which took place a few months ago on the problems of organizing a peaceful world after the War. It therefore provides a useful and up-to-date commentary on many of the proposals which are now being examined by statesmen and experts at various international conferences.
It can be claimed that the "Round Table" method, combining as it does the technique of question and answer, lecture and debate, and concentrating on a definite set of problems, is in many ways a great improvement on the so-called "Brains Trust," which, whatever its immediate amusement value, can only deal superficially with the questions posed, however eminent and learned the "Brains," and can hardly be regarded as a serious instrument of public education.
In the present instance, the close attention which was accorded the argument, for over two hours, by a very full audience (who were able to "listen in" without strain by means of loud-speakers to the conversation proceeding at a brisk pace on the platform) was proof of the sustained interest and genuine entertainment which this type of discussion made possible.
Although the proceedings were entirely extempore and covered a wide field, the resultant script has required little "editing," and only a few immaterial deletions have been made. It is not for me to speak here of the qualifications of those who took part, but readers will be able to judge of the cogent reasoning which marked each of their contributions.
Finality was neither expected nor attained; and no one who follows the points as they are made will have much patience with the glib utterances which come frequently from the lips of some politicians, that it is only necessary to win the War in order to get a good peace. This discussion, limited though it is to the general framework of world relationships, will come as a useful reminder that planning a peaceful world is not a matter-of-fact business which can be left to work itself out "after the War."
Appropriately enough, Professor David Mitrany, whose well-known pamphlet, A Working Peace System, was purposely chosen as the pivot of the present discussion, has most kindly written a "curtain raiser" to this booklet; while, as a finale, we have included a short but very vigorous article which Mr. H. G. Wells was generous enough to send us and permit us to publish, and which the participants agreed should, in deference to Mr. Wells, be reproduced in entirety in the form of a "last word" to their deliberations rather than be debated piecemeal and possibly mutilated in the process. My colleagues join with me in thanking both these distinguished world minds for thus considerably enhancing the permanent value of their discussion.
A short reading list has been added for the benefit of those who desire to follow up the topics raised in the discussion. With a few exceptions the books and pamphlets suggested have been published since the beginning of the War.
It remains for me to thank the L.C.C. authorities, and, in particular, Mr. T. G. Williams, M.A., Principal of the City Literary Institute, for permission to hold this Conference in the Theatre of the aforesaid Institute; and to acknowledge the kindness of Miss Irene Taylor (formerly of the League of Nations staff) for so efficiently making and transcribing the short-hand report, and of Mr. Peter Hunot for his expert help in preparing this little book for publication.
The Temple, London,
DAVID MITRANY, Ph.D., D.Sc.(Lond.)
Nothing is more useful at the present time, when the problems of peace may soon be upon us, than the kind of frank and intelligent discussion which the World Unity Movement reports in the following pages. The Chairman of the Meeting was good enough to say that it was largely at my suggestion that this discussion was held; and as I hold a strong belief for a particular approach to the subject, I hope the readers will give me credit for intellectual liberality in so inviting attack from those who differ from me. But the sceptical reader may take another view of my action. He may see in it an insidious attempt to show up how difficult it is, even for such able and experienced people as those who took part in this debate, to come to an agreement about the course of the voyage, and the company, once they set their minds afloat upon the limitless sea of general political formulæ. That may have been expected indeed, but it was not my purpose; and I urge in fact the reader to weigh for himself the interesting arguments so ably and dispassionately put forward by the several speakers.
As the participants have done me the honour of inviting me to write an Introduction to a discussion in which I myself, though not actually present, was a partisan, I cannot abuse their courtesy by indulging in criticism of those points with which I disagree. I should be especially reluctant to say anything against my Federalist opponent, Mr. Ransome, who disposed so handsomely of some of the embarrassing views of my presumably Functionalist supporter, Mr. Purdom. All the more so as I feel that it is infinitely more important that we should all move forward together, however haltingly, than that we should hold so passionately each to our ideas that we must stay apart. That is indeed the very core of my position. I do not advocate a system, and I do not represent a movement. I represent, so to speak, an anxiety. I choose the functional approach in preference to the federal approach, above all because I feel so strongly that in our present conditions the soundest approach is that which can lead most quickly to action. Both Mr. Ransome and Professor Catlin had many fine things to say as to why federation, especially in a regional setting, is desirable. But they have produced no evidence to show that it is desired. That is the core and the root of the problem. It is the immediacy of the problem which prescribes the nature of the action, as Dr. Hambro well indicated. After the last war the Powers were unable to keep together politically because they had straight away parted company in the economic field. The risk of economic division is infinitely greater now. The new domestic policies of "social security" and "full employment" are bound to lead to national planning if they are not geared together from the outset to international plans; and this new social nationalism may bring about a greater hardening of the national State than we have ever known before.
There is often in all this, as some of the speakers pointed out, a somewhat unnatural and confusing division between the political and the economic. Every act of government is a political act. To decide to set up some international system for security is a political act, and so is any decision to set up agencies for agricultural, for monetary, and for other kinds of economic co-operation. But the two lines differ profoundly in the substance of the action. In one case the political decision is to associate sporadically for the purpose of preventing abuse of force when abnormal conditions arise; in the other case the political decision is to associate continuously in normal conditions in order to promote the tasks of peace. That is surely the historical issue which is facing us: How are we going to build up the essentials of international government ? I am sure that all the contributors to this valuable discussion would agree that international peace, like order at home, is not merely a matter of the absence of violence.
- FEDERAL OR FUNCTIONAL ?
VERBATIM REPORT OF A ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION
PATRICK RANSOME, M.A., Barrister-at-Law
PROF. GEORGE CATLIN, M.A., Ph.D.
DR. EDVARD HAMBRO, Dr.Sc.Pol.
C. B. PURDOM
JAMES AVERY JOYCE, B.Sc.(Econ.),
THE CHAIRMAN: In opening these proceedings, a few words of explanation are required as to the purpose of the Conference and the manner in which we propose to conduct it. The minds of most people to-day are stirred with the thought of the coming peace and the gigantic tasks of reconstructing a shattered world, and among the considerable spate of writings, speeches, and other pronouncements which have been recently falling about us as thick as leaves, has appeared a short, straightforward pamphlet written by Dr. David Mitrany, Professor of Political Science in the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in the United States (and also adviser on political problems to Unilevers), entitled A Working Peace System: An Argument for the Functional Development of International Organization.* It is around the main theme of this little book - of which most of us here, I think, have copies and about which a great deal has been written and spoken recently - that our discussion to-day chiefly centres.
* Published by the Royal Institute of International Affairs (1943), 1s. 6d.
Although Dr. Mitrany cannot be here to-day - as we had at first hoped that he might be - it was largely on his suggestion that this Conference was convened. I trust, therefore, that I shall not do Dr. Mitrany an injustice, in attempting to sum up the case which his booklet presents, by citing quite a short passage from it which I think may prove a useful starting-point for our discussion. Dr. Mitrany says in his Epilogue :-
In those sentences Dr. Mitrany summarizes a very cleverly argued case, supported with a great deal of factual material which he compresses into this little booklet from which I have quoted.
It will be observed, I think, that Dr. Mitrany appears to throw politics and economics somewhat into juxtaposition. It may be one of our first tasks here, therefore, to make some rough sort of definition of what may be termed the "political" and, also, the "economic" approach to peace-making. On the card of invitation to this meeting we say: "The discussion will be chiefly directed to the relative merits of the 'political' and of the 'economic' approach to reconstruction in the international field." Well, perhaps some people may think that that opposition between politics and economics does not really exist. It is more a matter of metaphysics than practical politics. Indeed, it has been suggested that our terms of reference ought rather to relate to the "constitutional" approach and the "functional" approach. And that brings me to the people who are here, who are going to argue all this out.
But first let me interpolate that we have a message from Mr. H. G. Wells, who was, in fact, invited to give some sort of blessing to our proceedings, and who is sufficiently interested in our gathering to send us an article. He says: "I enclose an article, recently published, which I should be delighted to have read at your conference and printed in your official report . . . . It says what I think has to be said about world unity, and I shall not seek to-expand it." *
* Mr. Wells's article is reproduced in the Renvoi to this Report. (Page 45.)
Although we have agreed among ourselves on this platform that certain points ought, if possible, to be covered in the course of our discussion, our proceedings are, by their very nature, unrehearsed, and none of us knows quite on what lines our discussion will proceed, or on what subject we shall finish. There is one important difference, however, between us and the B.B.C. Brains Trust: I understand that the Brains Trust breaks off its discussions when it arrives at serious topics. That is where we begin.
Now a word or two about my colleagues here - if they will permit it - after which I must leave them to speak for themselves. PATRICK RANSOME, on my right, was one of the three young men - I think I am right in saying "young" men ? - who, a few years before the war, put their heads together and designed that very notorious movement - "notorious" in its legal meaning - Federal Union, in this country. In fact, I understand on good authority that the Federal Union movement, as a voluntary movement, did not emanate from the United States, as some suppose. I gather that Mr. Ransome and his two colleagues held their hand for some months until it had got on some way in the United States, so as to raise no question of Anglo-Saxon jealousy, and then they launched their campaign here. He is, then, one of the organizers, one of the founders, of Federal Union. He has written and published a number of books on the subject, one of which has just emerged from the printer, Studies in Federal Planning.* Ransome is a lawyer - but I don't think any the worse for that. We shall expect from him the precise, logical analysis that he, I am quite sure, is able to bring to this problem, dealing, as he probably will - it is for him to decide - with the more constitutional aspects of world organization. I had better not say more.
* Published by Macmillan (1943), 12s. 6d.
On my immediate left is Dr. GEORGE CATLIN, Professor of Politics at Cornell University, in the United States. His books are on political science, generally, and quite a number of them are on Anglo-American unity. He has made that his crusade. You will notice that he appears as a representative of a recently-formed organization: the British-American Council for World Government. I hope, in the course of his remarks, he will tell us a little more about the policy of that organization.
Dr. EDVARD HAMBRO, on my extreme left, bears the name of a distinguished Norwegian family - son of an even more distinguished father - a name well known in politics and commerce, and, above all, in international affairs. Some of us have had the pleasure, on more than one occasion, of listening to his father at Geneva, speaking as, I think, the chief delegate of Norway. Edvard Hambro was educated in the United States. He took his doctor's degree in political science at Geneva University. I am not able to divulge on what particular mission he is engaged at the present time, but it is certainly one of considerable importance. We are grateful to him that he should set aside his present official responsibilities in order to take part in what is a strictly non-official discussion, and he obviously appears here in his non-official capacity.
Lastly, there is Mr. C. B. PURDOM, on the extreme right - a practical man of affairs who has played a leading part in this country, at least since the last war, in the many-sided problems of regional and town-planning. He has written a number of important books on that subject, also a very interesting work on philosophy. Moreover, a book of his has recently come out, The New Order,* on the topic of the functional approach to world and to international planning. I think the best course would be if C. B. Purdom begins our discussion. It might be well for each of these four colleagues of mine, if they agree, shortly to put their own points of view, their own attitudes, and then we will see where we go on from there. Following the functional technique, then, we begin with Purdom.
* Published by Dent (1941), 7s. 6d.
Mr. C. B. PURDOM: I suppose I have been asked to break the ice after the Chairman's opening survey because none of my other friends dare to do it. I think he stated my point of view, that there is no antagonism between the federal and the functional, or between the political and the economic, unless one is made predominant. It is when the politician or the political institution seeks to enter the economic field and to control the economic field that antagonism arises. My idea, therefore, is federation between functional bodies, being political bodies, economic bodies, and cultural bodies. What I want are three federations, three federal unions, and not one; three Leagues of Nations, and not one.
I believe in sovereignty. I believe in it because I believe in personality; but I do not believe in absolute sovereignty. That is to say, I do not believe in any form of sovereignty which covers every activity and every institution. Sovereignty is limited by function. That is to say, there should not be any over-riding or absolute sovereignty anywhere.
Now what is function ? Function means relation to duties or to ends; and, as we are concerned here with international reconstruction, therefore it is concerned with international unions or international organs. Well, the subject is dealt with in the book that has been referred to, A Working Peace System. In the extract which was read by the Chairman the system is shown as a natural development of economic federations. Well, I don't believe in natural development in human society. I believe in human development - that is to say, intelligent development; and although I find this book extremely interesting, and although I agree with the idea of functional bodies, I think that these functional bodies must be designed in relation to ends.
Perhaps I ought at this point, for the benefit of our discussion, to define the political, the economic, and the cultural functions. The political functions are, as I see them, those which concern relationships between people, and therefore between bodies, and between institutions. The political functions are those which have to do with law and order, with rights and duties. The economic functions are those which are concerned with the production and distribution of goods and services. The cultural functions are those which are concerned with the development of the human being - mental and physical development. Examples of these functions are: communications, power, population, education, science, raw materials, agriculture, law, and, as we have microphones in front of us, broadcasting.
Now take economic functions. Among these are communications, power, raw materials, agriculture. The political functions are those concerning population and law. The cultural functions are those concerning education, science, and broadcasting.
There is just one other remark I would like to make, relating to the quotation read by the Chairman in which Dr. Mitrany, who aims at being practical in his proposals, says that we cannot start from an ideal plane. We must start, he says, from what exists. It is true that in any practical action we must start from where we are; that is to say, from what exists, from ourselves as we are and from our environment as it is. But when we are thinking and discussing, as we are at this moment, we must start from an ideal plane, because thought belongs to the ideal realm. Therefore I think it is ridiculous to find fault with people when they are thinking because they think in ideal terms. It is when we come to the practical working out of the thought that we have to consider what exists. But as we are men, and have minds, and as our human characteristic in nature is to think, we must start from the ideal plane.
Mr. PATRICK RANSOME: In about seven minutes, I believe, my task is to say (a) where I differ from Mr. Purdom, and (b) what is my own solution for this highly complicated stage of world society with which we are confronted at the moment. It is a very difficult task !
FIrst of all, if I may, I will deal with Mr. Purdom's proposal. I have had the advantage, which a good number of people here probably have not, of having been able in the last day or two to read his book, in which he was able to amplify the sketch which he gave us just now. And I think in the book it becomes apparent (as I think it was implicit in what Mr. Purdom said here a few moments ago) that his international structure - his proposal, that is to say, to federate separately the various functions of human society - would involve a drastic, fundamental internal reconstruction of the individual States. That is to say, it would mean that the States so federated would have had to be reconstructed from the bottom up in a very, very drastic way. I have no time now to go into details - perhaps they will emerge in the discussion. This proposal would involve a reorganization of society in those States considerably more drastic than that which would be necessary to found a Communist society. It would involve a complete break with the past and a complete reorganization of domestic social structures.
To my mind that rules the matter out of court. I believe that we must, in the five years after this war, set up an international structure that will at any rate go some way towards making a revival of the extreme spirit of nationalism unlikely, and will to some extent mitigate the disputes and hostilities which will otherwise grow up between peoples conscious - very conscious indeed - of their new-found statehood, their re-won national individuality. It is because of this urgency, therefore, that the practical difficulties must be taken into consideration.
Mr. Purdom says, Let us discuss the ideal. I am interested in the ideal, but I also want to see whether that ideal has any chance of being translated into practice. Now Professor Mitrany's Functional scheme, I feel, does not suffer from these particular disadvantages. Professor Mitrany's scheme is a highly practical scheme. He starts off with national societies organized as they are. He says that the creation of any political organization such as the League - and still more so of any over-riding political institutions of a federal type - would be almost impossibly difficult. Therefore he advocates the creation of a number of what he calls international agencies. We are to take as models certain existing war-time controls exercised through inter-Allied committees and joint boards of various kinds. We are to develop these bodies, to add to them, to give them more powers, and to put the control of them into the hands of those States which are most interested in each particular function. So the shipping board would very largely controlled by the States which have a predominant position in the shipping world. The oil board would very largely be composed of representatives of the oil-producing countries, and so on. In that way, he suggests, you would get over the difficulty of having State equality, which is one of the difficulties of the League, because you would have different States, some of them very small, playing a predominant part in different functional bodies. And he goes further. He says that it is the central view of the functional approach that some over-all political authority is not essential for our greatest and really immediate needs.
Well, now, it is my contention that although functional bodies may perform an extremely useful task in carrying out the day-to-day work of international administration, nevertheless some form of political supervisory organization is necessary above those bodies for the purpose of laying down the general lines upon which they are to pursue their work, for resolving possible conflicts between them, and so on. Dr. Mitrany himself ingeniously, though I think quite unconvincingly, tries to meet that difficulty. But he is forced to admit later on that in cases where conflict occurs, or in cases where lines of policy have to be laid down, then the individual State Governments must together resolve the conflict or create the fundamental policy.
Professor Mitrany admits that if a situation should arise in our Functional system which would call for some new departure or for the interpretation of some existing arrangements, this could be done only by all the Governments concerned. He then says that you might have some form of League, but asserts that any such assembly in which all the States would have a voice could discuss and ventilate general policies, but could not actually prescribe policy. So this turns out to be the answer. Any line of policy recommended by such an assembly would have to be pressed and secured through the policy-making machinery of the various countries themselves. In my view, with deference to Dr. Mitrany, that is an admission that all his scheme does on issues which really count is to perpetuate a system of international anarchy. Therefore I would submit that useful though the creation of ad hoc functional bodies would be for the carrying out of normal international business, yet you do require above them some form of international legislative authority which lays down the method, lays down the way in which they are to work, and also some form of international executive which enforces these decisions. Then you have your international administration, which will very largely be in the hands of functional bodies.
I cannot go into the form of that international authority, It might take the form of international collaboration, as it did in the League. It might come closer and take some form of international confederation. It might come still closer and take on some form of international federation. Personally, I think all three devices could be used, and I do not think we should go all out in our advocacy of any one of them. I am not here to advocate the immediate creation of a world federal government. What I do think is that there are certain areas to which Federalism is peculiarly appropriate, and that, on the other hand, for a solution of the world problem, some looser form of international collaboration, some inter-state political machinery, must be set up.
Finally, in brief, I would suggest that every form of international organization which we are asked to contemplate to-day should be considered from two angles: Is it desirable ? Does it lead towards the closer integration of the world, towards the ultimate world State in the dim hereafter ? Secondly, is it practical ? Is there a chance of its being carried out within the next five years ?
Professor GEORGE CATL1N: I gather that we are here to-day to talk quite informally - a kind of Brains Trust. I understand that the advantage that the B.B.C. Brains Trust has is that it has a slap-up dinner afterwards. Perhaps that is why Messrs. Joad and Huxley have that kind of verve they do ! But, nevertheless, I propose to imitate them at least in speaking entirely freely - but off the record.
I am glad that the first two speakers have avoided putting Federalism and Functionalism into opposition. Anyhow, I personally would be completely debarred from doing so, because I think I wrote on the Federal Union hypothesis, or at least as I prefer to call it simply the "Union" hypothesis - that is to say, the union of peoples and the abolition of frontiers, the crucial thing - away back as far as 1923. I think that, at that time, the only other person talking in that way - we had not then heard of Federal Unionism, although you will find the phrase "federal union" in Gibbon - was Mr. Lionel Curtis, whose proof I had the honour of reading; but he was talking of the British Commonwealth and I (chiefly geopolitically and culturally) of North America, like Goldwin Smith, and of both the United States and the British Commonwealth. On the other hand, I wrote a small article in the Contemporary Review of, I think, last September, before having had the advantage of seeing Dr. Mitrany's pamphlet, on Functionalism. So I am on record as maintaining both positions, and I should be sorry to learn that they were wholly contradictory. The opposition is, I suggest, a false opposition.
Oddly enough, that opposition connects itself - as I think our Chairman said - with another type of opposition: that between the political and the economic. The attempt to abstract either of these from the other, except for pure purposes of theory, is, I think, completely misleading and false. It has, however, a very interesting history.
If you examine the history of the twenty years after the last war - turn to such a book* as that by Jordan, Britain, France, and Germany - you will find that actually there were two schools, a political and an economic school, and that approximately the French school was the political school, looking to military strength and security, stressing very much the political aspects of the European situation; while what was increasingly the British school, headed by Lord Keynes, tended to say that all these political arrangements did not matter, and that the vital thing was financial control, economic control, and the like. That produced a very strong feeling in the French. You have, therefore, a catastrophic history of the false antithesis between these two.
* See Reading List. (Page 51. [= Appendix (1)] )
What do we mean by the Functional approach ? It is not simply the question that you may have political functions and economic functions. I will not now enter into Mr. Purdom's thesis with, as far as I can see, three Gods that are not one God, but which nevertheless are all parts of the Deity. The Functional approach is one that, I think, appeals to the engineering mind; but it is not new. Ten years ago the famous Professor Kelsen was expounding that theory legally. It can be viewed from different sides. One also recalls the Functional doctrines of the so-called Political Pluralists. Now Dr. Mitrany is using Functionalism, to my mind, in an unduly narrow sense. He is really using the Functional authority almost as a technical authority; so that if you address yourself to technical function - shipbuilding, communications, and the like - you will set up appropriate international boards to deal with the control of these functions; and your system of world government, if you may so call it, will be distributed between these various functions of human activity and their controls. There will be a kind of con-federation of controls. Dr. Mitrany's approach, I repeat, is not altogether a new one. If you cast your mind back you will remember that Austen Chamberlain, at the League, coming to despair of the political approach, said we must use half-open doors and force them wider open, and use the economic approach, particularly through things such as the International Labour Organization. To-day that tends to be the British official attitude - rather that our view of the post-war world should be along technical and economic lines, now christened by the word "functions."
Now that is not my view about what is the correct Functional attitude. I hope before we have finished this discussion to disagree pretty vigorously with my friend Dr. Mitrany, because I frankly think Dr. Mitrany side-steps at least some of the issues that really matter - although his Chatham House pamphlet is a very brilliant piece of work by a very brilliant scholar which you all will have read. I suggest to you that at a time when we are dealing with Fascism, Nazism, and the like acutely political movements - a time when we are dealing with a world where it is technically increasingly possible to carry through production on a national and on an autarchic basis, as it was not fifty years ago - it is simply a misconception of the problem to treat it as if economic functions were necessarily world functions, or necessarily tended to be world functions and could be abstracted from the political functions which obviously dominate the scene.
It is true we had, for example, a Postal Union for many long years. But the very end of the period of the development of this function of postal union is also the period of two world wars. It does not look, therefore, as though the development of technical functions made for increasing peace. I may say in passing that we shall have to define the word "political" before we have finished. I very largely agree with Mr. Purdom's definition. I think his definition of the relation of human beings is the correct one. Definition of politics as simply a matter of States and Governments is wrong and unduly narrow.
What I would suggest to you is this: Our problem is primarily a problem of obtaining world peace. Dr. Mitrany suggests that we do not want a general political authority, because a political authority without active social functions would remain an empty temple. "Society will develop by our living it, not by policing it." Quite true, but you don't want a Government to enable you to live - at least I hope not. I hope we can have some things on which we can live our own lives, not instructed even by Dr. Hugh Dalton. On the other hand, it has been held, to my mind quite correctly, that the primary function of the State is precisely that of policing and maintaining peace. Therefore I do not think Dr. Mitrany is entitled to brush aside that function internationally and say that it does not matter.
And if our primary function is exactly policing - is to maintain peace - then I suggest to you that you cannot side-step this issue of sovereignty as Dr. Mitrany has tried to do. Most political thought has turned on that issue. It is a very inconvenient issue at the present moment. Dr. Mitrany comes to me and says: "Don't let us discuss inconvenient problems in the middle of a great war." I should say: "Well, Mitrany, I agree with you, but it is no good saying that problems don't matter because they are inconvenient ones to discuss at this minute. The problem of who gives orders to whom is the basic political problem. It is one we cannot, I submit to you, side-step."
My own view, in conclusion, of Functionalism is this: I recall an article by Dr. Julian Huxley on the question of size in Nature. He pointed out that certain animals live a certain kind of life, or, if you like, have a certain kind of organic function, and a size proportionate to that organic function. The size of the elephant is adapted to the kind of life the elephant lived, and the size of the ant to the kind of life the ant lived. Or, if you like, you can put it conversely. The environment, having decided a certain area of life, shaped the size of the ant or, again, shaped the size of the elephant. I suggest that the function does determine the size or area of a political organization: that if, for example, what we are addressing ourselves to is world communications, then the very nature of world communications dictates a world area of controls. I won't beg the question by saying "world order." Air communications and the modern technique indicate a world control.
Take, at the other end, the question of education. The Welsh, for example, like to have their own language taught in the schools. Functional education seems to indicate that the small cultural area is the right area. Or, lastly, take many other functions which we shall talk about more this afternoon, I hope, where some area such as the regional area seems to be the appropriate area. Now that is my view of Functionalism, and you will see it undoubtedly connects with the Federal solution. For educational purposes you deal with a relatively small political unit, but for other purposes you have that wider political unit. Clearly the smaller political units will be held together in the way laid down by some form which may be - and I submit even should be - the federal form. That, then, is the reconciliation I throw out to you between an extension of function and the Federal solution for the purposes of politics.
Dr. EDVARD HAMBRO: It seems to me that some of these problems of what kind of world organization we want may be illustrated fairly well by two quotations from people with widely divergent philosophical attitudes towards life. One is that of a German professor who gave a lecture to his students about certain problems, and one of the students rather reluctantly protested against it "But, Sir," he said, "this is not in accordance with the facts." To which the professor answered: "So much the worse for the facts." That is a very apt illustration of certain tendencies among the people who like to choose the exclusively constitutional attitude towards world problems.
The other attitude, which I make mine, is illustrated by a professor of strategy at a military high school, who said to his students: "If there is any discrepancy between the landscape and the map, it is, generally speaking, the landscape that is right." I think that in international life also it is fairly safe to suggest that the landscape is right.
Now let us look at the landscape and see what we think about it. Reluctantly I must agree with the last speaker. I am looking at it from the point of view of my own country, and I give an illustration. Norway collaborates with certain countries for certain purposes. We had before the war very close collaboration in practical and cultural matters with the other Scandinavian countries. We had, for instance, collaboration in the matter of legislation. We had quite a lot of the same statutes concerning family questions, commercial questions, and other important matters in our daily life. It was felt that our cultural patterns were so much alike that this kind of regionalism was natural.
Norway has other interests that are world-wide. Our shipping is of primary economic interest. But our interests in this field are so much greater than that of our neighbours that regional collaboration would be quite unsatisfactory. What we take an interest in is what the United States and Great Britain think about shipping. So there we have another approach. We want collaboration with all the big shipping nations - an Atlantic Confederation, to use one term. Not that we want to exclude the others, but this is an illustration of another kind of federation or a union for a definite purpose where we take an intermediary position. Norway is also a very great fishing country. We export an immense amount of fish and fishing products. All right ! If we want to discuss what to do with these fishing problems - how to settle, let us call it, the law of the fisheries - we are interested in the States round the North Sea. We are interested in Great Britain and in Iceland particularly, so we think of a North Sea Federation for fishing problems; which proves, I think, the truth of Professor Catlin's suggestion that there is no opposition whatsoever between Federalism and Functionalism. And I think it proves furthermore that there is no absolutely ineradicable opposition between Federalism and Universalism. We want Federalism in certain fields and we want Universalism in certain other fields, perhaps particularly for the policing of the world.
Now, the other thing is this approach to Functionalism. Do we like it or do we not like it is really not the problem. It is going to be done, whether we like it or not. We see the trend in the world to-day is exactly to establish one by one functional agencies for all the important problems. I will mention a couple of things to illustrate what I mean.
We talk about the peace after this war, and we realize, I think, all of us, that we are not going to have peace immediately after the end of hostilities. We are going to have what we call a transitional period. Now what does that mean ? Certain people seem to think that that means we are not going to work for the peace in the transitional period - that there is going to be a cooling-off period. It is very far from that. The transitional period means the period in which the troops of the United Nations will occupy a very large part of the world, will police the world, and will administer the world, and this is the most hopeful time for international organization. That time must be used to organize, step by step, international collaboration in all the different fields where it can be done.
Now, there has been mentioned here already U.N.R.R.A. Quite right ! U.N.R.R.A. will work all the time, making people used to thinking along international lines, thinking that it is correct and natural and inevitable that these questions should be solved by international collaboration. Aviation has been mentioned. People discuss what we are going to do with civil aviation in Germany. Are we going to do away with the German airfields ? Very far from it. We want to fly across Germany. They can be used to form an international organization. We want landing fields in Germany and in other countries. We have the United Nations Food Commission set up at the conference at Hot Springs, Virginia - another example of how these things grow step by step.
Take one other little example. We have to make a jump; as we have suggested, a short jump. It was mentioned that we cannot side-step the problem of sovereignty. Of course we know the problem of sovereignty must come up, but as Mr. Purdom has pointed out in his book it can also be used functionally. One little example that will illustrate it. Some time ago there was a conflict between Great Britain and the United States about the sovereignty of certain islands in the Pacific Ocean, and, instead of stating that the sovereignty of these islands ought to be in one country or the other, Great Britain and the United States got together and they said : "What are these islands going to be used for ? What is the function these islands ?" They found that the function of these islands was their airfields. They said: "All right ! We need not settle who has sovereignty. We just settle between us the modes of collaboration for the function of these islands." That, too, might point to the solution of these problems in the future.
I would just end with one little statement about the function of politics. There you have again two different approaches. Certain people are prophets. They are extremely useful. After all, it is the dreamers and the prophets that make the world of to-morrow, or perhaps the world of the day after to-morrow. Then we have the extreme realists, who cry, with Bismarck, that politics is the art of the possible. I have heard another definition of politics which, to my mind, is better, which I think we ought to adopt when we think of international problems: Politics is the art of making possible to-morrow what is impossible to-day.
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The CHAIRMAN: Then we seem to have finished on this note of sovereignty. I would suggest we take that up straight away, and I invite any of my colleagues to get going on it.
PURDOM: My view has been expressed by Dr. Hambro, that sovereignties should be defined and no sovereignty should be all-inclusive. That is to say, political sovereignty should be concerned with relationships between persons and institutions; and therefore a federation of States, an international organ, or federal union of States, should be concerned with relationships between States as States, as bodies that are concerned with human relationships and the relationships of institutions. So with economics and economic bodies. Of course, in economic organs you get the economic function - shipping service, or aviation, or any other economic activity; but you also get personal relationships in those activities between the people concerned. The workers, in carrying out the economic function, have relationships with each other, and the different economic institutions have relationships between themselves. All that, of course, must be decided by the body that is concerned with relationships. It is to that extent that the State comes into the economic field, only so far as it is concerned with relationships. That is not the same thing as what is normally called State control. What we now know as the State control of industry is something which should be entirely got rid of. The State should define the obligations of the industry and the relationships between the people engaged in the industry and of each particular industry with other industries. Its industrial control should stop there.
The CHAIRMAN: . That would be the Corporate State, surely ?
PURDOM: Why should it be the Corporate State ? You have first got to define what a Corporate State is.
The CHAIRMAN: A State consisting of corporations !
PURDOM: Well, if you call the State itself a corporation, it is a Corporate State, but not the Corporate State that we have seen in Italy, for instance.
CATLIN: First of all, without necessarily agreeing with Purdom - because it is difficult to say just like that that the State shall have nothing to do with the running of industry - I take it that really Purdom's view is what used to be called Syndicalistic. G. D. H. Cole elaborated the Guild Socialist idea that industry should run itself: that the workers should run it on an industrial basis. Approximately that idea is very much like Purdom's. What, for example, is not generally realized is that if you are talking about, let us say, the organization of the Jesuit Order, you must remember that the Jesuit Order may be an ecclesiastical Order in the Church; but the organization of the Jesuit Order is a political question, a question of power, a question of control. The relation of the General of the Jesuits to an ordinary Jesuit novice is a political or power relationship. So too with a Communist commissar and a factory worker. Similarly in a factory run under private enterprise, the position of the management in relation to the employee, the position of the shop stewards' committee and the relationship of the shop stewards' committee to the management, are all political questions, in the proper use of the word "political." I think it would be very useful to clarify our minds on that matter. On the other hand, if a Jesuit Order chooses to own a large farm, that is economic. If a trade union happens to be a Christian Socialist Union, then there is a religious question involved.
Now there is the question of sovereignty. Perhaps I may just remind you who have read history what was said by an English political philosopher - no less than that old rogue, Thomas Hobbes. He produced some remarks which will bedevil our statements to-day, and above all the famous remark, "If two men ride on a horse, one must ride in front." Now that is true, and you cannot get away from it. It is metaphysically and physically true, and it is politically true; and although it is very convenient to talk about a plurality of function, nevertheless all this question is, is "Who has the final say ?” There were the famous discussions in the last century on sovereignty, on what was known as Kompetenz-Kompetenz: Who is competent to decide what the other person is competent about ?
It is all very well to have, a Postal Union, or a world air control. But when the air control starts on the question, for example, of transport, and it affects shipping, who then decides which disputed field of regulation falls to air control and which falls to shipping ? Is it some kind of world court, or is it the Council of the League, or what is it ?
The CHAIRMAN: Who decides now ?
CATLIN: The answer is: it is not decided now - and you have anarchy ! Hobbes never denied you might have anarchy, but he said it was a bloody anarchy and made life mean, short, nasty, and brutish. And it seems to me these remarks apply to the present moment. And Hobbes was trying to solve this question of decision. Therefore I don't think you can escape this question of sovereignty. I think you have ultimately got to leave it, as Hobbes said, within the area of the State, to some ultimate scheme of organization - here a scheme of world organization. You have got finally to discover some body which will have the judicial task, say, of the allocation of functions. I don't think you can get away from it.
RANSOME: Legislative too, possibly, but at least, I submit, judicial.
The CHAIRMAN: But what Catlin wants is an executive ?
CATLIN: Judicial ! Although, of course, executive power is required. As President Jackson said of Chief Justice Marshall: "John Marshall has given his decision. Now let him execute it . . . ."
The CHAIRMAN: At present you have legislation enacted by the legislature and administered by the Executive. If you are in doubt as to what is the law laid down by the legislature, you go to the Courts . . . .
CATLIN: The judicial comes before the legislative. That is to say, first you have common law, then the judiciary elucidating common law and custom, then the legislature improving it.
The CHAIRMAN: It is the man behind the man on the horse ?
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PURDOM: If I may speak again about the point raised by Catlin, I think that you cannot have international organization until you first have national organization. In other words, you can't start with the world. My quarrel with Mr. Wells is that Mr. Wells always starts with the world. He starts from the outside. Well, my idea is that you must start with the national organization, and therefore, as Ransome said, until you have national organization on a different basis from what we have at the present time you cannot get international functional organization.
CATLIN: May I put Purdom a question, because I was not quite clear. A few minutes ago he seemed to indicate that you would have a number of functions - economic, cultural, political. Now he is saying you must start with the national. The word "national" usually means Nation-State - England, France, and so forth. I recall the discussion of the 1920's, led by Professor Laski, who had good ideas in those days about . . . .
The CHAIRMAN: Better than now ?
CATLIN: I am sure that his ideas now are still extremely important . . . . . about "pluralism." I wonder whether Purdom agrees with it ? There was, it is true, the national State, but there were other bodies - international trade unions, the international Churches, and so forth. In other words, you had a multiplicity of balanced bodies. You did start from the nation, but you started from other things as well, like the International Labour Office organizations. And you got the balance of these little atoms or these little worlds held together in some kind of system which was working towards a harmony. The hope of the pluralist was that you moved into some kind of world harmony, beginning with the multiplicity of organizations - although you did not get your final Leibnitzian harmony until you moved into the terms of the World-State. I wonder whether you would agree ?
PURDOM: Yes. I do.
RANSOME: Also to break down the national State, to separate its functions ?
PURDOM: Yes, of course, it is a war between States - State in the sense that the State is responsible for economic functions or cultural functions. I would, for instance, separate the State from education. I would not have State education. I would not have State medicine. But the function of the State would be concerned, as I have said, with relationships, and not until you have done that nationally could you build up your federal unions or any other of your international bodies.
I might refer to what Ransome said when he was speaking about destroying the extreme spirit of nationality. That is not my idea. I want to cultivate the extreme spirit of nationality because I believe in individuals, and I believe in personality. I think that the primary problem, if I may say so, is not that of maintaining world peace in the future. I think our primary problem is that of developing human personality. To do that completely, of course, you must have world peace, but the primary problem is human personality. If we think of national problems in terms of human beings, we get a different approach to them and a much better approach than we have at the present time.
The CHAIRMAN: Is your reasoning that where the State is strongest, human personality is strongest ? Is that your logic ? If so, what do the facts reveal in the world to-day ?
PURDOM; Yes; where the State is strongest in its proper sphere - that is, the sphere of the definition of human relationships - we get the strongest development of personality; but where the State steps outside that, as it does at the present time, into other spheres, we get the confusion that we have at the present time, and we get the War that we have at the present time.
The CHAIRMAN: But the War is a war between States ?
PURDOM: Yes, of course, it is a war between States that have overstepped their proper areas. It is a war between absolute sovereignties.
RANSOME: What I want to say at this point is that I feel we have really to discuss what is immediate and vital now. I agree completely with Professor Catlin that what we have to discuss is the authority which is to tell these functional bodies what to do. As Dr. Hambro said, various international bodies will, in fact, be set up, and somewhere there must be an authority which ultimately tells them what to do, in which power rests finally to determine conflicts between them. That is a subject, I think, of immediate importance.
I suggest that for a little bit we leave theoretic, if pleasing, speculations, since there is no chance of a sufficient number of States being broken up in the way that Purdom so eloquently advocates. What I say is that we are shortly going to be faced with nation- States, conscious of their national feelings to a degree that will lead, unless you get hold of them and harness them, to a revival of nationalism in its most pernicious form - not at all as Purdom would like to see it !
Therefore, I want to know what suggestions we can produce here, in our discussion, to meet the fact that these international functional bodies are to be set up ? How are we going to organize them ? Are we going to say, as Professor Mitrany says, that this can only, in the last resort, be effected by negotiations between State governments - a proposal which goes less far than the League went, very considerably less far. Is that what we want, or do we want something more elaborate ? I have my own ideas and I am sure Professor Catlin has his.
HAMBRO: I would like to return to the question by asking another question. The first question to ask is in what way the League failed. Why did the League fail ? Before we know that, we cannot proceed.
First of all, it seems to me we have to settle one thing. People said international law does not exist; international law has broken down. Is that true or is it not true ? That is the first question. I would like to mention here one fact that very few people may realize - that we have in the last hundred and fifty years had an immense number of cases settled by international tribunals, by arbitration, by the Permanent Court of International Justice, and the decisions have all been carried out. It has not once, simply not once, in all that history, happened that a State has flatly refused to obey the decision of the Court. I have had to go through all these decisions covering the last couple of hundred years, and in all these cases I have found about thirty cases where the parties have not obeyed the rules, and they have always given legal reasons.
Another question. In these practical problems we have mentioned the Postal Union. We could mention the International Labour Organization. We could mention an awful lot of other practical unions whose decisions have actually nearly always been brought into life. They are not being disregarded even now. That is a very important fact. The States from both sides of the War have used some of the practical organizations of the League of Nations; not only the United Nations, but even Germany and Italy, have asked for the help of the Health Section of the League of Nations.
One of the reasons why war has broken out is, of course, quite simply that people have always had at the back of their minds that war was the ultimate resort. It was the same way between individuals. As long as citizens knew they could be killed unless they killed, people did kill each other. It was not until we had at last an organized society that people stopped killing each other and managed to find a practical solution. I don't think that view is too pessimistic.
So the question is: What are we going to do to stop nations believing that war is the last resort ? I am sure, ultimately, we must have world control of power. And how is that going to be done ? In the immediate post-war period we know perfectly well the so-called "big four" are going to have a monopoly of power, and I think as long as the four big nations can stick together, and agree, we shall have peace. When people say that wars come from small nations it is not only nonsense; it is dreadful nonsense. I have heard people say that if it were not for the small nations we should not have wars, and they go on to say that the small nations, by being small, tempt the big nations to attack them ! That seems to me as logical as saying the only way to get rid of wolves is to kill all the sheep. Hardly practical.
It is possible, I would like to submit to you, to have a world organization somewhat along the lines of the League of Nations or the International Labour Organization where all these nations who are interested in practical problems can come together and discuss and decide. And within that organization, or above that organization, or alongside that organization, we have another organization of, in the beginning, these big four and, later on, certain other countries that have the power to say: "Whatever you do, don't use force ! Because here we are, with all our power - physical force - and we will stop you from doing it." We do not yet know what kind of organization we will have after the war; and it is possible, as suggested by Dr. Mitrany, to divorce the power monopoly from the rest of the international organization in the beginning. But it is doubtful whether this would be an ideal solution in the long run.
CATLIN: I would like to make three points here. First, sometime I would like to come back to Purdom's suggestion that the thing that is of primary importance is the development of the individual. Oddly enough, I think that is extremely relevant to what we are talking about, because when we come to the analysis of power, we shall find it extremely relevant. I do not agree at the moment - I cannot see my way to agree - that the importance and dignity of the individual person is at all the same thing as the importance of the individual nation. They seem to me two very different propositions, although the desire and urge of nations to express their own spiritual tradition is, I think, very deep and has a direct bearing on what I say about education, because bear in mind that when you are talking about nations in that sense you are talking not of the British, but of the Welsh. You are talking of the Canadians. You may be talking even of the habitants of Quebec - in fact, of every group which has its own culture, which has its own desire to express itself, particularly in education. I should like to come back sometime to the other point, to what bears on the cultural significance of the individual.
Secondly, I notice that Dr. Hambro was rather emphasizing my point when he referred to the World Court and the International Court of the Hague and the rest - the function that has been played by a final judiciary, and the extent to which you will get a judiciary operating long before you might have got an executive, or a legislature. It almost looks as though we have got a judiciary, and normally the decisions of the judiciary are accepted. We are in process of developing the executive. I am referring to the four great Powers which hold what Mr. Morrison calls "the sword of sovereignty" between them. We have yet to develop the working legislature.
I wonder whether we have not reached this stage of agreement ? We have the centrifugal pull of what Lowes Dickinson used to call the international anarchy on the one hand, and the centripetal logical pull towards the complete development of a World State on the other. Between these pulls - and bearing in mind what Hambro said: that the object of political action is to make possible to-morrow what is impossible to-day - our problem is whether you can build up some organization more effective than hitherto; and, if so, what kind of world organization it should be, whether operative by the collaboration of the four great Powers, or whether, for example, it should be the organization of certain regions intimately united within a laxer world framework, until such time as you can get an "intimate" world organization ? I believe that is the next problem before us.
RANSOME: That is precisely the point I should like to take up. I think we are arriving at some measure of agreement. I think we agree that it is probable that in the administrative field international agencies will play a very large part. I would like also to share in the tribute Hambro paid to the power, dignity, and effectiveness of international judicial organization. I think, if I may add to the point he made, that it is very important that we should do all we can to break down the distinction that has very often been made between what are called justiciable and non-justiciable disputes. On that there is a work by Lauterpacht, a very distinguished lawyer. He has written a most able book, a rather difficult book . . . . .
The CHAIRMAN: The Function of Law in the International Community ?
RANSOME: Yes. The object of the book is to say that a court can decide any dispute, even if it is what is called a "political" dispute, and that the court will ultimately decide it, provided only that the dispute is brought before it. That is a very brief description of his argument - that the absence of a specific piece of international legislation will not bar the court from deciding an issue which is brought before it. I think that is very important.
Secondly, I think we agree that, temporarily at least, effective power will rest in the hands of the great Powers.
We next come to the important question of legislation, how peaceful change is to be effected, how international agencies are to be controlled, and so on.
Here I would take up Professor Catlin's suggestion that what we have got to do is not to be too ambitious on the world scale, to be content with a loose form, a relatively loose but developing form, of world international order, but that we should start with experimenting and developing techniques of political control in areas which desperately demand supernational government as distinct from international collaboration. I think that is a distinction we must bear in mind.
Now Federalism is a form of supernational government. It is a type of organization whereby the individual States who wish to set up between them a system of international government part quite definitely with certain powers. They part with these powers to a common government, so that you then have for these States two hierarchies of government. You have the international government dealing with certain defined powers, and you have the States left with the residue. And now two more important points. The federal government, the central government when once created, has the exclusive right of exercising these transferred powers. There are modifications of this principle in certain federations, where you have what are known as concurrent powers; but I do not think we need enter into that. Broadly speaking, once the State has parted with the right to control, say, its own armed forces, that control can only be exercised by the central government.
The third important feature of Federalism is that, when the federal government exercises its powers, it exercises these powers directly upon all the citizens of the federation. It does not exercise them through the mechanism of State governments. That is, to say, when the United States Congress passes an income-tax act, which it has the power to do, it does not tell the State governments that they have got to pass acts to raise so much money. Federal legislation is immediately binding on each individual citizen of the federation, so that the State government is to that extent by-passed. That, I think, is an essential feature of international government, of true supernational government. That is to say, you bring the government at the centre in direct touch with the individual citizens throughout your federation. The above three points roughly define Federalism. Whether you like federation, or think it is practical, is another matter; but without that degree of centralization you have not got a federation.
HAMBRO: I want to say in addition that it is possible to have international acts with immediate effect on individuals, even without having Federalism. I mention that because you know of the very common prejudice among international lawyers that international acts do not have any effects on individuals. Do you agree that view is wrong ? I think we ought to have that clear.
RANSOME: Yes, I do. But speaking broadly I am defining what Federalism is. What Federalists, I think, believe is that there are certain areas of the world, possibly Europe, possibly merely Western Europe, which are ripe for a bold step in the technique of international government, and that inside your loose world organization of a type which has been defined by Dr. Hambro, and to some extent by Purdom, you should have more closely integrated bodies, such as the federations or confederations which would then be able to act as units in the world-wide organization. That would have a double advantage, I think. It would have an immense advantage for these particular areas which were federated, and it would show the way for the ultimate development of the rest of the world. It would prove that it is possible to create true international government, true supernational government, between previously existing sovereign States; and as I believe that ultimately the world will develop towards world supernational government, this at least would be a beginning in the right direction. This, roughly, is my point of view. First, that you have your world system. This would be based on international administration through technical bodies: you would have your world court; you would have your executive power concentrated in the hands of the Big Four; you would have your embryonic system of legislation by means of some sort of League organization. Secondly, inside that world organization you would try to create, in areas where physical and cultural and economic conflicts are not too great, a more permanent system of supernational government both for the benefit of these areas and as an example of the way which you hope the world organization itself will develop.
PURDOM: I should like to say, Mr. Chairman, because I so entirely disagree with Ransome . . . .
The CHAIRMAN: I was hoping we were moving towards agreement !
PURDOM: No, not at all, because to my mind there is nothing more terrible than to contemplate world government, this supernational government that Ransome would like to set up. I think that is what we are fighting against at the present time; because Germany has a scheme of world government, while we have not even a scheme of British Commonwealth government, and we are not going to get it. If you want to study the possibilities of world government in any kind of framework of a democratic character, just study what is taking place now in the discussion that is going on between the nations of the British Commonwealth.
RANSOME: Are you objecting because it is unpractical or undesirable, or both ?
PURDOM: I think it is fantastic, much more fantastic than anything I have thought of, and it is certainly undesirable.
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The CHAIRMAN: It looks as though we shall have to put in a minority report. I was wondering whether in the concluding time we might endeavour to work towards certain related points both of agreement and of disagreement ?
I think we are agreed in the first place - are we not ? - that there is no antithesis between the political and the functional or economic approaches to these world problems ?
RANSOME: But is that Purdom's idea of Functionalism ?
The CHAIRMAN: No, I don't think we differ there.
PURDOM: That was my opening remark.
The CHAIRMAN: So 1 think everyone has accepted that that initial antithesis is a false one.
But, then, we go on to attempt to bring together the political and the functional approaches in some sort of ordered scheme; and there we have, I think, rather failed to achieve unity - at least on the question of federal union, whether regarded as a confederation or a federation. On that issue I think we may nevertheless agree - I don't know whether Purdom agrees, but the others seem to agree - that function does dictate the nature of political organization. It determines the shape of the political organization.
HAMBRO: I think Purdom agrees that function decides what kind of international organization we must have.
PURDOM: It should do so.
The CHAIRMAN: Then we are all agreed on that. That is two points.
A third point which I think very fundamental is that the individual comes first, and all our discussions seem to have been directed towards how to make the individual happy and free inside society. We on this platform do not differ about that, I am sure, and that is a point of substance.
Then we come to more technical problems with regard to the judicial and the legislative organization. But, before tackling that, I wonder if we agree on the administrative side of things - namely, that we need world-wide and regional administrative groups to handle such problems as food and transport ?
RANSOME: I think we are agreed.
PURDOM: Co-ordinating bodies ?
The CHAIRMAN: Yes.
The CHAIRMAN: That is four or five points.
HAMBRO: I am sure that all agree with Purdom, and he agrees with us, that we must have a system of international judicial bodies. That is very important.
The CHAIRMAN: Now we come, to difficulties ! Although I put it on the record, my own feelings were a little disturbed there when I heard Ransome suggesting that your international court could handle non justiciable or, in fact, "political" disputes. I am not sure whether that was his suggestion ?
HAMBRO: May I ask a question ? I have given quite a lot of thought to this problem, and as far as I know the only realistic definition we have of what we call a non-justiciable dispute is the following: that it is a problem which no State, for political reasons, is willing to discuss with anybody !
RANSOME: That is a fact, I think.
HAMBRO: No court can decide what no one wants to bring before it.
The CHAIRMAN: The real problems, then, will never come before the court ?
HAMBRO: Never have, so far !
CATLIN: That is justiciable which the court will take cognizance of; and when they have done so, you may have in effect a political decision.
HAMBRO: The judges won't agree with you !
The CHAIRMAN: The Anschluss judgment was a case in point . . . .
HAMBRO: That was a definite judicial problem . . . .
The CHAIRMAN: But when a judicial dispute, like this one, comes very near the political you get a fifty-fifty difference of opinion ! In other words, a judicial institution is not capable of handling judicially a political dispute ?
HAMBRO No, I would not accept that.
RANSOME: Nor would I.
The CHAIRMAN: Then I am in a minority there !
CATLIN: The court may not be permitted to adjudicate.
RANSOME: It may not be permitted if it springs out of political circumstances.
CATLIN: Then, again, you may have no institution to execute the decision . . . .
RANSOME: I think there is a further point we do agree about - except perhaps Purdom - that somewhere there must ultimately lie the power to decide conflicts between these federal bodies and to discuss the lines upon which they should act.
The CHAIRMAN: To allocate their work and generally direct their activity ?
HAMBRO: I don't think anybody disagrees on that. According to my interpretation of Purdom's book he agrees too. The question is, I think, what kind of organization . . . .
PURDOM: The international body I proposed had no power to act: the important thing is that the questions should be discussed.
HAMBRO: But do we differ there ? We all served that kind of organization. My suggestion is that, as an intermediary solution, we might have an organization such as you would call a "senate" and apart from that, in the beginning inside, or above it, or beside it, we have the monopoly of power exercised at the start by the Big Four to prevent any kind of war or armed dispute breaking out. You would agree with me there, Ransome ?
RANSOME: The Big Four ?
PURDOM: For the time being, oh yes ! because the world will be in such a state and will remain so for some time.
HAMBRO: Do we agree ?
RANSOME: Yes, I think so. We must have international organs.
HAMBRO: And they must discuss and plan and have power to prevent disorder from breaking out.
The CHAIRMAN: But is it to be a consultative or a legislative assembly ? There is all the difference in the world between these two.
PURDOM: Advisory . . . .
HAMBRO: There, again, there is a vast difference; but it is a question of degree.
RANSOME: Yes, and of the area and the scope of the decisions.
HAMBRO: Even if you take a universal scheme - take the International Labour Organization - they sit together and discuss and make treaties, and these treaties are, under certain conditions, binding on certain States.
RANSOME: They have to be ratified.
HAMBRO: Yes, but they are started in certain areas before ratification by the others . . . .
* * * * *
The CHAIRMAN: To get back again, we were speaking of the various federal political units conflicting with each other and coming before the judiciary. As far as we can get along that line, I fear, is that where we have disputes based on existing international law, or even international equity, we can get agreement. The Court can deal with them. We all of us here agree to some sort of world judicial body. But we have still not settled, I think, what to do with this question of the political problems such as would arise over the transfer of colonial territories, the internationalization of strategic points, the rectification of frontiers, and so on - all of which go beyond existing law and are political disputes.
PURDOM: You must have commissions for these particular things.
RANSOME: The commissions can't decide them.
The CHAIRMAN: The commissions can't decide and they can't give a binding judgment.
HAMBRO: It depends on the commission, my dear Sir ! We have lots of commissions with binding force.
The CHAIRMAN: Yes, but it is binding force delegated by some superior body. Without that, they have no power simply because they merely are international commissions acting more or less under the supervision of superiors.
CATLIN: I don't know whether we shall be able to advance much further. I think all we can do now is to state certain final problems that we can think about and talk of. It is clear Purdom has raised certain fundamental issues. I suggested earlier that he was a Syndicalist. I will now suggest he is really an Anarchist; and in point of fact there is a well-known historical association between the two. Modern Anarchism as found in Spain is Syndicalism, and the philosophies touch. I don't agree with him that there is a potential opposition between the personality of the individual and a world government. I submit that a world government is probably the best framework for the liberty of the individual.
HAMBRO: Hear, hear !
CATLIN: You will observe that Purdom does not put peace first. He puts the liberty of the individual ahead of international peace and the termination of international anarchy. I think he may be right in that, oddly enough. I personally agree with him, but that it only true on the spiritual plane. We cannot discuss this afternoon that very old distinction, which is as old as St. Augustine, between the spiritual plane and the secular or State plane. I think that in terms of secular affairs we need an organization for peace. In terms of the spiritual plane the personality of the individual does come first, although it may have to be developed under persecution.
Now we come to this question of organization. Are we satisfied simply with an organization of the great Powers ? It was Erasmus, I think, who said that when princes conspire together to despoil another prince, they call it a "Peace," whether it is a Peace of Versailles or a Peace of Cambrai. Moreover, the whole of history contradicts the belief that the casual association of great Powers is of a durable character.
CATLIN: Once the war is over, the great Powers - inspired by their customary sovereign jealousies, protecting their sovereign interests - tend to fall apart and quarrel, and a loose, rather poor organization consisting of post office workers and aeronauts and U.N.R.R.A.'s or other Geheimrats [secret advice], can scarcely, I think, hold together.
The most you can say is that perhaps some kind of framework can be built up within which, if they do not want to quarrel, they will be able to co-operate. Therefore you come to the question whether you can get intimate organization of parts of the earth with such a drive, such impetus in it, that it may lead on like a snowball to world organization.
RANSOME: That is my view.
CATLIN: That is my own thesis, and Ransome here says he has the same view. I personally hold that if you cannot get that, you had better accept, like our Communist friends, the domination of the Kremlin as world domination. I say if you cannot get a regional organization of an intimate order, then I would personally hold you had better accept the Communist thesis and try through revolution to get a world organization under that disciplined, Jesuit body called the Communist Party.
However, I have not yet reached that degree of political pessimism, although I may reach it very quickly.
Can we, then, get regional organization ? We have Lord Halifax's catastrophic suggestion of the other day: catastrophic because it was stupid; stupid because what he proposed was reactionary; reactionary because it looks back to the days of Chatham or something of the kind. I use these epithets, but with a reservation - I can't really believe that Lord Halifax wished to advocate that the British Commonwealth and Western Europe should form a Middle Kingdom - sit on the see-saw of the Balance of Power until tipped off by the U.S.S.R. or U.S.A. I suspect his Toronto speech was tactical - leading on to other and wiser things in which the British Commonwealth would be one entity. I do not see the British Empire as an integral area, put on its feet like Humpty Dumpty, with the aid of all the King's horsemen, to run the world or hold the balance of power. It seems to me that you might get an Eastern Regional organization. It seems to me that Mr. Stalin's latest move is at least, on paper, a move away from the Kremlin and ostensible control to some kind of, I won't say federation - that would be nonsense - but some kind of plural system in the East, easy and tempting for States like Lithuania, Latvia and indeed Poland or Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria to join. Mr. Stalin is a magnificent window-dresser, and knows exactly how to put things forward; and we may see the Russians pass from a tactical policy of arms on to a strategic foreign policy. Some people do not think that necessary. The Russians think otherwise. And I do not see why this same kind of thing should not happen in the West; and I submit now that this is at least practicable, if there is a will.
One reason Canada has opposed the Halifax proposals is that they put Canada in an impossible position, because Canada is "a Canadian nation which is a North American State within the British Commonwealth"; and Lord Halifax gave them only one half of the formula. You have therefore to have some wider organization including, as nucleus, North America, which may embrace the whole of the United States and the whole British Commonwealth. But I submit it may embrace very much more - Western Europe, and, in lighter affiliation, Latin America and Latin Europe; and then ties with China and a military alliance with Russia. I should like to conclude by saying I am cheered by seeing the attitude of my friends of Norway on this matter, where they have definitely declared that they want to see some kind of Atlantic organization.
I am not a Federal Unionist. I am a world unionist - advancing step by step - not quite the same thing. And I am this because I am a war-abolitionist. I do not think we should tie ourselves at this stage to elaborate constitutional proposals. If somebody wishes to see technical ties, that is good enough for me as long as it produces that kind of sentiment of unity which, springing from common culture fortified by organizations, is the basis of a common law and a judicial system. It seems to me that this is a really practical prospect. We can produce it in the West, also in the East, moving on to China as well, and to some kind of world co-ordination. The task is to get the snowball rolling.
The CHAIRMAN: Well said ! Are there any final comments ? Our two hours are up.
RANSOME: I am prepared to accept that. I would just perhaps add the plea that I regard the integration of Europe, or at least of Western Europe, as of very great, and indeed of supreme, importance.
With that reservation I would be perfectly prepared to accept Catlin's summing-up as an admirable conclusion of the results at which we have arrived this afternoon.
HAMBRO: I accept it.
The CHAIRMAN: With that little addition to the snowball, then, I think we will have, all of us, to take some part in keeping it rolling, and by the time we gather here again - for undoubtedly we must have a further meeting - the snowball will be bigger still.
HOW ARE WE TO GET OUT OF THIS WAR ?
H. G. WELLS
A small minority of people - people who have settled down to a satisfactory job in the munitions business, for example - see no reason why the rhythm of warfare should ever come to an end, and maybe a certain number of old professional soldiers are more or less openly of the same mind.
But the vast majority of people in the world are now sufficiently frightened and aroused to want to get this war over and done with. They are so impatient to get out of it and so worried, that when one asks them "How ?" they are apt to lose their tempers.
Nevertheless the question has to be asked. And it may still be asked in these free democratic countries of ours. We are still permitted to ask whether the rulers and directors who represent us are setting about the job of getting out of this war with as much skill as the Allied armies are winning the fighting.
We want to get out of this war so as to make a clean and conclusive job of it and not repeat the dismal crop of treacheries, repudiations, abandonments, and minor wars that followed the political fooleries of Versailles.
The world then found itself entangled in secret treaties. A secret treaty is a denial of democracy, and no intelligent people can implement anything of the sort. The first item in our HOW is to repudiate any such entanglement the diplomatists may have contrived for us.
* * *
That is a mere preliminary. What is disturbing our minds more and more is the deepening realization that our various Allied Governments do not seem to have the remotest idea how they are going to set about peace-making.
We realize quite clearly that they are making a hopeless mess of the Italian post-war outlook, keeping alive the very justifiable suspicions of Russia, scheming apparently for the economic restoration of Germany under Anglo-American financial exploitation - in spite of the way they burnt their fingers at that game between 1918 and 1930 - and not merely failing but refusing to consolidate any world-wide will for unity. The end of the war, we are told, has to be unconditional surrender. Of whom, to whom ?
Was there ever a sillier phrase ? These Italians are expected to fight like devils for us now, and then open their mouth and shut their eyes and swallow - after a few years of this and that - whatever may be the outcome of the inevitable disputes, indecisions, bargains, and grabbings among the Victors.
Nobody in the world believes that our Great Alliance knows its own mind. Our rulers are asking the Italians to surrender blindly to a mere squabble, and apparently they are going to make the same demand upon every belligerent who has taken up arms against us.
* * *
I suppose these old diplomatists and exploiting experts, these trained officials and party men - stupid, narrow, ego-centred, and insincere to the very marrow of their beings - do really dream of some sort of new Versailles Conference to which the sinful defeated will come, shackled and muzzled, to hear the jumbled compromise judgment of these incoherent Victors, and they will come without the slightest intention of carrying out the pompous findings to which, under duress, they will submit.
They will wait for the cracks of dissension to open in the Allied diplomatic front, and they will slip through those cracks.
Yet the realities of the world situation are such that only men brought up as superiors, rulers, and "leaders," saturated and stupefied by training in that capacity, can be altogether blind to it. Nothing but a cosmic explosion that would blow our world to smithereens can end this war now at one blow.
First and foremost a vast proportion of the world's population has been uprooted, enslaved, driven from its homes, starved, its horses and cattle killed, and the very soil that fed it scorched and destroyed. These victims have not only to be liberated and fed, but brought back to restore their devastated homelands.
That is a job that even under the best conditions will not be done in a hurry. Not only the land, but machinery has been stolen and smashed. It has to be replaced. And a still vaster multitude will never be restored, because it has been cynically exposed to destruction or deliberately killed. We know a multitude of the murderers. After all the threats and frothings of our propaganda, is there to be no penal law for the wholesale killer ?
Here are two things that, at the most favourable estimate, and even if we avert the idiot minor wars that hang over us, will take some years to put right. Pigs and poultry we may restore in four or five years, but breeding the sheep and cattle will take longer; the starved fields have to be re-fertilized and woods and forests replanted.
This can only be done by special commissions of competent men; that is to say, of scientific men. If it is to be done at all there must be an armistice, a world agreement, while the reparation commission works.
* * *
But that is not all that has to be done in this winding-up of the war. We cannot run the risk of blitzkriegs again; and that means we must have a world organization for patrolling the air. Moreover, we shall have to move food and people about to an unprecedented extent. We cannot have private enterprise putting up fares and choking our supplies.
Here, again, is a plain necessity for a world control, a world transport commission; and that, again, will have to be working to prevent the smart ones cornering the food and shelter. There must be, therefore, an anti-grabbing commission - that is to say, a world distribution commission - if the world is ever to recover health, sanity, and security.
So that whichever way we turn we face the plain common-sense necessity of a period of adjustment, an armistice under a group of world commissions, which will gently but firmly pull the world's affairs into shape.
I have never heard of any other proposals for world settlement that do not leave the road to anarchy and enhanced human suffering wide open.
People will not consent to this sort of thing, you will say. We have learnt in the past ten years that people will consent to almost anything that is put over them. And also there is no reason why any sane and tolerable Government in the world should be antagonized by these commissions.
They come not to destroy, but save. They are something new added to human life, because of its dangers and needs. They set aside no Government but only provide a working modus vivendi between them all.
On the secure basis of a common economic order and of a fundamental law securing the natural rights of man, racial and cultural distinctions can flourish unchallenged. Possibly these commissions may attract most able men from the narrower field of local and national politics, but that is another matter.
These armistice commissions, drawn like the world of science from the capable men of every country, may very well develop unostentatiously into a sort of auxiliary government, of world-wide scope and authority.
* * *
Within its security it will be possible for men and women of a less comprehensive temperament to wear lovely uniforms, to decorate themselves and their names with badges, robes, and honorifics, to be heroes of this and lords of that and let their innocent egotism rip without fear for themselves or harm to their fellow-men.
They may form associations like the Knights of Columbus, the Daughters of the American Republic, or the Freemasons, or any sort of hierarchy, to their hearts' content; the great commissions of the armistice will ensure the kindliest treatment for the whole asylumful of human pretension. They may have their statues and portraits and monuments.
But without these armistice commissions there will he no return to such freedoms of the human imagination for evermore.
They will wander, penniless pretenders and inconvenient refugees, in a starving world. They will shiver like King Lear - who trusted others to rule for him - with Tom Fool as their last courtier in the devastated wilderness that was once human hope and desire.
(This article was first published on October 24, 1943.)