Sec. of State James Byrnes – Report on Paris Peace Conference – Oct. 18, 1946 –
As a harbinger of things to come, Secretary of State James F. Byrnes returned from the Big-3 Paris Peace Conference with a pessimistic outlook. It was becoming abundantly clear that waging the Peace was going to be more difficult than waging the War was. From plotting out how the Post-War map was going to look to dealing with the human element element of starvation, refugees, the displaced and the homeless. It was going to be a Herculean task, not made any easier by a growing air of antagonism from the Soviet Union.
And so to report on the outcome of this first round of talks, Secretary Byrnes delivered a nationwide address from The State Department, assessing what was accomplished and what remained to do be done in this Post-War period.
Secretary Of State Byrnes: “It is now 15 months since the decision was reached at Potsdam to set up the Council of Foreign Ministers to start the preparatory work on the peace treaties with Italy, Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, and Finland.
Those months have been hard, difficult months.
At the Council of Foreign Ministers and at the Paris Peace Conference your representatives were a united and harmonious delegation acting under the guidance and instructions of the President of the United States. The difficult tasks were immeasurably lightened by the splendid work and cooperation of my associates, Senator Connally, Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Vandenberg, spokesman for the Republican Party in foreign affairs. In the Conference we have represented no political parties. We have been united in representing the United States.
After every great war the victorious allies have found it difficult to adjust their differences in the making of peace. Even before the fighting stopped, President Roosevelt warned us that
“The nearer we came to vanquishing our enemies the more we inevitably became conscious of differences among the allies.”
That was why President Roosevelt was so insistent that the United Nations should be established before the peace settlements were made.
It was inevitable that in the making of concrete peace settlements the Allies should discuss and debate the issues on which they disagree and not those on which they agree. It was also inevitable that such discussions should emphasize our differences.
That is one reason I have continuously pressed to bring about agreements upon the peace settlements as rapidly as possible.
Leaving unsettled issues which should be settled only serves to increase tension among the Allies and increase unrest among the peoples affected.
We cannot think constructively on what will or will not contribute to the building of lasting peace and rising standards of life until we liquidate the war and give the peoples of this world a chance to live again under conditions of peace.
It is difficult to deal with the problems of a convalescing world until we get the patient off the operating table.”
Here is that complete address as it aired on October 18, 1946.
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