From For A Lasting Peace, For A People’s Democracy
#7 (34), April 1, 1949

The Atlantic Pact – An Instrument of American Imperialism in the Struggle for World Domination

R. Palme Dutt,
Communist Party of Great Britain

On April 4th the Atlantic Pact is due to be signed by the United States and the satellites of American imperialism. With this signature the war camp comes into the open.

Today Anglo-American imperialism is treading in the footsteps of German Hitlerite imperialism. Once again there is the same frantic and vicious denunciation of the Soviet Union and Communism as "the enemy of civilisation". Once again there are the same bellicose calls to a "crusade for Western culture." And once again these slogans and watchwords covering the same aims of aggressive expansion and world domination are directed' against the peace and freedom of all nations.

In view of the official declarations that the Atlantic Pact is a purely "defensive”, "peaceful" Pact for the preservation of world peace, it is worth recalling the previous similar declarations which were made by the signatories of the Anti-Comintern Pact.

Bevin, British Foreign Minister, speaking in Parliament on March 18 described the conclusion of the Atlantic Pact in the following terms:

"This is an historic occasion. It is certainly one of the greatest steps towards world peace and security. This agreement marks the opening of a new era of cooperation and understanding."

Ribbentrop, Nazi Foreign Minister described the conclusion of the Anti-Comintern Pact in the following terms in November, 1936:

"The conclusion of to-day's agreement is an epochal event. It is a turning point in the struggle of all nations which love order and civilisation against the powers of destruction... This agreement is a guarantee of peace for all the world."

Bevin, British Foreign Minister, declared of the Atlantic Pact:

"This Pact is a powerful defensive arrangement, it is not directed against anyone. If we are accused of ganging up against any country or group of countries, I should say simply. “Examine the text. There is no secrecy about it; there are no secret clauses."

Ciano, Fascist Foreign Minister, declared of the Tripartite Anti-Comintern Pact:

"The Pact has^ no hidden aims. It is directed against no one... It is an instrument placed in the hands of peace and civilisation."

The entire British and American official press has described the Atlantic Pact as a "rampart of two hundred and fifty million people" against the "menace of Soviet aggression" and ''communist disruption."

The Nazi organ, Voelkischer Beobachter described the Anti-Comintern Pact in November, 1937:

"The Tripartite Agreement is a bulwark of peace. A dyke of two hundred million human beings is being formed to protect the peace of the world from Bolshevist destruction."

The parallel is sufficiently clear. The Atlantic Pact is a new Anti-Comintern Pact. History has shown how the Anti-Comintern Pact led to the Second World War and the final ruin of its promoters. The writing is on the wall for the promoters of the Atlantic Pact.

The Atlantic Pact is no less misleadingly named than the old Anti-Comintern Pact.

The Atlantic Pact has in reality no geographical limitation. Acheson declared that it may be regarded as reaching in either direction up to the Pacific. Thus its character is revealed as the formation of an imperialist war bloc directed against the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies, no less than against the working class and national independence of the Western European countries. Italy is to be included, although Italy has no borders on the Atlantic. Special arrangements of close association are announced with Greece and Turkey. An accompanying Mediterranean Pact is proposed. Negotiations are being speeded up for a parallel Pacific Pact of imperialist powers and satellites of imperialism in Asia to constitute a bloc against China's democracy and against the advancing tide of national liberation in Asia.

The sponsors of the Atlantic Pact endeavour to present it as a harmless peaceful regional pact within the United Nations and in accordance with the United Nations Charter for defence against aggression. This is a complete deception.

The Atlantic Pact is a military alliance outside the United Nations. It has never been reported to or sanctioned by the Security Council which alone has power under the Charter for all measures in relation to collective security. It is a betrayal of the principle of collective security in order to return to the obsolete, discredited method of sectional Military Alliances and Power Blocs which the United Nations was established to abolish and replace.

Defenders of the Pact sometimes claim that it is a Regional Pact in accordance with Articles 52 and 53 of the United Nations Charter. This is false. The Charter lays down with regard to Regional Pacts that

"No enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorisation of the Security Council, with the exception of measures against any enemy state."

"Enemy State" means as defined in the Charter, Germany, Italy, Japan or Franco Spain. That is why the bilateral treaties of the Soviet Union with neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe are exactly in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter since they are directed solely against aggression by Germany or a coalition including Germany. On the other hand the Atlantic Pact and Brussels Pact contain no such limitation but indeed are already endeavouring to include not only Italy, but even Western Germany, and possibly Franco Spain. The forbidding of any "enforcement action... without the authorisation of the Security Council" means that the very action which is laid down by the Atlantic Pact is expressly forbidden and declared illegal by the Charter.

Other defenders of the Pact try to claim that it is in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter which permits individual or collective self-defence against actual aggression. This is no less a complete deception. The right to defend yourself when under attack has nothing to do with, and was never intended to sanction, the formation of sectional Power Blocs, outside the United Nations making their own separate arrangements for combined military action without reference to the Security Council of the United Nations.

The Atlantic Pact has been organised in order to undermine the United Nations and replace it by a Sectional War Bloc. The Anglo-American war camp found they could not use their artificial majority in the United Nations in order to make it an instrument of war in face of the obstacle of the "veto” or principle of obligatory unanimity of the Great Powers.

The so-called "Veto" stands as a visible bulwark of peace. That is why the war camp rages against it, and seeks now to replace the United Nations by the criminally illegal war alliance of the Atlantic Pact.

The Atlantic Pact represents an alliance of reactionary imperialist powers against the peoples. Its main participants are the great colony owning powers, the United States, Britain, France, Belgium and Holland.

These imperialist powers are not only pursuing imperialist aims of domination throughout the world, but are engaged at this moment in wars of aggression.

Britain conducts its war in Malaya. Holland conducts its war in Indonesia. France conducts its war in Viet Nam. Half of Britain’s mobile expeditionary forces, half the French forces and almost all the Dutch military forces are engaged at this moment in war operations in Eastern Asia, while; their statesmen prate to their home audiences about their love for peace.

General MacArthur, in his interview to Ward Price in the Daily Mail of March 2 (the same correspondent who used to print similar interviews with Hitler for the Daily Mail) cooly describes the Pacific as "an Anglo-Saxon lake."

"Now the Pacific has become an Anglo-Saxon lake, and our line of defence runs through the chain of islands fringing the coast of Asia."

This imperialist war alliance for world aggression and conquest is dominated by United States imperialism. British imperialism, and the European colonial powers, France, Belgium and Holland, have surrendered themselves to the overlordship of the United States finance capitalists as the price of maintaining their empires as junior partners. In return for this "protection'' the main burden of providing the armed forces for the colonial wars and for holding in subjection the colonial territories fails on the European colonial powers, while the United States capitalists draw the cream of the profits.

In the operation of the military alliance of the Atlantic Pact the decisive power rests with the United States. When the United States war chiefs give the order, the guns will go off, and the British, French, Italian and other Western European peoples will be expected to march for the glorious crusade against Socialism. It is no use claiming that Norway and the United States are nominally equal partners in the Atlantic Pact with equal rights. In practice it the United States that supplies the money, supplies the: arms, provides the High Command, controls the bases arid controls the strategic preparations and therefore holds the whip hand for the choice of war or peace.

Already United States General Marshall Carter has arrived in London, with the rank of Minister, to take over control of the development of the military programme in Britain and Europe.

Already, the first American Atom Bomb Long Range Bomber Contingent, with thirty B.20s and B.50s complete with atom bomb equipment and a personnel of 900, is now arriving from New Mexico to Britain as their future base. The arrival of the Atom Bomb Contingent is not a measure for the defence of Britain. It places Britain at once in mortal peril.

Gigantic re-armament programmes are being rushed through by the Atlantic Pact Powers. At the same time as they block and oppose in the United Nations the Soviet proposals for reduction of armaments and for the prohibition of the atomic bomb, they pile up offensive armaments. The United States has increased its direct war expenditure to fifteen times the pre-war level, or half the total budget. Britain has increased its direct expenditure to over three times the pre-war level (the level of 1939 on the very eve of war with Hitler). The United States prepares to pour weapons into the European countries under terms of “military lend-lease." Britain, it is announced in the Sunday Times of March 20 is to become the "main armaments depot for Europe”, the Ruhr is to be developed under American control to become the arsenal for future war.

This burden of re-armament, of maintaining gigantic armed forces, and of colonial wars still further overstrains the already impoverished economies of the Western European countries, and increases their economic dependence and subjection to American imperialism. The Dutch budget is bled by the war of colonial conquest in Indonesia. The French budget is bled by the war of colonial conquest in Vietnam. In Britain the Parliamentary debates on the military estimates have revealed the bankruptcy of man-power and resources to fulfil the limitless imperialist ambitions. Alexander, Minister of Defence, complains in the House of Commons on March 3:

"We have to cover risks, including Hong Kong and Malaya.

We have to think of the defence positions in the Middle East and in the Mediterranean.

Our commitments In Greece have to be maintained.

There are forces of occupation to be maintained in Germany, Austria and Trieste.

We have to watch developments in East and West Africa and in places as far apart as Honduras and in the extreme South.”

There could be no clearer expression .of the world designs of aggression and domination still entertained by the weakening British imperialism.

The Atlantic Pact is not only directed against the Soviet Union and the People's Democracies of Europe. It is directed also against the liberation struggle of the colonial peoples of Asia and Africa. It is directed finally against the democratic movement in the countries of Western Europe and America.

Article 4 of the Pact lays down

"The parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened."

This Article is drawn up to establish the right of intervention in the internal affairs of the countries signing the Pact, not merely on the basis of possible request of a government of one of the countries, but on the basis of a judgement of any one of the signatories (i.e. the U.S.) so as to maintain reactionary imperialist domination against the opposition of' the peoples or to crush any popular revolution.

The Article only lays down "consultation", but Secretary of State, Acheson made clear in his Press conference following the publication of the Pact that such "consultation" does not preclude "action", if such should be judged necessary in the event of internal political developments not approved by the rulers of the United States. The flagrant interventionist methods of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan are thus carried to a new stage in the Atlantic Pact. The example of Greece is to be transferred according to these plans, to Italy or France, if occasion arises.

The peoples of Western Europe and America will unite with the peoples of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European democracies,, no less than with the colonial peoples struggling for their national freedom and independence in combating this infamous War Pact and mobilising their strength to defeat the criminal war plans and win the tight for peace. The declarations of Comrades Thorez and Togliatti for France and Italy, of Comrades Pollit and Foster for Britain and the United States, and of Communist leaders in all countries, have voiced the deep sentiment of unbreakable solidarity with the Socialist Soviet Union which inspires the working people of the whole world to fight for peace. The urgent task now is to awaken the consciousness of the people in all countries to the menace which arises from this Pact, to mobilise still more broadly and widely all sections of the people, especially in the countries signatory to the Pact, to inspire them with confidence in their power by their united strength to defeat the imperialist war plans.

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