CHAPTER FIFTEEN: THE SILKEN THREAD
In the story Gulliver's Travels, we all recall the way in which the tiny Lilliputians succeeded in rendering Gulliver powerless until they were sure he could be trusted. When they found him unconscious after being washed up on the beach, they immediately set out to bind him down with what to them was heavy rope but was to Gulliver only the finest of silken thread. The Lilliputians worked frantically through the night knowing that they had to finish their job before the morning sun rose to awaken the giant from his slumber. When Gulliver finally came to, he found himself entirely helpless and unable to move even a finger. The thread, which he could have easily broken at any one place, had been carefully wrapped around his body thousands of times and was more than his match.
For the past two decades the United States, the giant among all the world powers, has been lying semi-conscious while lesser forces bind him hand and foot with thousands of strands of silken thread. Throughout these years he has, bit by bit, allowed himself to become entangled in every conceivable kind of agreement, commitment and treaty--any one of which would not be disastrous by itself, but the sum of which is rapidly adding up to total capture.
At the present time, there are 113 member states in the United Nations. Over fifty percent of these have a combined population of less than the United States! Many, like Iceland with a population of 200,000, would be hard pressed to rate even as one of our congressional districts. There are 56 members whose, population is less than that of metropolitan Detroit. It is possible to get a majority in the General Assembly from nations that between themselves contribute less than seven percent of the annual budget.1 And most of even that seven percent was first given to them as foreign aid by the United States.
When the Charter was submitted to the Senate for ratification in 1945, there were only two portions which received much publicity: the opening sentence of the Preamble, which proclaimed "To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . . ," and the seventh paragraph of Article 2 which states "Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit to such settlement under the present Charter." It is extremely doubtful that the Charter would have been ratified had it not been for this latter guarantee that other nations could not use the United Nations to meddle in our private affairs. But, as Americans were later to find out, there is nothing that the UN considers to be "essentially within the domestic jurisdiction" of America.
This became obvious around 1949. Mr. Levi Carneiro, writing that year in the UNESCO Symposium on Human Rights, stated: 'Relations between states are based on the assumption that the internal policies of each nation are the concern of all nations."2 Mr. Moses Moskowitz, a noted internationalist, made the following statement in the American Bar Association Journal in April of the same year: "Once a matter has become, in one way or another, the subject of regulation by the UN, be it by resolution of the General Assembly or by convention between member states at the instance of the UN, that subject ceases to be a matter of being 'essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the member states.’" By the following year, 1950, our State Department under Dean Acheson was saying the same thing. In September it issued a formal policy statement with a foreword by President Truman which read: "There is now no longer any real difference between domestic and foreign affairs."3 And on May 22, 1959, while speaking before the students at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, President Eisenhower said: "For us indeed there are no longer 'foreign affairs' and 'foreign policy.' Since such affairs belong to and affect the entire world, they are essentially local affairs for every nation, including our own."4
A clear example of what far-reaching, implications are carried with this philosophy was provided on August 7, 1963, when the Security Council voted nine to nothing in favor of a resolution taking action against South Africa for its policy of racial segregation. Regardless of how we may feel about racial segregation in South Africa, it is definitely the internal or domestic affair of that country. Nevertheless, the United Nations took it upon itself to impose an arms embargo and other sanctions under the justification that racial segregation in South Africa was somehow "seriously disturbing international peace and security"! The attitude of the UN was expressed during the debates by Carlos Alfredo Bernardes of Brazil who said that the question now was whether to continue to rely on persuasion or to advocate "more energetic and coercive methods of action." Nikolai Fedrinko of the Soviet Union piously described the situation in South Africa as "a reign of terror and violence" maintained by "fascist" methods.5
Aside from the fact that South Africa is one of the few remaining prosperous and strongly anti-Communist countries in Africa, there are several interesting points about this UN resolution. One is the clear and unmistakable violation of the Charter, as we have already mentioned. Another is the slavish way in which the U.S. almost always follows the Soviet lead in such matters. When this question came before the UN on a previous occasion, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge rose and said: "An item of this character invites questions about the competence of the General Assembly under Article 2, paragraph 7 of the Charter. The U.S. has observed with increasing concern the tendency of the General Assembly to place on its agenda subjects, the international character of which is doubtful." After saying this, Lodge then turned around and voted in favor of the resolution! That was on September 16, 1953. Ten years later, on August 7, 1963, U.S. Ambassador Stevenson was carrying on the Lodge tradition by voting with the Soviets against South Africa.
Since it has been clearly established that America's domestic affairs are all now international in character and, as such, are subject to United Nations jurisdiction, consider what might happen in the not-too-distant future if the Soviet Union should charge the U.S. with political discrimination because of its laws to limit the activities of the Communist party in this country. What would the United Nations World Court decide?
Under the terms of the Charter, we have pledged ourselves to promote full employment and social and economic progress for all peoples. If we decided to stop our foreign aid to India or Communist Poland, and these countries charged that we were not living up to our Charter obligations, what would the World Court decide?
If Fidel Castro charged the United States with threatening international peace and security by keeping its naval base at Guantanamo, what would the World Court decide?
There are fifteen justices on the World Court. Article 25 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice says that nine judges constitute a quorum for the Court to do business, and a majority of the nine can render judgments. This means that five judges can determine decisions. The statute also states: "The Court may, from time to time, form one or more chambers composed of three or more judges, as the Court may determine, for dealing with particular categories of cases; for example, labor cases and cases relating to transit and communications." In other words, in some matters, decisions can be rendered by as few as two justices!
Of the fifteen justices on the United Nations World Court, most come from strongly leftist or Communist countries. The United States is represented on this Court by Philip Jessup, whose background with Alger Hiss and the Institute of Pacific Relations has already been discussed.
What would the World Court decide?
When the United States joined the United Nations, it automatically became a member of the World Court. But it was not bound by the Court's jurisdiction unless and until it filed a formal declaration in the form of a Senate ratified treaty. Senator Wayne Morse introduced in the Senate a resolution "recognizing as compulsory . . . the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in all legal disputes hereafter arising . . . provided that such declaration shall not apply to disputes with regard to matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States." [Italics added.]6 Suspecting that there might be a little difficulty in the future definition of matters "essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States," some of the senators began to look more cautiously at the whole resolution. Senator Thomas Connally was eager for the U.S. to at least go on record as accepting some jurisdiction of the World Court. Rather than see the whole issue defeated he proposed a simple amendment to the Morse resolution. It consisted of six words: "as determined by the United States." With this amendment, the resolution passed by a vote of 62 to 2 on August 2, 1946.
As of today, these six words are all that stand between us and complete legal subjection to the whims of fifteen or nine or five or even two men whose legal backgrounds and personal ideologies may be strongly antipathetic to the free world in general and to the United States in particular.
In spite of this, there has been a concerted drive in this country to generate support for the repeal of the Connally Amendment. The basic stratagem behind this drive has been to trick Americans into believing that unless we repeal the amendment we are self-judging our own case. This is then supposed to shame us into being big enough and courageous enough to openly submit our cases to impartial judgment. This, of course, is an invalid argument since all we are doing is challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to try these cases in the first place. This is a common and ancient practice in American law. Just as we would refuse to submit a murder case to a traffic court, we have a right to refuse to submit a case involving domestic affairs to an international court. In view of the prevailing accepted definition of domestic affairs this reservation is more important than ever before. Nevertheless, the drive to repeal the Connally Amendment has been carried forward relentlessly by United Nations devotees under the appealing and attractive banner of "World Peace Through World Law." Not only has the Communist party pushed hard for repeal, but, unfortunately, so have Eisenhower, Nixon, Kennedy, Stevenson, Rusk and Johnson.
Accepting compulsory jurisdiction of the United Nations World Court is just one of the threads that is rapidly binding Uncle Sam into complete helplessness. It is, however, one of the most important because many of the others could be untied, in time, without it. Should this one be secured, though, poor Gulliver will not have a chance.
The silken thread to which we have been referring actually takes the form of international treaties. As John Foster Dulles, secretary of state, said in 1952:
This may come as a shock to those who have harbored the idea that they are protected as American citizens by the Bill of Rights. But, as a result of a series of Supreme Court decisions, it is now entirely possible for us to enter into a treaty with a foreign Government or the United Nations which would, as Mr. Dulles said, "cut across the rights given the people by the Constitutional Bill of Rights." If the UN Covenant on Human Rights, for instance, should ever receive the support of two thirds of our senators--whether they realized what they were doing or not--our whole Bill of Rights would be automatically and immediately repealed. It is that simple.
Of course, our Founding Fathers, who drafted our Constitutional system, never intended for it to be this way. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson wrote:
This is the view that prevailed for many years in America. In 1836, in its decision in the case of New Orleans v. U.S., the Supreme Court pointed out:
This concept of limited government is the whole basis of the American system. By taking the chains off the people and placing them on the government, we established the formula for freedom and enterprise which has made us the envy of the world. While other nations were still laboring under a system where government officials are free to do anything they claim is in the best interests of all, American leaders had first to consult a meaningful constitution to make sure that their proposals in addition to being "good" were also constitutional. And if not, what then? George Washington answered that when he said:
But all that was a long time ago. Today our politicians tell us that those concepts are out of date and antiquated; that these modem times demand fresh approaches and greater flexibility in order to cope with the challenge of the atomic age. Only those who have never studied the demagoguery of past ages could accept these as fresh approaches. They may sound new, but they are the same worn arguments used to sell dictatorship to the people from ancient Rome to Nazi Germany.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., special assistant to President Kennedy, said in a speech delivered on February 15, 1962: "Jefferson is today remote and irrelevant . . . a figure, not of present concern, but of historical curiosity."11
On August 28, 1961, President Kennedy spoke to a gathering of students at the White House and said:
That same year Senator J. William Fulbright, one of the country's most outspoken internationalists, made a speech at Stanford University. Fulbright was less guarded in his choice of words than President Kennedy but expressed the same views when he said:
Still at it in 1963, Senator Fulbright stated:
Since the Ten Commandments also date back to an agrarian society, and since they were established not 200 but 3000 years ago, it would be interesting to have the senator's views on the extent to which we must "break out of the intellectual confines" of these "cherished and traditional beliefs to meet the requirements of the twentieth century." But Fulbright did not give us the benefit of his wisdom on this subject, nor did he say just when this nation under God became dependent upon its leading politicians for moral guidance, or when it was transformed from a government of the people to a government of the elite.
It was the year 1920 that marked the beginning of a long chain of events leading up to this present repudiation of our traditional American concept of limited government. It was in that year that the Supreme Court (in Missouri v. Holland) reversed its previous position and declared that a federal law, which was otherwise unconstitutional, must be considered valid if it is in accordance with a treaty. In one fell swoop, nine men completely undermined our Bill of Rights and all other constitutional safeguards that had been so painstakingly erected by our Founding Fathers. While many years were to pass before the full impact of this sweeping decision was to be felt in our everyday lives, still, the brakes had been released, and the massive machinery of totalitarianism began to inch forward.
By 1942 it had gained considerable momentum. So much so, in fact, that the concept of supremacy was extended to include not only treaties which must be ratified by two thirds of the Senate, but also executive orders, personal agreements and international compacts entered into by the President which do not have to be ratified nor even seen by the Senate or anybody else! In U.S. v. Pink, the Supreme Court ruled: "A treaty is the 'law of the land.' . . . Such international compacts and agreements as the Litvinov assignment have similar dignity. . . . State law must yield when it is inconsistent with, or impairs the policy or provisions of a treaty, or of an international compact or agreement."15
What this means is that America has now reached the point where it is legally possible for the President to issue orders to enforce some agreement which he himself has made with another government or with the United Nations, and these orders are absolute and final with no recourse to constitutional safeguards.
Recent presidents have not yet dared to exercise more than a small fraction of that power, knowing that, legal or not, they would have trouble enforcing such edicts. Nevertheless, the lever of raw dictatorship is fully operable any time the Chief Executive wishes to throw it.
President Truman tugged at it gently when he committed us to war in Korea. Remember when only Congress could declare war and send American boys to battle? Truman simply changed the name from "war" to "police action" and issued a decree. He was acting on the authority placed in him, not by the United States Government, but by the United Nations Charter.16
He pushed at the lever again when he decided to seize some steel mills with uniformed soldiers. How many Americans stopped to wonder where the President got the power to do a thing like that? And how many felt any cause for alarm when he said that he was acting to uphold our commitment to the United Nations and NATO?
On February 23, 1954, the late Senator William Jenner revealed that the machinery had gained even greater forward motion when he declared:
At the conclusion of his speech, Senator Jenner urged his colleagues to support the Bricker amendment, which was then under discussion in both houses of Congress. The Bricker amendment was a proposed amendment to the Constitution which simply stated that the Bill of Rights and other constitutional provisions were under no circumstances to be overridden by any treaty. It was so simple, so logical and so desirable that there seemed no good reason why the proposal should not receive the enthusiastic support of everyone. The 1952 Republican platform contained a promise to support the Bricker amendment, and surprisingly enough, even Eisenhower went along with no objections. Then, of course, he was a candidate. After the elections Eisenhower made a complete about face and used the full prestige of his office to oppose the Bricker amendment. He, more than any other man, was responsible for its ultimate defeat. As Marquis Childs reported in the Washington Post:
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the man who had so brilliantly explained how treaties can cut across our Bill of Rights, was now speaking against the Bricker amendment on behalf of the Eisenhower Administration. He spoke before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 6, 1953, and assured those present that the new Administration had no intention of doing any of the dangerous things be had previously said could be done through treaty law.19 In other words, under a Government of such good men as Eisenhower and Dulles, who needs laws?
When the test finally came in the Senate, the Bricker amendment failed to pass by just one vote.
It is now doubly interesting to return to the pages of the April 1945 issue of the Communist periodical Political Affairs and read the ominous prediction:
After the Charter is passed at San Francisco, it will have to be approved by two-thirds of the Senate, and this action will establish a weighty precedent for other treaties and agreements still to come.20
1. Congressman James B. Utt, Congressional Record (April 11, 1962).
2. Human Rights: Comments and Interpretations, p. 178.
3. Foreign Affairs Policy, Series 26, Department of State publication #3972.
4. Clarence Manion, "This Is Where I Came In," American Opinion (April 1960), p. 21. Dean Manion is a former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, former director of the U.S. Department of Inter-Governmental Relations (appointed by President Eisenhower), and now is heard weekly from coast to coast over radio and TV on the Manion Forum.
5. United Nations Review (August-September 1963), pp. 20-24.
6. Review of the UN Charter--A Collection of Documents, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations document #87 (January 7, 1954), pp. 108-109.
7. Senator William Jenner, Congressional Record (February 23, 1954). Also, Congressman James B. Utt, Congressional Record (January 15, 1962).
8. Thomas Jefferson, Manual of Parliamentary Practice (1801).
9. Frank E. Holman, "To Save the Constitution," the Freeman (March 1955), p. 361.
10. American Historical Documents, p. 144.
11. As quoted by Human Events (Washington, D.C., July 21, 1962), p. 549.
12. "President's Talk to the Student Interns," New York Times (August 29, 1962), p. 14.
13. San Diego Tribune (August 14, 1961), p. B-1.
14. The Elite and the Electorate (Santa Barbara, Calif., The Fund for the Republic, 1963).
15. Manly, p. 195.
16. A Department of State memorandum dated July 3, 1950, explained it this way: "The preservation of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace is a cardinal interest of the United States. Both traditional international law and Article 39 of the UN Charter and the resolution pursuant thereto authorizes the United States to repel the armed aggression against the Republic of Korea." Military Situation in the Far East, hearings before the Senate committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations (1951), pt. 3, p. 1936.
17. Senator William Jenner, "Amendment to the Constitution Relating to Treaties and Executive Agreements," Congressional Record (February 23, 1954).
18. As quoted by Clarence Manion, "This Is Where I Came In," American Opinion (April 1960), p. 18.
19. Clarence Manion, "This Is Where I Came In," American Opinion (April 1960), pp. 20-21.
20. "The World Assembly at
San Francisco," Political Affairs (April 1945), pp. 289-300.