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What You Should Know about the Birth of the United Nations

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While France, along with the United States and Great Britain had played an essential role at the end of the First World War in the creation of the League of Nations and the International Labor Organization, its groan was very limited in the development, even during the Second World War, of the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

If the fighting France had, from the beginning, shown its interest in the international organization to come, it found itself practically excluded from its preparation because of its belated recognition by the Allies. When this intervened, on October 23, 1944, the Provisional Government of the French Republic was finally able to take part in the final negotiations and in the drafting, in San Francisco, of the Charter of the United Nations.

Under these conditions, it is not surprising that General de Gaulle, President of the Provisional Government, showed a certain mistrust and above all ensured that France's place among the "Great" was consecrated within the new world organization. and that his interests were preserved.

Free France And The League Of Nations

League of Nations
League of Nations

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/what-you-should-know-about-the-birth-of-the-united-nations/ by Paolo Reyna on 2021-03-08T11:27:17.275Z

The Vichy government, then headed by Admiral Darlan, hostile to the League of Nations which he considered had played a harmful role between the two wars and no doubt to give pledges to the Germans, made known, on April 19 1941, to acting secretary general of the League of Nations, Sean Lester, his decision to withdraw from the League, as the Covenant allowed, used by many countries since 1934, including Germany and Italy. This decision was to take effect at the end of the two-year notice.

The League Secretariat, however, refused to consider the withdrawal of France, which remained with Great Britain the only permanent members of the Council. This risked dealing the final blow to the organization. Lester therefore made informal representations to Free France. This, under the impetus of the jurist René Cassin, had affirmed itself faithful to the ideal of international cooperation and intended to fulfill France's commitments with regard to the League of Nations. This is how General de Gaulle had notified Geneva of the changes in the statute of the mandates (rallying of Cameroon in 1940, independence of Syria and Lebanon in 1941).

In his declaration of 23 June 1942 on the aims of war, he referred to "an organization of the world establishing, in a lasting manner, the solidarity and mutual aid of nations". After consultation, General Giraud, then civilian and military commander-in-chief in Algiers and General de Gaulle, president of the French National Committee in London, sent respectively on April 15 and 16, 1943 - a few days before the announced withdrawal took effect. by Vichy - telegrams asking the Control Commission of the League of Nations not to take into consideration "the notification made under foreign pressure ... Consequently France continues to be part of the League of Nations." "

The Control Commission, unable to ignore the decision to withdraw from Vichy nor to follow up on the request of the French in Algiers and London, not recognized by the Allies as a legal government, found a compromise solution: France was maintained on the list of member states of the League of Nations but simply "suspended" from the exercise of its rights and obligations until a recognized government can decide to cancel the withdrawal. France thus remained a member of the League of Nations and, although not recognized, the French Committee for National Liberation could cooperate with some of its technical bodies (Hygiene Section, Opium Committee, Economic Committee). The normalization of the French situation in the League of Nations will take place as soon as the Provisional Government is installed in Paris. Georges Bidault, Minister of Foreign Affairs, addressed a letter to Sean Lester recalling that General de Gaulle had not recognized the withdrawal decided by Vichy. The Control Commission noted, during its session of September 21-23, 1944 in Montreal, that France had just regained its membership. The French government paid back the contributions and instituted, within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Secretariat of Conferences to replace the sub-directorate of the League of Nations suppressed by Vichy.

Liberated France had thus regularized its situation with regard to the League of Nations, but it was going to disappear, giving way to the new United Nations.

France And Specialized International Cooperation Institutions

Before the Provisional Government, finally recognized, could participate in the establishment of the United Nations, a new system of world security, the Free French could at least have been involved, to a certain extent, in the creation or reorganization of those already existing at the time of the League of Nations.

France had remained a member of the International Labor Organization, the Vichy government not having taken the decision to withdraw. At the International Labor Conference in New York (October-November 1941), the observer he had sent found himself completely isolated while a delegation from the French National Committee in London took part in the work, thanks to Adrien Tixier, deputy director of the International Labor Office, rallied to Free France. The Director of the ILO, Edward Phelan, not accepting to see France being absent from the ILO, of which it had been a founding member and to which the French Albert Thomas had given such strong impetus, made France maintain as a member of the ILO. full rights and establishes relations with the French Committee of National Liberation of Algiers. This one, although no not being recognized as a legal government, was represented on the Governing Body of the ILO by Adrien Tixier, from December 1943. A delegation from the Provisional Government participated in the International Labor Conference in Philadelphia (April 20-May 12, 1944) who set the ILO's new post-war goals; the right of everyone to freedom of expression, to an existence free from want, to social justice, to economic and social security and to equality of opportunity. It was in Paris, in 1945, at the invitation of the French government, that the international conference was held, making the ILO a specialized agency of the United Nations. A delegation from the Provisional Government participated in the International Labor Conference in Philadelphia (April 20-May 12, 1944) which set the new objectives of the ILO for the post-war period; the right of everyone to freedom of expression, to an existence free from want, to social justice, to economic and social security and to equality of opportunity. It was in Paris, in 1945, at the invitation of the French government, that the international conference was held, making the ILO a specialized agency of the United Nations. A delegation from the Provisional Government participated in the International Labor Conference in Philadelphia (April 20-May 12, 1944) which set the new objectives of the ILO for the post-war period; the right of everyone to freedom of expression, to an existence free from want, to social justice, to economic and social security and to equality of opportunity. It was in Paris, in 1945, at the invitation of the French government, that the international conference was held, making the ILO a specialized agency of the United Nations. social justice, economic and social security and equal opportunities. It was in Paris, in 1945, at the invitation of the French government, that the international conference was held, making the ILO a specialized agency of the United Nations. social justice, economic and social security and equal opportunities. It was in Paris, in 1945, at the invitation of the French government, that the international conference was held, making the ILO a specialized agency of the United Nations.

The French were also able to play a role in the creation of the United Nations Educational, Security and Cultural Organization (Unesco). France had created in Paris, in 1926, the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, which ceased its activity during the war. Great Britain, anxious to disseminate British culture, convened in London, on November 16, 1942, a conference of allied ministers of education. The French National Liberation Committee was invited as a movement and represented by René Cassin. Free France was concerned not to see French supplanted by English as an international language and Paris lose its role as the capital of intellectual cooperation.

From July 27, 1943, its delegates will be considered as representatives of France and will sit on the Executive Committee of the Conference. This, at the instigation of the Americans, decided to create an International Organization for Education and Culture which would contribute to the maintenance of peace by eliminating ignorance and incomprehension between peoples, causes of antagonisms and conflicts. The Provisional Government agreed on the objectives but would also have liked to revive the International Institute for Intellectual Co-operation by making it the secretariat of the new organization. At the constitutive conference in London (November 1-16, 1945) the French delegation, led by Léon Blum, played a very active role,

The Free French also endeavored to participate in the numerous inter-allied conferences gathered to study the problems of post-war reconstruction and economic organization, and from which emerged several specialized agencies of the United Nations.

The French National Committee was “represented” by Hervé Alphand, Director of Economic Affairs, and Robert Marjolin, at the Interallied Committee for Post-War Supply Needs created on September 24, 1941, and at the Hot Springs conference (Virginia ) from May 18 to June 3, 1943, on post-war agriculture and food issues. The Provisional Government, now recognized, will participate fully in the Quebec conference of October 16, 1945 which created the United Nations Organization for Agriculture and Food (FAO: Food and Agricultural Organization).

But when the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was created on November 9, 1943, the French Liberation Committee was not admitted to the Central Committee, which was reserved for the “Big Four”. . However, his delegation will be very active. Jean Monnet, Commissioner for Supply and Reconstruction of the French Committee for National Liberation, will resist pressure from the American government which was trying to control through UNRRA imports from liberated European countries, while, for the French , France was not a "liberated zone" but an allied nation. A modus vivendi will be found after the Liberation of Paris, but the Provisional Government will refuse that the Council of the UNRRA meet there and it

It is in an official capacity that the Provisional Government participated in the Conference of Chi¬cago (November 1-December 7, 1944) which established the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) intended to develop international air transport, but it did not was able to obtain for Paris the seat of the Biture organization, which will be fixed in Montreal. Likewise, the Provisional Government will participate in London in the inter-allied conferences on the merchant navy and inland transport in Europe.

In terms of the economic organization of the post-war world, considered essential for the return to prosperity and the maintenance of peace, the French National Committee, then the Provisional Government, could only play a very limited role. The Americans did not want the expansion of world trade to be hampered by monetary barriers, as between the wars. They proposed the creation of an International Fund responsible for ensuring the stability of exchange rates and helping deficit countries by granting them temporary aid under certain conditions, as well as an International Bank responsible for financing reconstruction and development. development. The French National Committee was not invited to the expert meeting of around thirty countries which discussed these projects in Washington in the spring of 1943. It was only at the Bretton Woods conference (New Hampshire), from July 1 to 22, 1944, that a delegation of the Provisional Government, headed by Pierre Mendès France, participated. , Finance Commissioner. There was hardly any discussion on the principles, the British having rallied to the American theses and most of the participating countries being eager to obtain credits from Washington, therefore not to upset their future lender. It was mainly a question of drafting the statutes of the International Monetary Fund. (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which will be headquartered in Washington. The French delegation fought to have the place of France recognized: it obtained the

The National Assembly will approve the Bretton Woods agreements on December 26, 1945, René Pleven, Minister of Finance of the Provisional Government, noting however that the credits that France could obtain from the IMF and the IBRD would be very insufficient to cover the trade deficit and that other credits would have to be found in the United States. That same day, the franc was devalued - inevitable because French prices were much higher than foreign prices and exports almost impossible - to a third of its gold weight in 1939, with new parities of 480 francs for one pound sterling and 119 francs to the dollar. France was thus implementing the Bretton Woods agreements.

De Gaulle And The United Nations Project

United Nations
United Nations

It was important for France to have been able, to a certain extent, to participate in the creation of technical organizations for post-war international cooperation, but the essential thing remained the place that it could occupy in the future system of collective security that had been developed without it. Indeed, President Roosevelt refused to recognize the Liberation Committee as a French government, believing that it could only proceed from the free choice of the French population after its liberation. As a result, de Gaulle was unable to participate in the successive conferences which worked out the projects of a new organization of the world.

When the government of the United States, which entered the war from Pearl Harbor, published on January 1, 1942 the "United Nations Declaration" affirming the will of the Allies to fight together and not to make a separate peace, a text which was signed the following day by twenty-six countries, Roosevelt opposed the French Committee signing on the same basis as other governments. As Churchill, on the contrary, favored it, a compromise solution offered “appropriate authorities” that were not governments the opportunity to adhere to the Declaration. Several committees claiming to represent their country used it. For his part, de Gaulle refused it, intending to be treated on the same footing as the co-belligerents.

It is only after being recognized by the Allies that the Provisional Government of the French Republic will sign the United Nations Declaration on January 1, 1945. It will thus be able to participate in the San Francisco conference for the final drafting of the Charter of Nations. United.

If France was absent from the conferences between the major Allies where the main lines of the future World Organization were drawn up, the place she would occupy was nevertheless discussed. Would France be part of the executive of the great powers responsible for maintaining order and security? Roosevelt referred to the “four policemen” - United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, China - who could act immediately against any threat to international peace. At the conference in Dumbarton Oaks, near Washington (August-October 1944), American, British, Soviet and Chinese experts discussed the composition of the Security Council. The relations between the United States and the Provisional Government of the French Republic having improved since the beginning of the Liberation, it was then decided, at the insistence of the British, that a permanent seat would be reserved for France; the latter could occupy it "in due course", a vague formula according to Roosevelt's wish and which no doubt meant when it would have a regular and recognized government, hence General de Gaulle's disappointment.

This disappointment was further heightened when the Yalta conference (February 4-11, 1945), which discussed the major post-war problems, brought together Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill alone. France gained, however, although absent, by being invited to participate in the future four-way occupation of Germany and by being invited, with China, to join the United States, the Soviet Union and to Great Britain for being "inviting power" at the San Francisco conference where the United Nations would draft the Charter of their Organization. China immediately accepted.

But General de Gaulle, irritated, sent on February 23 only a conditional acceptance: France, not having participated in the development of the Dumbarton Oaks plan which was to serve as a basis for discussion, demanded that the amendments that she would suggest were attached to this plan. The Americans and the British contrived to find a compromise formula, but the Soviets - with whom de Gaulle had nevertheless signed the "beautiful and good alliance" of December 10, 1944 - refused any alteration to the proposals of Dumbarton Oaks and the decisions of Yalta. The invitations to the San Francisco conference were therefore sent by the Four, without France. The refusal to be an inviting power was criticized by part of the public and would put the French delegation in an embarrassing situation.

France's position with regard to the Dumbarton Oaks proposals needed to be clarified. Already, in Algiers, the Provisional Consultative Assembly had discussed a new international order. It debated it again in Paris, on November 21-22, 1944, and was unanimous in calling for an organization stronger than the old League of Nations, with real powers, endowed with international strength and capable of leading a world economic policy. Georges Bidault, Minister of Foreign Affairs, instituted, on December 22, 1944, a commission chaired by Joseph Paul-Boncour, former President of the Council and veteran of the League of Nations. After a month of work, the commission presented on February 8, 1945 a report written by Pierre Cot, which included a detailed analysis of the League of Nations system,

After a period of uncertainty, the Provisional Government adopted on March 16 the French draft amendment to the Dumbar¬ton Oaks text and sent it to the other member countries of the United Nations. This document took up most of the conclusions of the Cot report on the commitment to agree to greater limitations on sovereignty in exchange for a better international organization, on the distinction to be made between decisions and recommendations to the Security Council, on increased powers. of the General Assembly and of the Economic and Social Council. But, after revision by General de Gaulle, the French project expressed a certain skepticism about the effectiveness of the collective security system and emphasized the importance of regional agreements and mutual assistance treaties. The emergency measures provided for by them had to be implemented without waiting for the decision of the Security Council. It was in fact a question of establishing the compatibility of the Franco-Soviet pact with the system of collective security. France, however, was not disinterested in it and proposed that international contingents placed at the disposal of the Security Council be stationed in international bases. The Provisional Consultative Assembly unanimously approved the French document on March 27. France, however, was not disinterested in it and proposed that international contingents placed at the disposal of the Security Council be stationed in international bases. The Provisional Consultative Assembly unanimously approved the French document on March 27. France, however, was not disinterested in it and proposed that international contingents placed at the disposal of the Security Council be stationed in international bases. The Provisional Consultative Assembly unanimously approved the French document on March 27.

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About The Authors

Paolo Reyna

Paolo Reyna - Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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