JANUARY 31, 1949
HYDE PARK, Sunday—The most important event in the news, and one which may have far-reaching results in the future, is the formation of the Council of Europe by five Western Union powers—Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. This is evidently a real union, for government ministers from these nations will meet and make binding decisions, and there will be an advisory, consultative body representing the national parliaments of Europe. The first group will meet in secret, the second group in public. This is the achievement of a dream long held by a number of statesmen in the past.
One encouraging aspect, I feel, is that the council has decided to invite other European countries to take part in negotiations for the establishment of the Council of Europe. It is obvious that matters of defense will come up for discussion and consideration, but I do not think this pact can be viewed as the Soviets suggest when they say that the countries in it "reject that democratic and anti-aggressive policy regarding Germany which was adopted by the Yalta and Potsdam conferences of the powers of the anti-Hitlerite coalition." I believe this European union might very well be a strong defense against Germany's again becoming a menace to the rest of Europe, either from the economic or military standpoint.
The Soviet Union has just formed a coalition with her satellite states for economic and defense purposes. It would be far better, of course, if the Soviet Union would agree to trust the other nations sufficiently to come to an agreement on international control of atomic energy and the necessary inspection in all states to insure the safety of all states. If this could be done, there could perhaps be one Council of Europe instead of two separate unions. In any case, we are fortunate to have the United Nations, for I imagine both these groups will be expected to keep the U.N. informed of their actions, and it may thus be possible for the United Nations to bring them together in the long run.
Only second in importance to this event, it seems to me, is the ever-increasing number of countries that are recognizing Israel as a state. The latest recognitions, including those of Great Britain, New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, means great backing for Israel as a nation. Undoubtedly in the adjourned session of the General Assembly she will be accepted as a member of the United Nations, and recognition, coming just at this time when she is carrying on negotiations with the Arab states, must strengthen her position. This gives greater assurance that peace can come in the Near East and that this new nation can live in the same world with her neighboring states and perhaps bring them something of value through her own stability.