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Foreign News: The Known & Unknown

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After Cairo and Teheran, these things were matters of officially stated fact:

>The U.S., Great Britain, China proposed the utter defeat of Japan, the utter destruction of its Empire, and war waged to these ends with no thought of mercy to or help from the Japanese people.

>Korea will be made free and independent. Lands taken from China will be returned to China. For lands taken from Britain and the U.S.: no promises.

>The Soviet Union, the U.S. and Great Britain are in “complete agreement as to the scope and timing of the operations to be undertaken from the east, west, and south.”

>The object of these operations is to destroy the German land, air and sea forces, and Germany’s war industry; in short, to defeat Germany on the battlefronts.

>The chiefs of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and Great Britain are pledged to continue the alliance of their countries “in the peace that will follow.”

Matters of Belief. These things could be reasonably deduced:

>Russia is emerging as the dominant power in postwar Europe.

>Britain is worried. The British people have a bond of liking and sympathy for the Russian people which the ascendancy of the Soviet Union can hardly lessen. But they and their Government are increasingly concerned about the tremendous effect which a “Russian Europe” must have on Britain’s world position. They cannot ignore the historical fact that pre-eminence or at least equality of power on the Continent has long been accounted essential to Britain’s safety. Even in western Europe, they know that they must now fight politically to regain, and then to retain, a very minimum of Continental prestige.

>The Pacific powers expect to wage their war without the present help of Russia. Joseph Stalin is carefully staying out of the Pacific war. But the atmosphere at Teheran could hardly have been so cordial if the Pacific decisions had been unknown or unpleasant to him.

>The U.S. and Great Britain have waived none of their prewar rights to territories, colonial or otherwise, taken from them by the Japs. In the first such territory regained, the British flag last week rose with the U.S. flag.

>For the moment, at least, the Pacific Big Three are only secondarily interested, if at all, in propaganda warfare: i.e., appeals to the Japanese against their Emperor and government or to the conquered people of greater Asia (always excepting the Chinese, whose ruler had joined in the common declaration).

>The heads of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the U.S. are interested in the possibilities of appeal to the German people against their ruler. In the western declaration, there was no word against them, no appeal or demand for “unconditional surrender”—a phrase for which Winston Churchill was careful to give Franklin Roosevelt full responsibility of authorship.

>As at Moscow, the postwar geopolitics of Europe was discussed (according to the Russians), but final decisions may again have been postponed.

>The U.S. and the Soviet Union accepted the British view that the primary responsibility for the postwar world rests upon the western Big Three. At Moscow, China had shared in a four-power postwar declaration. But at Teheran, even China was apparently included among those “nations, large and small” which would be invited to the second table at postwar councils.

Matters of Report. These things were reported to be true in Moscow, London, Washington:

>The sore issue of Russia’s border states—Finland’s Karelia, the Baltics, Eastern Poland, Bessarabia—has been specifically discussed before, if not at Teheran. Russia has agreed to submit the status of the Baltics—Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania—to public referendums after the war. Russia is very sure that the peoples of those countries will vote for their inclusion in the Soviet Union.

>Whether Rumania and Finland will exist at all after the war is open to question. Rumania may be chewed up by Hungary and Bulgaria; Finland may have a choice of total submission to Russia now or total inclusion within the Soviet Union later.

>CzechoSlovakia’s foresighted, Moscow-minded President, Edward Benes, is on the Russian bandwagon in Eastern Europe. During the Teheran conferences he was in Moscow waiting to sign a 20-year mutual assistance and defense treaty with the Soviet Union.

>This treaty probably includes an invitation to whatever is left of postwar Poland to join Czecho-Slovakia and Russia in a Slavic union. But Czecho-Slovakia has no great yen to deal with the present, anti-Russian Polish Government in Exile, and may first seek and get some sort of political and economic union with liberated Austria.

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