Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Inter-Allied Council Statement on the Principles of the Atlantic Charter, 24 September 1941

In late September 1941, representatives of those European governments—many of them from countries that were currently under German occupation—fighting Hitler and his allies met in London and endorsed the Atlantic Charter. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had already promised his Parliament that this agreement's fourth principle would not be allowed to compromise the special economic relationships existing within the British Empire. The Soviet Union made reservations the significance of which would become apparent in the future.

Adherence to the principles set forth in the Roosevelt-Churchill Declarations by the governments allied with Great Britain was formally declared at the second meeting of the Inter-Allied Council, held in London on September 24, 1941.

The position of the Soviet Government was given by its Ambassador, Mr. Maisky, in the following terms: "The Soviet Union defends the right of every nation to the independence and territorial integrity of its country and its right to establish such a social order and to choose such a form of government as it deems opportune and necessary for the better promotion of its economic and cultural prosperity." He added that the Soviet Union advocates the necessity of collective action against aggressors and that "the Soviet Government proclaims its agreement with the fundamental principles of the declaration of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill."

The following resolution was then adopted unanimously:

"The Governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and Yugoslavia, and representatives of General de Gaulle, leader of Free Frenchmen, having taken note of the declaration recently drawn up by the President of the United States and by the Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill) on behalf of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, now make known their adherence to the common principles of policy set forth in that declaration and their intention to cooperate to the best of their ability in giving effect to them."

[Maisky also added the following reservation:]

"Considering that the practical application of these principles will necessarily adapt itself to the circumstances, needs, and historic peculiarities of particular countries, the Soviet Government can state that a consistent application of these principles will secure the most energetic support on the part of the government and peoples of the Soviet Union."


Further Reading
Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers 1941, Volume 1: General: The Soviet Union (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1958); Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., ed., The Dynamics of World Power: A Documentary History of United States Foreign Policy 1945–1973, 5 vols. Vol. 2: Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (New York: Chelsea House, 1973), 4. .
 

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