Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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"The Four Policemen": Harry L. Hopkins, Special Assistant to President Roosevelt, Memorandum of Conversation during a Meeting with Anthony Eden, 27 March 1943

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt described his concept of the future world order to visiting British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. The president envisaged that the greatest powers, the United States, Great Britain, Soviet Russia, and China, would act as the "four policemen" and, between them, organize and dominate the rest of the world. Roosevelt was reluctant to permit the automatic return of the European powers to their former Asian colonies.

Subject: Eden Visit—Conference with the President, Anthony Eden, Cordell Hull, Sumner Welles, Viscount Halifax, Mr. Wm. Strang

1.  . . . There was a general discussion about the organization of the United Nations after the war. The President and Welles were very emphatic that the United States could not be a member of any independent regional body such as a European Council; they felt that all the United Nations should be members of one body for the purposes of recommending policy; that this body should be world-wide in scope.

2. That there would be under this body regional councils with similar advisory powers made up of the nations geographically located in the regions; but, finally, that the real decisions should be made by the United States, Great Britain, Russia and China, who would be the powers for many years to come that would have to police the world.

The President was very insistent with Eden that China should be a member, altho it was clear to me that Eden still was not convinced of the wisdom of the procedure. The President feels that China, in any serious conflict of policy with Russia, would undoubtedly line up on our side.

I said that Churchill's speech in which he advocated a purely European Council of Nations, had a very unfortunate effect over here. Eden said he was sure Churchill had not meant to exclude the United States and that he rather felt that Churchill spoke on the spur of the moment and that he, Eden, agreed that the United Nations should be organized on a global basis.

The whole idea of the trusteeship of mandated islands, etc. was discussed and the President and Eden seemed to be much closer together than they were at the beginning of their conferences on this policy.

The President made it clear that he did not want a commitment made in advance that all those colonies in the Far East should go back to the countries which owned or controlled them prior to the war. He specifically mentioned Timor, Portugal, Indo-China and France. He suggested that all the specific problems which Mr. Eden had raised in his visit here be referred to the State Department and they be asked to start exploratory discussions with the British or with any other country in regard to all of them.

I said I thought it would have a very bad effect, both in England and the United States, if the world got the impression that the United States and England were, together, planning the future of the world without consulting anyone else. Eden agreed to this and said the British were conducting direct conferences on matters that concerned them and Russia and he assumed we would do the same thing.


Further Reading
Web site: PBS: The American Experience. Available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/holocaust/filmmore/reference/primary/presmemorandum.html. .
 

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