Statement by the Secretary of State Before the Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Representatives, May 5, 1948


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The United States is acutely aware that the return of a sense of security to the free nations of the world is essential for the promotion of conditions under which the United Nations can function. The necessary steps for self protection against aggression can be taken within the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter recognizes in Article 51 the right of individual and collective self defense against armed attack until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to preserve peace and security. Articles 52, 53 and 54 provide for regional arrangements dealing with the maintenance of international peace and security, on condition that such arrangements are consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter.

In recognition of the possibility foreseen in the Charter that an armed attack might occur upon a Member of the United Nations, despite the binding obligations accepted by every Member to refrain from the threat or use of force against another state, the United States and the other American Republics concluded at Rio de Janeiro last year a treaty for individual and collective self-defense. Certain countries of western Europe likewise have organized themselves into a Western Union, for their individual and collective self-defense. By such arrangements under Article 51 of the Charter and the Articles providing for regional arrangements, constructive steps have been taken to bulwark international security and the maintenance of peace. Our intention to afford encouragement and support to arrangements made by free nations for the preservation of their independence and liberty has already been stated by the President in his message to the Congress on March 17th.

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  1. The following paragraphs referring to the security of Western Europe are part of a statement regarding means of strengthening the United Nations. For text of complete statement, see volume i.