The rights of small nations – editorial from “The New Yorker”

E B White

by E B White, 15 April 1944

Lord Cranborne pointed out last week that when the Allies meet to reconstruct the Atlantic Charter, the fixing would be done by the powers. Small nations, he said, would not be included in the talks because to include them would be to “cause confusion”. Seems very probable it would. Complications are bound to arise when you consult all the interested parties in any affair. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend this sort of confusion. There are really two types of confusion which should be recognized nowadays – there is the confusion of representation (which is a rather hopeful and honest confusion), and there is the confusion of exclusion (which is a familiar system of trouble and which has brought us to the utter confusion of the past three or four years). The powers would like to avoid the embarrassment of having to compose a global document in the presence of others. But if a big nation finds it confusing to write a charter when little nations are in the room, imagine the confusion a little nation feels reading a finished document it has never even seen a draft of.

This editorial by E B White was first published in “The New Yorker” on 15 April 1944. It is taken from a collection of such editorials, published as “The Wild Flag”.

from Federal News #122, April/May 1945

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