April 12, 2010


(Sec. of State James F. Byrnes at The Paris Peace Conference of 1946 - not at all that much different from herding cats.)

A voice probably not heard very much the past fifty or so years. James F. Byrnes was Secretary of State at the end of World War 2 and had the somewhat onerous task of rebuilding the peace in a war shattered world. The initial Peace Conferences, held in Paris were not successful. The world was undergoing changes not encountered at the end of World War 1. Former colonies were seeking independence and the Soviet Union was actively engaged in a land grab. Only a few months earlier, in March former Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned of an impending "iron curtain" which would fall over Easter Europe and the prospects of a Cold War loomed dangerously close in the future.

But Byrnes was optimistic.

Sec. of State James Byrnes: “Building the foundations of a people’s peace in a war shattered world is a long, hard process. A People’s peace cannot be won by flashing diplomatic triumphs. It requires patience and firmness, tolerance and understanding. We must not try to impose our will on others, but we must make sure that others do not get the impression they can impose their will on us.”

Byrnes would resign by the end of 1946 and be replaced by George C. Marshall. And a whole new era would begin.

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