【PART 4】 The Mystery of Security Treaty Village (2): The UN Charter and the Postwar World


2】 Atlantic Charter: the basis of the postwar world


Now, there’s something I’d like you to take a look at, to learn about what’s considered common knowledge in the world.

Two years ago, we published The Truth of Postwar Japan’s History by Ukeru Magosaki. In this book, we included a modern translation of the Potsdam Declaration at the end. I had actually never read it until then, and I was astonished at what it said. We also received many comments from readers, such as: “It was my first time to read it, and I was dismayed,” and “This is the basis of postwar Japan. Its concealment is the reason we can’t discuss the issue effectively.”

In this book, I’d like to share a modern translation of yet another important document: the Atlantic Charter (or the Anglo-American Joint Declaration). If the Potsdam Declaration is the basis of postwar Japan, the Atlantic Charter is the basis of the postwar world.

It may be another one of those things that you’ve heard the name of, but that you don’t really know anything about. The reason it’s not widely known is that, as is the case with the Potsdam Declaration, it is highly inconvenient for the Security Treaty Village, which the vast majority of Japanese people belong to.

I’d never read the clauses of this charter, despite having been editing world history books for years. I’d avoided it since it’s such a pain to read, due to the fact that it’s written in an archaic Japanese writing style using kanji and katakana characters.

When I finally read it, I was truly appalled. The basic framework of the post-World War II world is summarized in this short joint declaration issued in August 1941.

Now, I’d like to show you an excerpt. Please examine the following text – to read even just the parts in italics is fine.

●Atlantic Charter (Officially called the Anglo-American Joint Declaration)

[Location] On the British battleship Prince of Wales in the Atlantic Ocean

[Date] Declared on August 14, 1941

The President of the United States [Franklin Roosevelt] and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing H.M. Government in the United Kingdom, have met at sea. … They have agreed upon the following joint declaration. …

  1. Their countries seek no aggrandissement, territorial or other.
  2. They desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.
  3. They respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.
  4. They will endeavour with due respect for their existing obligations, to further enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.
  5. They desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement, and social security.
  6. After the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.
  7. Such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance.
  8. They believe all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea, or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armament.”

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Winston Churchill