Monnet, Jean: Memoirs

[…] I felt the need to define for myself the principles that had always guided me in my day-to-day work. I have kept the notes I made at that time, during the summer break in 1966; and I think that they are more expressive in their immediacy than a longer, more elaborate credo would be:

August 18

Liberty means civilization.

Civilization means rules+institutions.

And all that because the essential objective of all our efforts is to develop mankind, not to proclaim a fatherland, big or small.

1. It is a privilege to be born (humanity).

2. It is a privilege to be born into our civilization.

3. Are we to confine these privileges within the national barriers and laws that protect us?

4. Or are we going to try to extend privilege to others?

5. We must maintain our civilization, which is so much ahead of the rest of the world.

6. We must organize our civilization and our collective action for the sake of peace.

7. We must organize the collective action of our civilization. How can that be done? Only by uniting in collective action Europe and America, which together have the greatest resources in the world, which share the same civilization, and which conduct their public affairs in the same democratic manner.

8. This organization, while seeking a state of co-existence with the East, will create a new order in the world and at the same time make possible the necessary and unconditional aid and support that our civilization, which must be preserved, will bring to the rest of the world. Together they can do it; separately, they will oppose each other.

9. At their origin, at birth, people are the same. Later, drawn into a framework of rules, everyone wants to preserve the privileges he has acquired. The national framework supports this fleeting vision. We are unaware of the extraordinary privilege we enjoy. We must extend it to others. How can it be done? Only by freedom on the one hand and collective effort on the other, so as gradually to enable the under-developed countries to share in our privileges. How can that be done without uniting, pooling our resources, etc.?

August 22

Nations were forged by successive additions. Brittany, Burgundy, etc., were provinces, and centralizing kings brought them together in a unit -France- by arms or by treaty: the Comte of Nice, Savoy. All these changes, from ‘provincial’ into ‘national’, corresponded to the conditions prevailing at the time. The force of adaptation, which led the provinces of France to make France, still continues.

We are convinced that our epoch will have to see the creation of vast entities such as the United States and the USSR, and that between them there must be established co-operation and collective action by means of organization (that is what we mean by the organization of peace).

It cannot all be done at once: it is gradually that we shall achieve this organization. But already it is essential to make a start. It is not a question of solving political problems which, as in the past. divide the forces that seek domination or superiority. It is a question of inducing civilization to make fresh progress, by beginning to change the form of the relationship between countries and applying the principle of equality between peoples and between countries. People no longer want their future to depend on the skill or ambition of their Governments. They do not want ephemeral solutions, and, for that reason, they want there to be established in our countries an organization, procedure, that will make possible collective discussion and decision.

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