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Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of the Pacific


Few terms are more popular today than “collective security,” and few are used with such diverse meanings.

Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson used the term no fewer than fourteen times in his address at the opening meeting of the Sixth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 20, 1950. And, of course, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had as the main purpose in negotiating the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty “to establish a collective security arrangement for Southeast Asia and the Eastern pacific.”

To assess the true significance and possibilities of collective security in international affairs, the question must first be answered: What does “collective security” mean?

The concept appears to be simple and self-explanatory. It has been defined by Georg Schwarzenberger as “machinery for joint action in order to prevent or counter any attack against an established international order.” It clearly implies collective measures for dealing with threats to peace. In a sense Ernest A. Gross, United States Deputy Representative to the United Nations, stated a truism when he declared: “There is no alternative to collective action for the achievement of security. The opposite of collective security is complete insecurity.”

There are some who hold that regional security pacts add to international tensions, and may even hasten the catastrophe that are designed to prevent. It does not follow, however, that failure to take such steps may increase the prospects of peace. In fact, failure to provide regional security may add to the dangers and, in addition, may gravely jeopardize the security or even the national existence of the states which are so foolhardy as to trust altogether to the devices of peaceful settlement ina world where even the faintest sign of morality and decency are cast aside by nations who are not scrupulous as to the methods by which their materialistic ands are attained. The signatories to SEATO regard their organization as a necessity. In the face of present dangers in Southeast Asia they see no alternative.





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