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As an adjunct to Secretary Acheson's plan to funnel complaints about aggression through the veto-less General Assembly, the foreign minister of Yugoslavia has proposed to the United Nations a definition of an "aggressor."
Yugoslavia obviously has an intense interest in being able to bring a strong case before the U.N. in the event of any trouble with Russia. Her proposal, as modified in the U.N., would enable her to do just that. It provides that within twenty-four hours of the outbreak of hostilities, both parties express their willingness to accept an immediate cease-fire on conditions prescribed by the U.N., with any nation that does not comply being officially branded an aggressor.
In a larger sense, there is no definition of an aggressor that can be applicable to every case of warfare or that will be accepted by all nations (particularly the aggressor). Definition of an aggressor has always been problematical; it was one of the obstacles over which the League of Nations and other international bodies tripped.
If Russia should choose to attack Yugoslavia, or China to attack Nepal, or Bulgaria to attack Greece, such attacks could and would be surrounded by a barrage of notes and broadcasts showing that the victim was the aggressor and the aggressor the victim.
This was the case in Korea. While the new definition would probably not have subdued in the least the stream of propaganda which flowed out of the hills of North Korea, the method for determining aggressors would have made it a little harder for the North Koreans to explain why it was they, and not the South Koreans, who were deep inside the other's territory.
"Little wars," like that in Korea, and like others which flicker and flash in nearly every part of the world, have two aspects. Militarily, the discussions and decisions of the U.N. are subordinated to the power of the great nations. But in the moral and ideological struggle, the U.N. talk is of great import, and we should not overlook any measure that will strengthen our parliamentary position.
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