A Declaration of Interdependence
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
When in the course of history the threat of extinction confronts
mankind, it is necessary for the people of the United States to declare
their interdependence with the people of all nations and to embrace
those principles and build those institutions which will enable mankind
to survive and civilization to flourish.
Two centuries ago our forefathers brought forth a new nation; now we
must join with others to bring forth
a new world order.
On this historic occasion it is proper that
the American people should reaffirm those principles on which the United
States of America was founded, acknowledge the new crises which confront
them, accept the new obligations which history imposes upon them, and
set for the causes which impel them to affirm before all peoples their
commitment to a Declaration of Interdependence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal;
that the inequalities and injustices which afflict so much of the human
race are the product of history and society, not of God or nature; that
people everywhere are entitled to the blessings of life and liberty,
peace and security and the realization of their full potential; that
they have an inescapable moral obligation to preserve those rights for
posterity; and that to achieve these ends all the peoples and nations of
the globe should acknowledge their interdependence and join together to
dedicate their minds and their hearts to the solution of those problems
which threaten their survival.
Let us then join together to vindicate and realize this great truth that
mankind is one, and as one will nobly save or irreparably lose the
heritage of thousands of years of civilization. And let us set forth the
principles which should animate and inspire us if our civilization is to
WE AFFIRM that the resources of the globe are finite, not infinite, that
they are the heritage of no one nation or generation, but of all
peoples, nations and of posterity, and that our deepest obligation is to
transmit to that posterity a planet richer in material bounty, in beauty
and in delight than we found it. Narrow notions of national sovereignty
must not be permitted to curtail that obligation.
WE AFFIRM that the exploitation of the poor by the rich, and the weak by
they strong violates our common humanity and denies to large segments of
society the blessings of life, liberty and happiness. We recognize a
moral obligation to strive for a more prudent and more equitable sharing
of the resources of the earth in order to ameliorate poverty, hunger and
WE AFFIRM that the resources of nature are sufficient to nourish and
sustain all the present inhabitants of the globe and that there is an
obligation on every society to distribute those resources equitably,
along with a corollary obligation upon every society to assure that its
population does not place upon Nature a burden heavier than it can bear.
WE AFFIRM our responsibility to help create conditions which will make
for peace and security and to build more effective machinery for keeping
peace among the nations. Because the insensate accumulation of nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons threaten the survival of Mankind we call
for the immediate reduction and eventual elimination of these weapons
under international supervision. We deplore the reliance on force to
settle disputes between nation states and between rival groups within
WE AFFIRM that the oceans are the common property of mankind whose
dependence on their incomparable resources of nourishment and strength
will, in the next century, become crucial for human survival, and that
their exploitation should be so regulated as to serve the interests of
the entire globe, and of future generations.
WE AFFIRM that pollution flows with the waters and flies with the winds,
that it recognizes no boundary lines and penetrates all defenses, that
it works irreparable damage alike to Nature and to Mankind threatening
with extinction the life of the seas, the flora and fauna of the earth,
the health of the people in cities and the countryside alike and that
it can be adequately controlled only through international cooperation.
WE AFFIRM that the exploration and utilization of outer space is a
matter equally important to all the nations of the globe and that no
nation can be permitted to exploit of develop the potentialities of the
planetary system exclusively for its own benefit.
WE AFFIRM that the economy of all nations is a seamless web, and that no
one nation can any longer effectively maintain its processes of
production and monetary systems without recognizing the necessity for
collaborative regulation by international authorities.
WE AFFIRM that in a civilized society, the institutions of science and
the arts are never at war and call upon all nations to exempt these
institutions from the claims of the chauvinistic nationalism and to
foster that great community of learning and creativity whose benign
function it is to advance civilization and the health and happiness of
WE AFFIRM that a world without law is a world without order, and we call
upon all nations to strengthen and to sustain the United Nations and its
specialized agencies, and other institutions of world order, and to
broaden the jurisdiction of the World Court, that these may preside over
a reign of law that will not only end wars but end as well that mindless
violence which terrorizes our society even in times of peace.
We can no longer afford to make little plans, allow ourselves to be the
captives of events and forces over which we have no control, consult our
fears rather than our hopes.
We call upon the American people, on the
threshold of the third century of their national existence, to display
once again that boldness, enterprise, magnanimity and vision which
enabled the founders of our Republic to bring forth a new nation and
inaugurate a new era in human history.
The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.
Throughout the globe, hearts and hopes wait upon us.
We summon all Mankind to unity to meet the
Written by Henry Steele Commager