|12-9-48 Text of My Speech at the Velodrome
d'Hiver. December 9, 1948
At the Salle Pleyel last Friday I told you, in my bad French, my own story: I explained that I had given my American passport at the American Embassy, because I understand that no passport can protect anyone against war.
You understood my bad French and you understood too that I was not going to deliver a speech. It is not only my case which is to be dealt with, It has long since gone beyond that.
On last Saturday I again went up to the steps leading to the Palais de Chaillot together with three friends of mine. We handed our collective petition to the office of the President of the Assembly.
We did not care about formalities nor policies.
On last Monday I went alone to see Dr. Evatt so as to draw his attention to the seriousness of our questions and the need for an urgent reply to the United Nations. Last night at 7 p.m. and then once more at 9 p.m. I rang up the office of Dr. Evatt and asked him: Where is the answer?
In this city, in this country and perhaps in all countries, a lot of people have joined us in waiting as they had joined in our appeal.
What are the "united" nations doing?
This afternoon, after 1 p.m. at the last minute, we received Dr. Evatt's reply.
Maybe, from a diplomatic point of view, it was clever to give us the reply so late. Just a matter of protocol, no doubt. But this proves as well as the text of the reply how great is the difference between the behavior of the United Nations and that of the people. In out good faith, simple and strong, we are concerned only with the urgent reality: to prevent the war which menaces us and which we do not want.
They are occupied with diplomacy and protocol.
But there is no protocol in death.
Dr. Evatt writes us that the General Assembly of the United Nations has not the power to make peace and that this is not its role. He says that "the principle function of the United Nations will be the maintenance of international peace after it has be en made." As for our third question, he ignores it completely. He says that "it is not possible for the Assembly of the United Nations to consider officially our views and our declarations."
Our proposition for creating an organism which shall be able to effectively make and maintain a real peace do not interest the United Nations.
We can no longer permit ourselves to be lead by statesmen who use us as pawns in the game of national interests.
We wish to be led by men ;who represent us directly: we, the individuals of the human community.
We want a world government.
Today's practical men have told us often: Yes, of course, a world government would perhaps be better, but that under present conditions, it is only a Utopia.
We believe, on the contrary, that it is utopian to think that a practical world menaced by famine and the blast of atomic bombs can long endure.
It has been said several times that my voluntary abandonment of my nationality could be considered as a symbol of the protest of the people against a world organization which is not fitted to the essentials needs.
Perhaps, but it is only a symbol like many others. It makes sense only if it can aid us in our fight.
Next December 22nd, the difficulty of official papers will begin again for me. Permit me to recall the facts to your minds.
My residence permit for France expired the 15th of August. The police let me known that it would be necessary to leave the country the 11th of September. The 12th I went to the Palais de Chaillot, and I spent a week on the steps. The 18th, the police led me to the Commissariat and an Inspector told me that the Minister of the Interior had prolonged my stay, "through kindness," until the 21st of December.
I replied to the Inspector that, for myself, I had not demanded any extension of my permit to stay and that, furthermore, I refused it.
The functionary was "ahuri" as the people at the American Consulate when I gave back my passport.
"What," he asked, "but what do you want then.?
I told him what I came here to declare this evening.
I ask no privilege. I demand no expression of kindness.
All that does not interest me.
I demand that the status of a World Citizen be defined and recognized.
It is in my capacity as a citizen of the world that I intend to face the problems which will be put to me next December 22nd.
This is but the first step.
We have no illusions about the difficulties which await us.
But we have chosen between these difficulties and the massacre of war.
People of Paris, it is for you to act!