'The Atlantic Charter'

Declaration of Principles issued by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • Last updated: 01 Oct. 2009 15:29

 "The President of the United States and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing H.M. Government in the United Kingdom, have met at sea. They have been accompanied by officials of their two Governments, including high-ranking officers of their military, naval and air services.

The whole problem of the supply of munitions of war, as provided by the Lease-Lend Act, for the armed forces of the United States and for those countries actively engaged in resisting aggression has been further examined. Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Supply of the British Government, has joined in these conferences. He is going to proceed to Washington to discuss further details with appropriate officials of the United States Government.

These conferences will also cover the supply problem of the Soviet Union. The President and the Prime Minister have had several conferences. They have considered the dangers to world civilisation arising from the policy of military domination by conquest upon which the Hitlerite Governement of Germany and other Governments associated therewith have embarked, and have made clear the steps which their countries are respectively taking for their safety in facing these dangers.

They have agreed upon the following joint declaration: The President of the United States and the Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, representing H. M. Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world.

  1. Their countries seek no aggrandissement, territorial or other.
  2. They desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.
  3. They respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live; and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them.
  4. They will endeavour with due respect for their existing obligations, to further enjoyment by all States, great or small, victor or vanquished, of access, on equal terms, to the trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity.
  5. They desire to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement, and social security.
  6. After the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.
  7. Such a peace should enable all men to traverse the high seas and oceans without hindrance.
  8. They believe all of the nations of the world, for realistic as well spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea, or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential. They will likewise aid and encourage all other practicable measures which will lighten for peace-loving peoples the crushing burden of armament."

A year later, on 14 August 1942, President Roosevelt issued the following message, commemorating the first anniversary of the "Atlantic Charter".

"A year ago today the Prime Minister of Great Britain and I, as representatives of two free nations, set down and subscribed to a declaration of principles common to our peoples. We based, and continue to base, our hopes for a better future for the world on the realisation of these principles. This declaration is known as the Atlantic Charter.

A year ago today the nations resisting a common barbaric foe were units or small groups fighting for their existence. Now these nations and groups of nations in all the continents of the earth have united. They have formed a great union of humanity, dedicated to the realisation of that common programme of purposes and principles set forth in the Atlantic Charter through world-wide victory over their common enemies. Their faith in life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and in the preservation of human rights and justice in their own as well as in other lands, has been given form and substance as the United Nations.

Freedom and independence are today in jeopardy the world over. If the forces of conquest are not successfully resisted and defeated there will be no freedom, no independence and no opportunity for freedom for any nation. It is, therefore, to the single and supreme objective of defeating the Axis forces of aggression that the United Nations have pledged all their resources and efforts.

When victory comes we shall stand shoulder to shoulder in seeking to nourish the great ideals for which we fight. It is a worth-while battle. It will be so recognised through all the ages, even amid the unfortunate peoples who follow false gods today. We reaffirm our principles. They will bring us to a happier world."