Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams, Adrian Boult and others to the Editor of The Times

Letter No.: 
February 20 [1950]

The knowledge that the hydrogen bomb can be developed brings into focus the warning given by his Grace the Archbishop of York that "the alternatives are clear: destruction or agreement; and to save themselves from destruction the nations must give up some of their national sovereignty." To some of us this fact has been evident for a long time, and it is for this reason that we feel we must, at this crucial moment in our history, ask the leaders of party opinion in this country to acknowledge publicly, before the electors' verdict is announced, the issue at stake and to make clear their attitude as to what immediate steps they believe should be taken.
We believe that yet one more attempt must be made to reach agreement with the Soviet Union, but particularly in those fields of common interest and endeavour. The terrifying possibilities of an atomic or hydrogen war seem to make this field one of prior importance. Of no less consequence, however, is the necessity to provide food for the peoples of the world, and we would hope that his Majesty's Government will be willing to take the lead within the United Nations in proposing the creation of a world food board as originally suggested by Lord Boyd-Orr. The underlying implication, however, for these steps is the necessity for a merging of sovereignty by all the peace-loving nations of the world. For without the establishment of world federal government - perhaps by intermediary stages - in our opinion, no ultimate peace can be assured.
Yours faithfully,
Adrian Boult; Ursula Jeans; Beatrice Kean Seymour; Roger Livesey; Miles Malleson; Ralph Vaughan Williams.1

1. A group of distinguished creative artists: Boult (conductor); Jeans (actress); Kean Seymour (novelist); Livesey (actor); Malleson (actor), VW.

General notes: 

Printed in The Times, Tuesday February 21, 1950, p. 7, headed "National Sovereignty".

The Times (no. 51621), Tuesday February 21, 1950, p. 7.