David Jayne Hill.

Present problems in foreign policy online

. (page 12 of 17)
Online LibraryDavid Jayne HillPresent problems in foreign policy → online text (page 12 of 17)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and the mother country continued at war
with it, "external aggression" would be al-
leged; and the aid of all the High Contract-
ing Parties, economic and even military,
could then be invoked against the new claim-
ant of independence.

The perpetual guarantee of territorial in-
tegrity, especially when applied to conquered


colonies and dependencies, occupied by alien
peoples desiring independence, was not one
of the objects for which the Entente Allies
became associated in the war. It was first
suggested in the fourteenth rubric of the
compromise peace plan proposed by the
President of the United States, who fore-
shadowed such a "mutual guarantee" as one
of the bases of the "general association" in
which the Central Powers were intended also
to have a place. The League now to be con-
stituted is far from being such a general as-
sociation. It is, in effect, a new preponder-
ance of power. The reason why it is accept-
able to several of the Powers entering into
it is that it affords them this guarantee as
against all possible enemies in the future.
Their interest is in the acquisition of the
wealth, the natural resources, and the poten-
tial military efficiency of the United States
in a defensive alliance. That was not the
original purpose of the President ; but that is
the price he has had to pay for the realiza-
tion of his idea of a League of Nations, as
distinguished from a permanent Entente


with regard to the specific purpose of the
war. The European nations would not for
a moment have considered the suggestion
until the military value of this country had
been demonstrated by the part it has taken
in the Great War.

Irrespective of any League, the co-bellig-
erents on the side of the Entente Allies are
in honor bound to enforce upon the common
enemy just terms of peace that will prevent
further aggression ; but this does not involve
the necessity of a permanent engagement to
prevent the future dismemberment of sur-
viving empires. It is assumed in this Con-
stitution, and it may be true, that the exten-
sive populations ruled by the countries that
now hold them in a relation of dependence
are better governed than they would be if
they enjoyed self-determination. I have no
disposition to raise an issue on this point;
but it is not certain that this condition, if it
exists, will always remain the same, or that
the preservation of territorial integrity,
which now covers many conquered peoples,
will prove to be the method of justice or


conducive to peace. There is, however, in
this Constitution no provision for the "con-
sent of the governed" ; and it is not apparent
that there could be without a frank aban-
donment of imperial claims which the High
Contracting Parties have no intention to sur-

Undeniably, by accepting Article X the
United States would become an underwriter
of imperial insurance in which it would not
be, and ought not to ask to be, an equal part-
ner. What the United States would gain
by this engagement has never been even con-
sidered. On the contrary, all questions of
"expediency" have been contemptuously
waved aside as unworthy of consideration.
But it is more than a question of expediency,
it is a question of principle. The ideal of
peace is noble, but it is not the only ideal.
We are urged as a duty to sacrifice to it not
only our interest but our ideal of freedom,
the foundation of our conception of self-
government. That we should cherish the
ideal of peace, and endeavor in the right way
to serve it, is a proposition which no true


American will deny; but that we should in
any way barter our freedom for it, or aban-
don our principle of the "consent of the gov-
erned," is a quite different proposal. One
would be rendering a better service to his
country, and in the end to humanity in gen-
eral, if he should seek to establish peace in
some other way. It is not doubtful that the
present generation of Americans, and those
that are to follow, can be more serviceable
to the highest human interests as a strong,
free, and independent people than by being
bound to do that against which, when called
upon to observe the bond, their consciences
as lovers of liberty would revolt.

One of the alleged purposes of the war
has been "to make the world safe for democ-
racy." This Constitution does not carry out
that purpose. It does not in any way
refer to it. It is a union and an intend-
ed domination of Great Powers, and the
small States are treated as of secondary im-
portance. They have had thus far no col-
lective voice. They have been permanently
relegated to the rear. Far from being recog-


nized as truly "self -determining," the new
nationalities are treated as creations, the
handiwork of the potters at Paris, who are
moulding them out of the debris of the ex-
tinct autocracies, Russia, Prussia, Austria,
and Turkey, whose populations have been
left in turmoil and turbulence by the fall of
the only governments they ever knew.

During the protracted negotiations at
Paris regarding the League of Nations, a
new enemy has arisen, a form of interna-
tionalism more dangerous than any single
coalition. It aims at the life of nations and
would destroy all national existence. It is,,
therefore, a time to think first of the national
life, to maintain it in its strength, its purity,
its freedom, and its established foundations.
Nothing but a vigorous nationalism can over-
come this insidious enemy, which would di-
vide every house against itself. It is a time,
therefore, for every free, self-governing na-
tion to be a master in its own house. Its
association with other nations should look
toward a peace based on justice with all of
them, a willingness to help, but not to be


bound. It is timely to face this new and all
pervading menace of Bolshevism, to isolate
it, to circumscribe it, and to exterminate it.
The Constitution of the League of Nations
ignores this problem. Some of its advocates
even seem to dally with it, and would be
willing to make terms with it.

Two obvious duties lie before the Entente
Allies: first, to destroy, not Germany, but
German militarism, by imposing a peace of
victory over militarism through geographic
limitation under conditions of disarmament ;
and, second, to reinforce that limitation
through geographic circumscription, by the
formation of new independent States, so as
to create a barrier on the East and South-
east against the German appropriation of
Russia. The order of the day should be,
first peace, and then an affirmation of the
restored existence of a Society of States
based on their inherent rights under Inter-
national Law, with a pledge to respect, im-
prove, and apply it judicially.

If the conflict with Germany were ended,
an understanding between the Powers now


deliberating at Paris and a united effort tc
respect and defend International Law if
again violated, would go far toward securing
the peace of the entire world for some years
to come. Instead of allowing Bolshevism
to spread, and permitting Germany to en-
ter into alliance with it until she can appro-
priate its spoils, a new order of normal State
existence should be aimed at, in which an
assenting Germany can participate before
she is destroyed.

When peace is once established, it is the
Society of States, not a defensive League
within it, likely to be counterpoised by an-
other political combination of the same kind,
that should be instituted. But this is not the
work of war. It is essentially a work of
peace, to be elaborated in a time of peace.
The first condition of it is not a self -pro-
tective and dominant League; but an open
forum, where the small States, unintimi-
dated, may freely voice their necessities, not
to a junta of Great Powers, but to the world
at large; which will then quickly discover
which nation is deserving of aid and sympa-


thy. For this the Constitution of a League
of Nations makes no provision. It demands
that we shall walk by faith and not by sight;
and that we shall place our faith not in open
discussion, not in the disinterested judgment
of mankind, but in the wisdom, the virtue,
and the unselfishness of an international im-
perium, constructed and designed primarily
to secure its own immunity by maintaining
a predominant collective force, and secon-
darily to convert the small States into vir-
tual protectorates under its own laws.

Instead of a directory in Paris, working
in camera, hedged about with secrecy, form-
ing new nations out of the debris of these
disintegrated empires, and setting up a sep-
arate and exclusive control by Great Powers,
the appeal should be to the smaller States
and to the newly liberated nationalities to
express their desires and preferences, and
together to unite in determining their own
future destinies. They should be told: We
shall now treat and help you as free peoples.
We ask you to cease fighting and choose
your own representatives. We shall aid you


as far as we can in securing an adjustment
of your differences and shall respect your
self-determination, but we must do this im-
partially in response to your wishes. We
shall open the ways of communication and
commerce, but if you fight it will be at your
own peril and the effect of your quarrels
will be to close the avenues of trade.

This is not the manner in which the Con-
ference at Paris is proceeding. It is a secret
conclave, conducted by a Supreme Council
composed of Great Powers, with a growing
tendency to leave all decisions to the "Big
Four." It is reconstructing Europe in its
own way, and presumably in its own inter-
est. It proposes a close corporation for the fu-
ture, acting in secret, to secure its own peace
and dictate the peace of the world upon the
basis of a map of its own making. The Great
Powers claim to be just, virtuous, and even
benevolent, and perhaps they are, but the
Holy Alliance a hundred years ago also
claimed the noblest intentions.

It is interesting to note how democracy,
in the end, has usually inadvertently played


into the hands of autocracy, and confided its
destinies to a single dominant will. When
the Directory was formed at Paris, in the
French Revolution, and the directors met to
fortify their control, their first thought was
of organization; but at their first meeting it
was observed that it was unnecessary;
Bonaparte had already taken his seat at the
head of the table ! No one disputed his right
to remain there. Was he not necessary to
the cause? Had he not fought successfully
the battles of democracy ? Democracy, it ap-
peared, could not be imperilled by its most
valiant apostle.

The small States the truly democratic
States wait in the anteroom while the "Big
Four" decide the fate of Europe. The Coun-
cil, when the League is adopted, is to take
their place. Democracy will, of course, be
safe; for our President is named in Article
V of the Covenant as the person to summon
the first meeting of the Assembly, and of the
Council. He, of course, represents democ-
racy, at least the type of democracy which


he represents. We shall in time, perhaps,
learn more fully what it is.

There might, however, in the interest of
democracy, be some additional assurance in
the Covenant of the League of Nations
itself; but, when we examine it, we find that
it contains no declaration of principles which
the members are pledged to respect and sup-
port. There is no Bill of Rights, defining
the essential and immutable prerogatives of
sovereign States, not a word in the entire
document to indicate that States possess any
inherent and sovereign rights whatever.
Nothing is said of the right of "self-determi-
nation," nothing of any rights as belonging
to the "people" anywhere. The whole docu-
ment is devoted to the interests of Govern-
ments. There is no indication even of any
right in any people to be directly represented
in this corporation of State interests. The
only reference to the people in this Cov-
enant, aside from the power and preroga-
tives of States and Governments, is in Ar-
ticle XXIII, which promises to establish a
permanent Bureau of Labor, with implicit


power to regulate the conditions of industry,
'both in their own countries and in all coun-
tries to which their commercial and indus-
trial relations extend"; that is, it would ap-
pear, to prescribe the conditions of labor in
all the countries of the world, whether mem-
bers of the League or not.

The most pernicious vice in the system of
ideas upon which this League is founded is
that peace can be secured, without the ex-
istence of immense armed forces, by artifi-
cial lines drawn on a map.

A great force of cartographers has been
employed at Paris in dissecting out of the
conglomeration of races the various nation-
alities, and circumscribing them by lines of
geographic demarcation. The secret of peace
does not lie in geography, but in institutions,
political and economic. The one great les-
son that constitutional self-government has
taught is that peace and contentment are not
created by geographic boundaries, but by
just laws and the economic opportunities
afforded under a good government. The
precise delimitation of races in the Near


East, the debris of the Turkish Empire,
for example, is a physical impossibility.
There cannot be created a Czecho-Slovakia,
a Jugo-Slavia, an Armenia, a Poland, or a
Syria, where the population will be entirely
homogeneous, without impracticable migra-
tions. There will always be left enclaves or
transfusions of distinct races. We should
never dream of such an operation in the
United States. We merge our population
by our institutions. Given constitutional
guarantees, representative government, and
the abolition of hyphenism that is, the total
obliteration of race distinctions and the
problem of government is solved. If we un-
dertook to set up in America the conception
of race-nationality as a basis of government,
we should plunge this nation into civil war.
And the attempt to do this in Europe will
have no other result.

The whole conception of race-nationality
is fallacious and involves a new danger. Its
logical outcome is a struggle for race domi-
nation, as Pan-Germanism well illustrated.
Wider territorial expansion was demanded,


in order that a prolific race might always re-
main under the same political regime. This
is the basis of the present efforts at scientific
race cartography. It will prove illusory. It
is for the peoples by choice and agreement
to make the map, and not the ethnographers.

In the United States, and in America gen-
erally, no map has ever been made by a Su-
preme Council. The existing map has been
made by the peoples who inhabit this conti-
nent, or by negotiation with other peoples;
not always without conflict, but always fol-
lowed with consent. It may not be a per-
fect map, but it is more generally assented
to than one which a Supreme Council could
have imposed. We, in America, have pro-
tected our sister republics from foreign in-
tervention, but we have never pretended to
portion out the continent among them.

The principle followed in constituting the
new nationalities and fixing their frontiers
is of importance chiefly in its relation to fu-
ture peace. Unless they are satisfied there
will be continued rivalries and possible con-
flict. If Article X is retained in the Consti-


tution of the League of Nations, there can
be no change in the map when once the Con-
stitution is adopted. Self-determination, so
far as national allegiance is concerned, will
then be finally repressed. If it is to have
any recognition, it must be respected now;
if not, all the members of the League will be
arrayed against freedom and compelled to
defend by force mistakes that might have
been avoided.

By whatever standard we judge it, it is
evident that the League of Nations, in pro-
portion as it is to be real, is not the ultimate
international ideal. It is, and by its essen-
tial nature must be, a combination of Powers
within the wider Society of States. So far
as the President of the United States is con-
cerned with it, it was appealed to as a com-
promise expedient in the midst of war, in or-
der to provide a means of reconciliation be-
tween the Entente Allies and the Central
Powers. That was the purpose of the four-
teen rubrics, and the League of Nations is
merely the vehicle for enforcing them.

But the problem now is not reconciliation,


and it never was. The real problem was ami
is to show the Central Powers, and particu-
larly Germany, that ruthless aggression and
violation of the Law of Nations cannot be
tolerated, and cannot escape a just punish-
ment. The whole future of the Society of
States depends absolutely on that. There
must be a peace of victory and not a peace
of compromise, or there will never be any
sure peace in the world.

The President has never entertained this
idea. He still holds to his fourteen points
of compromise as the only ground of recon-
ciliation with criminal nations. If there is
to be any safety in the future, they must
cease to be criminal and pay the penalty of
their crimes. After that they can take their
places, if they confess and abandon their
faults, in the free and responsible Society of

The idea of the League has been to bring
them into it upon a basis of equality in the
treaty of peace itself. That is why the Con-
stitution of the League and the treaty of
peace were to be so interwoven and compact-


*d that they could not be separated, and that
no nation could make peace without accept-
ing the League. If Germany signed that
treaty, she also would accept the League;
and, having accepted it, with all its obliga-
tions, why should she then not become a
member of it?

That, in brief, is the whole content of the
dogma of the League. If Germany and
other nations were really penitent, really vir-
tuous, really minded to submit to Interna-
tional Law, to respect it, and to maintain it,
the League would be a superfluity. But if
Germany and other nations are not so mind-
ed, then they have no proper place in it ; and
such a place should not be prepared for

Finally, the President's dogma breaks on
the determination of the Entente to remain
an entente, no matter by what name it is
called. The basis of that Entente was and
remains that the aggressor must be defeated
and punished for crime, not welcomed into
a fraternity of equals. Unless the President
accepts that conclusion, he and the Confer-


ence at Paris have nothing in common. If
he does accept it, the League, as it must be
amended before it can be adopted, is in its
essence nothing but a written form of an un-
derstanding for mutual defense against an
enemy not wholly overcome. If the enemy
had been made to acknowledge defeat at the
moment when he really was defeated, all this
circumlocution would have been avoided.
The Entente would have obtained la victoire
integrate and a chastened Germany would
now be rehabilitating her national life, as it
is her right and duty to do, in order to sup-
press Bolshevism instead of allying herself
with it, and preparing to take a normal and
useful part in the Society of States.



AT Paris the President of the United
States has had considerable apparent success
in securing the embodiment of his own per-
sonal terms and at least a part of his plan for
a League of Nations in the treaty of peace
prepared by the Entente Allies. The reason
for this is obvious. The United States was
necessary to a victorious conclusion of the
Great War, and it is equally necessary to the
future maintenance of peace. Representing
in his own person, as it appeared, the future
policy of America, it was possible for the
President at any time to order his ship, to
abandon the Conference, and to leave the
Entente Allies to face Germany alone.
That decision would have created a great
embarrassment for the exposed countries
like Belgium and France. Such a desertion,


it is true, would not have met the approval
of the American people, but they would have
been powerless to avert its consequences.

When the President, after his brief visit
to the United States, returned to Paris to
resume negotiations in the Conference, he
found that in his absence great progress had
been made toward the completion of a treaty
that would end the long suspense and bring
the war to a formal conclusion; but this
treaty did not contemplate the inclusion of
the Constitution of the League of Nations.
The President had, however, thrown down
to the Senators who had declared their un-
willingness to ratify the Constitution of the
League as it had been presented to them a
challenge which he intended to carry out. 1
"When that treaty comes back," he had said
in his address in New York, on March 4th,
"gentlemen on this side will find the cove-
nant not only in it, but so many threads of
the treaty tied to the covenant that you can-
not dissect the covenant from the treaty with-

1 For the declaration of the Senators, see the "Round
Robin" at the end of this volume.



out destroying the whole vital structure."
Thirty-nine Senators, elected by the peo-
ple, representing more than two-thirds of the
entire population of the United States, were
thus virtually informed that the "advice and
consent" of the Senate would receive no con-
sideration. They might, if they chose, pri-
vately regard the Constitution of the League
of Nations as a defiance of their judgment
and even a violation of the fundamental law
of the Republic, which they had solemnly
sworn to defend, but they would find them-
selves placed in a position in which they
would have to accept this document as it had
been formulated, without alterations, or they
would be compelled to bear the odium of pre-
venting the conclusion of peace, because the
League of Nations would be an essential
part of the peace treaty.

It is not necessary to dwell upon this de-
fiance of the constitutional division of the
treaty-making power and of the purpose
with which that division was originally made
and should always be maintained. This de-
fiance assumed what every autocratic usur-


pation of authority assumes, namely, that
power could be invoked to sustain it. In
this case it would no doubt be an attempt,
in the nominal interest of peace, to bring
political pressure to bear upon refractory
Senators, in order to compel them to yield
to a superior will. It requires no reflection
to perceive that if this were done and were
successful, it would mark the extinction of
representative and even of constitutional
government in the United States. That it
was ever even contemplated indicates a de-
parture from the principles on which our
government is based which should awaken
a deep concern for the future and call at-
tention to the perils of autocratic as distin-
guished from representative democracy.

How serious the incident is from this
point of view becomes clear when we com-
pare the status of the American representa-
tion in the Peace Conference with that of
any other of the Great Powers. In that con-
clave, the United States is the only country
not represented by a single person confirmed
by the legislative branch of Government;


and yet that body, negotiating in secret, has
formulated a compact which, if adopted, is
to become under our Constitution "the su-
preme law of the land." The treaty which
is to contain this supreme law, it has been
declared by the President of the United
States, is to comprise matters foreign to
its main purpose which cannot be separated
from it, and upon which the legislative half
of the treaty-making power is not to be per-
mitted to exercise its untrammeled judg-

It is in this connection important to note
that while the "plenipotentiaries" of the

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17

Online LibraryDavid Jayne HillPresent problems in foreign policy → online text (page 12 of 17)