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less than two years or more than five years
after the signing of this convention for the
purpose of reviewing the condition of Inter-
national Law, and of agreeing upon and
stating in its authoritative form the prin-
ciples and rules thereof.

"Thereafter regular conferences for that
purpose shall be called and held at stated

This wise suggestion was not adopted at
Paris; a fact which justifies the inference
that the League intends to decide questions
of International Law in its own way, and in
accordance with its own corporate policies.
In short, it intends to act imperially.

As an example of this, take the provision
for determining whether or not a given ques-
tion is one of domestic jurisdiction, like the
tariff or the immigration question. Article
XV reads : "If the dispute ... is found by
the Council to arise out of a matter which
by International Law is solely within the
jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall
so report, and shall make no recommenda-


tion as to its settlement." But, it is imme-
diately added, "The Council may in any case
under this Article refer the dispute to the
Assembly" ; that is, even though the question
at issue is under International Law a do-
mestic one, upon which the Council made
no recommendation, it could be referred to
the Assembly for decision! The nature of
the decision would then depend upon the
policy which the Assembly chose to adopt.
If the United States were a disputant, it
would have no voice in the decision, which
would be made by others, without reference
to International Law, in accordance with
their prevailing policies, whatever they
might be.

Before entering into such bonds with for-
eign Powers, it is timely to consider the
consequences of making engagements, nomi-
nally in the interest of peace, regarding mat-
ters which have no logical connection with
a treaty of peace and are arbitrarily forced
into it. It is inevitable that matters which
we have always considered purely national
will be treated by the League as inter-


national. This is true of our foreign policy
as a whole, which under the League would
be equally the affair of all the members. Not
even the Monroe Doctrine, which we have
always considered peculiarly our own affair,
would be exempted from this total surrender
of national policy. In the British Memo-
randum, giving the views of London regard-
ing the Monroe Doctrine, for example, that
purely American policy is already treated
as an "international understanding/' to be
interpreted and applied by the Council and
the Assembly, and not any longer by the
United States alone. "Should any dispute
arise between American and European
Powers," concludes this commentary, ff the
League is there to settle It!'

After such an assumption as this what
will remain, under this Covenant, of an in-
dependent American foreign policy? The
powers which in the first draft of the Cove-
nant were attributed to the Executive Coun-
cil are in the revised document largely trans-
ferred to the Assembly. In that larger body
the United States would have three repre-


sentatives, but only one vote. Among the
"original members" of the League and sep-
arate "signatories of the Treaty of Peace,"
are specified, "the British Empire, Canada,
Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and
India." 5 These six members, with a close
community of primary interests, would be
entitled to eighteen representatives and six
votes in the Assembly, while the United
States, which has a greater self-governing
population than all of these imperial domin-
ions combined, would have only three repre-
sentatives and only one vote.

It is an unwelcome task, in view of the
close friendship that should exist between the
United States and Great Britain, to call at-
tention to this disparity; for real friendship
never anywhere long continues in the pres-
ence of doubt as to perfect freedom and per-
fect equality. For common interests and
common purposes the United States and
Great Britain which have so much in com-
mon should act together; but it must not

6 See the Annex to the Revised Covenant at the end of
the volume.



be overlooked that the British Empire has
interests and policies which the United
States has never shared and has not always
approved. As a people we have never re-
gretted our separate and independent exist-
ence, and there are many millions of Ameri-
can citizens who will not submit to abandon-
ing it now. Nothing could more fatally de-
stroy the friendship of these two countries
than a conviction that what was fought for
and won in 1776 is to be lightly surrendered
in the floodtide of our national greatness at
the end of a victorious war.

There are those who believe that at Paris
American interests have been subordinated
to foreign interests, in order to secure the
success of the President's personal theories.
They believe that he went to Europe to say
in private what he did not wish to discuss in
public; that he intended to establish a
League that would make possible a com-
promise peace; that this League was origi-
nally intended to limit the supremacy of
Great Britain on the sea, and thus placate
the hostility of Germany; that France, as a


means of obtaining future security, could be
made to enter such a League along with
Germany ; that, upon these conditions, a gen-
eral reciprocal guarantee of territory could
be obtained, and that the rivalries of trade
could in future be avoided by "the removal
of all economic barriers and the establish-
ment of an equality of trade conditions
among all the nations consenting to the
peace and associating themselves for its
maintenance." 6

To carry this theory into effect, it was
necessary to interweave the treaty of peace
with the formation of a League in such a
manner that all who desired peace, for it
was certain that all the belligerents wished
for peace as soon as possible, would be
forced to accept the League, whether they
desired it or not ; for the League thus organ-
ized was to create a new international order,
which the President believed would put an
end to war, and be the greatest achievement
in history.

8 See number 3 of the Fourteen Points at the end of this



Without discussing in a critical spirit the
character of the motives of this great enter-
prise, it is clear that the execution of this
purpose involved secrecy, opposition to a
prompt peace of victory, negotiation with
adverse national interests, and some conces-
sions for the purpose of winning adherents.

It will probably be many years before the
conversations of the Supreme Council of
Ten, the "Big Four" and the "Big Three"
will become known to the public, and some of
them will perhaps never be known or be vari-
ously reported in memoirs and autobiogra-
phies. The participants will no doubt have
for a long time a certain control over one

It was pointed out in a friendly spirit be-
fore the President went to Europe, that by
appointing himself as first delegate and re-
pudiating written instructions to intermedi-
aries, he was risking the charge of secret
diplomacy and the deliberate abandonment
of the idea of covenants "openly arrived at."

The Senate of the United States, if the
ordinary course had been adopted, would be


in a position to know from records what was
the actual course of negotiation. In the
absence of this, unless the President wishes
personally to submit to interrogation, there
is room for a wide scope of inference regard-
ing the bargains made to secure the League.

There are those who will wonder why the
alleged American plan of a League has
never been published; who will infer that it
was rejected or withdrawn because it was
needful to adopt a more flexible trading pro-
gramme ; and who will think that the Smuts
plan was adopted because without conces-
sions to Great Britain there could have been
no League, and without a league of some
kind the Great Mission would have been a

One might imagine the British Premier as
saying: "There is already a League of
Nations. The British Empire is such a
league. If you will model the League on
that, as General Smuts suggests, we might
regard it favorably. Of course we must re-
tain our sea-power. Unless you will pledge
the large navy you are developing in the


United States to the defense of the Empire,
we must defend ourselves. Of course under
the League, the rights of neutrality, to which
you have held so closely in the past, would
no longer exist. If you will help us out with
mandataries and defend our imperial pos-
sessions from future attack, perhaps we can
arrange for a League."

"But by this plan, what advantage does
the United States get?"

"Why, Mr. President, you get the

With France negotiations were, perhaps,
less complicated, for without some special
provision, even after peace was signed,
France would be unprotected. One can im-
agine a question to Monsieur Clemenceau:
"Where will France look for protection, if
not to the League?" "To the honor of her
co-belligerents." "But would not the mu-
tual guarantees of the League be sufficient?"
"With Germany a League is impossible."
"What then do you expect?" "We expect
a separate defensive alliance ; for the League
does not aif ord security for France. If you


have the League, we must have the separate

And so, even without documents, the logic
of the situation renders it not difficult to
understand what has happened at Paris;
why the League was always, except in
America, regarded and spoken of as f Tidee
Americcdne" and also why the League had
to be intertwined inextricably with the long
deferred and much desired treaty of peace,
in order to force the hand of the Senate.

Acting by itself, the Senate of the United
States would probably regard the prestige
of reorganizing the world on paper as bought
at too high a price by the acceptance of the
responsibilities of Article X and American
participation in the international political
trust that is to issue "Acts and Charters" for
the sovereign rule of countries and colonies
in Europe, Asia, and Africa with which the
United States, as a constitutional self-
governing nation, has no right of interfer-

However the Senate may regard the
President's challenge, it cannot escape re-


sponsibility for its decision. There is one
aspect of the subject of the highest impor-
tance to the future of the American Repub-
lic that has been left in obscurity by nearly
all who have commented on the proposed
League, namely, the joint imperialism which
it establishes. This, though overlooked in
America, is well understood in Great Brit-
ain, and preparations are making to render
it effective. General Smuts, who is a prac-
tical officer, recognizes that it is necessary
for the League "to train big staffs to look at
things from a large human, instead of
national point of view." The Grand Sec-
retariat now being organized in London,
under the direction of Sir James Eric Drum-
mond, of the British Foreign Office, will be
the school in which the international bureau-
cracy will be formed and tempered to its
task. Viscount Grey sees a great future for
this super-national rule of the world under
benevolent experts. "I don't see/' he said,
"why the League of Nations, once formed,
should be necessarily idle." Nor would he
leave it without means of action. "I don't


see why," he continued, "it should not be
arranged for an authoritative and an inter-
national force to be at its disposal, which
should act as police in individual countries."
It is this that makes the acceptance of a
place in the League by the United States so
imperative for its success. This policing of
the world requires men and money. America
has both. Europe's answer to America's
great idea of a League is : "We accept it with
pleasure. Now stop the fighting that has not
ceased from Finland to the Crimea, while
the Peace Conference has been in session.
We have our own idea of these things based
on a long experience. We will try your
plan, but in the meantime you must make
the Turk spare the Armenian, a mutilated
Poland be satisfied with its lot, keep the
Hungarians and the Roumanians quiet on
the Theiss, settle the disputes of the Italians
and the Jugo- Slavs in the Adriatic, make
Persia a safe place to live in, and keep Ger-
many within bounds. Unless your League
can do these things, ft has not helped us
much, but if it does them it will be chiefly at


your expense ; for we must put our house in
order and pay our debts while we guard our
frontiers. We have not asked you for a
League. We are interested in our own
national life. We have consented to the
League, but we have never much believed in
it. Now let America show us that it will

And the Senate will have to answer to the
country for the engagements it ratifies.




1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at,
after which there shall be no private international
understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall
proceed always frankly and in the public view.

2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas,
outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war,
except as the seas may be closed in whole or in
part by international action for the enforcement of
international covenants.

[The allied Governments reserved to themselves
complete freedom on this point, November 5, and
stated their understanding that the word "restored"
in the paragraph below dealing with invaded countries
means compensation by Germany for damage to


civilian population of the Allies and their property.
To the latter point President Wilson formally as-

3. The removal, so far as possible, of all eco-
nomic barriers and the establishment of an equality
of trade conditions among all the nations consenting
to the peace and associating themselves for its main-

4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that na-
tional armaments will be reduced to the lowest point
consistent with domestic safety.

5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial
adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict
observance of the principle that in determining all
such questions of sovereignty the interests of the
populations concerned must have equal weight with
the equitable claims of the government whose title
is to be determined.

6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and
such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as
will secure the best and freest cooperation of the
other nations of the world in obtaining for her an
unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the
independent determination of her own political devel-
opment and national policy, and assure her of a sin-
cere welcome into the society of free nations under
institutions of her own choosing, and, more than a
welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may
need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded



Russia by her sister nations in the months to come
will be the acid test of their good will, of their
comprehension of her needs as distinguished from
their own interests, and of their intelligent and un-
selfish sympathy.

1 7- Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be
evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit
the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with
all other free nations. No other single act will serve
as this will serve to restore confidence among the
nations in the laws which they have themselves set
and determined for the government of their relations
with one another. Without this healing act the
whole structure and validity of international law
is forever impaired.

8. All French territory should be freed and the
invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to
France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-
Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world
for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order
that peace may once more be made secure in the
interest of all.

9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should
be effected along clearly recognizable lines of na-

10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place
among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and
assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of
autonomous development.



[On October 19^ the President notified the Austro-
Hungarian Government which had requested an arm-
istice that certain conditions had changed since Jan-
uary 8. Quoting point 10, Secretary Lansing's note
said: "Since that sentence was written and uttered
to the Congress of the United States, the Government
of the United States has recognized that a state of
belligerency exists between the Czecho-Slovaks and
the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires and that
the Czecho-Slovak National Council is a de facto
belligerent Government clothed with proper author-
ity to direct the military and political affairs of the
Czecho-Slovaks. It has also recognized in the fullest
manner the justice of the nationalistic aspirations of
the Jugo-Slavs for freedom. The President is, there-
fore, no longer at liberty to accept the mere
'autonomy* of these peoples as a basis of peace, but
is obliged to insist that they, and not he, shall be
the judges of what action on the part of the Austro-
Hungarian Government will satisfy their aspirations
and their conception of their rights and destiny as
members of the family of nations."]

11. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be
evacuated, occupied territories restored, Serbia ac-
corded free and secure access to the sea, and the re-
lations of the several Balkan states to one another
determined by friendly counsel along historical estab-
lished lines of allegiance and nationality, and inter-
national guarantees of the political Aid economic


independence and territorial integrity of the several
Balkan states should be entered into.

12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman
Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but
the other nationalities which are now under Turkish
rule should be assured an undoubted security of life
and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autono-
mous development, and the Dardanelles should be
permanently opened as a free passage to the ships
and commerce of all nations under international guar-

1 3. An independent Polish state should be erected,
which should include the territories inhabited by in-
disputably Polish populations, which should be as-
sured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose
political and economic independence and territorial
integrity should be guaranteed by international

14. A general association of nations must be
formed under specific covenants for the purpose of
affording mutual guarantees of political independence
and territorial integrity to great and small states


(Address at Metropolitan Opera House, New York)

As I see it, the constitution of that league of na-
tions and the clear definition of its objects must be


a part, is in a sense the most essential part, of the
peace settlement itself. ... It is necessary to
guarantee the peace, and the peace cannot be guar-
anteed as an afterthought.

First, the impartial justice meted out must involve
no discrimination between those to whom we wish
to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be
just. It must be a justice that plays no favorites
and knows no standard but equal rights of the several
peoples concerned;

Second, no special or separate interest of any single
nation or any group of nations can be made the basis
of any part of the settlement which is not consistent
with the common interest of all;

Third, there can be no leagues or alliances or
special covenants and understandings within the gen-
eral and common family of the league of nations;

Fourth, and more specifically, there can be no
special, selfish economic combinations within the
league and no employment of any form of economic
boycott or exclusion except as the power of economic
penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world
may be vested in the league of nations itself as a
means of discipline and control.

Fifth, all international agreements and treaties of
every kind must be made known in their entirety to
the rest of the world.



In order to promote international co-operation and
to secure international peace and security by the ac-
ceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the
prescription of open, just and honorable relations
between nations, by the firm establishment of the
understandings of international law as the actual rule
of conduct among governments, and by the main-
tenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all
treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples
with one another, the Powers signatory to this Cov-
enant adopt this constitution of the League of Nations.

Article I

The action of the High Contracting Parties under
the terms of this Covenant shall be effected through
the instrumentality of meetings of a Body of Dele-
gates representing the High Contracting Parties, of
meetings at more frequent intervals of an Executive
Council, and of a permanent international Secretariat
to be established at the Seat of the League.


Article II

Meetings of the Body of Delegates shall be held at
stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may
require for the purpose of dealing with matters with-
in the sphere of action of the League. Meetings of
the Body of Delegates shall be held at the Seat of
the League or at such other place as may be found
convenient and shall consist of representatives of the
High Contracting Parties. Each of the High Con-
tracting Parties shall have one vote but may have not
more than three representatives.

Article III

The Executive Council shall consist of representa-
tives of the United States of America, the British
Empire, France, Italy and Japan, together with rep-
resentatives of four other States, members of the
League. The selection of these four States shall be
made by the Body of Delegates on such principles
and in such manner as they think fit. Pending the
appointment of these representatives of the other
States, representatives of shall be mem-

bers of the Executive Council.

Meetings of the Council shall be held from time
to time as occasion may require and at least once a
year at whatever place may be decided on, or failing
any such decision, at the Seat of the League, and any
matter within the sphere of action of the League or
affecting the peace of the world may be dealt with
at such meetings.



Invitations shall be sent to any Power to attend
a meeting of the Council at which matters directly
affecting its interests are to be discussed and no
decision taken at any meeting will be binding on such
Power unless so invited.

Article IV

All matters of procedure at meetings of the Body of
Delegates or the Executive Council including the
appointment of Committees to investigate particular
matters shall be regulated by the Body of Delegates
or the Executive Council and may be decided by a
majority of the States represented at the meeting.

The first meeting of the Body of Delegates and of
the Executive Council shall be summoned by the Presi-
dent of the United States of America.

Article V

The permanent Secretariat of the League shall be
established at which shall

constitute the Seat of the League. The Secretariat
shall comprise such secretaries and staff as may be
required, under the general direction and control of
a Secretary-General of the League, who shall be
chosen by the Executive Council; the Secretariat
shall be appointed by the Secretary-General subject
to confirmation by the Executive Council.

The Secretary-General shall act in that capacity at
all meetings of the Body of Delegates or of the Ex-

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Online LibraryDavid Jayne HillPresent problems in foreign policy → online text (page 14 of 17)