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dangerous racial and social complications
that has in great measure prevented the
establishment of international machinery to
study other aspects of the problem. It has
been largely forgotten that, quite apart from
the question of Oriental immigration, the whole
question of popular migrations is one that
increasingly needs scientific treatment and
international adjustment. The working of the
American immigration laws is a striking example
of the unscientific way in which great inter-
national problems have been necessarily treated
in the past. The rejection of immigrants after
arrival, in spite of all the earnest efforts of
the American authorities to mitigate indi-
vidual hardships, has inevitably inflicted untold
sufferings on thousands of friendless families.
The imposition on foreign steamship companies
of the responsibility of selecting immigrants,
on pain of having to retransport them to
Europe, encouraged the establishment of an


elaborate system of " control stations " which
was worked by German shipping lines for
their own commercial ends. It would be almost
true to say that the most acute of all the
social problems of Central and Eastern Europe
was thus delivered over to the power of private
corporations who had no responsibility for
or control over the social conditions which
created the problem and whose only business
was to collect the largest possible number of
immigrants who could be got past the in-
spectors at Ellis Island. One of the most
urgent needs of the world to-day a need
already acutely realised within the British
Commonwealth is a central bureau, exercising,
indeed, no administrative functions and no
powers of interference with the sovereignty
of individual states, but charged with the
whole study of the movements of peoples,
their nature, their causes and their effects.
It may be surmised that any such bureau
would have done much to bring to light before
the war facts well known to everyone acquainted
with Balkan countries the regular return of
temporary emigrants to their homes and the
effects produced upon them by American
education and American industrial conditions.
Here again, what is needed is to bring into
contact with foreign affairs, not only the public
opinion of the various nations, but also their
administrative officials. It is the United States
Commissioner of Immigration who should know
and deal with Europe ; it is the European
officials responsible for internal social conditions


in their countries who should know and deal
with the United States ; these vital matters
cannot be left to chance correspondence through
diplomatic post offices.

Perhaps the connection between these facts
and the problem of the Near East may seem
remote. It is easier to recognise the effects
which might have been produced by the exist-
ence of international organs on more direct
American educational propaganda. Education
has in civilised States passed increasingly under
control of the governments. Some realisation
of the conflict of educational systems and ideas
in civilised States and their effect on the less
developed regions of the world has led in recent
years, largely under American inspiration, to a
movement for co-operation between missionary
and similar educational institutions working
in remote countries. The establishment of
joint boards of Protestant missions both in
England and the United States and the
summoning of the Missionary Conference at
Edinburgh four years before the war were
signs of this movement. It has never been
sufficiently recognised that this movement was
not solely, or perhaps, under modern conditions,
even chiefly, concerned with religious teaching,
but closely affected the whole reaction of
civilised systems of education on backward
peoples. Unfortunately the governments have
hitherto taken little part in this movement,
in spite of their responsibility for education,
though recently international conferences of
an official character have been set on foot in


regard to other matters falling within the
sphere of the educational authorities, such,
especially, as child welfare and hygiene ; yet
the need for inter-government conferences on
educational standards and methods is daily
becoming more evident. No permanent settle-
ment of the African problem or of the very
different problem of the Middle East no settle-
ment, indeed, of the conflict of national ideas
and social conceptions between civilised peoples
can be hoped for unless the civilised govern-
ments of the world, who are responsible for
the education of their citizens, establish common
machinery for adjusting in some measure their
educational systems, for considering even such
matters as school curricula and textbooks,
and, above all, for co-ordinating the effect of
these systems upon more backward peoples.
If any such machinery had been in continuous
operation before the war, it could not have
failed to have brought home to civilised nations
their actual responsibility in such matters,
and would surely have facilitated a considera-
tion of Eastern problems from a fresh point of
view. It would have thrown into strong light
the ineffectiveness and the dangers of" cultural
competition " the efforts of Germany to gain
control of Jewish schools in Palestine, the
jealous pride of France in the very real contri-
butions made by her to education in certain
regions of the Levant, the aspiration of American
missionaries to introduce newer and saner
ideas of education into the sectarian and
racial confusion of these lost lands of ancient


Christendom and might have done much to
replace this competition by a new sense of
common responsibility.

Such, perhaps, might have been the effect
on the Turkish problem of the very ordinary
business machinery which should centre round
the Secretariat of the League. But the services
which such machinery can render to the peace
of the world can be far more clearly seen in
connection with the German problem before
the war. The Germany we know to-day, the
Germany which has plunged the world into
chaos, was the product not of obscure con-
stitutional evils so much as of a whole social
system based upon the power of the State,
which was thus able to mould the whole social
outlook of its people. The forces which made
Germany w r hat she is were embodied in economic
and social legislation and in the working of a
comprehensive system of industry, trade and
finance, assisted and regulated at all points by
the State. German industrial conditions and
German trade methods were the great factors in
international life before the war, but the only
machinery which existed for dealing with their
effects upon the outside world were the inter-
national Socialist and Trade Union movements
on the one hand, and the activities of inter-
national combines of employers and producers on
the other. German policy was revealed and
recognised in the meetings of the Socialist Inter-
nationale and of German, English and French
business men in such organisations as the Trans-
atlantic Passenger Conferences, far more than


in negotiations between diplomatists. Funda-
mentally European and even American domestic
social policy and trade activities were being
profoundly disturbed and influenced by the
existence in the midst of Europe of a State
system far more scientifically designed and
worked out to its logical conclusion than any
developed in other civilised countries. Although
German agrarian, industrial and commercial
legislation and administration were the subject
of innumerable investigations and weighty
reports by private individuals and public
officials in all other European countries, yet
fundamentally, nevertheless, the whole German
system worked as it were in a vacuum, and
was never brought into close and continuous
relation with the corresponding activities of
other States. Since the outbreak of war the
public discussion in Germany of the idea
of Mittel-Europa has brought into the full
glare of publicity the frivolity of the whole
Bagdad railway policy in relation to German
economic needs. The existence of common
organs of discussion, deliberation and study in
regard to industrial and economic legislation
could hardly have failed to hasten this reve-
lation many years before the war, and German
strategists would then have lost much of that
vague and muddle-headed support which has
found expression since the war in the works
of such men as Friedrich Naumann.

It is in some such way that the nations must
in future deal with their recognised common
interests if they are to be able, when occasion



arises, to deal with their differences and dis-
putes ; it is in some such way that they must
be brought to recognise the inevitable reaction
upon other countries of their laws, their forms
of government, and their social systems ; and
it is some such way that the citizens of the
civilised world must be made to understand
that their responsibilities as trustees for less
developed peoples follow their trade and educa-
tional propaganda as inevitably as the British
and American peoples now recognise that British
and American ideas of government and prin-
ciples of justice must follow the British and
American flags.

Such were the conditions of the old Europe,
and such must inevitably be the conditions of
the new. It is the chief virtue of the Treaty
of Peace that it recognises this. In a sense,
the strength of the Treaty lies in its weakest
parts in those provisions which are the least
workable in practice. No settlement between
Poland, Germany, Lithuania, and the Baltic
Provinces could be satisfactory ; any attempt
to round off frontiers and distribute popula-
tions with an equal eye to national claims,
economic needs, and geographical symmetry in
these, the ancient debatable lands of Eastern
Christendom, could only have resulted in the per-
petuation of grievances and the creation of new
irredenta. By the severance of East Prussia from
the body of Germany, by the establishment of
the Free State of Danzig, and by the provision for
a plebiscite of certain populations on the right
bank of the Lower Vistula, the Conference has


produced a settlement equally distasteful to
Poles and Germans. In order that neither
State might enjoy undue advantages, each is
subjected to undue disadvantages. Much the
same is true of Memel, held in pledge by the
Allies for the benefit of the Lithuanian people,
whose future is uncertain. But these apparent
blunders have this great virtue, that, while
future frictions and dangerous problems could
not be avoided, the Conference, unlike so many
international Congresses in the past, has not
loftily decreed that they no longer exist, bid-
ding the nations ignore them, and leaving
them vaguely in the void, poisoning the inter-
national atmosphere. Instead, it has concen-
trated them in certain definite administrative
tasks, confided to the League of Nations : the
task of governing the Free City of Danzig,
the task, under article 98, of guaranteeing
freedom of communication between Germany
and East Prussia on the one hand, and between
Poland and Danzig on the other by definite
treaty obligations, and the task, which must
assuredly fall to the League, though not actually
entrusted to it by article 99, of disposing
of Memel under similar safeguards and limi-

This same method of focusing big international
problems in concrete administrative tasks of
limited scope has been followed in many other
cases where the settlement created by the
Treaty is obviously weak and dangerous. We
have already touched on the defects of the
" national " principle. We have seen that,


apart from the deliberate crimes against that
principle in the Tyrol and elsewhere, it has
proved impossible to avoid the creation of
composite states. Where this evil is greatest,
the Conference has recognised it, and has,
as it were, pegged it down by treaty provisions
which form terms of reference for the adminis-
trative action of the League. Thus, in the treaties
with Germany, Poland and Austria certain
rights are guaranteed to national minorities, not
as in the Treaty of Berlin, in general terms, but
specifically. The field is, on the whole, narrowed,
but it is more clearly defined. The same policy
should be followed in drafting the terms of the
colonial mandates. The League should not fall
into the errors of the Berlin and Brussels Acts by
drawing up general declarations of the high
aims of civilised nations in their colonial de-
pendencies. Expert administrative study is
impossible in an atmosphere of cant. The
obligations assumed towards the League by
small states of mixed nationality or by manda-
tories in the Near East or in Africa should be
of such a nature that their violation or obser-
vance will be susceptible of exact verification
by the Commission on Mandates, or by any
commission established to safeguard the rights
of minorities in Europe. They must not be
such as to facilitate or justify constant inter-
ference with the sovereignty of individual states
on so-called " broad grounds of policy/'
" Policy " in such cases is too often the diplo-
matic cant for theoretic opinions formed in a
vacuum where facts are lacking and expert


study is impossible. The League must also
resist the temptation to convert any of these
obligations into " general principles/' and must
be bold enough to ignore those logicians who
urge that it is unjust to limit the action of
Poland in regard to the Jews, while we leave
unfettered the action of Belgium in regard to
the Flemings. Certainly, the action of the
Conference in such matters has often been
unfair and determined by considerations of
power rather than of just necessity. It is

Erobably quite as necessary to limit Italian
eedom of action in the German Tyrol as to
limit Rumanian freedom of action in Transyl-
vania or Polish freedom of action in regard
to her German population. But it is much
more important to give the League definite
functions in a narrow sphere, to furnish a
new grist of facts to the diplomatic mill, than
to enunciate general principles applicable to all
nations but applied to none.

Above all, the blunders of the Conference
have been turned, almost unintentionally, to
virtues in certain parts of the economic sphere.
The final reply of the Allies to the German dele-
gation at Versailles did much to redeem the
economic clauses of the Treaty and the clauses
dealing with ports and waterways from the
condemnation they had seemed to deserve.
These clauses, as originally drafted, already
contained the germ of new policies ; the dis-
criminatory disabilities under which Germany
was placed were, in most cases, avowedly tem-
porary ; after five years their continuation was


to be subject to the judgment of the Council of
the League ; a general convention on freedom of
transit was explicitly foreshadowed by articles
338 and 379, while under articles 376-378 the
League was granted large powers of revision over
the administrative regime of waterways set up by
the Treaty. The Allies' reply brought these pro-
mises into the forefront of the Treaty. Article 23
of the Covenant, with its forecast of agreements
to secure equitable trade conditions and free-
dom of transit, is declared emphatically to
embody the active policy of the League ;
Germany's accession to the League is to be
the signal for the reconsideration and modifica-
tion of these clauses of the Treaty ; and the
whole commercial problem is thus brought into
something like the same organic relation with
the League as is the labour problem by Chapter
XIII of the Treaty. To a great extent, the
League will stand or fall by its ability to exploit
the opportunity thus given it. If it merely
allows Germany to regain her freedom of
action after five years it will have failed, in
one great essential at least, to bring into being
a policy of joint responsibilities. If, on the
other hand, it is able to convert some of the
obligations now imposed on Germany into
general obligations freely entered into by all its
members, it will have taken a long step to-
wards the practical realisation of such a policy.
Article 164 of the Treaty, coupled with article 8
of the Covenant, gives the League a similar
opportunity in regard to armaments ; while
article 289 brings it into direct touch with the


whole question of the revival of international
treaties, the reconstruction of the " conven-
tional system " under which the family of
nations has lived in the past. In all these
matters its success depends, not on the ability
of statesmen to excogitate policy, nor even on
the pressure of popular demands upon those
statesmen, but mainly on the extent to which
the expert organs of the League, such as the
Military Commission established by article 9
of the Covenant, and the Transit Commission
set up to elaborate the general convention and
to co-ordinate the work of the various water-
ways commissions established by the Treaty, can
collect facts, survey the actual interests of the
various members of the family of nations, and
submit detailed recommendations based on
study and experience.

If there is any force in the line of reasoning
followed in these rough notes, it throws the
very gravest responsibility on Britain and the
United States. We in Britain have been so
proud of our civil service that we tend to forget
its youth. Americans are so accustomed to
look on it with envious eyes and strive to
imitate it, that they have come to regard it as
a peculiar British creation. But, though the
British civil service is hardly more than half
a century old, and though the United States,
and, still more, the Dominions, have as yet
nothing to compare with it as an established
institution, the traditions and national char-
acteristics that have created it have a long
and brilliant history, and are the equal heritage


of the two great branches of the English-
speaking race. The instinct for the public
service is common to both, and it marks them
out from all other nations. The French and
Italian administrative services are notoriously
weak. Apart from undue political influences
and jobbery, French methods of education tend
to develop the faculty of thesis-writing and to
discourage laborious accuracy in the ascertain-
ment of facts. Logic, clarity, and brilliance
are obtained at the expense of detailed know-
ledge. Policies flourish but administration lacks
decision and continuity. The German service,
on the other hand, with all its efficiency, and
in spite of the fact that it has, perhaps, a longer
record of continuous organised existence than
the British, has been too much an expert
caste, aloof from the play of public opinion and
desires, intent on the public weal but serving,
not the public, but an imperial government.
It is only the British service that, in some
degree, though all too imperfectly, combines
a professional devotion to facts and the solemn
sense of responsibility which such devotion
brings, with a sympathy and a sense of pro-
portion born of the consciousness that life is
after all more important than scientific facts
and human nature than anatomy. The United
States, on its part, will do well not to follow
any British model too exactly, for the very
absence of a highly-organised American civil
service during the last twenty years, when
political thought and investigation have been
developing so rapidly, has, perhaps, given her


an opportunity to make her own original
contribution towards the solution of administra-
tive problems. The war revealed how large a
fund of varied and expert administrative know-
ledge was at the disposal of the United States
in her universities and her commercial com-
munity. The lack of any strong nucleus of
civil servants led, indeed, to serious confusion
and waste of time at Washington in 1917, but
during the last year of the war and during the
armistice period her administrative action has,
in many respects, been fresher, more energetic,
and more expert than our own. And, in spite
of grave blunders and some suspicion of corrup-
tion in one or two instances, the heterogeneous
administration which she built up has been
inspired and steadied by the same peculiar
instinct for the public service, the same sense
of responsibility, and the same sense of pro-

It rests, then, especially with Britain and
America to guide the development of the new
international bureaucracy, to safeguard it alike
from narrowness and pedantry and from that
superficial policy-mongering which has been the
besetting sin of diplomacy in the past. They
can only do this by maintaining and developing
the high standard of their own administration,
for they can give the world nothing that they
themselves do not possess within their own
frontiers. For us in Britain the whole reasoning
of this chapter leads to one main conclusion :
that in this era of reconstruction we must devote
attention, almost before all other things, to the


machinery of our administration. We are faced
by this grave fact, that never, perhaps, has
Britain been less ready to give a sure and
decided lead to the world in the administrative
field. Our administration has, of necessity,
been swollen and diluted during the war, till
it has lost much of its distinctive spirit, but
even before 1914 the rapid expansion of govern-
ment action in the sphere of social reform
had outstripped the organised development
of our civil service. There has long been a
growing impatience in England with the slow
movement and humdrum outlook of permanent
officials, and we have for many years lacked the
administrative statesmanship which might have
given proper expression to this impatience by
a detailed and progressive reform of the ma-
chinery of government. To-day this impatience
has grown to formidable dimensions. It is not
only that, in time of war, administration comes
to occupy almost the whole stage of govern-
ment, so that the efficiency of the public services
comes to be the main political question of the
hour. This accounts, indeed, for the extent
to which public attention and criticism have
been concentrated during the last five years on
the administrative services rather than on the
policy of the Cabinet ; it explains the process
by which " Dilly " and " Dally " have come to
be national figures. But to this is now added
the fact that the civil service has become the
emblem of an acute political controversy.
" Nationalisation " has brought it into the
foreground of political debate. The Fabians


are obliged to base their whole case, if not on
its present, at least on its potential efficiency;
while the opponents of nationalisation tend,
absurdly enough, to regard it with suspicion as
the weapon of the Webbs and the darling of
Mr. Smillie. So long as we in Britain have
no clear idea how and within what limits
to apply administrative talent to our own
domestic problems, we can never guide the
nations in its application to international

Indeed, in this as in all other matters, the
success of the League depends in a quite extra-
ordinary degree on British internal policy. An
example of this may be found in the wide
range of economic problems which the depletion
of the world's resources in production, means
of transport and machinery of exchange has
forced upon our attention. About the time of
the armistice the bulk of expert opinion in
England favoured a continuance of government
action over the whole of this field, and many
schemes of international action were sketched
out for this purpose. A number of these
schemes were surveyed by Mr. Garvin in his
" Economic Foundations of Peace/' and that
book deserves close study as representing, in
many respects, the extreme view of those
who, at that time, believed in the possibility
of solving the world's economic problems by
careful administrative control. We have already
seen how these schemes were side-tracked by
American opposition and British negligence
until the economic condition of Europe forced

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Online LibraryEustace Percy Percy of NewcastleThe responsibilites of the League → online text (page 14 of 20)