« PreviousContinue »
the present time; for on the acceptance of this idea depends the establishment of the Court of Arbitral Justice at The Hague.
But even if we leave out of consideration the proposed new court at The Hague, and look solely at the general benefit to be derived from the prevalence of this idea, we may find good reasons for accepting it. It is to be noticed that the society of nations has no human superior, and that it exists not by any external recognition, but by the mental and psychological action of the individuals who compose it. No formal federation of the nations is necessary. It is only necessary for the peoples and nations of the world to recognize themselves as forming one organized political society. Each individual and nation is as important as any other in exercising the power of recognition, and each individual or nation is equally entitled to participate in the work of improving the organization of the society to which he belongs. Historians have noted that the beginning of the real progress of a nation occurs when its people realize their existence as a nation, and come to understand that the nation in the hands of the people can be made one of the greatest means for extending the power of the individual and enabling him to increase his own happiness. Out of such a popular conception of the nation and of the possibilities of individual good to be derived from an economical and efficient national organization, has developed the whole system of democratic representative and responsible government, whereby each person capable of intelligent judgment is enabled to participate, in an orderly and appropriate manner, in the direction of each political organization of which he is a member. On such ideas is based the present progressive movement, which is extending throughout the world. That movement is, in each nation, a conscious effort of individuals, parties and corporations to invent improvements in existing political organization, so that town, city, state and nation may in their respective spheres operate more economically and efficiently in extending the powers of the individual and enabling him to increase his happiness. A similar consciousness, shared by all the peoples of the world, of the existence of the society of nations as the one permanent and allinclusive nation, and a similar appreciation by them of the possibilities of human betterment through improvements in the organization and working of this great society, must, it would seem, necessarily result in
broadening the progressive movement, and lead to a conscious and persistent effort of individuals, parties and corporations in all parts of the world, directed toward improvements in the organization of this great nation, to the end that it, too, may be made more efficient in extending the powers of the individual and enabling him to increase his happiness. As such conscious efforts applied within each nation by its citizens have always resulted in a notable increase in the prevalence of justice, order and peace among the individuals forming the nation; so similar efforts by citizens of the society of nations may ultimately result in a prevalence of justice, order and peace among the scattered and diverse peoples and nations which together form the society of nations, in some degree approaching that which each nation now enjoys within its own borders.
Lest what has been said may be thought to furnish some support for those who seek the immediate federation of the world under a "parliament of man" enacting a "world-law," let it be said that there is nothing in the foregoing which is intended to give support to any such idea. The form which the organization of the society of nations will take, and the changes in the constitution-making, legislative, executive and judicial processes of the society which will occur, as the result of progressive improvement, it is impossible to foretell. It may well be that the ultimate form will be quite different from anything yet known, and one which would be unimaginable at the present time.
ALPHEUS HENRY SNOW.
BOARD OF EDITORS OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL
OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
CHANDLER P. ANDERSON, Washington, D. C.
CHARLES NOBLE GREGORY, George Washington University.
CHARLES CHENEY HYDE, Northwestern University.
GEORGE W. KIRCHWEY, Columbia University.
ROBERT LANSING, Watertown, N. Y.
JOHN BASSETT MOORE, Columbia University.
Editor in Chief
JAMES BROWN SCOTT, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D. C.
GEORGE A. FINCH, 2 Jackson Place, Washington, D. C.
PRESIDENT WILSON AND LATIN AMERICA
The form of government is immaterial in international law, provided that the form be such as to enable the state whereof it is the organ to meet and promptly to comply with its international obligations as a member of the society of nations. It is frequently said that international law does not cross the threshold, but stops at the frontier, and this is true so far as the internal organization of any country is concerned. If this view is correct and it is assumed to be correct for the purposes of this comment a change of administration is an internal matter of no international importance and concern; and yet experience shows, notwithstanding theory, that the personnel of an administration is not
immaterial and exercises a direct influence upon the conduct of international relations, as well as upon the relations themselves. It is therefore of interest to consider very briefly the intellectual outlook of the new President of the United States, who assumed office on the 4th day of March, 1913, and the point of view of the new Secretary of State, who took the oath of office on March 5th.
Mr. Woodrow Wilson came to the presidency after years of patient study of and reflection on the nature and function of the state, as is shown by his text entitled The State: Elements of Historical and Practical Politics, first published in 1889, a work based upon a careful consideration and analysis of foreign as well as English literature, which is used as a text-book in American colleges and universities and quoted with respect by foreign publicists. It is just such a work as is to be expected from a professor of jurisprudence and politics in Princeton University, who had studied law and who had the training to be acquired in the graduate department of one of the greatest of American universities. For present purposes his History of the American People, first published in 1902, should be cited as showing his familiarity with the development of the United States, which he is called upon to direct, and with those traditions, written and unwritten, which have given it a secure place in the society of nations and in the affections of enlightened leaders of thought who, irrespective of nationality, look upon the United States, in certain respects at least, as the ideal toward which they should approach. The American people were therefore prepared for the final announcement which Mr. Wilson made on November 4, 1912, in closing his presidential campaign:
"We must shape our course of action," he said, "by the maxims of justice and liberality and good will, think of the progress of mankind rather than of the progress of this or that investment, of the protection of American honor and the advancement of American ideals rather than always of American contracts, and lift our diplomacy to the levels of what the best minds have planned for mankind."
And, given Mr. Wilson's constancy and determination, they were prepared to believe that he would translate these brave words into action as soon as circumstances should permit or suggest. The troubled situation in Mexico, which has unfortunately existed in that stricken republic since the overthrow and exile of Porfirio Diaz, who had maintained law and order at home and created for Mexico respect and confidence abroad, gave Mr. Wilson at the very beginning of his administration an oppor
tunity, which he promptly seized, to express his views and the views of his administration toward Latin America. On March 12, 1913, he issued the following statement, which was telegraphed on the same day by the Secretary of State, through diplomatic officers, to Latin America:
In view of questions which are naturally uppermost in the public mind just now, the President issues the following statement:
One of the chief objects of my administration will be to cultivate the friendship and deserve the confidence of our sister republics of Central and South America, and to promote in every proper and honorable way the interests which are common to the peoples of the two continents. I earnestly desire the most cordial understanding and co-operation between the peoples and leaders of America and, therefore, deem it my duty to make this brief statement.
Co-operation is possible only when supported at every turn by the orderly processes of just government based upon law, not upon arbitrary or irregular force. We hold, as I am sure all thoughtful leaders of republican government everywhere hold, that just government rests always upon the consent of the governed, and that there can be no freedom without order based upon law and upon the public conscience and approval. We shall look to make these principles the basis of mutual intercourse, respect, and helpfulness between our sister republics and ourselves. We shall lend our influence of every kind to the realization of these principles in fact and practice, knowing that disorder, personal intrigue and defiance of constitutional rights weaken and discredit government and injure none so much as the people who are unfortunate enough to have their common life and their common affairs so tainted and disturbed. We can have no sympathy with those who seek to seize the power of government to advance their own personal interests or ambition. We are the friends of peace, but we know that there can be no lasting or stable peace in such circumstances. As friends, therefore, we shall prefer those who act in the interest of peace and honor, who protect private rights and respect the restraints of constitutional provision. Mutual respect seems to us the indispensable foundation of friendship between states, as between individuals.
The United States has nothing to seek in Central and South America except the lasting interests of the peoples of the two continents, the security of governments intended for the people and for no special group or interest, and the development of personal and trade relationships between the two continents which shall redound to the profit and advantage of both and interfere with the rights and liberties of neither. From these principles may be read so much of the future policy of this government as it is necessary now to forecast; and in the spirit of these principles I may, I hope, be permitted with as much confidence as earnestness to extend to the governments of all the republics of America the hand of genuine disinterested friendship and to pledge my own honor and the honor of my colleagues to every enterprise of peace and amity that a fortunate future may disclose.
It is refreshing to learn from this formal and carefully considered statement of policy that one of the chief objects of President Wilson's administration will be not merely "to cultivate the friendship," but to