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at sea and on land is very imperfect, since the high seas constitute an international highway and lie outside the jurisdiction of any single state. However, the provocation and the necessity of self-defence and protection may be even greater on land than at sea. In any case, there is ample precedent for the practice of "hot pursuit" in our past relations with Mexico.
AMOS S. HERSHEY.
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT WILSON ON PRESENTING THE DRAFT OF THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS TO THE THIRD PLENARY
SESSION OF PEACE CONFERENCE AT PARIS,1 FEBRUARY 14, 1918
MR. CHAIRMAN: I have the honor and I esteem it the very great privilege of reporting in the name of the commission constituted by this Conference on the formulation of a plan for the League of Nations. I am happy to say that it is a unanimous report, a unanimous report from the representatives of fourteen nations-the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czecho-Slovakia, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, and Serbia. I think it will be serviceable and interesting if I, with your permission, read the document as the only report we have to make.
[President Wilson read the original draft as printed in the Supplement to this Journal, April, 1919, p. 113. During the reading, the President made the following oral explanatory interpolations.]
After the second paragraph of Article XV:
I pause to point out that a misconception might arise in connection with one of the sentences I have just read: "If any party shall refuse so to comply, the council shall propose the measures necessary to give effect to the recommendation." A case in point, a purely hypothetical case, is this: Suppose that there is in the possession of a particular Power a piece of territory or some other substantial thing in dispute to which it is claimed that it is not entitled. Suppose that the matter is submitted to the Executive Council for a recommendation as to the settlement of the dispute, diplomacy having failed; and suppose that the decision is in favor of the party which claims the subject-matter of dispute as against the party which has the subject-matter in dispute. Then, if the party in possession of the subject-matter in dispute merely sits still and does nothing, it has accepted the decision of the Council, in the sense that it makes no resistance; but something must be done to see that it surrenders the subject-matter in dispute. In such a case, the only case contemplated,
1 Addresses of President Wilson on First Trip to Europe. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1919. pp. 47 et seq.
it is provided that the Executive Council may then consider what steps may be necessary to oblige the party against whom judgment has gone to comply with the decisions of the Council.
Before Article XIX:
Let me say before reading Article XIX, that before being embodied in this document it was the subject-matter of a very careful discussion by representatives of the five greater parties, and that their unanimous conclusion in the matter is embodied in this article.
It gives me pleasure to add to this formal reading of the result of our labors that the character of the discussion which occurred at the sittings of the commission was not only of the most constructive but of the most encouraging sort. It was obvious throughout our discussions that, although there were subjects upon which there were individual differences of judgment, with regard to the method by which our objects should be obtained, there was practically at no point any serious difference of opinion or motive as to the objects which we were seeking. Indeed, while these debates were not made the opportunity for the expression of enthusiasms and sentiments, I think the other members of the commission will agree with me that there was an undertone of high resolve and of enthusiasm for the thing we were trying to do, which was heartening throughout every meeting; because we felt that in a way this Conference had entrusted to us the expression of one of its highest and most important purposes, to see to it that the concord of the world in the future with regard to the objects of justice should not be subject to doubt or uncertainty; that the coöperation of the great body of nations should be assured from the first in the maintenance of peace upon the terms of honor and of the strict regard for international obligation. The compulsion of that task was constantly upon us, and at no point was there shown the slightest desire to do anything but suggest the best means to accomplish that great object. There is very great significance, therefore, in the fact that the result was reached unanimously. Fourteen nations were represented, among them all of those Powers which for convenience we have called the great Powers, and among the rest a representation of the greatest variety of circumstance and interest. So that I think we are justified in saying that it was a representative group of the members of this great Conference. The significance of the result, therefore, has that deepest of all meanings, the union of
wills in a common purpose, a union of wills which cannot be resisted, and which I dare say no nation will run the risk of attempting to resist.
Now, as to the character of the document. While it has consumed some time to read this document, I think you will see at once that it is, after all, very simple, and in nothing so simple as in the structure which it suggests for the League of Nations-a body of delegates, an executive council, and a permanent secretariat. When it came to the question of determining the character of the representation in the Body of Delegates, we were all aware of a feeling which is current throughout the world. Inasmuch as I am stating it in the presence of official representatives of the various Governments here present, including myself, I may say that there is a universal feeling that the world can not rest satisfied with merely official guidance. There reached us through many channels the feeling that if the deliberative body of the League was merely to be a body of officials representing the various Governments, the peoples of the world would not be sure that some of the mistakes which preoccupied officials had admittedly made might not be repeated. It was impossible to conceive a method or an assembly so large and various as to be really representative of the great body of the peoples of the world, because, as I roughly reckon it, we represent as we sit around this table more than twelve hundred million people. You can not have a representative assembly of twelve hundred million people, but if you leave it to each government to have, if it pleases, one or two or three representatives, though only a single vote, it may vary its representation from time to time, not only, but it may originate the choice of its several representatives, if it should have several, in different ways. Therefore, we thought that this was a proper and a very prudent concession to the practically universal opinion of plain men everywhere that they wanted the door left open to a variety of representation instead of being confined to a single official body with which they might or might not find themselves in sympathy.
And you will notice that this body has unlimited rights of discussion-I mean of discussion of anything that falls within the field of international relationship-and that it is specially agreed that war or international misunderstandings or anything that may lead to friction and trouble is everybody's business, because it may affect the peace of the world. And in order to safeguard the popular power
so far as we could of this representative body, it is provided, you will notice, that when a subject is submitted, not to arbitration, but to discussion by the Executive Council, it can, upon the initiative of either one of the parties to the dispute, be drawn out of the Executive Council onto the larger forum of the general Body of Delegates, because throughout this instrument we are depending primarily and chiefly upon one great force, and that is the moral force of the public opinion of the world-the cleansing and clarifying and compelling influences of publicity-so that intrigues can no longer have their coverts, so that designs that are sinister can at any time be drawn into the open, so that those things that are destroyed by the light may be properly destroyed by the overwhelming light of the universal expression of the condemnation of the world.
Armed force is in the background of this program, but it is in the background, and if the moral force of the world will not suffice, the physical force of the world shall. But that is the last resort, because this is intended as a constitution of peace, not as a league of war.
The simplicity of the document seems to me to be one of its chief virtues, because, speaking for myself, I was unable to foresee the variety of circumstances with which this League would have to deal. I was unable, therefore, to plan all the machinery that might be necessary to meet differing and unexpected contingencies. Therefore, I should say of this document that it is not a straitjacket, but a vehicle of life. A living thing is born, and we must see to it that the clothes we put upon it do not hamper it-a vehicle of power, but a vehicle in which power may be varied at the discretion of those who exercise it and in accordance with the changing circumstances of the time. And yet, while it is elastic, while it is general in its terms, it is definite in the one thing that we were called upon to make definite. It is a definite guarantee of peace. It is a definite guarantee by word against aggression. It is a definite guarantee against the things which have just come near bringing the whole. structure of civilization into ruin. Its purposes do not for a moment lie vague. Its purposes are declared and its powers made un
It is not in contemplation that this should be merely a league to secure the peace of the world. It is a league which can be used for coöperation in any international matter. That is the significance of the provision introduced concerning labor. There are many