Page images
PDF
EPUB

C. Bullitt during his hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in September, 1919 (Senate Doc. 106, 66th Congress, ist Session, pages 1177 et seq.).

The most important amendment to the Covenant suggested by these advisers was, in my judgment, the one relating to Article III of the draft, which became Article 10 in the Treaty. After a long criticism of the President's proposed guaranty, in which it is declared that “such an agreement would destroy the Monroe Doctrine,” and that “any guaranty of independence and integrity means war by the guarantor if a breach of the independence or integrity of the guaranteed State is attempted and persisted in,” the memorandum proposed that the following be substituted:

“Each Contracting Power severally covenants and guarantees that it will not violate the territorial integrity or impair the political independence of any other Contracting Power.”

This proposed substitute should be compared with the language of the "self-denying covenant” that I sent to the President on December 23, 1918, the pertinent portion of which is repeated here for the purpose of such comparison:

“Each power signatory or adherent hereto severally covenants and guarantees that it will not violate the territorial integrity or impair the political sovereignty of any other power signatory or adherent to this convention,

The practical adoption of the language of my proposed substitute in the memorandum furnishes conclusive proof

that Colonel House was "entirely converted” to my form of a guaranty as he had frankly assured me that he was on the evening of January 6. I am convinced also that Mr. Henry White and General Bliss held the same views on the subject. It is obvious that President Wilson was the only one of the American representatives at Paris who favored the affirmative guaranty, but, as he possessed the constitutional authority to determine independently the policy of the United States, his form of a guaranty was written into the revised draft of a Covenant submitted to the Commission on the League of Nations and with comparatively little change was finally adopted in the Treaty of Peace with Germany.

The memorandum prepared by Messrs. Miller and Auchincloss was apparently in the President's hands before the revised draft was completed, for certain changes in the original draft were in accord with the suggestions made in their memorandum. His failure to modify the guaranty may be considered another rejection of the “self-denying covenant" and a final decision to insist on the affirmative form of guaranty in spite of the unanimous opposition of his American colleagues.

In view of what later occurred a very definite conclusion may be reached concerning the President's rejection of the proposed substitute for his guaranty. Article 1o was from the first the storm center of opposition to the report of the Commission on the League of Nations and the chief cause for refusal of consent to the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by the Senate of the United States. The vulnerable nature of the provision, which had been so plainly pointed out to the President before the Covenant was submitted to the Commission, invited attack. If he had listened to the advice of his colleagues, in fact if he had listened to any American who expressed an opinion on the subject, the Treaty would probably have obtained the speedy approval of the Senate. There would have been opposition from those inimical to the United States entering any international organization, but it would have been insufficient to prevent ratification of the Treaty.

As it was, the President's unalterable determination to have his form of guaranty in the Covenant, in which he was successful, and his firm refusal to modify it in any substantial way resulted in strengthening the opponents to the League to such an extent that they were able to prevent the Treaty from obtaining the necessary consent of two thirds of the Senators.

The sincerity of Mr. Wilson's belief in the absolute necessity of the guaranty, which he proposed, to the preservation of international peace cannot be doubted. While his advisers were practically unanimous in the opinion that policy, as well as principle, demanded a change in the guaranty, he clung tenaciously to the affirmative form. The result was that which was feared and predicted by his colleagues. The President, and the President alone, must bear the responsibility for the result.

CHAPTER XI

INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION

On the day that the Commission on the League of Nations held its first meeting and before I had reason to suspect that Mr. Wilson intended to ignore the letter which I had sent him with the suggested resolution enclosed, I determined to appeal to him in behalf of international arbitration. I decided to do this on the assumption that, even if the plan for a resolution was approved, the Commission would continue its sessions in preparation for the subsequent negotiation of an agreement of some sort providing for world organization. The provision as to arbitration in the President's original draft of a Covenant was so wrong from my point of view and showed such a lack of knowledge of the practical side of the subject that I was impelled to make an effort to induce him to change the provision. Except for the fact that the matter was wholly legal in character and invited an opinion based on technical knowledge, I would have remained silent in accordance with my feeling that it would be inadvisable for me to have anything to do with drafting the Covenant. I felt, however, that the constitution and procedure of international courts were subjects which did not affect the general theory of organization and concerning which my views might influence the President and be of aid to him in the formulation of the judicial feature of any plan adopted.

With this object in view I wrote to him the following letter:

'Hôtel Crillon, Paris

February 3, 1919 “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:

“I am deeply interested, as you know, in the constitution and procedure of international courts of arbitration, and having participated in five proceedings of this sort I feel that I can speak with a measure of authority.

“In the first place let me say that a tribunal, on which representatives of the litigants sit as judges, has not proved satisfactory even though the majority of the tribunal are nationals of other countries. However well prepared from experience on the bench to render strict justice, the litigants' arbitrators act in fact as advocates. As a consequence the neutral arbitrators are decidedly hampered in giving full and free expression to their views, and there is not that frank exchange of opinion which should characterize the conference of judges. It has generally resulted in a compromise, in which the nation in the wrong gains a measure of benefit and the nation in the right is deprived of a part of the remedy to which it is entitled. In fact an arbitration award is more of a political and diplomatic arrangement than it is a judicial determination. I believe that this undesirable result can be in large measure avoided by eliminating arbitrators of the litigant nations. It is only in the case of monetary claims that these observations do not apply.

“Another difficulty has been the method of procedure before international tribunals. This does not apply to monetary claims, but to disputes arising out of boundaries,

« PreviousContinue »