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upon every one which can possibly be referred, and heaping them on the League of Nations to give it standing as a useful and necessary adjunct to the Treaty.
“At least that is an interesting view of what is taking place and opens a wide field for speculation as to the future of the League and the verdict which history will render as to its origin, its nature, and its real value.”
I quote this memorandum because it gives my thoughts at the time concerning the process of weaving the League into the terms of peace as the President had threatened to do. I thought then that it had a double purpose, to give a practical reason for the existence of the League and to make certain the ratification of the Covenant by the Senate. No fact has since developed which has induced me to change my opinion.
In consequence of the functions which were added to the League, the character of the League itself underwent a change. Instead of an agency created solely for the prevention of international wars, it was converted into an agency to carry out the terms of peace. Its idealistic conception was subordinated to the materialistic purpose of confirming to the victorious nations the rewards of victory. It is true that during the long struggle between the President and the Senate on the question of ratification there was in the debates a general return to the original purpose of the League by both the proponents and
opponents of the Covenant, but that fact in no way affects the truth of the assertion that, in order to save the League of Nations, its character was changed by extending its powers and duties as a common agent of the nations which had triumphed over the Central Alliance.
The day before the Treaty of Peace was delivered to the German plenipotentiaries (May 6) its terms induced me to write a note entitled “The Greatest Loss Caused by the War,” referring to the loss of idealism to the world. In that note I wrote of the League of Nations as follows:
“Even the measure of idealism, with which the League of Nations was at the first impregnated, has, under the influence and intrigue of ambitious statesmen of the Old World, been supplanted by an open recognition that force and selfishness are primary elements in international co operation. The League has succumbed to this reversion to a cynical materialism. It is no longer a creature of idealism. Its very source and reason have been dried up and have almost disappeared. The danger is that it will become a bulwark of the old order, a check upon all efforts to bring man again under the influence which he has lost.”
The President, in the addresses which he afterward made in advocacy of the Covenant and of ratification of the Treaty, indicated clearly the wide divergence of opinion between us as to the character of the League provided for in the Treaty. I do not remember that the subject was directly discussed by us, but I certainly took no pains to hide my misgivings as to the place it would have in the international relations of the future. However, as Mr. Wilson knew that I disapproved of the theory and basic principles of the organization, especially the recognition of the oligarchy of the Five Powers, he could not but realize that I considered that idealism had given place to political expediency in order to secure for the Covenant the support of the powerful nations represented at the Conference. This was my belief as to our relations when the Treaty of Peace containing the Covenant was laid before the Germans at the Hôtel des Reservoirs in Versailles.
THE SYSTEM OF MANDATES
In the foregoing review of the opposite views held by the President and by me in regard to the plan for a League of Nations and specifically in regard to the Covenant as originally drawn and as revised, mention was made of the proposed mandatory system as one of the subjects concerning which we were not in agreement. My objections to the system were advanced chiefly on the ground of the legal difficulties which it presented because it seemed probable that the President would give more weight to my opinion on that ground than on one which concerned the policy of adopting the system. Viewed from the latter standpoint it appeared to me most unwise for the President to propose a plan, in which the United States would be expected to participate and which, if it did participate, would involve it in the political quarrels of the Old World. To do so would manifestly require a departure from the traditional American policy of keeping aloof from the political jealousies and broils of Europe. Without denying that present conditions have, of necessity, modified the old policy of isolation and without minimizing the influence of that fact on the conduct of American foreign affairs, it did not seem essential for the United States to become the guardian of any of the peoples of the Near East, who were aspiring to become independent nationalities, a guardianship which the President held to be a duty that the United States was bound to perform as its share of the burden imposed by the international cooperation which he considered vital to the new world order.
The question of mandates issuing from the League of Nations was discussed at length by the Council of Ten in connection with the disposition and future control of the German colonies and incidentally as to the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. The discussions were chiefly along the lines of practicability, of policy, and of moral obligation. The President's strong support of the mandatory system and his equally strong objection to the idea of condominium showed that his mind was made up in favor of the issuance of mandates by the League. Since it would have been highly improper for me to oppose openly a policy which the President had declared under his constitutional authority, there was no proper opportunity to present the legal difficulties of the system to the Council.
However, the seriousness of these difficulties and the possible troubles and controversies which might be anticipated from attempting to put the system into operation induced me, after one of the sessions of the Council of Ten, to state briefly to the President some of the serious objections to League mandates from the standpoint of international law and the philosophy of government. President Wilson listened with his usual attentiveness to what I had to say, though the objections evidently did not appeal