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to him, as he characterized them as “mere technicalities” which could be cured or disregarded. Impressed myself with the importance of these "technicalities” and their direct bearing on the policy of adopting the mandatory system, I later, on February 2, 1919, embodied them in a memorandum. At the time I hoped and believed that the negotiation of the completed Covenant might be postponed and that there would be another opportunity to raise the question. The memorandum, prepared with this end in view, is as follows:
“The system of ‘mandatories under the League of Nations,' when applied to territories which were formerly colonies of Germany, the system which has been practically adopted and will be written into the plan for the League, raises some interesting and difficult questions:
“The one, which is the most prominent since it enters into nearly all of the international problems presented, is - Where does the sovereignty over these territories reside?
“Sovereignty is inherent in the very conception of government. It cannot be destroyed, though it may be absorbed by another sovereignty either by compulsion or cession. When the Germans were ousted from their colonies, the sovereignty passed to the power or powers which took possession. The location of the sovereignty up to the present is clear, but with the introduction of the League of Nations as an international primate superior to the conquerors some rather perplexing questions will have to be answered.
“Do those who have seized the sovereignty transfer it or does Germany transfer it to the League of Nations? If so, how?
“Does the League assume possession of the sovereignty on its renunciation by Germany? If so, how?
“Does the League merely direct the disposition of the sovereignty without taking possession of it?
“Assuming that the latter question is answered in the affirmative, then after such disposition of the right to exercise sovereignty, which will presumably be a limited right, where does the actual sovereignty reside?
“The appointment of a mandatory to exercise sovereign rights over territory is to create an agent for the real sovereign. But who is the real sovereign?
“Is the League of Nations the sovereign, or is it a common agent of the nations composing the League, to whom is confided solely the duty of naming the mandatory and issuing the mandate?
“If the League is the sovereign, can it avoid responsibility for the misconduct of the mandatory, its agent?
"If it is not the League, who is responsible for the mandatory's conduct?
“Assuming that the mandatory in faithfully performing the provisions of the mandate unavoidably works an injustice upon another party, can or ought the mandatory to be held responsible? If not, how can the injured party obtain redress? Manifestly the answer is, 'From the sovereign,' but who is the sovereign?
“In the Treaty of Peace Germany will be called upon to renounce sovereignty over her colonial possessions. To whom will the sovereignty pass?
“If the reply is, 'The League of Nations, the question is: Does the League possess the attributes of an independent state so that it can function as an owner of territory? If so, what is it? A world state?
“If the League does not constitute a world state, then the sovereignty would have to pass to some national state.
What national state? What would be the relation of the national state to the League?
“If the League is to receive title to the sovereignty, what officers of the League are empowered to receive it and to transfer its exercise to a mandatory?
“What form of acceptance should be adopted?
“Would every nation which is a member of the League have to give its representatives full powers to accept the title?
“Assuming that certain members decline to issue such powers or to accept title as to one or more of the territories, what relation would those members have to the mandatory named?"
There is no attempt in the memorandum to analyze or classify the queries raised, and, as I review them in the light of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, I do not think that some of them can be asked with any helpful purpose. On the other hand, many of the questions, I believe the large majority, were as pertinent after the Treaty was completed as they were when the memorandum was made.
As Colonel House was the other member of the Commission on the League of Nations and would have to consider the practicability and expediency of including the mandatory system in the Covenant, I read the memorandum to him stating that I had orally presented most of the questions to the President who characterized them as “legal technicalities” and for that reason unimportant. I said to the Colonel that I differed with the President, as I hoped he did, not only as to the importance of considering the difficulties raised by the questions before the system of mandates was adopted, but also as to the importance of viewing from every standpoint the wisdom of the system and the difficulties that might arise in its practical operation. I stated that, in my opinion, a simpler and better plan was to transfer the sovereignty over territory to a particular nation by a treaty of cession under such terms as seemed wise and, in the case of some of the newly erected states, to have them execute treaties accepting protectorates by Powers mutually acceptable to those states and to the League of Nations. · Colonel House, though he listened attentively to the memorandum and to my suggestions, did not seem convinced of the importance of the questions or of the advantages of adopting any other plan than that of the proposed mandatory system. To abandon the system meant to abandon one of the ideas of international supervision, which the President especially cherished and strongly advocated. It meant also to surrender one of the proposed functions of the League as an agent in carrying out the peace settlements under the Treaty, functions which would form the basis of an argument in favor of the organization of the League and furnish a practical reason for its existence. Of course the presumed arguments against the abandonment of mandates may not have been considered, but at the time I believed that they were potent with Colonel House and with the President. The subsequent advocacy of the system by these two influential members of the Commission on the League of Nations, which
resulted in its adoption, in no way lessened my belief as to the reasons for their support.
The mandatory system, a product of the creative mind of General Smuts, was a novelty in international relations which appealed strongly to those who preferred to adopt unusual and untried methods rather than to accept those which had been tested by experience and found practical of operation. The self-satisfaction of inventing something new or of evolving a new theory is inherent with not a few men. They are determined to try out their ideas and are impatient of opposition which seeks to prevent the experi
ment. In fact opposition seems sometimes to enhance the : virtue of a novelty in the minds of those who propose or
advocate its adoption. Many reformers suffer from this form of vanity.
In the case of the system of mandates its adoption by the Conference and the conferring on the League of Nations the power to issue mandates seemed at least to the more conservative thinkers at Paris a very doubtful venture. It appeared to possess no peculiar advantages over the old method of transferring and exercising sovereign control either in providing added protection to the inhabitants of territory subject to a mandate or greater certainty of international equality in the matter of commerce and trade, the two principal arguments urged in favor of the proposed system.
If the advocates of the system intended to avoid through its operation the appearance of taking enemy