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But, if they did, he evidently considered them as invalid as he did the objections arising from legal difficulties. The system of mandates was written into the Treaty and a year after the Treaty was signed President Wilson asked the Congress for authority to accept for the United States a mandate over Armenia. This the Congress refused. It is needless to make further comment.
DIFFERENCES AS TO THE LEAGUE RECAPITULATED
THE differences between the President's views and mine in regard to the character of the League of Nations and to the provisions of the Covenant relating to the organization and functions of the League were irreconcilable, and we were equally in disagreement as to the duties of the League in carrying out certain provisions of the Treaty of Peace as the common agent of the signatory Powers. As a commissioned representative of the President of the United States acting under his instructions I had no alternative but to accept his decisions and to follow his directions, since surrender of my commission as Peace Commissioner seemed to me at the time to be practically out of the question. I followed his directions, however, with extreme reluctance because I felt that Mr. Wilson's policies were fundamentally wrong and would unavoidably result in loss of prestige to the United States and to him as its Chief Magistrate. It seemed to me that he had endangered, if he had not destroyed, his preëminent position in world affairs in order to obtain the acceptance of his plan for a League of Nations, a plan which in theory and in detail was so defective that it would be difficult to defend it successfully from critical attack.
The objections to the terms of the Covenant, which I had raised at the outset, were based on principle and also on policy, as has been shown in the preceding pages; and on the same grounds I had opposed their hasty adoption and their inclusion in the Peace Treaty to be negotiated at Paris by the Conference. These objections and the arguments advanced in their support did not apparently have any effect on President Wilson, for they failed to change his views or to modify the plan which he, with General Smuts and Lord Robert Cecil, had worked out for an international organization. They did not swerve him one jot from his avowed purpose to make the creation of the League of Nations the principal feature of the negotiations and the provisions of the Covenant the most prominent articles in the Treaties of Peace with the Central Powers.
Instead of accomplishing their designed purpose, my efforts to induce the President to change his policy resulted only in my losing his confidence in my judgment and in arousing in his mind, if I do not misinterpret his conduct, doubts of my loyalty to him personally. It was characteristic of Mr. Wilson that his firm conviction as to the soundness of his conclusions regarding the character of the League of Nations and his fixity of purpose in seeking to compel its adoption by the Peace Conference were so intense as to brook no opposition, especially from one whom he expected to accept his judgment without question and to give support in thought and word to any plan or policy which he advocated. In view of this mental attitude of the President it is not difficult to understand his opinion of my course of action at Paris. The breach in our confidential relations was unavoidable in view of my conviction of the duty of an official adviser and his belief that objections ought not to be urged as to a matter concerning which he had expressed his opinion. To give implied assent to policies and intentions which seemed to me wrong or unwise would have been violative of a public trust, though doubtless by remaining silent I might have won favor and approval from the President and retained his confidence.
In summarizing briefly the subjects of disagreement between the President and myself concerning the League of Nations I will follow the o der of importance rather than the order in which they arose. While they also divide into two classes, those based on principle and those based on policy, it does not seem advisable to treat them by classes in the summary.
The most serious defect in the President's Covenant was, in my opinion, one of principle. It was the practical denial of the equality of nations in the regulation of international affairs in times of peace through the recognition in the Executive Council of the League of the right of primacy of the Five Great Powers. This was an abandonment of a fundamental principle of international law and comity and was destructive of the very conception of national sovereignty both as a term of political philosophy and as a term of constitutional law. The denial of the equal independence and the free exercise of sovereign rights of all states in the conduct of their foreign affairs, and the establishment of this group of primates, amounted to a recognition of the doctrine that the powerful are, in law as well as in fact, entitled to be the overlords of the weak. If adopted, it legalized the mastery of might, which in international relations, when peace prevailed, had been universally condemned as illegal and its assertion as reprehensible.
It was this doctrine, that the possessors of superior physical power were as a matter of right the supervisors, if not the dictators, of those lacking the physical power to resist their commands, which was the vital element of ancient imperialism and of modern Prussianism. Belief in it as a true theory of world polity justified the Great War in the eyes of the German people even when they doubted the plea of their Government that their national safety was in peril. The victors, although they had fought the war with the announced purpose of proving the falsity of this pernicious doctrine and of emancipating the oppressed nationalities subject to the Central Powers, revived the doctrine with little hesitation during the negotiations at Paris and wrote it into the Covenant of the League of Nations by contriving an organization which would give practical control over the destinies of the world to an oligarchy of the Five Great Powers. It was an assumption of the right of supremacy based on the fact that the united strength of these Powers could compel obedience. It was a full endorsement of the theory of “the balance of