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"He exclaimed: 'One tells you one thing and that is not true; then another tells you another thing and that too is not true. What is one to believe? What can one do? It is hopeless. So many secret meetings with different persons are simply awful' — He threw up his hands - Now we

' have the result. It is terrible!'

“I laughed and said, 'I conclude that you do not like secret diplomacy.'

“I do not; I do not,' he fervently exclaimed. ‘All our trouble comes from these secret meetings of four men (referring to the Big Four), who keep no records and who tell different stories of what takes place. Secrecy is to blame. We have been unable to rely on any one. To have to run around and see this man and that man is not the way to do. Most all sympathize with you when alone and then they desert you when they get with others. This is the cause of much bitterness and distrust. Secret diplomacy is an utter failure. It is too hard to endure. Some men know only how to whisper. They are not to be trusted. I do not like it.'

“Well,' I said, 'you cannot charge me with that way of doing business.'

“'I cannot,'he replied, 'you tell me the truth. I may not like it, but at least you do not hold out false hopes.

The foregoing conversation no doubt expressed the real sentiments of the members of the Italian delegation at that time. Disgust with confidential personal interviews and with relying upon personal influence rather than upon the merits of their case was the natural reaction following the failure to win by these means the President's approval of Italy's demands.

The Italian policy in relation to Fiume was wrecked on


the rock of President Wilson's firm determination that the Jugo-Slavs should have a seaport on the Adriatic sufficient for their needs and that Italy should not control the approaches to that port. With the wreck of the Fiume policy went in time the Orlando Government which had failed to make good the promises which they had given to their people. Too late they realized that secret diplomacy had failed, and that they had made a mistake in relying upon it. It is no wonder that the two leaders of the Italian delegation on returning to Paris and resuming their duties in the Conference refrained from attempting to arrange clandestinely the settlement of the Adriatic Question. The "go-betweens,” on whom they had previously relied, were no longer employed. Secret diplomacy was anathema. They had paid a heavy price for the lesson, which they had learned.

When one reviews the negotiations at Paris from December, 1918, to June, 1919, the secretiveness which characterized them is very evident. Everybody seemed to talk in whispers and never to say anything worth while except in confidence. The open sessions of the Conference were arranged beforehand. They were formal and perfunctory. The agreements and bargains were made behind closed doors. This secrecy began with the exchange of views concerning the League of Nations, following which came the creation of the Council of Ten, whose meetings were intended to be secret. Then came the secret sessions of the Commission on the League and the numerous informal interviews of the President with one or more of the Premiers of the Allied Powers, the facts concerning which were not divulged to the American Commissioners. Later, on Mr. Wilson's return from the United States, dissatisfaction with and complaint of the publicity given to some of the proceedings of the Council of Ten induced the formation of the Council of Four with the result that the secrecy of the negotiations was practically unbroken. If to this brief summary of the increasing secretiveness of the proceedings of the controlling bodies of the Peace Conference are added the intrigues and personal bargainings which were constantly going on, the “log-rolling” to use a term familiar to American politics — which was practiced, the record is one which invites no praise and will find many who condemn it.

In view of the frequent and emphatic declarations in favor of “open diplomacy” and the popular interpretation placed upon the phrase "Open covenants openly arrived at,” the effect of the secretive methods employed by the leading negotiators at Paris was to destroy public confidence in the sincerity of these statesmen and to subject them to the charge of pursuing a policy which they had themselves condemned and repudiated. Naturally President Wilson, who had been especially earnest in his denunciation of secret negotiations, suffered more than his foreign colleagues, whose real support of “open diplomacy” had always been doubted, though all of them in a measure fell in public estimation as a consequence of the way in which the negotiations were conducted.

The criticism and condemnation, expressed with varying degrees of intensity, resulted from the disappointed hopes of the peoples of the world, who had looked forward confidently to the Peace Conference at Paris as the first great and decisive change to a new diplomacy which would cast aside the cloak of mystery that had been in the past the recognized livery of diplomatic negotiations. The record of the Paris proceedings in this particular is a sorry one. It is the record of the abandonment of principle, of the failure to follow precepts unconditionally proclaimed, of the repudiation by act, if not by word, of a new and better type of international intercourse. · It is not my purpose or desire to fix the blame for this perpetuation of old and discredited practices on any one individual. To do so would be unjust, since more than one preferred the old way and should share the responsibility for its continuance. But, as the secrecy became more and more impenetrable and as the President gave silent acquiescence or at least failed to show displeasure with the practice, I realized that in this matter, as in others, our judgments were at variance and our views irreconcilable. As my opposition to the method of conducting the proceedings was evident, I cannot but assume that this decided difference was one that materially affected the relations between Mr. Wilson and myself and that he looked upon me as an unfavorable critic of his course in permitting to go unprotested the secrecy which characterized the negotiations.

The attention of the delegates to the Peace Conference who represented the smaller nations was early directed to their being denied knowledge of the terms of the Treaty which were being formulated by the principal members of the delegations of the Five Great Powers. There is no doubt that at the first their mental attitude was one of confidence that the policy of secrecy would not be continued beyond the informal meetings preliminary to and necessary for arranging the organization and procedure of the Conference; but, as the days lengthened into weeks and the weeks into months, and as the information concerning the actual negotiations, which reached them, became more and more meager, they could no longer close their eyes to the fact that their national rights and aspirations were to be recognized or denied by the leaders of the Great Powers without the consent and even without the full knowledge of the delegates of the nations vitally interested.

Except in the case of a few of these delegates, who had been able to establish intimate personal relations with some of the “Big Four," the secretiveness of the discussions and decisions regarding the Treaty settlements aroused amazement and indignation. It was evident that it was to be a "dictated peace” and not a “negotiated

“ peace,

a peace dictated by the Great Powers not only to the enemy, but also to their fellow belligerents. Some of the delegates spoke openly in criticism of the furtive methods that were being employed, but the majority held their


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