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peace. It can hardly be doubted, however, that the body of delegates were practically unanimous in disapproving the secrecy of the proceedings, and this disapproval was to be found even among the delegations of the Great Powers. It was accepted by the lesser nations because it seemed impolitic and useless to oppose the united will of the controlling oligarchy. It was natural that the delegates of the less influential states should feel that their countries would suffer in the terms of peace if they openly denounced the treatment accorded them as violative of the dignity of representatives of independent sovereignties. In any event no formal protest was entered against their being deprived of a knowledge to which they were entitled, a deprivation which placed them and their countries in a subordinate, and, to an extent, a humiliating, position.
The climax of this policy of secrecy toward the body of delegates came on the eve of the delivery of the Treaty of Peace to the German representatives who were awaiting that event at Versailles. By a decision of the Council of the Heads of States, reached three weeks before the time, only a digest or summary of the Treaty was laid before the plenary session of the Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace on the day preceding the delivery of the full text of the Treaty to the Germans. The delegates of the smaller belligerent nations were not permitted to examine the actual text of the document before it was seen by their defeated adversaries. Nations, which had fought valiantly and suffered agonies during the war, were treated with no more consideration than their enemies so far as knowledge of the exact terms of peace were concerned. The arguments, which could be urged on the ground of the practical necessity of a small group dealing with the questions and determining the settlements, seem insufficient to justify the application of the rule of secrecy to the delegates who sat in the Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace. It is not too severe to say that it outraged the equal rights of independent and sovereign states and under less critical conditions would have been resented as an insult by the plenipotentiaries of the lesser nations. Even within the delegations of the Great Powers there were indignant murmurings against this indefensible and unheard of treatment of allies. No man, whose mind was not warped by prejudice or dominated by political expediency, could give it his approval or become its apologist. Secrecy, and intrigues which were only possible through secrecy, stained nearly all the negotiations at Paris, but in this final act of withholding knowledge of the actual text of the Treaty from the delegates of most of the nations represented in the Conference the spirit of secretiveness seems to have gone
mad. The psychological effects of secrecy on those who are kept in ignorance are not difficult to analyze. They follow normal
processes and may be thus stated: Secrecy breeds suspicion; suspicion, doubt; doubt, distrust; and distrust produces lack of frankness, which is closely akin to secrecy. The result is a vicious circle, of which deceit and intrigue are the very essence. Secrecy and its natural consequences have given to diplomacy a popular reputation for trickery, for double-dealing, and in a more or less degree for unscrupulous and dishonest methods of obtaining desired ends, a reputation that has found expression in the ironic definition of a diplomat as “an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.”
The time had arrived when the bad name which diplomacy had so long borne could and should have been removed. “Open covenants openly arrived at” appealed to the popular feeling of antipathy toward secret diplomacy, of which the Great War was generally believed to be the product. The Paris Conference appeared to offer an inviting opportunity to turn the page and to begin a new and better chapter in the annals of international intercourse. To do this required a fixed purpose to abandon the old methods, to insist on openness and candor, to refuse to be drawn into whispered agreements. The choice between the old and the new ways had to be definite and final. It had to be made at the very beginning of the negotiations. It was made. Secrecy was adopted. Thus diplomacy, in spite of the announced intention to reform its practices, has retained the evil taint which makes it out of harmony with the spirit of good faith and of open dealing which is characteristic of the best thought of the present epoch. There is little to show that diplomacy has been raised to a higher plane or has won a better reputation in the world at large than it possessed before the nations assembled at Paris to make peace. This failure to lift the necessary agency of international relations out of the rut worn deep by centuries of practice is one of the deplorable consequences of the peace negotiations. So much might have been done; nothing was done.
THE SHANTUNG SETTLEMENT
The Shantung Settlement was not so evidently chargeable to secret negotiations as the crisis over the disposition of Fiume, but the decision was finally reached through that method. The controversy between Japan and China as to which country should become the possessor of the former German property and rights in the Shantung Peninsula was not decided until almost the last moment before the Treaty with Germany was completed. Under pressure of the necessity of making the document ready for delivery to the German delegates, President Wilson, M. Clemenceau, and Mr. Lloyd George, composing the Council of the Heads of States in the absence of Signor Orlando in Rome, issued an order directing the Drafting Committee of the Conference to prepare articles for the Treaty embodying the decision that the Council had made. This decision, which was favorable to the Japanese claims, was the result of a confidential arrangement with the Japanese delegates by which, in the event of their claims being granted, they withdrew their threat to decline to sign the Treaty of Peace, agreed not to insist on a proposed amendment to the Covenant declaring for racial equality, and orally promised to restore to China in the near future certain rights of sovereignty over the territory, which