« PreviousContinue »
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
ORGANIZATION The general treaty setting up the league of nations will explicitly provide for regular conferences between the responsible representatives of the contracting powers.
These conferences would review the general conditions of international relations and would naturally pay special attention to any difficulty which might seem to threaten the peace of the world. They would also receive and as occasion demanded discuss reports as to the work of any international administrative or investigating bodies working under the League.
These conferences would constitute the pivot of the league. They would be meetings of statesmen responsible to their own sovereign parliaments, and any decisions taken would therefore, as in the case of the various allied conferences during the war, have to be unanimous.
The following form of organization is suggested:
1. The conference. Annual meeting of prime ministers and foreign secretaries of British Empire, United States, France, Italy, Japan, and any other States recognized by them as great powers. Quadrennial meeting of representatives of all States included in the league. There should also be provision for the summoning of special conferences on the demand of any one of the great powers or, if there were danger of an outbreak of war, of any member of the league. (The composition of the league will be determined at the peace conference. Definitely untrustworthy and hostile States, e.g., Russia, should the Bolshevist government remain in power, should be excluded. Otherwise it is desirable not to be too rigid in scrutinizing qualifications, since the small powers will in any case not exercise any considerable influence.)
1 Reprinted from Senate Doc. No. 106, 66th Congress, ist Session, p. 1163.
2. For the conduct of its work the interstate conference will require a permanent secretariat. The general secretary should be appointed by the great powers, if possible choosing a national of some other country.
3. International bodies. The secretariat would be the responsible channel of communication between the interstate conference and all international bodies functioning under treaties guaranteed by the league. These would fall into three classes:
(a) Judicial; i.e., the existing Hague organization with any additions or modifications made by the league.
(b) International administrative bodies. Such as the suggested transit commission. To these would be added bodies already formed under existing treaties (which are very numerous and deal with very important interests, e.g., postal union, international labor office, etc.).
(c) International commissions of enquiry: e.g., commission on industrial conditions (labor legislation), African commission, armaments commission.
4. In addition to the above arrangements guaranteed by or arising out of the general treaty, there would probably be a periodical congress of delegates of the parliaments of the States belonging to the league, as a development out of the existing Interparliamentary Union. A regular staple of discussion for this body would be afforded by the reports of the interstate conference and of the different international bodies. The congress would thus cover the ground that is at present occupied by the periodical Hague Conference and also the ground claimed by the Socialist International.
For the efficient conduct of all these activities it is essential that there should be a permanent central meeting-place, where the officials and officers of the league would enjoy the privileges of extra-territoriality. Geneva is suggested as the most suitable place.
PREVENTION OF WAR The covenants for the prevention of war which would be embodied in the general treaty would be as follows:
(1) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war until they had submitted the questions at issue to an international conference or an arbitral court, and until the conference or court had issued a report or handed down an award.
(2) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war with any member of the league complying with the award of a court or with the report of a conference. For the purpose of this clause, the report of the conference must be unanimous, excluding the litigants.
(3) The members of the league would undertake to regard themselves, as ipso facto, at war with any one of
hem acting contrary to the above covenants, and to take, jointly and severally, appropriate military, economic and other measure against the recalcitrant State.
(4) The members of the league would bind themselves to take similar action, in the sense of the above clause, against any State not being a member of the league which is involved in a dispute with a member of the league. (This is a stronger provision than that proposed in the Phillimore Report.)
The above covenants mark an advance upon the practice of international relations previous to the war in two respects: (1) In insuring a necessary period of delay before war can break out (except between two States which are neither of them members of the league); (2) In securing public discussion and probably a public report upon matters in dispute.
It should be observed that even in cases where the conference report is not unanimous, and therefore in no sense binding, a majority report may be issued and that this would be likely to carry weight with the public opinion of the States in the league.
THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS IN
THE TREATY OF VERSAILLES
ARTICLE I The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant and also such of those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without reservation to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a Declaration deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the coming into force of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all other Members of the League.
Any fully self-governing State, Dominion, or Colony not named in the Annex may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by two thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its military, naval and air forces and armaments.
Any Member of the League may, after two years' notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.
ARTICLE 2 The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent Secretariat.