Page images

believing it better to submit my ideas in concrete form, as I had learned from experience that Mr. Wilson preferred to have matters for his decision presented in writing rather than by word of mouth.



The President, Mr. Henry White, and I arrived in Paris on Saturday, December 14, 1918, where Colonel House and General Bliss awaited us. The days following our arrival were given over to public functions in honor of the President and to official exchanges of calls and interviews with the delegates of other countries who were gathering for the Peace Conference. On the 23d, when the pressure of formal and social engagements had in a measure lessened, I decided to present to the President my views as to the mutual guaranty which he intended to propose, fearing that, if there were further delay, he would become absolutely committed to the affirmative form. I, therefore, on that day sent him the following letter, which was marked “Secret and Urgent”:

Hôtel de Crillon

December 23, 1918 “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:

“The plan of guaranty proposed for the League of Nations, which has been the subject of discussion, will find considerable objection from other Governments because, even when the principle is agreed to, there will be a wide divergence of views as to the terms of the obligation. This difference of opinion will be seized upon by those, who are openly or secretly opposed to the League, to create controversy and discord.



DECEMBER 14, 1918

“In addition to this there will be opposition in Congress to assuming obligations to take affirmative action along either military or economic lines. On constitutional grounds, on its effect on the Monroe Doctrine, on jealousy as to Congressional powers, etc., there will be severe criticism which will materially weaken our position with other nations, and may, in view of senatorial hostility, defeat a treaty as to the League of Nations or at least render it impotent.

"With these thoughts in mind and with an opposition known to exist among certain European statesmen and already manifest in Washington, I take the liberty of laying before you a tentative draft of articles of guaranty which I do not believe can be successfully opposed either at home or abroad.”

I would interrupt the reader at this point to suggest that it might be well to peruse the enclosures, which will be found in the succeeding pages, in order to have a better understanding of the comments which follow. To continue:

“I do not see how any nation can refuse to subscribe to them. I do not see how any question of constitutionality can be raised, as they are based essentially on powers which are confided to the Executive. They in no way raise a question as to the Monroe Doctrine. At the same time I believe that the result would be as efficacious as if there was an undertaking to take positive action against an offending nation, which is the present cause of controversy.

“I am so earnestly in favor of the guaranty, which is the heart of the League of Nations, that I have endeavored to find a way to accomplish this and to remove the objections

« PreviousContinue »