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the President desired, arouse discussion as to the right theory and the fundamental principles of the international organization which there seemed little doubt would be declared by the Paris Conference.
Among the suggested articles there was none covering the subject of disarmament, because the problem was highly technical requiring the consideration of military and naval experts. Nor was there any reference to the mandatory system because there had not been, to my knowledge, any mention of it at that time in connection with the President's plan, though General Smuts had given it prominence in his proposed scheme.
During the preparation of these suggestive articles I made a brief memorandum on the features, which seemed to me salient, of any international agreement to prevent wars in the future, and which in my opinion ought to be in mind when drafting such an agreement. The first three paragraphs of the memorandum follow:
“There are three doctrines which should be incorporated in the Treaty of Peace if wars are to be avoided and equal justice is to prevail in international affairs.
“These three doctrines may be popularly termed ‘Hands Of,' the “Open Door,' and 'Publicity.'
“The first pertains to national possessions and national rights; the second to international commerce and economic conditions; and the third, to international agreements."
An examination of the articles which I prepared shows that these doctrines are developed in them, although at
the time I was uncertain whether they ought to appear in the convention creating the League or in the Preliminary Treaty of Peace, which I believed, in common with the prevailing belief, would be negotiated. My impression was that they should appear in the Peace Treaty and possibly be repeated in the League Treaty, if the two were kept distinct.
THE AFFIRMATIVE GUARANTY AND BALANCE
While I was engaged in the preparation of these articles for discussion, which were based primarily on the equality of nations and avoided a mutual guaranty or other undertaking necessitating a departure from that principle, M. Clemenceau delivered an important address in the Chamber of Deputies at its session on December 30, 1918. In this address the French Premier declared himself in favor of maintaining the doctrine of “the balance of power” and of supporting it by a concert of the Great Powers. During his remarks he made the following significant assertion, “This system of alliances, which I do not renounce, will be my guiding thought at the Conference, if your confidence sends me to it, so that there will be no separation in peace of the four powers which have battled side by side.”
M. Clemenceau's words caused a decided sensation among the delegates already in Paris and excited much comment in the press. The public interest was intensified by the fact that President Wilson had but a day or two before, in an address at Manchester, England, denounced the doctrine of “the balance of power” as belonging to the old international order which had been repudiated be
cause it had produced the conditions that resulted in the Great War.
A week after the delivery of M. Clemenceau's address I discussed his declarations at some length with Colonel House, and he agreed with me that the doctrine was entirely contrary to the public opinion of the world and that every effort should be made to prevent its revival and to end the “system of alliances” which M. Clemenceau deşired to continue.
During this conversation I pointed out that the form of affirmative guaranty, which the President then had in mind, would unavoidably impose the burden of enforcing it upon the Great Powers, and that they, having that responsibility, would demand the right to decide at what time and in what manner the guaranty should be enforced. This seemed to me to be only a different application of the principle expressed in the doctrine of “the balance of power” and to amount to a practical continuance of the alliances formed for prosecution of the war. I said that, in my judgment, if the President's guaranty was made the central idea of the League of Nations, it would play directly into the hands of M. Clemenceau because it could mean nothing other than the primacy of the great military and naval powers; that I could not understand how the President was able to harmonize his plan of a positive guaranty with his utterances at Manchester; and that, if he clung to his plan, he would have to accept the Clemenceau doctrine, which would to all intents transform the Conference into a second Congress of Vienna and result in a reversion to the old undesirable order, and its continuance in the League of Nations.
It was my hope that Colonel House, to whom I had shown the letter and memoranda which I had sent to the President, would be so impressed with the inconsistency of favoring the affirmative guaranty and of opposing the doctrine of "the balance of power,” that he would exert his influence with the President to persuade him to find a substitute for the guaranty which Mr. Wilson then favored. It seemed politic to approach the President in this way in view of the fact that he had never acknowledged my letter or manifested
inclination to discuss the subject
This hope was increased when the Colonel came to me on the evening of the same day that we had the conversation related above and told me that he was “entirely converted” to my plan for a negative guaranty and for the organization of a League.
At this second interview Colonel House gave me a typewritten copy of the President's plan and asked me to examine it and to suggest a way to amend it so that it would harmonize with my views. This was the first time that I had seen the President's complete plan for a League. My previous knowledge had been gained orally and was general and more or less vague in character except as to the guaranty of which I had an accurate idea through the President's “Bases of Peace” of 1917, and Point XIV of