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be tried without hesitation and without consideration of the effect on established principles and usage. At an appropriate place this subject will be more fully discussed.
As to the organization and functions of the League of Nations planned by Mr. Wilson there was little that appealed to one who was opposed to the employment of force in compelling the observance of international obligations and to the establishment of an international oligarchy of the Great Powers to direct and control world affairs. The basic principle of the plan was that the strong should, as a matter of right recognized by treaty, possess a dominant voice in international councils. Obviously the principle of the equality of nations was ignored or abandoned. In the face of the repeated declarations of the Government of the United States in favor of the equality of independent states as to their rights in times of peace, this appeared to be a reversal of policy which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to explain in a satisfactory way. Personally I could not subscribe to this principle which was so destructive of the American theory of the proper relations between nations.
It was manifest, when I read the President's plan, that there was no possible way to harmonize my ideas with it. They were fundamentally different. There was no common basis on which to build. To attempt to bring the two theories into accord would have been futile. I, therefore, told Colonel House that it was useless to try to bring into accord the two plans, since they were founded on contra
dictory principles and that the only course of procedure open to me was to present my views to the President in written form, hoping that he would give them consideration, although fearing that his mind was made up, since he had ordered his plan to be printed.
In the afternoon of the same day (January 7), on which I informed the Colonel of the impossibility of harmonizing and uniting the two plans, President Wilson held a conference with the American Commissioners during which he declared that he considered the affirmative guaranty absolutely necessary to the preservation of future peace and the only effective means of preventing war. Before this declaration could be discussed M. Clemenceau was announced and the conference came to an end. While the President did not refer in any way to the "self-denying covenant” which I had proposed as a substitute, it seemed to me that he intended it to be understood that the substitute was rejected, and that he had made the declaration with that end in view. This was the nearest approach to an answer to my letter of December 23 that I ever received. Indirect as it was the implication was obvious.
Although the settled purpose of the President to insist on his form of mutual guaranty was discouraging and his declaration seemed to be intended to close debate on the subject, I felt that no effort should be spared to persuade him to change his views or at least to leave open an avenue for further consideration. Impelled by this motive I gave to the President the articles which I had drafted and asked
him if he would be good enough to read them and consider the principles on which they were based. The President with his usual courtesy of manner smilingly received them. Whether or not he ever read them I cannot state positively because he never mentioned them to me or, to my knowledge, to any one else. I believe, however, that he did read them and realized that they were wholly opposed to the theory which he had evolved, because from that time forward he seemed to assume that I was hostile to his plan for a League of Nations. I drew this conclusion from the fact that he neither asked my advice as to any provision of the Covenant nor discussed the subject with me personally. In many little ways he showed that he preferred to have me direct my activities as a Commissioner into other channels and to keep away from the subject of a League. The conviction that my counsel was unwelcome to Mr. Wilson was, of course, not formed at the time that he received the articles drafted by me. It only developed after some time had elapsed, during which incidents took place that aroused a suspicion which finally became a conviction. Possibly I was over-sensitive as to the President's treatment of my communications to him. Possibly he considered my advice of no value, and, therefore, unworthy of discussion. But, in view of his letter of February 11, 1920, it must be admitted that he recognized that I was reluctant in accepting certain of his views at Paris, a recognition which arose from my declared opposition to them. Except in the case of the Shantung settlement, there
was none concerning which our judgments were so at variance as they were concerning the League of Nations. I cannot believe, therefore, that I was wrong in my conclusion as to his attitude.
On the two days succeeding the one when I handed the President my draft of articles I had long conferences with Lord Robert Cecil and Colonel House. Previous to these conferences, or at least previous to the second one, I examined Lord Robert's plan for a League. His plan was based on the proposition that the Supreme War Council, consisting of the Heads of States and the Secretaries and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Five Great Powers, should be perpetuated as a permanent international body which should meet once a year and discuss subjects of common interest. That is, he proposed the formation of a Quintuple Alliance which would constitute itself primate over all nations and the arbiter in world affairs, a scheme of organization very similar to the one proposed by General Smuts.
Lord Robert made no attempt to disguise the purpose of his plan. It was intended to place in the hands of the Five Powers the control of international relations and the direction in large measure of the foreign policies of all nations. It was based on the power to compel obedience, on the right of the powerful to rule. Its chief merit was its honest declaration of purpose, however wrong that purpose might appear to those who denied that the possession of superior might conferred special rights upon the possessor. It seemed to provide for a rebirth of the Congress of Vienna which should be clothed in the modern garb of democracy. It could only be interpreted as a rejection of the principle of the equality of nations. Its adoption would mean that the destiny of the world would be in the hands of a powerful international oligarchy possessed of dictatorial powers.
There was nothing idealistic in the plan of Lord Robert Cecil, although he was reputed to be an idealist favoring a new international order. An examination of his plan (Appendix, page 295) shows it to be a substantial revival of the old and discredited ideas of a century ago. There could be no doubt that a plan of this sort, materialistic and selfish as it was, would win the approval and cordial support of M. Clemenceau, since it fitted in with his public advocacy of the doctrine of “the balance of power.” Presumably the Italian delegates would not be opposed to a scheme which gave Italy so influential a voice in international affairs, while the Japanese, not averse to this recognition of their national power and importance, would unquestionably favor an alliance of this nature. I think that it is fair to assume that all of the Five Great Powers would have readily accepted the Cecil plan — all except the United States.
This plan, however, did not meet with the approval of President Wilson, and his open opposition to it became an obstacle which prevented its consideration in the form in which it was proposed. It is a matter of speculation what