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establishment of conditions in which peaceful security will take the place of competitive preparation for war.
The declared object was, in its naval aspect, to stop the race of competitive building of warships which was in process and which was so distressingly like the competition that immediately preceded the war of 1914. Competitive armament, however, is the result of a state of mind in which a national expectation of attack by some other country causes preparation to meet the attack. To stop competition it is necessary to deal with the state of mind from which it results. A belief in the pacific intentions of other powers must be substituted for suspicion and apprehension.
The negotiations which led to the Four Power Treaty were the process of attaining that new state of mind, and the Four Power Treaty itself was the expression of that new state of mind. It terminated the Anglo-Japanese alliance and substituted friendly conference in place of war as the first reaction from any controversies which might arise in the region of the Pacific; it would not have been possible except as part of a plan including a limitation and a reduction of naval armaments, but that limitation and reduction would not have been possible without the new relations established by the Four Power Treaty or something equivalent to it.
The new relations declared in the Four Power Treaty could not, however, inspire confidence or be reasonably assured of continuance without a specific understanding as to the relations of the powers to China. Such an understanding had two aspects. One related to securing fairer treatment of China, and the other related to the competition for trade and industrial advantages in China between the outside powers.
An agreement covering both of these grounds in a rather fundamental way was embodied in the first article of the general Nine Power Treaty regarding China. In order, however, to bring the rules set out in that article out of the realm of mere abstract propositions and make them practical rules of conduct it was necessary to provide for applying them so far as the present conditions of government and social order in China permit. This was done by the remaining provisions of the general Nine Power Treaty and Chinese Customs Treaty and the series of formal resolutions adopted by the Conference in its Plenary Sessions and the formal declarations made a part of the record of the Conference.
The scope of action by the Conference in dealing with Chinese affairs was much limited by the disturbed conditions of government in China which have existed since the revolution of 1911, and which still exist, and which render effective action by that government exceedingly difficult and in some directions impracticable. In every case the action of the Conference was taken with primary reference to giving the greatest help possible to the Chinese people in developing a stable and effective government really representative of the people of China. Much was accomplished in that direction, and the rules of conduct set forth in the first article of the General Treaty regarding China have not merely received the assent of the Powers but have been accepted and applied to concrete cases.
The sum total of the action taken in the Conference regarding China, together with the return of Shantung by direct agreement between China and Japan, the withdrawal of the most unsatisfactory of the so-called “twenty-one demands," and the explicit declaration of Japan regarding the closely connected territory of Eastern Siberia, justify the relation of confidence and good will expressed in the Four Power Treaty and upon which the reduction of armament provided in the Naval Treaty may be contemplated with a sense of security.
In conclusion, we may be permitted to quote the words of the President in closing the Conference:
“This Conference has wrought a truly great achievement. It is hazardous sometimes to speak in superlatives, and I will be restrained. But I will say, with every confidence, that the faith plighted here to-day, kept in national honor, will mark the beginning of a new and better epoch in human progress.
"Stripped to the simplest fact, what is the spectacle which has inspired a new hope for the world? Gathered about this table nine great nations of the world-not all, to be sure, but those most directly concerned with the problems at hand-have met and have conferred on questions of great import and common concern, on problems menacing their peaceful relationship, on burdens threatening a common peril. In the revealing light of the public opinion of the world, without surrender of sovereignty, without impaired nationality or affronted national pride, a solution has been found in unanimity, and to-day's adjournment is marked by rejoicing in the things accomplished. If the world has hungered for new assurance, it may feast at the banquet which the Conference has spread.
“I am sure the people of the United States are supremely gratified, and yet there is scant appreciation how marvelously you have wrought. When the days were dragging and agreements were delayed, when there were obstacles within and hindrances without, few stopped to realize that here was a conference of sovereign powers where only unanimous agreement could be made the rule. Majorities could not decide without impinging national rights. There were no victors to command, no vanquished to yield. All had voluntarily to agree in translating the conscience of our civilization and give concrete expression to world opinion.
“And you have agreed in spite of all difficulties, and the agreements are proclaimed to the world. No new standards of national honor have been sought, but the indictments of national dishonor have been drawn, and the world is ready to proclaim the odiousness of perfidy or infamy.
“It has been the fortune of this Conference to sit in a day far enough removed from war's bitterness, yet near enough to war's horrors, to gain the benefit of both the hatred of war and the yearning for peace. Too often, heretofore, the decades following such gatherings have been marked by the difficult undoing of their decisions. But your achievement is supreme because no seed of conflict has been sown, no reaction in regret or resentment ever can justify resort to arms.
“It little matters what we appraise as the outstanding accomplishments. Any one of them alone would have justified the Conference. But the whole achievement has so cleared the atmosphere that it will seem like breathing the refreshing air of a new morn of promise.
“You have written the first deliberate and effective expression of great powers, in the consciousness of peace, of war's utter futility, and challenged the sanity of competitive preparation for each other's destruction. You have halted folly and lifted burdens, and revealed to the world that the one sure way to recover from the sorrow and ruin and staggering obligations of a world war is to end the strife in preparation for more of it, and turn human energies to the constructiveness of peace.
"Not all the world is yet tranquillized. But here is the example, to imbue with new hope all who dwell in apprehension. At this table came understanding, and understanding brands armed conflict as abominable in the eyes of enlightened civilization."
"No intrigue, no offensive or defensive alliances, no involvements have wrought your agreements, but reasoning with each other to common understanding has made new relationships among Governments and peoples, new securities for peace, and new opportunities for achievement and attending happiness.
“Here have been established the contacts of reason, here has come the inevitable understandings of face-to-face exchanges when passion does not inflame. The very atmosphere shamed national selfishness into retreat. Viewpoints were exchanged, differences composed, and you came to understand how common, after all, are human aspirations; how alike, indeed, and how easily reconcilable are our national aspirations; how sane and simple and satisfying to seek the relationships of peace and security.
"When you first met, I told you of our America's thought to seek less of armament and none of war; that we sought nothing which is another's, and we were unafraid, but that we wished to join you in doing that finer and nobler thing which no nation can do alone. We rejoice in that accomplishment. Respectfully submitted.
CHARLES E. HUGHES.
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SUBMITTING TO THE SENATE THE TREATIES AND RESOLUTIONS APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY THE CONFERENCE ON THE LIMITATION OF
February 10, 1922
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE:
I have come to make report to you of the conclusions of what has been termed the Washington Conference on the Limitation of Armament, and to lay before you the series of treaties which the United States and the other powers participating in the conference have negotiated and signed, and have announced to the world. Apart from the very great satisfaction in reporting to the Senate, it is a privilege as well as a duty to ask that advice and consent which the Constitution requires to make these covenants effective.
Accompanying the treaties I bring to you the complete minutes of both plenary sessions and committee meetings, and a copy of the official report made to me by the American Delegation to the conference. Both the complete minutes and the official report of the American Delegation are new accompaniments to the Executive report of a treaty or treaties, but they are fitting testimonials to that open and simpler diplomacy for which the world has asked, and the practice of which contributed largely to the success of the conference so recently adjourned. I trust they will facilitate that ample and helpful understanding which is desirable in the Senate, and reflect that understanding which was the keynote of the conference itself.
The whole transaction is quite out of the ordinary. I am not thinking of the achievement, which I hope the Senate will come to appraise highly as I do, and as the world seems to do. I am not thinking of the commendable processes by which agreements were wrought, though this was a conference wholly of free nations, exercising every national right and authority, in which every agreement was stamped with unanimity. Indeed, it was a conference of friends, proceeding in deliberation and sympathy, åppraising their friendly and peaceful relations and resolved to maintain them, and give to the world new assurances of peace and actual relief from the burdens of excessive and competitive armament. But the out-of-the-ordinary phases which I have in mind are that the Senate-indeed, the Congresshas already advised in favor of one-and inferentially of two—of the treaties
1 Senate Document, No. 125, 67th Cong., 2d Sess.
laid before you to-day, and the naval pact negotiated and signed is in accordance with your expressed wish. It calls a halt in the competitive construction of capital ships in the great navies of the world, and affords the first actual relief from naval burdens which peoples have been able to acclaim since steam and steel combined to add to naval strength in warfare.
But, though the treaty recommended by the Congress marks the beginning of a naval holiday and that limitation of naval armament which accords with a world aspiration, the particular justification of this progressive and highly gratifying step was the settlement of the international problems of the Pacific, attended by new understandings in place of menacing disagreements, and established sureties instead of uncertainties which easily might lead to conflict. Much as it was desirable to lift the burdens of naval armament and strike at the menace of competitive construction and consequent expenditure, the Executive branch of the Government, which must be watchful for the Nation's safety, was unwilling to covenant a reduction of armament until there could be plighted new guaranties of peace, until there could be removed the probable menaces of conflict. Therefore all the treaties submitted for your approval have such important relationship, one to another, that, though not interdependent, they are the covenants of harmony, of assurance, of conviction, of conscience, and of unanimity. These we have believed to be essential to perfect the fulfillment which the Congress has in mind.
As a simple matter of fact, all of the agreements, except those dealing directly with the limitation of armament, take the place of various multipower treaties, arrangements or understandings, formal or informal, expressed or implied, relating to matters in the Pacific Ocean, in which all the powers signatory were essentially, if not equally, concerned. The new agreements serve to put an end to contradictions, to remove ambiguities, and establish clear understandings.
No matter what mental reservations may have existed, or what doubts may have prevailed, because here was an experiment new in many phases, all of the powers came to the conference knowing it was to deal with very practical situations affecting their international relations. There was mutual interest, quite apart from the greater achievement for world peace, and a way to common understanding was found to be practical and speedily arranged. If it has developed a new-world school of diplomacy, let it be so called. It revealed the ends aimed at in the very beginning, and pointed the way to their attainment. The powers in conference took the world of the Pacific as they found it in fact. They dealt with actualities by voluntary and unanimous agreement, and have added to mankind's assurances and hopefully advanced international peace.
It is worth while saying that the powers in this conference sought no concert to dispossess any power of its rights or property. All the signatories have given up certain rights which they had, as their contribution to concord