This statement, which seemed in contradiction of the ultimatum to Germany, was made in the Japanese Diet. It was followed up in January, 1915, by the famous "Twenty-one Demands" made upon the Government at Peking. It is needless to go into these demands further than to quote the first to which China was to subscribe.
"The Chinese Government agrees that when the Japanese Government hereafter approaches the German Government for the transfer of all rights and privileges of whatsoever nature enjoyed by Germany in the Province of Shantung, whether secured by treaty or in any other manner, China shall give her full assent thereto."
The important point to be noted in this demand is that Japan did not consider that the occupation of Kiao-Chau and the seizure of the German concessions transferred title to her, but looked forward to a future transfer by treaty.
The "Twenty-one Demands" were urged with persistency by the Japanese Government and finally took the form of an ultimatum as to all but Group V of the "Demands." The Peking Government was in no political or military condition to resist, and, in order to avoid an open rupture with their aggressive neighbor, entered into a treaty granting the Japanese demands.
China, following the action which the United States had taken on February 3, 1917, severed diplomatic relations with Germany on March 14, and five months later declared war against her announcing at the same time that the treaties, conventions, and agreements between the two countries were by the declaration abrogated. As to whether a state of war does in fact abrogate a treaty of the character of the Sino-German Treaty of 1898 some question may be raised under the accepted rules of international law, on the ground that it was a cession of sovereign rights and constituted an international servitude in favor of Germany over the territory affected by it. But in this particular case the indefensible duress employed by the German Government to compel China to enter into the treaty introduces another factor into the problem and excepts it from any general rule that treaties of that nature are merely suspended and not abrogated by war between the parties. It would seem as if no valid argument could be made in favor of suspension because the effect of the rule would be to revive and perpetuate an inequitable and unjustifiable act. Morally and legally the Chinese Government was right in denouncing the treaty and agreements with Germany and in treating the territorial rights acquired by coercion as extinguished.
It would appear, therefore, that, as the Japanese Government recognized that the rights in the Province of Shantung had not passed to Japan by the forcible occupation of Kiao-Chau and the German concessions, those rights ceased to exist when China declared war against Germany, and that China was, therefore, entitled to resume full sovereignty over the area where such rights previously existed.
It is true that subsequently, on September 24, 1918, the Chinese and Japanese Governments by exchange of notes at Tokio entered into agreements affecting the Japanese occupation of the Kiao-Chau Tsinan Railway and the adjoining territory, but the governmental situation at Peking was too precarious to refuse any demands made by the Japanese Government. In fact the action of the Japanese Government was very similar to that of the German Government in 1898. An examination of these notes discloses the fact that the Japanese were in possession of the denounced German rights, but nothing in the notes indicates that they were there as a matter of legal right, or that the Chinese Government conceded their right of occupation.
This was the state of affairs when the Peace Conference assembled at Paris. Germany had by force compelled China in 1898 to cede to her certain rights in the Province of Shantung. Japan had seized these rights by force in 1914 and had by threats forced China in 1915 to agree to accept her disposition of them when they were legally transferred by treaty at the end of the war. China in 1917 had, on entering the war against Germany, denounced all treaties and agreements with Germany, so that the ceded rights no longer existed and could not legally be transferred by Germany to Japan by the Treaty of Peace, since the title was in China. In fact any transfer or disposition of the rights in Shantung formerly belonging to Germany was a transfer or disposition of rights belonging wholly to China and would deprive that country of a portion of its full sovereignty over the territory affected.
While this view of the extinguishment of the German rights in Shantung was manifestly the just one and its adoption would make for the preservation of permanent peace in the Far East, the Governments of the Allied Powers had, early in 1917, and prior to the severance of diplomatic relations between China and Germany, acceded to the request of Japan to support, "on the occasion of the Peace Conference," her claims in regard to these rights which then existed. The representatives of Great Britain, France, and Italy at Paris were thus restricted, or at least embarrassed, by the promises which their Governments had made at a time when they were in no position to refuse Japan's request. They might have stood on the legal ground that the Treaty of 1898 having been abrogated by China no German rights in Shantung were in being at the time of the Peace Conference, but they apparently were unwilling to take that position. Possibly they assumed that the ground was one which they could not take in view of the undertakings of their Governments; or possibly they preferred to let the United States bear the brunt of Japanese resentment for interfering with the ambitious schemes of the Japanese Government in regard to China. There can be little doubt that political, and possibly commercial, interests influenced the attitude of the European Powers in regard to the Shantung Question.
President Wilson and the American Commissioners, unhampered by previous commitments, were strongly opposed to acceding to the demands of the Japanese Government. The subject had been frequently considered during the early days of the negotiations and there seemed to be no divergence of views as to the justice of the Chinese claim of right to the resumption of full sovereignty over the territory affected by the lease and the concessions to Germany. These views were further strengthened by the presentation of the question before the Council of Ten. On January 27 the Japanese argued their case before the Council, the Chinese delegates being present; and on the 28th Dr. V.K. Wellington Koo spoke on behalf of China. In a note on the meeting I recorded that "he simply overwhelmed the Japanese with his argument." I believe that that opinion was common to all those who heard the two presentations. In fact it made such an impression on the Japanese themselves, that one of the delegates called upon me the following day and attempted to offset the effect by declaring that the United States, since it had not promised to support Japan's contention, would be blamed if Kiao-Chau was returned directly to China. He added that there was intense feeling in Japan in regard to the matter. It was an indirect threat of what would happen to the friendly relations between the two countries if Japan's claim was denied.
The sessions of the Commission on the League of Nations and the absence of President Wilson from Paris interrupted further consideration of the Shantung Question until the latter part of March, when the Council of Four came into being. As the subject had been fully debated in January before the Council of Ten, final decision lay with the Council of Four. What discussions took place in the latter council I do not know on account of the secrecy which was observed as to their deliberations. But I presume that the President stood firmly for the Chinese rights, as the matter remained undecided until the latter part of April.
On the 21st of April Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda called upon me in regard to the question, and I frankly told them that they ought to prove the justice of the Japanese claim, that they had not done it and that I doubted their ability to do so. I found, too, that the President had proposed that the Five Powers act as trustees of the former German rights in Shantung, but that the Japanese delegates had declared that they could not consent to the proposition, which was in the nature of a compromise intended to bridge over the existing situation that, on account of the near approach of the completion of the Treaty, was becoming more and more acute.
On April 26 the President, at a conference with the American Commissioners, showed deep concern over the existing state of the controversy, and asked me to see the Japanese delegates again and endeavor to dissuade them from insisting on their demands and to induce them to consider the international trusteeship proposed. The evening of the same day the two Japanese came by request to my office and conferred with Professor E.T. Williams, the Commission's principal adviser on Far Eastern affairs, and with me. After an hour's conversation Viscount Chinda made it very clear that Japan intended to insist on her "pound of flesh." It was apparent both to Mr. Williams and to me that nothing could be done to obtain even a compromise, though it was on the face favorable to Japan, since it recognized the existence of the German rights, which China claimed were annulled.
On April 28 I gave a full report of the interview to Mr. White and General Bliss at our regular morning meeting. Later in the morning the President telephoned me and I informed him of the fixed determination of the Japanese to insist upon their claims. What occurred between the time of my conversation with the President and the plenary session of the Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace in the afternoon, at which the Covenant of the League of Nations was adopted, I do not actually know, but the presumption is that the Japanese were promised a satisfactory settlement in regard to Shantung, since they announced that they would not press an amendment on "racial equality" at the session, an amendment upon which they had indicated they intended to insist.
After the meeting of the Conference I made the following memorandum of the situation:
"At the Plenary Session of the Peace Conference this afternoon Baron Makino spoke of his proposed amendment to the Covenant declaring 'racial equality,' but said he would not press it.
"I concluded from what the President said to me that he was disposed to accede to Japan's claims in regard to Kiao-Chau and Shantung. He also showed me a letter from —— to Makino saying he was sorry their claims had not been finally settled before the Session.
"From all this I am forced to the conclusion that a bargain has been struck by which the Japanese agree to sign the Covenant in exchange for admission of their claims. If so, it is an iniquitous agreement.
"Apparently the President is going to do this to avoid Japan's declining to enter the League of Nations. It is a surrender of the principle of self-determination, a transfer of millions of Chinese from one foreign master to another. This is another of those secret arrangements which have riddled the 'Fourteen Points' and are wrecking a just peace.
"In my opinion it would be better to let Japan stay out of the League than to abandon China and surrender our prestige in the Far East for 'a mess of pottage'—and a mess it is. I fear that it is too late to do anything to save the situation."
Mr. White, General Bliss, and I, at our meeting that morning before the plenary session, and later when we conferred as to what had taken place at the session, were unanimous in our opinions that China's rights should be sustained even if Japan withdrew from the Peace Conference. We were all indignant at the idea of submitting to the Japanese demands and agreed that the President should be told of our attitude, because we were unwilling to have it appear that we in any way approved of acceding to Japan's claims or even of compromising them.
General Bliss volunteered to write the President a letter on the subject, a course which Mr. White and I heartily endorsed.
The next morning the General read the following letter to us and with our entire approval sent it to Mr. Wilson:
"Hotel de Crillon, Paris
"April 29, 1919
"MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT:
"Last Saturday morning you told the American Delegation that you desired suggestions, although not at that moment, in regard to the pending matter of certain conflicting claims between Japan and China centering about the alleged German rights. My principal interest in the matter is with sole reference to the question of the moral right or wrong involved. From this point of view I discussed the matter this morning with Mr. Lansing and Mr. White. They concurred with me and requested me to draft a hasty note to you on the subject.
"Since your conference with us last Saturday, I have asked myself three or four Socratic questions the answers to which make me, personally, quite sure on which side the moral right lies.
"First. Japan bases certain of her claims on the right acquired by conquest. I asked myself the following questions: Suppose Japan had not succeeded in her efforts to force the capitulation of the Germans at Tsing-Tsau; suppose that the armistice of November 11th had found her still fighting the Germans at that place, just as the armistice found the English still fighting the Germans in South-East Africa. We would then oblige Germany to dispose of her claims in China by a clause in the Treaty of Peace. Would it occur to any one that, as a matter of right, we should force Germany to cede her claims to Japan rather than to China? It seems to me that it would occur to every American that we would then have the opportunity that we have long desired to force Germany to correct, in favor of China, the great wrong which she began to do to the latter in 1898. What moral right has Japan acquired by her conquest of Shantung assisted by the British? If Great Britain and Japan secured no moral right to sovereignty over various savages inhabiting islands in the Pacific Ocean, but, on the other hand, we held that these peoples shall be governed by mandates under the League of Nations, what moral right has Japan acquired to the suzerainty (which she would undoubtedly eventually have) over 30,000,000 Chinese in the sacred province of Shantung?
"Second. Japan must base her claims either on the Convention with China or on the right of conquest, or on both. Let us consider her moral right under either of these points.
"a) If the United States has not before this recognized the validity of the rights claimed by Japan under her Convention with China, what has happened since the Armistice that would justify us in recognizing their validity now?
"b) If Germany had possessed territory, in full sovereignty, on the east coast of Asia, a right to this territory, under international law, could have been obtained by conquest. But Germany possessed no such territory. What then was left for Japan to acquire by conquest? Apparently nothing but a lease extorted under compulsion from China by Germany. I understand that international lawyers hold that such a lease, or the rights acquired, justly or unjustly, under it, cannot be acquired by conquest.
"Third. Suppose Germany says to us, 'We will cede our lease and all rights under it, but we will cede them back to China.' Will we recognize the justice of Japan's claims to such an extent that we will threaten Germany with further war unless she cedes these rights to Japan rather than to China?
"Again, suppose that Germany, in her hopelessness of resistance to our demands, should sign without question a clause ceding these rights to Japan, even though we know that this is so wrong that we would not fight in order to compel Germany to do it, what moral justification would we have in making Germany do this?
"Fourth. Stripped of all words that befog the issue, would we not, under the guise of making a treaty with Germany, really be making a treaty with Japan by which we compel one of our Allies (China) to cede against her will these things to Japan? Would not this action be really more unjustifiable than the one which you have refused to be a party to on the Dalmatian Coast? Because, in the latter case, the territory in dispute did not belong to one of the Allies, but to one of the Central Powers; the question in Dalmatia is as to which of two friendly powers we shall give territory taken from an enemy power; in China the question is, shall we take certain claimed rights from one friendly power in order to give them to another friendly power.
"It would seem to be advisable to call particular attention to what the Japanese mean when they say that they will return Kiao-chow to China. They do not offer to return the railway, the mines or the port, i.e., Tsingtau. The leased territory included a portion of land on the north-east side of the entrance of the Bay and another on the south-west and some islands. It is a small territory. The 50 Kilometer Zone was not included. That was a limitation put upon the movement of German troops. They could not go beyond the boundary of the zone. Within this zone China enjoyed all rights of sovereignty and administration.
"Japan's proposal to abandon the zone is somewhat of an impertinence, since she has violated it ever since she took possession. She kept troops all along the railway line until recently and insists on maintaining in the future a guard at Tsinan, 254 miles away. The zone would restrict her military movements, consequently she gives it up.
"The proposals she makes are (1) to open the whole bay. It is from 15 to 20 miles from the entrance to the northern shore of the bay. (2) To have a Japanese exclusive concession at a-place to be designated by her, i.e., she can take just as much as she likes of the territory around the bay. It may be as large as the present leased territory, but more likely it will include only the best part of Tsingtau. What then does she give up? Nothing but such parts of the leased territory as are of no value.
"The operation then would amount chiefly to an exchange of two pieces of paper—one cancelling the lease for 78 years, the other granting a more valuable concession which would amount to a permanent title to the port. Why take two years to go through this operation?
"If it be right for a policeman, who recovers your purse, to keep the contents and claim that he has fulfilled his duty in returning the empty purse, then Japan's conduct may be tolerated.
"If it be right for Japan to annex the territory of an Ally, then it cannot be wrong for Italy to retain Fiume taken from the enemy.
"If we support Japan's claim, we abandon the democracy of China to the domination of the Prussianized militarism of Japan.
"We shall be sowing dragons' teeth.
"It can't be right to do wrong even to make peace. Peace is desirable, but there are things dearer than peace, justice and freedom.
I have not discussed certain modifications proposed by the Japanese delegates, since, as is clear from General Bliss's letter, they amounted to nothing and were merely a pretense of concession and without substantial value.
The day following the delivery of this letter to the President (April 30), by which he was fully advised of the attitude of General Bliss, Mr. White, and myself in regard to the Japanese claims, the Council of Four reached its final decision of the matter, in which necessarily Mr. Wilson acquiesced. I learned of this decision the same evening. The memorandum which I made the next morning in regard to the matter is as follows:
"China has been abandoned to Japanese rapacity. A democratic territory has been given over to an autocratic government. The President has conceded to Japan all that, if not more than, she ever hoped to obtain. This is the information contained in a memorandum handed by Ray Stannard Baker under the President's direction to the Chinese delegation last evening, a copy of which reached me through Mr. —— [of the Chinese delegation].
"Mr. —— also said that Mr. Baker stated that the President desired him to say that the President was very sorry that he had not been able to do more for China but that he had been compelled to accede to Japan's demand 'in order to save the League of Nations.'
"The memorandum was most depressing. Though I had anticipated something of the sort three days ago [see note of April 28 previously quoted], I had unconsciously cherished a hope that the President would stand to his guns and champion China's cause. He has failed to do so. It is true that China is given the shell called 'sovereignty,' but the economic control, the kernel, is turned over to Japan.
"However logical may appear the argument that China's political integrity is preserved and will be maintained under the guaranty of the League of Nations, the fact is that Japan will rule over millions of Chinese. Furthermore it is still a matter of conjecture how valuable the guaranty of the League will prove to be. It has, of course, never been tried, and Japan's representation on the Council will possibly thwart any international action in regard to China.
"Frankly my policy would have been to say to the Japanese, 'If you do not give back to China what Germany stole from her, we don't want you in the League of Nations.' If the Japanese had taken offense and gone, I would have welcomed it, for we would have been well rid of a government with such imperial designs. But she would not have gone. She would have submitted. She has attained a high place in world councils. Her astute statesmen would never have abandoned her present exalted position even for the sake of Kiao-Chau. The whole affair assumes a sordid and sinister character, in which the President, acting undoubtedly with the best of motives, became the cat's-paw.
"I have no doubt that the President fully believed that the League of Nations was in jeopardy and that to save it he was compelled to subordinate every other consideration. The result was that China was offered up as a sacrifice to propitiate the threatening Moloch of Japan. When you get down to facts the threats were nothing but 'bluff.'
"I do not think that anything that has happened here has caused more severe or more outspoken criticism than this affair. I am heartsick over it, because I see how much good-will and regard the President is bound to lose. I can offer no adequate explanation to the critics. There seems to be none."
It is manifest, from the foregoing recital of events leading up to the decision in regard to the Shantung Question and the apparent reasons for the President's agreement to support the Japanese claims, that we radically differed as to the decision which was embodied in Articles 156, 157, and 158 of the Treaty of Versailles (see Appendix VI, p. 318). I do not think that we held different opinions as to the justice of the Chinese position, though probably the soundness of the legal argument in favor of the extinguishment of the German rights appealed more strongly to me than it did to Mr. Wilson. Our chief differences were, first, that it was more important to insure the acceptance of the Covenant of the League of Nations than to do strict justice to China; second, that the Japanese withdrawal from the Conference would prevent the formation of the League; and, third, that Japan would have withdrawn if her claims had been denied. As to these differences our opposite views remained unchanged after the Treaty of Versailles was signed.
When I was summoned before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on August 6, 1919, I told the Committee that, in my opinion, the Japanese signatures would have been affixed to the Treaty containing the Covenant even though Shantung had not been delivered over to Japan, and that the only reason that I had yielded was because it was my duty to follow the decision of the President of the United States.
About two weeks later, August 19, the President had a conference at the White House with the same Committee. In answer to questions regarding the Shantung Settlement, Mr. Wilson said concerning my statement that his judgment was different from mine, that in his judgment the signatures could not have been obtained if he had not given Shantung to Japan, and that he had been notified that the Japanese delegates had been instructed not to sign the Treaty unless the cession of the German rights in Shantung to Japan was included.
Presumably the opinion which Mr. Wilson held in the summer of 1919 he continues to hold, and for my part my views and feelings remain the same now as they were then, with possibly the difference that the indignation and shame that I felt at the time in being in any way a participant in robbing China of her just rights have increased rather than lessened.
So intense was the bitterness among the American Commissioners over the flagrant wrong being perpetrated that, when the decision of the Council of Four was known, some of them considered whether or not they ought to resign or give notice that they would not sign the Treaty if the articles concerning Shantung appeared. The presence at Versailles of the German plenipotentiaries, the uncertainty of the return of the Italian delegates then in Rome, and the murmurs of dissatisfaction among the delegates of the lesser nations made the international situation precarious. To have added to the serious conditions and to have possibly precipitated a crisis by openly rebelling against the President was to assume a responsibility which no Commissioner was willing to take. With the greatest reluctance the American Commissioners submitted to the decision of the Council of Four; and, when the Chinese delegates refused to sign the Treaty after they had been denied the right to sign it with reservations to the Shantung articles, the American Commissioners, who had so strongly opposed the settlement, silently approved their conduct as the only patriotic and statesmanlike course to take. So far as China was concerned the Shantung Question remained open, and the Chinese Government very properly refused, after the Treaty of Versailles was signed, to enter into any negotiations with Japan looking toward its settlement upon the basis of the treaty provisions.
There was one exception to the President's usual practice which is especially noticeable in connection with the Shantung controversy, and that was the greater participation which he permitted the members of the American Commission in negotiating with both the Japanese and the Chinese. It is true he did not disclose his intentions to the Commissioners, but he did express a wish for their advice and he directed me to confer with the Japanese and obtain their views. Just why he adopted this course, for him unusual, I do not know unless he felt that so far as the equity of China's claim was concerned we were all in agreement, and if there was to be a departure from strict justice he desired to have his colleagues suggest a way to do so. It is possible, too, that he felt the question was in large measure a legal one, and decided that the illegality of transferring the German rights to Japan could be more successfully presented to the Japanese delegates by a lawyer. In any event, in this particular case he adopted a course more in accord with established custom and practice than he did in any other of the many perplexing and difficult problems which he was called upon to solve during the Paris negotiations, excepting of course the subjects submitted to commissions of the Conference. As has been shown, Mr. Wilson did not follow the advice of the three Commissioners given him in General Bliss's letter, but that does not detract from the noteworthiness of the fact that in the case of Shantung he sought advice from his Commissioners.
This ends the account of the Shantung Settlement and the negotiations which led up to it. The consequences were those which were bound to follow so indefensible a decision as the one that was reached. Public opinion in the United States was almost unanimous in condemning it and in denouncing those responsible for so evident a departure from legal justice and the principles of international morality. No plea of expediency or of necessity excused such a flagrant denial of undoubted right. The popular recognition that a great wrong had been done to a nation weak because of political discord and an insufficient military establishment, in order to win favor with a nation strong because of its military power and national unity, had much to do with increasing the hostility to the Treaty and preventing its acceptance by the Senate of the United States. The whole affair furnishes another example of the results of secret diplomacy, for the arguments which prevailed with the President were those to which he listened when he sat in secret council with M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George.
THE BULLITT AFFAIR
The foregoing chapters have related to subjects which were known to President Wilson to be matters of difference between us while we were together in Paris and which are presumably referred to in his letter of February 11, 1920, extracts from which are quoted in the opening chapter. The narration might be concluded with our difference of opinion as to the Shantung Settlement, but in view of subsequent information which the President received I am convinced that he felt that my objections to his decisions in regard to the terms of the peace with Germany extended further than he knew at the time, and that he resented the fact that my mind did not go along with his as to these decisions. This undoubtedly added to the reasons for his letter and possibly influenced him to write as he did in February, 1920, even more than our known divergence of judgment during the negotiations.
I do not feel, therefore, that the story is complete without at least a brief reference to my views concerning the Treaty of Versailles at the time of its delivery to the German delegates, which were imperfectly disclosed in a statement made by William C. Bullitt on September 12, 1919, at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. As to the conduct of Mr. Bullitt, who had held a responsible position with the American Commission at Paris, in voluntarily repeating a conversation which was from its nature highly confidential, I make no comment.
The portion of the statement, which I have no doubt deeply incensed the President because it was published while he was in the West making his appeals to the people in behalf of the Treaty and especially of the League of Nations, is as follows:
"Mr. Lansing said that he, too, considered many parts of the Treaty thoroughly bad, particularly those dealing with Shantung and the League of Nations. He said: 'I consider that the League of Nations at present is entirely useless. The Great Powers have simply gone ahead and arranged the world to suit themselves. England and France have gotten out of the Treaty everything that they wanted, and the League of Nations can do nothing to alter any of the unjust clauses of the Treaty except by unanimous consent of the members of the League, and the Great Powers will never give their consent to changes in the interests of weaker peoples.'
"We then talked about the possibility of ratification by the Senate. Mr. Lansing said: 'I believe that if the Senate could only understand what this Treaty means, and if the American people could really understand, it would unquestionably be defeated, but I wonder if they will ever understand what it lets them in for.'" (Senate Doc. 106, 66th Congress, 1st Session, p. 1276.)
It does not seem an unwarranted conjecture that the President believed that this statement, which was asserted by Mr. Bullitt to be from a memorandum made at the time, indicated that I had been unfaithful to him. He may even have concluded that I had been working against the League of Nations with the intention of bringing about the rejection of the Covenant by the Senate. If he did believe this, I cannot feel that it was other than natural in the circumstances, especially if I did not at once publicly deny the truth of the Bullitt statement. That I could not do because there was sufficient truth in it to compel me to show how, by slight variations and by omissions in the conversation, my words were misunderstood or misinterpreted.
In view of the fact that I found it impossible to make an absolute denial, I telegraphed the President stating the facts and offering to make them public if he considered it wise to do so. The important part of the telegram, which was dated September 16, 1919, is as follows:
"On May 17th Bullitt resigned by letter giving his reasons, with which you are familiar. I replied by letter on the 18th without any comment on his reasons. Bullitt on the 19th asked to see me to say good-bye and I saw him. He elaborated on the reasons for his resignation and said that he could not conscientiously give countenance to a treaty which was based on injustice. I told him that I would say nothing against his resigning since he put it on conscientious grounds, and that I recognized that certain features of the Treaty were bad, as I presumed most every one did, but that was probably unavoidable in view of conflicting claims and that nothing ought to be done to prevent the speedy restoration of peace by signing the Treaty. Bullitt then discussed the numerous European commissions provided for by the Treaty on which the United States was to be represented. I told him that I was disturbed by this fact because I was afraid the Senate and possibly the people, if they understood this, would refuse ratification, and that anything which was an obstacle to ratification was unfortunate because we ought to have peace as soon as possible."
It is very easy to see how by making a record of one side of this conversation without reference to the other side and by an omission here and there, possibly unintentionally, the sense was altered. Thus Mr. Bullitt, by repeating only a part of my words and by omitting the context, entirely changed the meaning of what was said. My attitude was, and I intended to show it at the time, that the Treaty should be signed and ratified at the earliest possible moment because the restoration of peace was paramount and that any provision in the Treaty which might delay the peace, by making uncertain senatorial consent to ratification, was to be deplored.
Having submitted to the President the question of making a public explanation of my interview with Mr. Bullitt which would in a measure at least correct the impression caused by his statement, I could not do so until I received the President's approval. That was never received. The telegram, which was sent to Mr. Wilson, through the Department of State, was never answered. It was not even acknowledged. The consequence was that the version of the conversation given by Mr. Bullitt was the only one that up to the present time has been published.
The almost unavoidable conclusion from the President's silence is that he considered my explanation was insufficient to destroy or even to weaken materially the effect of Mr. Bullitt's account of what had taken place, and that the public would believe in spite of it that I was opposed to the Treaty and hostile to the League of Nations. I am not disposed to blame the President for holding this opinion considering what had taken place at Paris. From his point of view a statement, such as I was willing to make, would in no way help the situation. I would still be on record as opposed to certain provisions of the Treaty, provisions which he was so earnestly defending in his addresses. While Mr. Bullitt had given an incomplete report of our conversation, there was sufficient truth in it to make anything but a flat denial seem of little value to the President; and, as I could not make such a denial, his point of view seemed to be that the damage was done and could not be undone. I am inclined to think that he was right.
My views concerning the Treaty at the time of the conversation with Mr. Bullitt are expressed in a memorandum of May 8, 1919, which is as follows:
"The terms of peace were yesterday delivered to the German plenipotentiaries, and for the first time in these days of feverish rush of preparation there is time to consider the Treaty as a complete document.
"The impression made by it is one of disappointment, of regret, and of depression. The terms of peace appear immeasurably harsh and humiliating, while many of them seem to me impossible of performance.
"The League of Nations created by the Treaty is relied upon to preserve the artificial structure which has been erected by compromise of the conflicting interests of the Great Powers and to prevent the germination of the seeds of war which are sown in so many articles and which under normal conditions would soon bear fruit. The League might as well attempt to prevent the growth of plant life in a tropical jungle. Wars will come sooner or later.
"It must be admitted in honesty that the League is an instrument of the mighty to check the normal growth of national power and national aspirations among those who have been rendered impotent by defeat. Examine the Treaty and you will find peoples delivered against their wills into the hands of those whom they hate, while their economic resources are torn from them and given to others. Resentment and bitterness, if not desperation, are bound to be the consequences of such provisions. It may be years before these oppressed peoples are able to throw off the yoke, but as sure as day follows night the time will come when they will make the effort.
"This war was fought by the United States to destroy forever the conditions which produced it. Those conditions have not been destroyed. They have been supplanted by other conditions equally productive of hatred, jealousy, and suspicion. In place of the Triple Alliance and the Entente has arisen the Quintuple Alliance which is to rule the world. The victors in this war intend to impose their combined will upon the vanquished and to subordinate all interests to their own.
"It is true that to please the aroused public opinion of mankind and to respond to the idealism of the moralist they have surrounded the new alliance with a halo and called it 'The League of Nations,' but whatever it may be called or however it may be disguised it is an alliance of the Five Great Military Powers.
"It is useless to close our eyes to the fact that the power to compel obedience by the exercise of the united strength of 'The Five' is the fundamental principle of the League. Justice is secondary. Might is primary.
"The League as now constituted will be the prey of greed and intrigue; and the law of unanimity in the Council, which may offer a restraint, will be broken or render the organization powerless. It is called upon to stamp as just what is unjust.
"We have a treaty of peace, but it will not bring permanent peace because it is founded on the shifting sands of self-interest."
In the views thus expressed I was not alone. A few days after they were written I was in London where I discussed the Treaty with several of the leading British statesmen. I noted their opinions thus: "The consensus was that the Treaty was unwise and unworkable, that it was conceived in intrigue and fashioned in cupidity, and that it would produce rather than prevent wars." One of these leaders of political thought in Great Britain said that "the only apparent purpose of the League of Nations seems to be to perpetuate the series of unjust provisions which were being imposed."
The day following my return from London, which was on May 17, I received Mr. Bullitt's letter of resignation and also letters from five of our principal experts protesting against the terms of peace and stating that they considered them to be an abandonment of the principles for which Americans had fought. One of the officials, whose relations with the President were of a most intimate nature, said that he was in a quandary about resigning; that he did not think that the conditions in the Treaty would make for peace because they were too oppressive; that the obnoxious things in the Treaty were due to secret diplomacy; and that the President should have stuck rigidly to his principles, which he had not. This official was evidently deeply incensed, but in the end he did not resign, nor did the five experts who sent letters, because they were told that it would seriously cripple the American Commission in the preparation of the Austrian Treaty if they did not continue to serve. Another and more prominent adviser of the President felt very bitterly over the terms of peace. In speaking of his disapproval of them he told me that he had found the same feeling among the British in Paris, who were disposed to blame the President since "they had counted upon him to stand firmly by his principles and face down the intriguers."
It is needless to cite other instances indicating the general state of mind among the Americans and British at Paris to show the views that were being exchanged and the frank comments that were being made at the time of my interview with Mr. Bullitt. In truth I said less to him in criticism of the Treaty than I did to some others, but they have seen fit to respect the confidential nature of our conversations.
It is not pertinent to the present subject to recite the events between the delivery of the Treaty to the Germans on May 7 and its signature on June 28. In spite of the dissatisfaction, which even went so far that some of the delegates of the Great Powers threatened to decline to sign the Treaty unless certain of its terms were modified, the supreme necessity of restoring peace as soon as possible overcame all obstacles. It was the appreciation of this supreme necessity which caused many Americans to urge consent to ratification when the Treaty was laid before the Senate.
My own position was paradoxical. I was opposed to the Treaty, but signed it and favored its ratification. The explanation is this: Convinced after conversations with the President in July and August, 1919, that he would not consent to any effective reservations, the politic course seemed to be to endeavor to secure ratification without reservations. It appeared to be the only possible way of obtaining that for which all the world longed and which in the months succeeding the signature appeared absolutely essential to prevent the widespread disaster resulting from political and economic chaos which seemed to threaten many nations if not civilization itself. Even if the Treaty was bad in certain provisions, so long as the President remained inflexible and insistent, its ratification without change seemed a duty to humanity. At least that was my conviction in the summer and autumn of 1919, and I am not yet satisfied that it was erroneous. My views after January, 1920, are not pertinent to the subject under consideration. The consequences of the failure to ratify promptly the Treaty of Versailles are still uncertain. They may be more serious or they may be less serious than they appeared in 1919. Time alone will disclose the truth and fix the responsibility for what occurred after the Treaty of Versailles was laid before the Senate of the United States.
The narration of my relations to the peace negotiations as one of the American Commissioners to the Paris Conference, which has been confined within the limits laid down in the opening chapter of this volume, concludes with the recital of the views which I held concerning the terms of the Treaty of Peace with Germany and which were brought to the attention of Mr. Wilson through the press reports of William C. Bullitt's statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on September 12, 1919.
The endeavor has been to present, as fully as possible in the circumstances, a review of my association with President Wilson in connection with the negotiations at Paris setting forth our differences of opinion and divergence of judgment upon the subjects coming before the Peace Conference, the conduct of the proceedings, and the terms of peace imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.
It is evident from this review that, from a time prior to Mr. Wilson's departure from the United States on December 4, 1918, to attend the Peace Conference up to the delivery of the text of the Treaty to the German plenipotentiaries on May 7, 1919, there were many subjects of disagreement between the President and myself; that he was disposed to reject or ignore the advice and suggestions which I volunteered; and that in consequence of my convictions I followed his guidance and obeyed his instructions unwillingly.
While there were other matters of friction between us they were of a personal nature and of minor importance. Though they may have contributed to the formality of our relations they played no real part in the increasing difficulty of the situation. The matters narrated were, in my opinion, the principal causes for the letters written by President Wilson in February, 1920; at least they seem sufficient to explain the origin of the correspondence, while the causes specifically stated by him—my calling together of the heads of the executive departments for consultation during his illness and my attempts to anticipate his judgment—are insufficient.
The reasons given in the President's letter of February 11, the essential portions of which have been quoted, for stating that my resignation as Secretary of State would be acceptable to him, are the embarrassment caused him by my "reluctance and divergence of judgment" and the implication that my mind did not "willingly go along" with his. As neither of these reasons applies to the calling of Cabinet meetings or to the anticipation of his judgment in regard to foreign affairs, the unavoidable conclusion is that these grounds of complaint were not the real causes leading up to the severance of our official association.
The real causes—which are the only ones worthy of consideration—are to be found in the record of the relations between President Wilson and myself in connection with the peace negotiations. Upon that record must rest the justification or the refutation of Mr. Wilson's implied charge that I was not entirely loyal to him as President and that I failed to perform my full duty to my country as Secretary of State and as a Commissioner to Negotiate Peace by opposing the way in which he exercised his constitutional authority to conduct the foreign affairs of the United States.
THE PRESIDENT'S ORIGINAL DRAFT OF THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS, LAID BEFORE THE AMERICAN COMMISSION ON JANUARY 10, 1919
In order to secure peace, security, and orderly government by the prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations, by the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another, the Powers signatory to this covenant and agreement jointly and severally adopt this constitution of the League of Nations.
The action of the Signatory Powers under the terms of this agreement shall be effected through the instrumentality of a Body of Delegates which shall consist of the ambassadors and ministers of the contracting Powers accredited to H. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of H. The meetings of the Body of Delegates shall be held at the seat of government of H. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of H. shall be the presiding officer of the Body.
Whenever the Delegates deem it necessary or advisable, they may meet temporarily at the seat of government of B. or of S., in which case the Ambassador or Minister to H. of the country in which the meeting is held shall be the presiding officer pro tempore.
It shall be the privilege of any of the contracting Powers to assist its representative in the Body of Delegates by any method of conference, counsel, or advice that may seem best to it, and also to substitute upon occasion a special representative for its regular diplomatic representative accredited to H.
The Body of Delegates shall regulate their own procedure and shall have power to appoint such committees as they may deem necessary to inquire into and report upon any matters that lie within the field of their action.
It shall be the right of the Body of Delegates, upon the initiative of any member, to discuss, either publicly or privately as it may deem best, any matter lying within the jurisdiction of the League of Nations as defined in this Covenant, or any matter likely to affect the peace of the world; but all actions of the Body of Delegates taken in the exercise of the functions and powers granted to them under this Covenant shall be first formulated and agreed upon by an Executive Council, which shall act either by reference or upon its own initiative and which shall consist of the representatives of the Great Powers together with representatives drawn in annual rotation from two panels, one of which shall be made up of the representatives of the States ranking next after the Great Powers and the other of the representatives of the minor States (a classification which the Body of Delegates shall itself establish and may from time to time alter), such a number being drawn from these panels as will be but one less than the representatives of the Great Powers; and three or more negative votes in the Council shall operate as a veto upon any action or resolution proposed.
All resolutions passed or actions taken by the Body of Delegates upon the recommendation of the Executive Council, except those adopted in execution of any direct powers herein granted to the Body of Delegates themselves, shall have the effect of recommendations to the several governments of the League.
The Executive Council shall appoint a permanent Secretariat and staff and may appoint joint committees chosen from the Body of Delegates or consisting of specially qualified persons outside of that Body, for the study and systematic consideration of the international questions with which the Council may have to deal, or of questions likely to lead to international complications or disputes. It shall also take the necessary steps to establish and maintain proper liaison both with the foreign offices of the signatory powers and with any governments or agencies which may be acting as mandatories of the League of Nations in any part of the world.
The Contracting Powers unite in guaranteeing to each other political independence and territorial integrity; but it is understood between them that such territorial readjustments, if any, as may in the future become necessary by reason of changes in present racial conditions and aspirations or present social and political relationships, pursuant to the principle of self-determination, and also such territorial readjustments as may in the judgment of three fourths of the Delegates be demanded by the welfare and manifest interest of the peoples concerned, may be effected if agreeable to those peoples; and that territorial changes may in equity involve material compensation. The Contracting Powers accept without reservation the principle that the peace of the world is superior in importance to every question of political jurisdiction or boundary.
The Contracting Powers recognize the principle that the establishment and maintenance of peace will require the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations; and the Delegates are directed to formulate at once plans by which such a reduction may be brought about. The plan so formulated shall be binding when, and only when, unanimously approved by the Governments signatory to this Covenant.
As the basis for such a reduction of armaments, all the Powers subscribing to the Treaty of Peace of which this Covenant constitutes a part hereby agree to abolish conscription and all other forms of compulsory military service, and also agree that their future forces of defence and of international action shall consist of militia or volunteers, whose numbers and methods of training shall be fixed, after expert inquiry, by the agreements with regard to the reduction of armaments referred to in the last preceding paragraph.
The Body of Delegates shall also determine for the consideration and action of the several governments what direct military equipment and armament is fair and reasonable in proportion to the scale of forces laid down in the programme of disarmament; and these limits, when adopted, shall not be exceeded without the permission of the Body of Delegates.
The Contracting Powers further agree that munitions and implements of war shall not be manufactured by private enterprise or for private profit, and that there shall be full and frank publicity as to all national armaments and military or naval programmes.
The Contracting Powers jointly and severally agree that, should disputes or difficulties arise between or among them which cannot be satisfactorily settled or adjusted by the ordinary processes of diplomacy, they will in no case resort to armed force without previously submitting the questions and matters involved either to arbitration or to inquiry by the Executive Council of the Body of Delegates or until there has been an award by the arbitrators or a decision by the Executive Council; and that they will not even then resort to armed force as against a member of the League of Nations who complies with the award of the arbitrators or the decision of the Executive Council.
The Powers signatory to this Covenant undertake and agree that whenever any dispute or difficulty shall arise between or among them with regard to any questions of the law of nations, with regard to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any fact which would, if established, constitute a breach of international obligation, or as to any alleged damage and the nature and measure of the reparation to be made therefor, if such dispute or difficulty cannot be satisfactorily settled by the ordinary processes of negotiation, to submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration and to carry out in full good faith any award or decision that may be rendered.
In case of arbitration, the matter or matters at issue shall be referred to three arbitrators, one of the three to be selected by each of the parties to the dispute, when there are but two such parties, and the third by the two thus selected. When there are more than two parties to the dispute, one arbitrator shall be named by each of the several parties, and the arbitrators thus named shall add to their number others of their own choice, the number thus added to be limited to the number which will suffice to give a deciding voice to the arbitrators thus added in case of a tie vote among the arbitrators chosen by the contending parties. In case the arbitrators chosen by the contending parties cannot agree upon an additional arbitrator or arbitrators, the additional arbitrator or arbitrators shall be chosen by the Body of Delegates.
On the appeal of a party to the dispute the decision of the arbitrators may be set aside by a vote of three-fourths of the Delegates, in case the decision of the arbitrators was unanimous, or by a vote of two-thirds of the Delegates in case the decision of the arbitrators was not unanimous, but unless thus set aside shall be finally binding and conclusive.
When any decision of arbitrators shall have been thus set aside, the dispute shall again be submitted to arbitrators chosen as heretofore provided, none of whom shall, however, have previously acted as arbitrators in the dispute in question, and the decision of the arbitrators rendered in this second arbitration shall be finally binding and conclusive without right of appeal.
If for any reason it should prove impracticable to refer any matter in dispute to arbitration, the parties to the dispute shall apply to the Executive Council to take the matter under consideration for such mediatory action or recommendation as it may deem wise in the circumstances. The Council shall immediately accept the reference and give notice to the other party or parties, and shall make the necessary arrangements for a full hearing, investigation, and consideration. It shall ascertain all the facts involved in the dispute and shall make such recommendations as it may deem wise and practicable based on the merits of the controversy and calculated to secure a just and lasting settlement. Other members of the League shall place at the disposal of the Executive Council any and all information that may be in their possession which in any way bears upon the facts or merits of the controversy; and the Executive Council shall do everything in its power by way of mediation or conciliation to bring about a peaceful settlement. The decisions of the Executive Council shall be addressed to the disputants, and shall not have the force of a binding verdict. Should the Executive Council fail to arrive at any conclusion, it shall be the privilege of the members of the Executive Council to publish their several conclusions or recommendations; and such publications shall not be regarded as an unfriendly act by either or any of the disputants.
Should any contracting Power break or disregard its covenants under ARTICLE V, it shall thereby ipso facto commit an act of war with all the members of the League, which shall immediately subject it to a complete economic and financial boycott, including the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between their subjects and the subjects of the covenant-breaking State, and the prevention, so far as possible, of all financial, commercial, or personal intercourse between the subjects of the covenant-breaking State and the subjects of any other State, whether a member of the League of Nations or not.
It shall be the privilege and duty of the Executive Council of the Body of Delegates in such a case to recommend what effective military or naval force the members of the League of Nations shall severally contribute, and to advise, if it should think best, that the smaller members of the League be excused from making any contribution to the armed forces to be used against the covenant-breaking State.
The covenant-breaking State shall, after the restoration of peace, be subject to perpetual disarmament and to the regulations with regard to a peace establishment provided for new States under the terms of SUPPLEMENTARY ARTICLE IV.
If any Power shall declare war or begin hostilities, or take any hostile step short of war, against another Power before submitting the dispute involved to arbitrators or consideration by the Executive Council as herein provided, or shall declare war or begin hostilities, or take any hostile step short of war, in regard to any dispute which has been decided adversely to it by arbitrators chosen and empowered as herein provided, the Contracting Powers hereby bind themselves not only to cease all commerce and intercourse with that Power but also to unite in blockading and closing the frontiers of that Power to commerce or intercourse with any part of the world and to use any force that may be necessary to accomplish that object.
Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Contracting Powers or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the League of Nations and to all the Powers signatory hereto, and those Powers hereby reserve the right to take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations.
It is hereby also declared and agreed to be the friendly right of each of the nations signatory or adherent to this Covenant to draw the attention of the Body of Delegates to any circumstances anywhere which threaten to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.
The Delegates shall meet in the interest of peace whenever war is rumored or threatened, and also whenever the Delegate of any Power shall inform the Delegates that a meeting and conference in the interest of peace is advisable.
The Delegates may also meet at such other times and upon such other occasions as they shall from time to time deem best and determine.
In the event of a dispute arising between one of the Contracting Powers and a Power not a party to this Covenant, the Contracting Power involved hereby binds itself to endeavour to obtain the submission of the dispute to judicial decision or to arbitration. If the other Power will not agree to submit the dispute to judicial decision or to arbitration, the Contracting Power shall bring the matter to the attention of the Body of Delegates. The Delegates shall in such a case, in the name of the League of Nations, invite the Power not a party to this Covenant to become ad hoc a party and to submit its case to judicial decision or to arbitration, and if that Power consents it is hereby agreed that the provisions hereinbefore contained and applicable to the submission of disputes to arbitration or discussion shall be in all respects applicable to the dispute both in favour of and against such Power as if it were a party to this Covenant.
In case the Power not a party to this Covenant shall not accept the invitation of the Delegates to become ad hoc a party, it shall be the duty of the Executive Council immediately to institute an inquiry into the circumstances and merits of the dispute involved and to recommend such joint action by the Contracting Powers as may seem best and most effectual in the circumstances disclosed.
If hostilities should be begun or any hostile action taken against the Contracting Power by the Power not a party to this Covenant before a decision of the dispute by arbitrators or before investigation, report and recommendation by the Executive Council in regard to the dispute, or contrary to such recommendation, the Contracting Powers shall thereupon cease all commerce and communication with that Power and shall also unite in blockading and closing the frontiers of that Power to all commerce or intercourse with any part of the world, employing jointly any force that may be necessary to accomplish that object. The Contracting Powers shall also unite in coming to the assistance of the Contracting Power against which hostile action has been taken, combining their armed forces in its behalf.
In case of a dispute between states not parties to this Covenant, any Contracting Power may bring the matter to the attention of the Delegates, who shall thereupon tender the good offices of the League of Nations with a view to the peaceable settlement of the dispute.
If one of the states, a party to the dispute, shall offer and agree to submit its interests and causes of action wholly to the control and decision of the League of Nations, that state shall ad hoc be deemed a Contracting Power. If no one of the states, parties to the dispute, shall so offer and agree, the Delegates shall, through the Executive Council, of their own motion take such action and make such recommendation to their governments as will prevent hostilities and result in the settlement of the dispute.
Any Power not a party to this Covenant, whose government is based upon the principle of popular self-government, may apply to the Body of Delegates for leave to become a party. If the Delegates shall regard the granting thereof as likely to promote the peace, order, and security of the World, they may act favourably on the application, and their favourable action shall operate to constitute the Power so applying in all respects a full signatory party to this Covenant. This action shall require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Delegates.
The Contracting Powers severally agree that the present Covenant and Convention is accepted as abrogating all treaty obligations inter se which are inconsistent with the terms hereof, and solemnly engage that they will not enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms hereof.
In case any of the Powers signatory hereto or subsequently admitted to the League of Nations shall, before becoming a party to this Covenant, have undertaken any treaty obligations which are inconsistent with the terms of this Covenant, it shall be the duty of such Power to take immediate steps to procure its release from such obligations.
In respect of the peoples and territories which formerly belonged to Austria-Hungary, and to Turkey, and in respect of the colonies formerly under the dominion of the German Empire, the League of Nations shall be regarded as the residuary trustee with sovereign right of ultimate disposal or of continued administration in accordance with certain fundamental principles hereinafter set forth; and this reversion and control shall exclude all rights or privileges of annexation on the part of any Power.
These principles are, that there shall in no case be any annexation of any of these territories by any State either within the League or outside of it, and that in the future government of these peoples and territories the rule of self-determination, or the consent of the governed to their form of government, shall be fairly and reasonably applied, and all policies of administration or economic development be based primarily upon the well-considered interests of the people themselves.
Any authority, control, or administration which may be necessary in respect of these peoples or territories other than their own self-determined and self-organized autonomy shall be the exclusive function of and shall be vested in the League of Nations and exercised or undertaken by or on behalf of it.
It shall be lawful for the League of Nations to delegate its authority, control, or administration of any such people or territory to some single State or organized agency which it may designate and appoint as its agent or mandatory; but whenever or wherever possible or feasible the agent or mandatory so appointed shall be nominated or approved by the autonomous people or territory.
The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the mandatary State or agency shall in each case be explicitly defined by the League in a special Act or Charter which shall reserve to the League complete power of supervision and of intimate control, and which shall also reserve to the people of any such territory or governmental unit the right to appeal to the League for the redress or correction of any breach of the mandate by the mandatary State or agency or for the substitution of some other State or agency, as mandatary.
The mandatary State or agency shall in all cases be bound and required to maintain the policy of the open door, or equal opportunity for all the signatories to this Covenant, in respect of the use and development of the economic resources of such people or territory.
The mandatary State or agency shall in no case form or maintain any military or naval force in excess of definite standards laid down by the League itself for the purposes of internal police.
No new State arising or created from the old Empires of Austria-Hungary, or Turkey shall be recognized by the League or admitted into its membership except on condition that its military and naval forces and armaments shall conform to standards prescribed by the League in respect of it from time to time.
As successor to the Empires, the League of Nations is empowered, directly and without right of delegation, to watch over the relations inter se of all new independent States arising or created out of the Empires, and shall assume and fulfill the duty of conciliating and composing differences between them with a view to the maintenance of settled order and the general peace.
The Powers signatory or adherent to this Covenant agree that they will themselves seek to establish and maintain fair hours and humane conditions of labour for all those within their several jurisdictions who are engaged in manual labour and that they will exert their influence in favour of the adoption and maintenance of a similar policy and like safeguards wherever their industrial and commercial relations extend.
The League of Nations shall require all new States to bind themselves as a condition precedent to their recognition as independent or autonomous States, to accord to all racial or national minorities within their several jurisdictions exactly the same treatment and security, both in law and in fact, that is accorded the racial or national majority of their people.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS
(Plan of Lord Robert Cecil)
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:
I. 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.)
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 them 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: (i) 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
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.
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.
The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the League.
The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may require at the Seat of the League or at such other place as may be decided upon.
The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
At meetings of the Assembly each Member of the League shall have one vote, and may have not more than three Representatives.
The Council shall consist of Representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, together with Representatives of four other Members of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by the Assembly, Representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Spain, and Greece shall be members of the Council.
With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be members of the Council; the Council with like approval may increase the number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for representation on the Council.
The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at least once a year, at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may be decided upon.
The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.
Any Member of the League not represented on the Council shall be invited to send a Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the Council during the consideration of matters specially affecting the interests of that Member of the League.
At meetings of the Council, each Member of the League represented on the Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one Representative.
Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant or by the terms of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League represented at the meeting.
All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council, including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular matters, shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council and may be decided by a majority of the Members of the League represented at the meeting.
The first meeting of the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.
The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the Seat of the League. The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary General and such secretaries and staff as may be required.
The first Secretary General shall be the person named in the Annex; thereafter the Secretary General shall be appointed by the Council with the approval of the majority of the Assembly.
The secretaries and staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary General with the approval of the Council.
The Secretary General shall act in that capacity at all meetings of the Assembly and of the Council.
The expenses of the Secretariat shall be borne by the Members of the League in accordance with the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.
The Seat of the League is established at Geneva.
The Council may at any time decide that the Seat of the League shall be established elsewhere.
All positions under or in connection with the League, including the Secretariat, shall be open equally to men and women.
Representatives of the Members of the League and officials of the League when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
The buildings and other property occupied by the League or its officials or by Representatives attending its meetings shall be inviolable.
The Members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments.
Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every ten years.
After these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.
The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those Members of the League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety.
The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, their military, naval and air programmes and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to warlike purposes.
A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the Council on the execution of the provisions of Articles 1 and 8 and on military, naval and air questions generally.
The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.
Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations. In case any such emergency should arise the Secretary General shall on the request of any Member of the League forthwith summon a meeting of the Council.
It is also declared to be the friendly right of each Member of the League to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.
The Members of the League agree that if there should arise between them any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, they will submit the matter either to arbitration or to inquiry by the Council, and they agree in no case to resort to war until three months after the award by the arbitrators or the report by the Council.
In any case under this Article the award of the arbitrators shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report of the Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the dispute.
The Members of the League agree that whenever any dispute shall arise between them which they recognize to be suitable for submission to arbitration and which cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration.
Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which if established would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration.
For the consideration of any such dispute the court of arbitration to which the case is referred shall be the Court agreed on by the parties to the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them.
The Members of the League agree that they will carry out in full good faith any award that may be rendered, and that they will not resort to war against a Member of the League which complies therewith. In the event of any failure to carry out such an award, the Council shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.
The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the League for adoption plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.
If there should arise between Members of the League any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration in accordance with Article 13, the Members of the League agree that they will submit the matter to the Council. Any party to the dispute may effect such submission by giving notice of the existence of the dispute to the Secretary General, who will make all necessary arrangements for a full investigation and consideration thereof.
For this purpose the parties to the dispute will communicate to the Secretary General, as promptly as possible, statements of their case with all the relevant facts and papers, and the Council may forthwith direct the publication thereof.
The Council shall endeavour to effect a settlement of the dispute, and if such efforts are successful, a statement shall be made public giving such facts and explanations regarding the dispute and the terms of settlement thereof as the Council may deem appropriate.
If the dispute is not thus settled, the Council either unanimously or by a majority vote shall make and publish a report containing a statement of the facts of the dispute and the recommendations which are deemed just and proper in regard thereto.
Any Member of the League represented on the Council may make public a statement of the facts of the dispute and of its conclusions regarding the same.
If a report by the Council is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute which complies with the recommendations of the report.
If the Council fails to reach a report which is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof, other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League reserve to themselves the right to take such action as they shall consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice.
If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.
The Council may in any case under this Article refer the dispute to the Assembly. The dispute shall be so referred at the request of either party to the dispute, provided that such request be made within fourteen days after the submission of the dispute to the Council.
In any case referred to the Assembly, all the provisions of this Article and of Article 12 relating to the action and powers of the Council shall apply to the action and powers of the Assembly, provided that a report made by the Assembly, if concurred in by the Representatives of those Members of the League represented on the Council and of a majority of the other Members of the League, exclusive in each case of the Representatives of the parties to the dispute, shall have the same force as a report by the Council concurred in by all the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute.
Should any Member of the League resort to war in disregard of its covenants under Articles 12, 13 or 15, it shall ipso facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other Members of the League, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking State, and the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse between the nationals of the covenant-breaking State and the nationals of any other State, whether a Member of the League or not.
It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the several Governments concerned what effective military, naval or air force the Members of the League shall severally contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League.
The Members of the League agree, further, that they will mutually support one another in the financial and economic measures which are taken under this Article, in order to minimise the loss and inconvenience resulting from the above measures, and that they will mutually support one another in resisting any special measures aimed at one of their number by the covenant-breaking State, and that they will take the necessary steps to afford passage through their territory to the forces of any of the Members of the League which are cooperating to protect the covenants of the League.
Any Member of the League which has violated any covenant of the League may be declared to be no longer a Member of the League by a vote of the Council concurred in by the Representatives of all the other Members of the League represented thereon.
In the event of a dispute between a Member of the League and a State which is not a Member of the League, or between States not Members of the League, the State or States not Members of the League shall be invited to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, upon such conditions as the Council may deem just. If such invitation is accepted, the provisions of Articles 12 to 16 inclusive shall be applied with such modifications as may be deemed necessary by the Council.
Upon such invitation being given the Council shall immediately institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the dispute and recommend such action as may seem best and most effectual in the circumstances.
If a State so invited shall refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, and shall resort to war against a Member of the League, the provisions of Article 16 shall be applicable as against the State taking such action.
If both parties to the dispute when so invited refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, the Council may take such measures and make such recommendations as will prevent hostilities and will result in the settlement of the dispute.
Every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.
The Assembly may from time to time advise the reconsideration by Members of the League of treaties which have become inapplicable and the consideration of international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world.
The Members of the League severally agree that this Covenant is accepted as abrogating all obligations or understandings inter se which are inconsistent with the terms thereof, and solemnly undertake that they will not hereafter enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.
In case any Member of the League shall, before becoming a Member of the League, have undertaken any obligations inconsistent with the terms of this Covenant, it shall be the duty of such Member to take immediate steps to procure its release from such obligations.
Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements, such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace.
To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.