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fixed upon? Of course, everybody understands that the armament we are especially interested in is Germany's armament. We are going to see to it that that is only such as domestic safety shall require.”
Are we just going to leave that requirement in the treaty and make no provision for enforcing it or maintaining it? Is that the way we are to deal with Germany? Under such conditions, what will happen if Germany unites with German Austria to make a very considerable power and retains her military spirit? Shall we not rather create an agency which shall see to it that this Covenant is effective?
Then there is Russia, controlled by the Bolsheviki. I do not know what we are going to do about Russia. I know what we ought to have done. We ought to have sent two hundred thousand men in there originally, and with additional forces from our Allies we could have stamped out Bolshevism. When a man says you encumber the earth and that the only way to have happiness on earth is to kill you — the only way you can deal with him is to kill him. That is all there is about it; and the idea of dealing with Bolshevism in any other way is an iridescent dream. We will have to stamp it out. That will have to be done by the Allies, and we will have to maintain a force for that purpose.
The countries we propose to set up have got to be held in leading strings. You cannot do that except by a League of Nations that notifies them — every one of them: “ This war was fought for your liberty and that democracy might be safe, and we do not propose to have you start a conflagration and bring about another war that we have sacrificed
millions and billions and endured all sorts of suffering to avoid.”
We created a republic in Cuba. We surrounded it with all possible safeguards, and then we had to send a force down there to compose a revolution of gentlemen on the outs who wanted to get in and gentlemen on the ins who did not want to get out. That is the trouble we will find in these new republics.
I say this with deference, but if there is not a League of Nations created in Paris the whole thing is a failure — and I do not think they are going to make a failure at Paris.
It is perfectly easy to suggest objections to a plan like this. Take the Constitution of the United States. When it was adopted, the prophecies in respect to it were quite as formidable as certain distinguished Senators hold the difficulties in the operation of the League to be. And you can imagine cases now with reference to the operation of the Constitution that would lead to such a disturbance as to destroy the Government. We had one but survived it. We had to camp outside the Constitution until we did, and then we got back under it again.
In the disputed election between Hayes and Tilden we had to create an extra-constitutional body to settle that question, but we were self-governing people and we did it.
What seems to me important is to get nations into the habit of settling their differences otherwise than by war. You can't get rid of war until some substitute is offered to prevent injustice and to enable you to get justice. Of course, we have produced that in our constitutional system. Every state has the right to go into the Supreme Court to
ask justice against every other state. In many cases there is no law which governs the behavior of states except international law, and that is administered by the Supreme Court of the United States in such cases.
I do not care what you call it, you have got to have a court, you have got to have a committee of conciliation, you have got to have force, you have got to fix rules of international law. You cannot get away from these.
LESSER LEAGUE OF NATIONS 1
Subjects for consideration by the conference at Versailles will naturally divide themselves into two great classes. The first will embrace those terms exacted of Germany and the other conquered nations to prevent them from again beginning war now or in the near future; the indemnities to be assessed against them for damage inflicted on France, Belgium, Serbia and the other Allies; the redistribution of their territories and carving out of them the new republics to be set up; together with the machinery for securing those terms and their maintenance. The second class of subjects for discussion and settlement will be less exigent and have more of a world-wide character. Such will be the definition of freedom of the seas, open diplomacy, the prevention of discriminating economic barriers and the machinery for a general League of Nations to Enforce Peace.
This league may well consist of only the Allied nations,
1 Article in Public Ledger Dec. 9, 1918.
England, France, Italy, Japan and the United States. These are now the only “great ” Powers for practical purposes. They cannot achieve the end of this war without such a league. How, if at all, this league shall be expanded to include other or all nations may be properly inquired into by a Congress of Nations of the World, continuing the sessions of the Versailles conference. The greater league would thus be a growth from the smaller league into which the Allied Powers will find themselves forced by the necessities of the situation. This is the best method of developing political institutions. It is the Anglo-Saxon way. They are framed and set in operation to meet immediate needs and then are expanded as their adaptation to larger usefulness makes itself clear.
A question as to the first or smaller league will at once demand answer from us. That is, whether we shall join it. The reactionaries, of whom there seem to be several in our Senate, will insist that we should keep our skirts clear of it and leave it to the other four Great Powers. After we have signed and approved the treaty, in their view, we should rid ourselves of any responsibility for its enforcement or the maintenance of the just, equitable and democratic status which its signatories seek to establish. This is the counsel of cowardice and atavism. It breaks the word of promise to the oppressed peoples of Europe. It would take out of the executive council of such a league the only member of it to which the peoples of the new republics and the rest of Europe would look with confidence for purely disinterested counsel and action. After our magniloquent declarations of purpose in this war, after our high-sounding announcement of the equitable bases of settlement of the war upon which the armistice and the treaty to follow are conditioned, what
a lame and impotent conclusion it would be for our President to come back to this country, leaving, as an arbiter of half the world, a League of Nations in which we were to have no voice and over whose actions we were to have no control!
Could we thus selfishly retire to our isolated seclusion and repudiate the responsibility that our participation in the war and in the terms of peace must thrust upon us as the most powerful and most impartial member of the family of nations? It is inconceivable that President Wilson, after what he has written and said to the world, would consent to play such a humiliating part. If, on the contrary, he is consistent with himself, if he stands up to the character he has assumed before to the plain people of Europe and the world, and signs a treaty by which the United States becomes a responsible factor in the world's progress, the men of small vision in the Senate and Congress will be swept from their opposition by a public opinion they cannot withstand.
Such a general league must always be of the highest benefit to every small nation. It would offer protection against any oppression by a greater nation, and it would give relief from the burden of armament. Full reliance could be had on the fairness of the league, because a conspiracy by all the Great Powers, including the United States, to oppress a small Power is unthinkable. Therefore, every small nation would ultimately seek admission. It would then willingly submit to reasonable restrictions on its own representative weight in the league to which, as an initiating constituent member, it might make vociferous objection.