Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make this world itself at last free.”

Other passages of similar import might be cited, but these are enough to show that those who read them had a right to believe the President was committing himself to a league of nations, bound by covenants of its members to maintain justice, freedom and peace among nations large and small and to do this by force; i. e., by the combined armies and navies of the members of the League. The maintenance of justice necessarily carries with it the conception of a court to administer it: to hear the differences submitted, pronounce judgment and enforce it through the executive agencies of the League.

This is the general plan of the League to Enforce Peace. Mr. Wilson's plan is more ambitious in that the members of the League are mutually to guarantee the political and territorial integrity of all the signatories of the treaty. By this the United States would bind itself to preserve by arms the boundaries and independence of Poland, of the Balkans, of the Czecho-Slavs and all the new republics to be born of this treaty, as Great Britain did those of Belgium.

We cannot suppose that, after giving these assurances to the peoples of Europe, President Wilson will be content with a treaty of mere good intentions and with declarations obligating no nation to do anything to maintain justice, freedom and peace, but leaving it to the uncertain moral sanction of the conscience of each nation to find out what justice is and then to do it.

SENATOR LODGE ON THE LEAGUE OF

NATIONS 1

Senator Lodge's speech in the senate on the twenty-first of this month was the best yet made on the aims of the Allies and the elements of a satisfactory treaty of peace. It was comprehensive and accurate, lucid and forcible, felicitous in phrase and elevated in tone. It was in the senator's best style, and that is a high standard.

Its great merit is in its broad vision of the real purposes of the United States and her present obligation. The senator summarizes certain objections to the general League of Nations. These are, as lawyers would say, obiter dicta in this speech, because he now asks a postponement of that subject matter, not its rejection on its merits.

There are those who minimize the burden the United States should assume in execution of this peace; they deny that she should share it with her Allies. Mr. Lodge is not one of those. He is not a little American. He does not recur to the farewell address of Washington and the phrase,

entangling alliances,” enjoined by Jefferson in order to employ them narrowly to limit the responsibilities of the United States, now that it has become the most powerful nation in the world. In his address he said:

We went to war to save civilization. For this mighty purpose we have sacrificed thousands of American lives and spent billions of American treasure. We cannot, therefore, leave the work half done. We are as much bound, not merely by interests and every consideration for a safe future,

1 Article in Public Ledger Dec. 30, 1918.

but by honor and self-respect, to see that the terms of peace are carried out, as we were to fulfill our great determination that the armies of Germany should be defeated in the field. We cannot halt or turn back now. We must do our share to carry out the peace as we have done our share to win the war, of which the peace is an integral part. We must do our share in the occupation of German territory which will be held as security for the indemnities to be paid by Germany. We cannot escape doing our part in aiding the peoples to whom we have helped to give freedom and independence in establishing themselves with ordered governments, for in no other way can we erect the barriers which are essential to prevent another outbreak by Germany upon the world. We cannot leave the Jugo-Slavs, the Czecho-Slovaks and the Poles, the Lithuanians and the other states which we hope to see formed and marching upon the path of progress and development, unaided and alone."

He says that the United States is obliged to aid Russia in rising from the chaos and disorder which has come upon her to the place which she ought to occupy in the family of nations; that the object of the Russian Bolsheviki has been to destroy their fellow citizens and every element which was necessary to a social fabric under which men could live and prosper while they themselves profit in money and in power from the ruin they have wrought; that they indulged in murder and massacre, destroyed property and all the instruments of industry, and the unhappy and ignorant people of Russia, in whose name they undertook to act, are to-day suffering from famine and disease, and are in a worse condition than they were in the days of the Romanoffs; that if Russian anarchy should be permitted to spread through western civilization, that civilization would fall; that we cannot leave

Russia lying helpless and breathing out infection on the world; and that it would be discreditable to the United States if we failed to recognize our duty to her.

The Senator's speech was delivered to establish the necessity for postponing the consideration by the conference of five of the fourteen points of the President's message of January 8, referring to secret diplomacy, to freedom of navigation and the seas, to the removal of economic barriers, to the reduction of armament, and to the central League of Nations.

It must be admitted the Senator's argument for a postponement of these questions to an adjourned conference has weight. It may be that in the immediate settlement of them is to be found a means of solving difficulties in agreement upon specific terms of peace, of which neither the Senator nor we are advised.

A stipulation that the five Allies dictating this treaty should not make any treaty as between themselves inconsistent with the purpose of the great treaty and should make no secret treaties at all, may well strengthen mutual confidence in the good faith of all in the main treaty.

The general reduction of armaments of all nations does not immediately concern the peace in the sphere of war, provided Germany's teeth are effectively drawn.

The provision against economic barriers is a general question of world trade, the immediate settlement of which does not, on the surface, seem essential to the adjustment of the purposes of the nations in winning this war. The subcurrents of selfish purpose in respect to trade, however, may require a preliminary settlement of such a general principle as the best basis for adjusting special interests.

The freedom of the seas in time of war is a very general

issue, postponement of which to the adjourned conference would hardly interfere with a satisfactory peace settlement for the present.

What should be emphasized, however, and what Senator Lodge brings out with force of argument that cannot be met, is the fact that we now have a league of nations the United States, England, France, Italy and Japan whose obligations in respect to securing the results of the war in Europe are equal. They are dictating this peace. The treaty will not enforce itself.

Unless we stamp out the poisonous infection of Russian Bolshevism and prevent its spread throughout the countries of Europe, we shall only substitute anarchy, chaos and plundering, murderous violence for imperial despotism.

We can only achieve these results by continuance of this existing league of Great Powers. Of this Senator Lodge's great address is a demonstration.

THE LEAGUE: WHY AND HOW 1

It is possible that we need not include all the nations in the League in order to perform the task that we have set for ourselves; but it is essential that we should have a league of the Great Nations to enforce peace, if the treaty of peace is to accomplish any of the objects that we and the Allies have had in the war.

1 Address delivered at Montclair, N. J., Dec. 30, 1918, under the auspices of the College Women's Club.

« PředchozíPokračovat »