Obrázky stránek

up the League of Nations and study it in the earnest desire to make it work.

In this way Theodore Roosevelt, having long ago proposed a league in his Nobel prize address, was brought around by logic of events to a sincere effort to frame a plan which would avoid the numerous objections that have been suggested by himself and others and still make progress toward the ideal he held out at Christiania. He studied all the plans proposed, considered their possible weaknesses and defects and busied his ingenious mind with finding alternatives which would be practical and still achieve the main purpose.

He had in his mind the thought that under the general obligations of the League, when force had to be threatened or used, a great Power like the United States should act as a policeman in the western hemisphere, while the great Powers of Europe should in the first instance keep the

peace of the world in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. It was clearer to him than it seems to be to others who do not see the real need of a league and who are not so anxious, therefore, to make it useful to the world, that the European nations will only be too gład to recognize our Monroe Doctrine as a policy in the interest of world peace. Why should they not, when the principles and operation of the League are really directed to the creation of a Monroe Doctrine of the world?

What Colonel Roosevelt always insisted on was that the United States should not promise in a treaty to do things which it could not or would not perform. Certainly, every one must sympathize with this common-sense restriction upon unwise and transcendental enthusiasm. He feared there were issues not to be settled on principles of law and thus called nonjusticiable, which might, nevertheless, be sub

mitted to a court and decided against the will of a party to the treaty. His suggestion is that each nation might state those issues and after discussion have them specifically incorporated in the treaty as nonjusticiable.

He feared, too, that the United States might be committed to an obligation not to maintain military preparedness sufficient to protect itself against unjust aggression. He protested against reduction of armament which was on the theory that the League of Nations would form a substitute for reasonable defense, at least until its efficacy for such a purpose had been fully demonstrated by actual test of time. Certainly, many who earnestly support a League concur in such a view and believe with him that universal military training of the Swiss type may well be instituted in this country, both as an insurance against unjust aggression and as a proper preparation for such contribution to the world's police force as the United States may be called upon to make. Incidentally it will constitute an important factor in the education of our youth in the duties of life.

For these reasons the proponents of the League of Nations to enforce peace may rejoice in this posthumous aid that Theodore Roosevelt gives to the League. He has the greatest personal following in this country, and his words go far.

His attitude toward the problems involved in the League may well furnish an example to the doubters and opponents. Let them treat the League as something in its purpose to be desired, and let them lend their thoughts not to devising and imaging objections but to finding alternative substitutes in its structure which will not be subject to their own objections.



The original program of the League to Enforce Peace 2 adopted at Philadelphia June 17, 1915, was enlarged and made more ambitious at a meeting of the governing body of the League on November 24, 1918. It then declared that the initiating nucleus of the membership of the League should be the nations associated as belligerents in winning the war.

It declared further :

First, that the judgments of the international court on justiciable questions should be enforced;

Second, that the League should determine what action, if any, should be taken in respect to recommendations of the Council of Conciliation in which the parties concerned did not acquiesce;

Third, that provision should be made for an administrative organization of the League to conduct affairs of common interest and for the protection and care of backward regions and international places and other matters jointly administered before and during the war, and that such administrative organization should be so framed as to insure stability and progress, preventing defeat of the forces of healthy growth and changes, and providing a way by which progress could be secured and the needed change effected without recourse to war;

Fourth, that a representative Congress of Nations should formulate and codify rules of international law, inspect the

1 An address delivered before the National Geographic Society, in Washington, D. C., January 17, 1919.

2 The Program is printed in full on page 1.

work of the League's administrative bodies, and consider any matter affecting the tranquillity of the world or the progress or the betterment of human relations;

Fifth, that the League should have an executive council to speak with authority in the name of the nations represented and to act in case the peace of the world is endangered.

It further declared that the representation of the different nations in the organs of the League should be in proportion to the responsibilities and obligations that they assume, and that rules of international law should not be defeated for lack of unanimity.

It will thus be seen that the American association has become more ambitious in its aims since its first declarations, Under the first declaration it did not propose to enforce judgments of the court or in any way to deal with the recommendations of compromise, the exercise of force by the League being directed only against a nation beginning war before submission to the Court or the Council.

In England, after the organization of the American League, a British League of Free Nations Association was formed, proposing a Court and a Commission of Conciliation, the use of force to execute the decisions of the Court, and the joint suppression, by all means at their disposal, of any attempt by any State to disturb the peace of the world by acts of war.

1 The first important group formed in England for advancing the idea of a League of Nations was the Bryce group. Others which followed were the League of Nations Society, the Fabian Society group and the Union of Democratic Control. The London International Allied Labor and Socialist Conference Feb. 22, 1918, likewise put out a most important program. Following the formation of the League of Free Nations Association, to which Mr. Taft refers, that body and the League of Nations Society merged into the League of Nations Union. (Editor).

It looked to the immediate organization of a League of Great Britain and her then allies, with a view to the ultimate formation of a League of Nations on a wider basis, including states then neutral or hostile. It excluded the German peoples until they should bring forth works meet for repentance and become a democracy.

It contained a provision for action by the League as trustee and guardian of uncivilized races and undeveloped territories. It proposed as a substitute for national armaments an international force to guarantee order in the world, and proposed a further function for the Council of the League in supervising, limiting, and controlling the military and naval forces and the armament industries of the world.

Late in 1918 a French Association for the Society of Nations 1 recommended that the Society of Nations should be open to every nation who would agree to respect the right of peoples to determine their own destiny, and to resort only to judicial solutions for the settlement of their disputes; that the use of force be reserved exclusively to the international society itself as the supreme sanction in case one of the member states should resist its decisions; that the Allies should form their association immediately and should work it out as completely as possible in the direction of sanctions of every kind — moral, judicial, economic, and in the last resort military — as well as in that of promulgating general rules of law.

The French Society further provided that the Society of Nations thus immediately formed should control and conduct the negotiations for the coming peace.

It will thus be seen that the League of Nations, as con1 In France we had, antedating the French Association for the Society of Nations, two very active groups, The League of the Rights of Man and League for a Society of Nations. (Editor).

« PředchozíPokračovat »