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ceived by its proponents in three of the four great nations that have won this war, has substantially the same structure. It includes a court to decide justiciable questions, a Council of Conciliation to consider other or nonjusticiable questions and to recommend a compromise. It calls for the organization of the combined economic and military forces of the world to enforce the judgments of the courts, and to deal with a defiance of the recommendations of the mediating council as the executive body of the League shall deem wise.
The American, English, and French plans all show a purpose to create a smaller League of the allied nations fighting this war, who are, so to speak, to be charter members of a larger League, which they are to form by inviting other nations into it as they show themselves fitted to exercise the privileges of the League, to enjoy its protection and to meet their obligations as members. The American plan refers to these allied nations who won the war as the initiating nucleus of the larger League.
Each plan looks to the enforcement of judgments and leaves open to the League the question of what shall be done with reference to compromises recommended and not acquiesced in. Each one looks to a congress of nations to declare and codify international law.
One of them provides for the reduction of armament; the others omit it. It does not appear in the American plan. I may say that this was not because the ultimate reduction of armament was not regarded as important, but because it was thought that this feature of a League of Nations might meet serious objection until the League should be shown to be an effective substitute for the insurance which reasonable
preparation for self-defense gives against unjust foreign aggression.
What are the objections to a League of Nations developed in this way and thus constituted? The first and chief objection is that the United States ought not to bind itself to make war upon the decree of an executive council in which it has but one vote out of four or five.
What authority and duty does the executive council have in the League? It will be its duty to see that judgments are executed.
Why should we object if called upon to declare war and make our contribution to the police force to maintain peace by enforcing a judgment of an impartial court? Such a judgment is not the result of the vote of other powers than our own. It is merely a decision on principles of international law as between two contending nations.
We have heard a great deal during this campaign of international justice. Why should we favor international justice and then refuse to furnish the machinery by which that justice can be declared and enforced? What risk do we run?
With reference to the enforcement of recommendations of compromise, the executive council should consider whether it is a case in which peace would be promoted more by economic or military enforcement than merely by international public opinion.
If, in such a case, it is thought that a majority of the executive council should not control the right to call for military execution of the compromise, such action might be limited to a unanimous decision of the executive council.
This would prevent the imposition of the burden of war, by the determination of the League members, upon any nation without its consent. Or the enforcement of such a compromise, if determined on by a majority of the executive council, might be left to that majority.
Senator Knox seems to anticipate that the United States will be drawn into war against its will by a majority vote of a convention of heterogeneous nations.
No such result could follow from the organization of a League as indicated above. The assumption that the votes of Haiti, or San Salvador, or Uruguay could create a majority forcing the United States into a war against its interest and will, under a practical League of Nations, is wholly unfounded. It would be left to the vote of an executive council of the Great Powers, and even then the United States, under the modifications above suggested, could not be drawn into war against its will.
Objectors who rely on the Constitution seem to assume that the League plans contemplate a permanent international police force, constantly under command of a Marshal Foch, who may order the international army to enforce a judgment or a compromise without the preliminaries of declarations of war by the League members. This is wholly unwarranted and no plan justifies it. When force has to be used, war will be begun and carried on jointly in the usual way.
LEAGUE OF NATIONS AND PRESIDENT
The reports of correspondents to whom has been attrib1 Article in Public Ledger Jan. 20, 1919.
uted the privilege of peeping into the presidential mind give rise to some concern among the sincere advocates of a League of Nations to Enforce Peace. The failure of the President to indicate any definite structure for the League, as the champion of which he is now hailed by the world with such acclaim, creates an uneasy suspicion that he has not thought out any definite plan of his own. In his frequent references to the League, he has stated what it will not be rather than what it will be. His attitude is that of one seeking a plan which will encounter no objections either in the congress at Paris or in the congress at Washington. In the formulation of a new political institution the sincere and successful builder works by the affirmative method primarily. He has before him always the object to be achieved, and he frames the coöperating parts of his plan with that first in view. He should be trying to do something. He should not be trying merely to fulfill a promise to do something by coming as near to it as he can without meeting criticism. No reform worth having was ever put through without a fight. Faith not only in the value of the ideal but faith in a practical plan needed to realize the ideal is required to bring real results.
The element of the plan of a present League of Nations, which must distinguish it from past efforts to secure peace by agreement of nations, is the organization of the forces of lawful nations to compel justice from lawless nations. The President loves to dwell on the moral sanction of justice which is to prevail after this war. Let us agree with him that it will be stronger than before the war and that in and of itself it will help to make war less probable. But if that is the only sanction the League of Nations is going to furnish for the judgments of its court and for the suppression of
lawless violence by recalcitrant nations, it will be a failure and a laughing stock at least the influence of such moral force will be as great without the League as with it.
It is unfortunate that the President, with his apparent lack of any definite plan for a league should not be able to find a single earnest supporter of a real league of nations to secure peace in the commission which he has taken with him.
Secretary Lansing has heretofore always been opposed to a league of nations to enforce peace. His confidential adviser, James Brown Scott, has always opposed it and vigorously urged merely an international court, whose judgments are to be enforced by the obligations of honor and moral suasion. Mr. White has had the traditional attitude of the old diplomatic hand toward such an innovation. Few know, if any, what Mr. House's real attitude is or that of General Bliss. The commission is now engaged in examining forty different plans, we are told, with the hope, by the selective method, of hitting upon something as innocuous to Senate predilections as possible. A reported interview with Mr. White makes conformity to the Senate's views his objective. Has the cold attitude of the commission toward an effective league been changed by the eagerness of the common peoples of the Allies for it and by the enthusiasm with which the President's eloquent periods concerning the League have been greeted? Let us hope so.
Lloyd George and Clémenceau are practical men. They have declared for a league. They will wish to create something which will be a real instrument to do the things that have to be done by the treaty. They have men about them, Lord Robert Cecil, M. Leon Bourgeois and others, who, as earnest advocates of a league, have been framing plans and