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proposal that these countries and their backward peoples are to be traded as a commodity to compensate the two British dominions for sacrifices in war. They are thus to be treated as something of value belonging to Germany and are to be used as a substitute for money indemnity.
President Wilson insists that they should be administered by the League of Nations for the benefit of their peoples. In this he is clearly right. Where his proposal lacks strength, however, is in his suggestion that the League shall administer them through the British dominions as “mandatories. Theoretically this means that the League shall supervise while the respective dominions actually govern. Previous experience shows that such arrangements are a source of much friction and interfere with effectiveness. The Algeciras method of dealing with Tangier and Morocco was like this and was not satisfactory. Moreover, the dealing by Australia and by South Africa with native races is not likely to be as just and equitable as that of their mother country.
Why should not the League itself establish and maintain a proper government of these countries? We could be in this way much more certain of right treatment of the backward peoples than under the “ mandatories." No danger to their British colonial neighbors could arise from a government of the League.
Why then does Mr. Wilson suggest this plan which really hides territorial acquisition and complete possession and control under a thin cloak of League supervision? It is because he has not given any life to his ideal of a league. If he gave it flesh and bones in real and definite machinery and power, the purpose he ha
he has as to these German colonies might be successfully worked out. As it is, these colonies
will in fact meet the fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina under Austria, which was complete absorption. It would seem to be better for the backward peoples who are the wards of the Peace Congress to give them directly and openly to Great Britain, who will govern them more sympathetically and wisely than will her own colonial daughters.
The President is being further embarrassed by the proposal that the United States shall administer Constantinople, Palestine and Armenia as a mandatory of the League. He does not wish to entangle the United States in the complications of the near Eastern question, and no wonder! Had he and his colleagues planned a real League of Nations and not a mere figure of rhetoric, or noble conception without body, the international agency to discharge this important function would be at hand.
Will not these troublesome experiences with the very first problems, simpler indeed than many yet to come, convince the Congress that a real league of nations with a “bite" in it is indispensable in achieving their purpose ?
Is it too much to hope that the history of the framing of the Constitution of the United States may repeat itself in the present Congress and the proposed League of Nations? When the members of the convention met there were no definite plans of government except one which Hamilton had formulated and which was not adopted. Few thought they would be successful in framing a real nation. Hamilton and a few other constructive statesmen were the only ones who were not faint-hearted. As their deliberations proceeded, as the necessities of the situation developed, proposals which at first were thought to be chimerical and impossible seemed to become more practical and necessary, and out of it all we got our wonderful fundamental instrument of
government. May not the League in the same way become a living thing?
FROM AN ADDRESS AT THE ATLANTIC CON
GRESS FOR A LEAGUE OF NATIONS, NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 5, 1919.
You will only get the ideal court when the members are independent, their only qualifications being their probity, their ability, their learning and their experience.
They will not represent anybody, but simple justice, on that court. They are to apply pure principles of law and exercise their acumen to determine facts impartially in the disposition of the legal questions which come before them. Therefore it is not representative. But, appointees should be distributed with reference to bringing in knowledge of all law throughout the world, just as our own Supreme Court is distributed, not by any law, but through the discretion of the Executive, so that the different parts of the country, with different methods of administration of law, may be brought in.
IRELAND AND THE LEAGUE 1
The resolution proposed in the House of Representatives to urge upon the President in Paris that he take steps to secure a government in Ireland independent of the government of Great Britain is ill-timed. It can only embarrass
1 Article in Public Ledger Feb. 13, 1919.
him in securing an agreement between the Great Powers who are dictating the terms of peace to Germany and rearranging the map of Middle and Eastern Europe.
The relation of Ireland to Great Britain is a British domestic question, and cannot properly be made other by the intervention of the United States. Hope of a satisfactory peace in which the whole world is interested would have to be abandoned if the Great Powers were to look into and discuss the internal affairs of one another. The relations of the government of France to Algiers, to Tunis, to Morocco and her African interests, the relation of Japan to Formosa, that of the United States to the Philippines, to the Indian tribes or to the colored voters of the States of the South, might all be thus added to the bewildering issues that now claim the attention of the delegates at the Paris conference. This treaty is to close the war with Germany and her Allies, and England's relation to Ireland is not germane to that war and has no connection with it.
Irishmen must know that the wrongs of Ireland in the past have sunk deep in the minds and memories of the people of the United States. Whenever there has been a movement to remedy these wrongs, whenever the issue of home rule has been raised, it has awakened the strongest sympathy in the hearts and souls of Americans, whether of Irish blood or not. Americans have had immense satisfaction in learning that the land laws of Ireland have been so improved and changed that now there is a large increase in the number of small farms owned in fee simple by the farmers.
Sir Horace Plunkett, an Irishman, has led Irish farmers into associations by which they have learned to improve their agriculture and dairy farming, to unite in the disposition
of their product and get rid of the heavy toll of the middlemen, so that to-day it is not too much to say that rural Ireland is in better economic condition than any other agricultural part of the British Islands. This has been directly due to the legislation of Parliament, the leadership of such men as Plunkett, and the capacity for organization developed among the farmers.
The political blundering of the English government and what, to many of us, seems the unreasonable obstinacy of the Protestant half of Ulster have prevented that home rule to which most Americans believe that Ireland is entitled. If she could have been made a Dominion like Canada, with hardly more than nominal union to Great Britiain, except in international matters, Ireland would certainly have been satisfied before Sinn Feinism was fanned into flame by the delay in home rule.
Self-determination is not a certain solvent of political difficulty. Self-determination means a rule of the majority; but the question what the unit shall be, of which the majority is to rule, still remains. This is affected by considerations of geography, language, race, religion and other factors of solidarity or variety in the mental attitudes of the people concerned. Geography forbids a separation of Ulster from Ireland, especially in view of the fact that Ulster has been represented in Parliament by half home rule and half unionist members of Parliament. On the other hand, the geographical relation of Ireland to Great Britain makes the former a necessary outpost against hostile attack, while the difference in race and the traditional lack of sympathy justify the greatest autonomy in Ireland consistent with British protection.
It is remarkable that Great Britain, which has been wonderfully successful in dealing with colonial dependencies of