Obrázky stránek

all kinds, should have been so unsuccessful in Ireland. This has been true, even since her statesmen have been sincerely and earnestly anxious to be just to Ireland, and to eliminate completely from her Irish policy the motive which so long disgraced it, that of exploiting Ireland and her people for the profit of England. In Irish affairs, English statesmen are always a length behind. They are always willing to give, when it is too late, that which would have satisfied Irishmen at an earlier stage.

Whatever the merits of the issue now, it is not within the field of jurisdiction of the Paris conference, and those who press it there, whatever their motive, are not helping the successful outcome of that fateful congress. Pressure for the proposed resolution is due, first, to the sincere sentiment for it of men of Irish blood in this country; second, to the desire of reckless politicians to win political support by its advocacy, and, third, to the timidity of others who, though really opposed to it as unwise, are afraid of the personal political consequences of their opposition. Nor should we omit from the elements pressing for its adoption a class of persons anxious to make the conference at Paris a failure. It is to be hoped that the resolution will be tabled.


The League to Enforce Peace, of which this is a congress called for Oregon, Washington and Idaho, is a voluntary association of men and women of the United States organized early in 1915 to spread propaganda in favor of a plan

1 Address at Portland, Oregon, Feb. 16, 1919.

for world coöperation to maintain peace, by enforced settlement of differences likely to lead to war, on principles of justice and fairness. Its promoters had long been interested in promoting arbitration between nations. They thought that the end of this world-destructive war would find the peoples of the various countries in a frame of mind in which they would gladly accept any reasonable international cooperation to prevent war. Accordingly the League adopted a platform in which it recommended that the United States enter a League of Nations, in which the members of the League should stipulate that all differences arising between them of a justiciable character should be submitted to a court and those of a non-justiciable character to a council of conciliation; that every member of the League should agree to refrain from going to war until after judgment by the court or recommendation by the council of conciliation, and that any member who violated this obligation by attacking any other member should be overwhelmed by the economic pressure of all the members of the League and the joint military forces of the League, if need be. Similar associations were formed in England and France, with similar platforms, except that they provided for a forcible execution of the judgments and a dealing with the recommendations of the councils of conciliation by the League.

There has been until now no means of knowing exactly what is meant by a league of nations except by reference to the platforms of these voluntary associations. The governments of England and France created commissions for the special purpose of studying the proper framework of a league of nations, but the result of their studies was not given to the public. Our government had declined to create such a commission. On Friday last, however, the

committee to whom the great Paris congress had delegated the work of preparing a plan for a league of nations, of which President Wilson was the chairman, made a report which was concurred in by the representatives of all of the fourteen nations at the conference. Now therefore we have an authoritative statement of the constitution of a league of nations and an official basis for its discussion.

This constitution is indeed wider in the scope of its purpose than was the platform of our League to Enforce Peace. The platform of our League was a mere skeleton. It had prepared a tentative draft of a treaty to give it body and constructive details, but that tentative draft was never given to the public, because it was thought wiser by governmental authority to withhold it. The sole object of the League to Enforce Peace platform was to promote peace and avoid war by instrumentalities for administering justice between nations and by enforcing submission to such instrumentalities. It did not even contain a provision with respect to the limitation of armament. The purpose of the constitution reported at Paris, which we may properly call “the great covenant of Paris," is much wider. It is to organize a real and permanent league, whose first object is to provide for the just settlement of differences between nations and the prevention of war, and for this purpose to limit armaments. Its second object is to exercise executive functions in the administration of international trusts like the government of backward peoples whom this war has released from the sovereignty of the Germans and the other Central Powers. Its third object is to promote coöperation between the nations, with a view to the betterment of the condition of labor. in all the nations and for joint action in respect to other useful matters now dealt with by international bureaus, like the

postal union. This provides a constant series of functions for the League to perform and gives it substance.

The League is to be formed by a covenant which recites in its preamble its general purpose, and then states in twentysix different articles the agreements included in the covenant.

The present membership of the League is to consist of the fourteen nations who are to be signatories to the covenant and to sign the treaty of peace. The most numerous acting governmental branch of the League is a body of delegates to meet once a year or oftener if necessary, to consist of at least one representative and not more than three from each nation, with but one vote for each state. This body of delegates is to pass upon the question of membership of other nations applying to be admitted. Before a nation shall be admitted it must show itself able and willing to conform to the covenant and must receive the vote of two-thirds of the members of the League. This is drawn to keep Germany out until she is fit. The body of delegates also has the function of taking the place of the executive council as a tribunal of conciliation and compromise when either party to the controversy demands it. The most important agency of the League is the executive council, which consists of representatives of the five Great Powers and of four other members to be selected by the body of delegates. This council has numerous executive duties for the League and in most respects is the League, and it performs an important function in mediation and settlement of differences. There is a permanent secretariat of the League, which is to be established at the seat of the League, there to perform the duties indicated by its name. A permanent military commission is to advise the council on questions of the limitation of armament and upon military and naval matters. The League is

given a definite diplomatic status by securing to its representatives the immunity and privileges of ambassadors and extra-territoriality for the buildings and home in which it has its headquarters.

States members of the League, having a difference, may submit it by agreement to arbitration. The members of the League covenant that if they become parties to an arbitration they will abide the award of the arbitrators. If either party objects to arbitration, then the difference is to be submitted to the executive council for mediation or recommendation. If the council succeeds in securing an agreement it is to be published. If not, then the council may report a recommendation. If it is unanimous, excluding representatives of interested parties, then the council must take measures to carry the recommendation into effect. Should the executive council divide, the majority is required to publish its recommendations with reasons and the minority may do so, without further action.

Every member of the League agrees not to resort to any war until three months after the difference between it and its opponent has been submitted to arbitration and an award made, or to the executive council and a recommendation made, and not then if the party against whom war is threatened complies with the award or the recommendation. If any member of the League begins war prematurely and in violation of its agreement, such breach of its covenant is an act of war against all other members of the League and is to be met by universal boycott of all the members of the League against the recalcitrant member. Not only is this boycott to be conducted by members of the League, but they are required to prevent non-members of the League also from having any commercial or personal relations with the

« PředchozíPokračovat »