« PředchozíPokračovat »
velous stretch of imagination by the distinguished Senator who made it. In the face of Article X, which is an undertaking to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of every member of the League, how could a board of arbitration possibly reach such a result? Moreover, we are not compelled to arbitrate a dispute. If preferred, we can throw the matter into mediation and conciliation, and we do not covenant to obey the recommendation of compromise by the conciliating body.
We have agreed in treaties to arbitrate classes of questions long before the questions arise. Now, in the present treaty, the issue to be arbitrated would have to be forniulated by our treaty-making power — the President and the Senate of the United States. The award would have to be executed by that branch of the government which executes awards, generally the Congress of the United States. If it involved payment of money, Congress would have to appropriate it. If it involved limitation of armament, Congress would have to limit it. If it involved any duty within the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution, Congress would have to perform it. If Congress sees fit to comply with the report of the compromise by the conciliating body, Congress will have to make such compliance.
The Covenant takes away the sovereignty of the United States only as any contract curtails the freedom of action which an individual has voluntarily surrendered for the purpose of the contract and to obtain the benefit of it. The Covenant creates no super-sovereignty. It merely creates contract obligations. It binds nations to stand together to secure compliance with those obligations. That is all. This does not differ from a contract between two nations. If we enter into an important contract with another nation
to pay money or to do things of vital importance and we break it, then we expose ourselves to the just effort of that nation to attempt by force of arms to compel us to comply with our obligations. This covenant is only a limited and loose union of many nations to do the same thing. The assertion that we are giving up our sovereignty carries us logically and necessarily to the absurd result that we can not make a contract to do anything with another nation because it limits our freedom of action as a sovereign.
Sovereignty is freedom of action of nations. It is exactly analogous to the liberty of the individual regulated by law. The sovereignty that we should insist upon and the only sovereignty we have a right to insist upon is a sovereignty regulated by international law, international morality and international justice, a sovereignty enjoying the sacred rights which sovereignties of other nations may enjoy, a sovereignty consistent with the enjoyment of the same sovereignty by other nations. It is a sovereignty limited by the law of nations and limited by the obligation of contracts fully and freely entered into as in respect to matters which are usually the subject of contracts between nations.
Those persons who require more than this are really demanding the license — they term it necessary American sovereignty - to trample upon all tribunals and to assert their own unregulated desires. That is not in accord with American principles nor with the Constitution of the United States.
The President is now returning to Europe. As the representative of this nation he has joined in recommending, in this proposed covenant, a league of nations for consideration and adoption by the conference. He returned home to discharge other executive duties and this has given him an opportunity to follow the discussion of the question
in the Senate of the United States and elsewhere. Some speeches, notably that of Senator Lodge, have been useful in taking up the League Covenant, article by article, criticising its language and expressing doubts either as to its meaning or as to its wisdom.
The President will differ, as many others differ, with Senator Lodge in respect to many of the criticisms, but in the constructive part of his speech he will find useful suggestions which he will be able to present to his colleagues in the conference.
conference. These suggestions should prove especially valuable in the work of revising the form of the Covenant and in making changes, to which the conference may readily consent, where Senator Lodge and other critics have misunderstood the purpose and meaning of the words used.
The League Covenant should be in the Treaty of Peace. It is indispensable if the war is to accomplish the declared purpose of this nation and of the world and if it is to bring the promised benefit to mankind. We know the President believes this and will insist upon including the Covenant. Our profound sympathy in his purpose and our prayers for his success should go with him in his great mission.
ANSWER TO SENATOR KNOX'S INDICTMENT 1
My friend, Senator Knox, has presented a formidable indictment against the proposed Covenant of the League of Nations. A number of his colleagues seem to have accepted his views as to its meaning. He says that it is unconstitu
1 Address at dinner of Economic Club of New York, March 11th, 1919.
tional in that it turns over to the Executive Council of the League the power to declare and make war for us, to fix our armament and to involve us as a mandatory in all sorts of duties in the management of backward peoples. He says that it thus transfers the sovereignty of this nation to the governing body of the League, which he asserts the Executive Council to be.
When Senator Knox's attack upon the validity of the Covenant is analyzed, it will be seen to rest on an assumption that the Executive Council is given executive powers, which is unwarranted by the text of the instrument. The whole function of the Executive Council is to be the medium through which the League members are to exchange views, the advisory board to consider all matters arising in the field of the League's possible action and to advise the members as to what they ought, by joint action, to do.
The Council makes few if any orders binding on the members of the League. After a member of the League has agreed not to exceed a limit of armament, the Executive Council must consent to raising the limit. Where the Executive Council acts as a mediating and inquiring body to settle differences not arbitrated, its unanimous recommendation of a settlement must satisfy the nation seeking relief, if the defendant nation complies with the recommendation.
These are the only cases in which the United States as a member of the League would be bound by action of the Executive Council. All other obligations of the United States under the League are to be found in the covenants of the League, and not in any action of the Executive Council. When this is understood clearly, the whole structure of Senator Knox's indictment falls.
The Executive Council is a most necessary and useful body for coördinating the activities of the League, for initiating consideration by the members of the League of their proper joint and individual action, and for keeping all advised of the progress of events in the field of the League jurisdiction.
It is impossible, in the time I have, to follow through Senator Knox's argument in all the Articles of the League, but his treatment of Article XVI is a fair illustration of the reasons he advances for ascribing to the Executive Council super-sovereign power.
Article XVI is the penalizing section. Whenever a member of the League violates its covenant not to make war under Article XII, it is an act of war against the other members and they are to levy a boycott against the outlaw nation. There is in the Covenant no agreement to make war. An act of war does not produce a state of war unless the nation acted against chooses to declare and wage war on account of it. The Executive Council is given the duty of recommending what forces should be furnished by members of the League to protect the covenants of the League. The members are required to allow military forces of a member of the League, coöperating to protect the covenants, passage through their territory.
Of this article Senator Knox says:
“If any of the high contracting parties breaks its covenant under Article XII, then we must fly to arms to protect the covenants.” Again he says of it: “Whether or not we participate, and the amount of our participation in belligerent operations, is determined not by ourselves but by the Executive Council in which we have seemingly, at most, but one voice out of nine, no matter what we