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These addresses, articles and editorials were written when the issue was purely on the merits of the League to Enforce Peace plan for a League of Nations, and of the Covenant of the League of Nations as signed by President Wilson in Paris and by him submitted to the Senate. I have nothing to recall in what is said in them. But the present issue over the League is very different from that when these papers were written, and is made so by the very unfortunate attitude of President Wilson in refusing to allow the United States to join the League of Nations because the Senate would not consent to Article X as he had drafted it and put it into the Covenant.
It is conceded that the other members of the League would have accepted us as a member with the modification of Article X insisted on by a sufficient number of senators to prevent ratification. The Democratic party and its platform adopt completely Mr. Wilson's position and, if Governor Cox is elected, the League will be defeated and a deadlock ensue just as before.
Two-thirds of the Republican senators have already voted for the League with reservations and enough Democrats have expressed themselves in the Senate and elsewhere on this matter to ensure a ratification of the League with the Republican reservations if Mr. Harding is elected and submits the German Treaty to the Senate. The doubt on this point is whether Mr. Harding will do so, arising from his
failure to say, in his letter of acceptance, that he will do so. My own belief is that, as Mr. Harding has already twice voted for the League with reservations, and will find that a Democratic minority will prevent his putting through a separate treaty with Germany, he will conclude that the only satisfactory solution is a ratification of the League Covenant with reservations. For these reasons
though had I been a senator I would have voted for the League Covenant just as submitted and also for it with the reservations - I shall vote for Mr. Harding.
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT. Pointe au Pic, Province of Quebec, Canada,
July 23, 1920.
STATEMENT MADE AT RICHMOND, VA., MARCH 21, 1917 :
Here in the United States the main attack on both the preliminary project and the perfected Covenant of the League of Nations was on the ground that the League would operate as an interference with our sovereignty and with the Monroe Doctrine, that it involved abandonment of our traditional policy against entangling alliances, and that the country lacked the power, under its Constitution, to enter into such a treaty. These objections are fully met by Mr. Taft in the speeches and articles embraced in this volume. Sovereignty is shown to be just so much liberty of action on the part of States as is consistent with their obligation, under international law and morality, to permit of the exercise of equal sovereignty or liberty of action by their sister States. The League Covenant secures all States in their exercise of this sovereignty free from oppression by other States, and he who wants more is really seeking the license selfishly to disregard these obligations — to reject, for example, the just judgments of a properly constituted tribunal — which is the German conception of sovereignty.
The Monroe Doctrine is shown to be strengthened, not impaired, by the Covenant. In its original form
the doctrine opposed future colonization on the American continents by European governments and all interference by Europe with the free governments of America. Later on, the United States, under the Polk and under the Taft admin