« PředchozíPokračovat »
The LEAGUE: WHY AND How .
From ARTICLE IN THE PUBLIC LEDGER, JANUARY 1, 1919 194
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
istrations, voiced its opposition to the transfer of American territory by sale to any European or Asiatic government. The original doctrine is strengthened by the League Covenant in that it is, for the first time, specifically recognized by the nations, and is extended to the world by the provisions of Article X, which preserves “ against external aggression the territorial integrity and political independence of all members of the League.” Certainly we are not authorized by that, nor, in fact, by any other article of the Covenant, to acquire territory in Europe by conquest or purchase, and similarly European countries are not authorized by the Covenant to do it in this hemisphere.
The attitude both of Secretary Seward and of President Roosevelt is cited to the effect that the Monroe Doctrine does not forbid non-American Powers from justly disciplining American countries provided the action does not extend to the point of interfering with the latter's independence and territorial integrity. Similarly the guaranties of territorial integrity and political independence under Article X of the Paris Covenant will not come into operation until the character of a war, otherwise legally begun, discloses itself as aggressive in this respect. Neither are wars of independence within the legal purview of the League though it will naturally take notice of them and invite friendly settlement.
The sale of American territory to non-American Powers is not specifically forbidden by the League Covenant; but the motive for such attempted action is lessened by the very existence of the League. When the Monroe Doctrine is to be enforced in the western hemisphere, it is natural to expect that a strong American State, close to the seat of trouble, will be selected to execute the mandate of the League. Similar reason would control the action of the
League in employing the forces of a nearby State to quell disturbances in other parts of the world; so that, unless the struggle be formidable or unless an international force be needed to allay fear of abuse of power, the forces of the United States will rarely be called upon to act abroad.
The “ entangling alliance” argument is met by a whole series of facts and considerations. The detached position of the United States, which obtained in Washington's day, is shown to have disappeared with the spread of dominion and interests since then. From a country limited to a comparatively narrow settlement along the Atlantic seaboard, the United States has extended its empire over the continent to the Pacific, has acquired Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, Porto Rico, and the Panama Canal strip, while a multiplied commerce and social intercourse tie up her fortunes intimately with the fortunes of other peoples. The life that pulses through her veins today is the life of the world and disease in the body politic elsewhere affects her own health. We have seen that we cannot keep out of a general world conflict and we risk less by assuming the obligations of membership in the family of nations and throwing our great influence in the scale for the preservation of peace than if we were to attempt isolation and play the rôle of onlooker until the conflagration drew us irresistibly in.
Our presence will make the potential strength of the League so overwhelming that the hand of the would-be aggressor will be stayed, making serious assault on the world's peace unlikely. In most instances the need for the actual use of force will be avoided; just as the declared purpose of the United States to maintain the Monroe Doctrine has resulted in its being respected without our