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generation of America and say: 'They were true to the vision which they saw at their birth.” He reached Washington just before midnight and had a wonderful reception there at that hour. More than 10,000 persons had assembled on the plaza in front of the station. As he rode through the crowd in his automobile there was great cheering all around him. Never in recent years had any other President received such a welcome and especially at so late an hour. Not only were the crowds greater, they were more demonstrative in their greeting, and there was no mistaking the sincerity of their cheers. Altogether this reception in his own country recalled those which Europe had given to the President in December, or those which we, in May and June, 1917, gave to Balfour, Viviani and Joffre.
Soon after this, the President transmitted to the Senate a proposed special treaty with France by which the United States agreed for a limited period to assist in defending France against German aggression should it be found necessary. The President urged its ratification not alone on the ground of our historic obligations to France, but because of special conditions in Europe which would continue until the organization of the League of Nations had been completed. It was an arrangement he said, “not independent of the League of Nations, but under it.” Announcing that Great Britain had volunteered the same promise to France, he interpreted the agreement as follows:
"Two Governments, who wish to be members of the League of Nations, ask leave of the Council of the League to be permitted to go to the assistance of a friend whose situation has been found to be one of peculiar peril without awaiting the advice of the League to act.”
This arrangement with France was based on the main Treaty of Peace, and was designed as a supplement to it. Its chief purpose was to “assure immediately to France appropriate security and protection.” France, it was maintained, had been unable to free herself of her historic dread of Germany. Thousands of living Frenchmen had twice seen their land ravaged by invading German hosts, until fear of Germany had entered into the blood of two generations who had lived under that fear and who, even now in victory, were haunted by it until they felt deeply the necessity of freeing coming generations from a new, prolonged and acute apprehension. The proposed treaty was described as esentially “a work of superabundant precaution," which would relieve France of her historic and justified fears. Doubtless this supplementary treaty had been an added inducement to the French delegates to agree to the covenant of the League of Nations, which they believed might otherwise prove inadequate to give them the swift and certain protection they desired.
Knowing of the existence of such a treaty, Germany it was believed, would not dream of attacking France again. In fact, if the Kaiser and his Chancellor had been certain in July, 1914, that England would have gone to the help of France they would not have forced
President Wilson had not publicly committed himself to do anything more with this treaty than to "submit" it to the Senate. In his message submitting it to the Senate the President said:
“We are bound to France by ties of friendship which we have always regarded, and shall always regard, as peculiarly sacred. She assisted us to win our freedom as a nation. It is seriously to le doubted whether we could have won it without her gallant and timely aid. We have recently had the privilege of assisting in driving enemies, who were also enemies of the world, from her soil, but that does not pay our debt to her. Nothing can pay such a debt. She now desires that we should promise to lend our great force to keep her safe against the Power she has had most reason to fear.”
The instrument assured to France adequate protection against any aggression from Germany during “the years immediately ahead of us”—in other words, not permanently. It was provided in Article III that the treaty should continue in force "until, on the application of one of the parties to it, the Council (of the League of Nations), acting if need be by a majority, agrees that the League itself affords sufficient protection." Until the League could be fully established and in position to make good its guaranties, France asked that she be relieved of the burden and the anxiety of organizing and maintaining a state of defense against danger on her eastern frontier. Upon her had fallen the chief burden, the greatest waste and losses of the war. Our interest in the guaranty was not altogether one of sentiment, for a fresh assault upon France would have again endangered the peace of the world and our own peace as well.
France had lost 1,500,000 men in the war, her wounded numbered 2,800,000, and some 1,700,000 Frenchmen were still “subnormal.” She had suffered from a high death-rate among the civilian population in invaded districts and her birth-rate, already discouragingly low when the war began, fell further while the war was going on. In spite of the restoration to her of the people of Alsace-Lorraine, the diminution in her population had been almost 3,000,000. At the same time the Germans had ruined her industrial establishments in the north and east; her plants and railways had been worn to the utmost; in ten departments agriculture had been practically destroyed. Before the war France grew 33 per cent. more wheat than she required at home. Now she was growing 4,000,000 tons less than she needed for domestic consumption; grew, in fact, only about
one-half of what she needed. In 1914 the French debt was 34,000,000,000 francs; April 30, 1919, it was 180,000,000,000 francs. Deducting advances to her allies, her debt was some 175,000,000,000. Such damage reparation payments as were to be made by Germany would come to her for some years only in driblets altho ultimately she would receive a great sum yet to be estimated in its totality. Since the armistice was signed, resilient, thrifty, indomitable France had nobly begun her work of recovery. Some 60,000 of the 550,000 houses wrecked by shellfire had been rebuilt; nearly two-thirds of the railway mileage destroyed had been repaired; nearly half of the canal mileage made useless by the Germans had been restored; and of 1,160 destroyed plants, 588 had been put into operation again. Of the devasted region of 4,500,000 acres, about 1,000,000 acres had been given back to the farmers and 500,000 were ready to plant, more than 6,000 miles of barbed wire having been removed from them. All this was not due merely to the fruitful activity of experts and the Government, but to the French peasant who had been getting his wood and stone, building up room by room house, going to work even more steadily and passionately than before on the fields he loved.15
From correspondence published late in July it became apparent that former President Taft and Charles E. Hughes were seeking in common a basis upon which Republican members of the Senate could vote for a prompt ratification of the treaty with Germany and the covenant. Mr. Taft recognized the political situation in the Senate by attributing much of the opposition to the treaty to the "very serious mistakes of policy committed by Mr. Wilson," and in particular the partizan character of his Administration, his appeal for support on partizan grounds, and his emphasis on partizan and personal elements in negotiating the treaty, but Mr. Taft reiterated that he was nevertheless "strongly in favor of ratifying the treaty as it is.” He believed that any defects in the structure of the League could be remedied by amendment after the plan had been put into operation, but suggested certain reservations in the hope that they might satisfy "the genuine objections of the Republican friends of the League." His proposed reservations allowed the United States to withdraw unconditionally at the end of ten years; made it impossible for self-governing colonies, or dominions, to be represented on the Council of the League at the same time with the mother country; left each nation free to decide declarations of war in accordance with its own constitutional procedure; stated that subjects like immigration and the tariff were domestic questions, not to be controlled by the League; and reserved the Monroe Doctrine to be
16 The Times (New York).
administered by the United States. Mr. Hughes believed certain reservations could be made which would not impair the covenant and therefore should not be objected to by the other contracting parties. Mr. Taft did not believe that reservations were necessary, but, as they were unobjectionable, he had proposed them as a means of compromise to secure ratification. Mr. Hughes, however, regarded reservations as necessary, in order that in establishing the League “we should not make a false start."
On August 12 Senator Lodge made a carefully prepared speech on the floor of the Senate in which he pointed out what he believed to be the dangers to this country of adopting the covenant. It was assumed that Senator Lodge would vote for the ratification of the treaty, including the League plan, provided reservations like those which he proposed were adopted, but it was apparent that he accepted the possibility of reservations only as a compromise, and that if the possible failure of the Peace Treaty were not involved, he would prefer to reject completely the League of Nations. Mr. Lodge's fundamental objection to the League was that it involved a hard and fast alliance with European nations and that in that respect it was an analogy to the Holy Alliance of the early part of the last century, which was "hostile and dangerous to human freedom.” Mr. Lodge concluded his eloquent address with an appeal for vigorous nationalism :
“You may call me selfish, if you will, conservative or reactionary, or use any other harsh adjective you see fit to apply, but an American I was born, an American I have remained all my life. I can never be anything else but an American, and I must think of the United States first, and when I think of the United States first in an arrangement like this I am thinking of what is best for the world, for if the United States fails the best hopes of mankind fail with it. I have never had but one allegiance-I can not divide it now. I have loved but one flag, and I can not share that devotion and give affection to the mongrel banner invented for a league. Internationalism, illustrated by the Bolshevik, and by the men to whom all countries are alike, provided they can make money out of them, is to me repulsive. National I must remain, and in that way, I, like all other Americans, can render the amplest service to the world."
The Senate's moral obligation speedily to ratify the Peace Treaty, including the League covenant, was emphasized in a notable statement on August 19 made by President Wilson at the White House to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. The statement was looked upon as being made as much to the geseral public as to the Senators present, the entire interview being staged with a view to the completest publicity. Everything that the President felt able to tell
the Senators became next day the property of all readers of newspapers. Mr. Wilson's formal statement emphasized the moral duty of speedy ratification, while his answers to questions put by Senators were full of references to our moral obligations under the League covenant. He gave specific examples of industries suffering because of the prolonged uncertainty about peace. He spoke of the coppermines of Montana, Arizona and Alaska being kept open “only at a great cost and loss”; of the zinc-mines of Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin “being operated at about one-half their capacity”; of the lead of Idaho, Illinois, and Missouri reaching "only a portion of its former market”; of the "immediate need for cotton-belting and also for lubricating oil which can not be met, all because the channels of trade are barred by war when there is no war.” The same condition existed regarding raw cotton. In fact, “there is hardly a single raw material, a single important foodstuff, a single class of manufactured goods which is not in the same class." Our full, normal, profitable production was waiting upon peace. Mr. Wilson continued :
“Our military plans, of course, wait upon it. We can not intelligently or wisely decide how large a naval or military force we shall maintain, or what our policy with regard to military training is to be until we have peace not only, but also till we know how peace is to be sustained, whether by the arms of single nations or by the concert of all the great peoples. And there is more than that difficulty involved. The vast surplus properties of the Army include, not food and clothing merely, whose sale will affect normal production, but great manufacturing establishments also which should be restored to their former uses, great stores of machine tools, and all sorts of merchandise which must lie idle until peace and military policy are definitely determined. By the same token, there can be no properly studied national budget until then."
Two days later, in response to a question which had been submitted to bim by a Senator, President Wilson said, with all the emphasis of which he was capable, that the consummation of peace depended solely upon the Senate's action. He believed that he himself had no power to declare the existence of peace by a proclamation, nor would he under any circumstances issue such a proclamation. His conversation with Senators in the East Room of the White House had lasted more than three hours.
What a Paris journal called “the first break in the Peace Treaty," occurred over what was known as the Shantung provision, which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee decided to amend by substituting "China" for "Japan" in the paragraph disposing of the German privileges in the Shantung province. This decision was the