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inside story of Woodrow Wilson and the world peace. It was from Colonel House that Secretary of State Lansing learned of the President's decision to make him a plenipotentiary and that the President was thinking of going to Paris. After the American delegates had arrived in Paris, Colonel House again told Mr. Lansing that the PresiIdent was determined to sit at the peace table. Colonel House selected the commission of inquiry. Colonel House, and not Mr. Lansing, was President Wilson's adviser and coadjutor in drafting and forcing into the Treaty of Versailles the Covenant of the League of Nations. The President consulted with Colonel House, and not with Mr. Lansing, on the terms of the armistice and the various terms of the peace to be negotiated. To get his views on the league covenant before the President, Mr. Lansing had to use Colonel House as an intermediary. Colonel House alone knows why President Wilson put into the covenant the affirmative guaranty of Article X against the advice and earnest remonstrances of his four colleagues, including the colonel himself. As our former secretary of state puts it:

Colonel House, the President's collaborator in drafting the Covenant, if he was not, as many believe, the real author, was the only American with whom Mr. Wilson freely conferred and to whom he confided the progress that he was making in his interviews with the foreign statesmen, at many of which interviews the Colonel was present. It is true that the President held an occasional conference with all the American Commissioners, but these conferences were casual and perfunctory in nature and were very evidently not for

the purpose of obtaining the opinions and counsel of the Commissioners. The consequence was that the American Commissioners, other than Colonel House, were kept in almost complete ignorance of the preliminary negotiaformation as they were able from the tions and were left to gather such indelegates of other powers, who, naturally assuming that the Americans possessed the full confidence of the President, spoke with much freedom. . . . As the House organization made no effort to hide the fact that they had inside information, the representatives of the press as a consequence frequented the office of the Colonel.

When one recalls the sphinx-like reticence of Colonel House on occasions when just a wee bit of information of a harmless nature would have been helpful to a correspondent, it is comforting to have the assurance Mr. Lansing's book gives that the colonel was no respecter of persons. The rule of silence concerning the foreign relations of the United States was not broken even when it was a case of the secretary of state. In writing of his conferences with Colonel House, Mr. Lansing says: "Colonel House did not say that he agreed with my judgment in this matter, though he did not openly disagree with it. However, I drew the conclusion, though without actual knowledge, that he approved of the President's purpose." (p. 15); "I am sure that the Colonel fully agreed with me that it was impolitic for Mr. Wilson to become a delegate, but whether he actively opposed the plan I do not know, although I believe that he did." (p. 26); "Colonel House, whom some believed to be the real author of Mr. Wilson's conception of a world union, prepared, I am informed, the draft of

resented solely by President Wilson, and the Entente powers, President Wilson can tell us fully and Colonel House partly. None other knows.

In Colonel House's Public Ledger Forum collection, Mr. Thomas W. Lamont writes:

I am going to take this opportunity to say a word, in general, as to President Wilson's attitude at the Peace Conference. He is accused of having been unwilling to consult his colleagues. I never saw a man more ready and anxious to consult than he.

a scheme of organization. . . . To what extent it was amended or revised by Mr. Wilson, I do not know." (p. 37); "After the President's exceptionally strong address . . . on September 27, 1918, . . . I asked Colonel House what he knew about the former's scheme for a League of Nations. The Colonel discreetly avoided disclosing the details of the plan." (p. 43); "While I cannot speak from personal knowledge, I learned that the suggested changes in terms and language were put into form by members of the Colonel's office staff." (p. 122); "It was my hope that Colonel House ... would exert his influence with the President to persuade him." (p. 79); "Objections were made to Colonel House in the hope that through him they might reach the President and open his eyes to the true state of affairs. Whether they ever did reach him I do not know." (p. 160); "It would be of little value to speculate on what took place at these interviews, since the President seldom told the American Commission of the meetings, or disclosed to them, unless possibly to Colonel House, the subjects which were discussed." (p. 214); "I was unable to find that he had talked over a plan of a treaty even with Colonel House." (p. 205).

These quotations are picked at random. They substantiate the assertions of the American press correspondents to the effect that Colonel House was the only delegate among the Americans with whom the President consulted, and they indicate the most serious limitation of Mr. Lansing's book-the inability of the author, through lack of knowledge, to write a real "inside story." Of the negotiations between the United States, rep

Mr. Lamont's experience with Mr. Wilson is certainly different from that of Mr. Lansing. It is different from the experience of a hundred men who have known our former President from his youth up, and who came into more intimate and continuous contact with him than did Mr. Lamont. I do not quote this statement from Colonel House's collection of expert and adviser testimony in the spirit of a reviewer who is looking for slips. Unfortunately, it is characteristic of the way the apologists of the exPresident allow themselves to be betrayed into grotesque misstatements. One respects the loyalty that prompts their panegyrics, but the consequences of the blunders at Paris are too disastrous in human suffering to permit the covering up of mistakes and the glossing over of weaknesses. The world wants to know the reasons for the failure at Paris. Euphemisms and distortions of the truth will not be tolerated.

§ 3

Since Mr. Lansing begins and ends his volume of fewer than three hundred pages with the statement that he has

broken the silence of a year in order to place before the public the story of his differences of opinion with President Wilson, some critics will undoubtedly consider the narrative as subject to suspicion from the point of view of history. A man who writes with the avowed purpose of making a brief for himself in defense of his conduct as a public official will hardly be accepted prima facie as a recorder of facts. Not that critics will accuse Mr. Lansing of suggestio falsi or suppressio veri, but there will be a natural tendency to look for an instinctive and unconscious presentation of material in such a way as to make out a case for a writer who is at the same time a pleader before the bar of public opinion. The last-ditch Wilson admirers and defenders of the covenant and the Treaty of Versailles will attempt to discount "The Peace Negotiations," to dismiss and discredit the book even, by calling it special pleading and by asserting that the cabinet officer who felt that his summary dismissal was unjustified and humiliating cannot be expected to view the work and personality of the ex-President without bias.

We must remember, however, that Mr. Lansing is not making startling revelations. He is simply putting his name to what close observers of the peace conference noticed at the time. A great deal of it has already been published. With Mr. Lansing going on record as authority for the way in which the American Commission to Negotiate Peace was run, the articles of press correspondents in 1919 can no longer be regarded as "back stairs and kitchen gossip." From beginning to end "The Peace Negotiations" corroborates the story of the participa

tion of the United States in the peace conference as it was telegraphed to New York day by day by keen and conscientious observers. What they were supposed not to know "The Peace Negotiations" proves they did know; what they were supposed to have invented or to have reported from rumors "The Peace Negotiations" proves to have been a remarkably faithful picture of what was actually going on.

Mr. Lansing's book rings true, in the first place, because it tells a story which is in every important particular what press correspondents saw themselves or were told at the time by credible witnesses. From my own experiences I am able to check up incident after incident. If Mr. Henry White and General Tasker H. Bliss write their reminiscenses, their facts will tally exactly and their opinions pretty generally with those of Mr. Lansing. In books by British and French diplomats we shall receive during the next decade corroborative testimony concerning the League of Nations, the mandates, and the relations of ex-President Wilson with his colleagues. During the peace conference several Frenchmen and Britishers told me substantially what Mr. Lansing relates, and expressed opinions of the peace treaty, the soundness of the covenant, and the working of Mr. Wilson's mind as similar to Mr. Lansing's judgments as peas in a pod.

In the second place, "The Peace Negotiations" is based on a day-byday diary. To avoid slips of memory and the inevitable modification of judgments and interpretations of facts which perspective gives, Mr. Lansing uses his diary as source material. He goes back to it to find out how he felt

about things at the time they happened. He quotes frequently from his own diary and from memoranda and letters sent to Mr. Wilson. With this marvelous aid to control and give accuracy to his story, Mr. Lansing can be acquitted of the imputation of viewing his relations with Mr. Wilson from the point of view of a dismissed and humiliated cabinet officer. When the friction occurred, Mr. Lansing was secretary of state, honored by all except his chief, and supposedly enjoying some authority and influence. He had not been publicly repudiated by Mr. Wilson. He wrote his diary, and made his communications and observations to the chief executive, as secretary of state.



Mr. Lansing gives seven "principal subjects concerning which President Wilson and I were in marked disagreement." Mr. Lansing opposed the President's idea of going to Paris, and, after he got there, his decision to be a delegate; the "fundamental principles of the Constitution and functions of a League of Nations as proposed and advocated" by Mr. Wilson; the form of the covenant and its inclusion in the treaty restoring the state of peace; the treaty of defensive alliance with France; the failure to provide a definite program for the American commissioners; "the employment of private interviews and confidential agreements in reaching settlements, a practice which gave color to the charge of 'secret diplomacy'"; and the Shan-tung settlement. Mr. Lansing says that although the opposite views as to Shan-tung were more generally known and commented upon, the most important and

serious disagreements were in regard to the League of Nations.

In reading Mr. Lansing's story, one finds that the secretary of state tried hard to dissuade the President from going to Paris; that, once arrived in Paris, he realized how unwise it would be for the President to act as a delegate; and that he warned him from the beginning of the impracticability, to say nothing of the folly, of many cherished features of the league covenant, notably the guaranty in Article X and the mandate scheme. Mr. Lansing advocated a speedy peace treaty with Germany, and consideration of the League of Nations afterward. He feared that the American Senate would not ratify the treaty with covenant in it, and pointed this out to the President several times.

As secretary of state, supposedly in charge of carrying out the administration's foreign policies, he begged President Wilson to decide upon a definite program for the commissioners to follow, and thought that it was impossible to accomplish anything useful at Paris unless the President consulted with his colleagues, gave them instructions, and kept them informed of the progress of his pourparlers. This seemed to Mr. Lansing reasonable not because of his own and his colleagues' amour propre, but because he knew that the President needed to be saved from making blunders in dealing with men who had the advantage of the constant advice and information of their subordinates.

Despite his sympathy with France, Mr. Lansing could not bring himself to agree to the wisdom of the Anglo-American additional guaranty to France. If the covenant was worth anything, this guaranty was super

fluous. But the principal reason was its departure from the traditional American policy of avoiding entangling alliances. Mr. Lansing believed that it would be, as he told Mr. Wilson, "the cause of serious opposition in the United States." He thought also that such a treaty would have a disastrous effect on any plan for general disarmament.

Mr. Lansing agrees with his predecessors, Mr. Root and Mr. Knox, concerning the weaknesses and dangers of the covenant, and its incompatability with American interests and ideals. Mr. Root and Mr. Knox, of course,

were critics post factum. Mr. Lansing,

however, could have saved Mr. Wilson the humiliating defeat that awaited him in the United States.

But Mr. Lansing was not listened to. It is doubtful if the President considered at all his secretary of state's recommendations. Before the peace conference assembled, on January 10, 1919, Mr. Wilson told Mr. Lansing "with great candor and emphasis that he did not intend to have lawyers drafting the Treaty of Peace." As Mr. Lansing was the only lawyer on the delegation, he had no choice but to take this remark to himself. Many a member of the Princeton University faculty will smile reminiscently when he reads this:

Disliking opposition to a plan or policy which he had originated or made his own by adoption, Mr. Wilson preferred to consult those who without debate accepted his judgment and were in sympathy with his ideas. . . . It was a thankless task to question a proposed course of action on the ground of illegality, because he appeared to be irritated by such an obstacle to his will and to transfer his irritation against

the law to the one who raised it as an objection.

Or this:

The self-satisfaction of inventing something new or of evolving a new theory is inherent with not a few men. They are determined to try out their ideas and are impatient of opposition which seeks to prevent the experiment. In fact opposition seems sometimes to enhance the virtue of a novelty in the minds of those who propose or advocate its adoption. Many reformers suffer from this form of vanity.

Mr. White, General Bliss, and Mr. Lansing were unanimous in their

opinion that China's right to Shantung should be sustained even if Japan withdrew from the peace conference. On April 29 General Bliss, in the name of his colleagues as well as of himself, sent the President a long letter, which Mr. Lansing quotes in full. It is a remarkable appeal to Mr. Wilson not to abandon the great moral principles for which the United States fought and of which he had been the exponent. The three American commissioners showed the President how disastrous such a surrender to Japan would be to American honor and interests in the Far East, and the inconsistency of opposing Italy for principle's sake while yielding to Japan in sacrifice of principle. General Bliss wrote:

If it be right for Japan to annex the territory of an Ally, then it cannot be wrong for Italy to retain Fiume taken from the enemy. It can't be right to do wrong even to make peace. Peace is desirable, but there are things greater than peace, justice and freedom.

Ignoring this stirring plea of his colleagues, which was a last attempt

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