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The Problem of Ratifying the Treaty


However imbued with idealism and internationalism we Americans may be, it would be folly for us to enter blindly and unreservedly under unqualified conditions a League of Nations which is simply a coalition of victorious powers, presided over by diplomats of the old school.


O ALL the nations that participated in the conference of Paris except Great Britain and China it is a problem, what attitude to adopt toward the Treaty of Versailles.

China solved the problem by not accepting the treaty at all. Her delegates refused to sign the document that put thirty millions of their fellow-citizens of the sacred and historic province of Shan-tung into the hands. of Japan. At the command of the President of the United States, the American Minister to China formally invited the Chinese to participate in the World War for the triumph of certain definite principles which had been clearly set forth in detail by the President, who said he spoke on behalf of the American people. On this basis, believing in President Wilson, the Chinese came into the war. When they discovered in the Treaty of Versailles that their confidence had been betrayed, they simply withdrew from the conference, whose leaders seemed to them to have lost all sense of honor and self-respect. In his spectacular trip west to defend the treaty President Wilson tried to explain away the Shan-tung deal, but he could not fool others where he had fooled himself.

The British Parliament ratified the treaty without debate. Naturally. Like the Treaty of Vienna a hundred years ago and the Treaty of Berlin forty years ago, the Treaty of Versailles is a triumph of British foreign policy. The Continental powers are weak and disrupted, incapable of threatening in the near future "the


peace of the world" as Downing Street understands that term, and of contesting with the Mistress of the Seas extra-European markets and intercontinental carrying trade. German naval power is destroyed, German colonial and commercial ambitions have received a serious setback. Russia is no longer a menace to British supremacy in Persia and the rest of Asia. Treaty of Versailles establishes new safeguards to India by recognizing the British protectorate over Egypt, by ignoring the plea of Persia to be a signatory of, or at least a beneficiary by, the treaty, by making no provision for the future of Asiatic and Transcaucasian Russia, and by giving international sanction to Great Britain's secret treaties, no matter what as yet unknown provisions those treaties may contain. It makes Great Britain the dominant power in Africa. It accepts the right of the British Cabinet to speak for and sign for the 300,000,000 inhabitants of India. Above all, it stipulates that the United States shall underwrite the aggrandized British Empire, whose self-governing population numbers 60,000,000, by entering a League of Nations in which the British will have six votes, and in which the United States, with a self-governing population of 100,000,000, will have one vote. Only on a single point, the indemnity question, were British parliamentarians disappointed. But being sensible men, they let well enough alone, promptly ratified the treaty, and looked to the rest of the world to follow suit.

But the other nations have their misgivings. "Contemptible quitters,"

as President Wilson is pleased to call his American opponents, are not confined to the United States Senate. It is important for us to remember this.

The Treaty of Versailles was subject to long and penetrating criticism in the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies. Clear-headed and farsighted men in French political life have not ceased to protest against the treaty on the same grounds as American senators: (1) fear that national interests have been sacrificed to questionable international advantages; (2) uncertainty as to the adequacy of the means of enforcing the provisions of the treaty; (3) dissatisfaction with the League of Nation's covenant as it stands in the treaty; (4) doubt as to the wisdom of attempting to incorporate in one document the solution of two different questions, making peace with Germany and setting up the machinery of a new-world order. During the conference of Paris I had the privilege of traveling far and wide in France and of coming into contact with all classes of Frenchmen. I found everywhere the same sentiments that have since been expressed in the parliamentary discussions over the treaty. That part of the "heart of the world" which is France accepted with joy the Wilsonian theories of the bases of a just and durable peace-before the conference of Paris; but when I left France at the end of August, 1919, Mr. Wilson was thoroughly discredited. The last straw was his statement to the Senate committee that the additional treaty he signed with Premiers Clemenceau and Lloyd George, guaranteeing to come to the aid of France in case of a fresh German aggression, was only a "moral understanding." An enthusiastic champion of the Wilsonian principles, with a brilliant record of nearly half a century of public life, said to me sadly, "After all, your President is merely a politician like the others."

In Belgium I found ratification of the treaty regarded as a painful necessity. There was no enthusiasm for it, and no hope that a new order would be born of it. The prime ministers of Greece and Rumania told me that the

work of the conference of Paris and the creation of the League of Nations could not be pronounced either good or bad by their countries until the other treaties with enemy countries were concluded. But both of them felt that new wars and not peace were likely to be the result of the secret pourparlers among the "Big Four" that gave birth to the Treaty of Versailles. The minister of foreign affairs of another "secondary state" expressed to me his belief that the incorporation of the League of Nations in the Treaty of Versailles killed its chances of success. "How can international machinery for righting justice and establishing a new international morality be provided for in a document that furnishes numerous instances of just the sort of thing the League of Nations is created to abolish?" he cried. I can see him now as he walked up and down the room, shaking both arms, with elbows bended, and saying, "Pooling of interests, renunciation of special interests, refusal to transfer territories from one sovereignty to another without consulting their inhabitants, recognition of the right of self-determination-bah! bah! BAH!" The poor man had just been shown a draft of the clauses relating to his country that were to be put into the treaty of St.Germain. "If this is the Big Four's idea of how an international council should function," he declared, "we shall not ratify the Treaty of Versailles or any of the other treaties, and we do not want to enter Wilson's League of Nations."

In Italy the spirit of revolt against the League of Nations and the determination to make the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles dependent upon how national interests are acknowledged in the other treaties is universal. It is idle to close our eyes to this fact. Italians claim that the Treaty of Versailles has recognized and guaranteed in every way all British demands and selfish interests, and in almost every particular French demands and selfish interests. It has given Japan what Japan wanted in defiance of Wilsonian principles. Why should Italy ratify a treaty so much to

the advantage of the other Entente nations before she is sure that they are going to do for her in the Treaty of St.-Germain and the other treaties what they did for themselves in the Treaty of Versailles? The comment of the Italian press is all in this strain. I have found no exceptions.

The news we received in Paris from Japan was conflicting. Unless the United States tries to wring a definite promise of restitution to China from Japan, with a definite date set, the Shan-tung settlement will be regarded as a victory. But it must not be thought that the Japanese people attach vital importance to the Shan-tung clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. They are willing to forego special privileges in Shan-tung if the European powers will surrender their footholds and concessions and special political and economic privileges in China. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If there is to be an open door in China, say the Japanese, let it be really open. When Great Britain and France, in the Treaty of St.-Germain, refused to agree to transfer Austria-Hungary's "rights" in China to Italy, it was not because of any scruples. Had they not insisted upon transferring Germany's "rights" to Japan in the Treaty of Versailles? No, it was not because of scruples. But they feared that Japan would raise the embarrassing proposition, "Let us all get out of China!" The fear is still acute, and is the principal reason that the foreign offices of our allies are losing sleep over the American opposition to the Shan-tung deal. Morally speaking, the Treaty of Versailles, with its emasculated League of Nations covenant, is a deception to the Japanese. Not only do they suffer in their pride by our refusal to recognize racial equality, but they view with alarm the continued mortgaging of the colonizable areas of the world-with exclusion for them-by the white race. They may ratify the Treaty of Versailles, but they have little hope that the League of Nations, as it is conceived in the treaty, will bring about a state of peace. They begin to feel that the war which will array Asia against

Europe and possibly against America is more than ever inevitable.

The other signatories of the Treaty of Versailles, the republics of Latin America, will make their ratification dependent upon ours, just as they made their entry into the war dependent upon ours. I found among LatinAmerican delegates at Paris two strong currents, often struggling for mastery in the same man. Ought the Treaty of Versailles, giving birth to the League of Nations, to be welcomed in Central and South America and the islands as the document by which the other states of the Western Hemisphere are emancipated from Yankee overlordship? Or ought the Latin American republics to fear the abandonment of the Monroe Doctrine and their entry into a world federation built upon European ideals in a European atmosphere? It may be advanced by the American reader that neither of these alternatives has any justification for existing because (a) Article 21 of the Treaty of Versailles maintains the Monroe Doctrine, and (b) President Wilson has repeatedly asserted that the United States will have the leadership in the new league. But we are dealing with facts, not fancies. No student of the League of Nations' scheme takes Article 21 seriously. The League of Nations idea is not viable if the two American continents are to be excluded from its application. That would mean our privilege and responsibility of intervening in Europe and Africa and Asia coupled with the denial of the privilege and responsibility of the Eastern Hemisphere intervening in the Western Hemisphere. At Paris Article 21 was regarded as an ambiguous sop thrown. to American public opinion to quiet the apprehensions born of our traditional instincts. As regards the belief, expressed several times by President Wilson in his tour of the West, that the United States will have the leadership in the league, the representatives of Latin America at the peace conference could not take home with them any such curious notion. The opposite was demonstrated before their eyes. But one did not need to be at Paris. The proof is in the comparison of President

Wilson's war speeches with the Treaty of Versailles. President Wilson has himself confessed that when he was confronted with the secret treaties between members of the Entente Alliance, he was compelled to waive his principles and American ideals. The most notorious of these treaties, those with Japan, were hastily signed during the two months between our rupture of diplomatic relations with Germany and our declaration of war. This disgraceful intriguing behind our backs to confront us with a fait accompli is more than an illustration of European diplomatic mentality. It is a warning that the entry of the United States into European international politics has not caused the leopards to change their spots. Have we reason to think that what we could not obtain in the triumph of American idealism when we had saved the Entente from failure to conquer Germany will be secured later in the council chamber of the League of Nations?

I have returned from Europe to find the United States in the midst of a bitter controversy over the ratification of the treaty. This does not surprise me. The same controversy is raging in Europe. But what does surprise me is the effort made by President Wilson and his supporters to represent Europe as eagerly looking to us to ratify the treaty promptly and without reservations, on the double ground that ratification by America will bring peace to Europe, and that "the heart of the world" is yearning for the Wilsonian League of Nations. This is either ignorance or misrepresentation. And then I read the opening paragraph of Mr. Wilson's speech at Kansas City on September 6. He said:

I came back from Paris, bringing one of the greatest documents of human history. One of the things that made it great was that it was penetrated throughout with the principles to which America has devoted her life. Let me hasten to say that one of the most delightful circumstances of the work on the other side of the water was that I discovered that what we called American principles had penetrated to the heart and to the understanding, not only of

the great peoples of Europe, but to the hearts and understandings of the great men who were representing the peoples of Europe.

This is a fair sample of the whole speech. The appeal is to the unthinking masses. A year ago from Mr. Wilson's lips fell the inspiring words of a prophet, speaking the message mankind longed for. longed for. Now it is begging the question, and denunciatory.

It is a sad and startling fact that the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and the merits of the proposed League of Nations have become a party question, with the partizans lined up pro and contra and the mugwumps sorely perplexed. In Washington administration and anti-administration forces are pitted against each other in the Senate, with a few bolters on each side, it is true, but the great majority voting on Shan-tung and the other amendments and reservations along party lines. The Republican opponents of unreserved ratification and advocates of rejection. charge that the obligations imposed upon us by the treaty are incompatible with the Constitution. President Wilson answers that the Republicans are Bolsheviks, narrow-minded, out of tune with the world of to-day, quitters, German sympathizers, betrayers of the trust put in them by our soldiers, provokers of new wars to draw our boys across seas, responsible for the continued massacres of Armenians, and should be hanged high as Haman. Forgetting his admirable exposition of former years of the functions of the United States Senate, President Wilson, angered by the growth of the opposition to "one of the greatest documents of human history, penetrated throughout with the principles to which America has devoted her life," called upon his critics in the Senate "to put up or shut up." One can cite the President's own exposition of soberer moments that the Senate is not a treatymaking, but is a treaty-ratifying, body. Dr. Wilson of scholastic days was an unreserved admirer of the constitutional check upon the executive which he finds now so irksome. The alternative flung defiantly at the Senate is

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