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paper photographer as a man and a brother. "Our Davy" is never too tired or too teased to please the crowd. He proved himself by far the best politician and tactician at the conference.
Wilson's mind was fenced about by fixed notions, postulates, principles. Clemenceau's clarity of vision was at times obscured by cynical selfishness. His ideas, always practical and pointed to protect France, came like stout logs carried down-stream under the fierce force of a torrential rain-storm. He would cough and spit blood and relapse into sudden silence. Lloyd George, with no principles to bother him, thinking and talking one day one way, and the next waxing even more eloquent in an opposite direction, leaped the hurdles of Wilson's conscientious scruples and dodged the logs of "the Tiger's" logic not at all through force of sheer ability, he was the least able of the three, but simply because of his native and acquired nimbleness, his ability, and his willingness to take orders from the British brains that employed him as a speaking-trumpet.
Like Mr. Wilson, Lloyd George worked under a severe strain, and one eye was always trained upon the French villa of Lord Northcliffe. The famous Irish
newspaper king is England's political Warwick of to-day, and well did David know that the ax employed to decapitate the Asquith ministry was bright and sharp, and ready to tumble a new head into the yawning basket of the head-hunter of Carmelite House and Printing House Square.
An American of high standing ventured the opinion that "Lloyd George is not a great man."
"Is that so?" retorted one who knows the British leader well and loves him not at all. "Well, you just try to take his job away from him. Then you will see how great he is."
BATHED in the bright Paris sunshine, with the cheers of the Paris poor ringing in their ears, the President and Mrs. Wilson entered "the House of the Flirt" for the first time on March 14, 1919, just in time for a late lunch. President Poincaré and all the foreign notables had united in giving them a brilliant
welcome in the carpeted court of honor at the Gare Invalides. Mr. Wilson alone knows whether by that time he had learned to discriminate between real and artificial enthusiasm. As he helped Mrs. Wilson out of their Pullman and shook hands with Poincaré, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and Foch, I caught a twinkle in the Presidential eye and a satisfied set of the Presidential jaws. The combination led me to believe he was taking the correct measure of his surroundings. He barely acknowledged the salute of Foch's pet troops, but he was quick to note and to lift his hat to a poor old basket-woman, who fought her way through the soldiers and, with arms and basket waving in the air and big tear-drops streaming from her red eyelids, called upon God to bless "the great American." The welcome of the Paris poor was honest, hearty, intensely real; the greeting of the great folk was mostly hollow pretense, crafty stage play, a deliberate, carefully calculated appeal to the Presidential ego.
It was within his first hour's residence at "the House of the Flirt" that Woodrow Wilson decided to play the part of Atlas and put his shoulders under all the world and its troubles. With hands clasped and clenched behind his back, jaws set and chin thrust forward, he paced up and down in front of Mamie's ornamental fireplace, formulating, revising, and discarding plans, and telling himself what he thought of the men he had left in charge of his peacemaking work in Paris.
Just a month before, to the day and almost to the hour, he had started home from Paris with the skeleton for his pet child, little League of Nations.
critics in the American Senate, and American statesmen of note out of office, but much in the public eye, had rattled the bones of this fragile skeleton and broken some of them. He came back to Paris, forced unwillingly to attach a Monroe Doctrine bone, a withdrawal bone, and to add and subtract other bones of contention. He had committed himself to the British to leave the bulldog his bone of naval supremacy, to abjure "freedom of the seas," and to deny the Japanese their bone of racial equality, because Mr. Hughes of Aus
tralia threatened secession rather than bite at or swallow that bone. Wilson landed once more in France confident in his ability to surmount these difficulties, and his surprise and anger may be imagined when he found that his own "rubber stamps" had removed these obstacles by joining with Mr. Balfour in pitching his pet skeleton out of the treaty and out of the conference.
In "the House of the Flirt" they told him what Mr. Balfour had done to him a brief few days before his return to the Seine. In the Council of Ten Mr. Balfour had moved a resolution divorcing the league from the treaty. Worse still, Mr. Lansing had delivered a speech in Paris publicly sustaining the plea for "immediate peace"; that is, peace without the league.
In "the House of the Flirt" it was mentioned to the President how the British were getting tired of Colonel House's flirtations with the Sinn Fein faction, just then planning a St. Patrick's day demonstration right under the nose of the conference. That was very bad. For cheer, the President turned to one of Lord Northcliffe's many newspapers, and his keen eye caught a flaming editorial, "Wilson or Lenine?" That was the choice. The President took his courage in his hands, called for his car, and rode down the Champs-Elysées to the Crillon.
We watched him ascend to Colonel House's parlor. Nobody has ever told what took place in that room. We saw Clemenceau and his secretary, Lieutenant Montoux, hurry in and upward a few minutes later; then Lloyd George and Sir Maurice Hankey; and afterward Mr. Orlando, with his thick, upstanding, white thatch of hair. We saw Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda come and go.
We knew that something big was happening, but nobody outside that little room guessed just what was taking place.
What happened was this: Mr. Wilson, accepting the "Daily Mail's" invitation, assumed the rôle of Atlas. He took upon his shoulders the burdens of the world, and bowled Balfour and Lansing out of the conference. That was the first meeting of the Council of Four, with Woodrow Wilson as the "Big One," "boss," of
the Conference of Paris in fancy, but not in fact.
Mr. Wilson trumped Balfour's trick by a public announcement, pointing out the fact that on January 25, at the second plenary session, the conference had already made the League of Nations an integral part of the peace treaty. That act could not be set aside by the Council of Ten, or by any other organ of the conference, without first securing the assent of a plenary session. Mr. Wilson well knew that his friends, the small nations, would back him as a solid unit on an issue of that sort. And the thimbleriggers of the Quai d'Orsay and Whitehall laughed up their sleeves, because at last they had Mr. Wilson just where they wanted him.
Mr. Wilson committed hara-kiri when he created the Council of Four and transferred the actual peacemaking from the Hall of the Clock to "the House of the Flirt." He did just what M. Clemenceau and Mr. Balfour wanted him to do Clemenceau, the Bismarck of the conference, and Arthur James Balfour, its Beaconsfield. It was Mr. Lloyd George, prompted by Balfour and Curzon, who harped upon the advantage of "getting along" with a few men who could speak and understand English that, of course, relieved the President of an embarrassment. It was M. Clemenceau who suggested that Lieutenant Montoux, a limber linguist, could be called in when interpretation became necessary. "Hankey is a remarkable shorthand reporter. I find him invaluable," said the Welsh premier.
Sir Maurice became the official recorder of the "Big Four," and I can well believe that Mr. Lloyd George found that dapper young man absolutely "invaluable." David had his witness. Clemenceau had his witness. Wilson had his brief victory over Balfour, his snub to Lansing, and no witness.
I noted at the time that the Marquis Saionji, although the chief representative in Paris of one of the great Allies, was not included in the new Supreme Council. There were explanations that did not explain. The Japanese accepted these in good part. After the sessions got into full swing at "the House of the Flirt," stories, since confirmed, came to
me, and I began to take my hat off to that "most superior person," George Nathaniel, Earl Curzon.
Lord Curzon gave the Paris proceedings a wide berth. He was even less in evidence than Winston Churchill or Alfred, Lord Milner, the cold-blooded protégé of Joseph Chamberlain, of whom Labouchère was wont to say, "he has no feelings and no failings." Milner is a sort of iceberg carved into the semblance of a human being. Balfour is a bland boa-constrictor, with a deadly, dangerous hug. Curzon is a roaring furnace, sputtering forth sparks against his pet aversions the Japanese and the plain people.
One afternoon at "the House of the Flirt" Mr. Wilson, I am told, broached Pacific problems to Lloyd George. George was very receptive. Quite as if on the spur of the moment, he suggested the concentration of American and British war-ships in the Pacific.
"We can avoid trouble there by forethought," said Lloyd George.
I am not in a position to state what connection there is or is not between this conversation at "the House of the Flirt" and the decree of Daniels sending the American fleet through the canal into Pacific waters. Still, I was told in Paris that Lord Curzon and Admiral Jellicoe, with the indorsement of Winston Churchill, put this idea into the head of Lloyd George. Whether or not the decision was made a matter of record by Sir Maurice Hankey, it is, of course, impossible to say. Lloyd George had his witness. witness.
Mr. Wilson was his own
It was in "the House of the Flirt" that the Monroe Doctrine was made to walk the plank by Woodrow Wilson. The circumstances belong to history.
The President has been compared to many historical personages: to Alexander I of Russia, a smug lunatic, author of the Holy Alliance and the chief contributing cause of the promulgation of Monroe's Doctrine; and to James I, a learned, but bad-tempered, bigot. Curiously enough the gentlemen (and ladies) who spend so much time in digging up from the biographies caricature counterparts of Mr. Wilson have so far failed to note the striking resemblances between the
salient defects of Monroe and those of Wilson. Adams, and not Monroe, wrote the Monroe Doctrine. Monroe was eager enough to take the credit for our most daring adventure in foreign affairs, after the successful event. The story of American advocacy of a League of Nations suggests a deadly parallel. A century ago, the vengeful spirit of Allied absolutism menaced popular governments, just as Bolshevism menaced all orderly government during the proceedings of the Council of Four. roe's hesitancy, his timorous temperament, the unwillingness with which he was drawn along by the logic of events and the bolder and more experienced hand of his secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, lend piquancy to the fact that the attempted assassination of his doctrine was reserved for the hand of one whom the late Mr. Roosevelt assailed for identically similar weaknesses of character.
Mr. Wilson propounded the PanAmerican Doctrine. The event was carefully noted in the London foreign office, which does not forget earlier American unwillingness to participate in the Congress of Panama, or to associate Latin-American or European support with the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was always supposed to be strictly United States policy until Mr. Wilson proposed his Pan-American Doctrine, and later sat in secret conclave with European old masters at "the House of the Flirt.” The United States Senate, backed by overwhelming American opinion, forced Mr. Wilson to put a specific Monroe Doctrine bone in his League of Nations skeleton. The proposition, from any angle, was absurd. To mention the doctrine at all in the body of the covenant was to do the very thing that a long succession of American administrations had flatly refused to do. Sage senators, no wiser than Mr. Wilson, missed the point of the jest. The careful British. who are supposed to lack a sense of humor, caught the funny bone by the knuckle and turned it into the very best joke of the conference.
Mr. Wilson breathed his Monroe Doctrine difficulty into the wide-open ear of Lord Robert Cecil. Lord Robert, long
and loose-jointed, posed his patrician personality in an attitude of deep sympathy. It was necessary to head off opposition within the League of Nations commission, where Léon Bourgeois, Baron Makino, and other delegates were pushing amendments contrary to the Wilson-Cecil concordat.
"Leave that to me, Mr. President," said Lord Robert. The President, very gladly, did that little thing. Lord Robert engineered through the commission a very select drafting committee to mull over contentious motions, including Mr. Wilson's own Monroe Doctrine clause. Later, this committee presented to the full commission of nineteen a small scrap of paper containing the following words:
Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine for securing the maintenance of peace.
M. Bourgeois asked for the paper. It was handed to him. The whiskered savant of France poised his pince-nez on the tip of his broad nose. He rumpled his hair. He scratched his left cheek. He pulled at his beard. He read aloud the thirty-two words twice over.
"But what does it mean?" he asked smiling Mr. Wilson.
Lord Robert yawned, stretched his six-feet-six, and observed, with the nearest thing to a grin:
"Oddly enough, it means just what it says."
A few days later a communiqué, is
sued privately by the British delegation to the British press, volunteered the following interpretation:
Article XXI makes it clear that the Covenant is not intended to abrogate or weaken any other agreements, so long as they are consistent with its own terms, into which the Members of the League may have entered, or may enter hereafter, for the further assurance of peace. Such agreements include special treaties for compulsory arbitration, and military conventions that are purely defensive. In so far as the Monroe Doctrine tends to the same end, whatever validity it possesses cannot be affected by the Covenant.
The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed in 18131 in order to prevent the extension of European absolutist principles to South America, but while it forbids interference by individual European States in American affairs, it can never be invoked to limit the action of the League of Nations, which is in its nature world-wide, and therefore no more European than American. The principles of the League, as expressed in Article X, are in fact the extension to the whole world of the principles of President Monroe; while. should any dispute as to the meaning of the latter ever arise between American and European Powers, the League is there to settle it.
Who wrote the Monroe Doctrine clause inserted in the League covenant?
Lord Curzon. He drew the clause, Lord Robert Cecil trimmed it, Mr. Balfour inserted an important word.
Mr. Wilson "OK'd" it in "the House of the Flirt."
The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed in the President's Message to Congress, December 2, 1823.
By AMY LOWELL
That sputter of rain, flipping the hedge-rows
And making the highways hiss,
How I love it!
And the touch of you upon my arm
As you press against me that my umbrella
May cover you.
Tinkle of drops on stretched silk.
Wet murmur through green branches
by Charles Hanson Towne Decoration by John R Neill
When we went to the circus
We had seats by the door,
Where the clowns made their entrance,
A shabby old carriage,
Painted up with gold figures,
In it sat a "princess,"
I could see the clowns waiting
Great elephants stood near them,
Together they were waiting
With a grave, sad expression
The deep eyes of a poet,
Suddenly the band played,
But somehow, through the rush and roar
And I saw a tiny smile come
Beneath that pale disguise.