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The psychological moment for American participation in what was virtually an armed alliance of victors passed when President Wilson ordered the administration senators to kill the treaty when offered for ratification with reservations. Humpty Dumpty certainly fell off the wall that day. The king's horses and the king's men will not attempt to raise him again. For there is nothing left to raise, despite the campaign oratory of Rip Van Winkles who have been asleep since August, 1919. In November, 1920, does any other European nation than France still want to see the Treaty of Versailles enforced? And France has shown unmistakably by word and deed that she has no interest whatever in the League of Nations portion of the treaty.
The treaties following the World War, then, will be revised, if not entirely rewritten, no matter how the American election turns out. We must not forget that the Treaty of Versailles is only one, and the least harmful to us, of these post-bellum settlements. Thanks to the horse sense and high conception of duty of the majority of our senators-a majority that included Democrats as well as Republicans, we are in the advantageous position of not having ratified any of these treaties. The next administration will have a free hand to suggest necessary amendments to the treaties before we sign them and ratify them, or, if need be, to participate in a new peace conference. It is to be hoped that our statesmen will get back to the old and secure foundations upon which the international relations of the United States have been built by our forefathInsularism and isolation? The policies to which we hark back were established and developed during a period when the United States did not pretend to be self-sufficient and was not self-sufficing. Our half-century of isolation followed the Civil War, and was in no sense the result of the Monroe Doctrine or Washington's farewell advice. It was due to the loss of our shipping and to transcontinental expansion, and we were already emerging from it in 1914. For better or for worse, we are once more in world politics, and we cannot avoid the responsibility of sharing with other
nations in the solution of world problems.
The Presidential campaign has afforded opportunity for defenders of Mr. Wilson to indulge in demagogic appeals to the sentimental side of the American electorate. Because a majority of the Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles as Mr. Wilson presented it, they were accused of not believing in the principle of international coöperation. Because the Republican party came out against the covenant of the League of Nations as incorporated in the treaty, the Republicans were said to be against the idea of a league.
Because of the confusion created by specious arguing, which frequently amounts to bulldozing, it is necessary to call attention to the fact that when one advocates revision or recasting of the treaties, including the covenant, he is not opposing the proposition of international coöperation. If I may dare to say it here, from my observation of the three months of campaigning I have watched, more earnest and intelligent advocates of American intervention in world affairs are to be found on the Republican than on the Democratic side. I have found numerous supporters of Senator Harding whose conception of America's relations with other nations is broad and inspiring. Only they believe that we should go slowly in abandoning traditions to which succeeding generations have clung, that if we are bound by them still, it is because their soundness and value have been demonstrated by experience, and that it is not necessary to assume, as the Bolshevists do, that progress means discarding old foundations and making a clean sweep of the past.
In a few days the shouting will have died down. We shall have chosen our Congress for two years and our President for four years. The disappointed ones will begin immediately to dream of 1922 and 1924. But those who are chosen for office will have cold facts to face. We are still, technically, at war with Germany and Austria and Hungary. We have no diplomatic relations with Bulgaria and Turkey. We do not know where we stand with Russia, and the nebulousness of our attitude toward the
new states created by the treaties or recognized by some powers since the war ended was revealed by the Colby note to Italy. Our little army of occupation on the Rhine is still governed by the armistice of November 11, 1918. Our President has convoked the assembly of a League of Nations of which we are not a member, and has drawn up the boundaries of an Armenia which we do not propose to defend. We have seen our associates in the late war disregard the provisions of the treaties concerning mandatories and how they are to be chosen. We have surrendered ships captured by us during the war at the command of a body on which we are not represented and whose authority we have not officially recognized.
French and British statesmen ignore the League of Nations and violate openly its provisions. They have no use for it themselves. But while they cheerfully give the poor old league one blow under the belt after another, they charge the United States with having deserted the league, and quote Americans who have so forgotten their pride and selfrespect that they say the United States has betrayed her comrades in arms. Has not the time come when America must wake up and assert her dignity by sending to Coventry any speaker or writer who dares to besmirch his country's honor? Ought we not to repudiate the politician who says that the horrible conditions in Europe and throughout the world are our fault because we did not ratify the treaty? Europe does not understand our self-abasement any more than she understands our self-abnegation.
Whether it be of unselfish idealism or of the interests of the United States, the new administration must talk like a Dutch uncle to Europe. The day of preaching, pleading, apologizing is over. They will like us better over there, and I am sure they will understand us better, if we come right out frankly and tell them what we want and why we want it. Even though we be severe and demand of Europe some staggering decisions, the atmosphere will be wonderfully cleared if our Government drops the decalogue manner in its official utterances. An eminent Frenchman put it to me very well the other day when he wrote:
"Your last note on Poland and Russia is welcome here, because it helps our opposition to the British Foreign Office policy. But its tone makes us furiousuntil we laugh. For, after all, it was our own Calvin who taught you the doctrine of election."
In diplomatic negotiations, when we want to get our way, we naturally presume that those to whom we are talking know that we are strong. If they seem to be unaware of that fact, there is no offense in trying to prove to them that we have the upper hand. Physical superiority, consisting in larger armies and navies, more inexhaustible finances and greater resources, they accept; but the assumption of moral superiority they reject and resent. The "I-amholier-than-thou” man is classed as an ass or a hypocrite, even though the latter classification may be unjust. This has been the trouble with the American approach to the problems of peace and world reconstruction. Officially as a nation and personally as individual men, we have given offense. When we came into the war our neophytic zeal was overdone. We must admit now that it was not good taste for those who had remained neutral for nearly three years suddenly to discover the great moral issue of the war and out-English the English and out-French the French in damning the Germans. And then, after the armistice, our enthusiasm to help Europe died out much more quickly than it had kindled. Our associates saw this, and they sized up pretty accurately the value of our coöperation in remaking Europe and the world. Our reputation for giving advice in a bland and irresponsible way was so well established in Europe by the time the peace conference was over that every note of President Wilson since has only made us more ridiculous. For all that, no European nation can afford to get mad at us. Our coöperation is desperately needed, so we are going to have another chance.
From long and intimate association with statesmen and publicists of other nations, who are very much like ourselves in their reactions, I doubt greatly if "the moral leadership of the world" of which President Wilson boasted was a dream that could have been realized.
It was too much to expect of human nature. But even if we grant that it was possible in January, 1919, President Wilson himself destroyed the hope of putting the other nations à la remorque (in the tow) of the United States when he began to compromise principles which he had proclaimed to be "unalterable." Consistency is the groundwork of ethics. The golden rule is the quintessence of consistency, and that is what makes the assumption of moral standards perilous. President Wilson deceived only himself when he maintained that the Treaty of Versailles conformed to his fourteen points. The American idealist fell from his pedestal when he accepted the different forms of plebiscite in Germany, the British protectorate over Egypt, Japanese control of Shan-tung, the strategic frontier for Italy in the Tyrol, the historic frontier for Czecho-Slovakia, Polish control of eastern Galicia, indeterminate indemnities, the economic and disarmament clauses without reciprocity, and other features of the treaties which repudiate all the principles for which he had stood and some of which he had over and over again, notably on September 27, 1918, declared essential to a just and durable peace.
When we revise the treaties and remake the covenant, the American negotiators who replace Mr. Wilson may still be able to appeal to ideals and cite moral arguments, but they will do well to abandon the Wilsonian impeccability and study the methods and philosophy of Lincoln and Franklin. The man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation had said not long before that if he could save the Union by not freeing the slaves or by freeing half the slaves, he would not hesitate to do so. Poor Richard's appeal for honesty has been assailed on ethical grounds, but it remains the most powerful one. Taking up Mr. Wilson's "American principles" where he abandoned them, it will be the duty of our negotiators to try to sell them (this expression seems to be the vogue in America just now) on the ground that their acceptance is the best policy for all concerned. And what is the selling talk? Simply this:
"Gentlemen who represent the nations associated with us in the recent war,
your experience of the two years since the armistice must have shown you that the United States is an essential partner in peace as well as in war. This being the case, you should study carefully the proposals for a durable peace, which our former President once presented to you, but which you partly rejected and partly denatured. We have the right to ask you to reconsider them not only because you say you need us to help guarantee the treaties with former enemies, but also because you owe us large sums of money, and it is within the province of the creditor to point out to the debtor what he thinks is the path to recovery of financial equilibrium. Remember, we do not presume to any superior morality or knowledge and we do not insist upon your acceptance of our principles and suggestions. But since you need our coöperation and have to have extension of credits, even to the payment of interest on sums already borrowed from us, perhaps you will agree among yourselves that it is the wisest course to renounce your territorial and political and economic ambitions in order to have our coöperation in the new-world order. In fact, if you think it over, you may come to the conclusion that not only the two birds in the bush, but also the bird in the hand, may get away from you, if you refuse longer to apply in making peace the principles so often proclaimed by your own statesmen before Mr. Wilson made his war speeches. As a final argument, let us urge that the policy of mutual renunciation is the soundest and the most advantageous policy. You know that you are in imminent danger of falling out among yourselves over the spoils or of having the people of the countries you represent repudiate and dismiss you from office because they are becoming weary of military service, taxes, and imperialistic adventures."
The appeal to the better nature of the world on the ground not of idealism, but of policy, may fail. Quos Juppiter vult perdere, dementat prius, which, being applied to European statesmen, may be translated, "You cannot teach old dogs new tricks." The scarcely veiled threat of Mr. Wilson's last great speech before the armistice concerning the fate of these European statesmen was not put to the
test by him who uttered it. It certainly is not up to us to appeal to Entente nations against their negotiators. That is outside our province. Anyway, tried once in the case of Italy, it did not succeed. Supposing our new negotiators get no results from advancing the general renunciation proposal, what should be the next move?
"Gentlemen, the American Government is sorry indeed that you do not feel that it is best for you to make mutual renunciation of particular interests the basis of making a world peace. Our Senate has made it plain that mutual renunciation is the only kind which appeals to it. The Treaty of Versailles would have been approved by our Senate, and we should have been members of the League of Nations long ago, had we discovered in the treaty an honest effort to make a durable peace by sacrifices all around. But when the American Senate subjected the treaty to a close examination, it found that all of you had looked after your own interests in every possible way. The very features of the treaty which made it appear to us difficult of execution, if not altogether impracticable, were the result of efforts to feather well your own nests. Now, really, could you expect us to be enthusiastic about ratifying a document that would have brought upon our shoulders responsibilities the extent of which we could not foresee, but no privileges as compensations for its burdens? So, if we cannot hope to revise the treaties on the basis of renunciation of all particular interests, we shall have to insist that the particular interests of the United States be considered and safeguarded along with yours."
With the atmosphere cleared in this way, we can hope for a peace conference in which the United States will not be misunderstood and misrepresented, as we certainly were at Paris. Our European and Japanese friends will know that American enthusiasm for and willingness to enter into a League of Nations is contingent upon (a) a constructive peace that will not require the constant and large use of armed force to carry out, or (b) a profit-sharing peace. The latter, of course, we shall take only if we find that the other cannot be achieved.
To insure a constructive peace, whose enforcement will not be by heavy armaments maintained indefinitely, but by the good-will of all subscribing nations, we should have to revise the Treaty of Versailles and the other treaties in such a way that peace will be made with Germany and the other former enemies and not against them. Professor Seymour in "The Yale Review," Professor Haskins in the New York "Evening Post," and Professor Hazen in "The New York Times," have written lengthy criticisms of Keynes's "Economic Consequences of the Peace." These eminent historians, two of whom I knew in Paris as members of the American Peace Commission, have failed singularly to grasp the main argument of Keynes's attack on the Treaty of Versailles, which is simply that the Treaty of Versailles will not work because it defies both human nature and economic laws. Their answers to Keynes deal mostly with subordinate or irrelevant issues, and they disregard the fact that "a condition, not a theory, confronts us." Does a treaty give us peace whose enforcement necessitates permanent mobilization? The Treaty of Frankfort, which took Alsace-Lorraine from France, made Europe an armed camp. The Treaty of Versailles, without reciprocity in its economic conditions and without the same principles applied everywhere in establishing frontiers, will keep Europe an armed camp. The Treaty of St.-Germain entails even greater complications and responsibilities. Punishments, such as reparations, let there be, and we shall aid in executing them; but the traditions and interests of the American people will prevent our underwriting in Europe. or elsewhere frontiers that are neither equitable nor practicable, and aiding certain races to enjoy permanent economic advantages at the expense of other races. The statement one sometimes hears that opponents of President Wilson were against the league only, and did not ask for modifications to the treaty, is false. Unwillingness to bind the United States to enforce the treaty is the reason for the strong support of the reservation to Article X. A number of senators have told me this, and they cited the two great speeches of Senator Knox as con
taining the arguments which influenced them most to vote for the reservation to Article X of the covenant. Senator Knox anticipated Keynes by half a year.
If the Entente powers refuse now to revise the treaties of Versailles and St.Germain as I have indicated above, the League-of-Nations idea will have to be abandoned until Germany and Russia recover from their present military and economic prostration. The attention of internationalists will be concentrated on the new-world court at the Hague, which we may find offers all that the league could have hoped to accomplish as a preventive of wars. When Russia and Germany are once more factors to be reckoned with in world affairs, a common sense of peril may bring "the Principal Allied Powers" into a frame of mind to do voluntarily what Mr. Wilson believed he could persuade them to do last year at Paris. But that time may not come for several years.
In the interim it is conceivable that the United States may have to accept the terms of the Treaty of Versailles as they affect Germany not by becoming a guarantor of their enforcement, but simply by recognizing their existence and Germany's promise to carry them out. We may have to sign and ratify the other treaties with the same understanding. After all, Europe must be responsible for Europe, and has the right to arrange her own affairs to suit herself. But when we come to the provisions of all these treaties as they affect non-European regions and the high seas and international trade routes and regulations, our negotiators must adopt a very different attitude from that of Mr. Wilson, or they will find that their new treaties will meet with no better fate at the hands of the Senate than the first of Mr. Wilson's treaties. The American Senate is awake to the fact that the United States needs a vigorous foreign policy and that we have interests to be protected and advanced throughout the world. Hereafter any treaty coming before our Senate for ratification will be examined with a magnifying-glass. The lesson of 1919 will serve for many a long year. Challenged and then ridiculed by the President, the Senate was put to the test of justifying
its refusal to become simply a parlement in the old Bourbon sense of the word, to register the king's (President's) decrees. "Foreign relations" is becoming a long suit of senators, and the campaign of 1920 has put them on their mettle.
By right of conquest, which is the only title other powers have, the United States is part owner of all the former German colonies, ships, cable lines, concessions, et cetera, throughout the world. (Our share in the title is clearly stated in Articles CXVIII and CXIX.) The first duty of our negotiators is to come to an understanding with the other part owners concerning the disposition of these territories. President Wilson thought he had this settled by the mandatory scheme which he inserted in the Treaty of Versailles. Articles CXVIII and CXIX must be read in connection with Article XXII, which provides for the joint ownership to be exercised by a mandatory. Joint ownership, with a mandatory régime, is also proclaimed for the regions detached from the Ottoman Empire.
But during the twenty months that have elapsed since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, France, Great Britain, and Japan have disregarded the article of the treaty referring to mandatories and have forgotten that the text of Article CXIX reading, "Germany renounces in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers all her rights and titles over her overseas possessions," prevents a clear title to the German colonies from inhering in any of the present occupants without the consent of the United States. Few Americans know that France and Great Britain are at this very moment in difficult negotiations with Italy over this question. We may not want for ourselves any of these former German possessions, but the new administration incurs a tremendous responsibility toward posterity if it does not get written into the treaties in explicit language that in every single one of these former German possessions American citizens, American corporations, and American commerce will have for all time exactly the same rights as the subjects, corporations, and commerce of the nation that happens to administer the mandate.