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as the boulevard Raspail, and the shoelace of his right shoe came untied.
"Voila!" he said, "I paid a good franc for that shoe-lace, and now it annoys me like this. I shall remember not to buy that make again." And he stooped to tie the shoe-lace.
He followed the boulevard Raspail as far as the boulevard St.-Germain. The early morning air was chill, and at the boulevard St.-Germain he sneezed -three tremendous spasms in crashing succession.
"I must be catching cold," he said, and fumbled in his coat-pocket for his box of aspirin tablets, which he always carried. For a second it seemed as if he had been paralyzed at a stroke. Then he slapped his forehead. "Nom d'un chien!" he swore softly, "I remember now. I gave them to that Simone Duloy at the Hôtel Crillon, and, bon dieu, how she squints!"
The next morning, dressed in a quilted dressing-gown of satin, Hip
polyte, with watering eyes and a very red nose, was eating his roll and coffee, managing to snatch a few items of news from "Le Matin" between mouthfuls. Suddenly his arm was arrested and immobilized in the act of carrying his cup to his lips. He set the cup down and began to read:
EXTRAORDINARY AND BIZARRE ADVENTURE OF AN ARTIST
IN A TAXI-CAB.
Early this morning as M. Odillon Ventrillon, an artist, was going in a taxicab from the Café Closerie des Lilas to his place of residence in the Rue Jacob
The paper grew blank before the eyes of Hippolyte, and a groan of despair escaped from his open mouth.
"And all that habbened to me," he said, "was a gold in the head!" Then he roused himself to action, and with a mighty effort flung that copy of "Le Matin" to the floor. "Nom de dieu de dieu de dieu!" he swore in his great wrath, "And it was I who baid for that taxi!"
World Politics versus Disarmament
By HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS
T President Harding's invita- stacles to disarmament, which might
A tion, the first international con-
ference on disarmament will meet in
None would say that there is anything in Mr. Harding's background or in his nature or in his mentality that would make him like his predecessor. Yet at the very beginning of his administration, when face to face with the problem of world coöperation, Mr. Harding deceives himself as Mr. Wilson deceived himself. Thinking that he is the voice of the people, whose will is irresistible, Mr. Harding cries, "Disarmament!" as Mr. Wilson cried, "League of Nations!" He holds up before a weary world a goal that is the heart's desire, and prophesies that he will lead us to it; but of ways and means of reaching it he says nothing. Public opinion is not aware of the ob
be overcome if openly discussed; of the sacrifices each nation would have to make, which might be agreed to if we were prepared for them. The preliminary negotiations are being carried on in the deepest secrecy, according to the discredited diplomatic usage which has always failed. When November 11 arrives, unless a miracle occurs, the statesmen will open their discussions at Washington with no hope of reaching a favorable result, knowing that agreement is impossible, and each trying to save his face with his own electorate.
Most of the enthusiasts boosting the Washington conference are the same men and women who supported the Versailles League of Nations. Their generous idealism makes them magnify the end to a total forgetfulness of the means of attaining it.
What shall it profit the world if the European statesmen who made the Treaty of Versailles come with their Japanese colleagues to Washington on the third anniversary of an armistice which is not yet peace? Nothing. Their discussions will do the cause of world peace positive harm. The British and French and Japanese will, out of the mouths of these spokesmen, make any promise of disarmament contingent upon our promise to underwrite all their gains under the Versailles and other treaties and to consent to all their dual and tripartite agreements among themselves; the
The first reason why the disarmament conference is doomed to failure is the same as the first reason of the failure of the Versailles League of Nations. No conference is international, and can expect to make decisions which will be respected, which excludes Germany and Russia. This is not a matter for emotional hysteria or for the play of hatred or dislike or repugnance. It is a matter of common sense. Our opinion of Germany's rôle in the World War and what we think of Bolshevism do not make Germany and Russia any the less the two strongest countries in Europe.
A League of Nations, to be workable and have world authority, must admit Russia and Germany on a footing of equality. The provision of the covenant, making the five "principal Allied and Associated Powers" permanent members of the council of the league, and providing for a minority of four elected members of the council from all the other nations, killed the league as a world organization before it was formed. It is against human nature
and the teaching of history to suppose that Russia and Germany will consider the conference of Paris and its league as settling for all time the inferiority of the Russian and German races among the nations of Europe. Although Italy was among the victors and has a permanent seat in international conferences as now constituted, her position economically is not unlike that of Germany. Without sources of raw material to draw upon independently and not mistress in her own seas, Italy is beginning to look upon the league as bondage, and upon the disarmament conference as a plot to betray her into waiving her right to emerge from bondage as other nations have done.
It is easy enough to argue that Russia is in chaos and Germany in Coventry and that neither nation has a government which we can trust. It is easy enough also to give the excuse that if Russia and Germany were invited, France would not come; and the more simple-minded will point out that Russia and Germany do not deserve to be invited. Well and good. But do arguments and explanations change the fact that whatever the other nations decide to do at Washington, the decisions cannot take force until Russia and Germany agree to them? And is it to be expected that Russia and Germany will agree to maintain the status quo of 1921, manifestly unfavorable to themselves? Lenine and Trotzky and famine are passing events in Russia, and Marshal Foch on the Rhine is a passing event in Germany. Ten years after Paris was in the throes of the Terror, Napoleon crowned himself in Notre Dame, and eight years after Napoleon, ensconced in Berlin, disarmed the Prussians, he fled from Paris to escape a
Prussian army. Can the jailers of more than two hundred million Russians and Germans lay down their arms? But we are in an age when arms are no longer necessary for coercion, we are told. Germany will be boycotted if she attempts to evade the Versailles obligations, and Russia is already at our mercy, brought to her knees by the blockade. Now that it has been tested during the last three years, there is no longer excuse for holding this doctrine. Great Britain's treaty with Krassin, which, for personal, political, and economic considerations, broke the Entente solid front against Russia, demonstrates how little faith can be put in the adoption of common economic measures against a recalcitrant country. Great Britain and Italy, as well as the small neutrals, are once more as keen for German trade as they were before the war, and they refuse to cut off their noses to spite their faces and to enforce treaties in the practicability and wisdom of which their faith has been shaken.
And then there is the boomerang effect of cutting off great nations from trade relations. They suffer, but do not you suffer also? The strain is hard on them; is it any less hard on you? Let the August number of the National City Bank letter to its clients speak, with no fear of being thought an organ of Bolshevist propaganda. Says the National City Bank:
The loss of the Russian market has seriously affected European industries, and that it even affects the United States unfavorably is a striking illustration of how a disturbance of industry in one country will disturb it in many. The prostration of Russia relieves the American wheat grower of competition, but has closed a great market for cotton
goods and all manufactures. The industrial depression which results affects the sale of cotton all over Europe. . . The loss of the Russian market has affected India seriously, because Russia consumed about 25 per cent. of all the tea grown in the world. Tea has had a calamitous fall, and the ability of India to buy cotton goods affects the ability of Manchester to buy American cotton.
And so it goes on for a page to show how the world is linked together by common interests to such an extent that the seemingly easy and bloodless expedient of using an economic boycott instead of an army and navy costs more than war and develops rickets and pellagra on both sides of the blockade.
The success of the conference is as badly compromised by the invitations extended to France, Italy, and China as it is by the omission of invitations to Germany and Russia. This brings up the question of the agenda. What does the conference purpose to discuss?
Had President Harding seized the occasion of the expiration of the AngloJapanese Alliance to invite Japan and Great Britain to confer with the United States on the possibility of reducing naval armaments and regulating the distribution of war-ships, a working agreement might have been reached without serious difficulty or delay. All three countries have reasons for not wanting to come into conflict, and even to avoid the appearance of building against one another; all three countries are looking for a way to cut down their post-bellum budgets and remove war taxes; and public opinion in Great Britain, Japan, and the United States
would have aided the statesmen in coming to decisions within this strictly limited field. By taking into account the distribution of ships rather than number, and agreeing upon the size and cruising radius of fleets, Japan and the United States could have been reassured about each other's pacific intentions, and Great Britain could have policed her empire without denying the principle of equality of sea-power, upon which the United States insists. But why France and Italy and China? And if these three, why not, too, Brazil and Argentina and Chile? Italy's interest in Pacific Ocean naval arrangements are infinitesimal: Chile's are her whole life. The balance of power between Great Britain and the United States in the Atlantic interests Brazil and Argentina as much as France. But Italy, if naval armaments alone are discussed, is bound to take a stand not to the liking of either France or Great Britain in the Mediterranean. China can say nothing about naval bases without arousing the suspicion of Great Britain, France, and Japan against the United States.
On the other hand, if the object of inviting the three powers who are not serious naval rivals of Great Britain, Japan, and the United States was to open the question of land armaments simultaneously, President Harding has on his hands a new conference of Paris, with all its questions reopened and buzzing like hornets around his devoted head.
France will not listen to any proposals for the disarmament of her own armies and those of Poland, which she controls, unless Great Britain and the United States form an alliance with France to keep Germany territorially where the Treaty of Versailles put her,
and to aid in the collection of the very last penny of the German indemnity France will insist that the United States join in the task of making Germany disarm. France will ask that Mr. Harding present to the Senate for immediate ratification the arms agreement already signed by our representatives at St.-Germain on September 10, 1919. According to this agreement, the contracting parties bind themselves not to sell and to take every possible step to prevent the introduction to certain specified countries of arms received as booty or on their hands after the war. The countries are those which Great Britain and France control politically. The agreement was conceived as a means of getting the rest of the world to connive in keeping African and Asiatic countries in subjection to their European masters and exploiters. The right of asserting and defending our independence we prize above all things. In this right the civil liberties of Anglo-Saxondom rest. But we shall be asked-we have already been asked to deny it to others.
Italy's naval and military policies are complicated. As Italy is a growing country, with narrow frontiers, and is becoming highly industrialized, she feels the need of colonies, raw materials, African and Asiatic markets with special privileges such as Great Britain and France enjoy. She fears the Slavs as France fears the Germans, and is hardly ready to trust luck in the future by agreeing cheerfully to limit her armies. On sea Italy aims for the domination of the Mediterranean, and considers it a legitimate aspiration. Judged by the standards other powers set for themselves, Italy's geographical position makes her ambition on the sea reasonable. Both for strategic and