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The Butte daily bulletin. [volume] (Butte, Mont.) 1918-1921, June 02, 1919, Image 5

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League of Nations Covenant Analyzed
By One Who Regards It as Great Peril
I have always been a believer in
a league of nations. When two
months and a half ago, I began to
study the text of the proposed
covenant, as read by Mr. Wilson in
Paris on February 14, my impulse
was to defend it, if it were possible
to do so. I set aside a week in
which I did tlothing but read the
covenant and take ndtes.
When- the c'vena'it was revised
in Paris and given out by our state
department on April 27, (aside from
the Inclusion of the Monroe Doc
trine the eQvenant is practically un
altered, except ;in unessentials), I
brought these notes up to date and
formed them into a critical article,
which will be published later,
If the conclusions I reach in this
brief abstract of the notes are hos
tile to our entry into a league of
nations based on the present coven
ant, it is because I am convinced
that the covenant as it stands will,
in the long run, neither prevent nor
tend to prevent great wars, though
it may make small wars harder to
initiate and shorter in duraxlon
when they do occur.
It is quite evident to any careful
student of the subject, who knows
history, that a league of nations as
offered us now, will divide the world
into two immense camps, those in
side and those outside, which, .in
spite of the pacific desires of their
populations, will be forced to outdo
each other in defensive and offen
sive preparations, almost unavoid
ably leading to another world war.
Unfortunately, the covenant of
the league of nations was drawn by
people who belonged to the old
school of diplomacy, the diplomacy
that has almost continuously kept
the world at war, because it con
ceived peace and wrecked it on the
same rock-force majeure.
Criticizes League's Framers.
There are men in the world who
are incapable of learning new things.
In' Eufope, they put them in the
foreign office. Here, they generally
land in tllp state department or join
the senate.
By such men the covenant was
drawn--by men who ignore the eco
nomic. causes which make war, by
men.who are believers in the estab
lishment of a force majeure as the
only salvation of the world. But
because they craved new territory
apd new natural resources as much
as, they craved peace, the estab
lisllment of a definite force majeure
hass pot been provided for by the
That is the covenant's capital p
error, from the point of view of its
own framers.
Undoubtedly, the present coven
ant will be defended by many sin- 11
care people who are well aware that
it promises war in the not distant A
future, but who hope that it will
prevent immediate wa'rs, and thinkl
that almost any attempt at inter
national agreement, no matter how
defective and undemocratic, is bot
ter than nothing at all. To them I
would reply; first, that the coven
ant can and certainly should be k
amended, and that the hue and cry 14
about signing what the diplomats of
England drafted for us or having no a
league at all is buncombe. b
And second, that an international
agreement as repressive as the pres- s
ent covenant, an international agree
ment which undertakes to protect t
the iniquitous provisions of the sec
ret treaties and places coersive and
well-nigh absolute power in the
hands of a small central council not
elected and unresponsive to the vari- a
ous, peoples, that an international
agreement which excludes over half
the civilized world, that a league I
which nevertheless undertakes to
control all hations within and with
out by a system of drastic punish
ments including national starvation,
will not last-and ought not to. It I
is not a case of having this league.
or none. It is a case of insisting on t
a different league-or else soon find- i
ing ourselves without any.
Primaryl Purtxose Not to Avert War.
The ptyrpose of the present coven
ant is not primarily to insure peace
by forming a league of nations. It I
is to compel the conquered nations I
to sign the peace treaty, to enforce
the terms of the peace treaty after i
it is signed, and to keep in control i
of the situation the conservative
forces which now dominate in the
victorious countries.. It is essential
ly a balance of power, and as such
it does. what every other balance of
power in history has done-to wit,
automatically organizes those left
out of it into a coherent group with
the one supreme object of over
balancing the. balance.
If the primary object of the coven
ant-had been to reorganize the world
on the more friendly and democratic
basis of a pdace league-and, with
out such a basis, all the force in the
world will not prevent war-the
covenant would not have excluded
from the list of members and na
tions to be ilnviled to become mem
bers all the late enemy countries as
well as Russia and Mexico.
Remember, the group excluded
(it is reasonable to say permanently
excluded, for it is clear from the
covenant that, even if they were in
vited later, they could only enter as
subject states) comprises more- than
half the people of Europe.
Geographically, the bulk of the
excluded nations happens to be
bunched together. 'Economically,
). they are interdependent; and po
u litically, they are united by :sharing
in the great democratic movement
that is growing with such immense
In all probability, the majority of
the Balkan states and Jugoslavia,
hemmed in between the major extra
league nations, and united to them
as they are by blood, will join the
Whether China will cleave to the
allies, who sold her out in the secret
treaty of February 16, 1917, regard
ing the Shantung peninsula, and
then politely invited her into the
war as an ally-whether China, with
four hundred million people and lin
measurable resources, will remain
in the victor-natiopi leagie as a sub.
ject nation or flop into the con
quered-nation league as an equal, is
a very big question indeed.
And Japan, disgruntled by the
allies' reluctance to deliver the
Shantung peninsula to her, as per
secret treaty promises, will remain
an unknown quantity that may.,. ak
any moment, throw its by iast.itiens
negligible strength either way. '
And Italy. As late as Augalt,
1914, Europe was dominated by two
great leagues, each striving to be
come a balance of power; the triple
entente consisting of England,
France and Russia, and the triple
alliance consisting of Germany,
Austria and Italy. These leagues
constituted the arcana of profound
secret diplomacy; and were relied
upon to keep the peace of the world
Russia's withdrawal from this triple
entente was precipitated by the
allies' refusal of Kerensky's demand
for a repudiation of the secret treat
ies. Italy may fall away from her
present partners of the entente and
go back to her former ones of the
alliance, because the allies will not
observe the secret treaties. We are
by no means certain that within a
decade Italy, a republic, may not be
aligned with the surrounding repub
lics of Germany, Austria, Jugoslavia
and Russia.
Even back in 1814, the diplomats
of Europe seem to have been wiser
or less embittered than they are now.
At the Congress of Vienna, France
was more or less in the position of
Germany today. Napoleon had been
defeated after well-nigh subjugating
the civilized world; and yet, France
was admitted to the league, largely
through the courageous foresight of
Castlereagh, who did not hesitate to
demand, not only the admission of
France, but the admission of "a
strong France."
On the same principle perhaps
that led Wilson to invite Bryan into
the cabinet, Castlereagh wanted no
angry giants poking holes in his
league from the outside.
That Wilson, when he first went
to Europe, was deeply impressed
with the necessity of a league
framed on the model of the Congress
of Vienna, is shown by his speech
at Manchester, on December 30,
1918: "If the future had nothing
for us but a new attempt to keep
the world at a right poise by a
balance of power the United States
would take no interest, because she
will join no combination of power
which is not a combination of all of
us. SIte is not interested merely in
the peace of Europe, but in the
peace of the world."
But, although such a definitely in
clusive league was not a part of his
original fourteen points, Mr. Wilson
has abandoned it nevertheless,
whether from expediency or habit.
And it remains for the people of the
United States to recall Mr. Wilson
to his position, and to insist that sl
they enter a true league of nations d,
instead of a medieval balance of ai
power disguised under a league's it
label. ti
The people of the United States an
know absolutely nothing of the di
league of nations. Ninety per cent ct
of them have not read the covenant, cl
and never will. If they did read it ri
but once, with a pretty careful tl
analysis, they would understand
some of its amazing implications. tl
But they will not; and they are cap- ei
tivated by the phrase "League of si
Nations." And in my opinion, un
less Lenine should issue a statement n
calling attention to the, fact that the ft
extra-league nations will be obliged n
at once to organize a counter-league, F
should the present plan go through, lc
they will accept it hurriedly and a
half asleep, and regret it awake and 's
at leisure. ti
Urges All to Study Draft.
It is in the hope that some few t,
people will be stimulated to making c
a first-hand study of the covenant d
that I have written this article. For
if Americans do peimit themselves l
to be rushed off their feet into en- c
dorsement of the present league a
without full understanding of its b
obligations, and without forcing at
reconsideration (there is, in fact, no 1
hurry about the league as, in spite t
of what we are told, it can, better
than not, be passed on separate from d
the peace treaty) they will have c
committed perhaps the most humili- a
ating and costly folly of history.
For, by doing so, they will, at
once, have made inevitable the swift
realization of the Russo-German
Austrian league, already in embryo
which, weak though it be today, may
tomorrow appear distinctly strong,
stronger perhaps, better integrated
certainly, as rich in population and
natural wealth available for war,
and undoubtedly more closely united
politically than the league of na
tions which we are now invited to 1
enter. 1
When I see the thoughtlessness
with which the American people pro
pose to take this step, whose ob
ligations they do not even dimly
see; when I remember that the
covenant we are about to sign con
tains no regenerative or hopeful
impulse, but only the purposes of
men shaken by suffering, fear and
hatred, purposes which cannot fur
ther democracy or peace, I feel as
if this country were walking blind
fold along a narrow path with
abysses on either side-with the
fatuous serenity of sleepwalkers,
The. folloaving are notes onpipme
articles of the covenant; 4mpncq,,nae
permits dealing briefly with a few
t of the more important points:
The Preamble-The preamble of
the proposed covenant states that
f one of the principal objects of the
league is the "maintenance of jus
- tice and a scrupulous respect for all
i treaty obligations." The words "all
treaty obligations" presumably ap
ply-to secret as well as open treaties.
e Consequently, if the present coven
t ant were adopted, all treaties now
- In existence, whether secret or open,
I would be inferentially guaranteed as
e binding.
h As we already know of treaties,
as for instance, the so-called secret
n treaties negotiated during the war,
r which are undemocratic, imperial
istic and war-breeding, we ctnnot
contemplate without alarm a coven
ant which, in its opening lines, pro
poses to give force to such treaties.
Besid IS, everyone who is familiar
with the history of the three and a
half decades of European diplomacy
preceding the war --decades in which
ttlv dealings of foreign offices arei
characterized by as conservative a
critic as Sir Gilbert Murray as "the
relations of so many bands of out
laws''--is aware that there are
probably other secret treaties, as
yet undisclosed, which would also
be approved by the proposed
league's preamble.
Suppose we should now sign the
proposed covenant. In the first
place, we would be en closed in a
network of unknown international
obligations. In the second, we
would find one nation after another,
not only insisting itn rights con
firmed to them under known
treaties, of whose meaning the gen
eral public is quite as ignorant as
the senate of the United States, but
unearthing other "rights" under
other agreements that are today
kept under cover, for the reason
that they are of such an aggressive
and perilous character that the gov
erntmeits which ttade Ilett have
not dared to let the world guess
their contenis. The ftit that ar
ticle 18 says "no such treaty or in
ternational eigagement shall be
binding until so registered" (i. e.
with the secretarial) does not alter
the case. for the word "such" re
fers only to treaties entered itlo
Proposed Corretion: aI'll The
preamble should ontit language
seeming to guarantee secret treaties
or any treaties not publicly ratified:
(b) article 18 should le amended so
as to read: No existing or future
treaty or international engagement
shall be binding unless registered
with the secretariat; (c) the foreign
offices of nations miembers of the
league should be democratized, so
that any citizen of such nit ions
should have access to their archives.
Article 1--Provides that. any na
tion may become a tiemtber of the
league provided, it gives "effective
guarantees of its sincere intention
to observe its interitational obliga
What are effective guarantees and
what are international obligations?
Heretofore, effective guarantees
have, in diplomatic pirltnce, meant
abtost anything from territorial tn
nexations down. As to "interna
tional obligations" do thoy meant
the network of secret treaties that
already cover the disputed areas of
Africa and Asia? Or do they mean
debts owed to nations who are
members of the council?
Anmerica at al Disadvantage.
Proposed Correction: (a) T'ire
should be an inclusive .nai exclusive
definition of effective guarantees
dnd international obligations; (I)
it should be provided that all ques
tions as to international obligations
and effective guarantees sholid be
decided by an open international
court, whose members should be
chosen by the assembly (which has
represgjutatives from all the nations
that are league members).
Articles 2, 3, 4 and 5-Under
these articles, the league is gov
erned by an executive council con
sisting of representatives of the
"Big Five," who select four more
members. The council cannot be
further increased, except by unani
mous vote of the council. The "Big
Five" will effectively control the
league and the United States will be
a single western power associated
with and outvoted by eastern na
tions. We would be in a vulnerable
position, holding a lone hand
against players having common in
terests and a rapport developed by
centuries of intensive diplomatic
Proposed Correction: (a) The
league should be organized demo
cratically; (b) the delegates to the
assembly (including all league mem
bers) should elect the council; (c)
the decisions of the council should
be subject to overrule by a two
thirds vote of the assembly.
Articles 8 and 9---There is no
definite disarmament policy in the
covenant. "The council .
shall formulate plans" for reduction,
says article 8. But after these plans
are adopted, no increase of arma
ment can le made except with "con
currence of the council." This
gives the council an immense power
---the power of letting one party to
a dispute increase armament, while
it prevents the other from doing so.
Proposed Correction: (a) Ques
tions of armament should be decided
by the assembly; (b) it should be
stated that armaments should not
be used for collection of interna-.
tional debts or endorsement of comi
meicial and financial treaties. The
enforcement of debts and com
mercial and financial treaties should
be accomplished by economic re
prisals alone after an award of a
court of arbitration.
Article 10-"The members of the
league undertake to respect and
preserve, as against external ag
gression, the territorial integrity
and existing political independence
- of all members of the league."
Article 10 Greatest Danger.
This, from . an American point of
view, is one of the most, if not the
most objectionable of the articles o(I
W the proposed constitution.' Today
V we do not know, and we perhaps
will not for years know, what the
f "territorial integrity" which we are
t bound to defend 'consists in. The
e peace conference has not brought to
light all the secret treaties nor ex
11 plained all the ones it has disclosed.
11 As I. write, it is likely that the
i- diplomats who represent the repub
u. lic, the two monarchies and the Mi
i- kado by divine right, with whom we
i' are associated, are about to produce
i, a peace treaty which we already
-s know will be so selfishly and short
sightedly drawn as to shock coming
generations with its sheer imprac
,t ticability and folly. To defend the
r, new territorial integrities establish
1- ed by this peace treaty will be
America's duty it ~e enter the
,The war and 1i1i 'vatality of the
German governmeali 've' stirred up
passions so violent id brought to
the fore men of s: an exuberant
contempt for deco . ie principles,
that the new intsro . cal boundary
lines will not one, 'o unjust, but,
quite impossible maintenance
without recourse i ,irs. As was
written years ages the Vienna
congress of 1814:
"Self-interest . he key to
this welter of . gains and
agreements. N'! that these
titled brokers ie (',ted to at
tempt to convine ' trope of the
nobility of 'l' endeavors.
Great phrases, u as 'recon
struction of ti' Trial order,"
the regentruath ('if the po
litical system of : 'p0,' a 'dur
able peace based ii' oi a just di
vision of power. ,,re used by
diplomats of V ieioi. in order to
reassure the peoip s of Europe,
and to lend an air )f dignity and
elevation to t lis august assem
bly, but the eiiples were not
deceived. 'Tlity saw the un
edifying scruiiile of the con
querors for Ili, spoils of vic
.For years Ihe monarch: of
Europe hiad denQunced Na
poleon for 'e spieting neitlier
the rights of princes nor those
of lxeoples. They now paid himn
the flattery of hearty imita
I ion."
'Thie words qtuoted from article
111, 'against external aggression,"
w'.ill not protect ius from obligation
to interfere in revolutions. For it
will be claimed, as it is now as to
Ireland, Egypt, India, Korea and
Hungary, that the revolutionary
movement in question is stimulated
frolm without and iherefore external
in essence.
Ate owe to guarantee the terri
torial integrity of Italy if. in de
fiance of the principles of nttionali
ty and self-detelr'uination, she gets
Dlalmiatia which ai'ording to the
census of 1910, has 48ti,00ti Slays
asi against 60,001t Italians? Are we
to guarantee the territorial integrity
of Japan if, in defiance of self-de
termination, she is given outright,
as per secret treaty of 1917, the
( ernian islands north of the equator,
while Elngland takes those south'?
A,'e we to g'ta'llantee the secret di
vision of Arabia ti'ween I'trance and
England, and that of European 't'ur
key between Italy, France and Eng
land, both as ier secret treaties?
Proposed Correction: (a) Thal
article 1ll be omitted in whole until
we tnow what we have to guaran
tee; (b) that, in the meantime, an
article expressly protecting the right
of revolution te inserted in its
Artctle 11 -In this cuticle, dis
pitnis between nations not m'eiibers
of ilic lea ,uc ae declared within the
leaguei'; jurisdtction. inder article
The Butte
Daily Bulletin
-Is the Workingman's Paper
The work of making this paper
successful depends not so much
on the management as it does
upon the efforts of its supporters.
The Workers should encourage
the merchant whose advertise
ment is found in the columns
of the Bulletin by giving him a
liberal patronage. It requires
some nerve these days of Iron Heel sup
pression to stand up and be counted. All
lovers of liberty and a square deal must
It Is Up To You, Mr. Worker
11, coupled with article 16. the coun
cil may take sides in wars between
nations non-memberi s of the league,
and apply, as per artihe' 16, a policy
of complete blockade. i. e. national
starvation, to whichever country the
league desires to dest roy or cripple.
Proposed Correction: Omit the
words "whether imittediately affect
ing any of tile enimbers of the
league or not, mul substitute the
words "inmtmediately iffecting the
miembers of the Ii'
Articles 12. 12. I. nil 15
There is no provision t[Io' omtpulsory
arbitration, for arti ei 15 provides
that, if a dispute atris-s which is not
subjected to arbitration, it will be
Submitted to the council.
Mir. T1af't ('hallinged. t
Article 15 provides that a nation
may not go to war it' all the utem
hers of the council ''ther than the
representatives of lne or more of
the parties to the displitei vote
against it.
Mr. Taft and rbthr defendirs of
the league have claimed we would
not lose Oti stolt' ignly if' we
joined the league, hiecuse such de
cisions have to be tnimtimoius in
order to be binding; tiiil tiht we
could vote against anything that
iiight injure our rights of ih'fense.
Question: Have Ihese itti' tiers
read the covenant?
Proposed Correction: (n I All
dis I L 1; of international (lhlaracter.
should he referred to arbitration he
fore a i'iurt established by ili'igotes
to the assembly; (1l tii'e i''uniil
should have no power to decide dis
putes involving war.
Article 16 -This article pr'vi'ies
for punishments. A state which goes
to war ili disregard of the coveitis nt
is "ipso fctto deeeme'd to have ciim
mitted an ant of war against all
other members." And it is to lie
pisialhed not onl' y bi wart' but otar
votilon. A member of the league
may be expelled by vote of the uN
cil for violating the covenant.
Proposed C'orrectio'ts: (1 The
assembly only should have power to
say when a meotber has disregarded
the civenanti (l) shuot of cases
where wit' exists, at mumber should
not be cut off from tirde-relations
with non-mietmberi nations.
Article 17----'Iihis article extends a
gold brick to non-member stales by
inviting them, in caSe they have ion
troversies among tihemselvis, to ac
cept settlement at the hands of 11he
league under articles 12 to if. hil
"witli such modifications as may be
deemed necessary by the i'ominunil.
Proposed Correction: Tito words
quoted above should be ((hutted. It
is offering nothing to offer to de
cide a dispute untd('r rules subject
to undisclosed nmaudifitnations
Article 22 --This article provides
for "manda1tories" for backward
peoples, aitely ttlonging to the
enemy, io ie exercised tintil they ian
"staled alone." BtY the peace treaty
siute twelve to fifteen millions of
natives, o llupying over a million
T. W. Cunningham Earl Aikin W. D. Martin
Weclean carl1$nt frumin teil cylinders rind do cutting by
thie Oxy--Avelylo~ne process.
All Work Guaranteed 130 S. Arizona Street
Butte, Montana.
square miles of territory in Asia and
Africa, are shifted- from one sov
ereiguty to another, irrestpeltive of
their right of self-determination. If
the maindatory principle is good for
these backward peoples tately the
property of the enalny, it. should also
he good for backward peoples which
have not changed iands and these
should also have a promise of iide
pendence when they cali stand aloine.
Article 2t -This article contains
the labor program of the covenant.
It consists of seven and a half lines
of an ordinary newspaper column.
The league "will endeatvor to secure
and maintain fair and humanme conl
litions of labor for mien, women and
children," iii all oountries, whether
league inembers or not. That is it.
That is t1li "Big I'ive's' vision ofli
labor and reconstruction problems in
1919 (not 1514).
Pirtposed Correction: The league
should have it roil labor and re
construction program, but there was
no representative of labor among the
delegates at the Paris conference.
Article 24; The covenant caiiot
be amended t'xcept by unanimouis
vote of the iouncil. This means
that aniy oar of the five diplomats
(appointed by governments, not
elected by peoples) hIl block Sll
ret'orml. T hiiii gives ll 'uscFlupclons
menllt) if of til' coi nilV. l eno0 11 us
lilding )towet , ill ltse othisi Whnt
Proposed Correction: The coven
ant should hr unmeaded by Iwo-thirds
tote of the assembly.
Annex to ('oymant- - \1l the enl
'lnly countries, 1(lus Russia and
\lexico, are exelluded. 'They should
not be, if t1he leapgue is it peace
league and if its objctl iit, to pro
mote detiiirary.
It is the writer':; opinion that an
international agronment01 to submit
lie question of war to Popular refer
endmnl would do munch more to stop
war than maly league. 11u11 if we
niust have It l(:(uys it should avoid
placing all file conservative nations
anlonig the sheep and the radical
ones Haunt; the goats. The present
co vtnant1 make, Ithis mtistake. Ill
fact, it potintedly divides the nations:
which have declared warII ()I old
Mammoth Removal Sale.
The National Supply Co.
Home Furnishings and Ladies'
Apparel on easy payments. Will
move to 115 S. Main St. June 1.
Now located at 10 W. Mercury
St., Phone 5096-J.
fashioned privilege from those which
have not. yet dune so.
It is the old order against the
new; whether the new order can be
fought by segregating it, is a ques
lion which the gentlemen who
drafted the covenant no doubt
pondered deeply. To my mind,
segregating the new order is bust
another name for integrating it, and
giving its advocates a mighty good
reason for hanging together.
Itn the very fact that the coven
ant was drafted as it was, whether
ever adopted or not, has done much
to tartly issues; and to show that
in lhe ally countries, including the
United States, the people who be
lieve in democracy must hereafter.
dominate tlie government, if they
are to escape another world war.
For this we can be grateful, even
though in a league of nations suck
as this covenant provides, demock
racy would le head down in a boot+

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