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Maryland suffrage news. (Baltimore, Md.) 1912-1920, October 23, 1920, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89060379/1920-10-23/ed-1/seq-3/

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The organization, two of the chief objects and the origin of the League
of Nations Covenant as drafted in Paris were analyzed in this column last
week. This week we will take up the means which it provides to maintain
peace and promote international co-operation, and what has already been
accomplished along those lines.
In discussions of such burning issues as the League has become, it may
be useful to remind the new voter that there are two distinct stages
through which everyone must go in relation to any proposition: First,
knowledge of it, and then, approval or disapproval, opinion about it. To
rush too quickly through the first stage is the usual mistake people make',
and it is one that the new voter should guard against particularly. In
order to make up her mind about the Covenant of the League, she should
first read it. The opportunity to do this was given in the October 9 issue
of this paper. She should next try to find out what the framers of the
Covenant tried to do and how far they accomplished their purpose. This
is what this column is now trying to explain. It is saying in as simple
language as possible what the Covenant is according to the expressed
opinion of its makers. That the Democratic or Republican parties or parti
sans concur or dissent with any particular statement is of no importance
for the purpose of this discussion, which is simply to supply information
to the new voter on the chief issue of the campaign. She is perfectly
capable of forming her own opinion about it and of acting accordingly,
first given this knowledge.
To Promote International Co-operation.
Besides destroying the motive for war by abolishing attacks upon
weaker nations and backward peoples, as the framers planned in Articles
10-22, which also destroyed the chief motive for piling up armaments, they
provided legal methods for settling the differences that arise between
States, and established increased means of friendly intercourse.
Nations subscribing to the League promise to submit their disputes
either to arbitration or to inquiry by the Council of the League, and not
to go to war until three months after the decision of the arbitrators of
the Council.
Article 14 provides for an international court, a continuation of the
Hague Tribunal. It was under the authorization of this article that the
committee of distinguished international lawyers, among whom were Mr.
Elihu Root—not by virtue of right, as we had not joined the League, but
through the courtesy of the other members—met during the summer. The
plans for this court, completed after three months’ labor, are one of the
things already accomplished by the League.
The Penalty for Violation.
A nation who goes to war in spite of its pledges is declared to be auto
matically at war with all the other members of the League. This is con
sidered to be a deterrent that most nations will regard. It is very gen
erally conceded that had Germanyy known positively that England would
come into the war against her, not to name all the others who did, she
would have foregone her “fresh and joyous” enterprise against France.
The other nations will first boycott the offending nation, stop business
relations with her, and then, if necessary, the Council will recommend
what armed force shall be used against it. At the Paris Conference it was
always understood that the immediate neighbors would first be called
upon to settle the matter, as, for instance, we would be advised by the
By Eva O. Wilson.
Mention the Maryland Suffrage News When Patronizing Our Advertisers.
Council to bring Mexico to terms if it joined the League and in violation
of its pledges went to war. So people geographically remote would not be
involved unless the conflict assumed world-wide proportions, in which case
it would be impossible to remain outside, as we saw in the late war.
Another cause for war has been treaties that are out of date and
irksome to the parties to them, and the Covenant provides that the Assem
bly may from time to time advise the reconsideration of them. It is fur
ther provided that all treaties inconsistent with the Covenant are void.
This disposes of the great difficulty encountered at the peace conference—
treaties among our allies arranging settlements in advance of their con
sideration there.
In connection with the force to be used to uphold the Covenant, the
following quotation from one of the makers of it is illuminating: “Armed
force is in the background of the program, but it is in the background, and
if the moral force of the world will not suffice, the physical force shall.
But that is the last resort, because this is intended as a constitution of
peace, not as a league of war.”

A Going Concern.
Forty-one nations of the world have subscribed to the Covenant, four
others have applied to come in, and the Central Empires are seeking ad
mission. The Secretariat is busy making the necessary preliminary survey
and setting up its machinery. Four of the permanent committees have
been set up —that on armament, which is already formulating the plan by
which the world will reduce their armament and thus be freed from the
terrible burden of taxation it imposes; that on international health, which
has done valuable work in fighting the typhus in Poland and Central Eu
rops and is making far-reaching plans; that on transit, waterways and
communication, which is arranging for outlets to the sea and across boun
daries of inland nations, and that of international justice, which met last
summer, as we have noted, and submitted a complete plan for an inter
national court.
The Labor Bureau has been established, following the meeting of the
Labor Conference in Washington last October, and a conference was held
in Geneva last June in regard to labor laws for seamen and ships. A
financial conference is now being held in Brussels under the auspices of
the League.
The Secretariat, which is sitting in London, last week began the publi
cation of treaties between the member nations of the League, as provided
for under Article 18. Ten were made public, and the rest of the 26 already
registered will be published shortly.
The first meeting of the Council was held on the day prohibition went
into effect in the United States, January 16. The Assembly will meet next
The government of the Sarre, as provided for in the Versailles Treaty,
and that of Danzic are being run under the Council, and it has repatriated
thousands of Russian prisoners. It has brought about a peace settlement
between Poland and Lithuania, which went into effect this week (October
18), and kept Sweden and Finland from going to war over the Aland
This much it has done under the hampering conditions existing in
Europe and the discouragement of our defection. The League is not a
super-government, as a super-government would have lawmaking powers,
and an army and navy to enforce its decree. But it is an organ of inter
national co-operation capable of growth and great usefulness.
No one who helped make the Covenant claimed verbal inspiration for
it, or even perfect machinery. But these are not important. “If you try
to enforce peace by mechanical means,” said Lord Robert Cevil, who can
claim as much credit for the existence of the League as anyone, “you will
fail. But if the public opinion is back of the League of Nations it will suc
ceed, even with imperfect machinery.”

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