The Peace Negotiations
Robert Lansing

Part 4 out of 5

applicable to the inhabitants of the Austrian Tyrol and failing to raise
any question in regard to it in the case of the port of Danzig. The
Italian orators and press were not disturbed by the inconsistency of
their positions, and the Italian statesmen at Paris, when their
attention was called to it, replied that the cases were not the same, an
assertion which it would have been difficult to establish with facts or
support with convincing arguments.

While the propaganda went forward in Italy with increasing energy,
additional assurances, I was informed by one of the Italian group, were
given to Signor Orlando and Baron Sonnino that President Wilson was
almost on the point of conceding the justice of the Italian claim to
Fiume. It was not until the latter part of March, 1919, that these
statesmen began to suspect that they had been misinformed and that the
influence of their American friends was not as powerful with Mr. Wilson
as they had been led to believe. It was an unpleasant awakening. They
were placed in a difficult position. Too late to calm the inflamed
temper of the Italian people the Italian leaders at Paris had no
alternative but to press their demands with greater vigor since the
failure to obtain Fiume meant almost inevitable disaster to the
Orlando Ministry.

Following conversations with Baron Sonnino and some others connected
with the Italian delegation, I drew the conclusion that they would go so
far as to refuse to make peace with Germany unless the Adriatic Question
was first settled to their satisfaction. In a memorandum dated March 29,
I wrote: "This will cause a dangerous crisis," and in commenting on the
probable future of the subject I stated:

"My fear is that the President will continue to rely upon private
interviews and his powers of persuasion to induce the Italians to
abandon their extravagant claim. I am sure that he will not be able
to do it. On the contrary, his conversations will strengthen rather
than weaken Italian determination. He ought to tell them _now_ that
he will not consent to have Fiume given to Italy. It would cause
anger and bitterness, but nothing to compare with the resentment
which will be aroused if the uncertainty is permitted to go on much
longer. I shall tell the President my opinion at the first
opportunity. [I did this a few days later.]

"The future is darkened by the Adriatic situation and I look to an
explosion before the matter is settled. It is a good thing that the
President visited Italy when he did and when blessings rather than
curses greeted him. Secret diplomacy is reaping a new harvest of
execrations and condemnations. Will the practice ever cease?"

During the first three weeks of April the efforts to shake the
determination of the President to support the Jugo-Slav claims to Fiume
and the adjacent territory were redoubled, but without avail. Every form
of compromise as to boundary and port privileges, which did not deprive
Italy of the sovereignty, was proposed, but found to be unacceptable.
The Italians, held by the pressure of the aroused national spirit, and
the President, firm in the conviction that the Italian claim to the port
was unjust, remained obdurate. Attempts were made by both sides to reach
some common ground for an agreement, but none was found. As the time
approached to submit the Treaty to the German plenipotentiaries, who
were expected to arrive at Paris on April 26, the Italian delegates let
it be known that they would absent themselves from the meeting at which
the document was to be presented unless a satisfactory understanding in
regard to Fiume was obtained before the meeting. I doubt whether this
threat was with the approval and upon the advice of the American friends
of the Italians who had been industrious in attempting to persuade the
President to accept a compromise. An American familiar with Mr. Wilson's
disposition would have realized that to try to coerce him in that manner
would be folly, as in all probability it would have just the contrary
effect to the one desired.

The Italian delegates did not apparently read the President's temper
aright. They made a mistake. Their threat of withdrawal from the
Conference resulted far differently from their expectation and hope.
When Mr. Wilson learned of the Italian threat he met it with a public
announcement of his position in regard to the controversy, which was
intended as an appeal to the people of Italy to abandon the claim to
Fiume and to reject their Government's policy of insisting on an unjust
settlement. This declaration was given to the press late in the
afternoon of April 23, and a French newspaper containing it was handed,
it was said, to Signor Orlando at the President's residence where the
Council of Four were assembled. He immediately withdrew, issued a
counter-statement, and the following day left Paris for Rome more on
account of his indignation at the course taken by the President than
because of the threat which he had made. Baron Sonnino also departed
the next day.

It is not my purpose to pursue further the course of events following
the crisis which was precipitated by the President's published statement
and the resulting departure of the principal Italian delegates. The
effect on the Italian people is common knowledge. A tempest of popular
fury against the President swept over Italy from end to end. From being
the most revered of all men by the Italians, he became the most
detested. As no words of praise and admiration were too extravagant to
be spoken of him when he visited Rome in January, so no words of insult
or execration were too gross to characterize him after his public
announcement regarding the Adriatic Question. There was never a more
complete reversal of public sentiment toward an individual.

The reason for reciting the facts of the Fiume dispute, which was one of
the most unpleasant incidents that took place at Paris during the
negotiations, is to bring out clearly the consequences of secret
diplomacy. A discussion of the reasons, or of the probable reasons, for
the return of the Italian statesmen to Paris before the Treaty was
handed to the Germans would add nothing to the subject under
consideration, while the same may be said of the subsequent occupation
of Fiume by Italian nationalists under the fanatical D'Annunzio, without
authority of their Government, but with the enthusiastic approval of the
Italian people.

Five days after the Italian Premier and his Minister of Foreign Affairs
had departed from Paris I had a long interview with a well-known Italian
diplomat, who was an intimate friend of both Signor Orlando and Baron
Sonnino and who had been very active in the secret negotiations
regarding the Italian boundaries which had been taking place at Paris
since the middle of December. This diplomat was extremely bitter about
the whole affair and took no pains to hide his views as to the causes of
the critical situation which existed. In the memorandum of our
conversation, which I wrote immediately after he left my office, appears
the following:

"He exclaimed: 'One tells you one thing and that is not true; then
another tells you another thing and that too is not true. What is one
to believe? What can one do? It is hopeless. So many secret meetings
with different persons are simply awful'--He threw up his hands--'Now
we have the result. It is terrible!'

"I laughed and said, 'I conclude that you do not like secret

"'I do not; I do not,' he fervently exclaimed. 'All our trouble comes
from these secret meetings of four men [referring to the Big Four],
who keep no records and who tell different stories of what takes
place. Secrecy is to blame. We have been unable to rely on any one.
To have to run around and see this man and that man is not the way to
do. Most all sympathize with you when alone and then they desert you
when they get with others. This is the cause of much bitterness and
distrust. _Secret diplomacy is an utter failure._ It is too hard to
endure. Some men know only how to whisper. They are not to be
trusted. I do not like it.'

"'Well,' I said, 'you cannot charge me with that way of doing

"'I cannot,' he replied, 'you tell me the truth. I may not like it,
but at least you do not hold out false hopes.'"

The foregoing conversation no doubt expressed the real sentiments of the
members of the Italian delegation at that time. Disgust with
confidential personal interviews and with relying upon personal
influence rather than upon the merits of their case was the natural
reaction following the failure to win by these means the President's
approval of Italy's demands.

The Italian policy in relation to Flume was wrecked on the rock of
President Wilson's firm determination that the Jugo-Slavs should have a
seaport on the Adriatic sufficient for their needs and that Italy should
not control the approaches to that port. With the wreck of the Fiume
policy went in time the Orlando Government which had failed to make good
the promises which they had given to their people. Too late they
realized that secret diplomacy had failed, and that they had made a
mistake in relying upon it. It is no wonder that the two leaders of the
Italian delegation on returning to Paris and resuming their duties in
the Conference refrained from attempting to arrange clandestinely the
settlement of the Adriatic Question. The "go-betweens," on whom they had
previously relied, were no longer employed. Secret diplomacy was
anathema. They had paid a heavy price for the lesson, which they
had learned.

When one reviews the negotiations at Paris from December, 1918, to June,
1919, the secretiveness which characterized them is very evident.
Everybody seemed to talk in whispers and never to say anything worth
while except in confidence. The open sessions of the Conference were
arranged beforehand. They were formal and perfunctory. The agreements
and bargains were made behind closed doors. This secrecy began with the
exchange of views concerning the League of Nations, following which came
the creation of the Council of Ten, whose meetings were intended to be
secret. Then came the secret sessions of the Commission on the League
and the numerous informal interviews of the President with one or more
of the Premiers of the Allied Powers, the facts concerning which were
not divulged to the American Commissioners. Later, on Mr. Wilson's
return from the United States, dissatisfaction with and complaint of the
publicity given to some of the proceedings of the Council of Ten induced
the formation of the Council of Four with the result that the secrecy of
the negotiations was practically unbroken. If to this brief summary of
the increasing secretiveness of the proceedings of the controlling
bodies of the Peace Conference are added the intrigues and personal
bargainings which were constantly going on, the "log-rolling"--to use a
term familiar to American politics--which was practiced, the record is
one which invites no praise and will find many who condemn it. In view
of the frequent and emphatic declarations in favor of "open diplomacy"
and the popular interpretation placed upon the phrase "Open covenants
openly arrived at," the effect of the secretive methods employed by the
leading negotiators at Paris was to destroy public confidence in the
sincerity of these statesmen and to subject them to the charge of
pursuing a policy which they had themselves condemned and repudiated.
Naturally President Wilson, who had been especially earnest in his
denunciation of secret negotiations, suffered more than his foreign
colleagues, whose real support of "open diplomacy" had always been
doubted, though all of them in a measure fell in public estimation as a
consequence of the way in which the negotiations were conducted.

The criticism and condemnation, expressed with varying degrees of
intensity, resulted from the disappointed hopes of the peoples of the
world, who had looked forward confidently to the Peace Conference at
Paris as the first great and decisive change to a new diplomacy which
would cast aside the cloak of mystery that had been in the past the
recognized livery of diplomatic negotiations. The record of the Paris
proceedings in this particular is a sorry one. It is the record of the
abandonment of principle, of the failure to follow precepts
unconditionally proclaimed, of the repudiation by act, if not by word,
of a new and better type of international intercourse.

It is not my purpose or desire to fix the blame for this perpetuation of
old and discredited practices on any one individual. To do so would be
unjust, since more than one preferred the old way and should share the
responsibility for its continuance. But, as the secrecy became more and
more impenetrable and as the President gave silent acquiescence or at
least failed to show displeasure with the practice, I realized that in
this matter, as in others, our judgments were at variance and our views
irreconcilable. As my opposition to the method of conducting the
proceedings was evident, I cannot but assume that this decided
difference was one that materially affected the relations between Mr.
Wilson and myself and that he looked upon me as an unfavorable critic of
his course in permitting to go unprotested the secrecy which
characterized the negotiations.

The attention of the delegates to the Peace Conference who represented
the smaller nations was early directed to their being denied knowledge
of the terms of the Treaty which were being formulated by the principal
members of the delegations of the Five Great Powers. There is no doubt
that at the first their mental attitude was one of confidence that the
policy of secrecy would not be continued beyond the informal meetings
preliminary to and necessary for arranging the organization and
procedure of the Conference; but, as the days lengthened into weeks and
the weeks into months, and as the information concerning the actual
negotiations, which reached them, became more and more meager, they
could no longer close their eyes to the fact that their national rights
and aspirations were to be recognized or denied by the leaders of the
Great Powers without the consent and even without the full knowledge of
the delegates of the nations vitally interested.

Except in the case of a few of these delegates, who had been able to
establish intimate personal relations with some of the "Big Four," the
secretiveness of the discussions and decisions regarding the Treaty
settlements aroused amazement and indignation. It was evident that it
was to be a "dictated peace" and not a "negotiated peace," a peace
dictated by the Great Powers not only to the enemy, but also to their
fellow belligerents. Some of the delegates spoke openly in criticism of
the furtive methods that were being employed, but the majority held
their peace. It can hardly be doubted, however, that the body of
delegates were practically unanimous in disapproving the secrecy of the
proceedings, and this disapproval was to be found even among the
delegations of the Great Powers. It was accepted by the lesser nations
because it seemed impolitic and useless to oppose the united will of the
controlling oligarchy. It was natural that the delegates of the less
influential states should feel that their countries would suffer in the
terms of peace if they openly denounced the treatment accorded them as
violative of the dignity of representatives of independent
sovereignties. In any event no formal protest was entered against their
being deprived of a knowledge to which they were entitled, a deprivation
which placed them and their countries in a subordinate, and, to an
extent, a humiliating, position.

The climax of this policy of secrecy toward the body of delegates came
on the eve of the delivery of the Treaty of Peace to the German
representatives who were awaiting that event at Versailles. By a
decision of the Council of the Heads of States, reached three weeks
before the time, only a digest or summary of the Treaty was laid before
the plenary session of the Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace on
the day preceding the delivery of the full text of the Treaty to the
Germans. The delegates of the smaller belligerent nations were not
permitted to examine the actual text of the document before it was seen
by their defeated adversaries. Nations, which had fought valiantly and
suffered agonies during the war, were treated with no more consideration
than their enemies so far as knowledge of the exact terms of peace were
concerned. The arguments, which could be urged on the ground of the
practical necessity of a small group dealing with the questions and
determining the settlements, seem insufficient to justify the
application of the rule of secrecy to the delegates who sat in the
Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace. It is not too severe to say
that it outraged the equal rights of independent and sovereign states
and under less critical conditions would have been resented as an insult
by the plenipotentiaries of the lesser nations. Even within the
delegations of the Great Powers there were indignant murmurings against
this indefensible and unheard-of treatment of allies. No man, whose mind
was not warped by prejudice or dominated by political expediency, could
give it his approval or become its apologist. Secrecy, and intrigues
which were only possible through secrecy, stained nearly all the
negotiations at Paris, but in this final act of withholding knowledge of
the actual text of the Treaty from the delegates of most of the nations
represented in the Conference the spirit of secretiveness seems to
have gone mad.

The psychological effects of secrecy on those who are kept in ignorance
are not difficult to analyze. They follow normal processes and may be
thus stated: Secrecy breeds suspicion; suspicion, doubt; doubt,
distrust; and distrust produces lack of frankness, which is closely akin
to secrecy. The result is a vicious circle, of which deceit and intrigue
are the very essence. Secrecy and its natural consequences have given to
diplomacy a popular reputation for trickery, for double-dealing, and in
a more or less degree for unscrupulous and dishonest methods of
obtaining desired ends, a reputation that has found expression in the
ironic definition of a diplomat as "an honest man sent to lie abroad for
the good of his country."

The time had arrived when the bad name which diplomacy had so long borne
could and should have been removed. "Open covenants openly arrived at"
appealed to the popular feeling of antipathy toward secret diplomacy, of
which the Great War was generally believed to be the product. The Paris
Conference appeared to offer an inviting opportunity to turn the page
and to begin a new and better chapter in the annals of international
intercourse. To do this required a fixed purpose to abandon the old
methods, to insist on openness and candor, to refuse to be drawn into
whispered agreements. The choice between the old and the new ways had to
be definite and final. It had to be made at the very beginning of the
negotiations. It was made. Secrecy was adopted. Thus diplomacy, in spite
of the announced intention to reform its practices, has retained the
evil taint which makes it out of harmony with the spirit of good faith
and of open dealing which is characteristic of the best thought of the
present epoch. There is little to show that diplomacy has been raised to
a higher plane or has won a better reputation in the world at large than
it possessed before the nations assembled at Paris to make peace. This
failure to lift the necessary agency of international relations out of
the rut worn deep by centuries of practice is one of the deplorable
consequences of the peace negotiations. So much might have been done;
nothing was done.



The Shantung Settlement was not so evidently chargeable to secret
negotiations as the crisis over the disposition of Fiume, but the
decision was finally reached through that method. The controversy
between Japan and China as to which country should become the possessor
of the former German property and rights in the Shantung Peninsula was
not decided until almost the last moment before the Treaty with Germany
was completed. Under pressure of the necessity of making the document
ready for delivery to the German delegates, President Wilson, M.
Clemenceau, and Mr. Lloyd George, composing the Council of the Heads of
States in the absence of Signor Orlando in Rome, issued an order
directing the Drafting Committee of the Conference to prepare articles
for the Treaty embodying the decision that the Council had made. This
decision, which was favorable to the Japanese claims, was the result of
a confidential arrangement with the Japanese delegates by which, in the
event of their claims being granted, they withdrew their threat to
decline to sign the Treaty of Peace, agreed not to insist on a proposed
amendment to the Covenant declaring for racial equality, and orally
promised to restore to China in the near future certain rights of
sovereignty over the territory, which promise failed of confirmation in
writing or by formal public declaration.

It is fair to presume that, if the conflicting claims of Japan and China
to the alleged rights of Germany in Chinese territory had been settled
upon the merits through the medium of an impartial commission named by
the Conference, the Treaty provisions relating to the disposition of
those rights would have been very different from those which "The Three"
ordered to be drafted. Before a commission of the Conference no
persuasive reasons for conceding the Japanese claims could have been
urged on the basis of an agreement on the part of Japan to adhere to the
League of Nations or to abandon the attempt to have included in the
Covenant a declaration of equality between races. It was only through
secret interviews and secret agreements that the threat of the Japanese
delegates could be successfully made. An adjustment on such a basis had
nothing to do with the justice of the case or with the legal rights and
principles involved. The threat was intended to coerce the arbiters of
the treaty terms by menacing the success of the plan to establish a
League of Nations--to use an ugly word, it was a species of "blackmail"
not unknown to international relations in the past. It was made possible
because the sessions of the Council of the Heads of States and the
conversations concerning Shantung were secret.

It was a calamity for the Republic of China and unfortunate for the
presumed justice written into the Treaty that President Wilson was
convinced that the Japanese delegates would decline to accept the
Covenant of the League of Nations if the claims of Japan to the German
rights were denied. It was equally unfortunate that the President felt
that without Japan's adherence to the Covenant the formation of the
League would be endangered if not actually prevented. And it was
especially unfortunate that the President considered the formation of
the League in accordance with the provisions of the Covenant to be
superior to every other consideration and that to accomplish this object
almost any sacrifice would be justifiable. It is my impression that the
departure of Signor Orlando and Baron Sonnino from Paris and the
uncertainty of their return to give formal assent to the Treaty with
Germany, an uncertainty which existed at the time of the decision of the
Shantung Question, had much to do with the anxiety of the President as
to Japan's attitude. He doubtless felt that to have two of the Five
Great Powers decline at the last moment to accept the Treaty containing
the Covenant would jeopardize the plan for a League and would greatly
encourage his opponents in the United States. His line of reasoning was
logical, but in my judgment was based on the false premise that the
Japanese would carry out their threat to refuse to accept the Treaty and
enter the League of Nations unless they obtained a cession of the German
rights. I did not believe at the time, and I do not believe now, that
Japan would have made good her threat. The superior international
position, which she held as one of the Five Great Powers in the
Conference, and which she would hold in the League of Nations as one of
the Principal Powers in the constitution of the Executive Council, would
never have been abandoned by the Tokio Government. The Japanese
delegates would not have run the risk of losing this position by
adopting the course pursued by the Italians.

The cases were different. No matter what action was taken by Italy she
would have continued to be a Great Power in any organization of the
world based on a classification of the nations. If she did not enter the
League under the German Treaty, she certainly would later and would
undoubtedly hold an influential position in the organization whether her
delegates signed the Covenant or accepted it in another treaty or by
adherence. It was not so with Japan. There were reasons to believe that,
if she failed to become one of the Principal Powers at the outset,
another opportunity might never be given her to obtain so high a place
in the concert of the nations. The seats that her delegates had in the
Council of Ten had caused criticism and dissatisfaction in certain
quarters, and the elimination of a Japanese from the Council of the
Heads of States showed that the Japanese position as an equal of the
other Great Powers was by no means secure. These indications of Japan's
place in the international oligarchy must have been evident to her
plenipotentiaries at Paris, who in all probability reported the
situation to Tokio. From the point of view of policy the execution of
the threat of withdrawal presented dangers to Japan's prestige which the
diplomats who represented her would never have incurred if they were as
cautious and shrewd as they appeared to be. The President did not hold
this opinion. We differed radically in our judgment as to the sincerity
of the Japanese threat. He showed that he believed it would be carried
out. I believed that it would not be.

It has not come to my knowledge what the attitude of the British and
French statesmen was concerning the disposition of the Shantung rights,
although I have read the views of certain authors on the subject, but I
do know that the actual decision lay with the President. If he had
declined to recognize the Japanese claims, they would never have been
granted nor would the grant have been written into the Treaty.
Everything goes to show that he realized this responsibility and that
the cession to Japan was not made through error or misconception of the
rights of the parties, but was done deliberately and with a full
appreciation that China was being denied that which in other
circumstances would have been awarded to her. If it had not been for
reasons wholly independent and outside of the question in dispute, the
President would not have decided as he did.

It is not my purpose to enter into the details of the origin of the
German lease of Kiao-Chau (the port of Tsingtau) and of the economic
concessions in the Province of Shantung acquired by Germany. Suffice it
to say that, taking advantage of a situation caused by the murder of
some missionary priests in the province, the German Government in 1898
forced the Chinese Government to make treaties granting for the period
of ninety-nine years the lease and concessions, by which the sovereign
authority over this "Holy Land" of China was to all intents ceded to
Germany, which at once improved the harbor, fortified the leased area,
and began railway construction and the exploitation of the Shantung

The outbreak of the World War found Germany in possession of the leased
area and in substantial control of the territory under the concession.
On August 15, 1914, the Japanese Government presented an _ultimatum_ to
the German Government, in which the latter was required "to deliver on a
date not later than September 15 to the Imperial Japanese authorities,
without condition or compensation, the entire leased territory of
Kiao-Chau with a view to the eventual restoration of the same to China."

On the German failure to comply with these demands the Japanese
Government landed troops and, in company with a small British
contingent, took possession of the leased port and occupied the
territory traversed by the German railway, even to the extent of
establishing a civil government in addition to garrisoning the line with
Japanese troops. Apparently the actual occupation of this Chinese
territory induced a change in the policy of the Imperial Government at
Tokio, for in December, 1914, Baron Kato, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, declared that the restoration of Tsingtau to China "is to be
settled in the future" and that the Japanese Government had made no
promises to do so.

This statement, which seemed in contradiction of the _ultimatum_ to
Germany, was made in the Japanese Diet. It was followed up in January,
1915, by the famous "Twenty-one Demands" made upon the Government at
Peking. It is needless to go into these demands further than to quote
the first to which China was to subscribe.

"The Chinese Government agrees that when the Japanese Government
hereafter approaches the German Government for the transfer of all
rights and privileges of whatsoever nature enjoyed by Germany in the
Province of Shantung, whether secured by treaty or in any other
manner, China shall give her full assent thereto."

The important point to be noted in this demand is that Japan did not
consider that the occupation of Kiao-Chau and the seizure of the German
concessions transferred title to her, but looked forward to a future
transfer by treaty.

The "Twenty-one Demands" were urged with persistency by the Japanese
Government and finally took the form of an _ultimatum_ as to all but
Group V of the "Demands." The Peking Government was in no political or
military condition to resist, and, in order to avoid an open rupture
with their aggressive neighbor, entered into a treaty granting the
Japanese demands.

China, following the action which the United States had taken on
February 3, 1917, severed diplomatic relations with Germany on March 14,
and five months later declared war against her announcing at the same
time that the treaties, conventions, and agreements between the two
countries were by the declaration abrogated. As to whether a state of
war does in fact abrogate a treaty of the character of the Sino-German
Treaty of 1898 some question may be raised under the accepted rules of
international law, on the ground that it was a cession of sovereign
rights and constituted an international servitude in favor of Germany
over the territory affected by it. But in this particular case the
indefensible duress employed by the German Government to compel China to
enter into the treaty introduces another factor into the problem and
excepts it from any general rule that treaties of that nature are merely
suspended and not abrogated by war between the parties. It would seem as
if no valid argument could be made in favor of suspension because the
effect of the rule would be to revive and perpetuate an inequitable and
unjustifiable act. Morally and legally the Chinese Government was right
in denouncing the treaty and agreements with Germany and in treating the
territorial rights acquired by coercion as extinguished.

It would appear, therefore, that, as the Japanese Government recognized
that the rights in the Province of Shantung had not passed to Japan by
the forcible occupation of Kiao-Chau and the German concessions, those
rights ceased to exist when China declared war against Germany, and that
China was, therefore, entitled to resume full sovereignty over the area
where such rights previously existed.

It is true that subsequently, on September 24, 1918, the Chinese and
Japanese Governments by exchange of notes at Tokio entered into
agreements affecting the Japanese occupation of the Kiao-Chau Tsinan
Railway and the adjoining territory, but the governmental situation at
Peking was too precarious to refuse any demands made by the Japanese
Government. In fact the action of the Japanese Government was very
similar to that of the German Government in 1898. An examination of
these notes discloses the fact that the Japanese were in possession of
the denounced German rights, but nothing in the notes indicates that
they were there as a matter of legal right, or that the Chinese
Government conceded their right of occupation.

This was the state of affairs when the Peace Conference assembled at
Paris. Germany had by force compelled China in 1898 to cede to her
certain rights in the Province of Shantung. Japan had seized these
rights by force in 1914 and had by threats forced China in 1915 to agree
to accept her disposition of them when they were legally transferred by
treaty at the end of the war. China in 1917 had, on entering the war
against Germany, denounced all treaties and agreements with Germany, so
that the ceded rights no longer existed and could not legally be
transferred by Germany to Japan by the Treaty of Peace, since the title
was in China. In fact any transfer or disposition of the rights in
Shantung formerly belonging to Germany was a transfer or disposition of
rights belonging wholly to China and would deprive that country of a
portion of its full sovereignty over the territory affected.

While this view of the extinguishment of the German rights in Shantung
was manifestly the just one and its adoption would make for the
preservation of permanent peace in the Far East, the Governments of the
Allied Powers had, early in 1917, and prior to the severance of
diplomatic relations between China and Germany, acceded to the request
of Japan to support, "on the occasion of the Peace Conference," her
claims in regard to these rights which then existed. The representatives
of Great Britain, France, and Italy at Paris were thus restricted, or at
least embarrassed, by the promises which their Governments had made at a
time when they were in no position to refuse Japan's request. They might
have stood on the legal ground that the Treaty of 1898 having been
abrogated by China no German rights in Shantung were in being at the
time of the Peace Conference, but they apparently were unwilling to take
that position. Possibly they assumed that the ground was one which they
could not take in view of the undertakings of their Governments; or
possibly they preferred to let the United States bear the brunt of
Japanese resentment for interfering with the ambitious schemes of the
Japanese Government in regard to China. There can be little doubt that
political, and possibly commercial, interests influenced the attitude of
the European Powers in regard to the Shantung Question.

President Wilson and the American Commissioners, unhampered by previous
commitments, were strongly opposed to acceding to the demands of the
Japanese Government. The subject had been frequently considered during
the early days of the negotiations and there seemed to be no divergence
of views as to the justice of the Chinese claim of right to the
resumption of full sovereignty over the territory affected by the lease
and the concessions to Germany. These views were further strengthened by
the presentation of the question before the Council of Ten. On January
27 the Japanese argued their case before the Council, the Chinese
delegates being present; and on the 28th Dr. V.K. Wellington Koo spoke
on behalf of China. In a note on the meeting I recorded that "he simply
overwhelmed the Japanese with his argument." I believe that that opinion
was common to all those who heard the two presentations. In fact it made
such an impression on the Japanese themselves, that one of the delegates
called upon me the following day and attempted to offset the effect by
declaring that the United States, since it had not promised to support
Japan's contention, would be blamed if Kiao-Chau was returned directly
to China. He added that there was intense feeling in Japan in regard to
the matter. It was an indirect threat of what would happen to the
friendly relations between the two countries if Japan's claim
was denied.

The sessions of the Commission on the League of Nations and the absence
of President Wilson from Paris interrupted further consideration of the
Shantung Question until the latter part of March, when the Council of
Four came into being. As the subject had been fully debated in January
before the Council of Ten, final decision lay with the Council of Four.
What discussions took place in the latter council I do not know on
account of the secrecy which was observed as to their deliberations. But
I presume that the President stood firmly for the Chinese rights, as the
matter remained undecided until the latter part of April.

On the 21st of April Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda called upon me in
regard to the question, and I frankly told them that they ought to prove
the justice of the Japanese claim, that they had not done it and that I
doubted their ability to do so. I found, too, that the President had
proposed that the Five Powers act as trustees of the former German
rights in Shantung, but that the Japanese delegates had declared that
they could not consent to the proposition, which was in the nature of a
compromise intended to bridge over the existing situation that, on
account of the near approach of the completion of the Treaty, was
becoming more and more acute.

On April 26 the President, at a conference with the American
Commissioners, showed deep concern over the existing state of the
controversy, and asked me to see the Japanese delegates again and
endeavor to dissuade them from insisting on their demands and to induce
them to consider the international trusteeship proposed. The evening of
the same day the two Japanese came by request to my office and conferred
with Professor E.T. Williams, the Commission's principal adviser on Far
Eastern affairs, and with me. After an hour's conversation Viscount
Chinda made it very clear that Japan intended to insist on her "pound of
flesh." It was apparent both to Mr. Williams and to me that nothing
could be done to obtain even a compromise, though it was on the face
favorable to Japan, since it recognized the existence of the German
rights, which China claimed were annulled.

On April 28 I gave a full report of the interview to Mr. White and
General Bliss at our regular morning meeting. Later in the morning the
President telephoned me and I informed him of the fixed determination of
the Japanese to insist upon their claims. What occurred between the time
of my conversation with the President and the plenary session of the
Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace in the afternoon, at which the
Covenant of the League of Nations was adopted, I do not actually know,
but the presumption is that the Japanese were promised a satisfactory
settlement in regard to Shantung, since they announced that they would
not press an amendment on "racial equality" at the session, an amendment
upon which they had indicated they intended to insist.

After the meeting of the Conference I made the following memorandum of
the situation:

"At the Plenary Session of the Peace Conference this afternoon Baron
Makino spoke of his proposed amendment to the Covenant declaring
'racial equality,' but said he would not press it.

"I concluded from what the President said to me that he was disposed
to accede to Japan's claims in regard to Kiao-Chau and Shantung. He
also showed me a letter from ---- to Makino saying he was sorry their
claims had not been finally settled before the Session.

"From all this I am forced to the conclusion that a bargain has been
struck by which the Japanese agree to sign the Covenant in exchange
for admission of their claims. If so, it is an iniquitous agreement.

"Apparently the President is going to do this to avoid Japan's
declining to enter the League of Nations. It is a surrender of the
principle of self-determination, a transfer of millions of Chinese
from one foreign master to another. This is another of those secret
arrangements which have riddled the 'Fourteen Points' and are
wrecking a just peace.

"In my opinion it would be better to let Japan stay out of the League
than to abandon China and surrender our prestige in the Far East for
'a mess of pottage'--and a mess it is. I fear that it is too late to
do anything to save the situation."

Mr. White, General Bliss, and I, at our meeting that morning before the
plenary session, and later when we conferred as to what had taken place
at the session, were unanimous in our opinions that China's rights
should be sustained even if Japan withdrew from the Peace Conference. We
were all indignant at the idea of submitting to the Japanese demands and
agreed that the President should be told of our attitude, because we
were unwilling to have it appear that we in any way approved of acceding
to Japan's claims or even of compromising them.

General Bliss volunteered to write the President a letter on the
subject, a course which Mr. White and I heartily endorsed.

The next morning the General read the following letter to us and with
our entire approval sent it to Mr. Wilson:

"_Hotel de Crillon, Paris_

"_April 29, 1919_


"Last Saturday morning you told the American Delegation that you
desired suggestions, although not at that moment, in regard to the
pending matter of certain conflicting claims between Japan and China
centering about the alleged German rights. My principal interest in
the matter is with sole reference to the question of the moral right
or wrong involved. From this point of view I discussed the matter
this morning with Mr. Lansing and Mr. White. They concurred with me
and requested me to draft a hasty note to you on the subject.

"Since your conference with us last Saturday, I have asked myself
three or four Socratic questions the answers to which make me,
personally, quite sure on which side the moral right lies.

"_First._ Japan bases certain of her claims on the right acquired by
conquest. I asked myself the following questions: Suppose Japan had
not succeeded in her efforts to force the capitulation of the Germans
at Tsing-Tsau; suppose that the armistice of November 11th had found
her still fighting the Germans at that place, just as the armistice
found the English still fighting the Germans in South-East Africa. We
would then oblige Germany to dispose of her claims in China by a
clause in the Treaty of Peace. Would it occur to any one that, as a
matter of right, we should force Germany to cede her claims to Japan
rather than to China? It seems to me that it would occur to every
American that we would then have the opportunity that we have long
desired to force Germany to correct, in favor of China, the great
wrong which she began to do to the latter in 1898. What moral right
has Japan acquired by her conquest of Shantung assisted by the
British? If Great Britain and Japan secured no moral right to
sovereignty over various savages inhabiting islands in the Pacific
Ocean, but, on the other hand, we held that these peoples shall be
governed by mandates under the League of Nations, what moral right
has Japan acquired to the suzerainty (which she would undoubtedly
eventually have) over 30,000,000 Chinese in the sacred province
of Shantung?

"_Second._ Japan must base her claims either on the Convention with
China or on the right of conquest, or on both. Let us consider her
moral right under either of these points.

"_a)_ If the United States has not before this recognized the
validity of the rights claimed by Japan under her Convention with
China, what has happened since the Armistice that would justify us in
recognizing their validity now?

"_b)_ If Germany had possessed territory, in full sovereignty, on the
east coast of Asia, a right to this territory, under international
law, could have been obtained by conquest. But Germany possessed no
such territory. What then was left for Japan to acquire by conquest?
Apparently nothing but a lease extorted under compulsion from China
by Germany. I understand that international lawyers hold that such a
lease, or the rights acquired, justly or unjustly, under it, cannot
be acquired by conquest.

"_Third._ Suppose Germany says to us, 'We will cede our lease and all
rights under it, but we will cede them back to China.' Will we
recognize the justice of Japan's claims to such an extent that we
will threaten Germany with further war unless she cedes these rights
to Japan rather than to China?

"Again, suppose that Germany, in her hopelessness of resistance to
our demands, should sign without question a clause ceding these
rights to Japan, even though we know that this is so wrong that we
would not fight in order to compel Germany to do it, what moral
justification would we have in making Germany do this?

"_Fourth._ Stripped of all words that befog the issue, would we not,
under the guise of making a treaty with Germany, really be making a
treaty with Japan by which we compel one of our Allies (China) to
cede against her will these things to Japan? Would not this action be
really more unjustifiable than the one which you have refused to be a
party to on the Dalmatian Coast? Because, in the latter case, the
territory in dispute did not belong to one of the Allies, but to one
of the Central Powers; the question in Dalmatia is as to which of two
friendly powers we shall give territory taken from an enemy power; in
China the question is, shall we take certain claimed rights from one
friendly power in order to give them to another friendly power.

"It would seem to be advisable to call particular attention to what
the Japanese mean when they say that they will return Kiao-chow to
China. They _do not_ offer to return the railway, the mines or the
port, i.e., Tsingtau. The leased territory included a portion of land
on the north-east side of the entrance of the Bay and another on the
south-west and some islands. It is a small territory. The 50
Kilometer Zone was not included. That was a _limitation_ put upon the
movement of German troops. They could not go beyond the boundary of
the zone. Within this zone China enjoyed all rights of sovereignty
and administration.

"Japan's proposal to abandon the zone is somewhat of an impertinence,
since she has violated it ever since she took possession. She kept
troops all along the railway line until recently and insists on
maintaining in the future a guard at Tsinan, 254 miles away. The zone
would restrict her military movements, consequently she gives it up.

"The proposals she makes are (1) to open the whole bay. It is from 15
to 20 miles from the entrance to the northern shore of the bay. (2)
To have a Japanese exclusive concession _at a-place_ to be designated
by her, i.e., she can take just as much as she likes of the territory
around the bay. It may be as large as the present leased territory,
but more likely it will include only the best part of Tsingtau. What
then does she give up? Nothing but such parts of the leased territory
as are of no value.

"The operation then would amount chiefly to an exchange of two pieces
of paper--one cancelling the lease for 78 years, the other granting a
more valuable concession which would amount to a permanent title to
the port. Why take two years to go through this operation?

"If it be right for a policeman, who recovers your purse, to keep the
contents and claim that he has fulfilled his duty in returning the
empty purse, then Japan's conduct may be tolerated.

"If it be right for Japan to annex the territory of an Ally, then it
cannot be wrong for Italy to retain Fiume taken from the enemy.

"If we support Japan's claim, we abandon the democracy of China to
the domination of the Prussianized militarism of Japan.

"We shall be sowing dragons' teeth.

"It can't be right to do wrong even to make peace. Peace is
desirable, but there are things dearer than peace, justice
and freedom.

"Sincerely yours



I have not discussed certain modifications proposed by the Japanese
delegates, since, as is clear from General Bliss's letter, they amounted
to nothing and were merely a pretense of concession and without
substantial value.

The day following the delivery of this letter to the President (April
30), by which he was fully advised of the attitude of General Bliss, Mr.
White, and myself in regard to the Japanese claims, the Council of Four
reached its final decision of the matter, in which necessarily Mr.
Wilson acquiesced. I learned of this decision the same evening. The
memorandum which I made the next morning in regard to the matter is
as follows:

"China has been abandoned to Japanese rapacity. A democratic
territory has been given over to an autocratic government. The
President has conceded to Japan all that, if not more than, she ever
hoped to obtain. This is the information contained in a memorandum
handed by Ray Stannard Baker under the President's direction to the
Chinese delegation last evening, a copy of which reached me through
Mr. ---- [of the Chinese delegation].

"Mr. ---- also said that Mr. Baker stated that the President desired
him to say that the President was very sorry that he had not been
able to do more for China but that he had been compelled to accede to
Japan's demand 'in order _to save the League of Nations._'

"The memorandum was most depressing. Though I had anticipated
something of the sort three days ago [see note of April 28 previously
quoted], I had unconsciously cherished a hope that the President
would stand to his guns and champion China's cause. He has failed to
do so. It is true that China is given the shell called 'sovereignty,'
but the economic control, the kernel, is turned over to Japan.

"However logical may appear the argument that China's political
integrity is preserved and will be maintained under the guaranty of
the League of Nations, the fact is that Japan will rule over millions
of Chinese. Furthermore it is still a matter of conjecture how
valuable the guaranty of the League will prove to be. It has, of
course, never been tried, and Japan's representation on the Council
will possibly thwart any international action in regard to China.

"Frankly my policy would have been to say to the Japanese, 'If you do
not give back to China what Germany stole from her, we don't want you
in the League of Nations.' If the Japanese had taken offense and
gone, I would have welcomed it, for we would have been well rid of a
government with such imperial designs. But she would not have gone.
She would have submitted. She has attained a high place in world
councils. Her astute statesmen would never have abandoned her present
exalted position even for the sake of Kiao-Chau. The whole affair
assumes a sordid and sinister character, in which the President,
acting undoubtedly with the best of motives, became the cat's-paw.

"I have no doubt that the President fully believed that the League of
Nations was in jeopardy and that to save it he was compelled to
subordinate every other consideration. The result was that China was
offered up as a sacrifice to propitiate the threatening Moloch of
Japan. When you get down to facts the threats were nothing
but 'bluff.'

"I do not think that anything that has happened here has caused more
severe or more outspoken criticism than this affair. I am heartsick
over it, because I see how much good-will and regard the President is
bound to lose. I can offer no adequate explanation to the critics.
There seems to be none."

It is manifest, from the foregoing recital of events leading up to the
decision in regard to the Shantung Question and the apparent reasons for
the President's agreement to support the Japanese claims, that we
radically differed as to the decision which was embodied in Articles
156, 157, and 158 of the Treaty of Versailles (see Appendix VI, p. 318).
I do not think that we held different opinions as to the justice of the
Chinese position, though probably the soundness of the legal argument in
favor of the extinguishment of the German rights appealed more strongly
to me than it did to Mr. Wilson. Our chief differences were, first, that
it was more important to insure the acceptance of the Covenant of the
League of Nations than to do strict justice to China; second, that the
Japanese withdrawal from the Conference would prevent the formation of
the League; and, third, that Japan would have withdrawn if her claims
had been denied. As to these differences our opposite views remained
unchanged after the Treaty of Versailles was signed.

When I was summoned before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on
August 6, 1919, I told the Committee that, in my opinion, the Japanese
signatures would have been affixed to the Treaty containing the Covenant
even though Shantung had not been delivered over to Japan, and that the
only reason that I had yielded was because it was my duty to follow the
decision of the President of the United States.

About two weeks later, August 19, the President had a conference at the
White House with the same Committee. In answer to questions regarding
the Shantung Settlement, Mr. Wilson said concerning my statement that
his judgment was different from mine, that in his judgment the
signatures could not have been obtained if he had not given Shantung to
Japan, and that he had been notified that the Japanese delegates had
been instructed not to sign the Treaty unless the cession of the German
rights in Shantung to Japan was included.

Presumably the opinion which Mr. Wilson held in the summer of 1919 he
continues to hold, and for my part my views and feelings remain the same
now as they were then, with possibly the difference that the indignation
and shame that I felt at the time in being in any way a participant in
robbing China of her just rights have increased rather than lessened.

So intense was the bitterness among the American Commissioners over the
flagrant wrong being perpetrated that, when the decision of the Council
of Four was known, some of them considered whether or not they ought to
resign or give notice that they would not sign the Treaty if the
articles concerning Shantung appeared. The presence at Versailles of the
German plenipotentiaries, the uncertainty of the return of the Italian
delegates then in Rome, and the murmurs of dissatisfaction among the
delegates of the lesser nations made the international situation
precarious. To have added to the serious conditions and to have possibly
precipitated a crisis by openly rebelling against the President was to
assume a responsibility which no Commissioner was willing to take. With
the greatest reluctance the American Commissioners submitted to the
decision of the Council of Four; and, when the Chinese delegates refused
to sign the Treaty after they had been denied the right to sign it with
reservations to the Shantung articles, the American Commissioners, who
had so strongly opposed the settlement, silently approved their conduct
as the only patriotic and statesmanlike course to take. So far as China
was concerned the Shantung Question remained open, and the Chinese
Government very properly refused, after the Treaty of Versailles was
signed, to enter into any negotiations with Japan looking toward its
settlement upon the basis of the treaty provisions.

There was one exception to the President's usual practice which is
especially noticeable in connection with the Shantung controversy, and
that was the greater participation which he permitted the members of the
American Commission in negotiating with both the Japanese and the
Chinese. It is true he did not disclose his intentions to the
Commissioners, but he did express a wish for their advice and he
directed me to confer with the Japanese and obtain their views. Just why
he adopted this course, for him unusual, I do not know unless he felt
that so far as the equity of China's claim was concerned we were all in
agreement, and if there was to be a departure from strict justice he
desired to have his colleagues suggest a way to do so. It is possible,
too, that he felt the question was in large measure a legal one, and
decided that the illegality of transferring the German rights to Japan
could be more successfully presented to the Japanese delegates by a
lawyer. In any event, in this particular case he adopted a course more
in accord with established custom and practice than he did in any other
of the many perplexing and difficult problems which he was called upon
to solve during the Paris negotiations, excepting of course the subjects
submitted to commissions of the Conference. As has been shown, Mr.
Wilson did not follow the advice of the three Commissioners given him in
General Bliss's letter, but that does not detract from the
noteworthiness of the fact that in the case of Shantung he sought advice
from his Commissioners.

This ends the account of the Shantung Settlement and the negotiations
which led up to it. The consequences were those which were bound to
follow so indefensible a decision as the one that was reached. Public
opinion in the United States was almost unanimous in condemning it and
in denouncing those responsible for so evident a departure from legal
justice and the principles of international morality. No plea of
expediency or of necessity excused such a flagrant denial of undoubted
right. The popular recognition that a great wrong had been done to a
nation weak because of political discord and an insufficient military
establishment, in order to win favor with a nation strong because of its
military power and national unity, had much to do with increasing the
hostility to the Treaty and preventing its acceptance by the Senate of
the United States. The whole affair furnishes another example of the
results of secret diplomacy, for the arguments which prevailed with the
President were those to which he listened when he sat in secret council
with M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George.



The foregoing chapters have related to subjects which were known to
President Wilson to be matters of difference between us while we were
together in Paris and which are presumably referred to in his letter of
February 11, 1920, extracts from which are quoted in the opening
chapter. The narration might be concluded with our difference of opinion
as to the Shantung Settlement, but in view of subsequent information
which the President received I am convinced that he felt that my
objections to his decisions in regard to the terms of the peace with
Germany extended further than he knew at the time, and that he resented
the fact that my mind did not go along with his as to these decisions.
This undoubtedly added to the reasons for his letter and possibly
influenced him to write as he did in February, 1920, even more than our
known divergence of judgment during the negotiations.

I do not feel, therefore, that the story is complete without at least a
brief reference to my views concerning the Treaty of Versailles at the
time of its delivery to the German delegates, which were imperfectly
disclosed in a statement made by William C. Bullitt on September 12,
1919, at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign
Relations. As to the conduct of Mr. Bullitt, who had held a responsible
position with the American Commission at Paris, in voluntarily repeating
a conversation which was from its nature highly confidential, I make
no comment.

The portion of the statement, which I have no doubt deeply incensed the
President because it was published while he was in the West making his
appeals to the people in behalf of the Treaty and especially of the
League of Nations, is as follows:

"Mr. Lansing said that he, too, considered many parts of the Treaty
thoroughly bad, particularly those dealing with Shantung and the
League of Nations. He said: 'I consider that the League of Nations at
present is entirely useless. The Great Powers have simply gone ahead
and arranged the world to suit themselves. England and France have
gotten out of the Treaty everything that they wanted, and the League
of Nations can do nothing to alter any of the unjust clauses of the
Treaty except by unanimous consent of the members of the League, and
the Great Powers will never give their consent to changes in the
interests of weaker peoples.'

"We then talked about the possibility of ratification by the Senate.
Mr. Lansing said: 'I believe that if the Senate could only understand
what this Treaty means, and if the American people could really
understand, it would unquestionably be defeated, but I wonder if they
will ever understand what it lets them in for.'" (Senate Doc. 106,
66th Congress, 1st Session, p. 1276.)

It does not seem an unwarranted conjecture that the President believed
that this statement, which was asserted by Mr. Bullitt to be from a
memorandum made at the time, indicated that I had been unfaithful to
him. He may even have concluded that I had been working against the
League of Nations with the intention of bringing about the rejection of
the Covenant by the Senate. If he did believe this, I cannot feel that
it was other than natural in the circumstances, especially if I did not
at once publicly deny the truth of the Bullitt statement. That I could
not do because there was sufficient truth in it to compel me to show
how, by slight variations and by omissions in the conversation, my words
were misunderstood or misinterpreted.

In view of the fact that I found it impossible to make an absolute
denial, I telegraphed the President stating the facts and offering to
make them public if he considered it wise to do so. The important part
of the telegram, which was dated September 16, 1919, is as follows:

"On May 17th Bullitt resigned by letter giving his reasons, with
which you are familiar. I replied by letter on the 18th without any
comment on his reasons. Bullitt on the 19th asked to see me to say
good-bye and I saw him. He elaborated on the reasons for his
resignation and said that he could not conscientiously give
countenance to a treaty which was based on injustice. I told him that
I would say nothing against his resigning since he put it on
conscientious grounds, and that I recognized that certain features of
the Treaty were bad, as I presumed most every one did, but that was
probably unavoidable in view of conflicting claims and that nothing
ought to be done to prevent the speedy restoration of peace by
signing the Treaty. Bullitt then discussed the numerous European
commissions provided for by the Treaty on which the United States was
to be represented. I told him that I was disturbed by this fact
because I was afraid the Senate and possibly the people, if they
understood this, would refuse ratification, and that anything which
was an obstacle to ratification was unfortunate because we ought to
have peace as soon as possible."

It is very easy to see how by making a record of one side of this
conversation without reference to the other side and by an omission here
and there, possibly unintentionally, the sense was altered. Thus Mr.
Bullitt, by repeating only a part of my words and by omitting the
context, entirely changed the meaning of what was said. My attitude was,
and I intended to show it at the time, that the Treaty should be signed
and ratified at the earliest possible moment because the restoration of
peace was paramount and that any provision in the Treaty which might
delay the peace, by making uncertain senatorial consent to ratification,
was to be deplored.

Having submitted to the President the question of making a public
explanation of my interview with Mr. Bullitt which would in a measure at
least correct the impression caused by his statement, I could not do so
until I received the President's approval. That was never received. The
telegram, which was sent to Mr. Wilson, through the Department of State,
was never answered. It was not even acknowledged. The consequence was
that the version of the conversation given by Mr. Bullitt was the only
one that up to the present time has been published.

The almost unavoidable conclusion from the President's silence is that
he considered my explanation was insufficient to destroy or even to
weaken materially the effect of Mr. Bullitt's account of what had taken
place, and that the public would believe in spite of it that I was
opposed to the Treaty and hostile to the League of Nations. I am not
disposed to blame the President for holding this opinion considering
what had taken place at Paris. From his point of view a statement, such
as I was willing to make, would in no way help the situation. I would
still be on record as opposed to certain provisions of the Treaty,
provisions which he was so earnestly defending in his addresses. While
Mr. Bullitt had given an incomplete report of our conversation, there
was sufficient truth in it to make anything but a flat denial seem of
little value to the President; and, as I could not make such a denial,
his point of view seemed to be that the damage was done and could not be
undone. I am inclined to think that he was right.

My views concerning the Treaty at the time of the conversation with Mr.
Bullitt are expressed in a memorandum of May 8, 1919, which is
as follows:

"The terms of peace were yesterday delivered to the German
plenipotentiaries, and for the first time in these days of feverish
rush of preparation there is time to consider the Treaty as a
complete document.

"The impression made by it is one of disappointment, of regret, and
of depression. The terms of peace appear immeasurably harsh and
humiliating, while many of them seem to me impossible of performance.

"The League of Nations created by the Treaty is relied upon to
preserve the artificial structure which has been erected by
compromise of the conflicting interests of the Great Powers and to
prevent the germination of the seeds of war which are sown in so many
articles and which under normal conditions would soon bear fruit. The
League might as well attempt to prevent the growth of plant life in a
tropical jungle. Wars will come sooner or later.

"It must be admitted in honesty that the League is an instrument of
the mighty to check the normal growth of national power and national
aspirations among those who have been rendered impotent by defeat.
Examine the Treaty and you will find peoples delivered against their
wills into the hands of those whom they hate, while their economic
resources are torn from them and given to others. Resentment and
bitterness, if not desperation, are bound to be the consequences of
such provisions. It may be years before these oppressed peoples are
able to throw off the yoke, but as sure as day follows night the time
will come when they will make the effort.

"This war was fought by the United States to destroy forever the
conditions which produced it. Those conditions have not been
destroyed. They have been supplanted by other conditions equally
productive of hatred, jealousy, and suspicion. In place of the Triple
Alliance and the Entente has arisen the Quintuple Alliance which is
to rule the world. The victors in this war intend to impose their
combined will upon the vanquished and to subordinate all interests to
their own.

"It is true that to please the aroused public opinion of mankind and
to respond to the idealism of the moralist they have surrounded the
new alliance with a halo and called it 'The League of Nations,' but
whatever it may be called or however it may be disguised it is an
alliance of the Five Great Military Powers.

"It is useless to close our eyes to the fact that the power to compel
obedience by the exercise of the united strength of 'The Five' is the
fundamental principle of the League. Justice is secondary. Might
is primary.

"The League as now constituted will be the prey of greed and
intrigue; and the law of unanimity in the Council, which may offer a
restraint, will be broken or render the organization powerless. It is
called upon to stamp as just what is unjust.

"We have a treaty of peace, but it will not bring permanent peace
because it is founded on the shifting sands of self-interest."

In the views thus expressed I was not alone. A few days after they were
written I was in London where I discussed the Treaty with several of the
leading British statesmen. I noted their opinions thus: "The consensus
was that the Treaty was unwise and unworkable, that it was conceived in
intrigue and fashioned in cupidity, and that it would produce rather
than prevent wars." One of these leaders of political thought in Great
Britain said that "the only apparent purpose of the League of Nations
seems to be to perpetuate the series of unjust provisions which were
being imposed."

The day following my return from London, which was on May 17, I received
Mr. Bullitt's letter of resignation and also letters from five of our
principal experts protesting against the terms of peace and stating that
they considered them to be an abandonment of the principles for which
Americans had fought. One of the officials, whose relations with the
President were of a most intimate nature, said that he was in a quandary
about resigning; that he did not think that the conditions in the Treaty
would make for peace because they were too oppressive; that the
obnoxious things in the Treaty were due to secret diplomacy; and that
the President should have stuck rigidly to his principles, which he had
not. This official was evidently deeply incensed, but in the end he did
not resign, nor did the five experts who sent letters, because they were
told that it would seriously cripple the American Commission in the
preparation of the Austrian Treaty if they did not continue to serve.
Another and more prominent adviser of the President felt very bitterly
over the terms of peace. In speaking of his disapproval of them he told
me that he had found the same feeling among the British in Paris, who
were disposed to blame the President since "they had counted upon him to
stand firmly by his principles and face down the intriguers."

It is needless to cite other instances indicating the general state of
mind among the Americans and British at Paris to show the views that
were being exchanged and the frank comments that were being made at the
time of my interview with Mr. Bullitt. In truth I said less to him in
criticism of the Treaty than I did to some others, but they have seen
fit to respect the confidential nature of our conversations.

It is not pertinent to the present subject to recite the events between
the delivery of the Treaty to the Germans on May 7 and its signature on
June 28. In spite of the dissatisfaction, which even went so far that
some of the delegates of the Great Powers threatened to decline to sign
the Treaty unless certain of its terms were modified, the supreme
necessity of restoring peace as soon as possible overcame all obstacles.
It was the appreciation of this supreme necessity which caused many
Americans to urge consent to ratification when the Treaty was laid
before the Senate.

My own position was paradoxical. I was opposed to the Treaty, but signed
it and favored its ratification. The explanation is this: Convinced
after conversations with the President in July and August, 1919, that he
would not consent to any effective reservations, the politic course
seemed to be to endeavor to secure ratification without reservations. It
appeared to be the only possible way of obtaining that for which all the
world longed and which in the months succeeding the signature appeared
absolutely essential to prevent the widespread disaster resulting from
political and economic chaos which seemed to threaten many nations if
not civilization itself. Even if the Treaty was bad in certain
provisions, so long as the President remained inflexible and insistent,
its ratification without change seemed a duty to humanity. At least that
was my conviction in the summer and autumn of 1919, and I am not yet
satisfied that it was erroneous. My views after January, 1920, are not
pertinent to the subject under consideration. The consequences of the
failure to ratify promptly the Treaty of Versailles are still uncertain.
They may be more serious or they may be less serious than they appeared
in 1919. Time alone will disclose the truth and fix the responsibility
for what occurred after the Treaty of Versailles was laid before the
Senate of the United States.


The narration of my relations to the peace negotiations as one of the
American Commissioners to the Paris Conference, which has been confined
within the limits laid down in the opening chapter of this volume,
concludes with the recital of the views which I held concerning the
terms of the Treaty of Peace with Germany and which were brought to the
attention of Mr. Wilson through the press reports of William C.
Bullitt's statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on
September 12, 1919.

The endeavor has been to present, as fully as possible in the
circumstances, a review of my association with President Wilson in
connection with the negotiations at Paris setting forth our differences
of opinion and divergence of judgment upon the subjects coming before
the Peace Conference, the conduct of the proceedings, and the terms of
peace imposed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles.

It is evident from this review that, from a time prior to Mr. Wilson's
departure from the United States on December 4, 1918, to attend the
Peace Conference up to the delivery of the text of the Treaty to the
German plenipotentiaries on May 7, 1919, there were many subjects of
disagreement between the President and myself; that he was disposed to
reject or ignore the advice and suggestions which I volunteered; and
that in consequence of my convictions I followed his guidance and obeyed
his instructions unwillingly.

While there were other matters of friction between us they were of a
personal nature and of minor importance. Though they may have
contributed to the formality of our relations they played no real part
in the increasing difficulty of the situation. The matters narrated
were, in my opinion, the principal causes for the letters written by
President Wilson in February, 1920; at least they seem sufficient to
explain the origin of the correspondence, while the causes specifically
stated by him--my calling together of the heads of the executive
departments for consultation during his illness and my attempts to
anticipate his judgment--are insufficient.

The reasons given in the President's letter of February 11, the
essential portions of which have been quoted, for stating that my
resignation as Secretary of State would be acceptable to him, are the
embarrassment caused him by my "reluctance and divergence of judgment"
and the implication that my mind did not "willingly go along" with his.
As neither of these reasons applies to the calling of Cabinet meetings
or to the anticipation of his judgment in regard to foreign affairs, the
unavoidable conclusion is that these grounds of complaint were not the
real causes leading up to the severance of our official association.

The real causes--which are the only ones worthy of consideration--are to
be found in the record of the relations between President Wilson and
myself in connection with the peace negotiations. Upon that record must
rest the justification or the refutation of Mr. Wilson's implied charge
that I was not entirely loyal to him as President and that I failed to
perform my full duty to my country as Secretary of State and as a
Commissioner to Negotiate Peace by opposing the way in which he
exercised his constitutional authority to conduct the foreign affairs of
the United States.





In order to secure peace, security, and orderly government by the
prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations, by
the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the
actual rule of conduct among governments, and by the maintenance of
justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the
dealings of organized peoples with one another, the Powers signatory to
this covenant and agreement jointly and severally adopt this
constitution of the League of Nations.


The action of the Signatory Powers under the terms of this agreement
shall be effected through the instrumentality of a Body of Delegates
which shall consist of the ambassadors and ministers of the contracting
Powers accredited to H. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of H. The
meetings of the Body of Delegates shall be held at the seat of
government of H. and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of H. shall be the
presiding officer of the Body.

Whenever the Delegates deem it necessary or advisable, they may meet
temporarily at the seat of government of B. or of S., in which case the
Ambassador or Minister to H. of the country in which the meeting is held
shall be the presiding officer _pro tempore_.

It shall be the privilege of any of the contracting Powers to assist its
representative in the Body of Delegates by any method of conference,
counsel, or advice that may seem best to it, and also to substitute upon
occasion a special representative for its regular diplomatic
representative accredited to H.


The Body of Delegates shall regulate their own procedure and shall have
power to appoint such committees as they may deem necessary to inquire
into and report upon any matters that lie within the field of
their action.

It shall be the right of the Body of Delegates, upon the initiative of
any member, to discuss, either publicly or privately as it may deem
best, any matter lying within the jurisdiction of the League of Nations
as defined in this Covenant, or any matter likely to affect the peace of
the world; but all actions of the Body of Delegates taken in the
exercise of the functions and powers granted to them under this Covenant
shall be first formulated and agreed upon by an Executive Council, which
shall act either by reference or upon its own initiative and which shall
consist of the representatives of the Great Powers together with
representatives drawn in annual rotation from two panels, one of which
shall be made up of the representatives of the States ranking next after
the Great Powers and the other of the representatives of the minor
States (a classification which the Body of Delegates shall itself
establish and may from time to time alter), such a number being drawn
from these panels as will be but one less than the representatives of
the Great Powers; and three or more negative votes in the Council shall
operate as a veto upon any action or resolution proposed.

All resolutions passed or actions taken by the Body of Delegates upon
the recommendation of the Executive Council, except those adopted in
execution of any direct powers herein granted to the Body of Delegates
themselves, shall have the effect of recommendations to the several
governments of the League.

The Executive Council shall appoint a permanent Secretariat and staff
and may appoint joint committees chosen from the Body of Delegates or
consisting of specially qualified persons outside of that Body, for the
study and systematic consideration of the international questions with
which the Council may have to deal, or of questions likely to lead to
international complications or disputes. It shall also take the
necessary steps to establish and maintain proper liaison both with the
foreign offices of the signatory powers and with any governments or
agencies which may be acting as mandatories of the League of Nations in
any part of the world.


The Contracting Powers unite in guaranteeing to each other political
independence and territorial integrity; but it is understood between
them that such territorial readjustments, if any, as may in the future
become necessary by reason of changes in present racial conditions and
aspirations or present social and political relationships, pursuant to
the principle of self-determination, and also such territorial
readjustments as may in the judgment of three fourths of the Delegates
be demanded by the welfare and manifest interest of the peoples
concerned, may be effected if agreeable to those peoples; and that
territorial changes may in equity involve material compensation. The
Contracting Powers accept without reservation the principle that the
peace of the world is superior in importance to every question of
political jurisdiction or boundary.


The Contracting Powers recognize the principle that the establishment
and maintenance of peace will require the reduction of national
armaments to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety and the
enforcement by common action of international obligations; and the
Delegates are directed to formulate at once plans by which such a
reduction may be brought about. The plan so formulated shall be binding
when, and only when, unanimously approved by the Governments signatory
to this Covenant.

As the basis for such a reduction of armaments, all the Powers
subscribing to the Treaty of Peace of which this Covenant constitutes a
part hereby agree to abolish conscription and all other forms of
compulsory military service, and also agree that their future forces of
defence and of international action shall consist of militia or
volunteers, whose numbers and methods of training shall be fixed, after
expert inquiry, by the agreements with regard to the reduction of
armaments referred to in the last preceding paragraph.

The Body of Delegates shall also determine for the consideration and
action of the several governments what direct military equipment and
armament is fair and reasonable in proportion to the scale of forces
laid down in the programme of disarmament; and these limits, when
adopted, shall not be exceeded without the permission of the Body of

The Contracting Powers further agree that munitions and implements of
war shall not be manufactured by private enterprise or for private
profit, and that there shall be full and frank publicity as to all
national armaments and military or naval programmes.


The Contracting Powers jointly and severally agree that, should disputes
or difficulties arise between or among them which cannot be
satisfactorily settled or adjusted by the ordinary processes of
diplomacy, they will in no case resort to armed force without previously
submitting the questions and matters involved either to arbitration or
to inquiry by the Executive Council of the Body of Delegates or until
there has been an award by the arbitrators or a decision by the
Executive Council; and that they will not even then resort to armed
force as against a member of the League of Nations who complies with the
award of the arbitrators or the decision of the Executive Council.

The Powers signatory to this Covenant undertake and agree that whenever
any dispute or difficulty shall arise between or among them with regard
to any questions of the law of nations, with regard to the
interpretation of a treaty, as to any fact which would, if established,
constitute a breach of international obligation, or as to any alleged
damage and the nature and measure of the reparation to be made therefor,
if such dispute or difficulty cannot be satisfactorily settled by the
ordinary processes of negotiation, to submit the whole subject-matter to
arbitration and to carry out in full good faith any award or decision
that may be rendered.

In case of arbitration, the matter or matters at issue shall be referred
to three arbitrators, one of the three to be selected by each of the
parties to the dispute, when there are but two such parties, and the
third by the two thus selected. When there are more than two parties to
the dispute, one arbitrator shall be named by each of the several
parties, and the arbitrators thus named shall add to their number others
of their own choice, the number thus added to be limited to the number
which will suffice to give a deciding voice to the arbitrators thus
added in case of a tie vote among the arbitrators chosen by the
contending parties. In case the arbitrators chosen by the contending
parties cannot agree upon an additional arbitrator or arbitrators, the
additional arbitrator or arbitrators shall be chosen by the Body of

On the appeal of a party to the dispute the decision of the arbitrators
may be set aside by a vote of three-fourths of the Delegates, in case
the decision of the arbitrators was unanimous, or by a vote of
two-thirds of the Delegates in case the decision of the arbitrators was
not unanimous, but unless thus set aside shall be finally binding and

When any decision of arbitrators shall have been thus set aside, the
dispute shall again be submitted to arbitrators chosen as heretofore
provided, none of whom shall, however, have previously acted as
arbitrators in the dispute in question, and the decision of the
arbitrators rendered in this second arbitration shall be finally binding
and conclusive without right of appeal.

If for any reason it should prove impracticable to refer any matter in
dispute to arbitration, the parties to the dispute shall apply to the
Executive Council to take the matter under consideration for such
mediatory action or recommendation as it may deem wise in the
circumstances. The Council shall immediately accept the reference and
give notice to the other party or parties, and shall make the necessary
arrangements for a full hearing, investigation, and consideration. It
shall ascertain all the facts involved in the dispute and shall make
such recommendations as it may deem wise and practicable based on the
merits of the controversy and calculated to secure a just and lasting
settlement. Other members of the League shall place at the disposal of
the Executive Council any and all information that may be in their
possession which in any way bears upon the facts or merits of the
controversy; and the Executive Council shall do everything in its power
by way of mediation or conciliation to bring about a peaceful
settlement. The decisions of the Executive Council shall be addressed to
the disputants, and shall not have the force of a binding verdict.
Should the Executive Council fail to arrive at any conclusion, it shall
be the privilege of the members of the Executive Council to publish
their several conclusions or recommendations; and such publications
shall not be regarded as an unfriendly act by either or any of the


Should any contracting Power break or disregard its covenants under
ARTICLE V, it shall thereby _ipso facto_ commit an act of war with all
the members of the League, which shall immediately subject it to a
complete economic and financial boycott, including the severance of all
trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between
their subjects and the subjects of the covenant-breaking State, and the
prevention, so far as possible, of all financial, commercial, or
personal intercourse between the subjects of the covenant-breaking State
and the subjects of any other State, whether a member of the League of
Nations or not.

It shall be the privilege and duty of the Executive Council of the Body
of Delegates in such a case to recommend what effective military or
naval force the members of the League of Nations shall severally
contribute, and to advise, if it should think best, that the smaller
members of the League be excused from making any contribution to the
armed forces to be used against the covenant-breaking State.

The covenant-breaking State shall, after the restoration of peace, be
subject to perpetual disarmament and to the regulations with regard to a
peace establishment provided for new States under the terms of


If any Power shall declare war or begin hostilities, or take any hostile
step short of war, against another Power before submitting the dispute
involved to arbitrators or consideration by the Executive Council as
herein provided, or shall declare war or begin hostilities, or take any
hostile step short of war, in regard to any dispute which has been
decided adversely to it by arbitrators chosen and empowered as herein
provided, the Contracting Powers hereby bind themselves not only to
cease all commerce and intercourse with that Power but also to unite in
blockading and closing the frontiers of that Power to commerce or
intercourse with any part of the world and to use any force that may be
necessary to accomplish that object.


Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the
Contracting Powers or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the
League of Nations and to all the Powers signatory hereto, and those
Powers hereby reserve the right to take any action that may be deemed
wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations.

It is hereby also declared and agreed to be the friendly right of each
of the nations signatory or adherent to this Covenant to draw the
attention of the Body of Delegates to any circumstances anywhere which
threaten to disturb international peace or the good understanding
between nations upon which peace depends.

The Delegates shall meet in the interest of peace whenever war is
rumored or threatened, and also whenever the Delegate of any Power shall
inform the Delegates that a meeting and conference in the interest of
peace is advisable.

The Delegates may also meet at such other times and upon such other
occasions as they shall from time to time deem best and determine.


In the event of a dispute arising between one of the Contracting Powers
and a Power not a party to this Covenant, the Contracting Power involved
hereby binds itself to endeavour to obtain the submission of the dispute
to judicial decision or to arbitration. If the other Power will not
agree to submit the dispute to judicial decision or to arbitration, the
Contracting Power shall bring the matter to the attention of the Body of
Delegates. The Delegates shall in such a case, in the name of the League
of Nations, invite the Power not a party to this Covenant to become _ad
hoc_ a party and to submit its case to judicial decision or to
arbitration, and if that Power consents it is hereby agreed that the
provisions hereinbefore contained and applicable to the submission of
disputes to arbitration or discussion shall be in all respects
applicable to the dispute both in favour of and against such Power as if
it were a party to this Covenant.

In case the Power not a party to this Covenant shall not accept the
invitation of the Delegates to become _ad hoc_ a party, it shall be the
duty of the Executive Council immediately to institute an inquiry into
the circumstances and merits of the dispute involved and to recommend
such joint action by the Contracting Powers as may seem best and most
effectual in the circumstances disclosed.


If hostilities should be begun or any hostile action taken against the
Contracting Power by the Power not a party to this Covenant before a
decision of the dispute by arbitrators or before investigation, report
and recommendation by the Executive Council in regard to the dispute, or
contrary to such recommendation, the Contracting Powers shall thereupon
cease all commerce and communication with that Power and shall also
unite in blockading and closing the frontiers of that Power to all
commerce or intercourse with any part of the world, employing jointly
any force that may be necessary to accomplish that object. The
Contracting Powers shall also unite in coming to the assistance of the
Contracting Power against which hostile action has been taken, combining
their armed forces in its behalf.


In case of a dispute between states not parties to this Covenant, any
Contracting Power may bring the matter to the attention of the
Delegates, who shall thereupon tender the good offices of the League of
Nations with a view to the peaceable settlement of the dispute.

If one of the states, a party to the dispute, shall offer and agree to
submit its interests and causes of action wholly to the control and
decision of the League of Nations, that state shall _ad hoc_ be deemed a
Contracting Power. If no one of the states, parties to the dispute,
shall so offer and agree, the Delegates shall, through the Executive
Council, of their own motion take such action and make such
recommendation to their governments as will prevent hostilities and
result in the settlement of the dispute.


Any Power not a party to this Covenant, whose government is based upon
the principle of popular self-government, may apply to the Body of
Delegates for leave to become a party. If the Delegates shall regard the
granting thereof as likely to promote the peace, order, and security of
the World, they may act favourably on the application, and their
favourable action shall operate to constitute the Power so applying in
all respects a full signatory party to this Covenant. This action shall
require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Delegates.


The Contracting Powers severally agree that the present Covenant and
Convention is accepted as abrogating all treaty obligations _inter se_
which are inconsistent with the terms hereof, and solemnly engage that
they will not enter into any engagements inconsistent with the
terms hereof.

In case any of the Powers signatory hereto or subsequently admitted to
the League of Nations shall, before becoming a party to this Covenant,
have undertaken any treaty obligations which are inconsistent with the
terms of this Covenant, it shall be the duty of such Power to take
immediate steps to procure its release from such obligations.



In respect of the peoples and territories which formerly belonged to
Austria-Hungary, and to Turkey, and in respect of the colonies formerly
under the dominion of the German Empire, the League of Nations shall be
regarded as the residuary trustee with sovereign right of ultimate
disposal or of continued administration in accordance with certain
fundamental principles hereinafter set forth; and this reversion and
control shall exclude all rights or privileges of annexation on the part
of any Power.

These principles are, that there shall in no case be any annexation of
any of these territories by any State either within the League or
outside of it, and that in the future government of these peoples and
territories the rule of self-determination, or the consent of the
governed to their form of government, shall be fairly and reasonably
applied, and all policies of administration or economic development be
based primarily upon the well-considered interests of the people


Any authority, control, or administration which may be necessary in
respect of these peoples or territories other than their own
self-determined and self-organized autonomy shall be the exclusive
function of and shall be vested in the League of Nations and exercised
or undertaken by or on behalf of it.

It shall be lawful for the League of Nations to delegate its authority,
control, or administration of any such people or territory to some
single State or organized agency which it may designate and appoint as
its agent or mandatory; but whenever or wherever possible or feasible
the agent or mandatory so appointed shall be nominated or approved by
the autonomous people or territory.


The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by
the mandatary State or agency shall in each case be explicitly defined
by the League in a special Act or Charter which shall reserve to the
League complete power of supervision and of intimate control, and which
shall also reserve to the people of any such territory or governmental
unit the right to appeal to the League for the redress or correction of
any breach of the mandate by the mandatary State or agency or for the
substitution of some other State or agency, as mandatary.

The mandatary State or agency shall in all cases be bound and required
to maintain the policy of the open door, or equal opportunity for all
the signatories to this Covenant, in respect of the use and development
of the economic resources of such people or territory.

The mandatary State or agency shall in no case form or maintain any
military or naval force in excess of definite standards laid down by the
League itself for the purposes of internal police.


No new State arising or created from the old Empires of Austria-Hungary,
or Turkey shall be recognized by the League or admitted into its
membership except on condition that its military and naval forces and
armaments shall conform to standards prescribed by the League in respect
of it from time to time.

As successor to the Empires, the League of Nations is empowered,
directly and without right of delegation, to watch over the relations
_inter se_ of all new independent States arising or created out of the
Empires, and shall assume and fulfill the duty of conciliating and
composing differences between them with a view to the maintenance of
settled order and the general peace.


The Powers signatory or adherent to this Covenant agree that they will
themselves seek to establish and maintain fair hours and humane
conditions of labour for all those within their several jurisdictions
who are engaged in manual labour and that they will exert their
influence in favour of the adoption and maintenance of a similar policy
and like safeguards wherever their industrial and commercial
relations extend.


The League of Nations shall require all new States to bind themselves as
a condition precedent to their recognition as independent or autonomous
States, to accord to all racial or national minorities within their
several jurisdictions exactly the same treatment and security, both in
law and in fact, that is accorded the racial or national majority of
their people.



(_Plan of Lord Robert Cecil_[1])



The general treaty setting up the league of nations will explicitly
provide for regular conferences between the responsible representatives
of the contracting powers.

These conferences would review the general conditions of international
relations and would naturally pay special attention to any difficulty
which might seem to threaten the peace of the world. They would also
receive and as occasion demanded discuss reports as to the work of any
international administrative or investigating bodies working under
the League.

These conferences would constitute the pivot of the league. They would
be meetings of statesmen responsible to their own sovereign parliaments,
and any decisions taken would therefore, as in the case of the various
allied conferences during the war, have to be unanimous.

The following form of organization is suggested:

I. _The conference_. Annual meeting of prime ministers and foreign
secretaries of British Empire, United States, France, Italy, Japan, and
any other States recognized by them as great powers. Quadrennial meeting
of representatives of all States included in the league. There should
also be provision for the summoning of special conferences on the demand
of any one of the great powers or, if there were danger of an outbreak
of war, of any member of the league. (The composition of the league will
be determined at the peace conference. Definitely untrustworthy and
hostile States, e.g., Russia, should the Bolshevist government remain in
power, should be excluded. Otherwise it is desirable not to be too rigid
in scrutinizing qualifications, since the small powers will in any case
not exercise any considerable influence.)

2. For the conduct of its work the interstate conference will require a
permanent secretariat. The general secretary should be appointed by the
great powers, if possible choosing a national of some other country.

3. _International bodies_. The secretariat would be the responsible
channel of communication between the interstate conference and all
international bodies functioning under treaties guaranteed by the
league. These would fall into three classes:

_(a)_ Judicial; i.e., the existing Hague organization with any additions
or modifications made by the league.

_(b)_ International administrative bodies. Such as the suggested transit
commission. To these would be added bodies already formed under existing
treaties (which are very numerous and deal with very important
interests, e.g., postal union, international labor office, etc.).

_(c)_ International commissions of enquiry: e.g., commission on industrial
conditions (labor legislation), African commission, armaments

4. In addition to the above arrangements guaranteed by or arising out of
the general treaty, there would probably be a periodical congress of
delegates of the parliaments of the States belonging to the league, as a
development out of the existing Interparliamentary Union. A regular
staple of discussion for this body would be afforded by the reports of
the interstate conference and of the different international bodies. The
congress would thus cover the ground that is at present occupied by the
periodical Hague Conference and also the ground claimed by the Socialist

For the efficient conduct of all these activities it is essential that
there should be a permanent central meeting-place, where the officials
and officers of the league would enjoy the privileges of
extra-territoriality. Geneva is suggested as the most suitable place.



The covenants for the prevention of war which would be embodied in the
general treaty would be as follows:

(1) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war
until they had submitted the questions at issue to an international
conference or an arbitral court, and until the conference or court had
issued a report or handed down an award.

(2) The members of the league would bind themselves not to go to war
with any member of the league complying with the award of a court or
with the report of a conference. For the purpose of this clause, the
report of the conference must be unanimous, excluding the litigants.

(3) The members of the league would undertake to regard themselves, as
_ipso facto_, at war with any one of them acting contrary to the above
covenants, and to take, jointly and severally, appropriate military,
economic and other measure against the recalcitrant State.

(4) The members of the league would bind themselves to take similar
action, in the sense of the above clause, against any State not being a
member of the league which is involved in a dispute with a member of
the league.

(This is a stronger provision than that proposed in the Phillimore

The above covenants mark an advance upon the practice of international
relations previous to the war in two respects: (i) In insuring a
necessary period of delay before war can break out (except between two
States which are neither of them members of the league); (2) In securing
public discussion and probably a public report upon matters in dispute.

It should be observed that even in cases where the conference report is
not unanimous, and therefore in no sense binding, a majority report may
be issued and that this would be likely to carry weight with the public
opinion of the States in the league.




The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the
Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant and also such
of those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without
reservation to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a
Declaration deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the
coming into force of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all
other Members of the League.

Any fully self-governing State, Dominion, or Colony not named in the
Annex may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by
two thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective
guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international
obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by
the League in regard to its military, naval and air forces and

Any Member of the League may, after two years' notice of its intention
so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international
obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been
fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.


The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through
the instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent


The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the

The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as
occasion may require at the Seat of the League or at such other place as
may be decided upon.

The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere
of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.

At meetings of the Assembly each Member of the League shall have one
vote, and may have not more than three Representatives.


The Council shall consist of Representatives of the Principal Allied and
Associated Powers, together with Representatives of four other Members
of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the
Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of
the Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by
the Assembly, Representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Spain, and Greece
shall be members of the Council.

With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name
additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be
members of the Council; the Council with like approval may increase the
number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for
representation on the Council.

The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at
least once a year, at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as
may be decided upon.

The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere
of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.

Any Member of the League not represented on the Council shall be invited
to send a Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the
Council during the consideration of matters specially affecting the
interests of that Member of the League.

At meetings of the Council, each Member of the League represented on the
Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one


Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant or by the
terms of the present Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or
of the Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the
League represented at the meeting.

All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council,
including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular
matters, shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council and may be
decided by a majority of the Members of the League represented at
the meeting.

The first meeting of the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council
shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.


The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the Seat of the
League. The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary General and such
secretaries and staff as may be required.

The first Secretary General shall be the person named in the Annex;
thereafter the Secretary General shall be appointed by the Council with
the approval of the majority of the Assembly.

The secretaries and staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the
Secretary General with the approval of the Council.


Back to Full Books