TWENTY-FIVE years ago the first international Peace Conference met at The Hague, having been called by the Czar as a "happy presage for the century about to open." Its chief accomplishment was the 1899 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, in which twenty-five states recognized the "solidarity which unites the members of the society of civilized nations" and undertook "to use their best efforts to insure the pacific settlement of international differences." A procedure for such settlement was elaborated, but at that time no state was willing to agree to resort to it before going to war.
That was a quarter of a century ago. Today we seem a century removed from the first Hague Conference. A first step was taken at the second Hague Conference in 1907, when the delegates of forty-four states "admitted the principle of compulsory arbitration." But the effort to outlaw war was only begun when in 1919 the Covenant of the League of Nations, now accepted by fifty-five peoples, pronounced "any war or threat of war" to be "a matter of concern to the whole League," and bound each member of the League to refrain from going to war without first submitting its dispute to "arbitration or to inquiry by the Council."
For various reasons, however, this large advance over the work of the Hague Conferences has not been deemed adequate. The disappointment of the hopes engendered by the tripartite arrangement for the defense of France which was drawn up at the Paris Peace Conference, the non-inclusion of Germany, Russia, and the United States in the League, and the troubled polity which followed the war, all combined to prevent the Covenant from producing an adequate sense of security. At each stage of the efforts made in the League of Nations to cope with the problem of disarmament, this psychology of insecurity was encountered, until latterly it has been recognized that the existing state of armaments is more the effect than the cause of international tension.
By 1922 the
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