Essays for the Presidency
A Century's Worth of Candidates and Their Advisers Make Their Cases
Rebooting Republican Foreign Policy
Needed: Less Fox, More Foxes
Getting the GOP's Groove Back
How to Bridge the Republican Foreign Policy Divide
The Clinton Legacy
How Will History Judge the Soft-Power Secretary of State?
Renewing American Leadership
Rising to a New Generation of Global Challenges
Reengaging With the World
A Return to Moral Leadership
Toward a Realistic Peace
Defending Civilization and Defeating Terrorists by Making the International System Work
Security and Opportunity for the Twenty-first Century
An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom
Securing America's Future
A New Realism
A Realistic and Principled Foreign Policy
America's Priorities in the War on Terror
Islamists, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan
Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?
A Strategy of Partnerships
Foreign Policy for a Democratic President
Campaign 2000: Promoting the National Interest
Campaign 2000: A Republican Foreign Policy
Campaign 2000: New World, New Deal: A Democratic Approach to Globalization
A Republican Looks at Foreign Policy
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
America's First Post-Cold War President
A Republican Looks at Foreign Policy
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
The 1988 Election: U.S. Foreign Policy at a Watershed
American Foreign Policy: The Bush Agenda
The 1988 Election
Foreign Policy and the American Character
After the Election: Foreign Policy Under Reagan II
The First Term: From Carter to Reagan
The First Term: Four More Years: Diplomacy Restored?
The First Term: The Reagan Road to Détente
Beyond Détente: Toward International Economic Security
For a New Policy Balance
The End of Either/Or
Asia After Viet Nam
Policy and the People
The Presidency and the Peace
Two Years of the Peace Corps
U.S. Policy in Latin America
A Democrat Looks at Foreign Policy
Putting First Things First
A Democratic View
The Senate in Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy in Presidential Campaigns
Korea in Perspective
November 1952: Imperatives of Foreign Policy
The Challenge to Americans
The Foreign Policy of the American Communist Party
The Promise of Human Rights
Our Sovereignty: Shall We Use It?
European Legislation for Industrial Peace
Labor Under the Nazis
The Permanent Bases of American Foreign Policy
Political Factors in American Foreign Policy
Some Foreign Problems of the Next Administration
Our Foreign Policy
A Republican View
Our Foreign Policy
A Democratic View
The Senate and Our Foreign Relations
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1921-1924
American Foreign Policy: a Democratic View
American Foreign Policy: a Republican View
American Foreign Policy: a Progressive View
After the Election
PARTLY for political and partly for other purposes, the allegation has constantly been made that during the past three years nothing has been done by the United States in the great field of international relations. The endeavor has been to make this assertion about our abstention from foreign questions a common-place. Politically it was intended by the Democrats to reflect upon the party in power as having no policy and doing nothing, and also to cover up and conceal their own well-grounded fear of having the old issue of the League of Nations pressed into the field of party conflict. The other purpose which it served was to sustain the proposition that, because we were not members of the League of Nations and were not entangled in European affairs, therefore we were incapacitated from taking part in any international questions at all, and that the one solution for all the difficulties was that we should join the League of Nations and immerse ourselves in the quarrels of Europe.
These amiable purposes, political and international, overlooked two points. One was that there was a rather considerable field of international questions and international activities outside of Europe—not as important, perhaps, as Europe, but including Asia, Africa, and the two Americas, which, however inconsiderable in comparison with Europe, nevertheless had some questions of their own which were of a world interest. In the Far East, in China, and the Pacific Islands results of great practical importance have been achieved, while in South America the diplomacy of the United States has been correspondingly active. The allegation of inactivity also overlooked the more immediate fact that in the general field of foreign relations the United States during these three years had been unusually effective and successful. I have no intention of discussing the much-argued question of the League of Nations, but it seems to me perhaps not inappropriate at this moment, in view of these assertions, to state briefly what has actually been done by the United States in the international field. A comparison with past years, I think, will show that, excepting those brief periods when the United States was engaged in making peace after a war, there never has been a period when the United States has been more active and its influence more felt internationally than between 1921 and 1924. That what has been done by us in foreign relations should not have been suitably noticed or adequately understood is natural enough, because foreign affairs are apt to be pushed aside, even since the Great War, by domestic questions which occupy the public mind, just as the public attention has been during the past winter entirely absorbed by the bill to reduce taxation, the bonus, and the investigations. This fact, however, does not deprive questions affecting our international relations of either their consequence or their lasting interest.
Beginning with March, 1921, we find that we settled our differences with Colombia, which had existed from the time when we took over the Isthmus of Panama. We secured from Colombia the recognition of the Republic of Panama, a matter of much importance to the situation existing between those two countries, which more or less affected both South America and the United States, and thus the treaty ended the difficulties which had surrounded our relations with Colombia.
We have also made a formal peace with Germany and with what remains of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Actually, war had ceased with the Armistice, but the technical state of war continued until these treaties were made, and a technical state of war is never a wholesome condition of international relations. The making of the formal peace, therefore, with the two countries with which we had been at war, had a stabilizing effect on the general European situation and upon the financial conditions of the world. These two treaties were also in a high degree favorable in their terms to the United States. We not only made peace, but Germany assented to the payment of American claims against the German Empire and both countries agreed that we should be at liberty to take advantage of any provision in the treaty of Versailles which we thought beneficial to us, if we desired to do so.
Then came the Conference summoned by President Harding at Washington. Congress passed a resolution introduced by Senator Borah requesting the President to enter into negotiations with Great Britain and Japan in regard to the reduction of naval armaments, but the President, who was already considering the subject, very wisely extended the scope of the Conference to questions arising in the Far East, including especially China and the islands of the Pacific. The Conference met on the 12th of November, 1921. It was in session nearly three months, made six treaties, and passed a number of resolutions, chiefly for the benefit of China.
The most important of these treaties was that known as the Four-Power Treaty between the United States, Great Britain, France, and Japan. It related to the Pacific Islands controlled by those four Powers. It provided that they should respect each other's rights in the islands and that if controversies arose they should be the subject of conference and consideration before any action was taken. The last clause provided for what was by far the most important result of the treaty, the termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance when the Four-Power Treaty was ratified by all the signatories, which has now taken place. This treaty is in no sense an alliance. It does not bind any Power to do more than discuss the controversial questions, whether arising from controversies among themselves or from the interference of some outside Power. This is all the treaty says and all it intends; but as some suggestion was made that under Article II, referring to the interference of other Powers, it might be possible that we should find ourselves in some way morally bound, the Senate added a reservation, as follows:
"The United States understands that under the statement in the preamble or under the terms of this treaty there is no commitment to armed force, no alliance, no obligation to join in any defense."
In the opinion of the makers of the treaty the reservation was not necessary, because in their judgment that was the clear meaning of the treaty in any event and the signers did not believe it could be twisted into any other meaning. There can be no doubt, however, that the termination of the menacing Anglo-Japanese Alliance was of the utmost importance to the future peace of the world.
The Four-Power Treaty and the Supplementary Treaty, defining the islands included in its provisions, constituted two of the treaties made by the Conference. This was the most important part of the work of the Conference in its effects and made possible the agreement between the five Naval Powers, the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, as to the reduction of naval armaments. Within the limits of a necessarily brief account of the work of the Conference, it is impossible to go into the details of this very complicated naval treaty, but it is sufficient to say here that it reduced largely the number of capital ships for each nation. It stopped any further building of capital ships, except for replacement, and limited the calibre of the guns to be used and the tonnage of the vessels. In this way not only are large reductions made and the burden of naval armaments correspondingly decreased, but naval competition in guns and tonnage is brought to an end. The naval treaty also contained an agreement not to fortify the islands of the Pacific, with certain enumerated exceptions. Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice, a strong supporter of the League, in an article which appeared in the Contemporary Review of May, 1923, says: "The one effective step which has been taken in the past few years towards the reduction of armaments has been the Washington Conference, with which the League of Nations had no concern, and by which a material diminution in the standing navies of the principal naval Powers was obtained and a limit was put to the costly process of competitive shipbuilding."
I am far from suggesting that this is all that ought to be accomplished in the way of international disarmament, which is the only kind of disarmament that is possible or even to be considered. Much remains to be done. The objection of France to the limitation on submarines prevented the Conference from agreeing to any reduction in regard to submarines or auxiliary vessels, although we limited the tonnage of the latter and the calibre of guns which could be carried by any ships of war not capital ships. The great merit of the Conference was that it did not simply talk about disarmament but actually accomplished specific results which were agreed to by the three great maritime Powers and also by Italy and France.
In conjunction with the naval treaty was a treaty limiting the use of submarines and prohibiting their employment for the destruction of merchant vessels. The five maritime Powers present joined in the declaration that any commander of a submarine sinking a merchant vessel in disregard of the rules of international law, which were recited, should be held to be a pirate and subject to the consequent personal punishment awarded by all nations to the crime of piracy. In this treaty also was contained a clause inviting all nations to join in the prohibition of poisonous gases in war.
Two Chinese treaties completed the number of six, which represented the total work of the Conference. One of these treaties arranged for a new tariff for China, calculated to give her a much larger revenue than she now is enabled to derive from that source, and the other was an agreement among the signatory powers to recognize China's political and territorial integrity and was otherwise devoted to the maintenance of the open door and the prevention of the acquisition of special rights by any of the signers. In addition, the Conference passed several resolutions, as has already been said, which will be very beneficial to the liberation of China and the establishment there of a strong and generally recognized free government. This was a service to the general peace of the world of real moment. We have had no international agreement which has practically accomplished as much for the peace of the world as the work of the Conference which met at Washington, although it applies only to the Far East and to the islands of the Pacific. These treaties have been ratified by all the nations present, nine in number.
There were also some important treaties, not made by the signatory powers of the Conference but growing out of the Conference, which were quite as valuable as those which the members of the Conference signed themselves. One was the treaty between Japan and China which was due to the good offices of the United States and Great Britain and by the terms of which Japan withdrew from Shantung and thus wiped out the unfortunate agreement in regard to that province which appeared in the treaty of Versailles. Another treaty was that between the United States and Japan which settled the questions in regard to cables, growing out of the possession of the Island of Yap and the Japanese mandate for the former German islands in the Pacific north of the Equator. These two treaties, each having only two signatories, have been not only ratified but ratifications have been exchanged. They are now in effect and the Japanese troops have been withdrawn from Shantung.
In completion of the work of the Conference, the Lansing-Ishii Agreement, which had been the cause of very grave disputes and was a very threatening feature as well as a stumbling block in the situation in the Far East, was cancelled by the exchange of notes between Mr. Hughes and Mr. Hanihara, now Ambassador of Japan to the United States.
After the conclusion of the Conference and the ratification by the Senate of the treaties made by the members of the Conference in the spring of 1922, came the meeting of the representatives of Chile and Peru in Washington brought about by the good offices of the United States and under the very able management of Secretary Hughes. They reached an agreement which it is believed will put an end to that long-standing difference between these two important nations on the West Coast of South America. This has been comparatively little noticed perhaps in this country, except by persons who closely follow our foreign relations, but there have been few negotiations affecting South America which have had a greater importance than this agreement which has thus been completed between Chile and Peru. The arbitration commission agreed to by the Conference of May 15, 1922, is at this moment meeting in Washington to hear the arguments and reach a conclusion as to the settlement of this long-standing and dangerous dispute.
In December, 1922, by the influence of the United States, a conference was held in Washington to negotiate a treaty making effective the provisions of the treaties of 1907 in the interest of better relations and of cooperation among the Central American States—Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Salvador. It is to be hoped that this renewal of the policy of Mr. Root will be successful, for some unification among these Central American states is of serious importance to the peace of that region.
On August 10, 1922, supplementary to the Treaty with Germany, a convention was signed for the settlement of the claims against the German Empire, claims which had arisen before the United States entered the war in 1917. This was important for restoring good relations with Germany, because the existence of these claims unsettled has been a constant source of irritation.
Before adjournment in March, 1923, moreover, we came to an agreement with Great Britain as to the settlement of the British debt to the United States. It is not necessary here to enter into the financial details of that agreement, but no more important international agreement has been made than that which settled the British debt and thereby removed one of the most dangerous features of the war so far as the relations of Great Britain and the United States were concerned. It was also a step toward the general settlement of all war debts.
When Congress met last December they found a large number of treaties which had been made during the long recess and which were then submitted to the Senate. Since the Senate met in December, 1923, there have come before it some twenty-nine treaties, including the treaty with Cuba to determine the title to the Isle of Pines, which has been pending for nearly twenty years, and the message of the President sent in a year ago in regard to the adhesion of the United States to the protocol of the League, with reservations by which the United States would accept the Permanent Court of International Justice established by the League, and which is still pending. There have been twenty treaties ratified by the Senate since Congress met in December. Many of the treaties which have thus been ratified were routine agreements, such as the renewal of the Root treaties of 1907, which must be renewed every five years. Among them, however, were several of a general and much more important character which have a direct bearing on the international relations of the United States upon the largest scale, and all of which tend to aid in the promotion of peace and the stabilization of conditions among the nations of the earth, especially the great maritime and trading nations.
It will be remembered that in the Treaty of Versailles the colonies and other possessions of Germany which were taken from Germany under that treaty were given absolutely to the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers; that is, to the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. To those five nations passed the title to all the German possessions outside of Europe. I think all the European transfers were made by special items in the Treaty. This of course gave to each of those five nations an undivided fifth of the German possessions. The United States neither sought nor desired to take any of the possessions or territories thus surrendered by Germany, but the title of the United States to an undivided one-fifth of those possessions of course remained. Although the United States did not desire to reduce to possession this undivided one-fifth interest, it became necessary, after these territories or colonies had been assigned to any of the other four Powers holding the remaining four-fifths, that the rights of the United States and all the privileges already held by the United States by treaty should be recognized and renewed by the mandatory Powers—the recipients of the remaining four-fifths. To carry out this purpose were made the treaties of the United States with Japan in regard to the Island of Yap and the other islands of the Pacific which had been taken from Germany and assigned to Japan. This treaty in regard to the Island of Yap and the other islands assigned to Japan was made, as has been said, at the time of the Washington Conference. To France had been assigned large parts of Togoland and the Cameroons on the West Coast of Africa, and to Belgium a valuable portion of the former German colony of East Africa. These three treaties preserved to the United States all the rights acquired by any of the mandatories, with certain other provisions peculiar to the United States. The agreements thus protected all the trading and other rights of the United States and were of much importance in settling questions of this character which grew out of the mandates under the Treaty of Versailles. These three treaties have all been ratified by the Senate during the past winter.
Another treaty of very great importance which was sent to the Senate in January and which has been recently ratified by the Senate is that known as the "Treaty with Great Britain to aid in the prevention of the smuggling of intoxicating liquors into the United States." The enforcement of the legislation made necessary by the Eighteenth Amendment produced a condition in regard to the smuggling of liquors which required immediate attention, because this enforcement involved the seizure and search of vessels operated under the British flag. It is a matter of general knowledge that there is no subject upon which all nations are more sensitive, and justly so, than any exercise of authority by a foreign power which interferes with shipping and the privileges of the flag. Such enforcement was sure to give rise to many troublesome and very possibly to some dangerous questions. To remedy this most undesirable situation, this treaty with Great Britain in regard to the smuggling of liquors was made. Under the treaty which has been adopted the right is given to the United States, within certain prescribed limits beyond the territorial three-mile limit, to search and seize vessels, as to which, in the opinion of the United States Government, there is reason to believe that infraction of the law of the United States in regard to intoxicating liquors has occurred or is occurring, or that such infraction is planned and intended. In return, the United States agrees that intoxicating liquors brought in a British steamship for its own use and not to be landed or used in the United States may be carried under seal and not be liable to any penalty or forfeiture. This is the solution of questions which are both delicate and difficult, and it is believed that similar treaties will soon be made between the United States and other countries possessing vessels engaged in trade with the United States.
There is one other treaty which has just been ratified by the Senate, to which little attention has been paid but which is of a very large importance. At the International Conference of American States on May 3, 1923, the delegates of the United States and of the other States present, signed a treaty to prevent conflicts between the American States. Its first article provided as follows:
"All controversies which for any cause whatsoever may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties and which it has been impossible to settle through diplomatic channels, or to submit to arbitration in accordance with existing treaties, shall be submitted for investigation and report to a Commission to be established in the manner provided for in Article IV. The High Contracting Parties undertake, in case of disputes, not to begin mobilization or concentration of troops on the frontier of the other Party, nor to engage in any hostile acts or preparations for hostilities, from the time steps are taken to convene the Commission until the said Commission has rendered its report or until the expiration of the time provided for in Article VII."
This is a very important agreement for the promotion and maintenance of the peace of the world on the American continents. Sixteen of the American states signed this treaty at Santiago, including the United States, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico have not yet joined, but it is open to them to adhere to the treaty. This treaty, simple as it is—for there is nothing new in the idea of a commission to meet and report, thereby bringing a delay of a year before warlike steps may be taken in any controversy—is a real and effective provision for the exclusion of war from North and South America. One reason for its meeting with a large measure of success among the American states is because it has not attempted too much, but it is an excellent example of the practical work that has been done by the United States for the promotion of world peace.
I have said that Mexico has not signed this treaty, but the present Administration has done a work of very conspicuous merit in regard to the relations of the United States and Mexico. From the time of Mr. Taft's Administration, Mexico had been in a condition of almost constant conflict, and frequently of mere anarchy, until General Obregon came into power. It has been the policy of the United States during the last three years to endeavor to bring this unhappy condition to an end and we have declined to recognize the Obregon Administration until certain rights and claims of the United States had been fully and sufficiently recognized and provided for. In the autumn of 1923 two commissioners, Colonel Warren, of Michigan, and Mr. John Barton Payne, Secretary of the Interior in Mr. Wilson's Cabinet, went as Commissioners to Mexico and settled the outstanding questions, so that we have now recognized Mexico and two of the claims conventions have been signed and ratified by the Senate during the past winter. This is not only of value to the world's peace, where Mexico has been for many years a disturbing element, but it is also of most immediate value to the United States.
I have thus, briefly and quite imperfectly, as I am aware, described the actual work in foreign relations as carried on by the United States with very efficient results, which are both large and important, since 1921. This brief recital of what has been actually accomplished is also of some interest as showing the general activities of the United States in the broad field of our foreign relations. It may likewise throw some light upon some of the cant phrases which are used in debate of any kind. Cant phrases are often of high political efficiency, but they are never an argument, any more than an emotion is a thought. For example, there is the now familiar word "jingo." The history of the word is quite curious. The word itself is a very old English word, an ancient expletive or oath, in use at least as early as the reign of Elizabeth. It came into general vogue in 1877-80 at the time of the Beaconsfield administration, when there was the question of war in the East with Russia. The music-halls then had a song of which one stanza is still well remembered:
"We don't want to fight, but by jingo, if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money, too."
The word "jingo" gradually was extended from this meaning until it came into common use as an expression calculated to discredit anybody who was not at a given moment, or generally and at all times, a pacifist. I remember well its general employment at the time of the war with Spain for the liberation of Cuba. The term was later applied as a form of obloquy to all who advocated a sufficient navy, and finally it was fastened on those who, when the Great War began, pleaded with their countrymen for preparation on the part of the United States if forced to enter the war, which even then darkened the whole world with its evil shadow. When we look back at that terrible time and think what our refusal to make any preparation cost this country in lives and treasure, we can see how vast an injury an utterly misleading epithet may sometimes cause.
In the same way, those who favor our taking part in European politics and wish the United States to become an integral part of the European political system, use the word "isolationist" in order to discredit those who differ with them. There is no such thing as an "isolationist," of course, in the United States, and there never has been, because "isolationist," if strictly interpreted, means naturally that those to whom it is applied believe that the United States should pursue a policy of isolation and separate itself from the doings and interests and affairs of the rest of the world. I repeat, there is no such thing as an "isolationist" in the United States and there never has been, and the United States has never been isolated. The rest of the world could not isolate us and we have never done it or thought of doing it ourselves. Indeed it may be doubted if there are any people in the world today who can possibly be termed "isolationists" except perhaps the Thibetans, and we are very unlike the Thibetans. There was a long period after the Civil War when there was very little interest in foreign affairs in the United States, because the people were absorbed in developing the country and pushing to the westward their peaceful conquest of the continent which was theirs. But this is a very different thing from a policy or a principle. We have, however, a better test even than this. Let us see exactly what this "isolated" country has done in connection with international affairs and in the field of diplomacy.
From 1789 to 1923, the Senate has given its advice and consent to 582 treaties, conventions, and agreements which are or have been in force.[i] In this list are not included treaties approved by the Senate but which have not come into force owing to the failure of the other signatories to ratify; nor treaties approved by the Senate with amendments which have failed of ratification by the President; nor postal conventions, which are negotiated by the Postmaster General by and with the advice and consent of the President; nor the numerous international agreements made by the President through an exchange of notes. Only eleven treaties in 136 years have been rejected by the Senate. This does not include those treaties, few in number, on which no action has been taken by the Senate and most of which have been withdrawn. Since the first refusal of the Senate to give its advice and consent to the Treaty of Versailles on November 19, 1919, the United States has entered into forty-five international treaties, conventions, and agreements, all requiring the consent of the Senate. To say, in the presence of these statistics, that the United States is "isolated" would seem to be more picturesque than veracious. The United States is also, as this list shows, not only perfectly ready but anxious to do its part in advancing the peace of the world and promoting in every way the security of mankind against the horrors of war. It also indicates, if we compare what has been done by the United States alone in actual substantive agreements, and not merely in an output of excellent words and fine language, that the United States in acting with complete independence can be more helpful to the world than in any other way.
Not much attention is paid to what is done in the great field of international relations by the United States. What the United States has accomplished, with the exception of the Washington Conference, has taken but little of the valuable and otherwise occupied space of the newspapers. For instance, not long ago, Mr. Norman Davis' settlement of the Memel question was widely advertised.
My first knowledge of this word "Memel" came to me when I was a small boy of nine reading or rather devouring the Waverley Novels. In one of the most famous, in "Guy Mannering"—which I have read I cannot say how many times since—is the passage about Dirk Hatteraick who suddenly breaks his silence before the Court, when the measurements of his footprints at the Warroch Head are presented, and says: "How could there be a foot-mark on the ground, when it was a frost as hard as the heart of a Memel log?" I did not know what or where Memel was nor why the logs of Memel were so hard, but the strange name for some reason touched my imagination and has always remained held fast by memory. Time brought but slight addition of knowledge to the boyish memory, nothing beyond the fact that Memel was a seaport town of the Baltic coast and in East Prussia. Then came the Treaty of Versailles and Memel passed into the possession of the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers with a controversy attached and just now settled by Mr. Davis for the League of Nations. Memel is a seaport in a region where ports are scarce. The town has a population of 32,000 people and still exports logs "no doubt with hard hearts."
Now, without any infringement of Dogberry's warning against "comparisons," but merely to show the work of the United States in international matters, let me allude briefly to the contemporaneous case of Mexico. Mexico, where the United States has just effected a settlement which it is to be hoped may endure, is in natural resources one of the richest countries in the world. It has 15 million people and an overseas trade of large value in the world's commerce. It has an area of 767,000 square miles, larger than that of Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Ireland, and France, the areas of which combined are 643,000 square miles. I do not mean for a moment to suggest that the settlement which we have made with Mexico and the consequent recognition is of equal importance, or that Mexico is to be compared with Memel, but it would appear that the arrangement with Mexico, difficult as that country is for the purposes of any permanent arrangement, has thus far fared better than the Memel agreement, for if recent despatches are correct, the Memel agreement has been protested against by Poland, while Lithuania, the other principal party to the controversy, is very discontented with it.
That illustrates what I mean when I speak of the substantive work of the United States in foreign affairs. We did not for instance talk about disarmament. We are well aware that we did not effect all that could be effected, but our efforts toward international disarmament were real and the limitations on calibres of guns and the size of ships were not confined to mere language. We brought about and carried through the Washington Conference wholly outside the League, and our detachment from the quarrels of Europe made it possible for us to do it.
I have ventured to make this brief enumeration of what the Government of the United States has been doing during the past three years for only one reason, and that is a very simple one. All reflecting men and women who think not only about the welfare of the world but about its future are agreed as to the horrors of war and the vital necessity of doing everything we can to prevent the recurrence of wars. The differences of opinion that have arisen are really, if we analyze them coolly, merely differences of method. The United States, as I have shown, has never been isolated, never can be isolated, and has no desire to be isolated. The people of the United States are not only ready but willing and desirous to help their fellow-men, especially those of western civilization, in any way that is possible. The great majority of the people of the United States, as has been indicated by the election of 1920, are of opinion that the League of Nations is not the best way to do it; that the League leads to involving the United States in Europe. Many most worthy and excellent people find in the League the only possible solution of the present difficulties of the world. The Colonial spirit is not wholly dead and there seem to be people who cannot yet believe that the United States in world affairs can go alone and effect any results. The habit of the Colonial mind still clings to them. When it comes to foreign affairs they think of the days when if there was war in Europe "black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of North America." They forget that since the American Revolution the people of the United States have built up the greatest power in the world unaided and alone with no help from Europe and with few kind words. They forget that the United States only seven years ago went to the rescue of freedom and civilization in Europe of their own motion, unbound by any obligations. They need to be reminded that the United States has grown up and can be helpful to mankind, now as in the past, in its own good time and way.
It seems to me that the United States can best serve the world, first, by preserving its own strength and the fabric of its civilization, which is the great bulwark at the present moment between the civilized world and anarchy, and help humanity most fully by being detached from the European system and giving and helping independently, freely and in their own fashion. Rome was not built in a day and it will take a long time wholly to prevent wars. We must be content to advance step by step. America and Europe are entirely different. All the conditions and situations are different. The people of the United States live in a new country, that is, I mean new to western civilization. They came here to get rid of Europe, many of them; some to worship God in their own way and carry on their governments in their own way. They were freed from the long warhabit of Europe. They have a neighbor to the north, a kindred race, whose prosperity is almost as much cherished by the people of the United States as their own. Europe has the inheritance of conflict and wars—wars which have gone on for many centuries. We cannot understand the feeling that those wars and hatreds have engendered. As the generations have succeeded each other in the United States all those old feelings for good or ill which exist in Europe have passed away. We are outside Europe and for that very reason if we keep our own independence and do not entangle ourselves with the difficulties and quarrels which Europe understands and which we do not understand, we can be of more service to the peace and welfare of the world, it seems to me, than in any other way.
Let the League, which was made in Europe and belongs to Europe, go on there and prosper. We wish it well, but let us, refraining from permanent alliances against which Washington warned us, go on in our own way and try disinterestedly and without taint of foreign influences to help Europe and the affairs of Europe in every possible way, the way to be determined by us. Let us make it our policy that what we shall do and when we shall do it shall be determined by us, who sought neither land, nor money, nor reparations at the end of the war. In the diplomatic history of the United States during these past three years I think we have good and practical evidence of the soundness of this doctrine.
[i] Prior to the first session of the Senate in 1789 eleven treaties were made at different dates (beginning with the Treaty of Alliance with France) between the United States and Great Britain, France and the Netherlands.