All the Tsar’s Men
Why Mobilization Can’t Save Putin’s War
I. THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY
THE April number of FOREIGN AFFAIRS was conspicuous for an exhibition of telepathy, given in its first and second articles. This was very appropriate, as international relations often depend not so much on knowledge, experience and wise maxims as on temporary psychological conditions caused by accident, by oratory, by confused impulses and by craft, against the effects of which statesmen should ever safeguard their countries by avoiding the nebulous commitments and legal uncertainties that so readily contribute to senseless and destructive wars.
The first article, written by Mr. Stimson, lately Secretary of State, says in substance that certain measures adopted since the so-called World War, chief among which are the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Kellogg Pact, prove the existence of a new psychology, a new will to peace such as the world has never known before; and this, in spite of the daily demonstration throughout the world of a frenzied state of mind rampantly manifested in armed hostilities and in a spirit of intolerance such as is rarely seen.
The second article, written by Professor Taussig, of Harvard, treats of changes which he deems to be necessary in our commercial policy in order that we may bear our proper part in promoting the world's peace and prosperity as well as our own. This article tells us that our tariffs ever since 1909 have dealt with foreign countries "simply and solely on the penalty basis -- the threat basis, or, if you please, the holding up of a club;" that they "offered nothing in the way of concession;" that the crowning demonstration of what may be called our emergence from "isolation" and our moral regeneration and will to peace -- the Tariff Act of 1930 -- put into the hands of the President the still stronger weapon of the complete exclusion of the products of any country that was conceived to discriminate against us; and that, while flourishing the club with ever-increasing violence, we changed our traditional interpretation and application of the most-favored-nation clause in such a manner as to breed "friction, animosity, commercial warfare," particularly among our allies in the late war, and especially with "our nearest neighbor, our best customer," Canada. This sentence of condemnation is the more impressive because it is accompanied with a confession by Professor Taussig of error and change of heart on his own part in certain particulars, and with the declaration that we should now "turn from economic threat and economic war to friendly offer and friendly intercourse." Accepting these statements just as they are made, I forbear to debate certain economic questions which they naturally raise, but will at once proceed to consider the nature of the proof of humanity's alleged rebirth.
Nothing could more convincingly betray the fustian texture of the new psychology and will to peace than the circumstance that among its postulates there is not one which is not contrary to palpable realities, to the teachings of history, and to the formulation, in universal legal principles, of the results of all human experience.
Fortunately, we are able to diagnose the supposedly new state of mind with unusual exactness. It is scientifically traced back to the radical change in human nature which, first manifested in calling the World War a "war to end war," led to the formation of the League of Nations. The League, it is said, has not only prevented war but has "developed, particularly among the nations of Europe, a community of spirit which can be evoked to prevent war." But this was only the first lurch. It was nine years later, we are assured, in 1928, that there was taken the "still more sweeping step," the culminant leap, in the signing of the "Pact of Paris," vicariously known as the Kellogg or Kellogg-Briand Pact, to which sixty-two nations are now parties.
Before this Pact, we are told, international law had largely been "a development of principles based upon the existence of war" and its "legality;" while the law of neutrality imposed upon neutrals the duty not only "to maintain impartiality" between the belligerents but even to refrain from passing "moral judgment" on the rightfulness or wrongfulness of the cause of either party, "at least to the extent of translating such a judgment into action." Such is the scant presentment of that unlovely and suddenly obsolete thing known as international law, with its immoral element of neutrality that is now to be transmuted into war in the interest of peace.
But this is only a modest beginning. We are assured that the Kellogg Pact showed a change in "world public opinion toward former customs and doctrines" so revolutionary that many have not been able to grasp it; a "revolution in human thought born of the consciousness that unless some such step was taken modern civilization might be doomed;" a revolution so radical that "war has become illegal throughout practically the entire world." In consequence, war, it is said, is "no longer to be the source and subject of rights;" its very existence "makes one or both parties wrongdoers, to be denounced as lawbreakers;" and that so "many legal precedents" have in consequence been rendered "obsolete" as to impose "on the legal profession the task of reëxamining codes and treatises." The Kellogg Pact would, indeed, seem to have overturned almost everything except the Versailles Treaty, which, with the gyroscopic aid of the League of Nations, has continued to ride on an even keel. But, even this proud ship may be facing a compulsory change of course, as Signor Mussolini, holding aloft the Pact as his sextant, is demanding a reckoning. Under all the circumstances, it is no wonder that any cold analysis of what the Pact really is should be deprecated as an attempt to reduce it to a mere gesture and to destroy the faith of the world in efforts for peace. We are therefore properly expected to be content with the information that "the only limitation" to the Pact's "broad covenant" against war is "the right of self-defense" -- a right, it is declared, "so inherent and universal that it was not deemed necessary even to insert it expressly in the treaty." But, lest some doubting Thomas might suggest that an "inherent and universal" limitation might prove to be troublesome if not nullifying, we are summarily assured that it "does not weaken the treaty," since the "limits" of the limitation "have been clearly defined by countless precedents." Unsatisfied readers of this assurance have been trying to conjecture what these precedents may be.
But of the exposition of the radical and revolutionary nature of the Kellogg Pact something more yet remains to be told. The Covenant of the League of Nations is associated in the public mind probably more with its proposed "sanctions" than with anything else; and this is, I venture to think, unfortunate. The Covenant provides for "arbitration," for "judicial settlement," for investigation, for mediatorial offices, and for a Permanent Court of International Justice, which was established more than ten years ago. But such processes are too insipid. They excite less interest and receive less attention than current local scandals. The "sanctions," which are both economic and military, bulk more largely, as they point towards war, unless war has just now become obsolete. But it is not treated as obsolete by the Covenant. The Covenant is redolent of it. By Article 16 any member of the League resorting to "war" in disregard of certain provisions is deemed to have committed an "act of war" against all the other members, which are then to sever and prohibit all intercourse, financial or commercial, with the Covenant-breaking state, and to unite in military measures on land, on sea and in the air against it. It may also be expelled from the League.
To these provisions, in which "war" is the dominant note, the Kellogg Pact does present a perfect contrast. The Pact, as we are told, "provides no sanctions." But we are asked to tread on highly controversial ground when we are asked to believe that the Pact "does not require any signatory to intervene with measures of force" in case it is "violated;" to believe that, resting "upon the sanction of public opinion" and "the will . . . to make it effective," "it will be irresistible" if the people of the world "desire to make it effective;" to believe that the "critics who scoff at it have not accurately appraised the evolution of world opinion since the World War;" and to believe that the Hoover-MacDonald declaration at Rapidan in October 1929 that their governments were resolved to accept the Pact not only as a declaration of good intentions but as a positive obligation to direct national policy in accordance with its pledge, "marked an epoch." How a declaration of the parties to a pledge that they mean to keep it can be said to mark an epoch, we need not inquire. But the intimation that those who regard the Pact alone as practically futile are unfriendly scoffers can by no means be accepted; for, among those who now insistently demand that it be furnished with "teeth," with which to affright and bite aggressors, the most conspicuous are those who, before it was signed, acclaimed it as a self-enforcing device. Nothing has caused so much scoffing or suspicion as this change of front.
In order to ensure entire precision, I have explained the new psychology in the very words used by Mr. Stimson, its authoritative exponent and sponsor, in two issues of FOREIGN AFFAIRS.[i] Mr. Stimson, just as might have been expected, has not changed front on the Kellogg Pact. He still says that its efficacy must depend on public opinion and not on force. It is only when the sanctions of the Covenant and the alleged "decisions" of the League are invoked that he welcomes, as agencies of peace, the menaces and measures of war which the Covenant prescribes. I have no quarrel with Mr. Stimson. He is present in my reflections only as the spokesman, and as a sincere spokesman, of a group identified with a certain type of mind and thought, and with a belief in methods and measures which I, who modestly pray for peace in my own time, profoundly distrust not only because they have no visible moorings on earth or in the sky, but also because they have infected many of my countrymen with confused notions of law and of conduct which, while they endanger our own most vital interests, hold out hopes of partisan intervention that encourage European governments to defer the readjustments which only they can make and which are essential to peace and tranquillity in that quarter. As long as we persist in our misguided rôle, so long will discussions of disarmament be dominated by thoughts of war rather than of peace.
II. THE KELLOGG PACT
As the Kellogg Pact is invoked as the crowning proof of the world's recent regeneration, I will now state just what it is. I give it the name of its putative author, as M. Briand neither proposed nor formulated the multilateral agreement that was eventually signed. From time immemorial treaties of amity and commerce have contained a declaration that there shall be "perpetual amity" or a "perfect, firm and inviolable peace" between the contracting parties. The Kellogg Pact does not go so far. Resolved into its elements, it comprises two things: first, a general renunciation of war "as an instrument of national policy;" and secondly, a general pledge to settle all differences by peaceful negotiation.
M. Briand on June 20, 1927, proposed an exclusive pact between France and the United States renouncing war "as an instrument of their policy towards each other," and pledging the two countries to settle their disputes by pacific means. There was also a florid preamble, very loosely drawn, in which the proposed contractants were spoken of as " two nations that no war has ever divided," the formal and serious maritime war of 1798, which actively continued until September 30, 1800, having been overlooked. But, for reasons of domestic and of foreign policy which may be surmised, M. Briand's proposal of an exclusive renunciation and pledge was not acceptable. There was delay; and six months had elapsed when on December 28, 1927, Mr. Kellogg suddenly fluttered the Eagles in the European dovecotes by proposing to France a renunciation and pledge in which all the principal governments of the world should unite. The Eagles anxiously exchanged notes, but soon found common ground in the discovery that they all had national policies, no matter how divergent they might be. They also remembered that the United States had its Monroe Doctrine. Then there was the Lansing-Ishii agreement, which recognized the "special relations" resulting from "territorial propinquity" and the consequent "special interests" of Japan in China; and which, although formally cancelled in 1923, left a visible trail of implications. Nevertheless, the phrase "national policy" had a dubious history. Even the United States had been charged with having asserted the Monroe Doctrine brusquely, if not aggressively, on occasions which some of the Eagles could hardly have forgotten. It was important that the phrase should be muffled, and this the Eagles proceeded to do.
We need not go into all the notes that were exchanged. We need mention only the one which the British Government, speaking individually but with the loud acclaim of the Eagles, presented on May 19, 1928; a note which, after quoting "the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy," declared that there were "certain regions of the world the welfare and integrity of which" constituted "a special and vital interest" for that government's "peace and safety," and that, as their protection against attack was "a measure of self-defense," no "interference" with them could be "suffered." The regions, it will be observed, were not named; and complete liberty as to their future designation was thus reserved. Then, in order effectually to preclude subsequent challenge or quibble, there was added this unequivocal condition: "It must be clearly understood that His Majesty's Government in Great Britain accept the new treaty upon the distinct understanding that it does not prejudice their freedom of action in this respect." The way for this addition had indeed been thoughtfully paved by Mr. Kellogg himself in a public address three weeks before, in which he declared that nothing in the proposed treaty in any way restricted or impaired " the right of self-defense;" that this right was "inherent in every sovereign state" and "implicit in every treaty;" and that each nation "alone is competent to decide whether circumstances require recourse to war in self-defense."
In thus assuring to belligerents, each of which has decided that it acted in self-defense, the right to fight out their differences in peace, the new and regenerate psychology is for once superior to the old. Should it be said that this reduces the Pact to a bare expression of a sentiment and a moral obligation to act upon it, Mr. Kellogg has, much to his credit, dealt with the matter with his usual candor and without evasion. I have always surmised that Senator Borah, as an advocate of the "outlawry of war," played in this transaction a larger part than is generally known, especially as I observed that in the national campaign of 1928 he did not abate his appeals for the maintenance of an effective navy -- not, of course, for the purpose of providing the renunciation of war with "teeth," but for the purpose of enabling the United States to exercise the right of self-defense that had been so amply safeguarded.
The notes in which the interpretations and conditions of the signatories were expressed, including that of Great Britain of May 19, 1928, were mentioned in and annexed to the circular note which the United States addressed on June 23, 1928, to France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and certain other governments, formally inviting them to accept the Pact as thus explained. It was accordingly signed at Paris on August 27, 1928. As the signing of a contract with a mental reservation is both illegal and dishonest, no government can be supposed to have signed the Pact with an intention to deny or to repudiate the recorded conditions on which it was accepted. By M. Briand those conditions were specially cherished because they embraced a concession to his demand that the later renunciation of war should never be asserted to interfere with the full application of the war-making provisions of the Covenant. This concession was more radical than that made to the demand for the recognition of local special interests. The recognition of such interests rests on a principle as old as mankind: the natural and instinctive principle that peoples are more deeply concerned in what directly affects them and takes place at their doors than in what is remote. The concession made to M. Briand tends to subvert that principle.
No one could do anything but wish the parties to the Kellogg Pact to observe their renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy and their promise peacefully to settle their differences. But when I am told that the renunciation and the promise constitute an epoch in history, and denote on the part of the signatories, or even of any of them, a radical change in attitude toward war and toward the use of the vast armaments which they continue to maintain and show so much reluctance to reduce, I can hardly be reproached for recalling the Law and the Prophets and the Sermon on the Mount. On these foundations great churches have been built, and untold millions still worship at their shrines. Fundamentally, they all teach brotherly kindness, justice, and peace; and yet, the most heavily armed and most warlike of modern nations have been those that profess the Christian faith. It is these that brought to the Far East the modern implements of war. I would not destroy the nimbus of the Kellogg Pact; but when I am asked to believe that the renunciation and the promise complete a moral revolution, said to have begun during the World War, more radical than the commands of the Almighty and the precepts of Christ had been able to effect, I am asked to exhibit a credulity beyond the capacity of common minds.
No wonder that, as M. Paul-Boncour, M. Briand's great friend, has authoritatively told us,[ii] the Kellogg Pact was for M. Briand, before all else, a means to draw the United States, the decisive factor in Allied victory, into the League of Nations. For, asks the spokesman of M. Briand's thoughts, could it be imagined that when some "aggressor" had torn up the Covenant, and the sanctions of Article 16 were set in motion against him, the United States, the initiator of the Pact, would remain indifferent to its violation and would not "throw into the duel" for peace the weight of the power which, as France had not forgotten, nothing could resist? Evidently it never occurred to M. Briand that France could ever be voted an "aggressor," or that the United States could ever be so voted so long as she fought for France. This was both ingenuous and logical, and worthy of M. Briand's clear intelligence. But, when I reflect on his eagerness to draw permanently into the service of an organization which France and her political allies and sympathizers have so largely dominated the irresistible military power of the United States, I cannot limit my recollections of that great statesman to his efforts for several years before his untimely death to bring about a better understanding between France and Germany; nor does it detract from the merit of those efforts that they were no less in the interest of France than in that of Germany. M. Briand began his political career, as so many other French statesmen have done, as a Socialist; and, while Socialism in France is not just what the American people suppose Socialism to be, it is associated with the idea of benevolence. This quality M. Briand possessed. Nevertheless, I do not forget how, as a member of government in 1911, when diplomatic tension between France and another country suddenly developed, he emerged as a "man of iron," and, calling railway strikers to the colors, compelled them to man the trains. Nor is it conceivable that if called to choose between France, even though she might not be clearly in the right, and the rest of the world, he could for an instant have hesitated to follow the fortunes of his native land, which he loved and served so long and so well.
III. THE LETHAL BLOW OF FACTS
There can be no higher or more convincing proof of the purely imaginary character of the supposed united "will to peace" than that which is furnished by the statement made in Parliament on March 23 last by Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, British Prime Minister, on the general European situation, his recent visit to Rome, and the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. Mr. MacDonald cannot be charged with unfriendly bias. He believes in peace, and has made personal sacrifices to the cause. He therefore spoke as a friendly witness, and as one having authority, when he ascribed the slow progress and the unsatisfactory results of the Conference to the "extraordinary difficulty" caused by the "diverse interests, diverse points of view, and diverse needs in disarmament" of the many nations concerned; to the "tremendous differences" that separated "delegation from delegation and nation from nation;" and above all to the fact that "the last word in these matters is the political word." It was for these reasons, said Mr. MacDonald, that the British Government had at last submitted a draft of an international convention containing as its essential features "figures regarding various armaments" and a provision for "security."
This plan, apart from details as to armament, suggests the allotment to each of various European countries of an average daily effective armed land force. For Germany it proposes 200,000, for Bulgaria and for Hungary 60,000 each; if we add Austria's unmentioned 20,000 we have a total of 340,000 men for what is left of the former "enemy" countries. Among the victors, France is allowed 200,000 home forces and 200,000 colonial, in all 400,000; Belgium, 60,000 home, and 15,000 colonial, in all 75,000; Italy, 200,000 home, 50,000 colonial, in all 250,000; Poland, 200,000; Rumania, 150,000; Czechoslovakia, 100,000; Jugoslavia, 100,000; Greece, 60,000. This would give to the victors, exclusive of Great Britain, for whom figures were not submitted, a comfortable total of 1,235,000 as against 340,000 to the vanquished. To Russia, which now stands aloof, it was proposed to allow 500,000. From these figures it would seem that "security" presupposes not equality, but an overwhelming superiority for the victors, even without the persistently sought for "consultative" coöperation of the United States.
But, after all, the question is not so simple as this. There may still be persons who innocently suppose that the victorious Powers, in their common ardor for the good of humanity, completely and forever sank, while waging war together, all national ambitions and all selfish interests. This view could hardly have been shared by those who knew the contents of the treaties (the existence of which was by no means so "secret" as it is often alleged to have been) for the division of the spoils of war; nor should such a view have been entertained by any sensible man. Conflicts of interest, of ambition and of sentiment between nations must continue to exist as long as they exist among the human beings of which nations are composed. No one, therefore, should be surprised at Mr. MacDonald's candid confession that the inability of the Disarmament Conference to agree was due to the fact that the national delegations were kept widely apart by "diverse interests" and "tremendous differences" in regard to which the last word must be the "political word." Equally creditable to Mr. MacDonald was his admission that another and special complication was the fact that they were pledged by the Versailles Treaty, made thirteen years ago, "to give equality to Germany," and that the time had gone by when by a combination of Powers "any European people" could, permanently and without even a gradual mitigation, be kept down by obligations which it regarded "as being inconsistent with its self-respect and its honor." Day after day at Geneva, said Mr. MacDonald, he felt that he was "looking upon a stage with something moving immediately behind the footlights," -- "an ominous background full of shadows and uncertainties." Europe was, he declared, very unsettled, in a very nervous condition; and, unfortunately, "the one thing" that could "save us all," "well-founded confidence in each other," was "more lacking today" than it had been "for a very long time." Referring, then, to recent "events" and "speeches," and, also anonymously, to the peace treaties of which that of Versailles was the first, he said that they all had for months and months been conscious that certain acts done some years ago were coming to flower and fruit, and that on those now living fell "the responsibility of dealing with the ripened event." He then narrated his visit to Rome, made on the invitation of Signor Mussolini. The Italian Premier, he explained, felt that Article 19 of the Covenant, which provides for the consideration of international conditions the continuation of which may endanger the peace of the world, was not meant to become dormant; that, as the Covenant enforced respect for treaty obligations, it contemplated the possibility of a revision of treaties bearing upon such conditions; that, after the lapse of ten years, they had entered on the first period when there should be coöperation in revision; and that, if this view were adopted as an immediate aid to peace and to the solution of Europe's difficulties and dangers, the friendship engendered would have further beneficial consequences.
Mr. MacDonald did not mention the well-known fact that while Great Britain and Italy have no unsettled scores there are outstanding differences and rivalries between France and Italy which no doubt influenced Signor Mussolini in insisting that any reductions of armaments, and particularly of naval armaments, made by Italy should be fully reciprocated by her strongest neighbor. This also has a bearing on his proposal of the Four Power Pact; and if, as some have suggested, such a Pact denotes a rift in the League, the cause must be traced to the League's inability to bring about any substantial amelioration of the conditions of the peace treaties. President Wilson spoke of Article 10 guaranteeing existing territorial boundaries as the "heart" of the Covenant; and so it was. Perhaps Article 19 may be spoken of as the lungs; but, while one may live with only a part of a lung, one cannot live without his whole heart.
IV. INTERNATIONAL LAW AND NEUTRALITY
But it is when we come to consider what is said by some of those who assume to administer or profess to teach international law that the utterances of the new psychology cause the gravest apprehension. International law is condemned for conceding to war "legality," while the part relating to neutrality is rejected as forbidding "moral judgments" and their translation into action. Neither of these assertions can be accepted. On the contrary, they betray not only a total lack of comprehension of the law of neutrality, but also a fundamental misconception of the nature and function of all law, whether national or international.
Law does not create human activities; it merely recognizes and regulates them. The law of husband and wife neither perpetuates nor increases the propensity to perpetuate the human race; it merely recognizes the fact that the failure legally to regulate such a relation would invite a demoralizing uncertainty and chaos, while a legal ban would be both futile and ridiculous.
The pert retort that war does not perpetuate human life but destroys it would cause me not the slightest embarrassment. Defining civilization as the development of human activities under the restraint of endurable conventions, we must admit that peoples called civilized have constantly sought to increase their own growth and prosperity by war on peoples called uncivilized. War is defined as a contention by force, and, whether it be waged with fists or with frigates, its existence is coeval with the history of man; and, whatever may be its merits and demerits, it has been believed to be to some extent inevitable. An individual who commits an act of violence can readily be subdued; but such is not the case with men in the mass. The teachings of Christ are pervasively peaceful; but those who profess to accept them have seldom exemplified the precept not to resist evil. The early Christian Church beyond all cavil effectively exerted a distinctly peaceful influence, and often prevented wars between the peoples over whose minds and hearts it held sway; but the so-called religious wars, by which the division of the Church was followed, are conspicuous for their fierce and relentless character. The ancient writers on international law and relations evidently were better acquainted with these things, or were more candid with themselves, than are the proponents of our latest philosophy.
Theodore Roosevelt once exclaimed that we must have "Utopia or Hell." But as a consistent advocate of preparedness he apparently remembered that the world had always had the second alternative but never the first. The fathers of ancient as well as of modern international law similarly recognized the preponderance of proof. More than three hundred years ago Grotius, treating as undesirable extremists those who would declare all bearing of arms unlawful and those who regarded all war as lawful, wisely observed that when men urged things too far their authority was apt to be slighted, and their capacity for good diminished or destroyed. Therefore, while denouncing the evils of war, he did not suppose that he "legalized" it when he enjoined observance of the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, the humane treatment of captives, the sparing of private property, the abolition of its confiscation, the enlargement of the bounds of commercial freedom, and the establishment of rules of decision by which grave disputes have in countless cases been determined and strife and passion allayed. He recognized conquest only so far as the reëstablishment of peace made it inevitable. Not with the smallest foundation can he or his enlightened followers, who have formulated rules and treaties mitigating the practices of war, be held responsible for the late World War, or for the acts that have, in violation of their precepts, sown the seeds of future wars. Those who, holding international law in some measure responsible for the recurrence of international wars, would plunge the world into chaos by sanctions and outlawries, must in all charity be supposed to have overlooked the constant recurrence of civil wars, to whose appalling total, which recent years have greatly increased, the United States once made a contribution of the first magnitude. I have been wont to remark that international wars will cease when civil wars end. Within the state there is legal organization and sanction beyond anything yet proposed in the international sphere, while the very phrase "civil" implies that the war is outlawed. Nevertheless, when obliged to characterize the civil strife then raging in the United States, our Supreme Court, after observing that a civil war was "never solemnly declared," but became such "by its accidents -- the number, power and organization of the persons who originate and carry it on," learnedly declared that "the laws of war, as established among nations, have their foundation in reason, and all tend to mitigate the cruelties and misery produced by the scourge of war," and that, in consequence, "the parties to a civil war usually concede to each other courtesies and rules common to public or national wars." And the Court then adopted from Vattel, renowned for his learning and humanity, this profoundly illuminating passage:
The common laws of war -- those maxims of humanity, moderation, and honor -- ought to be observed by both parties in every civil war. Should the sovereign conceive he has a right to hang up his prisoners as rebels, the opposite party will make reprisals; . . . should he burn and ravage, they will follow his example; the war will become cruel, horrible, and every day more destructive to the nation.[iii]
The results of an attempt to deal with insurgents in arms solely on the theory that their conduct is "illegal," and that they must unconditionally submit to force, were perfectly exemplified in the chaos and destruction which led the United States to intervene in Cuba in 1898.
In reality, the current delusion that international law "legalizes" war, and therefore must now yield to the war-tending and warlike processes prescribed by the Covenant, comprising "sanctions," boycotts, and war itself, is merely the legitimate offspring of the new and consoling theory that peoples may with force and arms peacefully exterminate one another, provided they do not call it war.
From the same anarchic womb springs the exultant cry that the law of neutrality, because it blocked the new channel to peace, has been torpedoed, and that the neutral owners gurgled approval as they drowned. This would be a sad tale, if it were true. But it is false. There is not in the world today a single government that is acting upon such a supposition. Governments are acting upon the contrary supposition, and in so doing are merely recognizing the actual fact.
In the winter of 1922-23 there was held at The Hague an international conference to make rules for the regulation of the activities of aircraft and radio in time of war. The parties to this conference, over which I had the honor to preside, were the United States, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands. The delegates acted under the instructions of their respective governments. An examination of our unanimous report will show that it was largely devoted to the definition of the rights and duties of belligerents and of neutrals in time of war, and that it treated as still existing the Land War Neutrality Convention, the Convention for the Adaptation of the Geneva Convention to Maritime Warfare, and the Convention concerning Neutral Rights and Duties in Maritime Warfare, all made at The Hague in 1907. The idea that the law of neutrality had become obsolete never was broached.
So far as I am aware, not a single party to the Versailles Treaty or a single member of the League of Nations has ever taken the position that the law of neutrality is a thing of the past. The principal Powers in the League have on occasion taken precisely the opposite position. All the judges of the World Court, in the Kiel Canal case, unhesitatingly concurred in the view that the law of neutrality remained unmodified; no one thought of doubting its continuing force. Up to the time of my resignation from the Court in 1928 no such doubt had been whispered; nor am I aware that any has since been suggested. In the war between Greece and Turkey in 1922, Great Britain decided to remain neutral in the conflict, into which Canada and perhaps some of the other self-governing dominions unequivocally announced that they would not be drawn without their consent. In the statement made in the House of Commons by Sir John Simon, as Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on February 27, 1933, concerning the embargo (soon revoked) on the shipment of arms to China and Japan, Sir John expressly spoke of Great Britain as a "neutral government," and of the necessity, for that reason, of making the embargo apply to China and Japan alike. In other recent wars Great Britain has pursued a neutral course. France and other governments have done the same thing. On the recent declaration of war by Paraguay against Bolivia, the governments of Argentina, Chile and Peru immediately issued declarations of neutrality, thus showing, as they intended to remain neutral, an intelligent respect for international law, to the literature of which some of their publicists have ably contributed.
Governments intending to remain neutral in a conflict do not, it is true, always issue proclamations. In the case of a small or distant conflict, a proclamation may seem to be needless; but the laws stand on the books and are enforced whenever the occasion may arise. Neutrality proclamations are only clarifying warnings. Neutrality always has had, as classical records show, the highly moral and expedient object of preventing the spread of war; and it furthermore prohibits the doing in time of peace of acts designed to contribute to the starting of wars abroad. In the days of the old psychology, before the crafty throat of war began to coo of peace, neutrality was chiefly offensive to war-mongers and war-profiteers. Today, however, and very naturally, it is even more detested by the devotees of the war-gospel of peace through force. But even they should be willing to reflect on the fact that its abolition would make every war potentially a world war, and that its individual repudiation by the United States would, whenever war anywhere broke out, immediately expose us to attack, as well as to claims for damages and to forcible measures of redress for any specific unneutral acts. It would also enable any Power or combination of Powers having an interest so to do to proceed against us as an enemy. Should little Costa Rica or Salvador enter upon the course now urged upon the United States, how long would they be permitted to remain on the map? And might not the United States demand precedence as Lord High Executioner? It is not logical for those who clamor for peace to cry out for measures the adoption of which only a nation commanding overwhelming force could hope to survive.
It is argued that increased population, industrialism, and interdependence, and the increased variety and speed of communications, have made neutrality increasingly ineffective, and have also made it likely that war, when it starts in any part of the world, will envelop the whole. In reality, the better and speedier the means of communications the more effectively can a government enforce its neutrality. That the enforcement of neutrality by the United States became easier and more effective with improvement in communications is as notorious as it was natural. The supposition that the recent great war is entitled to preëminence as a world war, that improved means of communication caused it to become so, and that it shows that every local war is now likely to cover the earth, is remarkably unfounded. It did not begin as a local war, but embraced all the European Great Powers and some of the lesser. It did not exceed the spread of all previous wars, or equal that of some of them. Its extent in no sense resulted from improved means of communication. The numerous local wars that have since occurred, but have remained local, clearly demonstrate that the supposed greater likelihood of spread is fanciful. But, on the evidence before us, it must be admitted that the erroneous belief that every war is now likely to become a world war creates a passion to make it so.
The supposition that the law of neutrality imposes moral indifference to the merits of armed conflicts and makes any intervention in them unlawful, I can only call baseless. The law of neutrality does not require a neutral state to remain so. A neutral state may, should it so desire, enter the conflict; but it cannot be both in and out. The law of neutrality merely applies the rule of common honesty. Parties to an armed conflict are entitled to know who are in it and who are not. No matter how it is viewed, the demand that the law of neutrality shall be considered as obsolete is so visionary, so confused, so somnambulistic that no concession to it can be rationally made.
V. ARMS EMBARGOES
Repugnance to the law of neutrality is justified only on the part of those who, as shown by the original draft of the recent Arms Embargo Resolution before Congress, wish public authorities not legally invested with the power to declare war to be able at any moment, either alone or in association with others, to involve the country in war. This repugnance naturally distinguishes those who wish the United States to assist in enforcing the "decisions" of the League of Nations, pending the fulfillment of their desire that the United States become a member of the League. This object reverberates in the letter of Viscount Cecil, published in the London Times of February 21, 1933, on the "very important pronouncements" made by the "Democratic President-elect of the United States" on January 11, and by the "Republican Secretary of State," Mr. Stimson, a month later; pronouncements which, he says, "make it clear that both parties in the United States stand for participation in an arms embargo against an aggressor State," while "the Republican Secretary of State declares that in this connection a decision by the League as to which is the aggressor is for practical purposes conclusive!" In still cherishing, as we have seen they do, the law of neutrality, members of the League no doubt regard it as an assurance against becoming involved in the untold wars to which, though neither desired by themselves nor approved by the League, the chaos resulting from the abolition of neutrality would expose them, as well as all other nations.
The Arms Embargo Resolution, as presented to Congress during the late Administration, proposed to authorize the President of the United States, either alone or in association with other Powers, discriminately to prohibit the shipment or sale of arms and munitions of war to one of the parties to a war, while leaving unrestrained the shipment and sale to the other. In this form the resolution, unless deliberately designed to disregard existing international law, evidently proceeded upon a complete misconception of the legal significance of the supply of arms and munitions of war to the parties to armed conflicts. The statement is often made that the trade in contraband is lawful, and the statement is also often made that such trade is unlawful. These statements may seem to be conflicting; but, when properly understood, they are both correct. Because there is much dispute as to what the term contraband includes, and because it has so far been deemed proper to limit the burdens to which a neutral Power is subject, international law has not up to the present time required neutral governments to prevent their citizens from manufacturing, selling and shipping contraband, including arms and munitions of war, in the regular course of commerce. Hence, in the sense that a neutral government is not obliged to suppress such trade, the trade is lawful. On the other hand, however, international law recognizes the right of a party to a war to prevent such articles from reaching its adversary, and, if it seizes them, to confiscate them. This essential right we have ourselves always exercised in our wars; and we never should, I suppose, dream of giving it up. The trader carries on the business at his peril, and his government is forbidden to protect him. But as the supply of arms and ammunition to a fighting force is a direct contribution to its military resources, a neutral government cannot itself supply such articles to the parties to an armed conflict, or permit its citizens to supply them to one party but not to the other, without abandoning its neutrality and making itself a party to the conflict, whether war has or has not been declared. It would therefore be altogether indefensible, whether the resolution be limited to America or extended to the whole world, to pass it in a form that would enable the Executive alone to expose the United States to reprisals and justifiable war by other nations by doing things that in their nature carry a country into war.
Had it from the beginning been agreed that every war was to be treated as a universal war, the course of history might have been changed, but not for the better. Said Cromwell: "Put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry." Napoleon, than whom there could be no higher authority on such a subject, said, "Providence is always on the side of the last reserve;" and the truth of this saying was as clearly demonstrated in his final defeat at Waterloo as it was in his previous victories. Moralists now proposing to regenerate the world by violence, without regard to the consequences to their own country or to any other, might also reflect on Lowell's line: "Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne." Dryden spoke of "Worth on foot and rascals in the coach." As our advanced moralists of course expect to ride in the coach, they might do well to consider how they might themselves be classified when the country came to pay the cost of their reckless superiority to law and to the lessons of history.
It is said that our authorities may be relied upon to refuse to exercise the powers so sweepingly conferred upon them. This is indeed a singular argument. Couched in the language of irresponsibility, it is not only self-stultifying but also unjust. The burdens and cares resting upon those who administer our affairs are already grave and harassing enough without imposing upon them the pastime of playing with war.
It is also said that the resolution as originally drafted would merely confer on the President the same power as that conferred on other heads of states, including that of Great Britain. But this statement wholly overlooks our constitutional limitations. The British Crown possesses the power to declare war and to make alliances; the Constitution of the United States denies to the President the power to do either. On the contrary, the wardeclaring power is vested in Congress, and the making of alliances requires the advice and consent of the Senate.
Should the United States desire to prohibit the furnishing of implements of war to those who are engaged in armed strife, this may readily be done by providing for a comprehensive, nonpartisan embargo on the shipment of arms to all countries engaged in armed strife, whether international or civil. Such an embargo would naturally be announced and imposed by public proclamation. Of this no foreign Power could complain. There are already various countries which, in accordance with their laws, impose such a ban. That such an inhibition, without the coöperation of all other neutral nations, tends to limit the area, destructiveness or duration of war I do not now undertake to affirm. Some notably humane writers, such as Westlake, have urged that a total ban might render weaker nations, financially unable to maintain munitions factories of their own, incapable of asserting or of defending their rights against larger Powers. Considerations such as these lie within the domain of policy.
VI. THE AGGRESSOR
It is dangerous to allow a fallacy to pass unchallenged because its refutation should seem to be superfluous. Especially is this so when it may easily be imposed on uninformed or unreflecting minds by appeals to the sentiment of benevolence. These truths are perfectly exemplified by the spread of the recent agitation for the punishment of "aggressors."
The word "aggressor" does not occur in the Covenant, but it has been used as the technical designation of the nation to which the warlike devices of the League of Nations were intended to apply. For this reason many attempts have been made at Geneva to define an aggressor, but never with any success. Among these may be included the delphic effort of M. Briand. "A cannon shot," said M. Briand, "is a cannon shot;" and "you can hear it, and it often leaves its traces." Then, conjectures M. Briand, the League says "Cease fire;" and, "if one of the adversaries refuses, we can surely say that he is not really very anxious about peace." I have great respect for M. Briand, and if this was the best so able a man could do, the case must indeed be desperate. Certainly a cannon shot is a cannon shot. But if the adversary who ceased fire on Geneva's command should then be killed or disabled, he neither could nor would feel grateful, nor would his example inspire enthusiasm. Besides, even if Geneva had large military forces of her own in Europe, and they were not already preoccupied with exerting a peaceful influence in that quarter, it is a long way, for example, to Singapore; and decisive wars have often been of brief duration.
M. Briand's delicate and fragmentary suggestions clearly indicate that he did not intend them to be taken seriously as a definition. More serious in tone but equally futile is the suggestion made on the part of the United States at Geneva on May 22, 1933, that "the simplest and most accurate definition of an aggressor is one whose armed forces are found on alien soil in violation of treaties." Whether the framer of this definition was or was not thinking of Manchuria, he immediately impaled the sudden seizure and occupation of Vera Cruz by the United States in April 1914, in disregard of the treaty with Mexico of 1848, which expressly provided that neither party should resort to force before trying peaceful negotiation, and, if that should fail, arbitration. The excuse, should it be attempted, that there was no time for discussion, would merely puncture the definition. Moreover, were there no treaty, would an armed invasion cease to be an act of aggression? Might not such an invasion, even if a treaty were violated, be excused as an act of self-defense? In the celebrated case of McLeod, which nearly brought on a war, Great Britain excused her invasion of United States territory on that plea; but as the United States denied that the facts supported the plea, Great Britain made a soothing apology without admitting any wrong. Would, or would not, the new definition justify the landing of foreign troops to preserve order, as has often been done without the consent of the local government? Would it, for instance, make our military occupation of Nicaragua an act of aggression? Furthermore, will it be asserted that the answer to the question whether a treaty has been violated lies on the surface, and may not be a subject of honest difference of opinion, both on the facts and on the law, even among disinterested and impartial judges? Evidently, the draftsman of the definition was less prudent than the knowing M. Briand. It has also been suggested that the aggressor is he who fires the first shot; but the law does not require a man who believes himself to be in danger to assume that his adversary is a bad shot.
Probably it would be unfair to surmise that the persistent effort, after a decade of ghost dancing, to define the "aggressor," always reflects the desire by means of some formula readily to obtain the military coöperation of the United States nominally in the righteous cause of peace. The thought of restraining aggressors is very ancient; but the attempt to define aggression for practical purposes has always failed, because, as has been well said,[iv] it is impossible to specify beforehand the objective criteria on which the decision whether an act was overt would necessarily depend. Although nations when they go to war always profess to repel overt acts, yet they frequently do not go to war on account of them; but an assurance of associate force would necessarily increase their propensity to do so. Moreover, it is notorious that overt acts are sometimes craftily provoked for the purpose of justifying aggression; and it may be significant that the definition of the "aggressor" peculiarly preoccupies the minds of those who are best prepared to commit aggression.
On the other hand, the taking of a forcible initiative may be the only means of safety; and the importance of this principle is necessarily enhanced by the insistence of nations or groups of nations on maintaining preponderance of military power. Portugal acted on this principle when, in 1762, the combined forces of France and Spain were hovering on her frontier. In many instances the question of aggression remains indeterminate. The Hundred Years' War, which began in 1292, originated in a fistfight between two sailors, the one Norman and the other English, in the port of Bayonne. In the battle of Navarino which, in 1827, resulted in the destruction of the Turkish fleet by the combined naval forces of England, France and Russia, the first actual shot was fired by the Turks; but English naval writers later candidly admitted that the Ottoman commander probably believed that he was repelling an attack. In the case of the destruction of the armed brig General Armstrong by a British squadron in the port of Fayal, Louis Napoleon, acting as arbitrator, held that the brig was the aggressor; but our Congress, believing this decision to be wrong, eventually compensated the brig's owners, officers and crew for their losses. When, in 1894, a Japanese cruiser before war with China was declared sank the British vessel Kowshing, carrying Chinese troops to Korea, an immediate outcry took place in England; but the excitement soon died down on the public justification of the cruiser's act by Holland and Westlake, two eminent English authorities on international law.
As experience has conclusively shown that the attempt to decide the question of the aggressor on first appearance is reckless of justice, we must, unless our purposes are unholy, rely on an impartial investigation of the facts. But this takes time. The Assembly of the League of Nations assumed jurisdiction of the Sino-Japanese conflict on September 21, 1931; the report of the Lytton Commission was signed at Peiping, China, on September 4, 1932; the Assembly adopted the report of its own committee on February 17, 1933. The actual time covered by the proceedings was seventeen months, and even then a final conclusion was not reached. Decisive wars have ended in less time. Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815, and the decisive battle of Waterloo took place in the following June. The war over Schleswig-Holstein of 1864 was brief; the war between Prussia and Austria of 1866 lasted six weeks; the United States declared war against Spain in April 1898, and the peace protocol, which ended the military conflict and defined the basis of peace, was signed in the following August. These are only a few examples.
That intimations that a party to a dispute may be penalized as an aggressor may not have a deterrent effect has just been shown by the course of Peru in her recent dispute with Colombia. The hostilities continued until the sudden death of Peru's Chief Executive brought to the presidency a statesman who happened to have been a diplomatic colleague, at London, of the leader of the Colombian Liberal party. An exchange of personal messages and a journey by aeroplane to Lima resulted in the conclusion of a pact of peace. The friendly human touch quickly obtained what official admonitions had been unable to secure.
Had the principle of preventing aggression been applied one cannot say what might have been the results to the United States. Our War of Independence was generally regarded in Europe as an act of rebellion against lawful authority. In the war of 1812 we appeared as aggressive assertors of the freedom of the seas. General Grant pronounced our war with Mexico of 1846 an act of unjust aggression. The Government of the United States dealt with secession as an act of rebellion. In April 1898 the diplomatic representatives of six great European Powers assembled at the White House and in behalf of their governments made what was called "a pressing appeal to the feelings of humanity and moderation of the President and of the American people in their existing differences with Spain." They evidently did not regard Spain as the aggressor. President McKinley in his reply expressed the confident expectation that the remonstrating Powers would appreciate our offer "to fulfil the duty of humanity by ending a situation, the indefinite prolongation of which had become insufferable." Had they, when we forcibly intervened, declared an embargo upon the shipment of arms and ammunition to the United States, while continuing to supply Spain with the implements of war, we should have resented in appropriate ways their partisan action.
Should we attempt to apply retrospectively the principle of staying or punishing the aggressor we should be obliged to determine the question whether the forcible creation of that great agency of law and civilization, the Roman Empire, or the forcible progress of any other great historic movement, should not have been prevented; whether the formation of the British Empire or the extension of France and her colonial empire should not have been opposed; whether the establishment of the Russian Empire should not have been resisted; whether the world should not have prevented the United States from becoming what it is; also, whether the forcible association in earlier times of the vast aggregation of states now known as China did not result from a neglect by other states of their duties and, perchance, their opportunities.
The opposite of self-defense is aggression. We have been told that the limits of self-defense "have been clearly defined by countless precedents." Students of this subject have remarked that it would be "interesting to know" what these "countless precedents" are, but their curiosity has not been gratified. It will not be. The attempt so to define self-defense that its future application would be clear and practically automatic is just as futile as the attempt similarly to define aggression has been -- and must continue to be.
VII. CONSULTATIVE PACTS
In our last presidential campaign the platforms of both the major parties covetously leered towards a consultative pact. Normally, each platform views the other with alarm, and when they agree a general alarm is justified. One can only wonder whether freakish impulse or some cunning Mephistopheles caused the recent amorous accord.
The obtaining of a "consultative pact" has long been on the program of the conference so persistently staged at Geneva in the name of disarmament. To the uninitiated the word "consultative" seems to imply a friendly or platonic communion. Who would refuse to consult? Who would be so unneighborly as to refuse what is daily done as a mere act of civility? But no one should be deceived by this. Agreements are interpreted according to the subject matter. A reduction of armaments in consideration of a "consultative pact" would necessarily indicate as the subject of consultation the number of men, of ships and of aircraft that should be contributed in order to supply the place of what had been given up. In the present state of Europe, this would tend to increase rather than to diminish the existing tension and danger. While it would please certain countries, it would inflame others. Today Europe is divided into hostile camps. Why should we encourage any of them to strike while the iron is hot? A disinclination to strike might readily be converted into eagerness by reliance on our aid.
An innocent-looking clause in our treaty with the Samoan Islands of 1878 nearly got us into war, although it merely required the use of our "good offices" for the adjustment of differences between the Samoan and any other government. This clause was accepted by the United States in a spirit of pure benevolence, but there was no real Samoan government. One day, when the shadowy government seemed to be menaced, our consul at Apia ran up the American flag and declared a protectorate over the islands. This he was not authorized to do; but it precipitated a quarrelsome consultation which ended in the setting up of an international government that proved to be so calamitous that the United States eventually agreed to divide up the islands and have done with it.
The commitment of the United States to such a "consultative pact" as is desired at Geneva would, I believe, constitute the gravest danger to which the country has ever been exposed, a danger involving our very independence. It seems to be thought that we are an easy mark, and I say this not in any spirit of reproach. We all are human. Lambs are killed by men as well as by lions, but lambs are specially appetizing to the cultivated taste of the old and polished European nations. Younger peoples may act wisely in modestly avoiding banquets at which they may be obliged to consult others regarding what they shall eat or to take the risk of indiscriminate indulgence. It has been intimated that France might pay the overdue instalment on her debt to us if we would compensate her by a "consultative pact." The proposal made by us some weeks ago of a non-aggression agreement seemed to produce a general sense of disappointment, if not of disgust. But, should we enter into a consultative pact for the sake of a payment due on an old account, we should remember that for every dollar paid us for our amiability we might have to return a million or two for war.
Of all conceivable devices the "consultative pact" is the most pernicious. It operates both as an incentive and as a lure. While it encourages the co-partner to do what he might otherwise refrain from doing, it fails, by reason of its indefiniteness, to deter the co-partner's antagonist from doing what he might not otherwise attempt. Numerous examples might be adduced to show this.
Such an understanding between Great Britain and France, called an entente, figures largely in the breaking out of the general war in Europe in 1914. This is clearly set forth by Lord Loreburn, formerly Lord Chancellor of England, in his "How the War Came." In this volume Lord Loreburn shows how, as the result of an agreement with France in the nature of a consultative pact, by which armed support was implied, the British people were brought into the war without previous knowledge of the danger in which they really stood. Acting under the secret understanding, Mr. Asquith, having obtained from Lord Lansdowne and Mr. Bonar Law an undertaking to assist him in Parliament, gave to France on August 2, 1914, a definite promise of armed naval support against Germany that irrevocably pledged the country to war. Commenting on the settled policy which had had the support of England's greatest statesmen, Lord Loreburn well observes that if England was to abandon her habitual aloofness from "continental alliances," whether "formal or in the infinitely more dangerous guise of 'understandings,'" it was "clearly necessary" that the country also should have had "if not compulsory service, at all events a population trained to arms."
In the draft of a disarmament convention which the British Government, with a view to meet the persistent demands of France and other countries, submitted to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva on March 16, 1933, the first part relates to "security;" and it is highly significant that the proposed parties to the convention are the parties to the Kellogg Pact. It is also worthy of notice that the occasion on which the parties are to consult is a breach or threatened breach of the Pact. But the British dominions, although parties to the Pact, are not among the Powers to be consulted. Probably this may be explained by the adverse and independent stand the dominions took in 1922 when it was suggested that they should support British intervention in the war between Greece and Turkey. The object of the conference, when called, is to agree on action respecting the threatened breach or, if a breach has occurred, "to determine which party or parties to the dispute are to be held responsible." The word "aggressor" is not here used. The phrase "to be held responsible" denotes a purpose to hold somebody responsible and to allow the greatest possible latitude in the determination of that question, no matter what its nature may be, whether it involves considerations of fact, or of law, or of politics, or of power. Such latitude, it must be admitted, is essential where nations combine to regulate one another's affairs, or to control one another's conduct, or to penalize misconduct. The proposed convention, while candidly recognizing these facts, wisely requires the concurrence of a number of governments; but, while requiring unanimity on the part of the Great Powers, unless one or more of them should be parties to the dispute, it requires the concurrence of only a majority of the smaller Powers. Although it is easy to conceive of questions on which the judgment of the latter would be more likely to be impartial, the proposal savors of the hegemony of the Great Powers, of which so much was said before 1914, when the Great Powers themselves tumbled into an appalling Great War. Conferences may be useful and even necessary; but when nations come to determine, through their political authorities, questions of legality, morality and good faith raised by acts that have happened, or seem likely to happen, and to impose prohibitions or punishments, it is idle to conceal from ourselves the fact that they are moving and breathing in an atmosphere of force and of war, and probably without the benefit of that calmness of mind and impartiality which judicial proceedings are intended to assure among nations as well as among individual men.
A commitment more contrary to the vital interests of the United States as heretofore understood could not be conceived of. It would destroy the last vestige of the power to control our own destiny that has heretofore been the most cherished part of our birthright.
In this connection we should not fail to consider the psychology of our own people. Although not military in the sense of keeping large armaments and preparing for war, they are ingenuous, adventurous and militant. They rose and threw off the colonial yoke, although it was milder than that of other countries -- the mildest of the time. President Madison, quiet and gentle in spirit, was pressed into the War of 1812. In the Greek war for independence some of our public men warmly advocated our participation. In 1846 Congress declared the existence of war with Mexico without awaiting the printing of the diplomatic correspondence. In 1852 it required all the sober sense and self-control of our statesmen to resist the popular movement for intervention in Hungary. We drifted into the Civil War in 1861 on disputed points of constitutional law. In our war with Spain in 1898, most of the European Powers regarded our action as aggressive. After the impulse to enter the World War got its stride, President Wilson denounced Senators who opposed it as "willful men." Our demonstrated readiness to go to war, in spite of our impression that we are the most peaceful people in the world, makes it specially dangerous that we should commit ourselves to interested appeals to impulses better understood by others than by ourselves. Nor should we forget how suddenly and unexpectedly wars often break out and the trivial incidents which sometimes precipitate them. I would not abandon my fellow-countrymen to consultative shambles.
Having read the entire Lytton report, I am impressed with its comprehensiveness. The sincerity of its effort to ascertain the truth is shown by this paragraph:
It must be apparent to every reader of the preceding chapters that the issues involved in this conflict are not as simple as they are often represented to be. They are, on the contrary, exceedingly complicated, and only an intimate knowledge of all the facts, as well as of their historical background, should entitle anyone to express a definite opinion upon them. This is not a case in which one country has declared war on another country without previously exhausting the opportunities for conciliation provided in the Covenant of the League of Nations. Neither is it a simple case of the violation of the frontier of one country by the armed forces of a neighboring country, because in Manchuria there are many features without an exact parallel in other parts of the world.
The report's chief defect is, I think, the importance which at the outset it assigns to "the improvement of modern communication" as having induced the flagrant acts of force which extorted from China the Treaty of Nanking and the cession of Hongkong. Long accustomed to reflect on the trade rivalries and struggles for empire of European Powers in the Far East during preceding centuries, on the gain and loss of vast colonies, the truly world wars that were fought when ships were small and slow, and on the fact that what was done in 1841 only chiseled the margin of China's seclusion and did not break its spirit, I cannot share the common habit of thinking of "isolation " as an antonym of speed, even though Japan, by a deliberate self-development that embraced the assimilation of all speedy devices, induced her exemplars in speed to renounce their earlier privileges. Only by taking all these things into account can the attitude of the east toward the west and of the west toward the east be so understood as to help the reader to perceive whether the word "nationalism," which the report so often uses, predominantly denotes, in a particular instance, an anti-foreign sentiment or an aspiration after national unity. The divisions in China largely account for her present plight. In treating of Manchuria, the report does not overlook Russia's progressive absorption not only of that province but also of Korea, which caused Japan, in concern for her own national life, to risk war with Russia thirty years ago. But measures suggested by the report for the adjustment of present conditions are exceedingly complicated and largely depend for their successful application on a coöperation between China and Japan such as the western nations have not shown respecting the limitation of armaments or the readjustment of the balance of power as between themselves, to say nothing of their continued refusal to relinquish their extraterritorial rights in China because their surrender would be premature. The "conditions of a satisfactory solution" suggested by the report embrace compatibility with the interests of China and Japan, consideration of the interests of Russia, conformity to the provisions of the Covenant, of the Kellogg Pact and of the Nine-Power Treaty, the recognition of Japan's rights and interests in Manchuria and of her historical associations with that country, a conventional restatement of the respective rights, interests and responsibilities of both China and Japan in that quarter, provision for the prompt settlement of minor disputes, the adoption, consistently with China's sovereignty and administrative integrity, of measures of government and autonomy so drawn and executed "as to satisfy the essential requirements of good government," the establishment of a local gendarmerie effective for the purposes of internal order and security against external aggression, the conventional improvement of commercial and political relations, and, as these various conditions can hardly be fulfilled without a strong central government in China, the establishment of a temporary international coöperation in the internal reconstruction of China. The report further says that, if an adequate rapprochement between China and Japan is not secured, no solution, no matter what its terms may be, can ever be fruitful. The suggestions also propose various declarations and treaties, the details of which are fully elaborated; but foreign coöperation and supervision largely figure in them.
The report of the Committee of the Assembly of the League, to which these suggestions were submitted, cannot be highly commended. Its tone is that of reproof. Japan is not called an "aggressor," but this is strongly hinted; and references to provisions of the Covenant that contemplate the use of force are rather plentiful. The Assembly adopted the report on February 17, 1933, together with recommendations some of which summarily stated definite conclusions; and acceptance of the recommendations as a whole was made a condition of representation of the parties on a special committee which it was proposed to appoint to assist them in their negotiations. Japan then protested and resigned from the League. Had the Assembly tendered friendly and impartial good offices, and, as a great Secretary of State of the United States once suggested to an offending government, used "some kind words," it might have contributed to the actual and amicable solution of the immense difficulties which the Lytton report so clearly explained. On February 27, 1933, Sir John Simon, speaking for the British Government to the House of Commons concerning the armed struggle in Manchuria, had declared: "Under no circumstances will this Government authorize this country to be a party to the conflict."
In view of Great Britain's vast interests in the Far East the foregoing statement is impressive. Other European governments have spoken in a similar sense, and the arms embargo by Great Britain, which was so soon revoked, stood alone. Strangely, it was chiefly in the United States that cries for boycotts, arms embargoes and other measures were heard. These cries reverberated internationally; and there was used in both countries, even in official statements, language that reflected the prevailing excitement. Diplomatic windows are peculiar. They automatically open to bouquets, but never to gravel. A single brick may shatter all the panes. Even a well-intended admonition, if the surface is rough and hard, may have a like effect. During the war between Russia and Japan in 1904, when Theodore Roosevelt was President and John Hay was Secretary of State, the United States specially enjoined on all its officials, civil, military and naval, the practice of courtesy, moderation and self-restraint, lest resentment might be aroused. The Nine-Power Treaty has constantly been mentioned, and references to it are altogether proper. It enunciates an old principle intended to avoid danger in situations which actual conditions complicate. The parties to it, besides the United States, China and Japan, are Belgium, the British Empire, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal. In the United States it has constantly been spoken of as having special "sanctity." No doubt, a nation's faith should ever be inviolable, whether pledged to other nations or to private individuals; nor should a pledge to the latter be less sacred because its violation may be less dangerous. But the application of the terms of treaties to actual cases is often disputed and uncertain, and nations are inclined, especially when they are under pressure, to be tenacious of their own opinions. France, for instance, in 1923 refused the proposal of Great Britain to refer the question of the legality of the occupation of the Ruhr to the Permanent Court of International Justice. On the other hand, the many references to arbitral boards show how often nations disagree on questions of interpretation.
The thought of armed intervention by the United States in Manchuria, while glaringly inconsistent with the recent vote to abandon the Philippines, inevitably suggests the possible failure of its object as well as other serious consequences. Should the attempt to occupy the territory be successful, the perplexing questions whether to hold and administer it, or to turn it over to China, as she would naturally wish, or to some other Power, or to set up an international government, would necessarily have to be determined. Article 35 of the General Act of Berlin of February 26, 1885, relating to protectorates on the coast of Africa, recognized "the obligation to insure the establishment of authority in the regions occupied by them . . . sufficient to protect existing rights, and, the case arising, freedom of trade and of transit on the conditions that they may have agreed upon," and this obligation was pronounced by the highest authorities to be based also on "the nature of the case." Where efficient local government does not exist, the total failure of our trial some years ago of international government in little Samoa indicates that of all kinds of government the international is the worst.
The phrase "open door" is often used in a fighting sense, although war might necessitate the door's temporary closure. The "open door" means trade, but, of course, not in the highly obnoxious sense of "free trade," although a very moderate conventional tariff has long been imposed on China. For 1932 the figures of United States trade with China and Japan are as follows: exports to China $56,171,000, imports from China $26,176,000; exports to Japan $134,537,384, imports from Japan $134,011,311. Without undertaking now to suggest what our final attitude towards the new state of Manchukuo should be, I am bound to say that the proposal of permanent "non-recognition" too vividly recalls the uncertainty and failure, and the disorder, local and international, which attended the recent trial of that futile and demoralizing process as a means of preventing revolution or other unconstitutional acts in other lands.
In 1919 President Wilson did not submit to the Senate a tripartite treaty he had signed at Paris to guarantee the eastern frontier of France, although in the long run internal order is maintained on both sides of the Rhine. Many examples, including the war of thirty years ago between Russia and Japan and the unended conflicts that have since occurred, show what a quagmire Manchuria offers for the swallowing up of blood and treasure, without permanent and uncontested reward to those who take their chances in it. The much vaunted annihilation of space and time has not yet enabled a nation thousands of miles away to exert its military power as effectively as it may do at home or in its immediate environment. For a distant nation to take the chances of armed intervention in Manchuria, unless in pursuit or defense of a vital interest, would suggest a recklessness savoring of monomania.
IX. OUR BIRTHRIGHT
Washington, in his farewell address, said:
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. . . . The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. . . . Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our interests. . . . Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
The original draft of this admonition was made by Alexander Hamilton who, like Washington himself, was born a British subject; but their minds embraced the entire world.
Jefferson, not forgetting the Declaration of Independence which he drew, warned his countrymen that their form of government exposed them more than any other to "the insidious intrigues and pestilent influences of foreign nations," and that nothing but an inflexible neutrality could preserve us. Their mutual jealousies and their complicated alliances were, he said, all foreign to us. They were nations of eternal war. His motto therefore was: "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none."
Sagacious John Adams, who spent many years in Europe and signed our first treaty with Holland as well as the treaty with Great Britain acknowledging our independence, when a European diplomatist remarked that he seemed to be afraid of being made the tool of the Powers of Europe, exclaimed, "Indeed I am;" and when asked "What Powers?" replied "All of them." And he added:
It is obvious that all the Powers of Europe will be continually manœuvering with us to work us into their real or imaginary balances of power. They will all wish to make of us a make-weight candle, when they are weighing out their pounds. Indeed, it is not surprising; for we shall very often, if not always, be able to turn the scale. But I think it ought to be our rule not to meddle; and that of all the Powers of Europe, not to desire us, or, perhaps, even to permit us, to interfere, if they can help it.
Nothing more profoundly true was ever said; and this was fully recognized by all our national administrations and by our greatest statesmen down to twenty years ago, when, to the disturbance of our interests and our happiness, we began to swing on the trapeze at international political performances and even to pay for the privilege of so doing.
Not long ago a callow stripling, when I mentioned the name of George Washington, curtly remarked that his ideas were out of date and unsuited to the modern world. This is an essential postulate of the shallow dupes who, prating of our having lately become a "World Power," urge that we blindly don an imported livery of "world service," to be paid for, on demand, in unestimated instalments of blood and treasure. But it is a sad day when the children of a nation are taught to prattle ignorant and perverted slights of the men who, with steady and skilful hands, laid the foundations of its greatness and prosperity; men to whom, by reason of their exemplary valor, integrity and wisdom, an understanding world has awarded the highest place among the immortals. Thomas Jefferson, who spoke with the authority of an intimate official association, and with an intelligence that embraced all times and all climes, declared that in elevation of character, in sureness of judgment, in firmness of purpose, in inflexible justice and in scrupulous obedience to the laws, civil and military, throughout his whole career, Washington furnished an example unparalleled in history. Jefferson himself stands before the world as a great political genius, whose ideas still stir men's minds. Alexander Hamilton, soldier, jurist, great administrator, of whom Webster said that "he touched the dead corpse of Public Credit, and it sprung upon its feet," is still studied as a profound political theorist, at home and abroad. And what of Benjamin Franklin, discoverer, inventor, philosopher, consummate diplomatist, at home in all lands, of whom Charles Phillips eloquently said that his fame would revive the hopes of men in ages yet to come?
Such are the men whom our vaporers of current sublimities would shelve as fossils in our museums of natural history, on the hasty supposition that by various modern devices, by which men may more rapidly and more frequently communicate, and more quickly hurt or help one another, discordant races and peoples have been harmoniously united in thought and in action and in brotherly love. Where congeniality is lacking, propinquity does not tend to create affection; on the contrary, it tends to breed hatreds. Where are today the danger spots of the world? They are coterminous countries. The French and the Germans have for centuries lived side by side. No artificial device is needed to enable them quickly to come into contact. The thin line of their common frontier can instantly be strided. For ages they have crossed and re-crossed it in peace and in war; and yet, how much have they learned to love one another? Their recent fierce and desperate conflict, and the unappeased sorrows and resentments by which it was followed, will be accepted as a conclusive answer, except by those who would employ processes of peace that would cause the echoes of war daily to haunt the fireside. The times must be out of joint when a warlike ardor for peace depreciates the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome; when new and untried visions are held superior to the proved philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, of Cicero and Seneca, of Bacon and John Locke; and when the wisdom of great statesmen, heard with reverence only twenty years ago, is suddenly rejected as having no current value.
We hear much today of the duties of the United States as a "World Power," and the supposition seems widely to prevail that we have only lately reached that eminence. But the United States has always been a World Power. It acted as a World Power when, on the outbreak of the wars growing out of the French Revolution, its first President, George Washington, with Thomas Jefferson as his Secretary of State, proclaimed our neutrality. It acted as a World Power when, some years later, it suppressed the activities of the Barbary pirates. It acted as a World Power when, in 1812, it went to war in defense of neutral rights and the freedom of the seas. It acted as a World Power when it proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine. It acted as a World Power in extending its trade and opening up foreign countries to its commerce, as it so effectually did by peaceful processes during the presidency of General Andrew Jackson. It acted as a World Power when it refused to permit the intervention of foreign nations in our civil war. It acted as a World Power when it forbade the further maintenance of the European empire set up in Mexico by French arms during our civil war. It acted as a World Power when, in the administration of President Grant, with Hamilton Fish as his Secretary of State, it brought about, through the greatest of all international arbitrations, the amicable settlement of the Alabama Claims, and in so doing made a signal contribution to the further development of the law of neutrality.
It is useless to continue the specification of instances. Nations, like individuals, may increase their power by combining with a due attention to their own business the extension of their friendly offices to brethren in trouble, and by conserving their militant resources for occasions when their vital interests are at stake. A nation that undertakes to meddle with every foreign disturbance is bound to become an international nuisance, to its own detriment as well as to the annoyance of other countries. Power is neither gained nor kept by such methods. Although megalomania may be sincere, it is noted for its mistakes.
In the French National Convention which met on September 21, 1792, the dominant factor was called the Mountain. This group, comprising the most radical Jacobin element, of which Marat and Robespierre were the chief spokesmen, was always in a state of more or less delirious eruption. During the Reign of Terror, with which the group is identified, the French Government instructed its minister in the United States to bring about "a national agreement, in which two great peoples shall suspend their commercial and political interests, and establish a mutual understanding to defend the empire of liberty, wherever it can be embraced." This appeal is similar to that which is constantly heard in the United States today, but it did not move the unfeeling statesmen who then guided our destinies.
Those who oppose our intermeddling with what does not properly concern us are dubbed "isolationists." We should not resent this; we have good ancestral justification. All through her history Great Britain has held aloof from continental alliances except so far as they might seem to be temporarily necessary for her safety. In the Thirty Years' War which convulsed the entire Continent she took no part. At the close of the wars of the Spanish Succession she dropped her alliances and made her own peace. As is pointed out by Lord Loreburn in the volume heretofore quoted, every single Great Power on the Continent was, during the sixty years preceding 1914, repeatedly engaged in continental war; France thrice, Germany thrice, Russia twice, Austria three times and Italy four times. During the same sixty years Great Britain was involved in continental war only once, in 1854, when in alliance with France she backed Turkey against Russia and committed the mistake later described by Lord Salisbury as "putting her money on the wrong horse." One of Great Britain's reasons for abstention as declared by her statesmen was the prevalence of deadly animosities and conflicts of interest that still survived among the continental Powers. The British policy was to maintain good relations with all her continental neighbors not only with a view to exerting a friendly influence in composing their differences but also to avoid commitments which might compel a participation in foreign wars and deprive the country of its independent control of its own policy. But there was yet another reason; all the great continental Powers had adopted universal compulsory service. Great Britain's cardinal principle was to rely upon an overwhelming superiority at sea. It was these things that led Lord Salisbury, when Secretary for Foreign Affairs at the close of the last century, to boast of England's "splendid isolation." When an inheritor of the name of Elizabeth's great minister used this phrase it did not occur to Englishmen to reproach him for an abandonment of their "world leadership," or to wail over their neglect of their international duties. On the contrary, when Lord Salisbury spoke of "isolation," Great Britain was still tingling with memories of the Diamond Jubilee, when statesmen coming from the ends of the earth to pay homage to the Great Queen saw without dread the vast fleet that confidently rode the inviolate sea that washes England's shores. Here, the victims of the new psychology use the word "isolation" as a term of opprobrium. It would be as sensible to condemn as an "isolationist" a man who did not tie himself up with unnecessary contracts, and especially of the kind that were likely to impoverish or to ruin him, without benefit to himself and perhaps with injury to others. Such epithets serve only to exemplify the want of knowledge and of understanding of those who employ them.
Conspicuous in the lingo of the past decade is the plea for the continuance of the kind of "leadership" with which we began to bless the world less than twenty years ago. Some of our very eminent men have urged this plea. But I have often wished that those who use such language would reflect on how it may strike other peoples, in Europe and elsewhere. Why, for instance, should the British, the Dutch, the French, or the Italian people pant for our spiritual, our moral or our political guidance? Why should they regard as superior to them a people whom they benevolently associate with mass production, skyscrapers and prohibition? If they were to express their inmost thoughts would they not confess that such utterances sound to them somewhat boastful, somewhat neglectful of their great historic tradition? How should we ourselves now feel if the eminent foreign statesmen who lately responded to President Roosevelt's invitation to visit him, had, before leaving the United States, intimated that we needed their "leadership," and that any counsels or conditions they suggested should be accepted in that sense? Perhaps it is unfortunate for us that they did not say so. But, having had long experience in leadership, they can well afford to pay a polite deference to those who ingenuously profess to have usurped their ancient prerogative.
We also hear much of the "international mind." Would to God that we had more of it! But in devoutly expressing this wish I do not confine it to my own country, nor do I lack a definite conception of what an international mind ought to be. Having for many years been connected with the administration of foreign affairs, I can truthfully affirm that there is no nation towards which I cherish a feeling of enmity. I have always been a peacemaker; and, as an international judge, I am willing to stand on my record as one who strove to act without fear or favor. But I confess that of all countries I love my own the best. No international mind is, in my opinion, to be desired or to be trusted that is not built on a national foundation. The man who cannot sing his national anthem with a whole heart is not fit to be entrusted with negotiations with foreign Powers. No experienced diplomatist would trust out of his sight an adversary who did not seek to obtain for his own country a square deal. Only those who are disposed to maintain the rights and interests of their respective countries can treat with one another on the basis of mutual self-respect. The best diplomatists are those who are willing to give as well as to take; who can grasp and apply the equitable solution that assures to each that which is justly due; who, in leaving behind them no heartburnings and resentments, conserve the interests of all. It is a pleasure to remember the men of this type with whom I have dealt.
We are told that invention and trade and industrial organization cannot be reversed. But nobody wishes or proposes to reverse them. We are told that the world has become too dependent on comforts to be willing to give them up; but, although dependence on comforts is not a sign of strength, either physical or mental, no one is specially advocating their abandonment. But the culmination is reached when we are told that we cannot "retire within our own borders" and lead a life of "isolation." When have we ever done such a thing, or proposed to do it? The late Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, on revisiting the United States in 1928 after an absence of thirteen years, said that on his return the impression he got was that what he had admired as the robustness of American life "had given place to the sickening self-consciousness of an hysterical idealism," and had been superseded by the "same hodgepodge of badly digested ideas" as had characterized the Guards Barracks in St. Petersburg thirty years back. "So this," he exclaimed, "was the American share of the Versailles spoils! It seemed bewildering that any nation should send 2,000,000 men across the ocean, fight for something that did not concern it in the least, tear up the map of the world and lend billions of dollars to its competitors -- all for the purpose of acquiring the worst traits of pre-war Europe."
And for what is our birthright to be thrown away? Among other things, for membership in an association which, although established in the name of peace, is in the present state of the popular mind chiefly characterized by warlike devices. I am not opposed to an association of nations for the purposes of peace, and would not disparage any useful work the League has done. But the League, in dealing with political matters, suffers from the radical defects of its charter. My first and consistent opinion of the Covenant fully accords with that so thoughtfully and prophetically expressed by Mr. Elihu Root as early as March 13, 1919, in these words: "The more I study it, the more satisfied I am that it has some very useful provisions, some very bad ones, some glaring deficiencies, and that if it is not very materially amended not merely in form but in substance, the world will before very long wake up to realize that a great opportunity has been wasted in the doing of a futile thing." Most fully has this profoundly prescient comment been justified by the recent and too frequent occasions on which loose, excited and unfulfilled threats of employing the warlike devices of the Covenant have exposed the League to reproach if not to contempt. Nor do I hesitate to mention as an example the unhappy conflict between China and Japan in which, while warlike words were heard from Geneva, the ministers for foreign affairs of powerful members of the League were disavowing in their capitals any intention to intervene in the armed strife in Manchuria.
Originally, the League had the character of a political club which nations could enter only by invitation. To this phase Argentina long ago intelligently objected. There was a list of original members and a list of states invited to accede. No recent enemy state was on either list, although President Wilson, before going abroad, had declared that Germany would necessarily be admitted, for the purpose of controlling her if for nothing else. Mexico, although never an enemy state, was, because the United States did not then approve her, unbidden to the banquet of peace. Russia, in spite of her vast contribution in blood and in treasure to the Allied cause, had fallen from grace and entered upon courses that were not approved. With absences such as these it could not, even had the United States been present, have been truly said that the voice of the world was heard at Geneva.
But the most fundamental defect of the plan was the creation of the warlike devices on the fantastic assumption that the members of the League would, in making use of those devices, divest themselves of their individual interests and prepossessions, of their historic and instinctive antagonisms, and altruistically unite in enforcing the ideal of impartial justice. In the ordinary administration of the law, persons who have formed prejudgments are peremptorily excluded from the jury as being presumptively incapable of weighing the proofs and rendering a fair and just verdict. The members of the Council of the League of Nations are the delegates of governments; the members of the Assembly also represent governments. It cannot either justly or rationally be expected of such bodies to divest themselves of all prepossessions or consciousness of national interests, to say nothing of the fact that they must inevitably differ in opinion. It is for reasons such as these that where a conflict between nations occurs and the warlike devices of the Covenant are invoked they so readily excite apprehension and distrust. It is very significant that the professed friends of the League are the readiest to censure it for not hastening to employ the warlike devices. On the assumption that such persons accurately represent the spirit of Geneva and are influential in its deliberations, those who do not believe in war as the prime, or as the natural and appropriate, creator of peace cannot help reflecting upon the demonstrated fact that war may as readily be used for unjust as for just ends, for oppression as well as for liberty, for the crushing of some and the exaltation of others, and for evil as well as for good. No wonder that the League is visibly rocked and rent and the world disturbed and divided whenever an agitation arises for the use of the warlike devices which visionary men in an excited and unsettled time foisted upon those who were wiser and more modest in the estimation of what was practicable and desirable. It was on this rock that the great Confederation of Europe, based on the treaties that ended the Napoleonic War and the Holy Alliance, eventually was wrecked. Although it contained no elaboration of warlike devices for the preservation of peace, the attempt of subsequent conferences to employ united military action divided the Powers and brought to an end their association. Such a result may be regarded as inevitable.
Esau, thinking that he was about to die, sold his birthright for a mess of pottage; but the Bible censures him for having despised his birthright. What would have been the nature of the censure if he had thrown his birthright wantonly away, or had allowed himself to be cheated out of it? Europe is the victim of history, a seething mass of hereditary feuds. They exist in the western part as well as in the eastern, and they are peculiarly bitter in the southeastern, where the war in 1914 originated. The Balkan Peninsula may be likened to a Vesuvius, always in danger of an eruption. Once, when I asked an Albanian to meet a Serbian he did not know, he hissed in reply: "He i-s-s my en-ne-my!" The United States may, if it should unhappily see fit to do so, associate itself with these feuds and henceforth help to fight them out. It may embitter and help to perpetuate them, but it cannot end them.
In my early days I learned from great teachers the unity of human history. Human nature has not changed. Human propensities, human appetites and human passions have not changed. We come into the world in the same way, and our necessities are the same. The struggle for existence still continues and it will go on. As one long and intimately acquainted with men of arms, I may say that they do not share the new view that peace and tranquillity on earth may be promoted and stabilized by boycotts, by playing fast and loose with the law of neutrality, and by the extension of the area of wars. Wars are not brought about by the officers of our Army and our Navy; but wars have often been fomented by agitations recklessly conducted by persons who professed a special abhorrence of war. The motives and objects of war have been various; but, as war is a contention by force, it is waged for victory. The struggle, as it progresses, becomes more and more intense. Each day brings its tale of death and of desolation. Griefs accumulate; the passions burn more fiercely; the hoarse cry of vengeance grows louder and more insistent; and the cases are rare in which the peace that is extorted does not by humiliating conditions sow the seeds of future wars.
The true and only foundation of peace among men is the concession to each of that which is due. No doubt perfect justice is unattainable in this world. But there is an ideal of justice towards which every nation, every people, every individual should aspire. This ideal can be attained only through the reconciliation of our conflicting views and our conflicting interests. We are not all alike. No two men and no two women are alike. No two nations are alike. We differ in race, we differ in creed, we differ in color; and all differences tend to provoke antagonism. If we would keep men and nations at peace, we must remove the causes of their discontent, elevate their moral sentiments, inculcate a spirit of justice and toleration, and compose and settle their differences.
Such is my message, on which I am prepared to stand before any future Seat of Judgment, in all confidence that no sudden reversal during the past twenty years of the ways of God to man will exclude me from the reward promised to good and faithful servants.
[i] FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Supplement, October 1932; and April 1933.
[ii]The New York Times, April 10, 1932.
[iii] The Prize Cases, 2 Black, 635, 666, 667.
[iv] "The Slippery Aggressor," The World Tomorrow, June, 1930.