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Title: The Inside Story of the Peace Conference
Author: Dillon, Emile Joseph, 1854-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_The Inside Story of

The Peace Conference_


_by

Dr. E.J. Dillon_



HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

_NEW YORK AND LONDON_

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE

Copyright 1920, by Harper & Brothers

Printed in the United States of America

Published February, 1920

_To
C.W. BARRON

in memory of interesting conversations

on historic occasions

These pages are inscribed._



CONTENTS

CHAP.                                   PAGE

FOREWORD                                  ix

I.    THE CITY OF THE CONFERENCE           1

II.   SIGNS OF THE TIMES                  45

III.  THE DELEGATES                       58

IV.   CENSORSHIP AND SECRECY             117

V.    AIMS AND METHODS                   136

VI.   THE LESSER STATES                  184

VII.  POLAND'S OUTLOOK IN THE FUTURE     264

VIII. ITALY                              272

IX.   JAPAN                              322

X.    ATTITUDE TOWARD RUSSIA             344

XI.   BOLSHEVISM                         376

XII.  HOW BOLSHEVISM WAS FOSTERED        399

XIII. SIDELIGHTS ON THE TREATY           407

XIV.  THE TREATY WITH GERMANY            455

XV.   THE TREATY WITH BULGARIA           464

XVI.  THE COVENANT AND MINORITIES        469



FOREWORD

It is almost superfluous to say that this book does not claim to be a
history, however summary, of the Peace Conference, seeing that such a
work was made sheer impossible now and forever by the chief delegates
themselves when they decided to dispense with records of their
conversations and debates. It is only a sketch--a sketch of the problems
which the war created or rendered pressing--of the conditions under
which they cropped up; of the simplicist ways in which they were
conceived by the distinguished politicians who volunteered to solve
them; of the delegates' natural limitations and electioneering
commitments and of the secret influences by which they were swayed; of
the peoples' needs and expectations; of the unwonted procedure adopted
by the Conference and of the fateful consequences of its decisions to
the world.

In dealing with all those matters I aimed at impartiality, which is an
unattainable ideal, but I trust that sincerity and detachment have
brought me reasonably close to it. Having no pet theories of my own to
champion, my principal standard of judgment is derived from the law of
causality and the rules of historical criticism.

The fatal tactical mistake chargeable to the Conference lay in its
making the charter of the League of Nations and the treaty of peace with
the Central Powers interdependent. For the maxims that underlie the
former are irreconcilable with those that should determine the latter,
and the efforts to combine them must, among other untoward results,
create a sharp opposition between the vital interests of the people of
the United States and the apparent or transient interests of their
associates. The outcome of this unnatural union will be to damage the
cause of stable peace which it was devised to further.

But the surest touchstone by which to test the capacity and the
achievements of the world-legislators is their attitude toward Russia in
the political domain and toward the labor problem in the economic
sphere. And in neither case does their action or inaction appear to have
been the outcome of statesman-like ideas, or, indeed, of any higher
consideration than that of evading the central issue and transmitting
the problem to the League of Nations. The results are manifest to all.

The continuity of human progress depends at bottom upon labor, and it is
becoming more and more doubtful whether the civilized races of mankind
can be reckoned on to supply it for long on conditions akin to those
which have in various forms prevailed ever since the institutions of
ancient times and which alone render the present social structure
viable. If this forecast should prove correct, the only alternative to a
break disastrous in the continuity of civilization is the frank
recognition of the principle that certain inferior races are destined to
serve the cause of mankind in those capacities for which alone they are
qualified and to readjust social institutions to this axiom.

In the meanwhile the Conference which ignored this problem of problems
has transformed Europe into a seething mass of mutually hostile states
powerless to face the economic competition of their overseas rivals and
has set the very elements of society in flux.

E.J. DILLON.



THE INSIDE STORY OF THE PEACE CONFERENCE

I

THE CITY OF THE CONFERENCE


The choice of Paris for the historic Peace Conference was an
afterthought. The Anglo-Saxon governments first favored a neutral
country as the most appropriate meeting-ground for the world's
peace-makers. Holland was mentioned only to be eliminated without
discussion, so obvious and decisive were the objections. French
Switzerland came next in order, was actually fixed upon, and for a time
held the field. Lausanne was the city first suggested and nearly chosen.
There was a good deal to be said for it on its own merits, and in its
suburb, Ouchy, the treaty had been drawn up which terminated the war
between Italy and Turkey. But misgivings were expressed as to its
capacity to receive and entertain the formidable peace armies without
whose co-operation the machinery for stopping all wars could not well be
fabricated. At last Geneva was fixed upon, and so certain were
influential delegates of the ratification of their choice by all the
Allies, that I felt justified in telegraphing to Geneva to have a house
hired for six months in that picturesque city.

But the influential delegates had reckoned without the French, who in
these matters were far and away the most influential. Was it not in the
Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, they asked, that Teuton militarism had
received its most powerful impulse? And did not poetic justice, which
was never so needed as in these evil days, ordain that the chartered
destroyer who had first seen the light of day in that hall should also
be destroyed there? Was this not in accordance with the eternal fitness
of things? Whereupon the matter-of-fact Anglo-Saxon mind, unable to
withstand the force of this argument and accustomed to give way on
secondary matters, assented, and Paris was accordingly fixed upon....

"Paris herself again," tourists remarked, who had not been there since
the fateful month when hostilities began--meaning that something of the
wealth and luxury of bygone days was venturing to display itself anew as
an afterglow of the epoch whose sun was setting behind banks of
thunder-clouds. And there was a grain of truth in the remark. The Ville
Lumière was crowded as it never had been before. But it was mostly
strangers who were within her gates. In the throng of Anglo-Saxon
warriors and cosmopolitan peace-lovers following the trailing skirts of
destiny, one might with an effort discover a Parisian now and again. But
they were few and far between.

They and their principal European guests made some feeble attempts to
vie with the Vienna of 1814-15 in elegance and taste if not in pomp and
splendor. But the general effect was marred by the element of the
_nouveaux-riches_ and _nouveaux-pauvres_ which was prominent, if not
predominant. A few of the great and would-be great ladies outbade one
another in the effort to renew the luxury and revive the grace of the
past. But the atmosphere was numbing, their exertions half-hearted, and
the smile of youth and beauty was cold like the sheen of winter ice.
The shadow of death hung over the institutions and survivals of the
various civilizations and epochs which were being dissolved in the
common melting-pot, and even the man in the street was conscious of its
chilling influence. Life in the capital grew agitated, fitful,
superficial, unsatisfying. Its gaiety was forced--something between a
challenge to the destroyer and a sad farewell to the past and present.
Men were instinctively aware that the morrow was fraught with bitter
surprises, and they deliberately adopted the maxim, "Let us eat and
drink, for to-morrow we die." None of these people bore on their
physiognomies the dignified impress of the olden time, barring a few
aristocratic figures from the Faubourg St.-Germain, who looked as though
they had only to don the perukes and the distinctive garb of the
eighteenth century to sit down to table with Voltaire and the Marquise
du Châtelet. Here and there, indeed, a coiffure, a toilet, the bearing,
the gait, or the peculiar grace with which a robe was worn reminded one
that this or that fair lady came of a family whose life-story in the
days of yore was one of the tributaries to the broad stream of European
history. But on closer acquaintanceship, especially at conversational
tournaments, one discovered that Nature, constant in her methods,
distributes more gifts of beauty than of intellect.

Festive banquets, sinful suppers, long-spun-out lunches were as frequent
and at times as Lucullan as in the days of the Regency. The outer,
coarser attributes of luxury abounded in palatial restaurants, hotels,
and private mansions; but the refinement, the grace, the brilliant
conversation even of the Paris of the Third Empire were seen to be
subtle branches of a lost art. The people of the armistice were weary
and apprehensive--weary of the war, weary of politics, weary of the
worn-out framework of existence, and filled with a vague, nameless
apprehension of the unknown. They feared that in the chaotic slough into
which they had fallen they had not yet touched bottom. None the less,
with the exception of fervent Catholics and a number of earnest
sectarians, there were few genuine seekers after anything essentially
better.

Not only did the general atmosphere of Paris undergo radical changes,
together with its population, but the thoroughfares, many of them,
officially changed their names since the outbreak of the war.

The Paris of the Conference ceased to be the capital of France. It
became a vast cosmopolitan caravanserai teeming with unwonted aspects of
life and turmoil, filled with curious samples of the races, tribes, and
tongues of four continents who came to watch and wait for the mysterious
to-morrow. The intensity of life there was sheer oppressive; to the
tumultuous striving of the living were added the silent influences of
the dead. For it was also a trysting-place for the ghosts of
sovereignties and states, militarisms and racial ambitions, which were
permitted to wander at large until their brief twilight should be
swallowed up in night. The dignified Turk passionately pleaded for
Constantinople, and cast an imploring look on the lone Armenian whose
relatives he had massacred, and who was then waiting for political
resurrection. Persian delegates wandered about like souls in pain,
waiting to be admitted through the portals of the Conference Paradise.
Beggared Croesus passed famishing Lucullus in the street, and once
mighty viziers shivered under threadbare garments in the biting frost as
they hurried over the crisp February snow. Waning and waxing Powers,
vacant thrones, decaying dominations had, each of them, their accusers,
special pleaders, and judges, in this multitudinous world-center on
which tragedy, romance, and comedy rained down potent spells. For the
Conference city was also the clearing-house of the Fates, where the
accounts of a whole epoch, the deeds and misdeeds of an exhausted
civilization, were to be balanced and squared.

Here strange yet familiar figures, survivals from the past, started up
at every hand's turn and greeted one with smiles or sighs. Men on whom I
last set eyes when we were boys at school, playing football together in
the field or preparing lessons in the school-room, would stop me in the
street on their way to represent nations or peoples whose lives were out
of chime, or to inaugurate the existence of new republics. One face I
shall never forget. It was that of the self-made temporary dictator of a
little country whose importance was dwindling to the dimensions of a
footnote in the history of the century. I had been acquainted with him
personally in the halcyon day of his transient glory. Like his
picturesque land, he won the immortality of a day, was courted and
subsidized by competing states in turn, and then suddenly cast aside
like a sucked orange. Then he sank into the depths of squalor. He was
eloquent, resourceful, imaginative, and brimful of the poetry of
untruth. One day through the asphalt streets of Paris he shuffled along
in the procession of the doomed, with wan face and sunken eyes, wearing
a tragically mean garb. And soon after I learned that he had vanished
unwept into eternal oblivion.

An Arabian Nights touch was imparted to the dissolving panorama by
strange visitants from Tartary and Kurdistan, Korea and Aderbeijan,
Armenia, Persia, and the Hedjaz--men with patriarchal beards and
scimitar-shaped noses, and others from desert and oasis, from Samarkand
and Bokhara. Turbans and fezzes, sugar-loaf hats and headgear resembling
episcopal miters, old military uniforms devised for the embryonic armies
of new states on the eve of perpetual peace, snowy-white burnooses,
flowing mantles, and graceful garments like the Roman toga, contributed
to create an atmosphere of dreamy unreality in the city where the
grimmest of realities were being faced and coped with.

Then came the men of wealth, of intellect, of industrial enterprise, and
the seed-bearers of the ethical new ordering, members of economic
committees from the United States, Britain, Italy, Poland, Russia,
India, and Japan, representatives of naphtha industries and far-off coal
mines, pilgrims, fanatics, and charlatans from all climes, priests of
all religions, preachers of every doctrine, who mingled with princes,
field-marshals, statesmen, anarchists, builders-up, and pullers-down.
All of them burned with desire to be near to the crucible in which the
political and social systems of the world were to be melted and recast.
Every day, in my walks, in my apartment, or at restaurants, I met
emissaries from lands and peoples whose very names had seldom been heard
of before in the West. A delegation from the Pont-Euxine Greeks called
on me, and discoursed of their ancient cities of Trebizond, Samsoun,
Tripoli, Kerassund, in which I resided many years ago, and informed me
that they, too, desired to become welded into an independent Greek
republic, and had come to have their claims allowed. The Albanians were
represented by my old friend Turkhan Pasha, on the one hand, and by my
friend Essad Pasha, on the other--the former desirous of Italy's
protection, the latter demanding complete independence. Chinamen,
Japanese, Koreans, Hindus, Kirghizes, Lesghiens, Circassians,
Mingrelians, Buryats, Malays, and Negroes and Negroids from Africa and
America were among the tribes and tongues forgathered in Paris to watch
the rebuilding of the political world system and to see where they "came
in."

One day I received a visit from an Armenian deputation; its chief was
described on his visiting-card as President of the Armenian Republic of
the Caucasus. When he was shown into my apartment in the Hôtel Vendôme,
I recognized two of its members as old acquaintances with whom I had
occasional intercourse in Erzerum, Kipri Keui, and other places during
the Armenian massacres of the year 1895. We had not met since then. They
revived old memories, completed for me the life-stories of several of
our common friends and acquaintances, and narrated interesting episodes
of local history. And having requested my co-operation, the President
and his colleagues left me and once more passed out of my life.

Another actor on the world-stage whom I had encountered more than once
before was the "heroic" King of Montenegro. He often crossed my path
during the Conference, and set me musing on the marvelous ups and downs
of human existence. This potentate's life offers a rich field of
research to the psychologist. I had watched it myself at various times
and with curious results. For I had met him in various European capitals
during the past thirty years, and before the time when Tsar Alexander
III publicly spoke of him as Russia's only friend. King Nikita owes such
success in life as he can look back on with satisfaction to his
adaptation of St. Paul's maxim of being all things to all men. Thus in
St. Petersburg he was a good Russian, in Vienna a patriotic Austrian, in
Rome a sentimental Italian. He was also a warrior, a poet after his own
fashion, a money-getter, and a speculator on 'Change. His alleged
martial feats and his wily, diplomatic moves ever since the first Balkan
war abound in surprises, and would repay close investigation. The ease
with which the Austrians captured Mount Lovtchen and his capital made a
lasting impression on those of his allies who were acquainted with the
story, the consequences of which he could not foresee. What everybody
seemed to know was that if the Teutons had defeated the Entente, King
Nikita's son Mirko, who had settled down for the purpose in Vienna,
would have been set on the throne in place of his father by the
Austrians; whereas if the Allies should win, the worldly-wise monarch
would have retained his crown as their champion. But these well-laid
plans went all agley. Prince Mirko died and King Nikita was deposed. For
a time he resided at a hotel, a few houses from me, and I passed him now
and again as he was on his way to plead his lost cause before the
distinguished wreckers of thrones and régimes.

It seemed as though, in order to provide Paris with a cosmopolitan
population, the world was drained of its rulers, of its prosperous and
luckless financiers, of its high and low adventurers, of its tribe of
fortune-seekers, and its pushing men and women of every description. And
the result was an odd blend of classes and individuals worthy, it may
be, of the new democratic era, but unprecedented. It was welcomed as of
good augury, for instance, that in the stately Hôtel Majestic, where the
spokesmen of the British Empire had their residence, monocled
diplomatists mingled with spry typewriters, smart amanuenses, and even
with bright-eyed chambermaids at the evening dances.[1] The British
Premier himself occasionally witnessed the cheering spectacle with
manifest pleasure. Self-made statesmen, scions of fallen dynasties,
ex-premiers, and ministers, who formerly swayed the fortunes of the
world, whom one might have imagined _capaces imperii nisi imperassent_,
were now the unnoticed inmates of unpretending hotels. Ambassadors whose
most trivial utterances had once been listened to with concentrated
attention, sued days and weeks for an audience of the greater
plenipotentiaries, and some of them sued in vain. Russian diplomatists
were refused permission to travel in France or were compelled to
undergo more than average discomfort and delay there. More than once I
sat down to lunch or dinner with brilliant commensals, one of whom was
understood to have made away with a well-known personage in order to rid
the state of a bad administrator, and another had, at a secret
_Vehmgericht_ in Turkey, condemned a friend of mine, now a friend of
his, to be assassinated.

In Paris, this temporary capital of the world, one felt the repercussion
of every event, every incident of moment wheresoever it might have
occurred. To reside there while the Conference was sitting was to occupy
a comfortable box in the vastest theater the mind of men has ever
conceived. From this rare coign of vantage one could witness
soul-gripping dramas of human history, the happenings of years being
compressed within the limits of days. The revolution in Portugal, the
massacre of Armenians, Bulgaria's atrocities, the slaughter of the
inhabitants of Saratoff and Odessa, the revolt of the Koreans--all
produced their effect in Paris, where official and unofficial exponents
of the aims and ambitions, religions and interests that unite or divide
mankind were continually coming or going, working aboveground or
burrowing beneath the surface.

It was within a few miles of the place where I sat at table with the
brilliant company alluded to above that a few individuals of two
different nationalities, one of them bearing, it was said, a well-known
name, hatched the plot that sent Portugal's strong man, President
Sidonio Paes, to his last account and plunged that ill-starred land into
chaotic confusion. The plan was discovered by the Portuguese military
attaché, who warned the President himself and the War Minister. But
Sidonio Paes, quixotic and foolhardy, refused to take or brook
precautions. A few weeks later the assassin, firing three shots, had no
difficulty in taking aim, but none of them took effect. The reason was
interesting: so determined were the conspirators to leave nothing to
chance, they had steeped the cartridges in a poisonous preparation,
whereby they injured the mechanism of the revolver, which, in
consequence, hung fire. But the adversaries of the reform movement which
the President had inaugurated again tried and planned another attempt,
and Sidonio Paes, who would not be taught prudence, was duly shot, and
his admirable work undone[2] by a band of semi-Bolshevists.

Less than six months later it was rumored that a number of specially
prepared bombs from a certain European town had been sent to Moscow for
the speedy removal of Lenin. The casual way in which these and kindred
matters were talked of gave one the measure of the change that had come
over the world since the outbreak of the war. There was nobody left in
Europe whose death, violent or peaceful, would have made much of an
impression on the dulled sensibilities of the reading public. All values
had changed, and that of human life had fallen low.

To follow these swiftly passing episodes, occasionally glancing behind
the scenes, during the pauses of the acts, and watch the unfolding of
the world-drama, was thrillingly interesting. To note the dubious
source, the chance occasion of a grandiose project of world policy, and
to see it started on its shuffling course, was a revelation in politics
and psychology, and reminded one of the saying mistakenly attributed to
the Swedish Chancellor Oxenstjern, "_Quam parva sapientia regitur
mundus_."[3]

The wire-pullers were not always the plenipotentiaries. Among those were
also outsiders of various conditions, sometimes of singular ambitions,
who were generally free from conventional prejudices and conscientious
scruples. As traveling to Paris was greatly restricted by the
governments of the world, many of these unofficial delegates had come in
capacities widely differing from those in which they intended to act. I
confess I was myself taken in by more than one of these secret
emissaries, whom I was innocently instrumental in bringing into close
touch with the human levers they had come to press. I actually went to
the trouble of obtaining for one of them valuable data on a subject
which did not interest him in the least, but which he pretended he had
traveled several thousand miles to study. A zealous prelate, whose
business was believed to have something to do with the future of a
certain branch of the Christian Church in the East, in reality held a
brief for a wholly different set of interests in the West. Some of these
envoys hoped to influence decisions of the Conference, and they
considered they had succeeded when they got their points of view brought
to the favorable notice of certain of its delegates. What surprised me
was the ease with which several of these interlopers moved about,
although few of them spoke any language but their own.

Collectivities and religious and political associations, including that
of the Bolshevists, were represented in Paris during the Conference. I
met one of the Bolshevists, a bright youth, who was a veritable apostle.
He occupied a post which, despite its apparent insignificance, put him
occasionally in possession of useful information withheld from the
public, which he was wont to communicate to his political friends. His
knowledge of languages and his remarkable intelligence had probably
attracted the notice of his superiors, who can have had no suspicion of
his leanings, much less of his proselytizing activity. However this may
have been, he knew a good deal of what was going on at the Conference,
and he occasionally had insight into documents of a certain interest. He
was a seemingly honest and enthusiastic Bolshevik, who spread the
doctrine with apostolic zeal guided by the wisdom of the serpent. He was
ever ready to comment on events, but before opening his mind fully to a
stranger on the subject next to his heart, he usually felt his way, and
only when he had grounds for believing that the fortress was not
impregnable did he open his batteries. Even among the initiated, few
would suspect the rôle played by this young proselytizer within one of
the strongholds of the Conference, so naturally and unobtrusively was
the work done. I may add that luckily he had no direct intercourse with
the delegates.

Of all the collectivities whose interests were furthered at the
Conference, the Jews had perhaps the most resourceful and certainly the
most influential exponents. There were Jews from Palestine, from Poland,
Russia, the Ukraine, Rumania, Greece, Britain, Holland, and Belgium; but
the largest and most brilliant contingent was sent by the United States.
Their principal mission, with which every fair-minded man sympathized
heartily, was to secure for their kindred in eastern Europe rights equal
to those of the populations in whose midst they reside.[4] And to the
credit of the Poles, Rumanians, and Russians, who were to be constrained
to remove all the existing disabilities, they enfranchised the Hebrew
elements spontaneously. But the Western Jews, who championed their
Eastern brothers, proceeded to demand a further concession which many of
their own co-religionists hastened to disclaim as dangerous--a kind of
autonomy which Rumanian, Polish, and Russian statesmen, as well as many
of their Jewish fellow-subjects, regarded as tantamount to the creation
of a state within the state. Whether this estimate is true or erroneous,
the concessions asked for were given, but the supplementary treaties
insuring the protection of minorities are believed to have little chance
of being executed, and may, it is feared, provoke manifestations of
elemental passions in the countries in which they are to be applied.

Twice every day, before and after lunch, one met the "autocrats," the
world's statesmen whose names were in every mouth--the wise men who
would have been much wiser than they were if only they had credited
their friends and opponents with a reasonable measure of political
wisdom. These individuals, in bowler hats, sweeping past in sumptuous
motors, as rarely seen on foot as Roman cardinals, were the destroyers
of thrones, the carvers of continents, the arbiters of empires, the
fashioners of the new heaven and the new earth--or were they only the
flies on the wheel of circumstance, to whom the world was unaccountably
becoming a riddle?

This commingling of civilizations and types brought together in Paris by
a set of unprecedented conditions was full of interest and instruction
to the observer privileged to meet them at close quarters. The average
observer, however, had little chance of conversing with them, for, as
these foreigners had no common meeting-place, they kept mostly among
their own folk. Only now and again did three or four members of
different races, when they chanced to speak some common language, get
an opportunity of enjoying their leisure together. A friend of mine, a
highly gifted Frenchman of the fine old type, a descendant of
Talleyrand, who was born a hundred and fifty years too late, opened his
hospitable house once a week to the élite of the world, and partially
met the pressing demand.

To the gaping tourist the Ville Lumière resembled nothing so much as a
huge world fair, with enormous caravanserais, gigantic booths, gaudy
merry-go-rounds, squalid taverns, and huge inns. Every place of
entertainment was crowded, and congregations patiently awaited their
turn in the street, undeterred by rain or wind or snow, offering
absurdly high prices for scant accommodation and disheartened at having
their offers refused. Extortion was rampant and profiteering went
unpunished. Foreigners, mainly American and British, could be seen
wandering, portmanteau in hand, from post to pillar, anxiously seeking
where to lay their heads, and made desperate by failure, fatigue, and
nightfall. The cost of living which harassed the bulk of the people was
fast becoming the stumbling-block of governments and the most powerful
lever of revolutionaries. The chief of the peace armies resided in
sumptuous hotels, furnished luxuriously in dubious taste, flooded after
sundown with dazzling light, and filled by day with the buzz of idle
chatter, the shuffling of feet, the banging of doors, and the ringing of
bells. Music and dancing enlivened the inmates when their day's toil was
over and time had to be killed. Thus, within, one could find anxious
deliberation and warm debate; without, noisy revel and vulgar brawl.
"Fate's a fiddler; life's a dance."

To few of those visitors did Paris seem what it really was--a nest of
golden dreams, a mist of memories, a seed-plot of hopes, a storehouse of
time's menaces.


THE PARIS CONFERENCE AND THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA

There were no solemn pageants, no impressive ceremonies, such as those
that rejoiced the hearts of the Viennese in 1814-15 until the triumphal
march of the Allied troops.

The Vienna of Congress days was transformed into a paradise of delights
by a brilliant court which pushed hospitality to the point of
lavishness. In the burg alone were two emperors, two empresses, four
kings, one queen, two crown-princes, two archduchesses, and three
princes. Every day the Emperor's table cost fifty thousand gulden--every
Congress day cost him ten times that sum. Galaxies of Europe's eminent
personages flocked to the Austrian capital, taking with them their
ministers, secretaries, favorites, and "confidential agents." So eager
were these world-reformers to enjoy themselves that the court did not go
into mourning for Queen Marie Caroline of Naples, the last of Marie
Theresa's daughters. Her death was not even announced officially lest it
should trouble the festivities of the jovial peace-makers!

The Paris of the Conference, on the other hand, was democratic, with a
strong infusion of plutocracy. It attempted no such brilliant display as
that which flattered the senses or fired the imagination of the
Viennese. In 1919 mankind was simpler in its tastes and perhaps less
esthetic. It is certain that the froth of contemporary frivolity had
lost its sparkling whiteness and was grown turbid. In Vienna, balls,
banquets, theatricals, military reviews, followed one another in dizzy
succession and enabled politicians and adventurers to carry on their
intrigues and machinations unnoticed by all except the secret police.
And, as the Congress marked the close of one bloody campaign and ushered
in another, one might aptly term it the interval between two tragedies.
For a time it seemed as though this part of the likeness might become
applicable to the Conference of Paris.

Moving from pleasure to politics, one found strong contrasts as well as
surprising resemblances between the two peace-making assemblies, and, it
was assumed, to the advantage of the Paris Conference. Thus, at the
Austrian Congress, the members, while seemingly united, were pulling
hard against one another, each individual or group tugging in a
different direction. The Powers had been compelled by necessity to unite
against a common enemy and, having worsted him on the battlefield, fell
to squabbling among themselves in the Council Chamber as soon as they
set about dividing the booty. In this respect the Paris Conference--the
world was assured in the beginning--towered aloft above its historic
predecessor. Men who knew the facts declared repeatedly that the
delegates to the Quai d'Orsay were just as unanimous, disinterested, and
single-minded during the armistice as they were through the war.
Probably they were.

Another interesting point of comparison was supplied by the _dramatis
personæ_? of both illustrious companies. They were nearly all
representatives of old states, but there was one exception.


THE CONGRESS CHIEF

_Mistrusted, Feared, Humored, and Obeyed_

A relatively new Power took part in the deliberations of the Vienna
Congress, and, perhaps, because of its loftier intentions, introduced a
jarring note into the concert of nations. Russia was then a newcomer
into the European councils; indeed she was hardly yet recognized as
European. Her gifted Tsar, Alexander I, was an idealist who wanted, not
so much peace with the vanquished enemy as a complete reform of the
ordering of the whole world, so that wars should thenceforward be
abolished and the welfare of mankind be set developing like a sort of
pacific _perpetuum mobile_. This blessed change, however, was to be
compassed, not by the peoples or their representatives, but by the
governments, led by himself and deliberating in secret. At the Paris
Conference it was even so.

This curious type of public worker--a mixture of the mystical and the
practical--was the terror of the Vienna delegates. He put spokes in
everybody's wheel, behaved as the autocrat of the Congress and felt as
self-complacent as a saint. Countess von Thurheim wrote of him: "He
mistrusted his environment and let himself be led by others. But he was
thoroughly good and high-minded and sought after the weal, not merely of
his own country, but of the whole world. _Son coeur eût embrassé le
bonheur du monde_." He realized in himself the dreams of the
philosophers about love for mankind, but their Utopias of human
happiness were based upon the perfection both of subjects and of
princes, and, as Alexander could fulfil only one-half of these
conditions, his work remained unfinished and the poor Emperor died, a
victim of his high-minded illusions.[5]

The other personages, Metternich in particular, were greatly put out by
Alexander's presence. They labeled him a marplot who could not and would
not enter into the spirit of their game, but they dared not offend him.
Without his brave troops they could not have been victorious and they
did not know how soon they might need him again, for he represented a
numerous and powerful people whose economic and military resources
promised it in time the hegemony of the world. So, while they heartily
disliked the chief of this new great country, they also feared and,
therefore, humored him. They all felt that the enemy, although defeated
and humbled, was not, perhaps, permanently disabled, and might, at any
moment, rise, phoenix-like and soar aloft again. The great visionary was
therefore fêted and lauded and raised to a dizzy pedestal by men who, in
their hearts, set him down as a crank. His words were reverently
repeated and his smiles recorded and remembered. Hardly any one had the
bad taste to remark that even this millennial philosopher in the
statesman's armchair left unsightly flaws in his system for the welfare
of man. Thus, while favoring equality generally, he obstinately refused
to concede it to one race, in fact, he would not hear of common fairness
being meted out to that race. It was the Polish people which was treated
thus at the Vienna Congress, and, owing to him, Poland's just claims
were ignored, her indefeasible rights were violated, and the work of the
peace-makers was botched....

Happily, optimists said, the Paris Conference was organized on a wholly
different basis. Its members considered themselves mere servants of the
public--stewards, who had to render an account of their stewardship and
who therefore went in salutary fear of the electorate at home. This
check was not felt by the plenipotentiaries in Vienna. Again, everything
the Paris delegates did was for the benefit of the masses, although most
of it was done by stealth and unappreciated by them.

The remarkable document which will forever be associated with the name
of President Wilson was the _clou_ of the Conference. The League of
Nations scheme seemed destined to change fundamentally the relations of
peoples toward one another, and the change was expected to begin
immediately after the Covenant had been voted, signed, and ratified. But
it was not relished by any government except that of the United States,
and it was in order to enable the delegates to devise such a wording of
the Covenant as would not bind them to an obnoxious principle or commit
their electorates to any irksome sacrifice, that the peace treaty with
Germany and the liquidation of the war were postponed. This delay caused
profound dissatisfaction in continental Europe, but it had the
incidental advantage of bringing home to the victorious nations the
marvelous recuperative powers of the German race. It also gave time for
the drafting of a compact so admirably tempered to the human weaknesses
of the rival signatory nations, whose passions were curbed only by sheer
exhaustion, that all their spokesmen saw their way to sign it. There was
something almost genial in the simplicity of the means by which the
eminent promoter of the Covenant intended to reform the peoples of the
world. He gave them credit for virtues which would have rendered the
League unnecessary and displayed indulgence for passions which made its
speedy realization hopeless, thus affording a _superfluous_ illustration
of the truth that the one deadly evil to be shunned by those who would
remain philanthropists is a practical knowledge of men, and of the
truism that the statesman's bane is an inordinate fondness for abstract
ideas.

One of the decided triumphs of the Paris Peace Conference over the
Vienna Congress lay in the amazing speed with which it got through the
difficult task of solving offhandedly some of the most formidable
problems that ever exercised the wit of man. One of the Paris journals
contained the following remarkable announcement: "The actual time
consumed in constituting the League of Nations, which it is hoped will
be the means of keeping peace in the world, was thirty hours. This
doesn't seem possible, but it is true."[6]

How provokingly slowly the dawdlers of Vienna moved in comparison may
be read in the chronicles of that time. The peoples hoped and believed
that the Congress would perform its tasks in a short period, but it was
only after nine months' gestation and sore travail that it finally
brought forth its offspring--a mountain of Acts which have been
moldering in dust ever since.

The Wilsonian Covenant, which bound together thirty-two states--a league
intended to be incomparably more powerful than was the Holy
Alliance--will take rank as the most rapid improvisation of its kind in
diplomatic history.

A comparison between the features common to the two international
legislatures struck many observers as even more reassuring than the
contrast between their differences. Both were placed in like
circumstances, faced with bewildering and fateful problems to which an
exhausting war, just ended, had imparted sharp actuality. One of the
delegates to the Vienna Congress wrote:

"Everything had to be recast and made new, the destinies of Germany,
Italy, and Poland settled, a solid groundwork laid for the future, and a
commercial system to be outlined."[7] Might not those very words have
been penned at any moment during the Paris Conference with equal
relevance to its undertakings?

Or these: "However easily and gracefully the fine old French wit might
turn the topics of the day, people felt vaguely beneath it all that
these latter times were very far removed from the departed era and, in
many respects, differed from it to an incomprehensible degree."[8] And
the veteran Prince de Ligne remarked to the Comte de la Garde: "From
every side come cries of Peace, Justice, Equilibrium, Indemnity.... Who
will evolve order from this chaos and set a dam to the stream of
claims?" How often have the same cries and queries been uttered in
Paris?

When the first confidential talks began at the Vienna Congress, the same
difficulties arose as were encountered over a century later in Paris
about the number of states that were entitled to have representatives
there. At the outset, the four Cabinet Ministers of Austria, Russia,
England, and Prussia kept things to themselves, excluding vanquished
France and the lesser Powers. Some time afterward, however, Talleyrand,
the spokesman of the worsted nation, accompanied by the Portuguese
Minister, Labrador, protested vehemently against the form and results of
the deliberations. At one sitting passion rose to white heat and
Talleyrand spoke of quitting the Congress altogether, whereupon a
compromise was struck and eight nations received the right to be
represented. In this way the Committee of Eight was formed.[9] In Paris
discussion became to the full as lively, and on the first Saturday, when
the representatives of Belgium, Greece, Poland, and the other small
states delivered impassioned speeches against the attitude of the Big
Five they were maladroitly answered by M. Clemenceau, who relied, as the
source from which emanated the superior right of the Great Powers, upon
the twelve million soldiers they had placed in the field. It was
unfortunate that force should thus confer privileges at a Peace
Conference which was convoked to end the reign of force and privilege.
In Vienna it was different, but so were the times.

Many of the entries and comments of the chroniclers of 1815 read like
extracts from newspapers of the first three months of 1919. "About
Poland, they are fighting fiercely and, down to the present, with no
decisive result," writes Count Carl von Nostitz, a Russian military
observer.... "Concerning Germany and her future federative constitution,
nothing has yet been done, absolutely nothing."[10] Here is a gloss
written by Countess Elise von Bernstorff, wife of the Danish Minister:
"Most comical was the mixture of the very different individuals who all
fancied they had work to do at the Congress ... One noticed noblemen and
scholars who had never transacted any business before, but now looked
extremely consequential and took on an imposing bearing, and professors
who mentally set down their university chairs in the center of a
listening Congress, but soon turned peevish and wandered hither and
thither, complaining that they could not, for the life of them, make out
what was going on." Again: "It would have been to the interest of all
Europe--rightly understood--to restore Poland. This matter may be
regarded as the most important of all. None other could touch so nearly
the policy of all the Powers represented,"[11] wrote the Bavarian
Premier, Graf von Montgelas, just as the Entente press was writing in
the year 1919.

The plenipotentiaries of the Paris Conference had for a short period
what is termed a good press, and a rigorous censorship which never erred
on the side of laxity, whereas those of the Vienna Congress were
criticized without truth. For example, the population of Vienna, we are
told by Bavaria's chief delegate, was disappointed when it discerned in
those whom it was wont to worship as demigods, only mortals. "The
condition of state affairs," writes Von Gentz, one of the clearest heads
at the Congress, "is weird, but it is not, as formerly, in consequence
of the crushing weight that is hung around our necks, but by reason of
the mediocrity and clumsiness of nearly all the workers."[12] One
consequence of this state of things was the constant upspringing of new
and unforeseen problems, until, as time went on, the bewildered
delegates were literally overwhelmed. "So many interests cross each
other here," comments Count Carl von Nostitz, "which the peoples want to
have mooted at the long-wished-for League of Nations, that they fall
into the oddest shapes.... Look wheresoever you will, you are faced with
incongruity and confusion.... Daily the claims increase as though more
and more evil spirits were issuing forth from hell at the invocation of
a sorcerer who has forgotten the spell by which to lay them."[13] It was
of the Vienna Congress that those words were written.

In certain trivial details, too, the likeness between the two great
peace assemblies is remarkable. For example, Lord Castlereagh, who
represented England at Vienna, had to return to London to meet
Parliament, thus inconveniencing the august assembly, as Mr. Wilson and
Mr. George were obliged to quit Paris, with a like effect. Before
Castlereagh left the scene of his labors, uncharitable judgments were
passed on him for allowing home interests to predominate over his
international activities.

The destinies of Poland and of Germany, which were then about to become
a confederation, occupied the forefront of interest at the Congress as
they did at the Conference. A similarity is noticeable also in the state
of Europe generally, then and now. "The uncertain condition of all
Europe," writes a close observer in 1815, "is appalling for the peoples:
every country has mobilized ... and the luckless inhabitants are crushed
by taxation. On every side people complain that this state of peace is
worse than war ... individuals who despised Napoleon say that under him
the suffering was not greater ... every country is sapping its own
prosperity, so that financial conditions, in lieu of improving since
Napoleon's collapse, are deteriorating every where."[14]

In 1815, as in 1919, the world pacifiers had their court painters, and
Isabey, the French portraitist, was as much run after as was Sir William
Orpen in 1919. In some respects, however, there was a difference.
"Isabey," said the Prince de Ligne, "is the Congress become painter.
Come! His talk is as clever as his brush." But Sir William Orpen was so
absorbed by his work that he never uttered a word during a sitting. The
contemporaries of the Paris Conference were luckier than their forebears
of the Vienna Congress--for they could behold the lifelike features of
their benefactors in a cinema. "It is understood," wrote a Paris
journal, "that the necessity of preserving a permanent record of the
personalities and proceedings at the Peace Conference has not been lost
sight of. Very shortly a series of cinematographic films of the
principal delegates and of the commissions is to be made on behalf of
the British government, so that, side by side with the Treaty of Paris,
posterity will be able to study the physiognomy of the men who made
it."[15] In no case is it likely to forget them.

So the great heart of Paris, even to a greater degree than that of
Vienna over a hundred years ago, beat and throbbed to cosmic measures
while its brain worked busily at national, provincial, and economic
questions.

Side by side with the good cheer prevalent that kept the eminent
lawgivers of the Vienna Congress in buoyant spirits went the cost of
living, prohibitive outside the charmed circle in consequence of the
high and rising prices.

"Every article," writes the Comte de la Garde, one of the chroniclers
of the Vienna Congress, "but more especially fuel, soared to incredible
heights. The Austrian government found it necessary, in consequence, to
allow all its officials supplements to their salaries and
indemnities."[16] In Paris things were worse. Greed and disorganization
combined to make of the French capital a vast fleecing-machine. The sums
of money expended by foreigners in France during all that time and a
much longer period is said to have exceeded the revenue from foreign
trade. There was hardly any coal, and even the wood fuel gave out now
and again. Butter was unknown. Wine was bad and terribly dear. A public
conveyance could not be obtained unless one paid "double, treble, and
quintuple fares and a gratuity." The demand was great and the supply
sometimes abundant, but the authorities contrived to keep the two apart
systematically.

THE COST OF LIVING

In no European country did the cost of living attain the height it
reached in France in the year 1919. Not only luxuries and comforts, but
some of life's necessaries, were beyond the reach of home-coming
soldiers, and this was currently ascribed to the greed of merchants, the
disorganization of transports, the strikes of workmen, and the
supineness of the authorities, whose main care was to keep the nation
tranquil by suppressing one kind of news, spreading another, and giving
way to demands which could no longer be denied. There was another and
more effectual cause: the war had deprived the world of twelve million
workmen and a thousand milliard francs' worth of goods. But of this
people took no account. The demobilized soldiers who for years had been
well fed and relieved of solicitude for the morrow returned home,
flushed with victory, proud of the commanding position which they had
won in the state, and eager to reap the rewards of their sacrifices. But
they were bitterly disillusioned. They expected a country fit for heroes
to live in, and what awaited them was a condition of things to which
only a defeated people could be asked to resign itself. The food to
which the poilu had, for nearly five years, been accustomed at the front
was become, since the armistice, the exclusive monopoly of the
capitalist or the _nouveau-riche_ in the rear. To obtain a ration of
sugar he or his wife had to stand in a long queue for hours, perhaps go
away empty-handed and return on the following morning. When his
sugar-card was eventually handed to him he had again to stand in line
outside the grocer's door and, when his turn came to enter it, was
frequently told that the supply was exhausted and would not be
replenished for a week or longer. Yet his newspaper informed him that
there was plenty of colonial sugar, ready for shipment, but forbidden by
the authorities to be imported into France. I met many poor people from
the provinces and some resident in Paris who for four years had not once
eaten a morsel of sugar, although the well-to-do were always amply
supplied. In many places even bread was lacking, while biscuits,
shortbread, and fancy cakes, available at exorbitant prices, were
exhibited in the shop windows. Tokens of unbridled luxury and glaring
evidences of wanton waste were flaunted daily and hourly in the faces of
the humbled men who had saved the nation and wanted the nation to
realize the fact. Lucullan banquets, opulent lunches, all-night dances,
high revels of an exotic character testified to the peculiar psychic
temper as well as to the material prosperity of the passive elements of
the community and stung the poilus to the quick. "But what justice,"
these asked, "can the living hope for, when the glorious dead are so
soon forgotten?" For one ghastly detail remains to complete a picture to
which Boccaccio could hardly have done justice. "While all this wild
dissipation was going on among the moneyed class in the capital the
corpses of many gallant soldiers lay unburied and uncovered on the
shell-plowed fields of battle near Rheims, on the road to
Neuville-sur-Margival and other places--sights pointed out to visitors
to tickle their interest in the grim spectacle of war. In vain
individuals expostulated and the press protested. As recently as May
persons known to me--my English secretary was one--looked with the
fascination of horror on the bodies of men who, when they breathed, were
heroes. They lay there where they had fallen and agonized, and now, in
the heat of the May sun, were moldering in dust away--a couple of hours'
motor drive from Paris...."[17]

The soldiers mused and brooded. Since the war began they had undergone a
great psychic transformation. Stationed at the very center of a
sustained fiery crisis, they lost their feeling of acquiescence in the
established order and in the place of their own class therein. In the
sight of death they had been stirred to their depths and volcanic fires
were found burning there. Resignation had thereupon made way for a
rebellious mood and rebellion found sustenance everywhere. The poilu
demobilized retained his military spirit, nay, he carried about with him
the very atmosphere of the trenches. He had rid himself of the sentiment
of fear and the faculty of reverence went with it. His outlook on the
world had changed completely and his inner sense reversed the social
order which he beheld, as the eye reverses the object it apprehends.
Respect for persons and institutions survived in relatively few
instances the sacredness of life and the fear of death. He was
impressed, too, with the all-importance of his class, which he had
learned during the war to look upon as the Atlas on whose shoulders rest
the Republic and its empire overseas. He had saved the state in war and
he remained in peace-time its principal mainstay. With his value as
measured by these priceless services he compared the low estimate put
upon him by those who continued to identify themselves with the
state--the over-fed, lazy, self-seeking money-getters who reserved to
themselves the fruits of his toil.

One can well imagine--I have actually heard--the poilus putting their
case somewhat as follows: "So long as we filled the gap between the
death-dealing Teutons and our privileged compatriots we were well fed,
warmly clad, made much of. During the war we were raised to the rank of
pillars of the state, saviors of the nation, arbiters of the world's
destinies. So long as we faced the enemy's guns nothing was too good for
us. We had meat, white bread, eggs, wine, sugar in plenty. But, now that
we have accomplished our task, we have fallen from our high estate and
are expected to become pariahs anew. We are to work on for the old gang
and the class from which it comes, until they plunge us into another
war. For what? What is the reward for what we have achieved, what the
incentive for what we are expected to accomplish? We cannot afford as
much food as before the war, nor of the same quality. We are in want
even of necessaries. Is it for this that we have fought? A thousand
times no. If we saved our nation we can also save our class. We have the
will and the power. Why should we not exert them?" The purpose of the
section of the community to which these demobilized soldiers mainly
belonged grew visibly definite as consciousness of their collective
force grew and became keener. Occasionally it manifested itself openly
in symptomatic spurts.

One dismal night, at a brilliant ball in a private mansion, a select
company of both sexes, representatives of the world of rank and fashion,
were enjoying themselves to their hearts' content, while their
chauffeurs watched and waited outside in the cold, dark streets, chewing
the cud of bitter reflections. Between the hours of three and four in
the morning the latter held an open-air meeting, and adopted a
resolution which they carried out forthwith. A delegation was sent
upstairs to give notice to the light-hearted guests that they must be
down in their respective motors within ten minutes on pain of not
finding any conveyances to take them home. The mutineers were nearly all
private chauffeurs in the employ of the personages to whom they sent
this indelicate ultimatum. The resourceful host, however, warded off the
danger and placated the rebellious drivers by inviting them to an
improvised little banquet of _pâtés de foie gras_, dry champagne, and
other delicacies. The general temper of the proletariat remained
unchanged. Tales of rebellion still more disquieting were current in
Paris, which, whether true or false, were aids to a correct diagnosis of
the situation.

A dancing mania broke out during the armistice, which was not confined
to the French capital. In Berlin, Rome, London, it aroused the
indignation of those whose sympathy with the spiritual life of their
respective nations was still a living force. It would seem, however, to
be the natural reaction produced by a tremendous national calamity,
under which the mainspring of the collective mind temporarily gives way
and the psychical equilibrium is upset. Disillusion, despondency, and
contempt for the passions that lately stirred them drive the people to
seek relief in the distractions of pleasures, among which dancing is
perhaps one of the mildest. It was so in Paris at the close of the long
period of stress which ended with the rise of Napoleon. Dancing then
went on uninterruptedly despite national calamities and private
hardships. "Luxury," said Victor Hugo, "is a necessity of great states
and great civilizations, but there are moments when it must not be
exhibited to the masses." There was never a conjuncture when the danger
of such an exhibition was greater or more imminent than during the
armistice on the Continent--for it was the period of incubation
preceding the outbreak of the most malignant social disease to which
civilized communities are subject.

The festivities and amusements in the higher circles of Paris recall the
glowing descriptions of the fret and fever of existence in the Austrian
capital during the historic Vienna Congress a hundred years ago. Dancing
became epidemic and shameless. In some salons the forms it took were
repellent. One of my friends, the Marquis X., invited to a dance at the
house of a plutocrat, was so shocked by what he saw there that he left
almost at once in disgust. Madame Machin, the favorite teacher of the
choreographic art, gave lessons in the new modes of dancing, and her fee
was three hundred francs a lesson. In a few weeks she netted, it is
said, over one hundred thousand francs.

The Prince de Ligne said of the Vienna Congress: "Le Congrès danse mais
il ne marche pas." The French press uttered similar criticisms of the
Paris Conference, when its delegates were leisurely picking up
information about the countries whose affairs they were forgathered to
settle. The following paragraph from a Paris journal--one of many
such--describes a characteristic scene:

     The domestic staff at the Hôtel Majestic, the headquarters of the
     British Delegation at the Peace Conference, held a very successful
     dance on Monday evening, attended by many members of the British
     Mission and Staff. The ballroom was a medley of plenipotentiaries
     and chambermaids, generals and orderlies, Foreign Office attachés
     and waitresses. All the latest forms of dancing were to be seen,
     including the jazz and the hesitation waltz, and, according to the
     opinion of experts, the dancing reached an unusually high standard
     of excellence. Major Lloyd George, one of the Prime Minister's
     sons, was among the dancers. Mr. G.H. Roberts, the Food Controller,
     made a very happy little speech to the hotel staff.[18]

The following extract is also worth quoting:

     A packed house applauded 'Hullo, Paris!' from the rise of the
     curtain to the finale at the new Palace Theater (in the rue
     Mogador), Paris, last night.... President Wilson, Mr. A.J. Balfour,
     and Lord Derby all remained until the fall of the curtain at 12.15
     ... and ... were given cordial cheers from the dispersing audience
     as they passed through the line of Municipal Guards, who presented
     arms as the distinguished visitors made their way to their
     motor-cars.[19]

Juxtaposed with the grief, discontent, and physical hardships prevailing
among large sections of the population which had provided most of the
holocausts for the Moloch of War, the ostentatious gaiety of the
prosperous few might well seem a challenge. And so it was construed by
the sullen lack-alls who prowled about the streets of Paris and told one
another that their turn would come soon.

When the masses stare at the wealthy with the eyes one so often noticed
during the eventful days of the armistice one may safely conclude, in
the words of Victor Hugo, that "it is not thoughts that are harbored by
those brains; it is events."

By the laboring classes the round of festivities, the theatrical
representations, the various negro and other foreign dances, and the
less-refined pleasures of the world's blithest capital were watched with
ill-concealed resentment. One often witnessed long lines of motor-cars
driving up to a theater, fashionable restaurant, or concert-hall,
through the opening portals of which could be caught a glimpse of the
dazzling illumination within, while, a few yards farther off, queues of
anemic men and women were waiting to be admitted to the shop where milk
or eggs or fuel could be had at the relatively low prices fixed by the
state. The scraps of conversation that reached one's ears were far from
reassuring.

I have met on the same afternoon the international world-regenerators,
smiling, self-complacent, or preoccupied, flitting by in their motors to
the Quai d'Orsay, and also quiet, determined-looking men, trudging along
in the snow and slush, wending their way toward their labor
conventicles, where they, too, were drafting laws for a new and strange
era, and I voluntarily fell to gaging the distance that sundered the two
movements, and asked myself which of the inchoate legislations would
ultimately be accepted by the world. The question since then has been
partially answered. As time passed, the high cost of living was
universally ascribed, as we saw, to the insatiable greed of the
middlemen and the sluggishness of the authorities, whose incapacity to
organize and unwillingness to take responsibility increased and augured
ill of the future of the country unless men of different type should in
the meanwhile take the reins. Practically nothing was done to ameliorate
the carrying power of the railways, to utilize the waterways, to employ
the countless lorries and motor-vans that were lying unused, to
purchase, convey, and distribute the provisions which were at the
disposal of the government. Various ministerial departments would
dispute as to which should take over consignments of meat or vegetables,
and while reports, notes, and replies were being leisurely written and
despatched, weeks or months rolled by, during which the foodstuffs
became unfit for human consumption. In the middle of May, to take but
one typical instance, 2,401 eases of lard and 1,418 cases of salt meat
were left rotting in the docks at Marseilles. In the storage magazines
at Murumas, 6,000 tons of salt meat were spoiled because it was nobody's
business to remove and distribute them. Eighteen refrigerator-cars
loaded with chilled meat arrived in Paris from Havre in the month of
June. When they were examined at the cold-storage station it was
discovered that, the doors having been negligently left open, the
contents of the cases had to be destroyed.[20] From Belgium 108,000
kilos of potatoes were received and allowed to lie so long at one of the
stations that they went bad and had to be thrown away. When these and
kindred facts were published, the authorities, who had long been silent,
became apologetic, but remained throughout inactive. In other countries
the conditions, if less accentuated, were similar.

One of the dodges to which unscrupulous dealers resorted with impunity
and profit was particularly ingenious. At the central markets, whenever
any food is condemned, the public-health authorities seize it and pay
the owner full value at the current market rates. The marketmen often
turned this equitable arrangement to account by keeping back large
quantities of excellent vegetables, for which the population was
yearning, and when they rotted and had to be carted away, received their
money value from the Public Health Department, thus attaining their
object, which was to lessen the supply and raise the prices on what they
kept for sale.[21] The consequence was that Paris suffered from a
continual dearth of vegetables and fruits. Statistics published by the
United States government showed the maximum increase in the cost of
living in four countries as follows: France, 235 per cent.; Britain, 135
per cent.; Canada, 115 per cent.; and the United States, 107 per
cent.[22] But since these data were published prices continued to rise
until, at the beginning of July, they had attained the same level as
those of Russia on the eve of the revolution there. In Paris, Lyons,
Marseilles, the prices of various kinds of fish, shell-fish, jams,
apples, had gone up 500 per cent., cabbage over 900 per cent., and
celeriac 2,000 per cent. Anthracite coal, which in the year 1914 cost 56
francs a ton, could not be purchased in 1919 for less than 360 francs.

The restaurants and hotels waged a veritable war of plunder on their
guests, most of whom, besides the scandalous prices, which bore no
reasonable relation to the cost of production, had to pay the government
luxury tax of 10 per cent, over and above. A well-known press
correspondent, who entertained seven friends to a simple dinner in a
modest restaurant, was charged 500 francs, 90 francs being set down for
one chicken, and 28 for three cocktails. The _maître d'hotel_, in
response to the pressman's expostulations, assured him that these
charges left the proprietor hardly any profit. As it chanced, however,
the journalist had just been professionally investigating the cost of
living, and had the data at his finger-ends. As he displayed his
intimate knowledge to his host, and obviously knew where to look for
redress, he had the satisfaction of obtaining a rebate of 150
francs.[23]

Nothing could well be more illuminating than the following curious
picture contributed by a journal whose representative made a special
inquiry into the whole question of the cost of living.[24] "I was dining
the other day at a restaurant of the Bois de Boulogne. There was a long
queue of people waiting at the door, some sixty persons all told, mostly
ladies, who pressed one another closely. From time to time a voice
cried: 'Two places,' whereupon a door was held opened, two patients
entered, and then it was loudly slammed, smiting some of those who stood
next to it. At last my turn came, and I went in. The guests were sitting
so close to one another that they could not move their elbows. Only the
hands and fingers were free. There sat women half naked, and men whose
voices and dress betrayed newly acquired wealth. Not one of them
questioned the bills which were presented. And what bills! The _hors
d'oeuvre_, 20 francs. Fish, 90 francs. A chicken, 150 francs. Three
cigars, 45 francs. The repast came to 250 francs a person at the very
lowest." Another journalist commented upon this story as follows: "Since
the end of last June," he said, "445,000 quintals of vegetables, the
superfluous output of the Palatinate, were offered to France at nominal
prices. And the cost of vegetables here at home is painfully notorious.
Well, the deal was accepted by the competent Commission in Paris.
Everything was ready for despatching the consignment. The necessary
trains were secured. All that was wanting was the approval of the French
authorities, who were notified. Their answer has not yet been given and
already the vegetables are rotting in the magazines."

The authorities pleaded the insufficiency of rolling stock, but the
press revealed the hollowness of the excuse and the responsibility of
those who put it forward, and showed that thousands of wagons, lorries,
and motor-vans were idle, deteriorating in the open air. For instance,
between Cognac and Jarnac the state railways had left about one
thousand wagons unused, which were fast becoming unusable.[25] And this
was but one of many similar instances.

It would be hard to find a parallel in history for the rapacity combined
with unscrupulousness and ingenuity displayed during that fateful period
by dishonest individuals, and left unpunished by the state. Doubtless
France was not the only country in which greed was insatiable and its
manifestations disastrous. From other parts of the Continent there also
came bitter complaints of the ruthlessness of profiteers, and in Italy
their heartless vampirism contributed materially to the revolutionary
outbreaks throughout that country in July. Even Britain was not exempt
from the scourge. But the presence of whole armies of well-paid,
easy-going foreign troops and officials on French soil stimulated greed
by feeding it, and also their complaints occasionally bared it to the
world. The impression it left on certain units of the American forces
was deplorable. When United States soldiers who had long been stationed
in a French town were transferred to Germany, where charges were low,
the revulsion of feeling among the straightforward, honest Yankees was
complete and embarrassing. And by way of keeping it within the bounds of
political orthodoxy, they were informed that the Germans had conspired
to hoodwink them by selling at undercost prices, in order to turn them
against the French. It was an insidious form of German propaganda!

On the other hand, the experience of British and American warriors in
France sometimes happened to be so unfortunate that many of them gave
credence to the absurd and mischievous legend that their governments
were made to pay rent for the trenches in which their troops fought and
died, and even for the graves in which the slain were buried.

An acquaintance of mine, an American delegate, wanted an abode to
himself during the Conference, and, having found one suitable for which
fifteen to twenty-five thousand francs a year were deemed a fair rent,
he inquired the price, and the proprietor, knowing that he had to do
with a really wealthy American, answered, "A quarter of a million
francs." Subsequently the landlord sent to ask whether the distinguished
visitor would take the place; but the answer he received ran, "No, I
have too much self-respect."

Hotel prices in Paris, beginning from December, 1918, were prohibitive
to all but the wealthy. Yet they were raised several times during the
Conference. Again, despite the high level they had reached by the
beginning of July, they were actually quintupled in some hotels and
doubled in many for about a week at the time of the peace celebrations.
Rents for flats and houses soared proportionately.

One explanation of the fantastic rise in rents is characteristic. During
the war and the armistice, the government--and not only the French
government--proclaimed a moratorium, and no rents at all were paid, in
consequence of which many house-owners were impoverished and others
actually beggared. And it was with a view to recoup themselves for these
losses that they fleeced their tenants, French and foreign, as soon as
the opportunity presented itself. An amusing incident arising out of the
moratorium came to light in the course of a lawsuit. An ingenious
tenant, smitten with the passion of greed, not content with occupying
his flat without paying rent, sublet it at a high figure to a man who
paid him well and in advance, but by mischance set fire to the place and
died. Thereupon the _tenant_ demanded and received a considerable sum
from the insurance company in which the defunct occupant had had to
insure the flat and its contents. He then entered an action at law
against the proprietor of the house for the value of the damage caused
by the fire, and he won his case. The unfortunate owner was condemned to
pay the sum claimed, and also the costs of the action.[26] But he could
not recover his rent.

Disorganization throughout France, and particularly in Paris, verged on
the border of chaos. Every one felt its effects, but none so severely as
the men who had won the war. The work of demobilization, which began
soon after the armistice, but was early interrupted, proceeded at
snail-pace. The homecoming soldiers sent hundreds of letters to the
newspapers, complaining of the wearisome delays on the journey and the
sharp privations which they were needlessly forced to endure. Thus,
whereas they took but twenty-eight hours to travel from Hanover to
Cologne--the lines being German, and therefore relatively well
organized--they were no less than a fortnight on the way between Cologne
and Marseilles.[27] During the German section of the journey they were
kept warm, supplied with hot soup and coffee twice daily; but during the
second half, which lasted fourteen days, they received no beverage, hot
or cold. "The men were cared for much less than horses." That these
poilus turned against the government and the class responsible for this
gross neglect was hardly surprising. One of them wrote: "They [the
authorities] are frightened of Bolshevism. But we who have not got home,
we all await its coming. I don't, of course, mean the real Bolshevism,
but even that kind which they paint in such repellent hues."[28] The
conditions of telegraphic and postal communications were on a par with
everything else. There was no guarantee that a message paid for would
even be sent by the telegraph-operators, or, if withheld, that the
sender would be apprised of its suppression. The war arrangements were
retained during the armistice. And they were superlatively bad. A
committee appointed by the Chamber of Deputies to inquire into the
matter officially, reported that,[29] at the Paris Telegraph Bureau
alone, 40,000 despatches were held back every day--40,000 a day, or
58,400,000 in four years! And from the capital alone. The majority of
them were never delivered, and the others were distributed after great
delay. The despatches which were retained were, in the main, thrown into
a basket, and, when the accumulation had become too great, were
destroyed. The Control Section never made any inquiry, and neither the
senders nor those to whom the despatches were addressed were ever
informed.[30] Even important messages of neutral ambassadors in Rome and
London fell under the ban. The recklessness of these censors, who ceased
even to read what they destroyed, was such that they held up and made
away with state orders transmitted by the great munitions factories, and
one of these was constrained to close down because it was unable to
obtain certain materials in time.

The French Ambassador in Switzerland reported that, owing to these
holocausts, important messages from that country, containing orders for
the French national loan, never reached their destination, in
consequence of which the French nation lost from ten to twenty million
francs. And even the letters and telegrams that were actually passed
were so carelessly handled that many of them were lost on the way or
delayed until they became meaningless to the addressee. So, for
instance, an official letter despatched by the Minister of Commerce to
the Minister of Finance in Paris was sent to Calcutta, where the French
Consul-General came across it, and had it directed back to Paris. The
correspondent of the _Echo de Paris_, who was sent to Switzerland by his
journal, was forbidden by law to carry more than one thousand francs
over the frontier, nor was the management of the journal permitted to
forward to him more than two hundred francs at a time. And when a
telegram was given up in Paris, crediting him with two hundred francs,
it was stopped by the censor. Eleven days were let go by without
informing the persons concerned. When the administrator of the journal
questioned the chief censor, he declined responsibility, having had
nothing to do with the matter, but he indicated the Central Telegraph
Control as the competent department. There, too, however, they were
innocent, having never heard of the suppression. It took another day to
elicit the fact that the economic section of the War Ministry was alone
answerable for the decision. The indefatigable manager of the _Echo de
Paris_ applied to the department in question, but only to learn that it,
too, was without any knowledge of what had happened, but it promised to
find out. Soon afterward it informed the zealous manager that the
department which had given the order could only be the Exchange
Commission of the Ministry of Finances. And during all the time the
correspondent was in Zurich without money to pay for telegrams or to
settle his hotel and restaurant bills.[31]

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself, in a report on the whole
subject, characterized the section of Telegraphic Control as "an organ
of confusion and disorder which has engendered extraordinary abuses, and
risked compromising the government seriously."[32] It did not merely
risk, it actually went far to compromise the government and the entire
governing class as well.

It looked as though the rulers of France were still unconsciously guided
by the maxim of Richelieu, who wrote in his testament, "If the peoples
were too comfortable there would be no keeping them to the rules of
duty." The more urgent the need of resourcefulness and guidance, the
greater were the listlessness and confusion. "There is neither unity of
conduct," wrote a press organ of the masses, "nor co-ordination of the
Departments of War, Public Works, Revictualing, Transports. All these
services commingle, overlap, clash, and paralyze one another. There is
no method. Thus, whereas France has coffee enough to last her a
twelvemonth, she has not sufficient fuel for a week. Scruples, too, are
wanting, as are punishments; everywhere there is a speculator who offers
his purse, and an official, a station-master, or a subaltern to stretch
out his hand.... Shortsightedness, disorder, waste, the frittering away
of public moneys and irresponsibility: that is the balance...."[33]

That the spectacle of the country sinking in this administrative
quagmire was not conducive to the maintenance of confidence in its
ruling classes can well be imagined. On all sides voices were uplifted,
not merely against the Cabinet, whose members were assumed to be
actuated by patriotic motives and guided by their own lights, but
against the whole class from which they sprang, and not in France only,
but throughout Europe. Nothing, it was argued, could be worse than what
these leaders had brought upon the country, and a change from the
bourgeoisie to the proletariat could not well be inaugurated at a more
favorable conjuncture.

In truth the bourgeoisie were often as impatient of the restraints and
abuses as the homecoming poilu. The middle class during the armistice
was subjected to some of the most galling restraints that only the war
could justify. They were practically bereft of communications. To use
the telegraph, the post, the cable, or the telephone was for the most
part an exhibition of childish faith, which generally ended in the loss
of time and money.

This state of affairs called for an immediate and drastic remedy, for,
so long as it persisted, it irritated those whom it condemned to
avoidable hardship, and their name was legion. It was also part of an
almost imperceptible revolutionary process similar to that which was
going on in several other countries for transferring wealth and
competency from one class to another and for goading into rebellion
those who had nothing to lose by "violent change in the politico-social
ordering." The government, whose powers were concentrated in the hands
of M. Clemenceau, had little time to attend to these grievances. For its
main business was the re-establishment of peace. What it did not fully
realize was the gravity of the risks involved. For it was on the cards
that the utmost it could achieve at the Conference toward the
restoration of peace might be outweighed and nullified by the
consequences of what it was leaving undone and unattempted at home. At
no time during the armistice was any constructive policy elaborated in
any of the Allied countries. Rhetorical exhortations to keep down
expenditure marked the high-water level of ministerial endeavor there.

The strikes called by the revolutionary organizations whose aim was the
subversion of the regime under which those monstrosities flourished at
last produced an effect on the parliament. One day in July the French
Chamber left the Cabinet in a minority by proposing the following
resolution: "The Chamber, noting that the cost of living in Belgium has
diminished by a half and in England by a fourth since the armistice,
while it has continually increased in France since that date, judges the
government's economic policy by the results obtained and passes to the
order of the day."[34]

Shortly afterward the same Chamber recanted and gave the Cabinet a
majority. In Great Britain, too, the House of Commons put pressure on
the government, which at last was forced to act.

On the other hand, extravagance was systematically encouraged everywhere
by the shortsighted measures which the authorities adopted and
maintained as well as by the wanton waste promoted or tolerated by the
incapacity of their representatives. In France the moratorium and
immunity from taxation gave a fillip to recklessness. People who had
hoarded their earnings before the war, now that they were dispensed from
paying rent and relieved of fair taxes, paid out money ungrudgingly for
luxuries and then struck for higher salaries and wages.

Even the Deputies of the Chamber, which did nothing to mitigate the evil
complained of, manifested a desire to have their own salaries--six
hundred pounds a year--augmented proportionately to the increased cost
of living; but in view of the headstrong current of popular opinion
against parliamentarism the government deemed it impolitic to raise the
point at that conjuncture.

Most of the working-men's demands in France as in Britain were granted,
but the relief they promised was illusory, for prices still went up,
leaving the recipients of the relief no better off. And as the wages
payable for labor are limited, whereas prices may ascend to any height,
the embittered laborer fancied he could better his lot by an appeal to
the force which his organization wielded. The only complete solution of
the problem, he was assured, was to be found in the supersession of the
governing classes and the complete reconstruction of the social fabric
on wholly new foundations.[35] And some of the leaders rashly declared
that they were unable to discern the elements of any other.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Cf. _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), March 12,1919.

[2] On December 18, 1918.

[3] "With what little wisdom the world is governed."

[4] "Mr. Bernard Richards, Secretary of the delegation from the American
Jewish Congress to the Peace Conference, expressed much satisfaction
with the work done in Paris for the protection of Jewish rights and the
furtherance of the interests of other minorities involved in the peace
settlement." (_The New York Herald_, July 20, 1919.) How successful was
the influence of the Jewish community at the Peace Conference may be
inferred from the following: "Mr. Henry H. Rosenfelt, Director of the
American Jewish Relief Committee, announces that all New York agencies
engaged in Jewish relief work will join in a united drive in New York in
December to raise $7,500,000 (£1,500,000) to provide clothing, food, and
medicines for the six million Jews throughout Eastern Europe _as well as
to make possible a comprehensive programme for their complete
rehabilitation_.--American Radio News Service." Cf. _The Daily Mail_,
August 19, 1919.

[5] Countess Lulu von Thurheim, _My Life_, 1788-1852. German edition,
Munich, 1913-14.

[6] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), February 23, 1919.

[7] Grafen von Montgelas, _Denwürdigkeiten des bayrischen
Staatsministers Maximilian._ See also Dr. Karl Soll, _Der Wiener
Kongress_.

[8] Varnhagen von Ense.

[9] Friedrich von Gentz.

[10] Dr. Karl Soll, _Count Carl von Nostitz_.

[11] Cf. Dr. Karl Soll, _Der Wiener Kongress_.

[12] Dr. Karl Soll, _Friedrich von Gentz_.

[13] Dr. Karl Soll, _Count Carl von Nostitz_, p. 109.

[14] Jean Gabriel Eynard--the representative of Geneva.

[15] _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), March 22, 1919.

[16] Count de la Garde.

[17] Cf. _Le Matin_, May 31, 1919. A noteworthy example of the
negligence of the authorities was narrated by this journal on the same
day. To a wooden cross with an inscription recording that the grave was
tenanted by "an unknown Frenchman" was hung a disk containing his name
and regiment! And here and there the skulls of heroes protruded from the
grass, but the German tombs were piously looked after by Boche
prisoners.

[18] _The Daily Mail_ (Continental edition), March 12, 1919.

[19] _Ibid._, April 23, 1919.

[20] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), June 8, 1919.

[21] Cf. _The New York Herald_, June 2, 1919.

[22] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), April 20, 1919.

[23] _Le Figaro_, June 8, 1919.

[24] _L'Humanité_, July 10, 1919.

[25] _La Democratie Nouvelle_, June 14, 1919.

[26] _Le Figaro_, March 6, 1919.

[27] _L'Humanité_, May 23, 1919.

[28] _3 Ibid._

[29] _Le Gaulois_, March 23, 1919. _The New York Herald_ (Paris
edition), March 22, 1919. _L'Echo de Paris_, June 12, 1919.

[30] _The New York Herald_, March 22, 1919.

[31] _L'Echo de Paris_, June 12, 1919.

[32] _The New York Herald_, March 22, 1919.

[33] _L'Humanité_, May 23, 1919.

[34] on July 18, 1919. Cf. _Matin, Echo de Paris, Figaro_, July 10,
1919.

[35] Cf. _L'Humanité_ (French Syndicalist organ), July 11, 1919.



II

SIGNS OF THEIR TIMES


Society during the transitional stage through which it has for some
years been passing underwent an unprecedented change the extent and
intensity of which are as yet but imperfectly realized. Its more
striking characteristics were determined by the gradual decomposition of
empires and kingdoms, the twilight of their gods, the drying up of their
sources of spiritual energy, and the psychic derangement of communities
and individuals by a long and fearful war. Political principles, respect
for authority and tradition, esteem for high moral worth, to say nothing
of altruism and public spirit, either vanished or shrank to shadowy
simulacra. In contemporary history currents and cross-currents, eddies
and whirlpools, became so numerous and bewildering that it is not easy
to determine the direction of the main stream. Unsocial tendencies
coexisted with collectivity of effort, both being used as weapons
against the larger community and each being set down as a manifestation
of democracy. Against every kind of authority the world, or some of its
influential sections, was up in revolt, and the emergence of the
passions and aims of classes and individuals had freer play than ever
before.

To this consummation conservative governments, and later on their chiefs
at the Peace Conference, systematically contributed with excellent
intentions and efficacious measures. They implicitly denied, and acted
on the denial, that a nation or a race, like an individual, has
something distinctive, inherent, and enduring that may aptly be termed
soul or character. They ignored the fact that all nations and races are
not of the same age nor endowed with like faculties, some being young
and helpless, others robust and virile, and a third category senescent
and decrepit, and that there are some races which Nature has wholly and
permanently unfitted for service among the pioneers of progress. In
consequence of these views, which I venture to think erroneous, they
applied the same treatment to all states. Just as President Wilson, by
striving to impose his pinched conception of democracy and his lofty
ideas of political morality on Mexico, had thrown that country into
anarchy, the two Anglo-Saxon governments by enforcing their theories
about the protection of minorities and other political conceptions in
various states of Europe helped to loosen the cement of the
politico-social structure there.

Through these as well as other channels virulent poison penetrated to
the marrow of the social organism. Language itself, on which all human
intercourse hinges, was twisted to suit unwholesome ambitions, further
selfish interests, and obscure the vision of all those who wanted real
reforms and unvarnished truth. During the war the armies were never told
plainly what they were struggling for; officially they were said to be
combating for justice, right, self-determination, the sacredness of
treaties, and other abstract nouns to which the heroic soldiers never
gave a thought and which a section of the civil population
misinterpreted. Indeed, so little were these shibboleths understood even
by the most intelligent among the politicians who launched them that one
half of the world still more or less conscientiously labors to establish
their contraries and is anathematizing the other half for championing
injustice, might, and unveracity--under various misnomers.

Anglo-Saxondom, taking the lead of humanity, imitated the Catholic
states of by-past days, and began to impose on other peoples its own
ideas, as well as its practices and institutions, as the best fitted to
awaken their dormant energies and contribute to the social
reconstruction of the world. In the interval, language, whether applied
to history, journalism, or diplomacy, was perverted and words lost their
former relations to the things connoted, and solemn promises were
solemnly broken in the name of truth, right, or equity. For the new era
of good faith, justice and morality was inaugurated, oddly enough, by a
general tearing up of obligatory treaties and an ethical violation of
the most binding compacts known to social man. This happened
coincidently to be in keeping with the general insurgence against all
checks and restraints, moral and social, for which the war is mainly
answerable, and to be also in harmony with the regular supersession of
right by might which characterizes the present epoch and with the
disappearance of the sense of law. In a word, under the auspices of the
amateur world-reformers, the tendency of Bolshevism throve and
spread--an instructive case of people serving the devil at the bidding
of God's best friends.

As in the days of the Italian despots, every individual has the chance
of rising to the highest position in many of the states, irrespective of
his antecedents and no matter what blots may have tarnished his
'scutcheon. Neither aristocratic descent, nor public spirit nor even a
blameless past is now an indispensable condition of advancement. In
Germany the head of the Republic is an honest saddler. In Austria the
chief of the government until recently was the assassin of a prime
minister. The chief of the Ukraine state was an ex-inmate of an asylum.
Trotzky, one of the Russian duumvirs, is said to have a record which
might of itself have justified his change of name from Braunstein. Bela
Kuhn, the Semitic Dictator of Hungary, had the reputation of a thief
before rising to the height of ruler of the Magyars.... In a word,
Napoleon's ideal is at last realized, "La carrière est ouverte aux
talents."

Among the peculiar traits of this evanescent epoch may be mentioned
inaccessibility to the teaching of facts which run counter to cherished
prejudices, aims, and interests. People draw from facts which they
cannot dispute only the inferences which they desire. An amusing
instance of this occurred in Paris, where a Syndicalist organ[36]
published an interesting and on the whole truthful account of the
chaotic confusion, misery, and discontent prevailing in Russia and of
the brutal violence and foxy wiles of Lenin. The dreary picture included
the cost of living; the disorganization of transports; the terrible
mortality caused by the after-effects of the war; the crowding of
prisons, theaters, cinemas, and dancing-saloons; the eagerness of
employers to keep their war prisoners employed while thousands of
demobilized soldiers were roaming about the cities and villages vainly
looking for work; the absence of personal liberty; the numerous arrests,
and the relative popularity withal of the Dictator. This popularity, it
was explained, the press contributed to keep alive, especially since the
abortive attempt made on his life, when the journals declared that he
was indispensable for the time being to his country.

He himself was described as a hard despot, ruthless as a tiger who
strikes his fellow-workers numb and dumb with fear. "But he is under no
illusions as to the real sentiments of the members of the Soviet who
back him, nor does he deign to conceal those which he entertains toward
them.... Whenever Lenin himself is concerned justice is expeditious.
Some men will be delivered from prison after many years of preventive
confinement without having been brought to trial, others who fired on
Kerensky will be kept untried for an indefinite period, whereas the
brave Russian patriot who aimed his revolver at Lenin, and whom the
French press so justly applauded, had only three weeks to wait for his
condemnation to death."

This article appearing in a Syndicalist organ seemed an event. Some
journals summarized and commented it approvingly, until it was
discovered to be a skit on the transient conditions in France, whereupon
the "admirable _exposé_ based upon convincing evidence" and the
"forcible arguments" became worthless.[37]

An object-lesson in the difficulty of legislating in Anglo-Saxon fashion
for foreign countries and comprehending their psychology was furnished
by two political trials which, taking place in Paris during the
Conference, enabled the delegates to estimate the distance that
separates the Anglo-Saxon from the Continental mode of thought and
action in such a fundamental problem as the administration of justice.
Raoul Villain, the murderer of Jean Jaurès--France's most eminent
statesman--was kept in prison for nearly five years without a trial. He
had assassinated his victim in cold blood. He had confessed and
justified the act. The eye-witnesses all agreed as to the facts. Before
the court, however, a long procession of ministers of state,
politicians, historians, and professors defiled, narrating in detail the
life-story, opinions, and strivings of the victim, who, in the eyes of a
stranger, unacquainted with its methods, might have seemed to be the
real culprit. The jury acquitted the prisoner.

The other accused man was a flighty youth who had fired on the French
Premier and wounded him. He, however, had not long to wait for his
trial. He was taken before the tribunal within three weeks of his arrest
and was promptly condemned to die.[38] Thus the assassin was justified
by the jury and the would-be assassin condemned to be shot. "Suppose
these trials had taken place in my country," remarked a delegate of an
Eastern state, "and that of the two condemned men one had been a member
of the privileged minority, what an uproar the incident would have
created in the United States and England! As it happened in western
Europe, it passed muster."

How far removed some continental nations are from the Anglo-Saxons in
their mode of contemplating and treating another momentous category of
social problems may be seen from the circumstance that the Great Council
in Basel adopted a bill brought in by the Socialist Welti, authorizing
the practice of abortion down to the third month, provided that the
husband and wife are agreed, and in cases where there is no marriage
provided it is the desire of the woman and that the operation is
performed by a regular physician.[39]

Another striking instance of the difference of conceptions between the
Anglo-Saxon and continental peoples is contained in the following
unsavory document, which the historian, whose business it is to flash
the light of criticism upon the dark nooks of civilization, can neither
ignore nor render into English. It embodies a significant decision taken
by the General Staff of the 256th Brigade of the Army of Occupation[40]
and was issued on June 21, 1919.[41]



     SIGNS OF THE TIMES

     EXPLOITATION ET POLICE DE LA MAISON PUBLIQUE DE MÜNCHEN-GLADBACH

     (1.) Les deux femmes composant l'unique personnel de la maison
     publique de Gladbach (2, Gasthausstrasse), sont venues en
     délégation déclarer qu'elles ne pouvaient suffire à la nombreuse
     clientèle, qui envahit leur maison, devant laquelle stationneraient
     en permanence de nombreux groupes de clients affamés.

     Elles déclarent que défalcation faite du service qu'elles doivent
     assurer à leurs abonnés belges et allemands, elles ne peuvent
     fournir à la division qu'un total de vingt entrées par jour (10
     pour chacune d'elle).

     L'établissement d'ailleurs ne travaille pas la nuit et observe
     strictement le repos dominical. D'autre part les ressources de la
     ville ne permettent pas, paraît-il, d'augmenter le personnel. Dans
     ces conditions, en vue d'éviter tout désordre et de ne pas demander
     à ces femmes un travail audessus de leurs forces, les mesures
     suivantes seront prises:

     (2.) JOURS DE TRAVAIL: Tous les jours de la semaine, sauf le
     dimanche.

     RENDEMENT MAXIMUM: Chaque jour chaque femme reçoit 10 hommes, soit
     20 pour les deux personnes, 120 par semaine.

     HEURES D'OUVERTURE: 17 heures à 21 heures. Aucune réception n'aura
     lieu en dehors de ces heures.

     TARIF: Pour un séjour d'un quart heure (entrée et sortie de
     l'établissement comprises) ... 5 marks.

     CONSOMMATIONS: La maison ne vend aucune boisson. Il n'y a pas de
     salle d'attente. Les clients doivent donc se présenter par deux.

     (3.) RÉPARTITION: Les 6 jours de la semaine sont donnés: Le
     lundi--1er bat. du 164 et C.H.R. Le mardi--1er bat. du 169 et
     C.H.R. Le mercredi--2e bat. du 164 et C.H.R. Le jeudi--2e bat. du
     169 et C.H.R. Le vendredi--3e bat. du 164. Le samedi--3e bat. du
     169.

     (4.) Dans chaque bataillon il sera établi le jour qui leur est
     fixé, 20 tickets déposés aux bureaux des sergents-majeur à raison
     de 5 par compagnie. Les hommes désireux de rendre visite à
     l'établissement réclamerout au bureau de leur sergent-majeur, 1
     ticket qui leur donnera driot de priorité.


The value of that document derives from its having been issued as an
ordinary regulation, from its having been reproduced in a widely
circulated journal of the capital without evolving comment, and from the
strong light which it projects upon one of the darkest corners of the
civilization which has been so often and so eloquently eulogized.

Manifestly the currents of the new moral life which the Conference was
to have set flowing are as yet somewhat weak, the new ideals are still
remote and the foreshadowings of a nobler future are faint. Another
token of the change which is going forward in the world was reported
from the Far East, but passed almost unnoticed in Europe. The Chinese
Ministry of Public Instruction, by an edict of November 3, 1919,
officially introduced in all secondary schools a phonetic system of
writing in place of the ideograms theretofore employed. This is
undoubtedly an event of the highest importance in the history of
culture, little though it may interest the Western world to-day. At the
same time, as a philologist by profession, I agree with a continental
authority[42] who holds that, owing to the monosyllabic character of the
Chinese language and to the further disadvantage that it lacks wholly or
partly several consonants,[43] it will be practically impossible, as the
Japanese have already found, to apply the new alphabet to the
traditional literary idiom. Neither can it be employed for the needs of
education, journalism, of the administration, or for telegraphing. It
will, however, be of great value for elementary instruction and for
postal correspondence. It is also certain to develop and extend. But its
main significance is twofold: as a sign of China's awakening and as an
innovation, the certain effect of which will be to weaken national unity
and extend regionalism at its expense. From this point of view the
reform is portentous.

Another of the signs of the new times which calls for mention is the
spread and militancy of the labor movement, to which the war and its
concomitants gave a potent impulse. It is differentiated from all
previous ferments by this, that it constitutes merely an episode in the
universal insurgency of the masses, who are fast breaking through the
thin social crust formed by the upper classes and are emerging rapidly
above the surface. One of the most impressive illustrations of this
general phenomenon is the rise of wages, which in Paris has set the
municipal street-sweepers above university professors, the former
receiving from 7,600 to 8,000 francs a year, whereas the salary of the
latter is some 500 francs less.[44]

This general disturbance is the outcome of many causes, among which are
the over-population of the world, the spread of education and of equal
opportunity, the anonymity of industrial enterprises, scientific and
unscientific theories, the specialization of labor and its depressing
influence.[45] These factors produced a labor organization which the
railways, newspapers, and telegraph contributed to perfect and transform
into a proletarian league, and now all progressive humanity is tending
steadily and painfully to become one vast collectivity for producing and
sharing on more equitable lines the means of living decently. This
consummation is coming about with the fatality of a natural law, and the
utmost the wisest of governments can do is to direct it through pacific
channels and dislodge artificial obstacles in its course.

One of the first reforms toward which labor is tending with more or
less conscious effort is the abolition of the hereditary principle in
the possession of wealth and influence and of the means of obtaining
them. The division of labor in the past caused the dissociation of the
so-called nobler avocations from manual work, and gradually those who
followed higher pursuits grew into a sort of hereditary caste which
bestowed relative immunity from the worst hardships of life's struggle
and formed a ruling class. To-day the masses have their hands on the
principal levers for shattering this top crust of the social sphere and
seem resolved to press them.

The problem for the solution of which they now menacingly clamor is the
establishment of an approximately equitable principle for the
redistribution of the world's resources--land, capital, industries,
monopolies, mines, transports, and colonies. Whether
socialization--their favorite prescription--is the most effectual way of
achieving this object may well be doubted, but must be thoroughly
examined and discussed. The end once achieved, it is expected that
mankind will have become one gigantic living entity, endowed with
senses, nerves, heart, arteries, and all the organs necessary to operate
and employ the forces and wealth of the planet. The process will be
complex because the factors are numerous and of various orders, and for
this reason few political thinkers have realized that its many phases
are aspects of one phenomenon. That is also a partial explanation of the
circumstance that at the Conference the political questions were
separated from the economic and treated by politicians as paramount, the
others being relegated to the background. The labor legislation passed
in Paris reduced itself, therefore, to counsels of perfection.

That the Conference was incapable of solving a problem of this magnitude
is self-evident. But the delegates could and should have referred it to
an international parliament, fully representative of all the interests
concerned. For the best way of distributing the necessaries and comforts
of life, which have been acquired or created by manual toil, is a
problem that can neither be ignored nor reasoned away. So long as it
remains a problem it will be a source of intermittent trouble and
disorder throughout the civilized world. The titles, which the classes
heretofore privileged could invoke in favor of possession, are now being
rapidly acquired by the workers, who in addition dispose of the force
conferred by organization, numbers, and resolve. At the same time most
of the stimuli and inventives to individual enterprise are being
gradually weakened by legislation, which it would be absurd to condemn
and dangerous to regard as a settlement. In the meanwhile productivity
is falling off, while the demand for the products of labor is growing
proportionately to the increase of population and culture.

Hitherto the laws of distribution were framed by the strong, who were
few and utilized the many. To-day their relative positions have shifted;
the many have waxed strong and are no longer minded to serve as
instruments in the hands of a class, hereditary or selected. But the
division of mankind into producers and utilizers has ever been the solid
and durable mainstay of that type of civilization from which progressive
nations are now fast moving away, and the laws and usages against which
the proletariat is up in arms are but its organic expression.

From the days of the building of the Pyramids down to those of the
digging of the Panama Canal the chasm between the two social orders
remained open. The abolition of slavery changed but little in the
arrangement--was, indeed, effected more in the interests of the old
economics than in deference to any strong religious or moral sentiment.
In substance the traditional ordering continued to exist in a form
better adapted to the modified conditions. But the filling up of that
chasm, which is now going forward, involves the overthrow of the system
in its entirety, and the necessity of either rearing a wholly new
structure, of which even the keen-sighted are unable to discern the
outlines, or else the restoration of the old one on a somewhat different
basis. And the only basis conceivable to-day is that which would start
from the postulate that some races of men come into the world devoid of
the capacity for any more useful part in the progress of mankind than
that which was heretofore allotted to the proletariat. It cannot be
gainsaid that there are races on the globe which are incapable of
assimilating the higher forms of civilization, but which might well be
made to render valuable services in the lower without either suffering
injustice themselves or demoralizing others. And it seems nowise
impossible that one day these reserves may be mobilized and
systematically employed in virtue of the principle that the weal of the
great progressive community necessitates such a distribution of parts as
will set each organ to perform the functions for which it is best
qualified.

Since the close of the war internationalism was in the air, and the
labor movement intensified it. It stirred the thought and warmed the
imagination alike of exploiters and exploited. Reformers and pacifists
yearned for it as a means of establishing a well-knit society of
progressive and pacific peoples and setting a term to sanguinary wars.
Some financiers may have longed for it in a spirit analogous to that in
which Nero wished that the Roman people had but one neck. And the
Conference chiefs seemed to have pictured it to themselves--if, indeed,
they meditated such an abstract matter--in the guise of a _pax
Anglo-Saxonica_, the distinctive feature of which would lie in the
transfer to the two principal peoples--and not to a board representing
all nations--of those attributes of sovereignty which the other states
would be constrained to give up. Of these three currents flowing in the
direction of internationalism only one--that of finance--appears for the
moment likely to reach its goal....


FOOTNOTES:

[36] _L'Humanité,_ March 6 and 18, 1919.

[37] Cf. _L'Humanité_, April 10,1919.

[38] The sentence was subsequently commuted.

[39] _La Gazette de Lausanne_, May 26, 1919.

[40] 128th Division.

[41] It was reproduced by the French Syndicalist organ, _L'Humanité_ of
July 7, 1919.

[42] R. de Saussure. Cf. _Journal de Genève_, August 18, and also May
26, 1919.

[43] d, r, t, l, g (partly) and p, except at the beginning of a word.

[44] Cf. the French papers generally for the month of May--also
_Bonsoir_, July 26, 1919.

[45] Walther Rathenau has dealt with this question in several of his
recent pamphlets, which are not before me at the moment.



III

THE DELEGATES


The plenipotentiaries, who became the world's arbiters for a while, were
truly representative men. But they mirrored forth not so much the souls
of their respective peoples as the surface spirit that flitted over an
evanescent epoch. They stood for national grandeur, territorial
expansion, party interests, and even abstract ideas. Exponents of a
narrow section of the old order at its lowest ebb, they were in no sense
heralds of the new. Amid a labyrinth of ruins they had no clue to guide
their footsteps, in which the peoples of the world were told to follow.
Only true political vision, breadth of judgment, thorough mastery of the
elements of the situation, an instinct for discerning central issues,
genuine concern for high principles of governance, and the rare moral
courage that disregards popularity as a mainspring of action--could have
fitted any set of legislators to tackle the complex and thorny problems
that pressed for settlement and to effect the necessary preliminary
changes. That the delegates of the principal Powers were devoid of many
of these qualities cannot fairly be made a subject of reproach. It was
merely an accident. But it was as unfortunate as their honest conviction
that they could accomplish the grandiose enterprise of remodeling the
communities of the world without becoming conversant with their
interests, acquainted with their needs, or even aware of their
whereabouts. For their failure, which was inevitable, was also bound to
be tragic, inasmuch as it must involve, not merely their own ambition to
live in history as the makers of a new and regenerate era, but also the
destinies of the nations and races which confidently looked up to them
for the conditions of future pacific progress, nay, of normal existence.

During the Conference it was the fashion in most European countries to
question the motives as well as to belittle the qualifications of the
delegates. Now that political passion has somewhat abated and the
atmosphere is becoming lighter and clearer, one may without provoking
contradiction pay a well-deserved tribute to their sincerity, high
purpose, and quick response to the calls of public duty and moral
sentiment. They were animated with the best intentions, not only for
their respective countries, but for humanity as a whole. One and all
they burned with the desire to go as far as feasible toward ending the
era of destructive wars. Steady, uninterrupted, pacific development was
their common ideal, and they were prepared to give up all that they
reasonably could to achieve it. It is my belief, for example, that if
Mr. Wilson had persisted in making his League project the cornerstone of
the new world structure and in applying his principles without favor,
the Italians would have accepted it almost without discussion, and the
other states would have followed their example. All the delegates must
have felt that the old order of things, having been shaken to pieces by
the war and its concomitants, could not possibly survive, and they
naturally desired to keep within evolutionary bounds the process of
transition to the new system, thus accomplishing by policy what
revolution would fain accomplish by violence. It was only when they came
to define that policy with a view to its application that their
unanimity was broken up and they split into two camps, the pacifists and
the militarists, or the democrats and imperialists, as they have been
roughly labeled. Here, too, each member of the assembly worked with
commendable single-mindedness, and under a sense of high responsibility,
for that solution of the problem which to him seemed the most conducive
to the general weal. And they wrestled heroically one with the other for
what they held to be right and true relatively to the prevalent
conditions. The circumstance that the cause and effects of this clash of
opinions and sentiments were so widely at variance with early
anticipations had its roots partly in their limited survey of the
complex problem, and partly, too, in its overwhelming vastness and their
own unfitness to cope with it.

The delegates who aimed at disarmament and a society of pacific peoples
made out as good a case--once their premises were admitted--as those who
insisted upon guarantees, economic and territorial. Everything depended,
for the theory adopted, upon each individual's breadth of view, and for
its realization upon the temper of the peoples and that of their
neighbors. As under the given circumstances either solution was sure to
encounter formidable opposition, which only a doughty spirit would dare
to affront, compromise, offering a side-exit out of the quandary, was
avidly taken. In this way the collective sagacities, working in
materials the nature of which they hardly understood, brought forth
strange products. Some of the incongruities of the details, such, for
instance, as the invitation to Prinkipo, despatched anonymously,
occasionally surpass satire, but their bewildered authors are entitled
to the benefit of extenuating circumstances.

On the momentous issue of a permanent peace based on Mr. Wilson's
pristine concept of a league of nations, and in accordance with rigid
principles applied equally to all the states, there was no discussion.
In other words, it was tacitly agreed that the fourteen points should
not form a bar to the vital postulates of any of the Great Powers. It
was only on the subject of the lesser states and the equality of nations
that the debates were intense, protracted, and for a long while
fruitless. At times words flamed perilously high. For months the
solutions of the Adriatic, the Austrian, Turkish, and Thracian problems
hung in poignant suspense, the public looking on with diminishing
interest and waxing dissatisfaction. The usual optimistic assurances
that all would soon run smoothly and swiftly fell upon deaf ears. Faith
in the Conference was melting away.

The plight of the Supreme Council and the vain exhortations to believe
in its efficiency reminded me of the following story.

A French parish priest was once spiritually comforting a member of his
flock who was tormented by doubts about the goodness of God as measured
by the imperfection of His creation. Having listened to a vivid account
of the troubled soul's high expectation of its Maker and of its deep
disappointment at His work, the pious old curé said: "Yes, my child. The
world is indeed bad, as you say, and you are right to deplore it. But
don't you think you may have formed to yourself an exaggerated idea of
God?" An analogous reflection would not be out of place when passing
judgment on the Conference which implicitly arrogated to itself some of
the highest attributes of the Deity, and thus heightened the contrast
between promise and achievement. Certainly people expected much more
from it than it could possibly give. But it was the delegates themselves
who had aroused these expectations announcing the coming of a new epoch
at their fiat. The peoples were publicly told by Mr. Lloyd George and
several of his colleagues that the war of 1914-18 would be the last. His
"Never again" became a winged phrase, and the more buoyant optimists
expected to see over the palace of arbitration which was to be
substituted for the battlefield, the inspiring inscription: "A la
dernière des guerres, l'humanité reconnaissante."[46] Mr. Wilson's vast
project was still more attractive.

Mr. Lloyd George is too well known in his capacity of British
parliamentarian to need to be characterized. The splendid services he
rendered the Empire during the war, when even his defects proved
occasionally helpful, will never be forgotten. Typifying not only the
aims, but also the methods, of the British people, he never seems to
distrust his own counsels whencesoever they spring nor to lack the
courage to change them in a twinkling. He stirred the soul of the nation
in its darkest hour and communicated his own glowing faith in its star.
During the vicissitudes of the world struggle he was the right man for
the responsible post which he occupied, and I am proud of having been
one of the first to work in my own modest way to have him placed there.
But a good war-leader may be a poor peace-negotiator, and, as a matter
of fact, there are few tasks concerned with the welfare of the nation
which Mr. Lloyd George could not have tackled with incomparably greater
chances of accomplishing it than that of remodeling the world. His
antecedents were all against him. His lack of general equipment was
prohibitive; even his inborn gifts were disqualifications. One need not
pay too great heed to acrimonious colleagues who set him down as a
word-weaving trimmer, between whose utterances and thoughts there is no
organic nexus, who declines to take the initiative unless he sees
adequate forces behind him ready to his to his support, who lacks the
moral courage that serves as a parachute for a fall from popularity,
but possesses in abundance that of taking at the flood the rising tide
which balloon-like lifts its possessor high above his fellows. But
judging him in the light of the historic events in which he played a
prominent part, one cannot dismiss these criticisms as groundless.

Opportunism is an essential element of statecraft, which is the art of
the possible. But there is a line beyond which it becomes shiftiness,
and it would be rash to assert that Mr. Lloyd George is careful to keep
on the right side of it. At the Conference his conduct appeared to
careful observers to be traced mainly by outside influences, and as
these were various and changing the result was a zigzag. One day he
would lay down a certain proposition as a dogma not to be modified, and
before the week was out he would advance the contrary proposition and
maintain that with equal warmth and doubtless with equal conviction.
Guided by no sound knowledge and devoid of the ballast of principle, he
was tossed and driven hither and thither like a wreck on the ocean. Mr.
Melville Stone, the veteran American journalist, gave his countrymen his
impression of the first British delegate. "Mr. Lloyd George," he said,
"has a very keen sense of humor and a great power over the multitude,
but with this he displays a startling indifference to, if not ignorance
of, the larger affairs of nations." In the course of a walk Mr. Lloyd
George expressed surprise when informed that in the United States the
war-making power was invested in Congress. "What!" exclaimed the
Premier, "you mean to tell me that the President of the United States
cannot declare war? I never heard that before." Later, when questions of
national ambitions were being discussed, Mr. Lloyd George asked, "What
is that place Rumania is so anxious to get?" meaning Transylvania.[47]

The stories current of his praiseworthy curiosity about the places
which he was busy distributing to the peoples whose destinies he was
forging would be highly amusing if the subject were only a private
individual and his motive a desire for useful information, but on the
representative of a great Empire they shed a light in which the dignity
of his country was necessarily affected and his own authority deplorably
diminished. For moral authority at that conjuncture was the sheet anchor
of the principal delegates. Although without a program, Mr. Lloyd George
would appear to have had an instinctive feeling, if not a reasoned
belief, that in matters of general policy his safest course would be to
keep pace with the President of the United States. For he took it for
granted that Mr. Wilson's views were identical with those of the
American people. One of his colleagues, endeavoring to dispel this
illusion, said: "Your province at this Conference is to lead. Your
colleagues, including Mr. Wilson, will follow. You have the Empire
behind you. Voice its aspirations. They coincide with those of the
English-speaking peoples of the world. Mr. Wilson has lost his
elections, therefore he does not stand for as much as you imagine. You
have won your elections, so you are the spokesman of a vast community
and the champion of a noble cause. You can knead the Conference at your
will. Assert your will. But even if you decide to act in harmony with
the United States, that does not mean subordinating British interests to
the President's views, which are not those of the majority of his
people." But Mr. Lloyd George, invincibly diffident--if diffidence it
be--shrank from marching alone, and on certain questions which mattered
much Mr. Wilson had his way.

One day there was an animated discussion in the twilight of the Paris
conclave while the press was belauding the plenipotentiaries for their
touching unanimity. The debate lay between the United States as voiced
by Mr. Wilson and Great Britain as represented by Mr. Lloyd George. On
the morrow, before the conversation was renewed, a colleague adjured the
British Premier to stand firm, urging that his contention of the
previous day was just in the abstract and beneficial to the Empire as
well. Mr. Lloyd George bowed to the force of these motives, but yielded
to the greater force of Mr. Wilson's resolve. "Put it to the test,"
urged the colleague. "I dare not," was the rejoinder. "Wilson won't
brook it. Already he threatens, if we do, to leave the Conference and
return home." "Well then, let him. If he did, we should be none the
worse off for his absence. But rest assured, he won't go. He cannot
afford to return home empty-handed after his splendid promises to his
countrymen and the world." Mr. Lloyd George insisted, however, and said,
"But he will take his army away, too." "What!" exclaimed the tempter.
"His army? Well, I only ..." but it would serve no useful purpose to
quote the vigorous answer in full.

This odd mixture of exaggerated self-confidence, mismeasurement of
forces, and pliability to external influences could not but be baleful
in one of the leaders of an assembly composed, as was the Paris
Conference, of men each with his own particular ax to grind and
impressible only to high moral authority or overwhelming military force.
It cannot be gainsaid that no one, not even his own familiars, could
ever foresee the next move in Mr. Lloyd George's game of statecraft, and
it is demonstrable that on several occasions he himself was so little
aware of what he would do next that he actually advocated as
indispensable measures diametrically opposed to those which he was to
propound, defend, and carry a week or two later. A conversation which
took place between him and one of his fellow-workers gives one the
measure of his irresolution and fitfulness. "Do tell me," said this
collaborator, "why it is that you members of the Supreme Council are
hurriedly changing to-day the decisions you came to after five months'
study, which you say was time well spent?"

"Because of fresh information we have received in the meanwhile. We know
more now than we knew then and the different data necessitate different
treatment."

"Yes, but the conditions have not changed since the Conference opened.
Surely they were the same in January as they are in June. Is not that
so?"

"No doubt, no doubt, but we did not ascertain them before June, so we
could not act upon them until now."

With the leading delegates thus drifting and the pieces on the political
chessboard bewilderingly disposed, outsiders came to look upon the
Conference as a lottery. Unhappily, it was a lottery in which there were
no mere blanks, but only prizes or heavy forfeits.

To sum up: the first British delegate, essentially a man of expedients
and shifts, was incapable of measuring more than an arc of the political
circle at a time. A comprehensive survey of a complicated situation was
beyond his reach. He relied upon imagination and intuition as
substitutes for precise knowledge and technical skill. Hence he himself
could never be sure that his decision, however carefully worked out,
would be final, seeing that in June facts might come to his cognizance
with which five months' investigations had left him unacquainted. This
incertitude about the elements of the problem intensified the ingrained
hesitancy that had characterized his entire public career and warped his
judgment effectually. The only approach to a guiding principle one can
find in his work at the Conference was the loosely held maxim that Great
Britain's best policy was to stand in with the United States in all
momentous issues and to identify Mr. Wilson with the United States for
most purposes of the Congress. Within these limits Mr. Lloyd George was
unyielding in fidelity to the cause of France, with which he merged that
of civilization.

M. Clemenceau is the incarnation of the tireless spirit of destruction.
Pulling down has ever been his delight, and it is largely to his success
in demolishing the defective work of rivals--and all human work is
defective--that he owes the position of trust and responsibility to
which the Parliament raised him during the last phase of the war.
Physically strong, despite his advanced age, he is mentally brilliant
and superficial, with a bias for paradox, epigram, and racy,
unconventional phraseology. His action is impulsive. In the Dreyfus days
I saw a good deal of M. Clemenceau in his editorial office, when he
would unburden his soul to M.M. Vaughan, the poet Quillard, and others.
Later on I approached him while he was chief of the government on a
delicate matter of international combined with national politics, on
which I had been requested to sound him by a friendly government, and I
found him, despite his developed and sobering sense of responsibility,
whimsical, impulsive, and credulous as before. When I next talked with
him he was the rebellious editor of _L'Homme Enchaîné_, whose corrosive
strictures upon the government of the day were the terror of Ministers
and censors. Soon afterward he himself became the wielder of the great
national gagging-machine, and in the stringency with which he
manipulated it he is said by his own countrymen to have outdone the
government of the Third Empire. His _alter ego_, Georges Mandel, is
endowed with qualities which supplement and correct those of his
venerable chief. His grasp of detail is comprehensive and firm, his
memory retentive, and his judgment bold and deliberate. A striking
illustration of the audacity of his resolve was given in the early part
of 1918. Marshal Joffre sent a telegram to President Wilson in
Washington, and because he had omitted to despatch it through the War
Ministry, M. Mandel, who is a strict disciplinarian, proposed that he be
placed under arrest. It was with difficulty that some public men moved
him to leniency.

M. Clemenceau, the professional destroyer, who can boast that he
overthrew eighteen Cabinets, or nineteen if we include his own, was
unquestionably the right man to carry on the war. He acquitted himself
of the task superbly. His faith in the Allies' victory was unwavering.
He never doubted, never flagged, never was intimidated by obstacles nor
wheedled by persons. Once during the armistice, in May or June, when
Marshal Foch expressed his displeasure that the Premier should have
issued military orders to troops under his command[48] without first
consulting him, he was on the point of dismissing the Marshal and
appointing General Pétain to succeed him.[49] Whether the qualities
which stood him in such good stead during the world struggle could be of
equal, or indeed of much, avail in the general constructive work for
which the Conference was assembled is a question that needs only to be
formulated. But in securing every advantage that could be conferred on
his own country his influence on the delegates was decisive. M.
Clemenceau, who before the war was the intimate friend of Austrian
journalists, hated his country's enemies with undying hate. And he loved
France passionately. I remember significant words of his, uttered at the
end of the year 1899 to an enterprising young man who had founded a
Franco-German review in Munich and craved his moral support. "Is it
possible," he exclaimed, "that it has already come to that? Well, a
nation is not conquered until it accepts defeat. Whenever France gives
up she will have deserved her humiliation."

At the Conference M. Clemenceau moved every lever to deliver his country
for all time from the danger of further invasions. And, being a realist,
he counted only on military safeguards. At the League of Nations he was
wont to sneer until it dawned upon him that it might be forged into an
effective weapon of national defense. And then he included it in the
litany of abstract phrases about right, justice, and the
self-determination of peoples which it became the fashion to raise to
the inaccessible heights where those ideals are throned which are to be
worshiped but not incarnated. The public somehow never took his
conversion to Wilsonianism seriously, neither did his political friends
until the League bade fair to become serviceable in his country's hands.
M. Clemenceau's acquaintanceship with international politics was at once
superior to that of the British Premier and very slender. But his
program at the Conference was simple and coherent, because independent
of geography and ethnography: France was to take Germany's leading
position in the world, to create powerful and devoted states in eastern
Europe, on whose co-operation she could reckon, and her allies were to
do the needful in the way of providing due financial and economic
assistance so as to enable her to address herself to the cultural
problems associated with her new rôle. And he left nothing undone that
seemed conducive to the attainment of that object. Against Mr. Wilson he
maneuvered to the extent which his adviser, M. Tardieu, deemed safe, and
one of his most daring speculations was on the President's journey to
the States, during which M. Clemenceau and his European colleagues hoped
to get through a deal of work on their own lines and to present Mr.
Wilson with the decisions ready for ratification on his return. But the
stratagem was not merely apparent; it was bruited abroad with indiscreet
details, whereupon the first American delegate on his return broke the
tables of their laws--one of which separated the Treaty from the
Covenant--and obliged them to begin anew. It is fair to add that M.
Clemenceau was no uncompromising partisan of the conquest of the left
bank of the Rhine, nor of colonial conquests. These currents took their
rise elsewhere. "We don't want protesting deputies in the French
Parliament," he once remarked in the presence of the French Minister of
Foreign Affairs.[50] Offered the choice between a number of bridgeheads
in Germany and the military protection of the Anglo-Saxon peoples, he
unhesitatingly decided for the latter, which had been offered to him by
President Wilson after the rejection of the Rhine frontier.

M. Clemenceau, whose remarkable mental alacrity, self-esteem, and love
of sharp repartee occasionally betrayed him into tactless sallies and
epigrammatic retorts, deeply wounded the pride of more than one delegate
of the lesser Powers in a way which they deemed incompatible alike with
circumspect statesmanship and the proverbial hospitality of his country.
For he is incapable of resisting the temptation to launch a _bon mot_,
however stinging. It would be ungenerous, however, to attach more
importance to such quickly forgotten utterances than he meant them to
carry. An instance of how he behaved toward the representatives of
Britain and France is worth recording, both as characterizing the man
and as extenuating his offense against the delegates of the lesser
Powers.

One morning[51] M. Clemenceau appeared at the Conference door, and
seemed taken aback by the large number of unfamiliar faces and figures
behind Mr. Balfour, toward whom he sharply turned with the brusque
interrogation: "Who are those people behind you? Are they English?"
"Yes, they are," was the answer. "Well, what do they want here?" "They
have come on the same errand as those who are now following you."
Thereupon the French Premier, whirling round, beheld with astonishment
and displeasure a band of Frenchmen moving toward him, led by M. Pichon,
the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In reply to his question as to the
motive of their arrival, he was informed that they were all experts, who
had been invited to give the Conference the benefit of their views about
the revictualing of Hungary. "Get out, all of you. You are not wanted
here," he cried in a commanding voice. And they all moved away meekly,
led by M. Pichon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Their services proved
to be unnecessary, for the result reached by the Conference was
negative.

M. Tardieu cannot be separated from his chief, with whom he worked
untiringly, placing at his disposal his intimate knowledge of the nooks
and crannies of professional and unprofessional diplomacy. He is one of
the latest arrivals and most pushing workers in the sphere of the Old
World statecraft, affects Yankee methods, and speaks English. For
several years political editor of the _Temps_, he obtained access to the
state archives, and wrote a book on the Agadir incident which was well
received, and also a monograph on Prince von Bülow, became Deputy, aimed
at a ministerial portfolio, and was finally appointed Head Commissary to
the United States. Faced by difficulties there--mostly the specters of
his own former utterances evoked by German adversaries--his progress at
first was slow. He was accused of having approved some of the drastic
methods--especially the U-boat campaign--which the Germans subsequently
employed, because in the year 1912, when he was writing on the subject,
France believed that she herself possessed the best submarines, and she
meant to employ them. He was also challenged to deny that he had
written, in August, 1912, that in every war churches and monuments of
art must suffer, and that "no army, whatever its nationality, can
renounce this." He was further charged with having taken a kindly
interest in air-war and bomb-dropping, and given it as his opinion that
it would be absurd "to deprive of this advantage those who had made most
progress in perfecting this weapon." But M. Tardieu successfully
exorcised these and other ghosts. And on his return from the United
States he was charged with organizing a press bureau of his own, to
supply American journalists with material for their cablegrams, while at
the same time he collaborated with M. Clemenceau in reorganizing the
political communities of the world. It is only in the French Chamber, of
which he is a distinguished member, that M. Tardieu failed to score a
brilliant success. Few men are prophets in their own country, and he is
far from being an exception. At the Conference, in its later phases, he
found himself in frequent opposition to the chief of the Italian
delegation, Signor Tittoni. One of the many subjects on which they
disagreed was the fate of German Austria and the political structure and
orientation of the independent communities which arose on the ruins of
the Dual Monarchy. M. Tardieu favored an arrangement which would bring
these populations closely together and impart to the whole an
anti-Teutonic impress. If Germany could not be broken up into a number
of separate states, as in the days of her weakness, all the other
European peoples in the territories concerned could, and should, be
united against her, and at the least hindered from making common cause
with her. The unification of Germany he considered a grave danger, and
he strove to create a countervailing state system.

To the execution of this project there were formidable difficulties.
For one thing, none of the peoples in question was distinctly
anti-German. Each one was for itself. Again, they were not particularly
enamoured of one another, nor were their interests always concordant,
and to constrain them by force to unite would have been not to prevent
but to cause future wars. A Danubian federation--the concrete shape
imagined for this new bulwark of European peace--did not commend itself
to the Italians, who had their own reasons for their opposition besides
the Wilsonian doctrine, which they invoked. If it be true, Signor
Tittoni argues, that Austria does not desire to be amalgamated with
Germany, why not allow her to exercise the right of self-determination
accorded to other peoples? M. Tardieu, on the other hand, not content
with the prohibition to Germany to unite with Austria, proposed[52] that
in the treaty with Austria this country should be obliged to repress the
unionist movement in the population. This amendment was inveighed
against by the Italian delegation in the name of every principle
professed and transgressed by the world-mending Powers. Even from the
French point of view he declared it perilous, inasmuch as there was, and
could be, no guarantee that a Danubian confederation would not become a
tool in Germany's hands.

Two things struck me as characteristic of the principal
plenipotentiaries: as a rule, they eschewed first-rate men as
fellow-workers, one integer and several zeros being their favorite
formula, and they took no account of the flight of time, planning as
though an eternity were before them and then suddenly improvising as
though afraid of being late for a train or a steamer. These
peculiarities were baleful. The lesser states, having mainly first-class
men to represent them, illustrated the law of compensation, which
assigned many mediocrities to the Great Powers. The former were also the
most strenuous toilers, for their task bristled with difficulties and
abounded in startling surprises, and its accomplishment depended on the
will of others. Time and again they went over the ground with infinite
care, counting and gaging the obstacles in their way, devising means to
overcome them, and rehearsing the effort in advance. So much stress had
been laid during the war on psychology, and such far-reaching
consequences were being drawn from the Germans' lack of it, that these
public men made its cultivation their personal care. Hence, besides
tracing large-scale maps of provinces and comprehensive maps[53] of the
countries to be reconstituted, and ransacking history for arguments and
precedents, they conscientiously ascertained the idiosyncrasies of their
judges, in order to choose the surest ways to impress, convince, or
persuade them. And it was instructive to see them try their hand at this
new game.

One and all gave assent to the axiom that moderation would impress the
arbiters more favorably than greed, but not all of them wielded
sufficient self-command to act upon it. The more resourceful delegates,
whose tasks were especially redoubtable because they had to demand large
provinces coveted by others, prepared the ground by visiting personally
some of the more influential arbiters before these were officially
appointed, forcibly laying their cases before them and praying for their
advice. In reality they were striving to teach them elementary
geography, history, and politics. The Ulysses of the Conference, M.
Venizelos, first pilgrimaged to London, saying: "If the Foreign Office
is with Greece, what matters it who is against her." He hastened to call
on President Wilson as soon as that statesman arrived in Europe, and,
to the surprise of many, the two remained a long time closeted together.
"Whatever did you talk about?" asked a colleague of the Greek Premier.
"How did you keep Wilson interested in your national claims all that
time? You must have--" "Oh no," interrupted the modest statesman. "I
disposed of our claims succinctly enough. A matter of two minutes. Not
more. I asked him to dispense me from taking up his time with such
complicated issues which he and his colleagues would have ample
opportunity for studying. The rest of the time I was getting him to give
me the benefit of his familiarity with the subject of the League of
Nations. And he was good enough to enumerate the reasons why it should
be realized, and the way in which it must be worked. I was greatly
impressed by what he said." "Just fancy!" exclaimed a colleague,
"wasting all that time in talking about a scheme which will never come
to anything!" But M. Venizelos knew that the time was not misspent.
President Wilson was at first nowise disposed to lend a favorable ear to
the claims of Greece, which he thought exorbitant, and down to the very
last he gave his support to Bulgaria against Greece whole-heartedly. The
Cretan statesman passed many an hour of doubt and misgiving before he
came within sight of his goal. But he contrived to win the President
over to his way of envisaging many Oriental questions. He is a
past-master in practical psychology.

The first experiments of M. Venizelos, however, were not wholly
encouraging. For all the care he lavished on the chief luminaries of the
Conference seemingly went to supplement their education and fill up a
few of the geographical, historical, philological, ethnological, and
political gaps in their early instruction rather than to guide them in
their concrete decisions, which it was expected would be always left to
the "commissions of experts." But the fruit which took long to mature
ripened at last, and Greece had many of her claims allowed. Thus in
reorganizing the communities of the world the personal factor played a
predominant part. Venizelos was, so to say, a fixed star in the
firmament, and his light burned bright through every rift in the clouds.
His moderation astonished friends and opponents. Every one admired his
_exposé_ of his case as a masterpiece. His statesman-like setting, in
perspective, the readiness with which he put himself in the place of his
competitor and struck up a fair compromise, endeared him to many, and
his praises were in every one's mouth. His most critical hour--it lasted
for months--struck when he found himself struggling with the President
of the United States, who was for refusing the coast of Thrace to Greece
and bestowing it on Bulgaria. But with that dispute I deal in another
place.

Of Italy's two plenipotentiaries during the first five months one was
the most supple and the other the most inflexible of her statesmen,
Signor Orlando and Baron Sonnino. If her case was presented to the
Conference with less force than was attainable, the reasons are obvious.
Her delegates had a formal treaty on which they relied; to the attitude
of their country from the outbreak of the war to its finish they rightly
ascribed the possibility of the Allies' victory, and they expected to
see this priceless service recognized practically; the moderation and
suppleness of Signor Orlando were neutralized by the uncompromising
attitude of Baron Sonnino, and, lastly, the gaze of both statesmen was
fixed upon territorial questions and sentimental aspirations to the
neglect of economic interests vital to the state--in other words, they
beheld the issues in wrong perspective. But one of the most popular
figures among the delegates was Signor Orlando, whose eloquence and
imagination gave him advantages which would have been increased a
hundredfold if he might have employed his native language in the
conclave. For he certainly displayed resourcefulness, humor, a historic
sense, and the gift of molding the wills of men. But he was greatly
hampered. Some of his countrymen alleged that Baron Sonnino was his evil
genius. One of the many sayings attributed to him during the Conference
turned upon the quarrels of some of the smaller peoples among
themselves. "They are," the Premier said, "like a lot of hens being held
by the feet and carried to market. Although all doomed to the same fate,
they contrive to fight one another while awaiting it."

After the fall of Orlando's Cabinet, M. Tittoni repaired to Paris as
Italy's chief delegate. His reputation as one of Europe's principal
statesmen was already firmly established; he had spent several years in
Paris as Ambassador, and he and the late Di San Giuliano and Giolitti
were the men who broke with the Central Empires when these were about to
precipitate the World War. In French nationalist circles Signor Tittoni
had long been under a cloud, as the man of pro-German leanings. The
suspicion--for it was nothing more--was unfounded. On the contrary, M.
Tittoni is known to have gone with the Allies to the utmost length
consistent with his sense of duty to his own country. To my knowledge he
once gave advice which his Italian colleagues and political friends and
adversaries now bitterly regret was disregarded. The nature of that
counsel will one day be disclosed....

Of Japan's delegates, the Marquis Saionji and Baron Makino, little need
be said, seeing that their qualifications for their task were
demonstrated by the results. Mainly to statesmanship and skilful
maneuvering Japan is indebted for her success at the Paris Conference,
where her cause was referred by Mr. Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau to
Mr. Wilson to deal with. The behavior of her representatives was an
illuminating object-lesson in the worth of psychological tactics in
practical politics. They hardly ever appeared in the footlights,
remained constantly silent and observant, and were almost ignored by the
press. But they kept their eyes fixed on the goal. Their program was
simple. Amid the flitting shadows of political events they marched
together with the Allies, until these disagreed among themselves, and
then they voted with Great Britain and the United States. Occasionally
they went farther and proposed measures for the lesser states which
Britain framed, but desired to second rather than propose. Japan, at the
Conference, was a stanch collaborator of the two English-speaking
principals until her own opportunity came, and then she threw all her
hoarded energies into her cause, and by her firm resolve dispelled any
opposition that Mr. Wilson may have intended to offer. One of the most
striking episodes of the Conference was the swift, silent, and
successful campaign by which Japan had her secret treaty with China
hall-marked by the puritanical President of the United States, whose
sense of morality could not brook the secret treaties concluded by Italy
and Rumania with the Greater and Greatest Powers of Europe. Again, it
was with statesman-like sagacity that the Japanese judged the Russian
situation and made the best of it--first, shortly before the invitation
to Prinkipo, and, later, before the celebrated eight questions were
submitted to Admiral Kolchak. I was especially struck by an occurrence,
trivial in appearance, which demonstrated the weight which they rightly
attached to the psychological side of politics. Everybody in Paris
remarked, and many vainly complained of, the indifference, or rather,
unfriendliness, of which Russians were the innocent victims. Among the
Allied troops who marched under the Arc de Triomphe on July 14th there
were Rumanians, Greeks, Portuguese, and Indians, but not a single
Russian. A Russian general drove about in the forest of flags and
banners that day looking eagerly for symbols of his own country, but for
hours the quest was fruitless. At last, when passing the Japanese
Embassy, he perceived, to his delight, an enormous Russian flag waving
majestically in the breeze, side by side with that of Nippon. "I shed
tears of joy," he told his friend that evening, "and I vowed that
neither I nor my country would ever forget this touching mark of
friendship."

Japanese public opinion criticized severely the failure of their
delegates to obtain recognition of the equality of races or nations.
This judgment seems unjust, for nothing that they could have done or
said would have wrung from Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hughes their assent to the
doctrine, nor, if they had been induced to proclaim it, would it have
been practically applied.

In general, the lawyers were the most successful in stating their cases.
But one of the delegates of the lesser states who made the deepest
impression on those of the greater was not a member of the bar. The head
of the Polish delegation, Roman Dmowski, a picturesque, forcible
speaker, a close debater and resourceful pleader, who is never at a loss
for an image, a comparison, an _argumentum ad hominem_, or a repartee,
actually won over some of the arbiters who had at first leaned toward
his opponents--a noteworthy feat if one realizes all that it meant in an
assembly where potent influences were working against some of the
demands of resuscitated Poland. His speech in September on the future of
eastern Galicia was a veritable masterpiece.

M. Dmowski appeared at the Conference under all the disadvantages that
could be heaped upon a man who has incurred the resentment of the most
powerful international body of modern times. He had the misfortune to
have the Jews of the world as his adversaries. His Polish friends
explained this hostility as follows. His ardent nationalist sentiments
placed him in antagonism to every movement that ran counter to the
progress of his country on nationalist lines. For he is above all things
a Pole and a patriot. And as the Hebrew population of Poland,
disbelieving in the resurrection of that nation, had long since struck
up a cordial understanding with the states that held it in bondage, the
gifted author of a book on the _Foundations of Nationalism_, which went
through four editions, was regarded by the Hebrew elements of the
population as an irreconcilable enemy. In truth, he was only the leader
of a movement that was a historical necessity. One of the theses of the
work was the necessity of cultivating an anti-German spirit in Poland as
the only antidote against the Teuton virus introduced from Berlin
through economic and other channels. And as the Polish Jews, whose idiom
is a corrupted German dialect and whose leanings are often Teutonic,
felt that the attack upon the whole was an attack on the part, they
anathematized the author and held him up to universal obloquy. And there
has been no reconciliation ever since. In the United States, where the
Jewish community is numerous and influential, M. Dmowski found spokes in
his wheel at every stage of his journey, and in Paris, too, he had to
full-front a tremendous opposition, open and covert. Whatever unbiased
people may think of this explanation and of his hostility to the Germans
and their agents, Roman Dmowski deservedly enjoys the reputation of a
straightforward and loyal fighter for his country's cause, a man who
scorns underhand machinations and proclaims aloud--perhaps too
frankly--the principles for which he is fighting. Polish Jews who
appeared in Paris, some of them his bitterest antagonists, recognized
the chivalrous way in which he conducts his electoral and other
campaigns. Among the delegates his practical acquaintanceship with East
European polities entitled him to high rank. For he knows the world
better than any living statesman, having traveled over Europe, Asia, and
America. He undertook and successfully accomplished a delicate mission
in the Far East in the year 1905, rendering valuable services to his
country and to the cause of civilization.

"M. Dmowski's activity," his friends further assert, "is impassioned and
unselfish. The ambition that inspires and nerves him is not of the
personal sort, nor is his patriotism a ladder leading to place and
power. Polish patriotism occupies a category apart from that of other
European peoples, and M. Dmowski has typified it with rare fidelity and
completeness. If Wilsonianism had been realized, Polish nationalism
might have become an anachronism. To-day it is a large factor in
European politics and is little understood in the West. M. Dmowski lives
for his country. Her interests absorb his energies. He would probably
agree with the historian Paolo Sarpi, who said, 'Let us be Venetians
first and Christians after.' Of the two widely divergent currents into
which the main stream of political thought and sentiment throughout the
world is fast dividing itself, M. Dmowski moves with the national away
from the international championed by Mr. Wilson. The frequency with
which the leading spirits of Bolshevism turn out to be Jews--to the
dismay and disgust of the bulk of their own community--and the ingenuity
they displayed in spreading their corrosive tenets in Poland may not
have been without effect upon the energy of M. Dmowski's attitude toward
the demand of the Polish Jews to be placed in the privileged position of
wards of the League of Nations. But the principle of the protection of
minority--Jewish or Gentile--is assailable on grounds which have nothing
to do with race or religion." Some of the most interesting and
characteristic incidents at the Conference had the Polish statesman for
their principal actor, and to him Poland owes some of the most solid and
enduring benefits conferred on her at the Conference.

Of a different temper is M. Paderewski, who appeared in Paris to plead
his country's cause at a later stage of the labors of the Conference.
This eminent artist's energies were all blended into one harmonious
whole, so that his meetings with the great plenipotentiaries were never
disturbed by a jarring note. As soon as it was borne in upon him that
their decisions were as irrevocable as decrees of Fate, he bowed to them
and treated the authors as Olympians who had no choice but to utter the
stern fiat. Even when called upon to accept the obnoxious clause
protecting religious and ethnic minorities against which his colleague
had vainly fought, M. Paderewski sunk political passion in reason and
attuned himself to the helpful role of harmonizer. He held that it would
have been worse than useless to do otherwise. He was grieved that his
country must acquiesce in that decree, he regretted intensely the
necessity which constrained such proven friends of Poland as the Four to
pass what he considered a severe sentence on her; but he resigned
himself gracefully to the inevitable and thanked Fate's executioners for
their personal sympathy. This attitude evoked praise and admiration from
Messrs. Lloyd George and Wilson, and the atmosphere of the conclave
seemed permeated with a spirit that induced calm satisfaction and the
joy of elevated thoughts. M. Paderewski made a deep and favorable
impression on the Supreme Council.

Belgium sent her most brilliant parliamentarian, M. Hymans, as first
plenipotentiary to the Conference. He was assisted by the chief of the
Socialist party, M. Vandervelde, and by an eminent authority on
international law, M. Van den Heuvel. But for reasons which elude
analysis, none of the three delegates hit it off with the duumvirate
who were spinning the threads of the world's destinies. M. Hymans,
however, by his warmth, sincerity, and courage impressed the
representatives of the lesser states, won their confidence, became their
natural spokesman, and blazed out against all attempts--and they were
numerous and deliberate--to ignore their existence. It was he who by his
direct and eloquent protest took M. Clemenceau off his guard and
elicited the amazing utterance that the Powers which could put twelve
million soldiers in the field were the world's natural arbiters. In this
way he cleared the atmosphere of the distorting mists of catchwords and
shibboleths.

How decisive a role internal politics played in the designation of
plenipotentiaries to the Conference was shown with exceptional clearness
in the case of Rumania. That country had no legislature. The Constituent
Assembly, which had been dissolved owing to the German invasion, was
followed by no fresh elections. The King, with whom the initiative thus
rested, had reappointed M. Bratiano Chief of the Government, and M.
Bratiano was naturally desirous of associating his own historic name
with the aggrandizement of his country. But he also desired to secure
the services of his political rival, M. Take Jonescu, whose reputation
as a far-seeing statesman and as a successful negotiator is world-wide.
Among his qualifications are an acquaintanceship with European countries
and their affairs and a rare facility for give and take which is of the
essence of international politics. He can assume the initiative in
_pourparlers_, however uncompromising the outlook; frame plausible
proposals; conciliate his opponents by showing how thoroughly he
understands and appreciates their point of view, and by these means he
has often worked out seemingly hopeless negotiations to a satisfactory
issue. M. Clemenceau wrote of him, "C'est un grand Européen."[54]

M. Bratiano's bid for the services of his eminent opponent was coupled
with the offer of certain portfolios in the Cabinet to M. Jonescu and to
a number of his parliamentary supporters. While negotiations were slowly
proceeding by telegraph, M. Jonescu, who had already taken up his abode
in Paris, was assiduously weaving his plans. He began by assuming what
everybody knew, that the Powers would refuse to honor the secret treaty
with France, Britain, and Russia, which assigned to Rumania all the
territories to which she had laid claim, and he proposed first striking
up a compromise with the other interested states, then compacting
Rumania, Jugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Greece into a solid
block, and asking the Powers to approve and ratify the new league. Truly
it was a genial conception worthy of a broad-minded statesman. It aimed
at a durable peace based on what he considered a fair settlement of
claims satisfactory to all, and it would have lightened the burden of
the Big Four. But whether it could have been realized by peoples moved
by turbid passions and represented by trustees, some of whom were
avowedly afraid to relinquish claims which they knew to be exorbitant,
may well be doubted.

But the issue was never put to the test. The two statesmen failed to
agree on the Cabinet question; M. Jonescu kept aloof from office, and
the post of second delegate fell to Rumania's greatest diplomatist and
philologist, M. Mishu, who had for years admirably represented his
country as Minister in the British capital. From the outset M.
Bratiano's position was unenviable, because he based his country's case
on the claims of the secret treaty, and to Mr. Wilson every secret
treaty which he could effectually veto was anathema. Between the two
men, in lieu of a bond of union, there was only a strong force of mutual
repulsion, which kept them permanently apart. They moved on different
planes, spoke different languages, and Rumania, in the person of her
delegates, was treated like Cinderella by her stepmother. The Council of
Three kept them systematically in the dark about matters which it
concerned them to know, negotiated over their heads, transmitted to
Bucharest injunctions which only they were competent to receive,
insisted on their compromising to accept future decrees of the
Conference without an inkling as to their nature, and on their admitting
the right of an alien institution--the League of Nations--to intervene
in favor of minorities against the legally constituted government of the
country. M. Bratiano, who in a trenchant speech inveighed against these
claims of the Great Powers to take the governance of Europe into their
own hands, withdrew from the Conference and laid his resignation in the
hands of the King.

One of the most remarkable debaters in this singular parliament, where
self-satisfied ignorance and dullness of apprehension were so hard to
pierce, was the youthful envoy of the Czechoslovaks, M. Benes. This
politician, who before the Conference came to an end was offered the
honorable task of forming a new Cabinet, which he wisely declined,
displayed a masterly grasp of Continental politics and a rare gift of
identifying his country's aspirations with the postulates of a settled
peace. A systematic thinker, he made a point of understanding his case
at the outset. He would begin his _exposé_ by detaching himself from all
national interests and starting from general assumptions recognized by
the Olympians, and would lead his hearers by easy stages to the
conclusions which he wished them to draw from their own premises. And
two of them, who had no great sympathy with his thesis, assured me that
they could detect no logical flaw in his argument. Moderation and
sincerity were the virtues which he was most eager to exhibit, and they
were unquestionably the best trump cards he could play. Not only had he
a firm grasp of facts and arguments, but he displayed a sense of measure
and open-mindedness which enabled him to implant his views on the minds
of his hearers.

Armenia's cause found a forcible and suasive pleader in Boghos Pasha,
whose way of marshaling arguments in favor of a contention that was
frowned upon by many commanded admiration. The Armenians asked for a
vast stretch of territory with outlets on the Black Sea and the
Mediterranean, but they were met with the objections that their total
population was insignificant; that only in one province were they in a
majority, and that their claim to Cilicia clashed with one of the
reserved rights of France. The ice, therefore, was somewhat thin in
parts, but Boghos Pasha skated over it gracefully. His description of
the Armenian massacres was thrilling. Altogether his _exposé_ was a
masterpiece, and was appreciated by Mr. Wilson and M. Clemenceau.

The Jugoslav delegates, MM. Vesnitch and Trumbitch, patriotic,
tenacious, uncompromising, had an early opportunity of showing the stuff
of which they were made. When they were told that the Jugoslav state was
not yet recognized and that the kingdom of Serbia must content itself
with two delegates, they lodged an indignant protest against both
decisions, and refused to appear at the Conference unless they were
allowed an adequate number of representatives. Thereupon the Great
Powers compromised the matter by according them three, and with stealthy
rage they submitted to the refusal of recognition. They were not again
heard of until one day they proposed that their dispute with Italy
about Fiume and the Dalmatian coast should be solved by submitting it to
President Wilson for arbitration. The expedient was original. President
Wilson, people remembered, had had an animated talk on the subject with
the Italian Premier, Orlando, and it was known that he had set his face
against Italy's claim and against the secret treaty that recognized it.
Consequently the Serbs were running no risk by challenging Signor
Orlando to lay the matter before the American delegate. Whether, all
things considered, it was a wise move to make has been questioned.
Anyhow, the Italian delegation declined the suggestion on a number of
grounds which several delegates considered convincing. The Conference,
it urged, had been convoked precisely for the purpose of hearing and
settling such disputes as theirs, and the Conference consisted, not of
one, but of many delegates, who collectively were better qualified to
deal with such problems than any one man. Europeans, too, could more
fully appreciate the arguments, and the atmosphere through which the
arguments should be contemplated, than the eminent American idealist,
who had more than once had to modify his judgment on European matters.
Again, to remove the discussion from the international court might well
be felt as a slight put upon the men who composed it. For why should
their verdict be less worth soliciting than that of the President of the
United States? True, Italy's delegates were themselves judges in that
tribunal, but the question to be tried was not a matter between two
countries, but an issue of much wider import--namely, what frontiers
accorded to the embryonic state of Jugoslavia would be most conducive to
the world's peace. And nobody, they held, could offer a more complete or
trustworthy answer than they and their European colleagues, who were
conversant with all the elements of the problem. Besides--but this
objection was not expressly formulated--had not Mr. Wilson already
decided against Italy? On these and other grounds, then, they decided to
leave the matter to the Conference. It was a delicate subject, and few
onlookers cared to open their minds on its merits.

Albania was represented by an old friend of mine, the venerable Turkhan
Pasha, who had been in diplomacy ever since the Congress of Berlin in
the 'seventies of last century, and who looked like a modernized Nestor.
I made his acquaintance many years ago, when he was Ambassador of Turkey
in St. Petersburg. He was then a favorite everywhere in the Russian
capital as a conscientious Ambassador, a charming talker, and a
professional peace-maker, who wished well to everybody. The Young Turks
having recalled him from St. Petersburg, he soon afterward became Grand
Vizier to the Mbret of Albania. Far resonant events removed the Mbret
from the throne, Turkhan Pasha from the Vizierate, and Albania from the
society of nations, and I next found my friend in Switzerland ill in
health, eating the bitter bread of exile, temporarily isolated from the
world of politics and waiting for something to turn up. A few years more
gave the Allies an unexpectedly complete victory and brought back
Turkhan Pasha to the outskirts of diplomacy and politics. He suddenly
made his appearance at the Paris Conference as the representative of
Albania and the friend of Italy.

Another Albanian friend of mine, Essad Pasha, whose plans for the
regeneration of his country differed widely from those of Turkhan, was
for a long while detained in Saloniki. By dint of solicitations and
protests, he at last obtained permission to repair to Paris and lay his
views before the Conference, where he had a curious interview with Mr.
Wilson. The President, having received from Albanians in the United
States many unsolicited judgments on the character and antecedents of
Essad Pasha, had little faith in his fitness to introduce and popularize
democratic institutions in Albania. And he unburdened himself of these
doubts to friends, who diffused the news. The Pasha asked for an
audience, and by dint of patience and perseverance his prayer was heard.
Five minutes before the appointed hour he was at the President's house,
accompanied by his interpreter, a young Albanian named Stavro, who
converses freely in French, Greek, and Turkish, besides his native
language. But while in the antechamber Essad, remembering that the
American President speaks nothing but pure English, suggested that
Stavro should drive over to the Hôtel Crillon for an interpreter to
translate from French. Thereupon one of the secretaries stopped him,
saying: "Although he cannot speak French, the President understands it,
so that a second interpreter will be unnecessary." Essad then addressed
Mr. Wilson in Albanian, Stavro translated his words into French, and the
President listened in silence. It was the impression of those in the
room that, at any rate, Mr. Wilson understood and appreciated the gist
of the Pasha's sharp criticism of Italy's behavior. But, to be on the
safe side, the President requested his visitor to set down on paper at
his leisure everything he had said and to send it to him.


PRESIDENT WILSON


President Wilson, before assuming the redoubtable rôle of world arbiter,
was hardly more than a name in Europe, and it was not a synonym for
statecraft. His ethical objections to the rule of Huerta in Mexico, his
attempt to engraft democratic principles there, and the anarchy that
came of it were matters of history. But the President of the nation to
whose unbounded generosity and altruism the world owes a debt of
gratitude that can only be acknowledged, not repaid, deservedly enjoyed
a superlative measure of respect from his foreign colleagues, and the
author of the project which was to link all nations together by ties of
moral kinship was literally idolized by the masses. Never has it fallen
to my lot to see any mortal so enthusiastically, so spontaneously
welcomed by the dejected peoples of the universe. His most casual
utterances were caught up as oracles. He occupied a height so far aloft
that the vicissitudes of everyday life and the contingencies of politics
seemingly could not touch him. He was given credit for a rare degree of
selflessness in his conceptions and actions and for a balance of
judgment which no storms of passion could upset. So far as one could
judge by innumerable symptoms, President Wilson was confronted with an
opportunity for good incomparably vaster than had ever before been
within the reach of man.

Soon after the opening of the Conference the shadowy outlines of his
portrait began to fill in, slowly at first, and before three months had
passed the general public beheld it fairly complete, with many of its
natural lights and shades. The quality of an active politician is never
more clearly brought out than when, raised to an eminent place, he is
set an arduous feat in sight of the multitude. Mr. Wilson's task was
manifestly congenial to him, for it was deliberately chosen by himself,
and it comprised the most tremendous problems ever tackled by man born
of woman. The means by which he set to work to solve them were
startlingly simple: the regeneration of the human race was to be
compassed by means of magisterial edicts secretly drafted and sternly
imposed on the interested peoples, together with a new and not wholly
appropriate nomenclature.

In his own country, where he has bitter adversaries as well as devoted
friends, Mr. Wilson was regarded by many as a composite being made up
of preacher, teacher, and politician. To these diverse elements they
refer the fervor and unction, the dogmatic tone, and the practised
shrewdness that marked his words and acts. Independent American opinion
doubted his qualifications to be a leader. As a politician, they said,
he had always followed the crowd. He had swum with the tide of public
sentiment in cardinal matters, instead of stemming or canalizing and
guiding it. Deficient in courageous initiative, he had contented himself
with merely executive functions. No new idea, no fresh policy, was
associated with his name. His singular attitude on the Mexican imbroglio
had provoked the sharp criticism even of friends and the condemnation of
political opponents. His utterances during the first stages of the World
War, such as the statement that the American people were too proud to
fight and had no concern with the causes and objects of the war,[55]
when contrasted with the opposite views which he propounded later on,
were ascribed to quick political evolution--but were not taken as
symptoms of a settled mind. He seemed a pacifist when his pride revolted
at the idea of settling any intelligible question by an appeal to
violence, and a semi-militarist when, having in his own opinion created
a perfectly safe and bloodless peace guarantee in the shape of the
League of Nations, he agreed to safeguard it by a military compact which
sapped its foundation. He owed his re-election for a second term partly,
it was alleged, to the belief that during the first he had kept his
country out of the war despite the endeavors of some of its eminent
leaders to bring it in; yet when firmly seated in the saddle, he
followed the leaders whom he had theretofore with-stood and obliged the
nation to fight.

As chief of the great country, his domestic critics add, which had just
turned victory's scale in favor of the Allies, Mr. Wilson saw a superb
opportunity to hitch his wagon to a star, and now for the first time he
made a determined bid for the leadership of the world. Here the idealist
showed himself at his best. But by the way of preparation he asked the
nation at the elections to refuse their votes to his political
opponents, despite the fact that they were loyally supporting his
policy, and to return only men of his own party, and in order to silence
their misgivings he declared that to elect Republican Senators would be
to repudiate the administration of the President of the United States at
a critical conjuncture. This was urged against him as the inexpiable
sin. The electors, however, sent his political opponents to the Senate,
whereupon the President organized his historic visit to Europe. It might
have become a turning-point in the world's history had he transformed
his authority and prestige into the driving-power requisite to embody
his beneficent scheme. But he wasted the opportunity for lack of moral
courage. Thus far American criticism. But the peoples of Europe ignored
the estimates of the President made by his fellow-countrymen, who, as
such, may be forgiven for failing to appreciate his apostleship, or set
the full value on his humanitarian strivings. The war-weary masses
judged him not by what he had achieved or attempted in the past, but by
what he proposed to do in the future. And measured by this standard, his
spiritual statue grew to legendary proportions.

Europe, when the President touched its shores, was as clay ready for the
creative potter. Never before were the nations so eager to follow a
Moses who would take them to the long-promised land where wars are
prohibited and blockades unknown. And to their thinking he was that
great leader. In France men bowed down before him with awe and
affection. Labor leaders in Paris told me that they shed tears of joy in
his presence, and that their comrades would go through fire and water to
help him to realize his noble schemes.[56] To the working classes in
Italy his name was a heavenly clarion at the sound of which the earth
would be renewed. The Germans regarded him and his humane doctrine as
their sheet-anchor of safety. The fearless Herr Muehlon said, "If
President Wilson were to address the Germans, and pronounce a severe
sentence upon them, they would accept it with resignation and without a
murmur and set to work at once." In German-Austria his fame was that of
a savior, and the mere mention of his name brought balm to the suffering
and surcease of sorrow to the afflicted. A touching instance of this
which occurred in the Austrian capital, when narrated to the President,
moved him to tears. There were some five or six thousand Austrian
children in the hospitals at Vienna who, as Christmas was drawing near,
were sorely in need of medicaments and much else. The head of the
American Red Cross took up their case and persuaded the Americans in
France to send two million dollars' worth of medicaments to Vienna.
These were duly despatched, and had got as far as Berne, when the French
authorities, having got wind of the matter, protested against this
premature assistance to infant enemies on grounds which the other
Allies had to recognize as technically tenable, and the medicaments were
ordered back to France from Berne. Thereupon Doctor Ferries, of the
International Red Cross, became wild with indignation and laid the
matter before the Swiss government, which undertook to send some
medicaments to the children, while the Americans were endeavoring to
move the French to allow at least some of the remedies to go through.
The children in the hospitals, when told that they must wait, were
bright and hopeful. "It will be all right," some of them exclaimed.
"Wilson is coming soon, and he will bring us everything."

Thus Mr. Wilson had become a transcendental hero to the European
proletarians, who in their homely way adjusted his mental and moral
attributes to their own ideal of the latter-day Messiah. His legendary
figure, half saint, half revolutionist, emerged from the transparent
haze of faith, yearning, and ignorance, as in some ecstatic vision. In
spite of his recorded acts and utterances the mythopeic faculty of the
peoples had given itself free scope and created a messianic democrat
destined to free the lower orders, as they were called, in each state
from the shackles of capitalism, legalized thraldom, and crushing
taxation, and each nation from sanguinary warfare. Truly, no human being
since the dawn of history has ever yet been favored with such a superb
opportunity. Mr. Wilson might have made a gallant effort to lift society
out of the deep grooves into which it had sunk, and dislodge the secular
obstacles to the enfranchisement and transfiguration of the human race.
At the lowest it was open to him to become the center of a countless
multitude, the heart of their hearts, the incarnation of their noblest
thought, on condition that he scorned the prudential motives of
politicians, burst through the barriers of the old order, and deployed
all his energies and his full will-power in the struggle against sordid
interests and dense prejudice. But he was cowed by obstacles which his
will lacked the strength to surmount, and instead of receiving his
promptings from the everlasting ideals of mankind and the inspiriting
audacities of his own highest nature and appealing to the peoples
against their rulers, he felt constrained in the very interest of his
cause to haggle and barter with the Scribes and the Pharisees, and ended
by recording a pitiful answer to the most momentous problems couched in
the impoverished phraseology of a political party.

Many of his political friends had advised the President not to visit
Europe lest the vast prestige and influence which he wielded from a
distance should dwindle unutilized on close contact with the realists'
crowd. Even the war-god Mars, when he descended into the ranks of the
combatants on the Trojan side, was wounded by a Greek, and, screaming
with pain, scurried back to Olympus with paling halo. But Mr. Wilson
decided to preside and to direct the fashioning of his project, and to
give Europe the benefit of his advice. He explained to Congress that he
had expressed the ideals of the country for which its soldiers had
consciously fought, had had them accepted "as the substance of their own
thoughts and purpose" by the statesmen of the associated governments,
and now, he concluded: "I owe it to them to see to it, in so far as in
me lies, that no false or mistaken interpretation is put upon them, and
no possible effort omitted to realize them. It is now my duty to play my
full part in making good what they offered their lives and blood to
obtain. I can think of no call to service which could transcend
this."[57] No intention could well be more praiseworthy.

Soon after the _George Washington_, flying the presidential flag, had
steamed out of the Bay on her way to Europe, the United Press received
from its correspondent on board, who was attached to Mr. Wilson's
person, a message which invigorated the hopes of the world and evoked
warm outpourings of the seared soul of suffering man in gratitude toward
the bringer of balm. It began thus: "The President sails for Europe to
uphold American ideals, and literally to fight for his Fourteen Points.
The President, at the Peace Table, will insist on the freedom of the
seas and a general disarmament.... The seas, he holds, ought to be
guarded by the whole world."

Since then the world knows what to think of the literal fighting at the
Peace Table. The freedom of the seas was never as much as alluded to at
the Peace Table, for the announcement of Mr. Wilson's militant
championship brought him a wireless message from London to the effect
that that proposal, at all events, must be struck out of his program if
he wished to do business with Britain. And without a fight or a
remonstrance the President struck it out. The Fourteen Points were not
discussed at the Conference.[58] One may deplore, but one cannot
misunderstand, what happened. Mr. Wilson, too, had his own fixed aim to
attain: intent on associating his name with a grandiose humanitarian
monument, he was resolved not to return to his country without some sort
of a covenant of the new international life. He could not afford to go
home empty-handed. Therein lay his weakness and the source of his
failure. For whenever his attitude toward the Great Powers was taken to
mean, "Unless you give me my Covenant, you cannot have your Treaty," the
retort was ready: "Without our Treaty there will be no Covenant."

Like Dejoces, the first king of the Medes, who, having built his palace
at Ecbatana, surrounded it with seven walls and permanently withdrew his
person from the gaze of his subjects, Mr. Wilson in Paris admitted to
his presence only the authorized spokesmen of states and causes, and not
all of these. He declined to receive persons who thought they had a
claim to see him, and he received others who were believed to have none.
During his sojourn in Paris he took many important Russian affairs in
hand after having publicly stated that no peace could be stable so long
as Russia was torn by internal strife. And as familiarity with Russian
conditions was not one of his accomplishments, he presumably needed
advice and help from those acquainted with them. Now a large number of
Russians, representing all political parties and four governments, were
in Paris waiting to be consulted. But between January and May not one of
them was ever asked for information or counsel. Nay, more, those who
respectfully solicited an audience were told to wait. In the meanwhile
men unacquainted with the country and people were sent by Mr. Wilson to
report on the situation, and to begin by obtaining the terms of an
acceptable treaty from the Bolshevik government.

The first plenipotentiary of one of the principal lesser states was for
months refused an audience, to the delight of his political adversaries,
who made the most of the circumstance at home. An eminent diplomatist
who possessed considerable claims to be vouchsafed an interview was put
off from week to week, until at last, by dint of perseverance, as it
seemed to him, the President consented to see him. The diplomatist,
pleased at his success, informed a friend that the following Wednesday
would be the memorable day. "But are you not aware," asked the friend,
"that on that day the President will be on the high seas on his way back
to the United States?" He was not aware of it. But when he learned that
the audience had been deliberately fixed for a day when Mr. Wilson would
no longer be in France he felt aggrieved.

In Italy the President's progress was a veritable triumph. Emperors and
kings had roused no such enthusiasm. One might fancy him a deity
unexpectedly discovered under the outward appearance of a mortal and now
being honored as the god that he was by ecstatic worshipers. Everything
he did was well done, everything he said was nobly conceived and worthy
of being treasured up. In these dispositions a few brief months wrought
a vast difference.

In this respect an instructive comparison might be made between Tsar
Alexander I at the Vienna Congress and the President of the United
States at the Conference of Paris. The Russian monarch arrived in the
Austrian capital with the halo of a Moses focusing the hopes of all the
peoples of Europe. His reputation for probity, public spirit, and lofty
aspirations had won for him the good-will and the anticipatory blessings
of war-weary nations. He, too, was a mystic, believed firmly in occult
influences, so firmly indeed that he accepted the fitful guidance of an
ecstatic lady whose intuition was supposed to transcend the sagacity of
professional statesmen. And yet the Holy Alliance was the supreme
outcome of his endeavors, as the League of Nations was that of Mr.
Wilson's. In lieu of universal peace all eastern Europe was still
warring and revolting in September and the general outlook was
disquieting. The disheartening effect of the contrast between the
promise and the achievement of the American statesman was felt
throughout the world. But Mr. Wilson has the solace to know that people
hardly ever reach their goal--though they sometimes advance fairly near
to it. They either die on the way or else it changes or they do.

It was doubtless a noble ambition that moved the Prime Ministers of the
Great Powers and the chief of the North American Republic to give their
own service to the Conference as heads of their respective missions. For
they considered themselves to be the best equipped for the purpose, and
they were certainly free from such prejudices as professional traditions
and a confusing knowledge of details might be supposed to engender. But
in almost every respect it was a grievous mistake and the source of
others still more grievous. True, in his own particular sphere each of
them had achieved what is nowadays termed greatness. As a war leader Mr.
Lloyd George had been hastily classed with Marlborough and Chatham, M.
Clemenceau compared to Danton, and Mr. Wilson set apart in a category to
himself. But without questioning these journalistic certificates of fame
one must admit that all three plenipotentiaries were essentially
politicians, old parliamentary hands, and therefore expedient-mongers
whose highest qualifications for their own profession were drawbacks
which unfitted them for their self-assumed mission. Of the concrete
world which they set about reforming their knowledge was amazingly
vague. "Frogs in the pond," says the Japanese proverb, "know naught of
the ocean." There was, of course, nothing blameworthy in their
unacquaintanceship with the issues, but only in the offhandedness with
which they belittled its consequences. Had they been conversant with the
subject or gifted with deeper insight, many of the things which seemed
particularly clear to them would have struck them as sheer inexplicable,
and among these perhaps their own leadership of the world-parliament.

What they lacked, however, might in some perceptible degree have been
supplied by enlisting as their helpers men more happily endowed than
themselves. But they deliberately chose mediocrities. It is a mark of
genial spirits that they are well served, but the plenipotentiaries of
the Conference were not characterized by it. Away in the background some
of them had familiars or casual prompters to whose counsels they were
wont to listen, but many of the adjoints who moved in the limelight of
the world-stage were gritless and pithless.

As the heads of the principal governments implicitly claimed to be the
authorized spokesmen of the human race and endowed with unlimited
powers, it is worth noting that this claim was boldly challenged by the
peoples' organs in the press. Nearly all the journals read by the masses
objected from the first to the dictatorship of the group of Premiers,
Mr. Wilson being excepted. "The modern parasite," wrote a respectable
democratic newspaper,[59] "is the politician. Of all the privileged
beings who have ever governed us he is the worst. In that, however,
there is nothing surprising ... he is not only amoral, but incompetent
by definition. And it is this empty-headed individual who is intrusted
with the task of settling problems with the very rudiments of which he
is unacquainted." Another French journal[60] wrote: "In truth it is a
misfortune that the leaders of the Conference are Cabinet chiefs, for
each of them is obsessed by the carking cares of his domestic policy.
Besides, the Paris Conference takes on the likeness of a lyrical drama
in which there are only tenors. Now would even the most beautiful work
in the world survive this excess of beauties?"

The truth as revealed by subsequent facts would seem to be that each of
the plenipotentiaries recognizing parliamentary success as the source of
his power was obsessed by his own political problems and stimulated by
his own immediate ends. As these ends, however incompatible with each
other, were believed by each one to tend toward the general object, he
worked zealously for their attainment. The consequences are notorious.
M. Clemenceau made France the hub of the universe. Mr. Lloyd George
harbored schemes which naturally identified the welfare of mankind with
the hegemony of the English-speaking races. Signor Orlando was inspired
by the "sacred egotism" which had actuated all Italian Cabinets since
Italy entered the war, and President Wilson was burning to associate his
name and also that of his country with the vastest and noblest
enterprise inscribed in the annals of history. And each one moved over
his own favorite route toward his own goal. It was an apt illustration
of the Russian fable of the swan, the crab, and the pike being harnessed
together in order to remove a load. The swan flew upward, the crab
crawled backward, the pike made with all haste for the water, and the
load remained where it was.

A lesser but also a serious disadvantage of the delegation of government
chiefs made itself felt in the procedure. Embarrassing delays were
occasioned by the unavoidable absences of the principal delegates whom
pressure of domestic politics called to their respective capitals, as
well as by their tactics, and their colleagues profited by their absence
for the sake of the good cause. Thus all Paris, as we saw, was aware
that the European chiefs, whose faith in Wilsonian orthodoxy was still
feeble at that time, were prepared to take advantage of the President's
sojourn in Washington to speed up business in their own sense and to
confront him on his return with accomplished facts. But when, on his
return, he beheld their handiwork he scrapped it, and a considerable
loss of time ensued for which the world has since had to pay very
heavily.

Again, when Premier Orlando was in Rome after Mr. Wilson's appeal to
the Italian people, a series of measures was passed by the delegates in
Paris affecting Italy, diminishing her importance at the Conference, and
modifying the accepted interpretation of the Treaty of London. Some of
these decisions had to be canceled when the Italians returned. These
stratagems had an undesirable effect on the Italians.

Not the least of the Premiers' disabilities lay in the circumstance that
they were the merest novices in international affairs. Geography,
ethnography, psychology, and political history were sealed books to
them. Like the rector of Louvain University who told Oliver Goldsmith
that, as he had become the head of that institution without knowing
Greek, he failed to see why it should be taught there, the chiefs of
state, having attained the highest position in their respective
countries without more than an inkling of international affairs, were
unable to realize the importance of mastering them or the impossibility
of repairing the omission as they went along.

They displayed their contempt for professional diplomacy and this
feeling was shared by many, but they extended that sentiment to certain
diplomatic postulates which can in no case be dispensed with, because
they are common to all professions. One of them is knowledge of the
terms of the problems to be solved. No conjuncture could have been less
favorable for an experiment based on this theory. The general situation
made a demand on the delegates for special knowledge and experience,
whereas the Premiers and the President, although specialists in nothing,
had to act as specialists in everything. Traditional diplomacy would
have shown some respect for the law of causality. It would have sent to
the Conference diplomatists more or less acquainted with the issues to
be mooted and also with the mentality of the other negotiators, and it
would have assigned to them a number of experts as advisers. It would
have formed a plan similar to that proposed by the French authorities
and rejected by the Anglo-Saxons. In this way at least the technical
part of the task would have been tackled on right lines, the war would
have been liquidated and normal relations quickly re-established among
the belligerent states. It may be objected that this would have been a
meager contribution to the new politico-social fabric. Undoubtedly it
would, but, however meager, it would have been a positive gain. Possibly
the first stone of a new world might have been laid once the ruins of
the old were cleared away. But even this modest feat could not be
achieved by amateurs working in desultory fashion and handicapped by
their political parties at home. The resultant of their apparent
co-operation was a sum in subtraction because dispersal or effort was
unavoidably substituted for concentration.

Whether one contemplates them in the light of their public acts or
through the prism of gossip, the figures cut by the delegates of the
Great Powers were pathetic. Giants in the parliamentary sphere, they
shrank to the dimensions of dwarfs in the international. In matters of
geography, ethnography, history, and international politics they were
helplessly at sea, and the stories told of certain of their efforts to
keep their heads above water while maintaining a simulacrum of dignity
would have been amusing were the issues less momentous. "Is it after
Upper or Lower Silesia that those greedy Poles are hankering?" one
Premier is credibly reported to have asked some months after the Polish
delegation had propounded and defended its claims and he had had time to
familiarize himself with them. "Please point out to me Dalmatia on the
map," was another characteristic request, "and tell me what connection
there is between it and Fiume." One of the principal plenipotentiaries
addressed a delegate who is an acquaintance of mine approximately as
follows: "I cannot understand the spokesmen of the smaller states. To me
they seem stark mad. They single out a strip of territory and for no
intelligible reason flock round it like birds of prey round a corpse on
the field of battle. Take Silesia, for example. The Poles are clamoring
for it as if the very existence of their country depended on their
annexing it. The Germans are still more crazy about it. But for their
eagerness I suppose there is some solid foundation. But how in Heaven's
name do the Armenians come to claim it? Just think of it, the Armenians!
The world has gone mad. No wonder France has set her foot down and
warned them off the ground. But what does France herself want with it?
What is the clue to the mystery?" My acquaintance, in reply, pointed out
as considerately as he could that Silesia was the province for which
Poles and Germans were contending, whereas the Armenians were pleading
for Cilicia, which is farther east, and were, therefore, frowned upon by
the French, who conceive that they have a civilizing mission there and
men enough to accomplish it.

It is characteristic of the epoch, and therefore worthy of the
historian's attention, that not only the members of the Conference, but
also other leading statesmen of Anglo-Saxon countries, were wont to make
a very little knowledge of peoples and countries go quite a far way. Two
examples may serve to familiarize the reader with the phenomenon and to
moderate his surprise at the defects of the world-dictators in Paris.
One English-speaking statesman, dealing with the Italian government[61]
and casting around for some effective way of helping the Italian people
out of their pitiable economic plight, fancied he hit upon a felicitous
expedient, which he unfolded as follows. "I venture," he said, "to
promise that if you will largely increase your cultivation of bananas
the people of my country will take them all. No matter how great the
quantities, our market will absorb them, and that will surely make a
considerable addition to your balance on the right side." At first the
Italians believed he was joking. But finding that he really meant what
he said, they ruthlessly revealed his idea to the nation under the
heading, "Italian bananas!"

Here is the other instance. During the war the Polish people was
undergoing unprecedented hardships. Many of the poorer classes were
literally perishing of hunger. A Polish commission was sent to an
English-speaking country to interest the government and people in the
condition of the sufferers and obtain relief. The envoys had an
interview with a Secretary of State, who inquired to what port they
intended to have the foodstuffs conveyed for distribution in the
interior of Poland. They answered: "We shall have them taken to Dantzig.
There is no other way." The statesman reflected a little and then said:
"You may meet with difficulties. If you have them shipped to Dantzig you
must of course first obtain Italy's permission. Have you got it?" "No.
We had not thought of that. In fact, we don't yet see why Italy need be
approached." "Because it is Italy who has command of the Mediterranean,
and if you want the transport taken to Dantzig it is the Italian
government that you must ask!"[62]

The delegates picked up a good deal of miscellaneous information about
the various countries whose future they were regulating, and to their
credit it should be said that they put questions to their informants
without a trace of false pride. One of the two chief delegates wending
homeward from a sitting at which M. Jules Cambon had spoken a good deal
about those Polish districts which, although they contained a majority
of Germans, yet belonged of right to Poland, asked the French delegate
why he had made so many allusions to Frederick the Great. "What had
Frederick to do with Poland?" he inquired. The answer was that the
present German majority of the inhabitants was made up of colonists who
had immigrated into the districts since the time of Frederick the Great
and the partition of Poland. "Yes, I see," exclaimed the statesman, "but
what had Frederick the Great to do with the partition of Poland?" ... In
the domain of ethnography there were also many pitfalls and accidents.
During an official _exposé_ of the Oriental situation before the Supreme
Council, one of the Great Four, listening to a narrative of Turkish
misdeeds, heard that the Kurds had tortured and killed a number of
defenseless women, children, and old men. He at once interrupted the
speaker with the query: "You now call them Kurds. A few minutes ago you
said they were Turks. I take it that the Kurds and the Turks are the
same people?" Loath to embarrass one of the world's arbiters, the
delegate respectfully replied, "Yes, sir, they are about the same, but
the worse of the two are the Kurds."[63]

Great Britain's first delegate, with engaging candor sought to disarm
criticism by frankly confessing in the House of Commons that he had
never before heard of Teschen, about which such an extraordinary fuss
was then being made, and by asking: "How many members of the House have
ever heard of Teschen? Yet," he added significantly, "Teschen very
nearly produced an angry conflict between two allied states."[64]

The circumstance that an eminent parliamentarian had never heard of
problems that agitate continental peoples is excusable. Less so was his
resolve, despite such a capital disqualification, to undertake the task
of solving those problems single-handed, although conscious that the
fate of whole peoples depended on his succeeding. It is no adequate
justification to say that he could always fall back upon special
commissions, of which there was no lack at the Conference. Unless he
possessed a safe criterion by which to assess the value of the
commissions' conclusions, he must needs himself decide the matter
arbitrarily. And the delegates, having no such criterion, pronounced
very arbitrary judgments on momentous issues. One instance of this
turned upon Poland's claims to certain territories incorporated in
Germany, which were referred to a special commission under the
presidency of M. Cambon. Commissioners were sent to the country to study
the matter on the spot, where they had received every facility for
acquainting themselves with it. After some weeks the commission reported
in favor of the Polish claim with unanimity. But Mr. Lloyd George
rejected their conclusions and insisted on having the report sent back
to them for reconsideration. Again the commissioners went over the
familiar ground, but felt obliged to repeat their verdict anew. Once
more, however, the British Premier demurred, and such was his tenacity
that, despite Mr. Wilson's opposition, the final decision of the
Conference reversed that of the commission and non-suited the Poles. By
what line of argument, people naturally asked, did the first British
delegate come to that conclusion? That he knew more about the matter
than the special Inter-Allied commission is hardly to be supposed.
Indeed, nobody assumed that he was any better informed on that subject
than about Teschen. The explanation put in circulation by interested
persons was that, like Socrates, he had his own familiar demon to prompt
him, who, like all such spirits, chose to flourish, like the violet, in
the shade. That this source of light was accessible to the Prime
Minister may, his apologists hold, one day prove a boon to the peoples
whose fate was thus being spun in darkness and seemingly at haphazard.
Possibly. But in the meanwhile it was construed as an affront to their
intelligence and a violation of the promise made to them of "open
covenants openly arrived at." The press asked why the information
requisite for the work had not been acquired in advance as these
semi-mystical ways of obtaining it commended themselves to nobody.
Wholly mystical were the methods attributed to one or other of the men
who were preparing the advent of the new era. For superstition of
various kinds was supposed to be as well represented at the Paris
Conference as at the Congress of Vienna. Characteristic of the epoch was
the gravity with which individuals otherwise well balanced exercised
their ingenuity in finding out the true relation of the world's peace to
certain lucky numbers. For several events connected with the Conference
the thirteenth day of the month was deliberately, and some occultists
added felicitously, chosen. It was also noticed that an effort was made
by all the delegates to have the Allies' reply to the German
counter-proposals presented on the day of destiny, Friday, June 13th.
When it miscarried a flutter was caused in the dovecotes of the
illuminated. The failure was construed as an inauspicious omen and it
caused the spirits of many to droop. The principal clairvoyante of
Paris, Madame N----, who plumes herself on being the intermediary
between the Fates that rule and some of their earthly executors, was
consulted on the subject, one knows not with what result.[65] It was
given out, however, as the solemn utterance of the oracle in vogue that
Mr. Wilson's enterprise was weighted with original sin; he had made one
false step before his arrival in Europe, and that had put everything out
of gear. By enacting fourteen commandments he had countered the magic
charm of his lucky thirteen. One of the fourteen, it was soothsaid, must
therefore be omitted--it might be, say, that of open covenants openly
arrived at, or the freedom of the seas--in a word, any one so long as
the mystic number thirteen remained intact. But should that be
impossible, seeing that the Fourteen Points had already become
house-hold words to all nations and peoples, then it behooved the
President to number the last of his saving points 13a.[66]

This odd mixture of the real and the fanciful--a symptom, as the
initiated believed, of a mood of fine spiritual exaltation--met with
little sympathy among the impatient masses whose struggle for bare life
was growing ever fiercer. Stagnation held the business world, prices
were rising to prohibitive heights, partly because of the dawdling of
the world's conclave; hunger was stalking about the ruined villages of
the northern departments of France, destructive wars were being waged in
eastern Europe, and thousands of Christians were dying of hunger in
Bessarabia.[67] Epigrammatic strictures and winged words barbed with
stinging satire indicated the feelings of the many. And the fact remains
on record that streaks of the mysticism that buoyed up Alexander I at
the Congress of Vienna, and is supposed to have stimulated Nicholas II
during the first world-parliament at The Hague, were noticeable from
time to time in the environment of the Paris Conference. The disclosure
of these elements of superstition was distinctly harmful and might have
been hindered easily by the system of secrecy and censorship which
effectively concealed matters much less mischievous.

The position of the plenipotentiaries was unenviable at best and they
well deserve the benefit of extenuating circumstances. For not even a
genius can efficiently tackle problems with the elements of which he
lacks acquaintanceship, and the mass of facts which they had to deal
with was sheer unmanageable. It was distressing to watch them during
those eventful months groping and floundering through a labyrinth of
obstacles with no Ariadne clue to guide their tortuous course, and
discovering that their task was more intricate than they had imagined.
The ironic domination of temper and circumstance over the fitful
exertions of men struggling with the partially realized difficulties of
a false position led to many incongruities upon which it would be
ungracious to dwell. One of them, however, which illustrates the
situation, seems almost incredible. It is said to have occurred in
January. According to the current narrative, soon after the arrival of
President Wilson in Paris, he received from a French publicist named
M.B. a long and interesting memorandum about the island of Corsica,
recounting the history, needs, and aspirations of the population as well
as the various attempts they had made to regain their independence, and
requesting him to employ his good offices at the Conference to obtain
for them complete autonomy. To this demand M.B. is said to have received
a reply[68] to the effect that the President "is persuaded that this
question will form the subject of a thorough examination by the
competent authorities of the Conference" Corsica, the birthplace of
Napoleon, and as much an integral part of France as the Isle of Man is
of England, seeking to slacken the ties that link it to the Republic and
receiving a promise that the matter would be carefully considered by the
delegates sounds more like a mystification than a sober statement of
fact. The story was sent to the newspapers for publication, but the
censor very wisely struck it out.

These and kindred occurrences enable one better to appreciate the
motives which prompted the delegates to shroud their conversations and
tentative decisions in a decorous veil of secrecy.

It is but fair to say that the enterprise to which they set their hands
was the vastest that ever tempted lofty ambitions since the
tower-builders of Babel strove to bring heaven within reach of the
earth. It transcended the capacity of the contemporary world's greatest
men.[69] It was a labor for a wonder-worker in the pristine days of
heroes. But although to solve even the main problems without residue was
beyond the reach of the most genial representatives of latter-day
statecraft, it needed only clearness of conception, steadiness of
purpose, and the proper adjustment of means to ends, to begin the work
on the right lines and give it an impulse that might perhaps carry it to
completion in the fullness of time.

But even these postulates were wanting. The eminent parliamentarians
failed to rise to the gentle height of average statecraft. They appeared
in their new and august character of world-reformers with all the roots
still clinging to them of the rank electoral soil from which they
sprang. Their words alone were redolent of idealism, their deeds were
too often marred by pettifogging compromises or childish
blunders--constructive phrases and destructive acts. Not only had they
no settled method of working, they lacked even a common proximate aim.
For although they all employed the same phraseology when describing the
objects for which their countries had fought and they themselves were
ostensibly laboring, no two delegates attached the same ideas to the
words they used. Yet, instead of candidly avowing this root-defect and
remedying it, they were content to stretch the euphemistic terms until
these covered conflicting conceptions and gratified the ears of every
hearer. Thus, "open covenants openly arrived at" came to mean arbitrary
ukases issued by a secret conclave, and "the self-determination of
peoples" connoted implicit obedience to dictatorial decrees. The new
result was a bewildering phantasmagoria.

And yet it was professedly for the purpose of obviating such
misunderstandings that Mr. Wilson had crossed the Atlantic. Having
expressed in plain terms the ideals for which American soldiers had
fought, and which became the substance of the thoughts and purposes of
the associated statesmen, "I owe it to them," he had said, "to see to
it, in so far as in me lies, that no false or mistaken interpretation is
put upon them and no possible effort omitted to realize them." And that
was the result achieved.

No such juggling with words as went on at the Conference had been
witnessed since the days of medieval casuistry. New meanings were
infused into old terms, rendering the help of "exegesis" indispensable.
Expressions like "territorial equilibrium" and "strategic frontiers"
were stringently banished, and it is affirmed that President Wilson
would wince and his expression change at the bare mention of these
obnoxious symbols of the effete ordering which it was part of his
mission to do away with forever. And yet the things signified by those
words were preserved withal under other names. Nor could it well be
otherwise. One can hardly conceive a durable state system in Europe
under the new any more than the old dispensation without something that
corresponds to equilibrium. An architect who should boastingly discard
the law of gravitation in favor of a different theory would stand little
chance of being intrusted with the construction of a palace of peace.
Similarly, a statesman who, while proclaiming that the era of wars is
not yet over, would deprive of strategic frontiers the pivotal states of
Europe which are most exposed to sudden attack would deserve to find few
disciples and fewer clients. Yet that was what Mr. Wilson aimed at and
what some of his friends affirm he has achieved. His foreign colleagues
re-echoed his dogmas after having emasculated them. It was instructive
and unedifying to watch how each of the delegates, when his own
country's turn came to be dealt with on the new lines, reversed his
tactics and, sacrificing sound to substance, insisted on safeguards,
relied on historic rights, invoked economic requirements, and appealed
to common sense, but all the while loyally abjured "territorial
equilibrium" and "strategic guarantees." Hence the fierce struggles
which MM. Orlando, Dmowski, Bratiano, Venizelos, and Makino had to carry
on with the chief of that state which is the least interested in
European affairs in order to obtain all or part of the territories which
they considered indispensable to the security and well-being of their
respective countries.

At the outset Mr. Wilson stood for an ideal Europe of a wholly new and
undefined type, which would have done away with the need for strategic
frontiers. Its contours were vague, for he had no clear mental picture
of the concrete Europe out of which it was to be fashioned. He spoke,
indeed, and would fain have acted, as though the old Continent were like
a thinly inhabited territory of North America fifty years ago,
unencumbered by awkward survivals of the past and capable of receiving
any impress. He seemingly took no account of its history, its peoples,
or their interests and strivings. History shared the fate of Kolchak's
government and the Ukraine; it was not recognized by the delegates. What
he brought to Europe from America was an abstract idea, old and
European, and at first his foreign colleagues treated it as such. Some
of them had actually sneered at it, others had damned it with faint
praise, and now all of them honestly strove to save their own countries'
vital interests from its disruptive action while helping to apply it to
their neighbors. Thus Britain, who at that time had no territorial
claims to put forward, had her sea-doctrine to uphold, and she upheld it
resolutely. Before he reached Europe the President was notified in plain
terms that his theory of the freedom of the seas would neither be
entertained nor discussed. Accordingly, he abandoned it without
protest. It was then explained away as a journalistic misconception.
That was the first toll paid by the American reformer in Europe, and it
spelled failure to his entire scheme, which was one and indivisible. It
fell to my lot to record the payment of the tribute and the abandonment
of that first of the fourteen commandments. The mystic thirteen
remained. But soon afterward another went by the board. Then there were
twelve. And gradually the number dwindled.

This recognition of hard realities was a bitter disappointment to all
the friends of the spiritual and social renovation of the world. It was
a spectacle for cynics. It rendered a frank return to the ancient system
unavoidable and brought grist to the mill of the equilibrists. And yet
the conclusion was shriked. But even the tough realities might have been
made to yield a tolerable peace if they had been faced squarely. If the
new conception could not be realized at once, the old one should have
been taken back into favor provisionally until broader foundations could
be laid, but it must be one thing or the other. From the political angle
of vision at which the European delegates insisted on placing
themselves, the Old World way of tackling the various problems was alone
admissible. Their program was coherent and their reasoning strictly
logical. The former included strategic frontiers and territorial
equilibrium. Doubtless this angle of vision was narrow, the survey it
allowed was inadequate, and the results attainable ran the risk of being
ultimately thrust aside by the indignant peoples. For the world problem
was not wholly nor even mainly political. Still, the method was
intelligible and the ensuing combinations would have hung coherently
together. They would have satisfied all those--and they were many--who
believed that the second decade of the twentieth century differs in no
essential respect from the first and that latter-day world problems may
be solved by judicious territorial redistribution. But even that
conception was not consistently acted on. Deviations were permitted here
and insisted upon there, only they were spoken of unctuously as
sacrifices incumbent on the lesser states to the Fourteen Points. For
the delegates set great store by their reputation for logic and
coherency. Whatever other charges against the Conference might be
tolerated, that of inconsistency was bitterly resented, especially by
Mr. Wilson. For a long while he contended that he was as true to his
Fourteen Points as is the needle to the pole. It was not until after his
return to Washington, in the summer, that he admitted the perturbations
caused by magnetic currents--sympathy for France he termed them.

The effort of imagination required to discern consistency in such of the
Council's decisions as became known from time to time was so far beyond
the capacity of average outsiders that the ugly phrase "to make the
world safe for hypocrisy" was early coined, uttered, and propagated.


FOOTNOTES:

[46] Cf. _Le Temps_, May 23, 1919. It is an adaptation of the
inscription over the Pantheon, "Aux grands hommes, la Patrie
reconnaissante."

[47] _The Daily Mail_, April 25, 1919 (Paris edition).

[48] In Germany.

[49] General Pétain is said to have rejected the suggestion.

[50] Cf. _Bulletin des Droits de l'Homme_, 19ème année, p. 461.

[51] It was either Friday, the 4th, or Saturday, the 5th of July.

[52] At the end of August, 1919.

[53] One delegate from a poor and friendless country had to take the
maps of a rival state and retouch them in accordance with the
ethnographical data, which he considered alone correct.

[54] _L'Homme Enchatné_, December 14, 1914.

[55] "With its causes and objects we have no concern." Speech delivered
by Mr. Wilson before the League to Enforce Peace in Washington on May
24, 1916.

[56] The testimony of a leading French press organ is worth reproducing
here: "La situation du Président Wilson dans nos démocraties est
magnifique, souveraine et extrêmement périlleuse. On ne connaît pas
d'hommes, dans les temps contemporains, ayant eu plus d'autorité et de
puissance; la popularité lui a donné ce que le droit divin ne conférait
pas toujours aux monarques héréditaires. En revanche et par le fait du
choc en retour, sa responsabilité est supérieure à celle du prince le
plus absolu. S'il réussit à organiser le monde d'après ses rêves, sa
gloire dominera les plus hautes gloires; mais il faut dire hardiment que
s'il échouait il plongerait le monde dans un chaos dont le bolchevisme
russe ne nous offre qu'une faible image; et sa responsabilité devant la
conscience humaine dépasserait ce que peut supporter un simple mortel.
Redoutable alternative!"--Cf. _Le Figaro_, February 10, 1919.

[57] From Mr. Wilson's address to Congress read on December 2, 1918. Cf.
_The Times_, December 4, 1918.

[58] Cf. Secretary Lansing's evidence before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, _The Chicago Tribune_, August 27, 1919.

[59] _La Démocratie Nouvelle_, May 27, 1919

[60] _Le Figaro_, March 26, 1919.

[61] Both of them occurred before the armistice, but during the war.

[62] For the accuracy of this and the preceding story I vouch
absolutely. I have the names of persons, places, and authorities, which
are superfluous here.

[63] The Kurds are members of the great Indo-European family to which
the Greeks, Italians, Celts, Teutons, Slavs, Hindus, Persians, and
Afghans belong, whereas the Turks are a branch of a wholly different
stock, the Ural-Altai group, of which the Mongols, Turks, Tartars,
Finns, and Magyars are members.

[64] April 16, 1919.

[65] Madame N---- showed a friend of mine an autograph letter which she
claims to have received from one of her clients, "a world's famous man."
I was several times invited to inspect it at the clairvoyante's abode,
or at my own, if I preferred.

[66] Articles on the subject appeared in the French press. To the best
of my recollection there was one in _Bonsoir_.

[67] The American Red Cross buried sixteen hundred of them in August,
1919. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 30, 1919.

[68] The reply, of which I possess what was given to me as a copy, is
dated Paris, January 9, 1919, and is in French.

[69] Imagine, for instance, the condition of mind into which the
following day's work must have thrown the American statesman, beset as
he was with political worries of his own. The extract quoted is taken
from _The Daily Mail_ of April 18, 1919 (Paris edition).

President Wilson had a busy day yesterday, as the following list of
engagements shows: 11 A.M. Dr. Wellington Koo, to present the Chinese
Delegation to the Peace Conference. 11.10 A.M. Marquis de Vogué had a
delegation of seven others, representing the Congrès Français, to
present their view as to the disposition of the left bank of the Rhine.
11.30 A.M. Assyrian and Chaldean Delegation, with a message from the
Assyrian-Chaldean nation. 11.45 A.M. Dalmatian Delegation, to present to
the President the result of the plebiscite of that part of Dalmatia
occupied by Italians. _Noon_. M. Bucquet, Chargé d'Affaires of San
Marino, to convey the action of the Grand Council of San Marino,
conferring on the President Honorary Citizenship in the Republic of San
Marino. 12.10 P.M. M. Colonder, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs. 12.20
P.M. Miss Rose Schneiderman and Miss Mary Anderson, delegates of the
National Women's Trade Union League of the United States. 12.30 P.M. The
Patriarch of Constantinople, the head of the Orthodox Eastern Church.
12.45 P.M. Essad Pasha, delegate of Albania, to present the claims of
Albania. 1 P.M. M.M.L. Coromilas, Greek Minister at Rome, to pay his
respects. _Luncheon_. Mr. Newton D. Baker, Secretary for War. 4 P.M. Mr.
Herbert Hoover. 4.15 P.M. M. Bratiano, of the Rumanian Delegation. 4.30
P.M. Dr. Affonso Costa, former Portuguese Minister, Portuguese Delegate
to the Peace Conference. 4.45 P.M. Boghos Nubar Pasha, president of the
Armenian National Delegation, accompanied by M.A. Aharoman and Professor
A. Der Hagopian, of Robert College. 5.15 P.M. M. Pasitch, of the Serbian
Delegation. 5.30 P.M. Mr. Frank Walsh, of the Irish-American Delegation.



IV

CENSORSHIP AND SECRECY


Never was political veracity in Europe at a lower ebb than during the
Peace Conference. The blinding dust of half-truths cunningly mixed with
falsehood and deliberately scattered with a lavish hand, obscured the
vision of the people, who were expected to adopt or acquiesce in the
judgments of their rulers on the various questions that arose. Four and
a half years of continuous and deliberate lying for victory had
disembodied the spirit of veracity and good faith throughout the world
of politics. Facts were treated as plastic and capable of being shaped
after this fashion or that, according to the aim of the speaker or
writer. Promises were made, not because the things promised were seen to
be necessary or desirable, but merely in order to dispose the public
favorably toward a policy or an expedient, or to create and maintain a
certain frame of mind toward the enemies or the Allies. At elections and
in parliamentary discourses, undertakings were given, some of which were
known to be impossible of fulfilment. Thus the ministers in some of the
Allied countries bound themselves to compel the Germans not only to pay
full compensation for damage wantonly done, but also to defray the
entire cost of the war.

The notion that the enemy would thus make good all losses was manifestly
preposterous. In a century the debt could not be wiped out, even though
the Teutonic people could be got to work steadily and selflessly for
the purpose. For their productivity would be unavailing if their
victorious adversaries were indisposed to admit the products to their
markets. And not only were the governments unwilling, but some of the
peoples announced their determination to boycott German wares on their
own initiative. None the less the nations were for months buoyed up with
the baleful delusion that all their war expenses would be refunded by
the enemy.[70]

It was not the governments only, however, who, after having for over
four years colored and refracted the truth, now continued to twist and
invent "facts." The newspapers, with some honorable exceptions,
buttressed them up and even outstripped them. Plausible unveracity thus
became a patriotic accomplishment and a recognized element of politics.
Parties and states employed it freely. Fiction received the hall-mark of
truth and fancies were current as facts. Public men who had solemnly
hazarded statements belied by subsequent events denied having ever
uttered them. Never before was the baleful theory that error is helpful
so systematically applied as during the war and the armistice. If the
falsehoods circulated and the true facts suppressed were to be collected
and published in a volume, one would realize the depth to which the
standard of intellectual and moral integrity was lowered.[71]

The censorship was retained by the Great Powers during the Conference as
a sort of soft cushion on which the self-constituted dispensers of Fate
comfortably reposed. In Paris, where it was particularly severe and
unreasoning, it protected the secret conclave from the harsh strictures
of the outside world, concealing from the public, not only the
incongruities of the Conference, but also many of the warnings of
contemporary history. In the opinion of unbiased Frenchmen no such
rigorous, systematic, and short-sighted repression of press liberty had
been known since the Third Empire as was kept up under the rule of the
great tribune whose public career had been one continuous campaign
against every form of coercion. This twofold policy of secrecy on the
part of the delegates and censorship on the part of the authorities
proved incongruous as well as dangerous, for, upheld by the eminent
statesmen who had laid down as part of the new gospel the principle of
"open covenants openly arrived at," it furnished the world with a fairly
correct standard by which to interpret the entire phraseology of the
latter-day reformers. Events showed that only by applying that criterion
could the worth of their statements of fact and their promises of
amelioration be gaged. And it soon became clear that most of their
utterances like that about open covenants were to be construed according
to the maxim of _lucus a non lucendo_.

It was characteristic of the system that two American citizens were
employed to read the cablegrams arriving from the United States to
French newspapers. The object was the suppression of such messages as
tended to throw doubt on the useful belief that the people of the great
American Republic were solid behind their President, ready to approve
his decisions and acts, and that his cherished Covenant, sure of
ratification, would serve as a safe guarantee to all the states which
the application of his various principles might leave strategically
exposed. In this way many interesting items of intelligence from the
United States were kept out of the newspapers, while others were
mutilated and almost all were delayed. Protests were unavailing. Nor was
it until several months were gone by that the French public became aware
of the existence of a strong current of American opinion which favored a
critical attitude toward Mr. Wilson's policy and justified misgivings as
to the finality of his decisions. It was a sorry expedient and an
unsuccessful one.

On another occasion strenuous efforts are reported to have been made
through the intermediary of President Wilson to delay the publication in
the United States of a cablegram to a journal there until the Prime
Minister of Britain should deliver a speech in the House of Commons. An
accident balked these exertions and the message appeared.

Publicity was none the less strongly advocated by the plenipotentiaries
in their speeches and writings. These were as sign-posts pointing to
roads along which they themselves were incapable of moving. By their own
accounts they were inveterate enemies of secrecy and censorship. The
President of the United States had publicly said that he "could not
conceive of anything more hurtful than the creation of a system of
censorship that would deprive the people of a free republic such as ours
of their undeniable right to criticize public officials." M. Clemenceau,
who suffered more than most publicists from systematic repression, had
changed the name of his newspaper from the _L'Homme Libre_ to _L'Homme
Enchaîné_, and had passed a severe judgment on "those friends of
liberty" (the government) who tempered freedom with preventive
repression measured out according to the mood uppermost at the
moment.[72] But as soon as he himself became head of the government he
changed his tactics and called his journal _L'Homme Libre_ again. In
the Chamber he announced that "publicity for the 'debates' of the
Conference was generally favored," but in practice he rendered the
system of gagging the press a byword in Europe. Drawing his own line of
demarcation between the permissible and the illicit, he informed the
Chamber that so long as the Conference was engaged on its arduous work
"it must not be said that the head of one government had put forward a
proposal which was opposed by the head of another government."[73] As
though the disagreements, the bickerings, and the serious quarrels of
the heads of the governments could long be concealed from the peoples
whose spokesmen they were!

That bargainings went on at the Conference which a plain-dealing world
ought to be apprised of is the conclusion which every unbiased outsider
will draw from the singular expedients resorted to for the purpose of
concealing them. Before the Foreign Relations Committee in Washington,
State-Secretary Lansing confessed that when, after the treaty had been
signed, the French Senate called for the minutes of the proceedings on
the Commission of the League of Nations, President Wilson telegraphed
from Washington to the Peace Commission requesting it to withhold them.
He further admitted that the only written report of the discussions in
existence was left in Paris, outside the jurisdiction of the United
States Senate. When questioned as to whether, in view of this system of
concealment, the President's promise of "open covenants openly arrived
at" could be said to have been honestly redeemed, Mr. Lansing answered,
"I consider that was carried out."[74] It seems highly probable that in
the same and only in the same sense will the Treaty and the Covenant be
carried out in the spirit or the letter.

During the fateful days of the Conference preventive censorship was
practised with a degree of rigor equaled only by its senselessness. As
late as the month of June, the columns of the newspapers were checkered
with blank spaces. "Scarcely a newspaper in Paris appears uncensored at
present," one press organ wrote. "Some papers protest, but protests are
in vain."[75]

"Practically not a word as to the nature of the Peace terms that France
regards as most vital to her existence appears in the French papers this
morning," complained a journal at the time when even the Germans were
fully informed of what was being enacted. On one occasion _Bonsoir_ was
seized for expressing the view that the Treaty embodied an Anglo-Saxon
peace;[76] on another for reproducing an interview with Marshal Foch
that had already appeared in a widely circulated Paris newspaper.[77] By
way of justifying another of these seizures the French censor alleged
that an article in the paper was deemed uncomplimentary to Mr. Lloyd
George. The editor replied in a letter to the British Premier affirming
that there was nothing in the article but what Mr. Lloyd George could
and should be proud of. In fact, it only commended him "for having
served the interests of his country most admirably and having had
precedence given to them over all others." The letter concluded: "We are
apprehensive that in the whole business there is but one thing truly
uncomplimentary, and that is that the French censorship, for the purpose
of strangling the French press, should employ your name, the name of him
who abolished censorship many weeks ago."[78]

Even when British journalists were dealing with matters as unlikely to
cause trouble as a description of the historic proceedings at Versailles
at which the Germans received the Peace Treaty, the censor held back
their messages, from five o'clock in the afternoon till three the next
morning.[79] Strange though it may seem, it was at first decided that no
newspaper-men should be allowed to witness the formal handing of the
Treaty to the enemy delegates! For it was deemed advisable in the
interests of the world that even that ceremonial should be secret.[80]
These singular methods were impressively illustrated and summarized in a
cartoon representing Mr. Wilson as "The new wrestling champion,"
throwing down his adversary, the press, whose garb, composed of
journals, was being scattered in scraps of paper to the floor, and under
the picture was the legend: "It is forbidden to publish what Marshal
Foch says. It is forbidden to publish what Mr. George thinks. It is
forbidden to publish the Treaty of Peace with Germany. It is forbidden
to publish what happened at ... and to make sure that nothing else will
be published, the censor systematically delays the transmission of every
telegram."[81]

In the Chamber the government was adjured to suppress the institution of
censorship once the Treaty was signed by the Germans, and Ministers were
reminded of the diatribes which they had pronounced against that
institution in the years of their ambitions and strivings. In vain
Deputies described and deplored the process of demoralization that was
being furthered by the methods of the government. "In the provinces as
well as in the capital the journals that displease are seized,
eavesdroppers listen to telephonic conversations, the secrets of private
letters are violated. Arrangements are made that certain telegrams shall
arrive too late, and spies are delegated to the most private meetings.
At a recent gathering of members of the National Press, two spies were
surprised, and another was discovered at the Federation of the Radical
Committees of the Oise."[82] But neither the signature of the Treaty nor
its ratification by Germany occasioned the slightest modification in the
system of restrictions. Paris continued in a state of siege and the
censors were the busiest bureaucrats in the capital.

One undesirable result of this régime of keeping the public in the dark
and indoctrinating it in the views always narrow, and sometimes
mischievous, which the authorities desired it to hold, was that the
absurdities which were allowed to appear with the hall-mark of
censorship were often believed to emanate directly from the government.
Britons and Americans versed in the books of the New Testament were
shocked or amused when told that the censor had allowed the following
passage to appear in an eloquent speech delivered by the ex-Premier, M.
Painlevé: "As Hall Caine, the great American poet, has put it, 'O death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'"[83]

Every conceivable precaution was taken against the leakage of
information respecting what was going on in the Council of Ten.
Notwithstanding this, the French papers contrived now and again, during
the first couple of months, to publish scraps of news calculated to
convey to the public a faint notion of the proceedings, until one day a
Nationalist organ boldly announced that the British Premier had
disagreed with the expert commission and with his own colleagues on the
subject of Dantzig and refused to give way. This paragraph irritated the
British statesman, who made a scene at the next meeting of the Council.
"There is," he is reported to have exclaimed, "some one among us here
who is unmindful of his obligations," and while uttering these and other
much stronger words he eyed severely a certain mild individual who is
said to have trembled all over during the philippic. He also launched
out into a violent diatribe against various French journals which had
criticized his views on Poland and his method of carrying them in
council, and he went so far as to threaten to have the Conference
transferred to a neutral country. In conclusion he demanded an
investigation into the origin of the leakage of information and the
adoption of severe disciplinary measures against the journalists who
published the disclosures.[84] Thenceforward the Council of Ten was
suspended and its place taken by a smaller and more secret conclave of
Five, Four, or Three, according as the state of the plenipotentiaries'
health, the requirements of their home politics, or their relations
among themselves caused one or two to quit Paris temporarily.

This measure insured relative secrecy, fostered rumors and gossip, and
rendered criticism, whether helpful or captious, impossible. It also
drove into outer darkness those Allied states whose interests were
described as limited, as though the interests of Italy, whose delegate
was nominally one of the privileged five, were not being treated as more
limited still. But the point of this last criticism would be blunted if,
as some French and Italian observers alleged, the deliberate aim of the
"representatives of the twelve million soldiers" was indeed to enable
peace to be concluded and the world resettled congruously with the
conceptions and in harmony with the interests of the Anglo-Saxon
peoples. But the supposition is gratuitous. There was no such deliberate
plan. After the establishment of the Council of Five, Mr. Lloyd George
and Mr. Wilson made short work of the reports of the expert commissions
whenever these put forward reasoned views differing from their own. In a
word, they became the world's supreme and secret arbiters without
ceasing to be the official champions of the freedom of the lesser states
and of "open covenants openly arrived at." They constituted, so to say,
the living synthesis of contradictories.

The Council of Five then was a superlatively secret body. No secretaries
were admitted to its gatherings and no official minutes of its
proceedings were recorded. Communications were never issued to the
press. It resembled a gang of benevolent conspirators, whose debates and
resolutions were swallowed up by darkness and mystery. Even the most
modest meeting of a provincial taxpayers' association keeps minutes of
its discussions. The world parliament kept none. Eschewing traditional
usages, as became naïve shapers of the new world, and ignoring history,
the Five, Four, or Three shut themselves up in a room, talked informally
and disconnectedly without a common principle, program, or method, and
separated again without having reached a conclusion. It is said that
when one put forth an idea, another would comment upon it, a third might
demur, and that sometimes an appeal would be made to geography, history,
or ethnography, and as the data were not immediately accessible either
competent specialists were sent for or the conversation took another
turn. They very naturally refused to allow these desultory proceedings
to be put on record, the only concession which they granted to the
curiosity of future generations being the fixation of their own physical
features by photography and painting. When the sitting was over,
therefore, no one could be held to aught that he had said; there was
nothing to bind any of the individual delegates to the views he had
expressed, nor was there anything to mark the line to which the Council
as a whole had advanced. Each one was free to dictate to his secretary
his recollections of what had gone on, but as these _précis_ were given
from memory they necessarily differed one from the other on various
important points. On the following morning, or a few days later, the
world's workers would meet again, and either begin at the beginning,
traveling over the same familiar field, or else break fresh ground. In
this way in one day they are said to have skimmed the problems of
Spitzbergen, Morocco, Dantzig, and the feeding of the enemy populations,
leaving each problem where they had found it. The moment the discussion
of a contentious question approached a climax, the specter of
disagreement deterred them from pursuing it to a conclusion, and they
passed on quickly to some other question. And when, after months had
been spent in these Penelopean labors, definite decisions respecting the
peace had to be taken lest the impatient people should rise up and wrest
matters into their own hands, the delegates referred the various
problems which they had been unable to solve to the wisdom and tact of
the future League of Nations.

When misunderstandings arose as to what had been said or done it was the
official translator, M. Paul Mantoux--one of the most brilliant
representatives of Jewry at the Conference--who was wont to decide, his
memory being reputed superlatively tenacious. In this way he attained
the distinction of which his friends are justly proud, of being a living
record--indeed, the sole available record--of what went on at the
historic council. He was the recipient and is now the only repository of
all the secrets of which the plenipotentiaries were so jealous, lest,
being a kind of knowledge which is in verity power, it should be used
one day for some dubious purpose. But M. Mantoux enjoyed the esteem and
confidence not only of Mr. Wilson, but also of the British Prime
Minister, who, it was generally believed, drew from his entertaining
narratives and shrewd appreciations whatever information he possessed
about French politics and politicians. It was currently affirmed that,
being a man of method and foresight, M. Mantoux committed everything to
writing for his own behoof. Doubts, however, were entertained and
publicly expressed as to whether affairs of this magnitude, involving
the destinies of the world, should have been handled in such secret and
unbusiness-like fashion. But on the supposition that the general
outcome, if not the preconceived aim, of the policy of the Anglo-Saxon
plenipotentiaries was to confer the beneficent hegemony of the world
upon its peoples, there could, it was argued, be no real danger in the
procedure followed. For, united, those nations have nothing to fear.

Although the translations were done rapidly, elegantly, and lucidly,
allegations were made that they lost somewhat by undue compression and
even by the process of toning down, of which the praiseworthy object was
to spare delicate susceptibilities. For a limited number of delicate
susceptibilities were treated considerately by the Conference. A
defective rendering made a curious impression on the hearers once, when
a delegate said: "My country, unfortunately, is situated in the midst of
states which are anything but peace-loving--in fact, the chief danger to
the peace of Europe emanates from them." M. Mantoux's translation ran,
"The country represented by M. X. unhappily presents the greatest danger
to the peace of Europe."

On several occasions passages of the discourses of the plenipotentiaries
underwent a certain transformation in the well-informed brain of M.
Mantoux before being done into another language. They were plunged, so
to say, in the stream of history before their exposure to the light of
day. This was especially the case with the remarks of the
English-speaking delegates, some of whom were wont to make extensive use
of the license taken by their great national poet in matters of
geography and history. One of them, for example, when alluding to the
ex-Emperor Franz Josef and his successor, said: "It would be unjust to
visit the sins of the father on the head of his innocent son. Charles I
should not be made to suffer for Franz Josef." M. Mantoux rendered the
sentence, "It would be unjust to visit the sins of the uncle on the
innocent nephew," and M. Clemenceau, with a merry twinkle in his eye,
remarked to the ready interpreter, "You will lose your job if you go on
making these wrong translations."

But those details are interesting, if at all, only as means of eking out
a mere sketch which can never become a complete and faithful picture. It
was the desire of the eminent lawgivers that the source of the most
beneficent reforms chronicled in history should be as well hidden as
those of the greatest boon bestowed by Providence upon man. And their
motives appear to have been sound enough.

The pains thus taken to create a haze between themselves and the peoples
whose implicit confidence they were continuously craving constitute one
of the most striking ethico-psychological phenomena of the Conference.
They demanded unreasoning faith as well as blind obedience. Any
statement, however startling, was expected to carry conviction once it
bore the official hall-mark. Take, for example, the demand made by the
Supreme Four to Bela Kuhn to desist from his offensive against the
Slovaks. The press expressed surprise and disappointment that he, a
Bolshevist, should have been invited even hypothetically by the "deadly
enemies of Bolshevism" to delegate representatives to the Paris
Conference from which the leaders of the Russian constructive elements
were excluded. Thereupon the Supreme Four, which had taken the step in
secret, had it denied categorically that such an invitation had been
issued. The press was put up to state that, far from making such an
undignified advance, the Council had asserted its authority and
peremptorily summoned the misdemeanant Kuhn to withdraw his troops
immediately from Slovakia under heavy pains and penalties.

Subsequently, however, the official correspondence was published, when
it was seen that the implicit invitation had really been issued and that
the denial ran directly counter to fact. By this exposure the Council of
Four, which still sued for the full confidence of their peoples, was
somewhat embarrassed. This embarrassment was not allayed when what
purported to be a correct explanation of their action was given out and
privately circulated by a group which claimed to be initiated. It was
summarized as follows: "The Israelite, Bela Kuhn, who is leading Hungary
to destruction, has been heartened by the Supreme Council's indulgent
message. People are at a loss to understand why, if the Conference
believes, as it has asserted, that Bolshevism is the greatest scourge of
latter-day humanity, it ordered the Rumanian troops, when nearing
Budapest for the purpose of overthrowing it in that stronghold, first to
halt, and then to withdraw.[85] The clue to the mystery has at last been
found in a secret arrangement between Kuhn and a certain financial group
concerning the Banat. About this more will be said later. In one of my
own cablegrams to the United States I wrote: "People are everywhere
murmuring and whispering that beneath the surface of things powerful
undercurrents are flowing which invisibly sway the policy of the secret
council, and the public believes that this accounts for the sinister
vacillation and delay of which it complains."[86]

In the fragmentary utterances of the governments and their press organs
nobody placed the slightest confidence. Their testimony was discredited
in advance, on grounds which they were unable to weaken. The following
example is at once amusing and instructive. The French Parliamentary
Committee of the Budget, having asked the government for communication
of the section of the Peace Treaty dealing with finances, were told that
their demand could not be entertained, every clause of the Treaty being
a state secret. The Committee on Foreign Affairs made a like request,
with the same results. The entire Chamber next expressed a similar wish,
which elicited a firm refusal. The French Premier, it should be added,
alleged a reason which was at least specious. "I should much like," he
said, "to communicate to you the text you ask for, but I may not do so
until it has been signed by the President of the Republic. For such is
the law as embodied in Article 8 of the Constitution." Now nobody
believed that this was the true ground for his refusal. His explanation,
however, was construed as a courteous conventionality, and as such was
accepted. But once alleged, the fiction should have been respected, at
any rate by its authors. It was not. A few weeks later the Premier
ordered the publication of the text of the Treaty, although, in the
meantime, it had not been signed by M. Poincaré. "The excuse founded
upon Article 8 was, therefore, a mere humbug," flippantly wrote an
influential journal.[87]

An amusing joke, which tickled all Paris was perpetrated shortly
afterward. The editor of the _Bonsoir_ imported six hundred copies of
the forbidden Treaty from Switzerland, and sent them as a present to
the Deputies of the Chamber, whereupon the parliamentary authorities
posted up a notice informing all Deputies who desired a copy to call at
the questor's office, where they would receive it gratuitously as a
present from the _Bonsoir._ Accordingly the Deputies, including the
Speaker, Deschanel, thronged to the questor's office. Even solemn-faced
Ministers received a copy of the thick volume which I possessed ever
since the day it was issued.

Another glaring instance of the lack of straightforwardness which
vitiated the dealings of the Conference with the public turned upon the
Bullitt mission to Russia. Mr. Wilson, who in the depths of his heart
seems to have cherished a vague fondness for the Bolshevists there,
which he sometimes manifested in utterances that startled the foreigners
to whom they were addressed, despatched through Colonel House some
fellow-countrymen of his to Moscow to ask for peace proposals which,
according to the Moscow government, were drafted by himself and Messrs.
House and Lansing. Mr. Bullitt, however, who must know, affirms that the
draft was written by Mr. Lloyd George's secretary, Mr. Philip Kerr, and
himself and presented to Lenin by Messrs. Bullitt, Steffins, and Petit.
If the terms of this document should prove acceptable the American
envoys were empowered to promise that an official invitation to a new
peace conference would be sent to them as well as to their opponents by
April 15th. The conditions--eleven in number--with a few slight
modifications in which the Americans acquiesced--were accepted by the
dictator, who was bound, however, not to permit their publication. The
facts remained secret until Mr. Bullitt, thrown over by Mr. Wilson, who
recoiled from taking the final and decisive step, resigned, and in a
letter reproduced by the press set forth the reasons for his
decision.[88]

Now, vague reports that there was such a mission had found its way into
the Paris newspapers at a relatively early date. But an authoritative
denial was published without delay. The statement, the public was
assured, was without foundation. And the public believed the assurance,
for it was confirmed authoritatively in England. Sir Samuel Hoare, in
the House of Commons, asked for information about a report that "two
Americans have recently returned from Russia bringing offers of peace
from Lenin," and received from Mr. Bonar Law this noteworthy reply: "I
have said already that there is not the shadow of foundation for this
information, otherwise I would have known it. Moreover, I have
communicated with Mr. Lloyd George in Paris, who also declares that he
knows nothing about the matter."[89] _E pur si muove_. Mr. Lloyd George
knew nothing about President Wilson's determination to have the Covenant
inserted in the Peace Treaty, even after the announcement was published
to the world by the Havas Agency, and the confirmation given to pressmen
by Lord Robert Cecil. The system of reticence and concealment, coupled
with the indifference of this or that delegation to questions in which
it happened to take no special interest, led to these unseemly air-tight
compartments.

From this rank soil of secrecy, repression, and unveracity sprang
noxious weeds. False reports and mendacious insinuations were launched,
spread, and credited, impairing such prestige as the Conference still
enjoyed, while the fragmentary announcements ventured on now and again
by the delegates, in sheer self-defense, were summarily dismissed as
"eye-wash" for the public.

For a time the disharmony between words and deeds passed unnoticed by
the bulk of the masses, who were edified by the one and unacquainted
with the other. But gradually the lack of consistency in policy and of
manly straightforwardness and moral wholeness in method became apparent
to all and produced untoward consequences. Mr. Wilson, whose authority
and influence were supposed to be paramount, came in for the lion's
share of criticism, except in the Polish policy of the Conference, which
was traced to Mr. Lloyd George and his unofficial prompters. The
American press was the most censorious of all. One American journal
appearing in Paris gave utterance to the following comments on the
President's rôle:[90]

     President Wilson is conscious of his power of persuasion. That
     power enables him to say one thing, do another, describe the act as
     conforming to the idea, and, with act and idea in exact
     contradiction to each other, convince the people, not only that he
     has been consistent throughout, but that his act cannot be altered
     without peril to the nation and danger to the world.

     We do not know which Mr. Wilson to follow--the Mr. Wilson who says
     he will not do a thing or the Mr. Wilson who does that precise
     thing.

     A great many Americans have one fixed idea. That idea is that the
     President is the only magnanimous, clear-visioned, broad-minded
     statesman in the United States, or the entire world, for that
     matter.

     When he uses his powers of persuasion Americans become as the
     children of Hamelin Town. Inasmuch as Mr. Wilson of the word and
     Mr. Wilson of the deed seem at times to be two distinct identities,
     some of his most enthusiastic supporters for the League of Nations,
     being unfortunately gifted with memory and perception, are fairly
     standing on their heads in dismay.

And yet Mr. Wilson himself was a victim of the policy of reticence and
concealment to which the Great Powers were incurably addicted. At the
time when they were moving heaven and earth to induce him to break with
Germany and enter the war, they withheld from him the existence of their
secret treaties. Possibly it may not be thought fair to apply the test
of ethical fastidiousness to their method of bringing the United States
to their side and to their unwillingness to run the risk of alienating
the President. But it appears that until the close of hostility the
secret was kept inviolate, nor was it until Mr. Wilson reached the
shores of Europe for the purpose of executing his project that he was
faced with the huge obstacles to his scheme arising out of those
far-reaching commitments. With this depressing revelation and the
British _non possumus_ to his demand for the freedom of the seas, Mr.
Wilson's practical difficulties began. It was probably on that occasion
that he resolved, seeing that he could not obtain everything he wanted,
to content himself with the best he could get. And that was not a
society of peoples, but a rough approximation to the hegemony of the
Anglo-Saxon nations.


FOOTNOTES:

[70] The French Minister of Finances made this the cornerstone of his
policy and declared that the indemnity to be paid by the vanquished
Teutons would enable him to set the finances of France on a permanently
sound basis. In view of this expectation new taxation was eschewed.

[71] A selection of the untruths published in the French press during
the war has been reproduced by the Paris journal, _Bonsoir_. It contains
abundant pabulum for the cynic and valuable data for the psychologist.
The example might be followed in Great Britain. The title is:
"Anthologie du Bourrage de Crâne." It began in the month of July, 1919.

[72] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), June 2, 1919.

[73] Cf. _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), January 17, 1919.

[74] Cf. _The Chicago Tribune_, August 27, 1919.

[75] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), June 10, 1919.

[76] Cf. _Bonsoir_, June 20, 1919.

[77] On April 27th.

[78] _Bonsoir_, June 21, 1919.

[79] _The New York Herald_, May 15. 1919.

[80] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), May 3,1919.

[81] _The New York Herald_, June 6, 1919.

[82] Cf. _Le Matin_, July 9, 1919. The chief speakers alluded to were
MM. Renaudel, Deshayes, Lafont, Paul Meunier, Vandame.

[83] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), April 29, 1919.

[84] Quoted in the Paris _Temps_ of March 28,1919.

[85] This explanation deals exclusively with the first advance of the
Rumanian army into Hungary.

[86] Cabled to _The Public Ledger_ of Philadelphia, April 20,1919.

[87] _Bonsoir_, June 21, 1919.

[88] Cf. _The Daily News_, July 5,1919. _L'Humanité_, July 8, 1919.

[89] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), April 4, 1919.

[90] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), July 31, 1919.



V

AIMS AND METHODS


The policy of the Anglo-Saxon plenipotentiaries was never put into
words. For that reason it has to be judged by their acts, despite the
circumstance that these were determined by motives which varied greatly
at different times, and so far as one can conjecture were not often
practical corollaries of fundamental principles. From these acts one may
draw a few conclusions which will enable us to reconstruct such policy
as there was. One is that none of the sacrifices imposed upon the
members of the League of Nations was obligatory on the Anglo-Saxon
peoples. These were beyond the reach of all the new canons which might
clash with their interests or run counter to their aspirations. They
were the givers and administrators of the saving law rather than its
observers. Consequently they were free to hold all that was theirs,
however doubtful their title; nay, they were besought to accept a good
deal more under the mandatory system, which was molded on their own
methods of governance. It was especially taken for granted that the
architects would be called to contribute naught to the new structure but
their ideas, and that they need renounce none of their possessions,
however shady its origin, however galling to the population its
retention. It was in deference to this implicit doctrine that President
Wilson withdrew without protest or discussion his demand for the freedom
of the seas, on which he had been wont to lay such stress.

Another way of putting the matter is this. The principal aim of the
Conference was to create conditions favorable to the progress of
civilization on new lines. And the seed-bearers of true, as
distinguished from spurious, civilization and culture being the
Anglo-Saxons, it is the realization of their broad conceptions, the
furtherance of their beneficent strivings, that are most conducive to
that ulterior aim. The men of this race in the widest sense of the term
are, therefore, so to say, independent ends in themselves, whereas the
other peoples are to be utilized as means. Hence the difference of
treatment meted out to the two categories. In the latter were implicitly
included Italy and Russia. Unquestionably the influence of
Anglo-Saxondom is eminently beneficial. It tends to bring the rights and
the dignity as well as the duties of humanity into broad day. The
farther it extends by natural growth, therefore, the better for the
human race. The Anglo-Saxon mode of administering colonies, for
instance, is exemplary, and for this reason was deemed worthy to receive
the hall-mark of the Conference as one of the institutions of the future
League. But even benefits may be transformed into evils if imposed by
force.

That, in brief, would seem to be the clue--one can hardly speak of any
systematic conception--to the unordered improvisations and incongruous
decisions of the Conference.

I am not now concerned to discuss whether this unformulated maxim, which
had strong roots that may not always have reached the realm of
consciousness, calls for approval as an instrument of ethico-political
progress or connotes an impoverishment of the aims originally propounded
by Mr. Wilson. Excellent reasons may be assigned why the two
English-speaking statesmen proceeded without deliberation on these lines
and no other. The matter might have been raised to a higher plane, but
for that the delegates were not prepared. All that one need retain at
present is the orientation of the Supreme Council, inasmuch as it
imparts a sort of relative unity to seemingly heterogeneous acts. Thus,
although the conditions of the Peace Treaty in many respects ran
directly counter to the provisions of the Covenant, none the less the
ultimate tendency of both was to converge in a distant point, which,
when clearly discerned, will turn out to be the moral guidance of the
world by Anglo-Saxondom as represented at any rate in the incipient
stage by both its branches. Thus the discussions among the members of
the Conference were in last analysis not contests about mere
abstractions. Beneath the high-sounding principles and far-resonant
reforms which were propounded but not realized lurked concrete racial
strivings which a patriotic temper and robust faith might easily
identify with the highest interests of humanity.

When the future historian defines, as he probably will, the main result
of the Conference's labors as a tendency to place the spiritual and
political direction of the world in the hands of the Anglo-Saxon race,
it is essential to a correct view of things that he should not regard
this trend as the outcome of a deliberate concerted policy. It was
anything but this. Nobody who conversed with the statesmen before and
during the Conference could detect any sure tokens of such ultimate
aims, nor, indeed, of a thorough understanding of the lesser problems to
be settled. Circumstance led, and the statesmen followed. The historian
may term the process drift, and the humanitarian regret that such
momentous issues should ever have been submitted to a body of uninformed
politicians out of touch with the people for whose behoof they claimed
to be legislating. To liquidate the war should have been the first, as
it was the most urgent, task. But it was complicated, adjourned, and
finally botched by interweaving it with a mutilated scheme for the
complete readjustment of the politico-social forces of the planet. The
result was a tangled skein of problems, most of them still unsolved, and
some insoluble by governments alone. Out of the confusion of clashing
forces towered aloft the two dominant Powers who command the economic
resources of the world, and whose democratic institutions and internal
ordering are unquestionably more conducive to the large humanitarian end
than those of any other, and gradually their overlordship of the world
began to assert itself. But this tendency was not the outcome of
deliberate endeavor. Each representative of those vast states was
solicitous in the first place about the future of his own country, and
then about the regeneration of the human race. One would like to be able
to add that all were wholly inaccessible to the promptings of party
interests and personal ambitions.

Planlessness naturally characterized the exertions of the Anglo-Saxon
delegates from start to finish. It is a racial trait. Their hosts, who
were experts in the traditions of diplomacy, had before the opening of
the Conference prepared a plan for their behoof, which at the lowest
estimate would have connoted a vast improvement on their own desultory
way of proceeding. The French proposed to distribute all the preparatory
work among eighteen commissions, leaving to the chief plenipotentiaries
the requisite time to arrange preliminaries and become acquainted with
the essential elements of the problems. But Messrs. Wilson and Lloyd
George are said to have preferred their informal conversations,
involving the loss of three and a half months, during which no results
were reached in Paris, while turmoil, bloodshed, and hunger fed the
smoldering fires of discontent throughout the World.

The British Premier, like his French colleague, was solicitous chiefly
about making peace with the enemy and redeeming as far as possible his
election pledges to his supporters. To that end everything else would
appear to have been subordinated. To the ambitious project of a world
reform he and M. Clemenceau gave what was currently construed as a
nominal assent, but for a long time they had no inkling of Mr. Wilson's
intention to interweave the peace conditions with the Covenant. So far,
indeed, were they both from entertaining the notion that the two
Premiers expressly denied--and allowed their denial to be circulated in
the press--that the two documents were or could be made mutually
interdependent. M. Pichon assured a group of journalists that no such
intention was harbored.[91] Mr. Lloyd George is understood to have gone
farther and to have asked what degree of relevancy a Covenant for the
members of the League could be supposed to possess to a treaty concluded
with a nation which for the time being was denied admission to that
sodality. And as we saw, he was incurious enough not to read the
narrative of what had been done by his own American colleagues even
after the Havas Agency announced it.

To President Wilson, on the other hand, the League was the _magnum opus_
of his life. It was to be the crown of his political career, to mark the
attainment of an end toward which all that was best in the human race
had for centuries been consciously or unconsciously wending without
moving perceptibly nearer. Instinctively he must have felt that the
Laodicean support given to him by his colleagues would not carry him
much farther and that their fervor would speedily evaporate once the
Conference broke up and their own special aims were definitely achieved
or missed. With the shrewdness of an experienced politician he grasped
the fact that if he was ever to present his Covenant to the world
clothed with the authority of the mightiest states, now was his
opportunity. After the Conference it would be too late. And the only
contrivance by which he could surely reckon on success was to insert the
Covenant in the Peace Treaty and set before his colleagues an
irresistible incentive for elaborating both at the same time.

He had an additional motive for these tactics in the attitude of a
section of his own countrymen. Before starting for Paris he had, as we
saw, made an appeal to the electorate to return to the legislature only
candidates of his own party to the exclusion of Republicans, and the
result fell out contrary to his expectations. Thereupon the oppositional
elements increased in numbers and displayed a marked combative
disposition. Even moderate Republicans complained in terms akin to those
employed by ex-President Taft of Mr. Wilson's "partizan exclusion of
Republicans in dealing with the highly important matter of settling the
results of the war. He solicited a commission in which the Republicans
had no representation and in which there were no prominent Americans of
any real experience and leadership of public opinion."[92]

The leaders of this opposition sharply watched the policy of the
President at the Conference and made no secret of their resolve to
utilize any serious slip as a handle for revising or rejecting the
outcome of his labors. Seeing his cherished cause thus trembling in the
scale, Mr. Wilson hit upon the expedient of linking the Covenant with
the Peace Treaty and making of the two an inseparable whole. He
announced this determination in a forcible speech[93] to his own
countrymen, in which he said, "When the Treaty comes back, gentlemen on
this side will find the Covenant not only in it, but so many threads of
the Treaty tied to the Covenant that you cannot dissect the Covenant
from the Treaty without destroying the whole vital structure." This
scheme was denounced by Mr. Wilson's opponents as a trick, but the
historian will remember it as a maneuver, which, however blameless or
meritorious its motive, was fraught with lamentable consequences for all
the peoples for whose interests the President was sincerely solicitous.
To take but one example. The misgivings generated by the Covenant
delayed the ratification of the Peace Treaty by the United States
Senate, in consequence of which the Turkish problem had to be postponed
until the Washington government was authorized to accept or compelled to
refuse a mandate for the Sultan's dominions, and in the meanwhile mass
massacres of Greeks and Armenians were organized anew.

A large section of the press and the majority of the delegates strongly
condemned the interpolation of the Covenant. What they demanded was
first the conclusion of a solid peace and then the establishment of
suitable international safeguards. For to be safeguarded, peace must
first exist. "A suit of armor without the warrior inside is but a
useless ornament," wrote one of the American journals.[94]

But the course advocated by Mr. Wilson was open to another direct and
telling objection. Peace between the belligerent adversaries was, in the
circumstances, conceivable only on the old lines of strategic frontiers
and military guaranties. The Supreme Council implied as much in its
official reply to the criticisms offered by the Austrians to the
conditions imposed on them, making the admission that Italy's new
northern frontiers were determined by considerations of strategy. The
plan for the governance of the world by a league of pacific peoples, on
the other hand, postulated the abolition of war preparations, including
strategic frontiers. Consequently the more satisfactory the Treaty the
more unfavorable would be the outlook for the moral reconstitution of
the family of nations, and _vice versa_. And to interlace the two would
be to necessitate a compromise which would necessarily mar both.

In effect the split among the delegates respecting their aims and
interests led to a tacit understanding among the leaders on the basis of
give-and-take, the French and British acquiescing in Mr. Wilson's
measures for working out his Covenant--the draft of which was
contributed by the British--and the President, giving way to them on
matters said to affect their countries' vital interests. How smoothly
this method worked when great issues were not at stake may be inferred
from the perfunctory way in which it was decided that the Kaiser's trial
should take place in London. A few days before the Treaty was signed
there was a pause in the proceedings of the Supreme Council during which
the secretary was searching for a mislaid document. Mr. Lloyd George,
looking up casually and without addressing any one in particular,
remarked, "I suppose none of you has any objection to the Kaiser being
tried in London?" M. Clemenceau shrugged his shoulders, Mr. Wilson
raised his hand, and the matter was assumed to be settled. Nothing more
was said or written on the subject. But when the news was announced,
after the President's departure from France, it took the other American
delegates by surprise and they disclaimed all knowledge of any such
decision. On inquiry, however, they learned that the venue had in truth
been fixed in this offhand way.[95]

Mr. Wilson found it a hard task at first to obtain acceptance for his
ill-defined tenets by France, who declined to accept the protection of
his League of Nations in lieu of strategic frontiers and military
guaranties. Insurmountable obstacles barred his way. The French
government and people, while moved by decent respect for their American
benefactors[96] to assent to the establishment of a league, flatly
refused to trust themselves to its protection against Teuton aggression.
But they were quite prepared to second Mr. Wilson's endeavors to oblige
some of the other states to content themselves with the guaranties it
offered, only, however, on condition that their own country was first
safeguarded in the traditional way. Territorial equilibrium and military
protection were the imperative provisos on which they insisted. And as
France was specially favored by Mr. Wilson on sentimental grounds which
outweighed his doctrine, and as she was also considered indispensable to
the Anglo-Saxon peoples as their continental executive, she had no
difficulty in securing their support. On this point, too, therefore, the
President found himself constrained to give way. And only did he abandon
his humanitarian intentions and his strongest arguments to be lightly
brushed aside, he actually recoiled so far into the camp of his
opponents that he gave his approval to an indefensible clause in the
Treaty which would have handed over to France the German population of
the Saar as the equivalent of a certain sum in gold. Coming from the
world-reformer who, a short time before, had hurled the thunderbolts of
his oratory against those who would barter human beings as chattels,
this amazing compromise connoted a strange falling off. Incidentally it
was destructive of all faith in the spirit that had actuated his
world-crusade. It also went far to convince unbiased observers that the
only framework of ideas with decisive reference to which Mr. Wilson
considered every project and every objection as it arose, was that which
centered round his own goal--the establishment, if not of a league of
nations cemented by brotherhood and fellowship, at least of the nearest
approach to that which he could secure, even though it fell far short of
the original design. These were the first-fruits of the interweaving of
the Covenant with the Treaty.

In view of this readiness to split differences and sacrifice principles
to expediency it became impossible even to the least observant of Mr.
Wilson's adherents in the Old World to cling any longer to the belief
that his cosmic policy was inspired by firm intellectual attachment to
the sublime ideas of which he had made himself the eloquent exponent and
had been expected to make himself the uncompromising champion. In every
such surrender to the Great Powers, as in every stern enforcement of his
principles on the lesser states, the same practical spirit of the
professional politician visibly asserted itself. One can hardly acquit
him of having lacked the moral courage to disregard the veto of
interested statesmen and governments and to appeal directly to the
peoples when the consequence of this attitude would have been the
sacrifice of the makeshift of a Covenant which he was ultimately content
to accept as a substitute for the complete reinstatement of nations in
their rights and dignity.

The general tendency of the labors of the Conference then was shaped by
those two practical maxims, the immunity of the Anglo-Saxon peoples and
of their French ally from the restrictions to be imposed by the new
politico-social ordering in so far as these ran counter to their
national interests, and the determination of the American President to
get and accept such a league of nations as was feasible under extremely
inauspicious conditions and to content himself with that.

To this estimate exception may be taken on the ground that it underrates
an effort which, however insufficient, was well meant and did at any
rate point the way to a just resettlement of secular problems which the
war had made pressing and that it fails to take account of the
formidable obstacles encountered. The answer is, that like efforts had
proceeded more than once before from rulers of men whose will, seeing
that they were credited with possessing the requisite power, was assumed
to be adequate to the accomplishment of their aim, and that they had led
to nothing. The two Tsars, Alexander I at the Congress of Vienna, and
Nicholas II at the first Conference of The Hague, are instructive
instances. They also, like Mr. Wilson, it is assumed, would fain have
inaugurated a golden age of international right and moral fellowship if
verbal exhortations and arguments could have done it. The only kind of
fresh attempt, which after the failure of those two experiments could
fairly lay claim to universal sympathy, was one which should withdraw
the proposed politico-social rearrangement from the domain alike of
rhetoric and of empiricism and substitute a thorough systematic reform
covering all the aspects of international intercourse, including all the
civilized peoples on the globe, harmonizing the vital interests of these
and setting up adequate machinery to deal with the needs of this
enlarged and unified state system. And it would be fruitless to seek for
this in Mr. Wilson's handiwork. Indeed, it is hardly too much to affirm
that empiricism and opportunism were among the principal characteristics
of his policy in Paris, and that the outcome was what it must be.

Disputes and delays being inevitable, the Conference began its work at
leisure and was forced to terminate it in hot haste. Having spent months
chaffering, making compromises, and unmaking them again while the
peoples of the world were kept in painful suspense, all of them
condemned to incur ruinous expenditure and some to wage sanguinary wars,
the springs of industrial and commercial activity being kept sealed, the
delegates, menaced by outbreaks, revolts, and mutinies, began, after
months had been wasted, to speed up and get through their work without
adequate deliberation. They imagined that they could make up for the
errors of hesitancy and ignorance by moments of lightning-like
improvisation. Improvisation and haphazard conclusions were among their
chronic failings. Even in the early days of the Conference they had
promulgated decisions, the import and bearings of which they missed, and
when possible they canceled them again. Sometimes, however, the error
committed was irreparable. The fate reserved for Austria was a case in
point. By some curious process of reasoning it was found to be not
incompatible with the Wilsonian doctrine that German-Austria should be
forbidden to throw in her lot with the German Republic, this prohibition
being in the interest of France, who could not brook a powerful united
Teuton state. The wishes of the Austrian-Germans and the principle of
self-determination accordingly went for nothing. The representations of
Italy, who pleaded for that principle, were likewise brushed aside.

But what the delegates appear to have overlooked was the decisive
circumstance that they had already "on strategic grounds" assigned the
Brenner line to Italy and together with it two hundred and twenty
thousand Tyrolese of German race living in a compact mass--although a
much smaller alien element was deemed a bar to annexation in the case of
Poland. And what was more to the point, this allotment deprived Tyrol of
an independent economic existence, cutting it off from the southern
valley and making it tributary to Bavaria. Mr. Wilson, the public was
credibly informed, "took this grave decision without having gone deeply
into the matter, and he repents it bitterly. None the less, he can no
longer go back."[97]

Just as Tyrol's loss of Botzen and Meran made it dependent on Bavaria,
so the severance of Vienna from southern Moravia--- the source of its
cereal supplies, situated at a distance of only thirty-six
miles--transformed the Austrian capital into a head without a body. But
on the eminent anatomists who were to perform a variety of unprecedented
operations on other states, this spectacle had no deterrent effect.

Whenever a topic came up for discussion which could not be solved
offhand, it was referred to a commission, and in many cases the
commission was assisted by a mission which proceeded to the country
concerned and within a few weeks returned with data which were assumed
to supply materials enough for a decision, even though most of its
members were unacquainted with the language of the people whose
condition they had been studying. How quick of apprehension these envoys
were supposed to be may be inferred from the task with which the
American mission under General Harbord was charged, and the space of
time accorded him for achieving it. The members of this mission started
from Brest in the last decade of August for the Caucasus, making a stay
at Constantinople on the way, and were due back in Paris early in
October. During the few intervening weeks "the mission," General Harbord
said, "will go into every phase of the situation, political, racial,
economic, financial, and commercial. I shall also investigate highways,
harbors, agricultural and mining conditions, the question of raising an
Armenian army, policing problems, and the raw materials of Armenia."[98]
Only specialists who have some practical acquaintanceship with the
Caucasus, its conditions, peoples, languages, and problems, can
appreciate the herculean effort needed to tackle intelligently any one
of the many subjects all of which this improvised commission under a
military general undertook to master in four weeks. Never was a chaotic
world set right and reformed at such a bewildering pace.

Bad blood was caused by the distribution of places on the various
commissions. The delegates of the lesser nations, deeming themselves
badly treated, protested vehemently, and for a time passion ran high.
Squabbles of this nature, intensified by fierce discussions within the
Council, tidings of which reached the ears of the public outside,
disheartened those who were anxious for the speedy restoration of normal
conditions in a world that was fast decomposing. But the optimism of the
three principal plenipotentiaries was beyond the reach of the most
depressing stumbles and reverses. Their buoyant temper may be gaged from
Mr. Balfour's words, reported in the press: "It is true that there is a
good deal of discussion going on, but there is no real discord about
ideas or facts. We are agreed on the principal questions and there only
remains to find the words that embody the agreements."[99] These tidings
were welcomed at the time, because whatever defects were ascribed to the
distinguished statesmen of the Conference by faultfinders, a lack of
words was assuredly not among them. This cheery outlook on the future
reminded me of the better grounded composure of Pope Pius IX during the
stormy proceedings at the Vatican Council. A layman, having expressed
his disquietude at the unruly behavior of the prelates, the Pontiff
replied that it had ever been thus at ecclesiastical councils. "At the
outset," he went on to explain, "the members behave as men, wrangle and
quarrel, and nothing that they say or do is worth much. That is the
first act. The second is ushered in by the devil, who intensifies the
disorder and muddles things bewilderingly. But happily there is always a
third act in which the Holy Ghost descends and arranges everything for
the best."

The first two phases of the Conference's proceedings bore a strong
resemblance to the Pope's description, but as, unlike ecclesiastical
councils, it had no claim to infallibility, and therefore no third act,
the consequences to the world were deplorable. The Supreme Council never
knew how to deal with an emergency and every week unexpected incidents
in the world outside were calling for prompt action. Frequently it
contradicted itself within the span of a few days, and sometimes at one
and the same time its principal representatives found themselves in
complete opposition to one another. To give but one example: In April M.
Clemenceau was asked whether he approved the project of relieving
famine-stricken Russia. His answer was affirmative, and he signed the
document authorizing it. His colleagues, Messrs. Wilson, Lloyd George,
and Orlando, followed suit, and the matter seemed to be settled
definitely. But at the same time Mr. Hoover, who had been the ardent
advocate of the plan, officially received a letter from the French
Minister of Foreign Affairs signifying the refusal of the French
government to acquiesce in it.[100] On another occasion[101] the Supreme
Council thought fit to despatch a mission to Asia Minor in order to
ascertain the views of the populations of Syria and Mesopotamia on the
régime best suited to them. France, whose secular relations with Syria,
where she maintains admirable educational establishments, are said to
have endeared her to the population, objected to this expedient as
superfluous and mischievous. Superfluous because the Francophil
sentiments of the people are supposed to be beyond all doubt, and
mischievous because plebiscites or substitutes for plebiscites could
have only a bolshevizing effect on Orientals. Seemingly yielding to
these considerations, the Supreme Council abandoned the scheme and the
members of the mission made other plans.[102] After several weeks'
further reflection, however, the original idea was carried out, and the
mission visited the East.

The reader may be glad of a momentary glimpse of the interior of the
historic assembly afforded by those who were privileged to play a part
in it before it was transformed into a secret conclave of five, four, or
three. Within the doors of the chambers whence fateful decrees were
issued to the four corners of the earth the delegates were seated,
mostly according to their native languages, within earshot of the
special pleaders. M. Clemenceau, at the head of the table, has before
him a delegate charged with conducting the case, say, of Greece, Poland,
Serbia, or Czechslovakia. The delegate, standing in front of the stern
but mobile Premier, and encircled by other more or less attentive
plenipotentiaries, looks like a nervous schoolboy appearing before
exacting examiners, struggling with difficult questions and eager to
answer them satisfactorily. Suppose the first language spoken is French.
As many of the plenipotentiaries do not understand it, they cannot be
blamed for relaxing attention while it is being employed, and keeping up
a desultory conversation among themselves in idiomatic English, which
forms a running bass accompaniment to the voice, often finely modulated,
of the orator. Owing to this embarrassing language difficulty, as soon
as a delegate pauses to take his breath, his arguments and appeals are
done by M. Mantoux into English, and then it is the turn of the French
plenipotentiaries to indulge in a quiet chat until some question is put
in English, which has forthwith to be rendered into French, after which
the French reply is translated into English, and so on unendingly, each
group resuming its interrupted conversations alternately.

One delegate who passed several hours undergoing this ordeal said that
he felt wholly out of sympathy with the atmosphere at the Conference
Hall, adding: "While arguing or appealing to my country's arbiters I
felt I was addressing only a minority of the distinguished judges, while
the thoughts of the others were far away. And when the interpreter was
rendering, quickly, mechanically, and summarily, my ideas without any of
the explosive passion that shot them from my heart, I felt discouraged.
But suddenly it dawned on me that no judgment would be uttered on the
strength of anything that I had said or left unsaid. I remembered that
everything would be referred to a commission, and from that to a
sub-commission, then back again to the distinguished plenipotentiaries,"

Another delegate remarked: "Many years have elapsed since I passed my
last examination, but it came back to me in all its vividness when I
walked up to Premier Clemenceau and looked into his restless, flashing
eyes. I said to myself: When last I was examined I was painfully
conscious that my professors knew a lot more about the subject than I
did, but now I am painfully aware that they know hardly anything at all
and I am fervently desirous of teaching them. The task is arduous. It
might, however, save time and labor if the delegates would receive our
typewritten dissertations, read them quietly in their respective hotels,
and endeavor to form a judgment on the data they supply. Failing that,
I should like at least to provide them with a criterion of truth, for
after me will come an opponent who will flatly contradict me, and how
can they sift truth from error when the winnow is wanting? It is hard to
feel that one is in the presence of great satraps of destiny, but I made
an act of faith in the possibilities of genial quantities lurking behind
those everyday faces and of a sort of magic power of calling into being
new relations of peace and fellowship between individual classes and
peoples. It was an act of faith."

If the members of the Supreme Council lacked the graces with which to
draw their humbler colleagues and were incapable of according
hospitality to any of the more or less revolutionary ideas floating in
the air, they were also utterly powerless to enforce their behests in
eastern Europe against serious opposition. Thus, although they kept
considerable Inter-Allied forces in Germany, they failed to impose their
decrees there, notwithstanding the circumstance that Germany was
disorganized, nearly disarmed, and distracted by internal feuds. The
Conference gave way when Germany refused to let the Polish troops
disembark at Dantzig, although it had proclaimed its resolve to insist
on their using that port. It allowed Odessa to be evacuated and its
inhabitants to be decimated by the bloodthirsty Bolsheviki. It ordered
the Ukrainians and the Poles to cease hostilities,[103] but hostilities
went on for months afterward. An American general was despatched to the
warring peoples to put an end to the fighting, but he returned
despondent, leaving things as he had found them. General Smuts was sent
to Budapest to strike up an agreement with Kuhn and the Magyar
Bolshevists, but he, too, came back after a fruitless conversation. The
Supreme Council's writ ran in none of those places.

About March 19th the Inter-Allied commission gave Erzberger twenty-four
hours in which to ratify the convention between Germany and Poland and
to carry out the conditions of the armistice. But Erzberger declined to
ratify it and the Allies were unable or unwilling to impose their will
on him. From this state of things the Rumanian delegates drew the
obvious corollary. Exasperated by the treatment they received, they
quitted the Conference, pursued their own policy, occupied Budapest,
presented their own peace conditions to Hungary, and relegated, with
courteous phrases and a polite bow to the Council, the directions
elaborated for their guidance to the region of pious counsels.

In these ways the well-meant and well-advertised endeavors to substitute
a moral relationship of nations for the state of latent warfare known as
the balance of power were steadily wasted. On the one side the subtle
skill of Old World diplomacy was toiling hard and successfully to revive
under specious names its lost and failing causes, while on the other
hand the New World policy, naïvely ignoring historical forces and
secular prejudices, was boldly reaching out toward rough and ready modes
of arranging things and taking no account of concrete circumstances.
Generous idealists were thus pitted against old diplomatic stagers and
both secretly strove to conclude hastily driven bargains outside the
Council chamber with their opponents. As early as the first days of
January I was present at some informal meetings where such transactions
were being talked over, and I afterward gave it as my impression that
"if things go forward as they are moving to-day the outcome will fall
far short of reasonable expectations. The first striking difference
between the transatlantic idealists and the Old World politicians lies
in their different ways of appreciating expeditiousness, on the one
hand, and the bases of the European state-system, on the other hand. A
statesman when dealing with urgent, especially revolutionary,
emergencies should never take his eyes from the clock. The politicians
in Paris hardly ever take account of time or opportunity. The overseas
reformers contend that the territorial and political balance of forces
has utterly broken down and must be definitely scrapped in favor of a
league of nations, and the diplomatists hold that the principle of
equilibrium, far from having spent its force, still affords the only
groundwork of international stability and requires to be further
intensified."[104]

Living in the very center of the busy world of destiny-weavers, who were
generously, if unavailingly, devoting time and labor to the fabrication
of machinery for the good government of the entire human race out of
scanty and not wholly suitable materials, a historian in presence of the
manifold conflicting forces at work would have found it difficult to
survey them all and set the daily incidents and particular questions in
correct perspective. The earnestness and good-will of the
plenipotentiaries were highly praiseworthy and they themselves, as we
saw, were most hopeful. Nearly all the delegates were characterized by
the spirit of compromise, so valuable in vulgar politics, but so
perilous in embodying ideals. Anxious to reach unanimous decisions even
when unanimity was lacking, the principal statesmen boldly had recourse
to ingenious formulas and provisional agreements, which each party might
construe in its own way, and paid scant attention to what was going on
outside. I wrote at the time:[105]

"But parallel with the Conference and the daily lectures which its
members are receiving on geography, ethnography, and history there are
other councils at work, some publicly, others privately, which represent
the vast masses who are in a greater hurry than the political world to
have their urgent wants supplied. For they are the millions of Europe's
inhabitants who care little about strategic frontiers and much about
life's necessaries which they find it increasingly difficult to obtain.
Only a visitor from a remote planet could fully realize the significance
of the bewildering phenomena that meet one's gaze here every day without
exciting wonder.... The sprightly people who form the rind of the
politico-social world ... are wont to launch winged words and coin witty
epigrams when characterizing what they irreverently term the efforts of
the Peace Conference to square the circle; they contrast the noble
intentions of the delegates with the grim realities of the workaday
world, which appear to mock their praiseworthy exertions. They say that
there never were so many wars as during the deliberations of these
famous men of peace. Hard fighting is going on in Siberia; victories and
defeats have just been reported from the Caucasus; battles between
Bolshevists and peace-lovers are raging in Esthonia; blood is flowing in
streams in the Ukraine; Poles and Czechs have only now signed an
agreement to sheath swords until the Conference announces its verdict;
the Poles and the Germans, the Poles and the Ukrainians, the Poles and
the Bolshevists, are still decimating each other's forces on territorial
fragments of what was once Russia, Germany, or Austria."

Sinister rumors were spread from time to time in Paris, London, and
elsewhere, which, wherever they were credited, tended to shake public
confidence not only in the dealings of the Supreme Council with the
smaller countries, but also in the nature of the occult influences that
were believed to be occasionally causing its decisions to swerve from
the orthodox direction. And these reports were believed by many even in
Conference circles. Time and again I was visited by delegates
complaining that this or that decision was or would be taken in response
to the promptings not of land-grabbing governments, but of wealthy
capitalists or enterprising captains of industry. "Why do you suppose
that there is so much talk now of an independent little state centering
around Klagenfurt?" one of them asked me. "I will tell you: for the sake
of some avaricious capitalists. Already arrangements are being pushed
forward for the establishment of a bank of which most of the shares are
to belong to X." Another said: "Dantzig is needed for
politico-commercial reasons. Therefore it will not be made part of
Poland.[106] Already conversations have begun with a view to giving the
ownership of the wharves and various lucrative concessions to
English-speaking pioneers of industry. If the city were Polish no such
liens could be held on it because the state would provide everything
needful and exploit its resources." The part played in the Banat
Republic by motives of a money-making character is described elsewhere.

A friend and adviser of President Wilson publicly affirmed that the
Fiume problem was twice on the point of being settled satisfactorily for
all parties, when the representatives of commercial interests cleverly
interposed their influence and prevented the scheme from going through
in the Conference. I met some individuals who had been sent on a secret
mission to have certain subjects taken into consideration by the Supreme
Council, and a man was introduced to me whose aim was to obtain through
the Conference a modification of financial legislation respecting the
repayment of debts in a certain republic of South America. This
optimist, however, returned as he had come and had nothing to show for
his plans. The following significant passage appeared in a leading
article in the principal American journal published in Paris[107] on the
subject of the Prinkipo project and the postponement of its execution:

"From other sources it was learned that the doubts and delays in the
matter are not due so much to the declination [_sic_] of several of the
Russian groups to participate in a conference with the Bolshevists, but
to the pulling against one another of the several interests represented
by the Allies. Among the Americans a certain very influential group
backed by powerful financial interests which hold enormously rich oil,
mining, railway, and timber concessions, obtained under the old régime,
and which purposes obtaining further concessions, is strongly in favor
of recognizing the Bolshevists as a _de facto_ government. In
consideration of the _visa_ of these old concessions by Lenin and
Trotzky and the grant of new rights for the exploitation of rich mineral
territory, they would be willing to finance the Bolshevists to the tune
of forty or fifty million dollars. And the Bolshevists are surely in
need of money. President Wilson and his supporters, it is declared, are
decidedly averse from this pretty scheme."

That President Wilson would naturally set his face against any such
deliberate compromise between Mammon and lofty ideals it was superfluous
to affirm. He stood for a vast and beneficent reform and by exhorting
the world to embody it in institutions awakened in some people--in the
masses were already stirring--thoughts and feelings that might long have
remained dormant. But beyond this he did not go. His tendencies, or,
say, rather velleities--for they proved to be hardly more--were
excellent, but he contrived no mechanism by which to convert them into
institutions, and when pressed by gainsayers abandoned them.

An economist of mark in France whose democratic principles are well
known[108] communicated to the French public the gist of certain curious
documents in his possession. They let in an unpleasant light on some of
the whippers-up of lucre at the expense of principle, who flocked around
the dwelling-places of the great continent-carvers and lawgivers in
Paris. His article bears this repellent heading: "Is it true that
English and American financiers negotiated during the war in order to
secure lucrative concessions from the Bolsheviki? Is it true that these
concessions were granted to them on February 4, 1919? Is it true that
the Allied governments played into their hands?"[109]

The facts alleged as warrants for these questions are briefly as
follows: On February 4, 1919, the Soviet of the People's Commissaries in
Moscow voted the bestowal of a concession for a railway linking
Ob-Kotlass-Saroka and Kotlass-Svanka, in a resolution which states "(1)
that the project is feasible; (2) that the transfer of the concession to
representatives of foreign capital may be effected if production will be
augmented thereby; (3) that the execution of this scheme is
indispensable; and (4) that in order to accelerate this solution of the
question the persons desirous of obtaining the concession shall be
obliged to _produce proofs of their contact with Allied_ and neutral
enterprises, and of their capacity to financing the work and supply the
materials requisite for the construction of the said line." On the other
hand, it appears from an _official_ document bearing the date of June
26, 1918, that a demand for the concession of this line was lodged by
two individuals--the painter A.A. Borissoff (who many years ago received
from me a letter of introduction to President Roosevelt asking him to
patronize this gentleman's exhibition of paintings in the United
States), and Herr Edvard Hannevig. Desirous of ascertaining whether
these petitioners possessed the qualifications demanded, the Bolshevist
authorities made inquiries and received from the Royal Norwegian
Consulate at Moscow a certificate[110] setting forth that "citizen
Hannevig was a co-associate of the large banks Hannevig situated in
London and in America." Consequently negotiations might go forward. The
document adds: "In October Borissoff and Hannevig renewed their request,
whereupon the journals _Pravda_, _Izevestia_, and _Ekonomitsheskaya
Shizn_ discussed the subject with animation. At a sitting held on
October 12th the project was approved with certain modifications, and on
February 1, 1919, the Supreme Soviet of National Economy approved it
anew."

The magnitude of the concession may be inferred from the circumstance
that one of its clauses conceded "_the exploitation of eight millions of
forest land_ which even to-day, _despite existing conditions, can bring
in a revenue of three hundred million rubles a year_."

What it comes to, therefore, assuming that these official documents are
as they seem, based on facts, is that from June 26th, that is to say
during the war, the Bolshevist government was petitioned to accord an
important railway concession and also the exploitation of a forest
capable of yielding three hundred million rubles a year to a Russian
citizen who alleged that he was acting on behalf of English and American
capitalists, and that Edvard Hannevig, having proved that he was really
the mandatory of these great allied financiers, the concession was
first approved by two successive commissions[111] and then definitely
conferred by the Soviet of the People's Commissaries.[112]

The eminent author of the article proceeds to ask whether this can
indeed be true; whether English and American capitalists petitioned the
Bolsheviki for vast concessions during the war; whether they obtained
them while the Conference was at its work and soldiers of their
respective countries were fighting in Russia against the Bolsheviki who
were bestowing them. "Is it true," he makes bold to ask further, "that
that is the explanation of the incredible friendliness displayed by the
Allied governments toward the Bolshevist bandits with whom they were
willing to strike up a compromise, whom they were minded to recognize by
organizing a conference on the Princes' Island?... Many times already
rank-smelling whiffs of air have blown upon us; they suggested the
belief that behind the Peace Conference there lurked not merely what
people feared, but something still worse or an immense political Panama.
If this is not true, gentlemen, deny it. Otherwise one day you will
surely have an explosion."[113]

Whether these grave innuendoes, together with the statement made by Mr.
George Herron,[114] the incident of the Banat Republic and the
ultimatum respecting the oil-fields unofficially presented to the
Rumanians suffice to establish a _prima facie_ case may safely be left
to the judgment of the public. The conscientious and impartial
historian, however firm his faith in the probity of the men representing
the powers, both of unlimited and limited interests, cannot pass them
over in silence.

One of the shrewdest delegates in Paris, a man who allowed himself to be
breathed upon freely by the old spirit of nationalism, but was capable
withal of appreciating the passionate enthusiasm of others for a more
altruistic dispensation, addressed me one evening as follows: "Say what
you will, the Secret Council is a Council of Two, and the Covenant a
charter conferred upon the English-speaking peoples for the government
of the world. The design--if it be a design--may be excellent, but it is
not relished by the other peoples. It is a less odious hegemony than
that of imperialist Germany would have been, but it is a hegemony and
odious. Surely in a quest of this kind after the most effectual means of
overcoming the difficulties and obviating the dangers of international
intercourse, more even than in the choice of a political régime, the
principle of self-determination should be allowed free play. Was that
not to have been one of the choicest fruits of victory? But no; force is
being set in motion, professedly for the good of all, but only as their
good is understood by the 'all-powerful Two.' And to all the others it
is force and nothing more. Is it to be wondered at that there are so
many discontented people or that some of them are already casting about
for an alternative to the Anglo-Saxon hegemony misnamed the Society of
Nations?"

It cannot be gainsaid that the two predominant partners behaved
throughout as benevolent despots, to whom despotism came more easily
than benevolence. As we saw, they kept their colleagues of the lesser
states as much in the dark as the general public and claimed from them
also implicit obedience to all their behests. They went farther and
demanded unreasoning acquiescence in decisions to be taken in the
future, and a promise of prompt acceptance of their injunctions--a
pretension such as was never before put forward outside the Catholic
Church, which, at any rate, claims infallibility. Asked why he had not
put up a better fight for one of the states of eastern Europe, a
sharp-tongued delegate irreverently made answer, "What more could you
expect than I did, seeing that I was opposed by one colleague who looks
upon himself as Napoleon and by another who believes himself to be the
Messiah."

Among the many epigrammatic sayings current in Paris about the
Conference, the most original was ascribed to the Emir Faissal, the son
of the King of the Hedjaz. Asked what he thought of the world's
areopagus, he is said to have answered: "It reminds me somewhat of one
of the sights of my own country. My country, as you know, is the desert.
Caravans pass through it that may be likened to the armies of delegates
and experts at the Conference--caravans of great camels solemnly
trudging along one after the other, each bearing its own load. They all
move not whither they will, but whither they are led. For they have no
choice. But between the two there is this difference: that whereas the
big caravan in the desert has but one leader--a little ass--the
Conference in Paris is led by two delegates who are the great Ones of
the earth." In effect, the leaders were two, and no one can say which
of them had the upper hand. Now it seemed to be the British Premier, now
the American President. The former scored the first victory, on the
freedom of the seas, before the Conference opened. The latter won the
next, when Mr. Wilson firmly insisted on inserting the Covenant in the
Treaty and finally overrode the objections of Mr. Lloyd George and M.
Clemenceau, who scouted the idea for a while as calculated to impair the
value of both charters. There was also a moment when the two were
reported to have had a serious disagreement and Mr. Lloyd George, having
suddenly quitted Paris for rustic seclusion, was likened to Achilles
sulking in his tent. But one of the two always gave way at the last
moment, just as both had given way to M. Clemenceau at the outset. When
the difference between Japan and China cropped up, for example, the
other delegates made Mr. Wilson their spokesman. Despite M. Clemenceau's
resolve that the public should not "be apprized that the head of one
government had ever put forward a proposal which was opposed by the head
of another government," it became known that they occasionally disagreed
among themselves, were more than once on the point of separating, and
that at best their unanimity was often of the verbal order, failing to
take root in identity of views. To those who would fain predicate
political tact or statesmanship of the men who thus undertook to set
human progress on a new and ethical basis, the story of these
bickerings, hasty improvisations, and amazing compromises is
distressing. The incertitude and suspense that resulted were
disconcerting. Nobody ever knew what was coming. A subcommission might
deliver a reasoned judgment on the question submitted to it, and this
might be unanimously confirmed by the commission, but the Four or Three
or Two or even One could not merely quash the report, but also reverse
the practical consequences that followed. This was done over and over
again.

And there were other performances still more amazing. When, for example,
the Polish problem became so pressing that it could not be safely
postponed any longer, the first delegates were at their wits' ends.
Unable to agree on any of the solutions mooted, they conceived the idea
of obtaining further data and a lead from a special commission. The
commission was accordingly appointed. Among its members were Sir Esmé
Howard, who has since become Ambassador in Rome, the American General
Kernan, and M. Noulens, the ex-Ambassador of France in Petrograd. These
envoys and their colleagues set out for Poland to study the problem on
the spot. They exerted themselves to the utmost to gather data for a
serious judgment, and returned to Paris after a sojourn of some two
months, legitimately proud of the copious and well-sifted results of
their research. And then they waited. Days passed and weeks, but nobody
took the slightest interest in the envoys. They were ignored. At last
the chief of the commission, M. Noulens, taking the initiative, wrote
direct to M. Clemenceau, informing him that the task intrusted to him
and his colleagues had been achieved, and requesting to be permitted to
make their report to the Conference. The reply was an order dissolving
the commission unheard.

Once when the relations between Messrs. Wilson and Lloyd George were
somewhat spiced by antagonism of purpose and incompatibility of methods,
a political friend of the latter urged him to make a firm stand. But the
British Premier, feeling, perhaps, that there were too many
unascertained elements in the matter, or identifying the President with
the United States, drew back. More than once, too, when a certain
delegate was stating his case with incisive emphasis Mr. Wilson, who
was listening with attention and in silence, would suddenly ask, "Is
this an ultimatum?" The American President himself never shrank from
presenting an ultimatum when sure of his ground and morally certain of
victory. On one such occasion a proposal had been made to Mr. Lloyd
George, who approved it whole-heartedly. But it failed to receive the
_placet_ of the American statesman. Thereupon the British Premier was
strongly urged to stand firm. But he recoiled, his plea being that he
had received an ultimatum from his American colleague, who spoke of
quitting France and withdrawing the American troops unless the point
were conceded. And Mr. Wilson had his way. One might have thought that
this success would hearten the President to other and greater
achievements. But the leader who incarnated in his own person the
highest strivings of the age, and who seemed destined to acquire
pontifical ascendancy in a regenerated world, lacked the energy to hold
his own when matters of greater moment and high principle were at stake.

These battles waged within the walls of the palace on the Quai d'Orsay
were discussed out-of-doors by an interested and watchful public, and
the conviction was profound and widespread that the President, having
set his hand to the plow so solemnly and publicly, and having promised a
harvest of far-reaching reforms, would not look back, however
intractable the ground and however meager the crop. But confronted with
serious obstacles, he flinched from his task, and therein, to my
thinking, lay his weakness. If he had come prepared to assert his
personal responsibility, to unfold his scheme, to have it amply and
publicly discussed, to reject pusillanimous compromise in the sphere of
execution, and to appeal to the peoples of the world to help him to
carry it out, the last phase of his policy would have been worthy of
the first, and might conceivably have inaugurated the triumph of the
ideas which the indolent and the men of little faith rejected as
incapable of realization. To this hardy course, which would have
challenged the approbation of all that is best in the world, there was
an alternative: Mr. Wilson might have confessed that his judgment was at
fault, mankind not being for the moment in a fitting mood to practise
the new tenets, that a speedy peace with the enemy was the first and
most pressing duty, and that a world-parliament should be convened for a
later date to prepare the peoples of the universe for the new ordering.
But he chose neither alternative. At first it was taken for granted that
in the twilight of the Conference hall he had fought valiantly for the
principles which he had propounded as the groundwork of the new
politico-social fabric, and that it was only when he found himself
confronted with the insuperable antagonism of his colleagues of France
and Britain that he reluctantly receded from his position and resolved
to show himself all the more unbending to the envoys of the lesser
countries. But this assumption was refuted by State-Secretary Lansing,
who admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the
President's Fourteen Points, which he had vowed to carry out, were not
even discussed at the Conference. The outcome of this attitude--one
cannot term it a policy--was to leave the best of the ideas which he
stood for in solution, to embitter every ally except France and Britain,
and to scatter explosives all over the world.

To this dwarfing parliamentary view of world-policy Mr. Lloyd George
likewise fell a victim. But his fault was not so glaring. For it should
in fairness be remembered that it was not he who first preached the
advent of the millennium. He had only given it a tardy and cold assent,
qualified by an occasional sally of keen pleasantry. Down to the last
moment, as we saw, he not only was unaware that the Covenant would be
inserted in the Peace Treaty, but he was strongly of the opinion, as
indeed were M. Pichon and others, that the two instruments were
incompatible. He also apparently inclined to the belief that spiritual
and moral agencies, if not wholly impotent to bring about the requisite
changes in the politico-social world, could not effect the
transformation for a long while to come, and that in the interval it
behooved the governments to fall back upon the old system of so-called
equilibrium, which, after Germany's collapse, meant an informal kind of
Anglo-Saxon overlordship of the world and a _pax Britannica_ in Europe.
As for his action at the Conference, in so far as it did not directly
affect the well-being of the British Empire, which was his first and
main care, one might describe it as one of general agreement with Mr.
Wilson. He actually threw it into that formula when he said that
whenever the interests of the British Empire permitted he would like to
find himself at one with the United States. It was on that occasion that
the person addressed warned him against identifying the President with
the people of the United States.

In truth, it was difficult to follow the distinguished American
idealist, because one seldom knew whither he would lead. Neither,
apparently, did he himself. Some of his own countrymen in Paris held
that he had always been accustomed to follow, never to guide. Certainly
at the Conference his practice was to meet the more powerful of his
contradictors on their own ground and come to terms with them, so as to
get at least a part of what he aimed at, and that he accepted, even when
the instalment was accorded to him not as such, but as a final
settlement. So far as one can judge by his public acts and by the
admissions of State-Secretary Lansing, he cannot have seriously
contemplated staking the success of his mission on the realization of
his Fourteen Points. The manner in which he dealt with his Covenant,
with the French demand for concrete military guaranties and with secret
treaties, all afford striking illustrations of his easy temper. Before
quitting Paris for Washington he had maintained that the Covenant as
drafted was satisfactory, nay, he contended that "not even a period
could be changed in the agreement." The Monroe Doctrine, he held, needed
no special stipulation. But as soon as Senator Lodge and others took
issue with him on the subject, he shifted his position and hedged that
doctrine round with defenses which cut off a whole continent from the
purview of the League, which is nothing if not cosmic in its
functions.[115] Again, there was to be no alliance. The French Premier
foretold that there would be one. Mr. Wilson, who was in England at the
time, answered him in a speech declaring that the United States would
enter into no alliance which did not include all the world: "no
combination of power which is not a combination of all of us." Well,
since then he became a party to a kind of triple alliance and in the
judgment of many observers it constitutes the main result of the
Conference. In the words of an American press organ: "Clemenceau got
virtually everything he asked. President Wilson virtually dropped his
own program, and adopted the French and British, both of them
imperialistic."[116]

Again, when the first commission of experts reported upon the frontiers
of Poland, the British Premier objected to a section of the "corridor,"
on the ground that as certain districts contained a majority of Germans
their annexation would be a danger to the future peace and therefore to
Poland herself, and also on the ground that it would run counter to one
of Mr. Wilson's fundamental points; the President, who at that time
dissented from Mr. Lloyd George, rose and remarked that his principles
must not be construed too literally. "When I said that Poland must be
restored, I meant that everything indispensable to her restoration must
be accorded. Therefore, if that should involve the incorporation of a
number of Germans in Polish territory, it cannot be helped, for it is
part of the restoration. Poland must have access to the sea by the
shortest route, and everything else which that implies." None the less,
the British Premier, whose attitude toward the claims of the Poles was
marked by a degree of definiteness and persistency which could hardly be
anticipated in one who had never even heard of Teschen before the year
1919, maintained his objections with emphasis and insistence, until Mr.
Wilson and M. Clemenceau gave in.

Or take the President's way of dealing with the non-belligerent states.
Before leaving Paris for Washington, Mr. Wilson, officially questioned
by one of his colleagues at an official sitting as to whether the
neutrals would also sign the Covenant, replied that only the Allies
would be admitted to affix their signatures. "Don't you think it would
be more conducive to the firm establishment of the League if the
neutrals were also made parties to it now?" insisted the
plenipotentiary. "No, I do not," answered the President. "I think that
it would be conferring too much honor on them, and they don't deserve
it." The delegate was unfavorably impressed by this reply. It seemed
lacking in breadth of view. Still, it was tenable on certain narrow,
formal grounds. But what he could not digest was the eagerness with
which Mr. Wilson, on his return from Washington, abandoned his way of
thinking and adopted the opposite view. Toward the end of April the
delegates and the world were surprised to learn that not only would
Spain be admitted to the orthodox fold, but that she would have a voice
in the management of the flock with a seat in the Council. The chief of
the Portuguese delegation[117] at once delivered a trenchant protest
against this abrupt departure from principle, and as a jurisconsult
stigmatized the promotion of Spain to a voice in the Council as an
irregularity, and then retired in high dudgeon.

Thus the grave reproach cannot be spared Mr. Wilson of having been weak,
vague, and inconsistent with himself. He constituted himself the supreme
judge of a series of intricate questions affecting the organization and
tranquillity of the European Continent, as he had previously done in the
case of Mexico, with the results we know. This authority was accorded to
him--with certain reservations--in virtue of the exalted position which
he held in a state disposing of vast financial and economic resources,
shielded from some of the dangers that continually overhang European
nations, and immune from the immediate consequences of the mistakes it
might commit in international politics. For every continental people in
Europe is in some measure dependent on the good-will of the United
States, and therefore anxious to deserve it by cultivating the most
friendly relations with its chief. This predisposition on the part of
his wards was an asset that could have been put to good account. It was
a guaranty of a measure of success which would have satisfied a generous
ambition; it would have enabled him to effect by a wise policy what
revolution threatened to accomplish by violence, and to canalize and
lead to fruitful fields the new-found strength of the proletarian
masses.

The compulsion of working with others is often a wholesome corrective.
It helps one to realize the need of accommodating measures to people's
needs. But Mr. Wilson deliberately segregated himself from the nations
for whose behoof he was laboring, and from some of their authorized
representatives. And yet the aspirations and conceptions of a large
section of the masses differed very considerably from those of the two
statesmen with whom he was in close collaboration. His avowed aims were
at the opposite pole to those of his colleagues. To reconcile
internationalism and nationalism was sheer impossible. Yet instead of
upholding his own, taking the peoples into his confidence, and sowing
the good seed which would certainly have sprouted up in the fullness of
time, he set himself, together with his colleagues, to weld
contradictories and contributed to produce a synthesis composed of
disembodied ideas, disintegrated communities, embittered nations,
conflicting states, frenzied classes, and a seething mass of discontent
throughout the world.

Mr. Wilson has fared ill with his critics, who, when in quest of
explanations of his changeful courses, sought for them, as is the wont
of the average politician, in the least noble parts of human nature. In
his case they felt especially repelled by his imperial aloofness, the
secrecy of his deliberations, and the magisterial tone of his judgments,
even when these were in flagrant contradiction with one another.
Obstinacy was also included among the traits which were commonly
ascribed to him. As a matter of fact he was a very good listener, an
intelligent questioner, and amenable to argument whenever he felt free
to give practical effect to the conclusions. When this was not the case,
arguments necessarily failed of their effect, and on these occasions
considerations of expediency proved a lever sufficient to sway his
decision. But, like his more distinguished colleagues, he had to rely
upon counsel from outside, and in his case, as in theirs, the official
adviser was not always identical with the real prompter. He, too, as we
saw, set aside the findings of the commissions when they disagreed with
his own. In a word, Mr. Wilson's fatal stumble was to have sacrificed
essentials in order to score on issues of secondary moment; for while
success enabled him to obtain his paper Covenant from his co-delegates
in Paris, and to bring back tangible results to Washington, it lost him
the leadership of the world. The cost of this deplorable weakness to
mankind can be estimated only after its worst effects have been added up
and appraised.

In matters affecting the destinies of the lesser states Mr. Wilson was
firm as a rock. Prom the position once taken up nothing could move him.
Their economic dependence on his own country rendered their arguments
pointless and lent irresistible force to his injunctions. Greece's
dispute with Bulgaria was a classic instance. The Bulgars repaired to
Paris more as claimants in support of indefeasible rights than as
vanquished enemies summoned to learn the conditions imposed on them by
the nations which they had betrayed and assailed. Victory alone could
have justified their territorial pretensions; defeat made them
grotesque. All at once, however, it was bruited abroad that President
Wilson had become Bulgaria's intercessor and favored certain of her
exorbitant claims. One of these was for the annexation of part of the
coast of western Thrace, together with a seaport at the expense of the
Greeks, the race which had resided on the seaboard for twenty-five
hundred consecutive years. M. Venizelos offered them instead one
commercial outlet[118] and special privileges in another, and the
plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, France, and Japan considered the
offer adequate.

But Mr. Wilson demurred. A commercial outlet through foreign territory,
he said, might possibly be as good as a direct outlet through one's own
territory in peace-time, but not in time of war, and, after all, one
must bear in mind the needs of a country during hostilities. In the
mouth of the champion of universal peace that was an unexpected
argument. It had been employed by Italy in favor of her claim to Fiume.
Mr. Wilson then met it by invoking the economic requirements of
Jugoslavia, and by declaring that the Treaty was being devised for
peace, not for war, that the League of Nations would hinder wars, or at
the very least supply the deficiencies of those states which had
sacrificed strategical positions for humanitarian aims. But in the case
of Bulgaria he was taking what seems the opposite position and
transgressing his own principle of nationality in order to maintain it.

Mr. Wilson, pursuing his line of argument, further pointed out that the
Supreme Council had not accepted as sufficient for Poland an outlet
through German territory, but had created the city-state of Dantzig in
order to confer a greater degree of security upon the Polish republic.
To that M. Venizelos replied that there was no parity between the two
instances. Poland had no outlet to the sea except through Dantzig, and
could not, therefore, allow that one to remain in the hands of an
unfriendly nation, whereas Bulgaria already possessed two very
commodious ports, Varna and Burgas, on the Black Sea, which becomes a
free sea in virtue of the internationalization of the straits. The
possession of a third outlet on the Ægean could not, therefore, be
termed a vital question for his protégée. Thus the comparison with
Poland was irrelevant.

If Poland, which is a very much greater state than Bulgaria, can live
and prosper with a single port, and that not her own--if Rumania, which
is also a much more numerous and powerful nation, can thrive with a
single issue to the sea, by what line of argument, M. Venizelos asked,
can one prove that little Bulgaria requires three or four exits, and
that her need justifies the abandonment to her tender mercies of seven
hundred and fifty thousand Greeks and the violation of one of the
fundamental principles underlying the new moral ordering.

Compliance with Bulgaria's demand would prevent Greece from including
within her boundaries the three-quarters of a million Greeks who have
dwelt in Thrace for twenty-five centuries, preserving their nationality
intact through countless disasters and tremendous cataclysms. Further,
the Greek Premier, taking a leaf from Wilson's book, turned to the
aspect which the problem would assume in war-time. Bulgaria, he argued,
is essentially a continental state, whose defense does not depend upon
naval strength, whereas Greece contains an island population of nearly a
million and a half and looks for protection against aggression chiefly
to naval precautions. In case of war, Bulgaria, if her claim to an issue
on the Ægean were allowed, could with her submarines delay or hinder the
transport and concentration in Macedonia of Greek forces from the
islands and thus place Greece in a position of dangerous inferiority.

Lastly, if Greece's claims in Thrace were rejected, she would have a
population of 1,790,000 souls outside her national boundaries--that is
to say, more than one-third of the population which is within her state.
Would this be fair? Of the total population of Bulgarian and Turkish
Thrace the Turks and Greeks together form 85 per cent., the Bulgars only
6 per cent., and the latter nowhere in compact masses. Moreover--and
this ought to have clinched the matter--the Hellenic population formed
an absolute as well as a relative majority in the year 1919.

These arguments and various other considerations drawn from the
inordinate ambitions, the savage cruelty,[119] and the Punic faith of
the Bulgars convinced the British, French, and Japanese delegates of the
soundness of Greece's pleas, and they sided with M. Venizelos. But Mr.
Wilson clung to his idea with a tenacity which could not be justified by
argument, and was concurrently explained by motives irrelevant to the
merits of the case. Whether the influence of Bulgarophil American
missionaries and strong religious leanings were at the root of his
insistence, as was generally assumed, or whether other considerations
weighed with him, is immaterial. And yet it is worth recording that a
Bulgarian journal[120] announced with the permission of the governmental
censor that the American missionaries in Bulgaria and the professors of
Robert College of Constantinople had so primed the American delegates at
the Conference on the question of Thrace, and generally on the Bulgarian
problem, that all M. Venizelos's pains to convince them of the justice
of his contention would be lost labor."[121]

However this may be, Mr. Wilson's attitude was the subject of adverse
comment throughout Europe. His implied claim to legislate for the world
and to take over its moral leadership earned for him the epithet of
"Dictator," and provoked such epigrammatic comments among his own
countrymen and the French as this: "Louis XIV said, 'I am the state!'
Mr. Wilson, outdoing him, exclaimed, 'I am all the states!'"

The necessity of winning over dissentient colleagues to his grandiose
scheme of world reorganization and of satisfying their demands, which
were of a nature to render that scheme abortive, was the most
influential agency in impairing his energies and upsetting his plans.
This remark assumes what unhappily seems a fact, that those plans were
mainly mechanical. It is certain that they made no provision for
directly influencing the masses, for giving them sympathetic guidance,
and enabling them to suffuse with social sentiments the aspirations and
strivings which were chiefly of the materialistic order, with a view to
bringing about a spiritual transformation of the social basis. Indeed we
have no evidence that the need of such a transformation of the basis of
political thought, which was still rooted in the old order, was grasped
by any of those who set their hand to the legislative part of the work.

These unfavorable impressions were general. Almost every step
subsequently taken by the Conference confirmed them, and long before the
Treaty was presented to the Germans, public confidence was gone in the
ability of the Supreme Council to attain any of the moral victories over
militarism, race-hatred, and secret intrigues which its leaders had
encouraged the world to expect.

"The leaders of the Conference," wrote an influential press organ,[122]
"are under suspicion. They may not know it, but it is true. The
suspicion is doubtless unjust, but it exists. What exists is a fact; and
men who ignore facts are not statesmen. The only way to deal with facts
is to face them. The more unpleasant they are the more they need to be
faced.

"Some of the Conference leaders are suspected of having, at various
times and in various circumstances, thought more of their own personal
and political positions and ambitions than of the rapid and practical
making of peace. They are suspected, in a word, of a tendency to
subordinate policy to politics.

"In regard to some important matters they are suspected of having no
policy. They are also suspected of unwillingness to listen to their own
competent advisers, who could lay down for them a sound policy. Some of
them are even suspected of being under the spell of some benumbing
influence that paralyzes their will and befogs their minds, when high
resolve and clear visions are needful."

Another accusation of the same tenor was thus formulated: "In various
degrees[123] and with different qualities of guilt all the Allied and
Associated leaders have dallied with dishonesty. While professing to
seek naught save the welfare of mankind, they have harbored thoughts of
self-interest. The result has been a progressive loss of faith in them
by their own peoples severally, and by the Allied, Associated, and
neutral peoples jointly. The tide of public trust in them has reached
its lowest ebb."

At the Conference, as we saw, the President of the United States
possessed what was practically a veto on nearly all matters which left
the vital interests of Britain and France intact. And he frequently
exercised it. Thus the dispute about the Thracian settlement lay not
between Bulgaria and Greece, nor between Greece and the Supreme Council,
but between Greece and Mr. Wilson. In the quarrel over Fiume and the
Dalmatian coast it was the same. When the Shantung question came up for
settlement it was Mr. Wilson alone who dealt with it, his colleagues,
although bound by their promises to support Japan, having made him their
mouthpiece. The rigor he displayed in dealing with some of the smaller
countries was in inverse ratio to the indulgence he practised toward the
Great Powers. Not only were they peremptorily bidden to obey without
discussion the behests which had been brought to their cognizance, but
they were ordered, as we saw, to promise to execute other injunctions
which might be issued by the Supreme Council on certain matters in the
future, the details of which were necessarily undetermined.

In order to stifle any velleities of resistance on the part of their
governments, they were notified that America's economic aid, of which
they were in sore need, would depend on their docility. It is important
to remember that it was the motive thus clearly presented that
determined their formal assent to a policy which they deprecated. A
Russian statesman summed up the situation in the words: "It is an
illustration of one of our sayings, 'Whose bread I eat, his songs I
sing.'" Thus it was reported in July that an agreement come to by the
financial group Morgan with an Italian syndicate for a yearly advance to
Italy of a large sum for the purchase of American food and raw stuffs
was kept in abeyance until the Italian delegation should accept such a
solution of the Adriatic problem as Mr. Wilson could approve. The
Russian and anti-Bolshevists were in like manner compelled to give their
assent to certain democratic dogmas and practices. It is also fair,
however, to bear in mind that whatever one may think of the wisdom of
the policy pursued by the President toward these peoples, the motives
that actuated it were unquestionably admirable, and the end in view was
their own welfare, as he understood it. It is all the more to be
regretted that neither the arguments nor the example of the autocratic
delegates were calculated to give these the slightest influence over the
thought or the unfettered action of their unwilling wards. The
arrangements carried out were entirely mechanical.

In the course of time after the vital interests of Britain, France, and
Japan had been disposed of, and only those of the "lesser states," in
the more comprehensive sense of this term, remained, President Wilson
exercised supreme power, wielding it with firmness and encountering no
gainsayer. Thus the peace between Italy and Austria was put off from
month to month because he--and only he--among the members of the Supreme
Council rejected the various projects of an arrangement. Into the merits
of this dispute it would be unfruitful to enter. That there was much to
be said for Mr. Wilson's contention, from the point of view of the
League of Nations, and also from that of the Jugoslavs, will not be
denied. That some of the main arguments to which he trusted his case
were invalidated by the concessions which he had made to other countries
was Italy's contention, and it cannot be thrust aside as untenable.

At last Mr. Wilson ventured on a step which challenged the attention and
stirred the disquietude of his friends. He despatched a note[124] to
Turkey, warning her that if the massacres of Armenians were not
discontinued he would withdraw the twelfth of his Fourteen Points, which
provides for the maintenance of Turkish sovereignty over undeniable
Turkish territories. The intention was excellent, but the necessary
effects of his action were contrary to what the President can have aimed
at. He had not consulted the Conference on the important change which he
was about to make respecting a point which was supposed to be part of
the groundwork of the new ordering. This from the Conference point of
view was a momentous decision, which could be taken only with the
consent of the Supreme Council. Even as a mere threat it was worthless
if it did not stand for the deliberate will of that body which the
President had deemed it superfluous to consult. As it happened, the
British authorities were just then organizing a body of gendarmes to
police the Turkish territories in question, and they were engaged in
this work with the knowledge and approval of the Supreme Council. Mr.
Wilson's announcement could therefore only be construed--and was
construed--as the act of an authority superior to that of the
Council.[125] The Turks, who are shrewd observers, must have drawn the
obvious conclusion from these divergent measures as to the degree of
harmony prevailing among the Allied and Associated Powers.

M. Clemenceau had a conversation on the subject with Mr. Polk, who
explained that the note was informal and given verbally, and conveyed
the idea only of one nation in connection with the Armenian situation.
This explanation, accepted by the French government, did not commend
itself to public opinion, either in France or elsewhere. Moreover, the
French were struck by another aspect of this arbitrary exercise of
supreme power. "President Wilson," wrote an eminent French publicist,
"throws himself into the attitude of a man who can bind and loose the
Turkish Empire at the very moment when the Senate appears opposed to
accepting any mandate, European or Asiatic, at the moment when Mr.
Lansing declares to the Congress that the government of which he is a
member does not desire to accept any mandate. But is it not obvious that
if Mr. Wilson sovereignly determines the lot of Turkey he can be held in
consequence to the performance of certain duties? We have often had to
deplore the absence of policy common to the Allies. But has each one of
them, considered separately, at least a policy of its own? Does it take
action otherwise than at haphazard, yielding to the impulse of a
general, a consul, or a missionary?"[126]

It soon became manifest even to the most obtuse that whenever the
Supreme Council, following its leaders and working on such lines as
these, terminated its labors, the ties between the political communities
of Europe would be just as flimsy as in the unregenerate days of secret
diplomacy, secret alliances, and secret intrigues, unless in the
meanwhile the peoples themselves intervened to render them stronger and
more enduring. It would, however, be the height of unfairness to make
Mr. Wilson alone answerable for this untoward ending to a far resonant
beginning. He had been accused by the press of most countries of
enwrapping personal ambition in the attractive covering of
disinterestedness and altruism, just as many of his foreign colleagues
were said to go in fear of the "malady of lost power." But charges of
this nature overstep the bounds of legitimate criticism. Motive is
hardly ever visible, nor is it often deducible from deliberate action.
If, for example, one were to infer from the vast territorial
readjustments and the still vaster demands of the various belligerents
at the Conference, the motives that had determined them to enter the
war, the conclusion--except in the case of the American people, whose
disinterestedness is beyond the reach of cavil--would indeed be
distressing. The President of the United States merited well of all
nations by holding up to them an ideal for realization, and the mere
announcement of his resolve to work for it imparted an appreciable if
inadequate incentive to men of good-will. The task, however, was so
gigantic that he cannot have gaged its magnitude, discerned the defects
of the instruments, nor estimated aright the force of the hindrances
before taking the world to witness that he would achieve it. Even with
the hearty co-operation of ardent colleagues and the adoption of a sound
method he could hardly have hoped to do more than clear the
ground--perhaps lay the foundation-stone--of the structure he dreamt of.
But with the partners whom circumstance allotted him, and the gainsayers
whom he had raised up and irritated in his own country, failure was a
foregone conclusion from the first. The aims after which most of the
European governments strove were sheer incompatible with his own.
Doubtless they all were solicitous about the general good, but their
love for it was so general and so diluted with attachment to others'
goods as to be hardly discernible. The reproach that can hardly be
spared to Mr. Wilson, however, is that of pusillanimity. If his faith in
the principles he had laid down for the guidance of nations were as
intense as his eloquent words suggested, he would have spurned the offer
of a sequence of high-sounding phrases in lieu of a resettlement of the
world. And his appeal to the peoples would most probably have been
heard. The beacon once lighted in Paris would have been answered in
almost every capital of the world. One promise he kept religiously: he
did not return to Washington without a paper covenant. Is it more? Is it
merely a paradox to assert that as war was waged in order to make war
impossible, so a peace was made that will render peace impossible?


FOOTNOTES:

[91] In March.

[92] Quoted by _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 10, 1919.

[93] Delivered at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on March 4,
1919.

[94] _The New York Herald_, March 19, 1919 (Paris edition).

[95] Cf. _The New York Herald_, July 8, 1919.

[96] The semi-official journals manifested a steady tendency to lean
toward the Republican opposition in the United States, down to the month
of August, when the amendments proposed by various Senators bade fair to
jeopardize the Treaties and render the promised military succor
doubtful.

[97] _Journal de Genève_, May 18, 1919.

[98] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), August 14, 1919.

[99] Cf. Paris papers of February 2, 1919, and _The Public Ledger_
(Philadelphia), February 4, 1919.

[100] Cf. _L'Echo de Paris_, April 19, 1919.

[101] In April, 1919.

[102] About April 10,1919.

[103] On March 19, 1919.

[104] Cf. my cablegram published in _The Public Ledger_ (Philadelphia),
January 12, 1919.

[105] Cf. _The Public Ledger_ (Philadelphia), February 5, 1919.

[106] Doctor Bunke, Councilor at the court of Dantzig, endeavors in _The
Dantzig Neueste Nachrichten_ to prove that the problem of Dantzig was
solved exclusively in the interests of the Naval Powers, America and
Britain, who need it as a basis for their commerce with Poland, Russia,
and Germany. Cf. also _Le Temps_, August 23, 1919

[107] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), March 1, 1919.

[108] Lysis, author of _Demain_, and many other remarkable studies of
economic problems, and editor of _Le Démocratie Nouvelle_, May 30, 1919.

[109] For an account of analogous bargainings with Bela Kuhn, see the
Chapter on Rumania.

[110] Bearing the number 3882.

[111] On October 12, 1918, and February 1, 1919

[112] On February 4, 1919.

[113] _La Démocratie Nouvelle_, May 30, 1919

[114] See his admirable article in _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition)
of May 21, 1919, from which the following extract is worth quoting: "I
have said that certain great forces have steadily and occultly worked
for a German peace. But I mean, in fact, one force--an international
finance to which all other forces hostile to the freedom of nations and
of the individual soul are contributory. The influence of this finance
had permeated the Conference, delaying the decisions as long as
possible, increasing divisions between people and people, between class
and class, between peace-makers and peace-makers, in order to achieve
two definite ends, which two ends are one and the same.

"The first end was so to manipulate the minds of the peace-makers, of
their hordes of retainers and 'experts,' as to bring about, if possible,
a peace that would not be destructive to industrial Germany. The second
end was so to delay the Russian question, so to complicate and thwart
every proposed solution, that, at last, either during or after the Peace
Conference, a recognition of the Bolshevist power as the _de facto_
government of Russia would be the only possible solution."

[115] "What confidence can be commanded by men who, asserting one week
that the ultimate of human wisdom has been attained in a document,
confess the next week that the document is frail? When are we to believe
that their confessions are at an end?"--_The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris
edition), August 23, 1919.

[116] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), July 31, 1919.

[117] M. Affonso Costa, who shortly before had succeeded the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, M. Monas Egiz.

[118] Dedeagatch.

[119] See _Rapports et Enquêtes de la Commission Interalliée sur les
Violations du droit des gens commises en Macédoine Orientale par les
armées bulgares_. The conclusion of the report is one of the most
terrible indictments ever drawn up by impartial investigators against
what is practically a whole people.

[120] _Zora_, August 11th. Cf. _Le Temps_, August 28, 1919.

[121] Mr. Charles House published a statement in the press of Saloniki
to the effect that the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
forbids missionaries to take an active part in politics. He added that
if this injunction was transgressed--and in Paris the current belief was
that it had been--it would not be tolerated by the Missionary Board, nor
recognized by the American government.

[122] _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), March 31, 1919.

[123] _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), April 6, 1919.

[124] Somewhere between August 17 and 20, 1919. It was transmitted by
Admiral Bristol, American member of the Inter-Allied Inquiry Mission at
Smyrna.

[125] Cf. _L'Echo de Paris_, August 28, 1919. Article by Pertinax.

[126] _L'Echo de Paris_, August 28, 1919. Article by Pertinax.



VI

THE LESSER STATES


Before the Anglo-Saxon statesmen thus set themselves to rearrange the
complex of interests, forces, policies, nationalities, rights, and
claims which constituted the politico-social world of 1919, they were
expected to deal with all the Allied and Associated nations, without
favor or prejudice, as members of one family. This expectation was not
fulfilled. It may not have been warranted. From the various discussions
and decisions of which we have knowledge, a number of delegates drew the
inference that France was destined for obvious reasons to occupy the
leading position in continental Europe, under the protection of
Anglo-Saxondom; and that a privileged status was to be conferred on the
Jews in eastern Europe and in Palestine, while the other states were to
be in the leading-strings of the Four. This view was not lightly
expressed, however inadequately it may prove to have been then supported
by facts. As to the desirability of forming this rude hierarchy of
states, the principal plenipotentiaries were said to have been in
general agreement, although responding to different motives. There was
but one discordant voice--that of France--who was opposed to the various
limitations set to Poland's aggrandizement, and also to the clause
placing the Jews under the direct protection of the League of Nations,
and investing them with privileges in which the races among whom they
reside are not allowed to participate. Bulgaria had a position unique
in her class, for she was luckier than most of her peers in having
enlisted on her side the American delegation and Mr. Wilson as leading
counsel and special pleader for her claim to an outlet to the Ægean Sea.

At the Conference each state was dealt with according to its class.
Entirely above the new law, as we saw, stood its creators, the
Anglo-Saxons. To all the others, including the French, the Wilsonian
doctrine was applied as fully as was compatible with its author's main
object, the elaboration of an instrument which he could take back with
him to the United States as the great world settlement. Within these
limits the President was evidently most anxious to apply his Fourteen
Points, but he kept well within these. Thus he would, perhaps, have been
quite ready to insist on the abandonment by Britain of her supremacy on
the seas, on a radical change in the international status of Egypt and
Ireland, and much else, had these innovations been compatible with his
own special object. But they were not. He was apparently minded to test
the matter by announcing his resolve to moot the problem of the freedom
of the seas, but when admonished by the British government that it would
not even brook its mention, he at once gave it up and, presumably
drawing the obvious inference from this downright refusal, applied it to
the Irish, Egyptian, and other issues, which were forthwith eliminated
from the category of open or international problems. But France's
insistent demand, on the other hand, for the Rhine frontier met with an
emphatic refusal.[127]

The social reformer is disheartened by the one-sided and inexorable way
in which maxims proclaimed to be of universal application were
restricted to the second-class nations.

Russia's case abounds in illustrations of this arbitrary, unjust, and
impolitic pressure. The Russians had been our allies. They had fought
heroically at the time when the people of the United States were,
according to their President, "too proud to fight." They were essential
factors in the Allies' victory, and consequently entitled to the
advantages and immunities enjoyed by the Western Powers. In no case
ought they to have been placed on the same level as our enemies, and in
lieu of recompense condemned to punishment. And yet this latter
conception of their deserts was not wholly new. Soon after their
defection, and when the Allies were plunged in the depths of
despondency, a current of opinion made itself felt among certain
sections of the Allied peoples tending to the conclusion of peace on the
basis of compensations to Germany, to be supplied by the cession of
Russian territory. This expedient was advocated by more than one
statesman, and was making headway when fresh factors arose which bade
fair to render it needless.

At the Paris Conference the spirit of this conception may still have
survived and prompted much that was done and much that was left
unattempted. Russia was under a cloud. If she was not classed as an
enemy she was denied the consideration reserved for the Allies and the
neutrals. Her integrity was a matter of indifference to her former
friends; almost every people and nationality in the Russian state which
asked for independence found a ready hearing at the Supreme Council. And
some of them before they had lodged any such claim were encouraged to
lose no time in asking for separation. In one case a large sum of money
and a mission were sent to "create the independent state of the
Ukraine," so impatient were peoples in the West to obtain a substitute
for the Russian ally whom they had lost in the East, and great was their
consternation when their protégés misspent the funds and made common
cause with the Teutons.

Disorganized Russia was in some ways a godsend to the world's
administrators in Paris. To the advocate of alliances, territorial
equilibrium, and the old order of things it offered a facile means of
acquiring new helpmates in the East by emancipating its various peoples
in the name of right and justice. It held out to the capitalists who
deplored the loss of their milliards a potential source whence part of
that loss might be made good.[128] To the zealots of the League of
Nations it offered an unresisting body on which all the requisite
operations from amputation to trepanning might be performed without the
use of anesthetics.

The various border states of Russia were thus quietly lopped off without
even the foreknowledge, much less the assent, of the patient, and
without any pretense at plebiscites. Finland, Esthonia, Latvia, Georgia
were severed from the chaotic Slav state offhandedly, and the warrant
was the doctrine propounded by President Wilson--that every people shall
be free to choose its own mode of living and working. Every people?
Surely not, remarked unbiased onlookers. The Egyptians, the Irish, the
Austrians, the Persians, to name but four among many, are disqualified
for the exercise of these indefeasible rights. Perhaps with good reason?
Then modify the doctrine. Why this difference of treatment? they
queried. Is it not because the supreme judge knows full well that Great
Britain would not brook the discussion of the Egyptian or the Irish
problem, and that France, in order to feel quite secure, must hinder the
Austrian-Germans from coalescing with their brethren of the Reich? But
if Britain and France have the right to veto every self-denying measure
that smacks of disruption or may involve a sacrifice, why is Russia
bereft of it? If the principle involved be of any value at all, its
application must be universal. To an equal all-round distribution of
sacrifice the only alternative is the supremacy of force in the service
of arbitrary rule. And to this force, accordingly, the Supreme Council
had recourse. The only cases in which it seriously vindicated the rights
of oppressed or dissatisfied peoples to self-determination against the
will of the ruling race or nation were those in which that race or
nation was powerless to resist. Whenever Britain or France's interests
were deemed to be imperiled by the putting in force of any of the
Fourteen Points, Mr. Wilson desisted from its application. Thus it came
about that Russia was put on the same plane with Germany and received
similar, in some respects, indeed, sterner, treatment. The Germans were
at least permitted to file objections to the conditions imposed and to
point out flaws in the arrangements drafted, and their representations
sometimes achieved their end. It was otherwise with the Russians. They
were never consulted. And when their representatives in Paris
respectfully suggested that all such changes as might be decided upon by
the Great Powers during their country's political disablement should be
taken to be provisional and be referred for definite settlement to the
future constituent assembly, the request was ignored.

Of psychological rather than political interest was Mr. Wilson's
conscientious hesitation as to whether the nationalities which he was
preparing to liberate were sufficiently advanced to be intrusted with
self-government. As stated elsewhere, his first impulse would seem to
have been to appoint mandatories to administer the territories severed
from Russia. The mandatory arrangement under the ubiquitous League is
said to have been his own. Presumably he afterward acquired the belief
that the system might be wisely dispensed with in the case of some of
Russia's border states, for they soon afterward received promises of
independence and implicitly of protection against future encroachments
by a resuscitated Russia.

In this connection a scene is worth reproducing which was enacted at the
Peace Table before the system of administering certain territories by
proxy was fully elaborated. At one of the sittings the delegates set
themselves to determine what countries should be thus governed,[129] and
it was understood that the mandatory system was to be reserved for the
German colonies and certain provinces of the Turkish Empire. But in the
course of the conversation Mr. Wilson casually made use of the
expression, "The German colonies, the territories of the Turkish Empire
and other territories." One of the delegates promptly put the question,
"What other territories?" to which the President replied,
unhesitatingly, "Those of the late Russian Empire." Then he added by way
of explanation: "We are constantly receiving petitions from peoples who
lived hitherto under the scepter of the Tsars--Caucasians, Central
Asiatic peoples, and others--who refuse to be ruled any longer by the
Russians and yet are incapable of organizing viable independent states
of their own. It is meet that the desires of these nations should be
considered." At this the Czech delegate, Doctor Kramarcz, flared up and
exclaimed: "Russia? Cut up Russia? But what about her integrity? Is that
to be sacrificed?" But his words died away without evoking a response.
"Was there no one," a Russian afterward asked, "to remind those
representatives of the Great Powers of their righteous wrath with
Germany when the Brest-Litovsk treaty was promulgated?"

Toward Italy, who, unlike Russia, was not treated as an enemy, but as
relegated to the category of lesser states, the attitude of President
Wilson was exceptionally firm and uncompromising. On the subject of
Fiume and Dalmatia he refused to yield an inch. In vain the Italian
delegation argued, appealed, and lowered its claims. Mr. Wilson was
adamant. It is fair to admit that in no other way could he have
contrived to get even a simulacrum of a League. Unless the weak states
were awed into submitting to sacrifices for the great aim which he had
made his own, he must return to Washington as the champion of a
manifestly lost cause. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that his
thesis was not destitute of arguments to support it. Accordingly the
deadlock went on for months, until the Italian Cabinet fell and people
wearied of the Adriatic problems.

Poland was another of the communities which had to bend before
Anglo-Saxon will, represented in her case mainly by Mr. Lloyd George,
not, however, without the somewhat tardy backing of his colleague from
Washington. It is important for the historian and the political student
to observe that as the British Premier was not credited with any
profound or original ideas about the severing or soldering of east
European territories, the authorship of the powerful and successful
opposition to the allotting of Dantzig to Poland was rightly or wrongly
ascribed not to him, but to what is euphemistically termed
"international finance" lurking in the background, whose interest in
Poland was obviously keen, and whose influence on the Supreme Council,
although less obvious, was believed to be far-reaching. The same
explanation was currently suggested for the fixed resolve of Mr. Lloyd
George not to assign Upper Silesia to Poland without a plebiscite. His
own account of the matter was that although the inhabitants were
Polish--they are as two to one compared with the Germans--it was
conceivable that they entertained leanings toward the Germans, and might
therefore desire to throw in their lot with these. When one compares
this scrupulous respect for the likes and dislikes of the inhabitants of
that province with the curt refusal of the same men at first to give ear
to the ardent desire of the Austrians to unite with the Germans, or to
abide by a plebiscite of the inhabitants of Fiume or Teschen, one is
bewildered. The British Premier's wish was opposed by the official body
of experts appointed to report on the matter. Its members had no
misgivings. The territory, they said, belonged of right to Poland, the
great majority of its population was unquestionably Polish, and the
practical conclusion was that it should be handed over to the Polish
government as soon as feasible. Thereupon the staff of the commission
was changed and new members were substituted for the old.[130] But that
was not enough. The British Premier still encountered such opposition
among his foreign colleagues that it was only by dint of wordy warfare
and stubbornness that he finally won his point.

The stipulation for which the first British delegate toiled thus
laboriously was that within a fortnight after the ratification of the
Treaty the German and Polish forces should evacuate the districts in
which the plebiscite was to be held, that the Workmen's Councils there
should be dissolved, and that the League of Nations should take over the
government of the district so as to allow the population to give full
expression to its will. But the League of Nations did not exist and
could not be constituted for a considerable time. It was therefore
decided[131] that some temporary substitute for the League should be
formed at once, and the Supreme Council decided that Inter-Allied troops
should occupy the districts. That was the first instalment of the price
to be paid for the British Premier's tenderness for plebiscites, which
the expert commissions deprecated as unnecessary, and which, as events
proved in this case, were harmful.

In the meanwhile Bolshevist--some said German--agents were stirring up
the population by suasion and by terrorism until it finally began to
ferment. Thousands of working-men responded to the goad, "turned down"
their tools and ceased work. Thereupon the coal-fields of Upper Silesia,
the production of which had already dropped by 50 per cent, since the
preceding November, ceased to produce anything. This consummation
grieved the Supreme Council, which turned for help to the Inter-Allied
armies. For the Silesian coal-fields represented about one-third of
Germany's production, and both France and Italy were looking to Germany
for part of their fuel-supply. The French press pertinently asked
whether it would not have been cheaper, safer, and more efficacious to
have forgone the plebiscite and relied on the Polish troops from the
outset.[132] For, however ideal the intentions of Mr. Lloyd George may
have been, the net result of his insistence on a plebiscite was to
enable an ex-newspaper vender named Hoersing, who had undertaken to
prevent the detachment of Upper Silesia from Germany, to set his
machinery for agitation in motion and cause general unrest in the
Silesian and Dombrova coal-mining districts. When the strike was
declared the workmen, who are Poles to a man, rejected all suggestions
that they should refer their grievances to arbitration courts. For these
tribunals were conducted by Germans. The consequence of Mr. Lloyd
George's spirited intervention was, in the words of an unbiased
observer, to "raise the specters of starvation, freezing and Bolshevism
in eastern Europe" during the ensuing winter--a heavy price to pay for
pedantic adherence to the letter of an irrelevant ordinance, at a moment
when the spirit of basic principles was being allowed to evaporate.

Rumania was chastened and qualified in severer fashion for admission to
the sodality of nations until her delegates quitted the Conference in
disgust, struck out their own policy, and courteously ignored the Great
Powers. Then the Supreme Council changed its note for the moment and
abandoned the position which it had taken up respecting the armistice
with Hungary, to revert to it shortly afterward.[133] The joy with which
the upshot of this revolt was hailed by all the lesser states was an
evil omen. For their antipathy toward the Supreme Council had long
before hardened into a sentiment much more intense, and any stick seemed
good enough to break the rod of the self-constituted governors of the
planet.

The concrete result of this tinkering and cobbling could only be a
ramshackle structure, built without any reference to the canons of
political architecture. It was shaped neither by the Fourteen Points nor
by the canons of the balance of power and territory. It was hardly more
than an abortive attempt to make a synthesis of the two. Created by
force, it could be perpetuated only by force; but if symptoms are to be
trusted, it is more likely to be broken up by force. As an American
press organ remarked in August: "The Council of Five complains that no
one now condescends to recognize the League of Nations. Even the small
nations are buying war material, quite oblivious of the fact that there
are to be no more wars, now that the League is there to prevent them.
Sweden is buying large supplies from Germany, and Spain is sending a
commission to Paris to negotiate for some of France's war
equipment."[134]

Belgium, too, was treated with scant consideration. The praise lavished
on her courageous people during the war was apparently deemed an
adequate recompense for the sacrifices she had made and the losses she
endured. For the revision of the treaties of 1839, indispensable to the
economic development of the country, no diplomatic preparation was made
down to May, and among the Treaty clauses then drafted Belgium's share
of justice was so slight and insufficient that the unbiased press
published sharp strictures on the forgetfulness or egotism of the
Supreme Council. "The little that has leaked out of the decisions taken
regarding the conditions which affect Belgium," wrote one journal, "has
caused not only bitter disappointment in Belgium, but also indignation
everywhere.... The Allies having decided not to accord moral
satisfaction to Belgium (they chose Geneva as the capital of the League
of Nations), it was perhaps to be expected that they would not accord
her material satisfaction. And such expectations are being fulfilled.
The Limburg province, annexed to Holland in 1839, the province which
gave the retreating enemy unlawful refuge in 1918, a rank violation of
Dutch neutrality, is apparently not to be restored to Belgium. Even the
right, vital to the safety and welfare of Belgium, the right of
unimpeded navigation of the Scheldt between Antwerp and the sea, has not
yet been conceded. And the raw material that is indispensable if Belgian
industry is to be revived is withheld; the Allies, however, are quite
willing to flood the country with manufactured articles."[135]

And yet Belgium's demands were extremely modest.[136] They were
formulated, not as the guerdon for her heroic defense of civilization,
but as a plain corollary flowing direct from each and every principle
officially recognized by the heads of the Conference--right,
nationality, legitimate guarantees, and economic requirements. Tested by
any or all of these accepted touchstones, everything asked for was
reasonable and fair in itself, and seemingly indispensable to the
durability of the new world-structure which the statesmen were
endeavoring to raise on the ruins of the old. Belgium's forlorn
political and territorial plight embodied all the worst vices of the old
balance of power stigmatized by President Wilson: the mutilation of the
country; the forcible separation of sections of its population from each
other; the distribution of these lopped, ethnic fragments among alien
states and dynasties; the control of her waterways handed over to
commercial rivals; the transformation of cities and districts that were
obviously destined to figure among her sources of national well-being
and centers of culture into dead towns that paralyze her effort and
hinder her progress. In a word, Belgium had had no political existence
for her own behoof. She was not an organic unit in the sodality of
nations, but a mere cog in the mechanism of European equilibrium.

Ruined by the war, Belgium was sorely tried by the Peace Conference. She
complained of two open wounds which poisoned her existence, stunted her
economic growth, and rendered her self-defense an impossibility: the
vast gap of Limburg on the east and the blocking of the Scheldt on the
west. The great national _réduit_, Antwerp, cut off from the sea,
inaccessible to succor in case of war, on the one side, and Limburg
opening to Germany's armies the road through central Belgium, on the
other--these were the two standing dangers which it was hoped would be
removed. How dangerous they are events had demonstrated. In October,
1914, Antwerp fell because Holland had closed the Scheldt and forbidden
the entrance to warships and transports, and in November, 1918, a German
army of over seventy thousand men eluded pursuit by the Allies by
passing through Dutch Limburg, carrying with them vast war materials and
booty. Militarily Belgium is exposed to mortal perils so long as the
treaties which ordained this preposterous division of territories are
maintained in vigor.

Economically, too, the consequences, especially of the status of the
Scheldt, are admittedly baleful. To Holland the river is practically
useless--indeed, the only advantage it could confer would be the power
of impeding the growth and prosperity of Antwerp for the benefit of its
rival, Rotterdam. All that the Belgians desired there was the complete
control of their national river, with the right of carrying out the
works necessary to keep it navigable. A like demand was put forward for
the canal of Terneuzen, which links the city of Ghent with the Scheldt;
and the suppression of the checks and hindrances to Belgium's free
communications with her hinterland--_i.e._, the basins of the Meuse and
the Rhine. Prom every point of view, including that of international
law, the claims made were at once modest and grounded. But the Supreme
Council had no time to devote to such subsidiary matters, and, like more
momentous issues, they were adjourned.

The Belgian delegation did not ask that Holland's territory should be
curtailed. On the contrary, they would have welcomed its increase by the
addition of territory inhabited by people of her own idiom, under
German sway.[137] But the Dutch demurred, as Denmark had done in the
matter of the third Schleswig zone, for fear of offending Germany. And
the Supreme Council acquiesced in the refusal. Again, when issues were
under discussion that turned upon the Rhine country and affected Belgian
interests, her delegates were never consulted. They were systematically
ignored by the Conference. When the capital of the League of Nations was
to be chosen, their hopes that Brussels would be deemed worthy of the
honor were blasted by President Wilson himself. One of the American
delegates informed a foreign colleague "that the capital of the League
must be situate in a tranquil country, must have a steady, settled
population and a really good climate." "A good climate?" asked a
continental statesman. "Then why not choose Monte Carlo?"

But the decision in favor of Geneva was sent by courier from Switzerland
ready made to President Wilson. The chief grounds which lent color to
the belief that religious bias played a larger part in the Conference's
decisions than was apparent were the following: It was from Geneva that
the spirit of religious and political liberty first went forth to be
incarnated among the various nations of the world. It is to John Calvin,
rather than to Martin Luther, that the birth of the Scotch Covenanters
and of English Puritanism is traceable. Hence Geneva is the parent of
New England. So, too, it was Rousseau--a true child of Calvin--who was
the author of America's Declaration of Independence. Again, one of the
first pacifists and advocates of international arbitration was born in
Geneva. John Knox sat for two years at the feet of Calvin. Consequently
the Puritan Revolution, the French Revolution, and the American
Revolution all had their springs in Geneva.

These were the considerations which weighed with President Wilson when
he refused to fix his choice on Brussels. In vain the Belgians argued
and pleaded, urging that if the Conference were to vote for London,
Washington, or Paris, they would receive the announcement with
respectful acquiescence, but that among the lesser states they conceived
that their country's claims were the best grounded. To the Americans who
objected that Switzerland's mountains and lakes, being free from hateful
war memories, offer more fitting surroundings for the capital of the
League of Peace than Brussels, where vestiges of the odious struggle
will long survive, they answered that they could only regret that
Belgium's resistance to the lawless invaders should be taken to
disqualify her for the honor.

It is worth while pursuing this matter a step farther. The Federal
Council in Berne having soon afterward officially recommended[138] the
nation to enter the League which guarantees it neutrality,[139] an
illuminating discussion ensued. And it was elicited that as there is an
obligation imposed on all member-states to execute the decrees of the
League for the coercion of rebellious fellow-members, it follows that in
such cases Switzerland, too, would be obliged to take an active part in
the struggle between the League and the recalcitrant country. From
military operations, however, Switzerland is dispensed, but it would
certainly be bound to adopt economic measures of pressure, and to this
extent abandon its neutrality. Now not only would that attitude be
construed by the disobedient nation as unfriendly, and the usual
consequences drawn from it, but as Switzerland is freed from military
co-operation, it follows that the League could not fix the headquarters
of its military command in its own capital, Geneva, as that would
constitute a violation of Swiss neutrality. And, if it did, Switzerland
would in self-defense be bound to oppose the decision!

The Belgians were discouraged by the disdainful demeanor and grudging
disposition of the Supreme Council, and irritated by the arbitrariness
of its decrees and the indefensible way in which it applied principles
that were propounded as sacred. Before restoring the diminutive cantons
of Eupen and Malmedy to Belgium, for example, Mr. Wilson insisted on
ascertaining the will of the population by plebiscite. In itself the
measure was reasonable, but the position of these little districts was
substantially on all-fours with Alsace-Lorraine, which was restored to
France without any such test. In Fiume, also, the will of the
inhabitants went for nothing, Mr. Wilson refusing to consult them.
Further, Austria, whose people were known to favor union with Germany,
was systematically jockeyed into ruinous isolation. "Now what, in the
light of these conflicting judgments," asked the Belgians, "is the true
meaning of the principle of self-determination?" The only reply they
received was that Mr. Wilson was right when he told his
fellow-countrymen that his principles stood in need of interpretation,
and that, as he was the sole authorized interpreter, his presence was
required in Europe.

In money matters, too, the chief plenipotentiaries can hardly be
acquitted of something akin to niggardliness toward the country which
had saved theirs from a catastrophe. Down to the month of May, 1921, two
and a half milliard francs was the maximum sum allotted to Belgium by
the Supreme Council. And for the work of restoring the devastated
country, which the Great Powers had spontaneously promised to
accomplish, it was alleged by experts to be wholly inadequate. Other
financial grievances were ignored--for a time. Further, it was decided
that Germany should surrender her African colonies to the Great Powers;
yet Belgium, who contributed materially to their conquest, was not to be
associated with them.

Irritated by this illiberality, the Belgian delegation, having consulted
with M. Renkin, to whose judgment in these matters special weight
attached, resolved to make a firm stand, and refused to sign the Treaty
unless at least certain modest financial, economic, and colonial claims,
which ought to have been settled spontaneously, were accorded under
pressure. And the Supreme Council, rather than be arraigned before the
world on the charge of behaving unjustly as well as ungenerously toward
Belgium, ultimately gave way, leaving, however, an impression behind
which seemed as indelible as it was profound....

The domination which is now being exercised by the principal Powers over
the remaining states of the world is fraught with consequences which
were not foreseen, and have not yet been realized by those who
established it. Among the least momentous, but none the less real, is
one to which Belgium is exposed. Hitherto there was a language problem
in that heroic country which, being an internal controversy, could be
settled without noteworthy perturbations by the good-will of the
Walloons and the Flemings. The danger, which one fervently hopes will be
warded off, consists in the possible transformation of that dispute into
an international question, in consequence of possible accords of a
military or economic nature. The subject is too delicate to be handled
by a foreigner, and the Belgian people are too practical and law-loving
not to avoid unwary steps that might turn a linguistic problem into a
racial issue.

The Supreme Council soon came to be looked upon as the prototype of the
future League, and in that light its action was sharply scrutinized by
all whom the League concerned. Foremost among these were the
representatives of the lesser states, or, as they were termed, "states
with limited interests." This band of patriots had pilgrimaged to Paris
full of hope for their respective countries, having drunk in avidly the
unstinted praise and promises which had served as pabulum for their
attachment to the Allied cause during the war. But their illusions were
short-lived. At one of their first meetings with the delegates of the
Great Powers a storm burst which scattered their expectations to the
winds. When the sky cleared it was discovered that from indispensable
fellow-workers they had shrunk to dwarfish protégées, mere units of an
inferior category, who were to be told what to do and would be
constrained to do it thoroughly if not unmurmuringly.

At the historic sitting of January 26th, the delegates of the lesser
states protested energetically against the purely decorative part
assigned to them at a Conference in the decisions of which their peoples
were so intensely interested. The Canadian Minister, having spoken of
the "proposal" of the Great Powers, was immediately corrected by M.
Clemenceau, who brusquely said that it was not a proposal, but a
decision, which was therefore definitive and final. Thereupon the
Belgian delegate, M. Hymans, delivered a masterly speech, pleading for
genuine discussion in order to elucidate matters that so closely
concerned them all, and he requested the Conference to allow the smaller
belligerent Allies more than two delegates. Their demand was curtly
rejected by the French Premier, who informed his hearers that the
Conference was the creation of the Great Powers, who intended to keep
the direction of its labors in their own hands. He added significantly
that the smaller nations' representatives would probably not have been
invited at all if the special problem of the League of Nations had not
been mooted. Nor should it be forgotten, he added, that the five Great
Powers represented no less than twelve million fighting-men.... In
conclusion, he told them that they had better get on with their work in
lieu of wasting precious time in speechmaking. These words produced a
profound and lasting effect, which, however, was hardly the kind
intended by the French statesman.

"Conferential Tsarism" was the term applied to this magisterial method
by one of the offended delegates. He said to me on the morrow: "My reply
to M. Clemenceau was ready, but fear of impairing the prestige of the
Conference prevented me from uttering it. I could have emphasized the
need for unanimity in the presence of vigilant enemies, ready to
introduce a wedge into every fissure of the edifice we are constructing.
I could have pointed out that, this being an assembly of nations which
had waged war conjointly, there is no sound reason why its membership
should be diluted with states which never drew the sword at all. I might
have asked what has become of the doctrine preached when victory was
still undecided, that a league of nations must repose upon a free
consent of all sovereign states. And above all things else I could have
inquired how it came to pass that the architect-in-chief of the society
of nations which is to bestow a stable peace on mankind should invoke
the argument of force, of militarism, against the pacific peoples who
voluntarily made the supreme sacrifice for the cause of humanity and now
only ask for a hearing. Twelve million fighting-men is an argument to be
employed against the Teutons, not against the peace-loving, law-abiding
peoples of Europe.

"Premier Clemenceau seemed to lay the blame for the waste of time on our
shoulders, but the truth is that we were never admitted to the
deliberations until yesterday; although two and one-half months have
elapsed since the armistice was concluded, and although the progress
made by these leading statesmen is manifestly limited, he grudged us
forty-five minutes to give vent to our views and wishes.

"The French Tiger was admirable when crushing the enemies of
civilization with his twelve million fighting-men; but gestures and
actions which were appropriate to the battlefield become sources of
jarring and discord when imported into a concert of peoples."

Much bitterness was generated by those high-handed tactics, whereupon
certain slight concessions were made in order to placate the offended
delegates; but, being doled out with a bad grace, they failed of the
effect intended. Belgium received three delegates instead of two, and
Jugoslavia three; but Rumania, whose population was estimated at
fourteen millions, was allowed but two. This inexplicable decision
caused a fresh wound, which was kept continuously open by friction,
although it might readily have been avoided. Its consequences may be
traced in Rumania's singular relations to the Supreme Council before and
after the fall of Kuhn in Hungary.

But even those drastic methods might be deemed warranted if the policy
enforced were, in truth, conducive to the welfare of the nations on whom
it was imposed. But hastily improvised by one or two men, who had no
claim to superior or even average knowledge of the problems involved,
and who were constantly falling into egregious and costly errors, it was
inevitable that their intervention should be resented as arbitrary and
mischievous by the leaders of the interested nations whose
acquaintanceship with those questions and with the interdependent issues
was extensive and precise. This resentment, however, might have been
not, indeed, neutralized, but somewhat mitigated, if the temper and
spirit in which the Duumvirate discharged its self-set functions had
been free from hauteur and softened by modesty. But the magisterial
wording in which its decisions were couched, the abruptness with which
they were notified, and the threats that accompanied their imposition
would have been repellent even were the authors endowed with
infallibility.

One of the delegates who unbosomed himself to me on the subject soon
after the Germans had signed the Treaty remarked: "The Big Three are
superlatively unsympathetic to most of the envoys from the lesser
belligerent states. And it would be a wonder if it were otherwise, for
they make no effort to hide their disdain for us. In fact, it is
downright contempt. They never consult us. When we approach them they
shove us aside as importunate intruders. They come to decisions unknown
to us, and carry them out in secrecy, as though we were enemies or
spies. If we protest or remonstrate, we are imperialists and ungrateful.

"Often we learn only from the newspapers the burdens or the restrictions
that have been imposed on us."

A couple of days previously M. Clemenceau, in an unofficial reply to a
question put by the Rumanian delegation, directed them to consult the
financial terms of the Treaty with Austria, forgetting that the
delegates of the lesser states had not been allowed to receive or read
those terms. Although communicated to the Austrians, they were carefully
concealed from the Rumanians, whom they also concerned. At the same
time, the Rumanian government was called upon to take and announce a
decision which presupposed acquaintanceship with those conditions,
whereupon the Rumanian Premier telegraphed from Bucharest to Paris to
have them sent. But his _locum tenens_ did not possess a copy and had no
right to demand one.[140] Incongruities of this character were frequent.

One statesman in Paris, who enjoys a world-wide reputation, dissented
from those who sided with the lesser states. He looked at their protests
and tactics from an angle of vision which the unbiased historian,
however emphatically he may dissent from it, cannot ignore. He said:
"All the smaller communities are greedy and insatiable. If the chiefs of
the World Powers had understood their temper and ascertained their
aspirations in 1914, much that has passed into history since then would
never have taken place. During the war these miniature countries were
courted, flattered, and promised the sun and the moon, earth and heaven,
and all the glories therein. And now that these promises cannot be
redeemed, they are wroth, and peevishly threaten the great states with
disobedience and revolt. This, it is true, they could not do if the
latter had not forfeited their authority and prestige by allowing their
internal differences, hesitations, contradictions, and repentances to
become manifest to all. To-day it is common knowledge that the Great
Powers are amenable to very primitive incentives and deterrents. If in
the beginning they had been united and said to their minor brethren:
'These are your frontiers. These your obligations,' the minor brethren
would have bowed and acquiesced gratefully. In this way the boundary
problems might have been settled to the satisfaction of all, for each
new or enlarged state would have been treated as the recipient of a free
gift from the World Powers. But the plenipotentiaries went about their
task in a different and unpractical fashion. They began by recognizing
the new communities, and then they gave them representatives at the
Conference. This they did on the ground that the League of Nations must
first be founded, and that all well-behaved belligerents on the Allied
side have a right to be consulted upon that. And, finally, instead of
keeping to their program and liquidating the war, they mingled the
issues of peace with the clauses of the League and debated them
simultaneously. In these debates they revealed their own internal
differences, their hesitancy, and the weakness of their will. And the
lesser states have taken advantage of that. The general results have
been the postponement of peace, the physical exhaustion of the Central
Empires, and the spread of Bolshevism."

It should not be forgotten that this mixture of the general and the
particular of the old order and the new was objected to on other
grounds. The Italians, for example, urged that it changed the status of
a large number of their adversaries into that of highly privileged
Allies. During the war they were enemies, before the peace discussions
opened they had obtained forgiveness, after which they entered the
Conference as cherished friends. The Italians had waged their war
heroically against the Austrians, who inflicted heavy losses on them.
Who were these Austrians? They were composed of the various
nationalities which made up the Hapsburg monarchy, and in especial of
men of Slav speech. These soldiers, with notable exceptions, discharged
their duty to the Austrian Emperor and state conscientiously, according
to the terms of their oath. Their disposition toward the Italians was
not a whit less hostile than was that of the common German man against
the French and the English. Why, then, argued the Italians, accord them
privileges over the ally who bore the brunt of the fight against them?
Why even treat the two as equals? It may be replied that the bulk of the
people were indifferent and merely carried out orders. Well, the same
holds good of the average German, yet he is not being spoiled by the
victorious World Powers. But the Croats and others suddenly became the
favorite children of the Conference, while the Germans and
Teuton-Austrians, who in the meanwhile had accepted and fulfilled
President Wilson's conditions for entry into the fellowship of nations,
were not only punished heavily--which was perfectly just--but also
disqualified for admission into the League, which was inconsistent.

The root of all the incoherences complained of lay in the circumstance
that the chiefs of the Great Powers had no program, no method; Mr.
Wilson's pristine scheme would have enabled him to treat the gallant
Serbs and their Croatian brethren as he desired. But he had failed to
maintain it against opposition. On the other hand, the traditional
method of the balance of power would have given Italy all that she could
reasonably ask for, but Mr. Wilson had partially destroyed it. Nothing
remained then but to have recourse to a _tertium quid_ which profoundly
dissatisfied both parties and imperiled the peace of the world in days
to come. And even this makeshift the eminent plenipotentiaries were
unable to contrive single-handed. Their notion of getting the work done
was to transfer it to missions, commissions, and sub-commissions, and
then to take action which, as often as not, ran counter to the
recommendations of these selected agents. Oddly enough, none of these
bodies received adequate directions. To take a concrete example: a
central commission was appointed to deal with the Polish frontier
problems, a second commission under M. Jules Cambon had to study the
report on the Polish Delimitation question, but although often
consulted, it was seldom listened to. Then there was a third commission,
which also did excellent work to very little purpose. Now all the
questions which formed the subjects of their inquiries might be
approached from various sides. There were historical frontiers,
ethnographical frontiers, political and strategical and linguistic
frontiers. And this does not exhaust the list. Among all these, then,
the commissioners had to choose their field of investigation as the
spirit moved them, without any guidance from the Supreme Council, which
presumably did not know what it wanted.

As an example of the Council's unmethodical procedure, and of its
slipshod way of tackling important work, the following brief sketch of a
discussion which was intended to be decisive and final, but ended in
mere waste of time, may be worth recording. The topic mooted was
disarmament. The Anglo-Saxon plenipotentiaries, feeling that they owed
it to their doctrines and their peoples to ease the military burdens of
the latter and lessen temptations to acts of violence, favored a measure
by which armaments should be reduced forthwith. The Italian delegates
had put forward the thesis, which was finally accepted, that if Austria,
for instance, was to be forbidden to keep more than a certain number of
troops under arms, the prohibition should be extended to all the states
of which Austria had been composed, and that in all these cases the
ratio between the population and the army should be identical.
Accordingly, the spokesmen of the various countries interested were
summoned to take cognizance of the decision and intimate their readiness
to conform to it.

M. Paderewski listened respectfully to the decree, and then remarked:
"According to the accounts received from the French military
authorities, Germany still has three hundred and fifty thousand soldiers
in Silesia." "No," corrected M. Clemenceau, "only three hundred
thousand." "I accept the correction," replied the Polish Premier. "The
difference, however, is of no importance to my contention, which is that
according to the symptoms reported we Poles may have to fight the
Germans and to wage the conflict single-handed. As you know, we have
other military work on hand. I need only mention our strife with the
Bolsheviki. If we are deprived of effective means of self-defense, on
the one hand, and told to expect no help from the Allies, on the other
hand, the consequence will be what every intelligent observer foresees.
Now three hundred thousand Germans is no trifle to cope with. If we
confront them with an inadequate force and are beaten, what then?"
"Undoubtedly," exclaimed M. Clemenceau, "if the Germans were victorious
in the east of Europe the Allies would have lost the war. And that is a
perspective not to be faced."

M. Bratiano spoke next. "We too," he said, "have to fight the Bolsheviki
on more than one front. This struggle is one of life and death to us.
But it concerns, if only in a lesser degree, all Europe, and we are
rendering services to the Great Powers by the sacrifices we thus offer
up. Is it desirable, is it politic, to limit our forces without
reference to these redoubtable tasks which await them? Is it not
incumbent on the Powers to allow these states to grow to the dimensions
required for the discharge of their functions?" "What you advance is
true enough for the moment," objected M. Clemenceau; "but you forget
that our limitations are not to be applied at once. We fix a term after
the expiry of which the strength of the armies will be reduced. We have
taken all the circumstances into account." "Are you prepared to affirm,"
queried the Rumanian Minister, "that you can estimate the time with
sufficient precision to warrant our risking the existence of our country
on your forecast?" "The danger will have completely disappeared,"
insisted the French Premier, "by January, 1921." "I am truly glad to
have this assurance," answered M. Bratiano, "for I doubt not that you
are quite certain of what you advance, else you would not stake the fate
of your eastern allies on its correctness. But as we who have not been
told the grounds on which you base this calculation are asked to
manifest our faith in it by incurring the heaviest conceivable risks,
would it be too much to suggest that the Great Powers should show their
confidence in their own forecast by guaranteeing that if by the
insurgence of unexpected events they proved to be mistaken and Rumania
were attacked, they would give us prompt and adequate military
assistance?" To this appeal there was no affirmative response; whereupon
M. Bratiano concluded: "The limitation of armaments is highly desirable.
No people is more eager for it than ours. But it has one limitation
which must, I venture to think, be respected. So long as you have a
restive or dubious neighbor, whose military forces are subjected neither
to limitation nor control, you cannot divest yourself of your own means
of self-defense. That is our view of the matter."

Months later the same difficulty cropped up anew, this time in a
concrete form, and was dealt with by the Supreme Council in its
characteristic manner. Toward the end of August Rumania's doings in
Hungary and her alleged designs on the Banat alarmed and angered the
delegates, whose authority was being flouted with impunity; and by way
of summarily terminating the scandal and preventing unpleasant surprises
M. Clemenceau proposed that all further consignments of arms to Rumania
should cease. Thereupon Italy's chief representative, Signor Tittoni,
offered an amendment. He deprecated, he said, any measure leveled
specially against Rumania, all the more that there existed already an
enactment of the old Council of Four limiting the armaments of all the
lesser states. The Military Council of Versailles, having been charged
with the study of this matter, had reached the conclusion that the Great
Powers should not supply any of the governments with war material.
Signor Tittoni was of the opinion, therefore, that those conclusions
should now be enforced.

The Council thereupon agreed with the Italian delegate, and passed a
resolution to supply none of the lesser countries with war material. And
a few minutes later it passed another resolution authorizing Germany to
cede part of her munitions and war material to Czechoslovakia and some
more to General Yudenitch![141]

When the commissions to which all the complex problems had to be
referred were being first created,[142] the lesser states were allowed
only five representatives on the Financial and Economic commissions, and
were bidden to elect them. The nineteen delegates of these States
protested on the ground that this arrangement would not give them
sufficient weight in the councils by which their interests would be
discussed. These malcontents were headed by Senhor Epistacio Pessoa, the
President-elect of the United States of Brazil. The Polish delegate, M.
Dmowski, addressing the meeting, suggested that they should not proceed
to an election, the results of which might stand in no relation to the
interests which the states represented had in matters of European
finance, but that they should ask the Great Powers to appoint the
delegates. To this the President-elect of Brazil demurred, taking the
ground that it would be undignified for the lesser states to submit to
have their spokesman nominated by the greater. Thereupon they elected
five delegates, all of them from South American countries, to deal with
European finance, leaving the Europeans to choose five from among
themselves. This would have given ten in all to the communities whose
interests were described as limited, and was an affront to the Great
Powers.

This comedy was severely judged and its authors reprimanded by the heads
of the Conference, who, while quashing the elections, relented to the
extent of promising that extra delegates might be appointed for the
lesser nations later on. As a matter of fact, the number of commissions
was of no real consequence, because on all momentous issues their
findings, unless they harmonized with the decisions of the chief
plenipotentiaries, were simply ignored.

The curious attitude of the Supreme Council toward Rumania may be
contemplated from various angles of vision. But the safest coign of
vantage from which to look at it is that formed by the facts.

Rumania's grievances were many, and they began at the opening of the
Conference, when she was refused more than two delegates as against the
five attributed to each of the Great Powers and three each for Serbia
and Belgium, whose populations are numerically inferior to hers. Then
her treaty with Great Britain, France, and Russia, on the strength of
which she entered the war, was upset by its more powerful signatories as
soon as the frontier question was mooted at the Conference. Further, the
existence of the Rumanian delegation was generally ignored by the
Supreme Council. Thus, when the treaty with Germany was presented to
Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau, a mere journalist[143] at the Conference
possessed a complete copy, whereas the Rumanian delegation, headed by
the Prime Minister Bratiano, had cognizance only of an incomplete
summary. When the fragmentary treaty was drafted for Austria, the
Rumanian delegation saw the text only on the evening before the
presentation, and, noticing inacceptable clauses, formulated
reservations. These reservations were apparently acquiesced in by the
members of the Supreme Council. That, at any rate, was the impression of
MM. Bratiano and Misu. But on the following day, catching a glimpse of
the draft, they discovered that the obnoxious provisions had been left
intact. Then they lodged their reserves in writing, but to no purpose.
One of the obligations imposed on Rumania by the Powers was a promise to
accept in advance any and every measure that the Supreme Council might
frame for the protection of minorities in the country, and for further
restricting the sovereignty of the state in matters connected with the
transit of Allied goods. And, lastly, the Rumanians complained that the
action of the Supreme Council was creating a dangerous ferment in the
Dobrudja, and even in Transylvania, where the Saxon minority, which had
willingly accepted Rumanian sway, was beginning to agitate against it.
In Bessarabia the non-Rumanian elements of the population were fiercely
opposing the Rumanians and invoking the support of the Peace Conference.
The cardinal fact which, in the judgment of the Rumanians, dominated the
situation was the _quasi_ ultimatum presented to them in the spring,
when they were summoned unofficially and privately to grant industrial
concessions to a pushing body of financiers, or else to abide by the
consequences, one of which, they were told, would be the loss of
America's active assistance. They had elected to incur the threatened
penalty after having carefully weighed the advantages and disadvantages
of laying the matter before President Wilson himself, and inquiring
officially whether the action in question was--as they felt sure it must
be--in contradiction with the President's east European policy. For it
would be sad to think that abundant petroleum might have washed away
many of the tribulations which the Rumanians had afterward to endure,
and that loans accepted on onerous conditions would, as was hinted, have
softened the hearts of those who had it in their power to render the
existence of the nation sour or sweet.[144] "Look out," exclaimed a
Rumanian to me. "You will see that we shall be spurned as Laodiceans,
or worse, before the Conference is over." Rumania's external situation
was even more perilous than her domestic plight. Situated between Russia
and Hungary, she came more and more to resemble the iron between the
hammer and the anvil. A well-combined move of the two anarchist states
might have pulverized her. Alive to the danger, her spokesmen in Paris
were anxious to guard against it, but the only hope they had at the
moment was centered in the Great Powers, whose delegates at the
Conference were discharging the functions which the League of Nations
would be called on to fulfil whenever it became a real institution. And
their past experience of the Great Powers' mode of action was not
calculated to command their confidence. It was the Great Powers which,
for their own behoof and without the slightest consideration for the
interests of Rumania, had constrained that country to declare war
against the Central Empires[145] and had made promises of effective
support in the shape of Russian troops, war material of every kind,
officers, and heavy artillery. But neither the promises of help nor the
assurances that Germany's army of invasion would be immobilized were
redeemed, and so far as one can now judge they ought never to have been
made. For what actually came to pass--the invasion of the country by
first-class German armies under Mackensen--might easily have been
foreseen, and was actually foretold.[146] The entire country was put to
sack, and everything of value that could be removed was carried off to
Hungary, Germany, or Austria. The Allies lavished their verbal
sympathies on the immolated nation, but did little else to succor it,
and want and misery and disease played havoc with the people.

After the armistice things became worse instead of better. The
Hungarians were permitted to violate the conditions and keep a powerful
army out of all proportion to the area which they were destined to
retain, and as the Allies disposed of no countering force in eastern
Europe, their commands were scoffed at by the Budapest Cabinet. In the
spring of 1919 the Bolshevists of Hungary waxed militant and threatened
the peace of Rumania, whose statesmen respectfully sued for permission
to occupy certain commanding positions which would have enabled their
armies to protect the land from invasion. But the Duumviri in Paris
negatived the request. They fancied that they understood the situation
better than the people on the spot. Thereupon the Bolshevists, ever
ready for an opportunity, seized upon the opening afforded them by the
Supreme Council, attacked the Rumanians, and invaded their territory.
Nothing abashed, the two Anglo-Saxon statesmen comforted M. Bratiano and
his colleagues with the expression of their regret and the promise that
tranquillity would not again be disturbed. The Supreme Council would see
to that. But this promise, like those that preceded it, was broken.

The Rumanians went so far as to believe that the Supreme Council either
had Bolshevist leanings or underwent secret influences--perhaps
unwittingly--the nature of which it was not easy to ascertain. In
support of these theories they urged that when the Rumanians were on the
very point of annihilating the Red troops of Kuhn, it was the Supreme
Council which interposed its authority to save them, and did save them
effectually, when nothing else could have done it. That Kuhn was on the
point of collapsing was a matter of common knowledge. A radio-telegram
flashed from Budapest by one of his lieutenants contained this
significant avowal: "He [Kuhn] has announced that the Hungarian forces
are in flight. The troops which occupied a good position at the
bridgehead of Gomi have abandoned it, carrying with them the men who
were doing their duty. In Budapest preparations are going forward for
equipping fifteen workmen's battalions." In other words, the downfall of
Bolshevism had begun. The Rumanians were on the point of achieving it.
Their troops on the bank of the river Tisza[147] were preparing to march
on Budapest. And it was at that critical moment that the world-arbiters
at the Conference who had anathematized the Bolshevists as the curse of
civilization interposed their authority and called a halt. If they had
solid grounds for intervening they were not avowed. M. Clemenceau sent
for M. Bratiano and vetoed the march in peremptory terms which did scant
justice to the services rendered and the sacrifices made by the Rumanian
state. Secret arrangements, it was whispered, had been come to between
agents of the Powers and Kuhn. At the time nobody quite understood the
motive of the sudden change of disposition evinced by the Allies toward
the Magyar Bolshevists. For it was assumed that they still regarded the
Bolshevist leaders as outlaws. One explanation was that they objected to
allow the Rumanian army alone to occupy the Hungarian capital. But that
would not account for their neglect to despatch an Inter-Allied
contingent to restore order in the city and country. For they remained
absolutely inactive while Kuhn's supporters were rallying and
consolidating their scattered and demoralized forces, and they kept the
Rumanians from balking the Bolshevist work of preparing another attack.
As one of their French critics[148] remarked, they dealt exclusively in
negatives--some of them pernicious enough, whereas a positive policy
was imperatively called for. To reconstruct a nation, not to say a
ruined world, a series of contradictory vetoes is hardly sufficient. But
another explanation of their attitude was offered which gained
widespread acceptance. It will be unfolded presently.

The dispersed Bolshevist army, thus shielded, soon recovered its nerve,
and, feeling secure on the Rumanian front, where the Allies held the
invading troops immobilized, attacked the Slovaks and overran their
country. For Bolshevism is by nature proselytizing. The Prague Cabinet
was dismayed. The new-born Czechoslovak state was shaken. A catastrophe
might, as it seemed, ensue at any moment. Rumania's troops were on the
watch for the signal to resume their march, but it came not. The
Czechoslovaks were soliciting it prayerfully. But the weak-kneed
plenipotentiaries in Paris were minded to fight, if at all, with weapons
taken from a different arsenal. In lieu of ordering the Rumanian troops
to march on Budapest, they addressed themselves to the Bolshevist
leader, Kuhn, summoned him to evacuate the Slovak country, and
volunteered the promise that they would compel the Rumanians to
withdraw. This amazing line of action was decided on by the secret
Council of Three without the assent or foreknowledge of the nation to
whose interests it ran counter and the head of whose government was
rubbing shoulders with the plenipotentiaries every day. But M.
Bratiano's existence and that of his fellow-delegate was systematically
ignored. It is not easy to fathom the motives that inspired this
supercilious treatment of the spokesman of a nation which was
sacrificing its sons in the service of the Allies as well as its own.
Personal antipathy, however real, cannot be assumed without convincing
grounds to have been the mainspring.

But there was worse than the contemptuous treatment of a colleague who
was also the chief Minister of a friendly state. If an order was to be
given to the Rumanian government to recall its forces from the front
which they occupied, elementary courtesy and political tact as well as
plain common sense would have suggested its being communicated, in the
first instance, to the chief of that government--who was then resident
in Paris--as head of his country's delegation to the Conference. But
that was not the course taken. The statesmen of the Secret Council had
recourse to the radio, and, without consulting M. Bratiano, despatched a
message "to the government in Bucharest" enjoining on it the withdrawal
of the Rumanian army. For they were minded scrupulously to redeem their
promise to the Bolshevists. One need not be a diplomatist to realize the
amazement of "the Rumanian government" on receiving this abrupt behest.
The feelings of the Premier, when informed of these underhand doings,
can readily be imagined. And it is no secret that the temper of a large
section of the Rumanian people was attuned by these petty freaks to
sentiments which boded no good to the cause for which the Allies
professed to be working. In September M. Bratiano was reported as having
stigmatized the policy adopted by the Conference toward Rumania as being
of a "malicious and dangerous character."[149]

The frontier to which the troops were ordered to withdraw had, as we
saw, just been assigned to Rumania[150] without the assent of her
government, and with a degree of secrecy and arbitrariness that gave
deep offense, not only to her official representatives, but also to
those parliamentarians and politicians who from genuine attachment or
for peace' sake were willing to go hand in hand with the Entente. "If
one may classify the tree by its fruits," exclaimed a Rumanian statesman
in my hearing, "the great Three are unconscious Bolshevists. They are
undermining respect for authority, tradition, plain, straightforward
dealing, and, in the case of Rumania, are behaving as though their
staple aim were to detach our nation from France and the Entente. And
this aim is not unattainable. The Rumanian people were heart and soul
with the French, but the bonds which were strong a short while ago are
being weakened among an influential section of the people, to the regret
of all Rumanian patriots."

The answer given by the "Rumanian government in Bucharest" to the
peremptory order of the Secret Council was a reasoned refusal to comply.
Rumania, taught by terrible experience, declined to be led once more
into deadly peril against her own better judgment. Her statesmen, more
intimately acquainted with the Hungarians than were Mr. Lloyd George,
Mr. Wilson, and M. Clemenceau, required guaranties which could be
supplied only by armed forces--Rumanian or Allied. Unless and until
Hungary received a government chosen by the free will of the people and
capable of offering guaranties of good conduct, the troops must remain
where they were. For the line which they occupied at the moment could be
defended with four divisions, whereas the new one could not be held by
less than seven or eight. The Council was therefore about to commit
another fateful mistake, the consequences of which it was certain to
shift to the shoulders of the pliant people. It was then that Rumania's
leaders kicked against the pricks.

To return to the dispute between Bucharest and Paris: the Rumanian
government would have been willing to conform to the desire of the
Supreme Council and withdraw its troops if the Supreme Council would
only make good its assurance and guarantee Rumania effectually from
future attacks by the Hungarians. The proviso was reasonable, and as a
measure of self-defense imperative. The safeguard asked for was a
contingent of Allied force. But the two supreme councilors in Paris
dealt only in counters. All they had to offer to M. Bratiano were verbal
exhortations before the combat and lip-sympathy after defeat, and these
the Premier rejected. But here, as in the case of the Poles, the
representatives of the "Allied and Associated" Powers insisted. They
were profuse of promises, exhortations, and entreaties before passing to
threats--of guaranties they said nothing--but the Rumanian Premier,
turning a deaf ear to cajolery and intimidation, remained inflexible.
For he was convinced that their advice was often vitiated by gross
ignorance and not always inspired by disinterestedness, while the orders
they issued were hardly more than the velleities of well-meaning gropers
in the dark who lacked the means of executing them.

The eminent plenipotentiaries, thus set at naught by a little state,
ruminated on the embarrassing situation. In all such cases their
practice had been to resign themselves to circumstances if they proved
unable to bend circumstances to their schemes. It was thus that
President Wilson had behaved when British statesmen declined even to
hear him on the subject of the freedom of the seas, when M. Clemenceau
refused to accept a peace that denied the Saar Valley and a pledge of
military assistance to France, and when Japan insisted on the
retrocession of Shantung. Toward Italy an attitude of firmness had been
assumed, because owing to her economic dependence on Britain and the
United States she could not indulge in the luxury of nonconformity.
Hence the plenipotentiaries, and in particular Mr. Wilson, asserted
their will inexorably and were painfully surprised that one of the
lesser states had the audacity to defy it.

The circumstance that after their triumph over Italy the world's
trustees were thus publicly flouted by a little state of eastern Europe
was gall and wormwood to them. It was also a menace to the cause with
which they were identified. None the less, they accepted the inevitable
for the moment, pitched their voices in a lower key, and decided to
approve the Rumanian thesis that Neo-Bolshevism in Hungary must be no
longer bolstered up,[151] but be squashed vicariously. They accordingly
invited the representatives of the three little countries on which the
honor of waging these humanitarian wars in the anarchist east of Europe
was to be conferred, and sounded them as to their willingness to put
their soldiers in the field, and how many as to the numbers available.
M. Bratiano offered eight divisions. The Czechoslovaks did not relish
the project, but after some delay and fencing around agreed to furnish a
contingent, whereas the Jugoslavs met the demand with a plain negative,
which was afterward changed to acquiescence when the Council promised to
keep the Italians from attacking them. As things turned out, none but
the Rumanians actually fought the Hungarian Reds. Meanwhile the members
of the American, British, and Italian missions in Hungary endeavored to
reach a friendly agreement with the criminal gang in Budapest.

The plan of campaign decided on had Marshal Foch for its author. It was,
therefore, business-like. He demanded a quarter of a million men,[152]
to which it was decided that Rumania should contribute 120,000,
Jugoslavia 50,000, and Czechoslovakia as many as she could conveniently
afford. But the day before the preparations were to have begun,[153]
Bela Kuhn flung his troops[154] against the Rumanians with initial
success, drove them across the Tisza with considerable loss, took up
commanding positions, and struck dismay into the members of the Supreme
Council. The Semitic Dictator, with grim humor, explained to the
crestfallen lawgivers, who were once more at fault, that a wanton breach
of the peace was alien to his thoughts; that, on the contrary, his
motive for action deserved high praise--it was to compel the rebellious
Rumanians to obey the behest of the Conference and withdraw to their
frontiers. The plenipotentiaries bore this gibe with dignity, and
decided to have recourse once more to their favorite, and, indeed, only
method--the despatch of exhortative telegrams. Of more efficacious means
they were destitute. This time their message, which lacked a definite
address, was presumably intended for the anti-Bolshevist population of
Hungary, whom it indirectly urged to overthrow the Kuhn Cabinet and
receive the promised reward--namely, the privilege of entering into
formal relations with the Entente and signing the death-warrant of the
Magyar state. It is not easy to see how this solution alone could have
enabled the Supreme Council to establish normal conditions and
tranquillity in the land. But the Duumvirate seemed utterly incapable of
devising a coherent policy for central or eastern Europe. Even when
Hungary had a government friendly to the Entente they never obtained any
advantage from it. They had had no use for Count Karolyi. They had
allowed things to slip and slide, and permitted--nay, helped--Bolshevism
to thrive, although they had brand-marked it as a virulent epidemic to
be drastically stamped out. Temper, education, and training disqualified
them for seizing opportunity and pressing the levers that stood ready
to their hand.

In consequence of the vacillation of the two chiefs, who seldom stood
firm in the face of difficulties, the members of the predatory gang
which concealed its alien origin under Magyar nationality and its
criminal propensities[155] under a political mask had been enabled to go
on playing an odious comedy, to the disgust of sensible people and the
detriment of the new and enlarged states of Europe. For the cost of the
Supreme Council's weakness had to be paid in blood and substance, little
though the two delegates appeared to realize this. The extent to which
the ruinous process was carried out would be incredible were it not
established by historic facts and documents.

The permanent agents of the Powers in Hungary,[156] preferring
conciliation to force, now exhorted the Hungarians to rid themselves of
Kuhn and promised in return to expel the Rumanians from Hungarian
territory once more and to have the blockade raised. At the close of
July some Magyars from Austria met Kuhn at a frontier station[157] and
strove to persuade him to withdraw quietly into obscurity, but he,
confiding in the policy of the Allies and his star, scouted the
suggestion. It was at this juncture that the Rumanians, pushing on to
Budapest, resolved, come what might, to put an end to the intolerable
situation and to make a clean job of it once for all. And they
succeeded.

For Rumania's initial military reverse[158] was the result of a
surprise attack by some eighty thousand men. But her troops rapidly
regained their warlike spirit, recrossed the river Tisza, shattered the
Neo-Bolshevist regime, and reached the environs of Budapest.

By the 1st of August the lawless band that was ruining the country
relinquished the reins of power, which were taken over at first by a
Socialist Cabinet of which an influential French press organ wrote: "The
names of the new ... commissaries of the people tell us nothing, because
their bearers are unknown. But the endings of their names tell us that
most of them are, like those of the preceding government, of Jewish
origin. Never since the inauguration of official communism did Budapest
better deserve the appellation of Judapest, which was assigned to it by
the late M. Lueger, chief of the Christian Socialists of Vienna. That is
an additional trait in common with the Russian Soviets."[159]

The Rumanians presented a stiff ultimatum to the new Hungarian Cabinet.
They were determined to safeguard their country and its neighbors from a
repetition of the danger and of the sacrifices it entailed; in other
words, to dictate the terms of a new armistice. The Powers demurred and
ordered them to content themselves with the old one concluded by the
Serbian Voyevod Mishitch and General Henrys in November of the preceding
year and violated subsequently by the Magyars. But the objections to
this course were many and unanswerable. In fact they were largely
identical with the objections which the Supreme Council itself had
offered to the Polish-Ukrainian armistice. And besides these there were
others. For example, the Rumanians had had no hand or part in drafting
the old armistice. Moreover it was clearly inapplicable to the fresh
campaign which was waged and terminated nine months after it had been
drawn up. Experience had shown that it was inadequate to guarantee
public tranquillity, for it had not hindered Magyar attacks on the
Rumanians and Czechoslovaks. The Rumanians, therefore, now that they had
worsted their adversaries, were resolved to disarm them and secure a
real peace. They decided to leave fifteen thousand troops for the
maintenance of internal order.[160] Rumania's insistence on the delivery
of live-stock, corn, agricultural machinery, and rolling-stock for
railways was, it was argued, necessitated by want and justified by
equity. For it was no more than partial reparation for the immense
losses wantonly inflicted on the nation by the Magyars and their allies.
Until then no other amends had been made or even offered. The Austrians,
Hungarians, and Germans, during their two years' occupation of Rumania,
had seized and carried off from the latter country two million five
hundred thousand tons of wheat and hundreds of thousands of head of
cattle, besides vast quantities of clothing, wool, skins, and raw
material, while thousands of Rumanian homes were gutted and their
contents taken away and sold in the Central Empires. Factories were
stripped of their machinery and the railways of their engines and
wagons. When Mackensen left there remained in Rumania only fifty
locomotives out of the twelve hundred which she possessed before the
war. The material, therefore, that Rumania removed from Hungary during
the first weeks of the occupation represented but a small part of the
quantities of which she had been despoiled during the war.

It was further urged that at the beginning the Rumanian delegates would
have contented themselves with reparation for losses wantonly inflicted
and for the restitution of the property wrongfully taken from them by
their enemies, on the lines on which France had obtained this offset.
They had asked for this, but were informed that their request could not
be complied with. They were not even permitted to send a representative
to Germany to point out to the Inter-Allied authorities the objects of
which their nation had been robbed, as though the plunderers would
voluntarily give up their ill-gotten stores! It was partly because of
these restrictions that the Rumanian authorities resolved to take what
belonged to them without more ado. And they could not, they said, afford
to wait, because they were expecting an attack by the Russian Bolsheviki
and it behooved them to have done with one foe before taking on another.
These explanations irritated in lieu of calming the Supreme Council.

"Possibly," wrote the well-informed _Temps_, "Rumania would have been
better treated if she had closed with certain proposals of loans on
crushing terms or complied with certain demands for oil
concessions."[161] Possibly. But surely problems of justice, equity, and
right ought never to have been mixed up with commercial and industrial
interests, whether with the connivance or by the carelessness of the
holders of a vast trust who needed and should have merited unlimited
confidence. It is neither easy nor edifying to calculate the harm which
transactions of this nature, whether completed or merely inchoate, are
capable of inflicting on the great community for whose moral as well as
material welfare the Supreme Council was laboring in darkness against so
many obstacles of its own creation. Is it surprising that the states
which suffered most from these weaknesses of the potent delegates should
have resented their misdirection and endeavored to help themselves as
best they could? It may be blameworthy and anti-social, but it is
unhappily natural and almost unavoidable. It is sincerely to be
regretted that the art of stimulating the nations--about which the
delegates were so solicitous--to enthusiastic readiness to accept the
Council as the "moral guide of the world" should have been exercised in
such bungling fashion.

The Supreme Council then feeling impelled to assert its dignity against
the wilfulness of a small nation decided on ignoring alike the service
and the disservice rendered by Rumania's action. Accordingly, it
proceeded without reference to any of the recent events except the
disappearance of the Bolshevist gang. Four generals were accordingly
told off to take the conduct of Hungarian affairs into their hands
despite their ignorance of the actual conditions of the problem.[162]
They were ordered to disarm the Magyars, to deliver up Hungary's war
material to the Allies, of whom only the Rumanians and the Czechoslovaks
had taken the field against the enemy since the conclusion of the
armistice the year before, and they were also to exercise their
authority over the Rumanian victors and the Serbs, both of whom occupied
Hungarian territory. The _Temps_ significantly remarked that the Supreme
Council, while not wishing to deal with any Hungarian government but one
qualified to represent the country, "seems particularly eager to see
resumed the importation of foreign wares into Hungary. Certain persons
appear to fear that Rumania, by retaking from the Magyars wagons and
engines, might check the resumption of this traffic."[163]

What it all came to was that the Great Powers, who had left Rumania to
her fate when she was attacked by the Magyars, intervened the moment the
assailed nation, helping itself, got the better of its enemy, and then
they resolved to balk it of the fruits of victory and of the safeguards
it would fain have created for the future. It was to rely upon the
Supreme Council once more, to take the broken reed for a solid staff.
That the Powers had something to urge in support of their interposition
will not be denied. They rightly set forth that Rumania was not
Hungary's only creditor. Her neighbors also possessed claims that must
be satisfied as far as feasible, and equity prompted the pooling of all
available assets. This plea could not be refuted. But the credit which
the pleaders ought to have enjoyed in the eyes of the Rumanian nation
was so completely sapped by their antecedents that no heed was paid to
their reasoning, suasion, or promises.

Rumania, therefore, in requisitioning Hungarian property was formally in
the wrong. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that she, like
other nations, was exasperated by the high-handed action of the Great
Powers, who proceeded as though her good-will and loyalty were of no
consequence to the pacification of eastern Europe.

After due deliberation the Supreme Council agreed upon the wording of a
conciliatory message, not to the Rumanians, but to the Magyars, to be
despatched to Lieutenant-Colonel Romanelli. The gist of it was the old
refrain, "to carry out the terms of the armistice[164] and respect the
frontiers traced by the Supreme Council[165] and we will protect you
from the Rumanians, who have no authority from us. We are sending
forthwith an Inter-Allied military commission[166] to superintend the
disarmament and see that the Rumanian troops withdraw."

It cannot be denied that the Rumanian conditions were drastic. But it
should be remembered that the provocation amounted almost to
justification. And as for the crime of disobedience, it will not be
gainsaid that a large part of the responsibility fell on the shoulders
of the lawgivers in Paris, whose decrees, coming oracularly from
Olympian heights without reference to local or other concrete
circumstances, inflicted heavy losses in blood and substance on the
ill-starred people of Rumania. And to make matters worse, Rumania's
official representatives at the Conference had been not merely ignored,
but reprimanded like naughty school-children by a harsh dominie and
occasionally humiliated by men whose only excuse was nervous tenseness
in consequence of overwork combined with morbid impatience at being
contradicted in matters which they did not understand. Other states had
contemplated open rebellion against the big ferrule of the "bosses," and
more than once the resolution was taken to go on strike unless certain
concessions were accorded them. Alone the Rumanians executed their
resolve.

Naturally the destiny-weavers of peoples and nations in Paris were
dismayed at the prospect and apprehensive lest the Rumanians should end
the war in their own way. They despatched three notes in quick
succession to the Bucharest government, one of which reads like a
peevish indictment hastily drafted before the evidence had been sifted
or even carefully read. It raked up many of the old accusations that had
been leveled against the Rumanians, tacked them on to the crime of
insubordination, and without waiting for an answer--assuming, in fact,
that there could be no satisfactory answer--summoned them to prove
publicly by their acts that they accepted and were ready to execute in
good faith the policy decided upon by the Conference.[167]

That note seemed unnecessarily offensive and acted on the Rumanians as
a powerful irritant,[168] besides exposing the active members of the
Supreme Council to scathing criticism. The Rumanians asked their Entente
friends in private to outline the policy which they were accused of
countering, and were told in reply that it was beyond the power of the
most ingenious hair-splitting casuist to define or describe. "As for
us," wrote one of the stanchest supporters of the Entente in French
journalism, "who have followed with attention the labors and the
utterances, written and oral, of the Four, the Five, the Ten, of the
Supreme and Superior Councils, we have not yet succeeded in discovering
what was the 'policy decided by the Conference.' We have indeed heard or
read countless discourses pronounced by the choir-masters. They abound
in noble thought, in eloquent expositions, in protests, and in promises.
But of aught that could be termed a policy we have not found a
trace."[169] This verdict will be indorsed by the historian.

The Rumanians seemed in no hurry to reply to the Council's three notes.
They were said to be too busy dealing out what they considered rough and
ready justice to their enemies, and were impatient of the intervention
of their "friends." They seized rolling-stock, cattle, agricultural
implements, and other property of the kind that had been stolen from
their own people and sent the booty home without much ado. Work of this
kind was certain to be accompanied by excesses and the Conference
received numerous protests from the aggrieved inhabitants. But on the
whole Rumania, at any rate during the first few weeks of the occupation,
had the substantial sympathy of the largest and most influential
section of the world's press. People declared that they were glad to
see the haze of self-righteousness and cant at last dispelled by a whiff
of wholesome egotism. From the outspoken comments of the most widely
circulating journals in France and Britain the dictators in Paris, who
were indignant that the counsels of the strong should carry so little
weight in eastern Europe, could acquaint themselves with the impression
which their efforts at cosmic legislation were producing among the saner
elements of mankind.

In almost every language one could read words of encouragement to the
recalcitrant Rumanians for having boldly burst the irksome bonds in
which the peoples of the world were being pinioned. "It is our view,"
wrote one firm adherent of the Entente, "that having proved incapable of
protecting the Rumanians in their hour of danger, our alliance cannot
to-day challenge the safeguards which they have won for
themselves."[170]

"If liberty had her old influence," one read in another popular
journal,[171] "the Great Powers would not be bringing pressure to bear
on Rumania with the object of saving Hungary from richly deserved
punishment." "Instead of nagging the Rumanians," wrote an eminent French
publicist, "they would do much better to keep the Turks in hand. If the
Turks in despair, in order to win American sympathies, proclaim
themselves socialists, syndicalists, or laborists, will President Wilson
permit them to renovate Armenia and other places after the manner of
Jinghiz Khan?"[172]

But what may have weighed with the Supreme Council far more than the
disapproval of publicists were its own impotence, the undignified figure
it was cutting, and the injury that was being done to the future League
of Nations by the impunity with which one of the lesser states could
thus set at naught the decisions of its creators and treat them with
almost the same disrespect which they themselves had displayed toward
the Rumanian delegates in Paris. They saw that once their energetic
representations were ignored by the Bucharest government they were at
the end of their means of influencing it. To compel obedience by force
was for the time being out of the question. In these circumstances the
only issue left them was to make a virtue of necessity and veer round to
the Rumanian point of view as unobtrusively as might be, so as to tide
over the transient crisis. And that was the course which they finally
struck out.

Matters soon came to the culminating point. The members of the Allied
Military Mission had received full powers to force the commanders of the
troops of occupation to obey the decisions of the Conference, and when
they were confronted with M. Diamandi, the ex-Minister to Petrograd,
they issued their orders in the name of the Supreme Council. "We take
orders here only from our own government, which is in Bucharest," was
the answer they received. The Rumanians have a proverb which runs: "Even
a donkey will not fall twice into the same quicksand," and they may have
quoted it to General Gorton when refusing to follow the Allies after
their previous painful experience. Then the mission telegraphed to Paris
for further instructions.[173] In the meanwhile the Rumanian government
had sent its answer to the three notes of the Council. And its tenor was
firm and unyielding. Undeterred by menaces, M. Bratiano maintained that
he had done the right thing in sending troops to Budapest, imposing
terms on Hungary and re-establishing order. As a matter of fact he had
rendered a sterling service to all Europe, including France and
Britain. For if Kuhn and his confederates had contrived to overrun
Rumania, the Great Powers would have been morally bound to hasten to the
assistance of their defeated ally. The press was permitted to announce
that the Council of Five was preparing to accept the Rumanian position.
The members of the Allied Military Mission were informed that they were
not empowered to give orders to the Rumanians, but only to consult and
negotiate with them, whereby all their tact and consideration were
earnestly solicited.

But the palliatives devised by the delegates were unavailing to heal the
breach. After a while the Council, having had no answer to its urgent
notes, decided to send an ultimatum to Rumania, calling on her to
restore the rolling-stock which she had seized and to evacuate the
Hungarian capital. The terms of this document were described as
harsh.[174] Happily, before it was despatched the Council learned that
the Rumanian government had never received the communications nor
seventy others forwarded by wireless during the same period. Once more
it had taken a decision without acquainting itself of the facts.
Thereupon a special messenger[175] was sent to Bucharest with a note
"couched in stern terms," which, however, was "milder in tone" than the
ultimatum.

To go back for a moment to the elusive question of motive, which was not
without influence on Rumania's conduct. Were the action and inaction of
the plenipotentiaries merely the result of a lack of cohesion among
their ideas? Or was it that they were thinking mainly of the fleeting
interests of the moment and unwilling to precipitate their conceptions
of the future in the form of a constructive policy? The historian will
do well to leave their motives to another tribunal and confine himself
to facts, which even when carefully sifted are numerous and significant
enough.

During the progress of the events just sketched there were launched
certain interesting accounts of what was going on below the surface,
which had such impartial and well-informed vouchers that the chronicler
of the Conference cannot pass them over in silence. If true, as they
appear to be, they warrant the belief that two distinct elements lay at
the root of the Secret Council's dealings with Rumania. One of them was
their repugnance to her whole system of government, with its survivals
of feudalism, anti-Semitism, and conservatism. Associated with this was,
people alleged, a wish to provoke a radical and, as they thought,
beneficent change in the entire régime by getting rid of its chiefs.
This plan had been successfully tried against MM. Orlando and Sonnino in
Italy. Their solicitude for this latter aim may have been whetted by a
personal lack of sympathy for the Rumanian delegates, with whom the
Anglo-Saxon chiefs hardly ever conversed. It was no secret that the
Rumanian Premier found it exceedingly difficult to obtain an audience of
his colleague President Wilson, from whom he finally parted almost as
much a stranger as when he first arrived in Paris.

It may not be amiss to record an instance of the methods of the Supreme
Council, for by putting himself in the place of the Rumanian Premier the
reader may the more clearly understand his frame of mind toward that
body. In June the troops of Moritz (or Bela) Kuhn had inflicted a severe
defeat on the Czechoslavs. Thereupon the Secret Council of Four or Five,
whose shortsighted action was answerable for the reverse, decided to
remonstrate with him. Accordingly they requested him to desist from the
offensive. Only then did it occur to them that if he was to withdraw
his armies behind the frontiers, he must be informed where these
frontiers were. They had already been determined in secret by the three
great statesmen, who carefully concealed them not merely from an
inquisitive public, but also from the states concerned. The Rumanian,
Jugoslav and Czechoslovak delegates were, therefore, as much in the dark
on the subject as were rank outsiders and enemies. But as soon as
circumstances forced the hand of all the plenipotentiaries the secret
had to be confided to them all.[176] The Hungarian Dictator pleaded that
if his troops had gone out of bounds it was because the frontiers were
unknown to him. The Czechoslovaks respectfully demurred to one of the
boundaries along the river Ipol which it was difficult to justify and
easy to rectify. But the Rumanian delegation, confronted with the map,
met the decision with a frank protest. For it amounted to the
abandonment of one of their three vital irreducible claims which they
were not empowered to renounce. Consequently they felt unable to
acquiesce in it. But the Supreme Council insisted. The second delegate,
M. Misu, was in consequence obliged to start at once for Bucharest to
consult with the King and the Cabinet and consider what action the
circumstances called for. In the meantime, the entire question, and
together with it some of the practical consequences involved by the
tentative solution, remained in suspense.

When certain clauses of the Peace Treaty, which, although they
materially affected Rumania, had been drafted without the knowledge of
her plenipotentiaries, were quite ready, the Rumanian Premier was
summoned to take cognizance of them. Their tenor surprised and irritated
him. As he felt unable to assent to them, and as the document was to be
presented to the enemy in a day or two, he deemed it his duty to mention
his objections at once. But hardly had he begun when M. Clemenceau arose
and exclaimed, "M. Bratiano, you are here to listen, not to comment."
Stringent measures may have been considered useful and dictatorial
methods indispensable in default of reasoning or suasion, but it was
surely incumbent on those who employed them to choose a form which would
deprive them of their sting or make them less personally painful.

For whatever one may think of the wisdom of the policy adopted by the
Supreme Council toward the unprivileged states, it would be difficult to
justify the manner in which they imposed it. Patience, tact, and suasion
are indispensable requisites in men who assume the functions of leaders
and guides, yet know that military force alone is inadequate to shape
the future after their conception. The delegates could look only to
moral power for the execution of their far-reaching plans, yet they
spurned the means of acquiring it. The best construction one can put
upon their action will represent it as the wrecking of the substance by
the form. By establishing a situation of force throughout Europe the
Council created and sanctioned the principle that it must be maintained
by force.

But the affronted nations did not stop at this mild criticism. They
assailed the policy itself, cast suspicion on the disinterestedness of
the motives that inspired it, and contributed thereby to generate an
atmosphere of distrust in which the frail organism that was shortly to
be called into being could not thrive. Contemplated through this
distorting medium, one set of delegates was taunted with aiming at a
monopoly of imperialism and the other with rank hypocrisy. It is
superfluous to remark that the idealism and lofty aims of the President
of the United States were never questioned by the most reckless
Thersites. The heaviest charges brought against him were weakness of
will, exaggerated self-esteem, impatience of contradiction, and a naive
yearning for something concrete to take home with him, in the shape of a
covenant of peoples.

The reports circulating in the French capital respecting vast commercial
enterprises about to be inaugurated by English-speaking peoples and
about proposals that the governments of the countries interested should
facilitate them, were destructive of the respect due to statesmen whose
attachment to lofty ideals should have absorbed every other motive in
their ethico-political activity. Thus it was affirmed by responsible
politicians that an official representative of an English-speaking
country gave expression to the view, which he also attributed to his
government, that henceforth his country should play a much larger part
in the economic life of eastern Europe than any other nation. This, he
added, was a conscious aim which would be steadily pursued, and to the
attainment of which he hoped the politicians and their people would
contribute. So far this, it may be contended, was perfectly legitimate.

But it was further affirmed, and not by idle quidnuncs, that one of
Rumania's prominent men had been informed that Rumania could count on
the good-will and financial assistance of the United States only if her
Premier gave an assurance that, besides the special privileges to be
conferred on the Jewish minority in his country, he would also grant
industrial and commercial concessions to certain Jewish groups and firms
who reside and do business in the United States. And by way of taking
time by the forelock one or more of these firms had already despatched
representatives to Rumania to study and, if possible, earmark the
resources which they proposed to exploit.

Now, to expand the trade of one's country is a legitimate ambition, and
to hold that Jewish firms are the best qualified to develop the
resources of Rumania is a tenable position. But to mix up any commercial
scheme with the ethical regeneration of Europe is, to put it mildly,
impolitic. However unimpeachable the motives of the promoter of such a
project, it is certain to damage both causes which he has at heart. But
the report does not leave the matter here. It goes on to state that a
very definite proposal, smacking of an ultimatum, was finally presented,
which set before the Rumanians two alternatives from which they were to
choose--either the concessions asked for, which would earn for them the
financial assistance of the United States, or else no concessions and no
help.

At a Conference, the object of which was the uplifting of the life of
nations from the squalor of sordid ambitions backed by brutal force, to
ideal aims and moral relationship, haggling and chaffering such as this
seemed wholly out of place. It reminded one of "those that sold oxen and
sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting" in the temple of
Jerusalem who were one day driven out with "a scourge of small cords."
The Rumanians hoped that the hucksters in the latter-day temple of peace
might be got rid of in a similar way; one of them suggested boldly
asking President Wilson himself to say what he thought of the policy
underlying the disconcerting proposal....

The other alleged element of the Supreme Council's attitude needs no
qualification. The mystery that enwrapped the orders from the Conference
which suddenly arrested the march of the Rumanian and Allied troops,
when they were nearing Budapest for the purpose of overthrowing Bela
Kuhn, never perplexed those who claimed to possess trustworthy
information about the goings-on between certain enterprising officers
belonging some to the Allied Army of Occupation and others to the
Hungarian forces. One of these transactions is alleged to have taken
place between Kuhn himself, who is naturally a shrewd observer and hard
bargain-driver, and a certain financial group which for obvious reasons
remained nameless. The object of the compact was the bestowal on the
group of concessions in the Banat in return for an undertaking that the
Bolshevist Dictator would be left in power and subsequently honored by
an invitation to the Conference. The plenipotentiaries' command
arresting the march against Kuhn and their conditional promise to summon
him to the Conference, dovetail with this contract. These undeniable
coincidences are humiliating. The nexus between them was discovered and
announced before the stipulations were carried out.

The Banat had been an apple of discord ever since the close of
hostilities. The country, inhabited chiefly by Rumanians, but with a
considerable admixture of Magyar and Saxon elements, is one of the
richest unexploited regions in Europe. Its mines of gold, zinc, lead,
coal, and iron offer an irresistible temptation to pushing capitalists
and their governments, who feel further attracted by the credible
announcement that it also possesses oil in quantities large enough to
warrant exploitation. It was partly in order to possess herself of these
abundant resources and create an accomplished fact that Serbia, who also
founded her claim on higher ground, laid hands on the administration of
the Banat. But the experiment was disappointing. The Jugoslavs having
failed to maintain themselves there, the bargain just sketched was
entered into by officers of the Hungarian and Allied armies. For
concession-hunters are not fastidious about the nationality or character
of those who can bestow what they happen to be seeking.

This stroke of jobbery had political consequences. That was inevitable.
For so long as the Banat remained in Rumania or Serbian hands it could
not be alienated in favor of any foreign group. Therefore secession from
both those states was a preliminary condition to economic alienation.
The task was bravely tackled. An "independent republic" was suddenly
added to the states of Europe. This amazing creation, which fitted in
with the Balkanizing craze of the moment, was the work of a few
wire-pullers in which the easy-going inhabitants had neither hand nor
part. Indeed, they were hardly aware that the Republic of the Banat had
been proclaimed. The amateur state-builders were obliging officers of
the two armies, and behind them were speculators and concession-hunters.
It was obvious that the new community, as it contained a very small
population for an independent state, would require a protector. Its
sponsors, who had foreseen this, provided for it by promising to assign
the humanitarian rôle of protectress of the Banat Republic to democratic
France. And French agents were on the spot to approve the arrangement.
Thus far the story, of which I have given but the merest outline.[177]

In this compromising fashion then Bela Kuhn was left for the time being
in undisturbed power, and none of his friends had any fear that he would
be driven out by the Allies so long as he contrived to hit it off with
the Hungarians. Should these turn away from him, however, the
cosmopolitan financiers, whose cardinal virtues are suppleness and
adaptability, would readily work with his successor, whoever he might
be. The few who knew of this quickening of high ideals with low intrigue
were shocked by the light-hearted way in which under the ægis of the
Conference a discreditable pact was made with the "enemy of the human
race," a grotesque régime foisted on a simple-minded people without
consideration for the principle of self-determination, and the very
existence of the Czechoslovak Republic imperiled. Indeed, for a brief
while it looked as though the Bolshevist forces of the Ukraine and
Russia would effect a junction with the troops of Bela Kuhn and shatter
eastern Europe to shreds. To such dangerous extent did the Supreme
Council indirectly abet the Bolshevist peace-breakers against the
Rumanians and Czechoslovak allies.

It was at this conjuncture that a Rumanian friend remarked to me: "The
apprehension which our people expressed to you some months ago when they
rejected the demand for concessions has been verified by events. Please
remember that when striking the balance of accounts."

The fact could not be blinked that in the camp of the Allies there was a
serious schism. The partizans of the Supreme Council accused the
Bucharest government of secession, and were accused in turn of having
misled their Rumanian partners, of having planned to exploit them
economically, of having favored their Bolshevist invaders, and pursued a
policy of blackmail. The rights and wrongs of this quarrel had best be
left to another tribunal. What can hardly be gainsaid is that in a
general way the Rumanians--and not these alone--were implicitly classed
as people of a secondary category, who stood to gain by every measure
for their good which the culture-bearers in Paris might devise. These
inferior nations were all incarnate anachronisms, relics of dark ages
which had survived into an epoch of democracy and liberty, and it now
behooved them to readjust themselves to that. Their institutions must be
modernized, their Old World conceptions abandoned, and their people
taught to imitate the progressive nations of the West. What the
populations thought and felt on the subject was irrelevant, they being
less qualified to judge what was good for them than their
self-constituted guides and guardians. To the angry voices which their
spokesmen uplifted no heed need be paid, and passive resistance could be
overcome by coercion. This modified version of Carlyle's doctrine would
seem to be at the root of the Supreme Council's action toward the lesser
nations generally and in especial toward Rumania.


POLAND AND THE SUPREME COUNCIL

This frequent misdirection by the Supreme Council, however one may
explain it, created an electric state of the political atmosphere among
all nations whose interests were set down or treated as "limited," and
more than one of them, as we saw, contemplated striking out a policy of
passive resistance. As a matter of fact some of them timidly adopted it
more than once, almost always with success and invariably with impunity.
It was thus that the Czechoslovaks--the most docile of them
all--disregarding the injunctions of the Conference, took possession of
contentious territory,[178] and remained in possession of it for several
months, and that the Jugoslavs occupied a part of the district of
Klagenfurt and for a long time paid not the slightest heed to the order
issued by the Supreme Council to evacuate it in favor of the Austrians,
and that the Poles applied the same tactics to eastern Galicia. The
story of this last revolt is characteristic alike of the ignorance and
of the weakness of the Powers which had assumed the functions of
world-administrators. During the hostilities between the Ruthenians of
Galicia and the Poles the Council, taunted by the press with the
numerous wars that were being waged while the world's peace-makers were
chatting about cosmic politics in the twilight of the Paris conclave,
issued an imperative order that an armistice must be concluded at once.
But the Poles appealed to events, which swiftly settled the matter as
they anticipated. Neither the Supreme Council nor the agents it employed
had a real grasp of the east European situation, or of the rôle
deliberately assigned to Poland by its French sponsors--that of
superseding Russia as a bulwark against Germany in the East--or of the
local conditions. Their action, as was natural in these circumstances,
was a sequence of gropings in the dark, of incongruous behests,
exhortations, and prohibitions which discredited them in the eyes of
those on whose trust and docility the success of their mission depended.

Consciousness of these disadvantages may have had much to do with the
rigid secrecy which the delegates maintained before their desultory
talks ripened into discussions. In the case of Poland, as of Rumania,
the veil was opaque, and was never voluntarily lifted. One day[179] the
members of the Polish delegation, eager to get an inkling of what had
been arranged by the Council of Four about Dantzig, requested M.
Clemenceau to apprize them at least of the upshot if not of the details.
The French Premier, who has a quizzing way and a keen sense of humor,
replied, "On the 26th inst. you will learn the precise terms." But
Poland's representative insisted and pleaded suasively for a hint of
what had been settled. The Premier finally consented and said, "Tell the
General Secretary of the Conference, M. Dutasta, from me, that he may
make the desired communication to you." The delegate accordingly
repaired to M. Dutasta, preferred his request, and received this reply:
"M. Clemenceau may say what he likes. His words do not bind the
Conference. Before I consider myself released from secrecy I must have
the consent of all his colleagues as well. If you would kindly bring me
their express authorization I will communicate the information you
demand." That closed the incident.

When the Council finally agreed to a solution, the delegates were
convoked to learn its nature and to make a vow of obedience to its
decisions. During the first stage of the Conference the representatives
of the lesser states had sometimes been permitted to put questions and
present objections. But later on even this privilege was withdrawn. The
following description of what went on may serve as an illustration of
the Council's mode of procedure. One day the Polish delegation was
summoned before the Special Commission to discuss an armistice between
the Ruthenians of Galicia and the Polish Republic. The late General
Botha, a shrewd observer, whose valuable experience of political
affairs, having been confined to a country which had not much in common
with eastern Europe, could be of little help to him in solving the
complex problems with which he was confronted, was handicapped from the
outset. Unacquainted with any languages but English and Dutch, the
general had to surmount the additional difficulty of carrying on the
conversation through an interpreter. The form it took was somewhat as
follows:

"It is the wish of the Supreme Council," the chairman began, "that
Poland should conclude an armistice with the Ruthenians, and under new
conditions, the old ones having lost their force.[180] Are you prepared
to submit your proposals?" "This is a military matter," replied the
Polish delegate, "and should be dealt with by experts. One of our most
competent military authorities will arrive shortly in Paris with full
powers to treat with you on the subject. In the meantime, I agree that
the old conditions are obsolete and must be changed. I can also mention
three provisos without which no armistice is possible: (1) The Poles
must be permitted to get into permanent contact with Rumania. That
involves their occupation of eastern Galicia. The principal grounds for
this demand are that our frontier includes that territory and that the
Rumanians are a law-abiding, pacific people whose interests never clash
with ours and whose main enemy--Bolshevism--is also ours. (2) The Allies
shall purge the Ukrainian army of the Bolshevists, German and other
dangerous elements that now pervade it and render peace impossible. (3)
The Poles must have control of the oil-fields were it only because these
are now being treated as military resources and the Germans are
receiving from Galicia, which contains the only supplies now open to
them, all the oil they require and are giving the Ruthenians munitions
in return, thus perpetuating a continuous state of warfare. You can
realize that we are unwilling to have our oil-fields employed to supply
our enemies with war material against ourselves." General Botha asked,
"Would you be satisfied if, instead of occupying all eastern Galicia at
once in order to get into touch with the Rumanians, the latter were to
advance to meet you?" "Quite. That would satisfy us as a provisional
measure." "But now suppose that the Supreme Council rejects your three
conditions--a probable contingency--- what course do you propose to
take?" "In that case our action would be swayed by events, one of which
is the hostility of the Ruthenians, which would necessitate measures of
self-defense and the use of our army. And that would bring back the
whole issue to the point where it stands to-day."[181] To the
suggestions made by the Polish delegate that the question of the
armistice be referred to Marshal Foch, the answer was returned that the
Marshal's views carried no authority with the Supreme Council.

General Botha, thereupon adopting an emotional tone, said: "I have one
last appeal to make to you. It behooves Poland to lift the question from
its present petty surroundings and set it in the larger frame of world
issues. What we are aiming at is the overthrow of militarism and the
cessation of bloodshed. As a civilized nation Poland must surely see eye
to eye with the Supreme Council how incumbent it is on the Allies to put
a stop to the misery that warfare has brought down on the world and is
now inflicting on the populations of Poland and eastern Galicia."
"Truly," replied the Polish delegate, "and so thoroughly does she
realize it that it is repugnant to her to be satisfied with a sham
peace, a mere pause during which a bloodier war may be organized. We
want a settlement that really connotes peace, and our intimate knowledge
of the circumstances enables us to distinguish between that and a mere
truce. That is the ground of our insistence."

"Bear well in mind," insisted the Boer general, "the friendly attitude
of the great Allies toward your country at a critical period of its
history. They restored it. They meant and mean to help it to preserve
its status. It behooves the Poles to show their appreciation of this
friendship in a practical way by deferring to their wishes. Everything
they ordain is for your good. Realize that and carry out their schemes."
"For their help we are and will remain grateful," was the answer, "and
we will go as far toward meeting their wishes as is feasible without
actually imperiling their contribution to the restoration of our state.
But we cannot blink the facts that their views are sometimes mistaken
and their power to realize them generally imaginary. They have made
numerous and costly mistakes already, which they now frankly avow. If
they persisted in their present plan they would be adding another to the
list. And as to their power to help us positively, it is nil. Their
initial omission to send a formidable military force to Poland was an
irreparable blunder, for it left them without an executive in eastern
Europe, where they now can help none of their protégées against their
respective enemies. Poles, Rumanians, Jugoslavs are all left to
themselves. From the Allies they may expect inspiriting telegrams, but
little else. In fact, the utmost they can do is to issue decrees that
may or may not be obeyed. Examples are many. They obtained for us by the
armistice the right of disembarking troops at Dantzig, and we were
unspeakably grateful to them. But they failed to make the Germans
respect that right and we had to resign ourselves to abandon it. They
ordered the Ukrainians to cease their numerous attacks on us and we
appreciated their thoughtfulness. But the order was disobeyed; we were
assailed and had no one to look to for help but ourselves. Still we are
most thankful for all that they could do. But if we concluded the
armistice which you are pleading for, this is what would happen: we
should have the Ruthenians arrayed against us on one side and the
Germans on the other. Now if the Ruthenians have brains, their forces
will attack us at the same time as those of the Germans do. That is
sound tactics. But if their strength is only on paper, they will give
admission to the Bolsheviki. That is the twofold danger which you, in
the name of the Great Powers, are unwillingly endeavoring to conjure up
against us. If you admit its reality you cannot blame our reluctance to
incur it. On the other hand, if you regard the peril as imaginary, you
will draw the obvious consequences and pledge the word of the Great
Powers that they will give us military assistance against it should it
come?"

If clear thinking and straightforward action has counted for anything,
the matter would have been settled satisfactorily then and there. But
the Great Powers operated less with argument than with more forcible
stimuli. Holding the economic and financial resources of the world in
their hands, they sometimes merely toyed with reasoning and proceeded to
coerce where they were unable to convince or persuade. One day the chief
delegate of one of the states "with limited interests" said to me: "The
unvarnished truth is that we are being coerced. There is no milder term
to signify this procedure. Thus we are told that unless we indorse the
decrees of the Powers, whose interests are unlimited like their
assurance, they will withhold from us the supplies of food, raw
materials, and money without which our national existence is
inconceivable. Necessarily we must give way, at any rate for the time
being." Those words sum up the relations of the lesser to the greater
Powers.

In the case of Poland the conversation ended thus--General Botha,
addressing the delegate, said: "If you disregard the injunctions of the
Big Four, who cannot always lay before you the grounds of their policy,
you run the risk of being left to your own devices. And you know what
that means. Think well before you decide!" Just then, as it chanced,
only a part of General Haller's soldiers in France had been transported
to their own country,[182] and the Poles were in mortal terror lest the
work of conveying the remainder should be interrupted. This, then, was
an implicit appeal to which they could not turn a wholly deaf ear.
"Well, what is it that the Big Four ask of us?" inquired the delegate.
"The conclusion of an armistice with the Ruthenians, also that
Poland--as one of the newly created states--should allow the free
transit of all the Allied goods through her territory." The delegate
expressed a wish to be told why this measure should be restricted to the
newly made states. The answer was because it was in the nature of an
experiment and should, therefore, not be tried over too large an area.
"There is also another little undertaking which you are requested to
give--namely, that you will accept and act upon the future decisions of
the commission whatever they may be." "Without an inkling of their
character?" "If you have confidence in us you need have no misgivings as
to that." In spite of the deterrents the Polish delegation at that
interview met all these demands with a firm _non possumus_. It upheld
the three conditions of the armistice, rejected the free transit
proposal, and demurred to the demand for a promise to bow to all future
decisions of a fallible commission. "When the Polish dispute with the
Czechoslovaks was submitted to a commission we were not asked in advance
to abide by its decision. Why should a new rule be introduced now?"
argued the Polish delegates. And there the matter rested for a brief
while.

But the respite lasted only a few days, at the expiry of which an envoy
called on the members of the Polish delegation and reopened the
discussion on new lines. He stated that he spoke on behalf of the Big
Four, of whose views and intentions he was the authorized exponent. And
doubtless he thought he was. But as a matter of fact the French
government had no cognizance of his visit or mission or of the
conversation to which it led. He presented arguments before having
recourse to deterrents. Poland's situation, he said, called for
prudence. Her secular enemy was Germany, with whom it would be
difficult, perhaps impossible, ever to cultivate such terms as would
conciliate her permanently. All the more reason, therefore, to deserve
and win the friendship of her other neighbors, in particular of the
Ruthenians. The Polish plenipotentiary met the argument in the usual
way, where upon the envoy exclaimed: "Well, to make a long story short,
I am here to say that the line of action traced out for your country
emanates from the inflexible will of the Great Powers. To this you must
bend. If it should lead to hostilities on the part of your neighbors you
could, of course, rely on the help of your protectors. Will this not
satisfy you?" "If the protection were real it certainly would. But where
is it? Has it been vouchsafed at any moment since the armistice? Have
the Allied governments an executive in eastern Europe? Are they likely
to order their troops thither to assist any of their protégées? And if
they issued such an order, would it be obeyed? They cannot protect us,
as we know to our cost. That is why we are prepared, in our
interests--also in theirs--to protect ourselves."

This remarkable conversation was terminated by the announcement of the
penalty of disobedience. "If you persist in refusing the proposals I
have laid before you, I am to tell you that the Great Powers will
withdraw their aid from your country and may even feel it to be their
duty to modify the advantageous status which they had decided to confer
upon it." To which this answer was returned: "For the assistance we are
receiving we are and will ever be truly grateful. But in order to
benefit by it the Polish people must be a living organism and your
proposals tend to reduce us to a state of suspended vitality. They also
place us at the mercy of our numerous enemies, the greatest of whom is
Germany."

But lucid intelligence, backed by unflagging will, was of no avail
against the threat of famine. The Poles had to give way. M. Paderewski
pledged his word to Messrs. Lloyd George and Wilson that he would have
an armistice concluded with the Ruthenians of eastern Galicia, and the
Duumvirs rightly placed implicit confidence in his word as in his moral
rectitude. They also felt grateful to him for having facilitated their
arduous task by accepting the inevitable. To my knowledge President
Wilson himself addressed a letter to him toward the end of April,
thanking him cordially for the broad-minded way in which he had
co-operated with the Supreme Council in its efforts to reconstitute his
country on a solid basis. Probably no other representative of a state
"with limited interests" received such high mark of approval.

M. Paderewski left Paris for Warsaw, there to win over the Cabinet. But
in Poland, where the authorities were face to face with the concrete
elements of the problem, the Premier found no support. Neither the
Cabinet nor the Diet nor the head of the state found it possible to
redeem the promise made in their name. Circumstance was stronger than
the human will. M. Paderewski resigned. The Ruthenians delivered a
timely attack on the Poles, who counter-attacked, captured the towns of
Styra, Tarnopol, Stanislau, and occupied the enemy country right up to
Rumania, with which they desired to be in permanent contact. Part of the
Ruthenian army crossed the Czech frontier and was disarmed, the
remainder melted away, and there remained no enemy with whom to conclude
an armistice.

For the "Big Four" this turn of events was a humiliation. The Ruthenian
army, whose interests they had so taken to heart, had suddenly ceased to
exist, and the future danger which it represented to Poland was seen to
have been largely imaginary. Their judgment was at fault and their power
ineffectual. Against M. Paderewski's impotence they blazed with
indignation. He had given way to their decision and promptly gone to
Warsaw to see it executed, yet the conditions were such that his words
were treated as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. The Polish
Premier, it is true, had tendered his resignation in consequence, but it
was refused--and even had it been accepted, what was the retirement of a
Minister as compared with the indignity put upon the world's lawgivers
who represented power and interests which were alike unlimited? Angry
telegrams were flashed over the wires from Paris to Warsaw and the
Polish Premier was summoned to appear in Paris without delay. He duly
returned, but no new move was made. The die was cast.

A noteworthy event in latter-day Polish history ensued upon that
military victory over the Ruthenians of eastern Galicia. The
Ukrainian[183] Minister at Vienna was despatched to request the Poles to
sign a unilateral treaty with them after the model of that which was
arranged by the two Anglo-Saxon states in favor of France. The proposal
was that the Ukraine government would renounce all claims to eastern
Galicia and place their troops under the supreme command of the Polish
generalissimus, in return for which the Poles should undertake to
protect the Ukrainians against all their enemies. This draft agreement,
while under consideration in Warsaw, was negatived by the Polish
delegates in Paris, who saw no good reason why their people should bind
themselves to fight Russia one day for the independence of the Ukraine.
Another inchoate state which made an offer of alliance to Poland was
Esthonia, but its advances were declined on similar grounds. It is
manifest, however, that in the new state system alliances are more in
vogue than in the old, although they were to have been banished from it.

Throughout all the negotiations that turned upon the future status and
the territorial frontiers of Poland the British Premier unswervingly
stood out against the Polish claims, just as the President of the United
States inflexibly countered those of Italy, and both united to negative
those of the Rumanians. Whatever one may think of the merits of these
controversies--and various opinions have been put forward with obvious
sincerity--there can be but one judgment as to the spirit in which they
were conducted. It was a dictatorial spirit, which was intolerant not
merely of opposition, but of enlightened and constructive criticism. To
the representatives of the countries concerned it seemed made up of
bitter prejudice and fierce partizanship, imbibed, it was affirmed, from
those unseen sources whence powerful and, it was thought, noxious
currents flowed continuously toward the Conference. For none of the
affronted delegates credited with a knowledge of the subject either Mr.
Lloyd George, who had never heard of Teschen, or Mr. Wilson, whose
survey of Corsican politics was said to be so defective. And yet to the
activity of men engaged like these in settling affairs of unprecedented
magnitude it would be unfair to apply the ordinary tests of technical
fastidiousness. Their position as trustees of the world's greatest
states, even though they lacked political imagination, knowledge, and
experience, entitled them to the high consideration which they generally
received. But it could not be expected to dazzle to blindness the eyes
of superior men--and the delegates of the lesser states, Venizelos,
Dmowski, and Benes, were undoubtedly superior in most of the attributes
of statesmanship. Yet they were frequently snubbed and each one made to
feel that he was the fifth wheel in the chariot of the Conference. No
sacred fame, says Goethe, requires us to submit to contempt, and they
winced under it. The Big Three lacked the happy way of doing things
which goes with diplomatic tact and engaging manners, and the
consequence was that not only were their arguments mistrusted, but even
their good faith was, as we saw, momentarily subjected to doubt. "Bitter
prejudice, furious antipathy" were freely predicated of the two
Anglo-Saxon statesmen, who were rashly accused of attempting by
circuitous methods to deprive France of her new Slav ally in eastern
Europe. Sweeping recriminations of this character deserve notice only as
indicating the spirit of discord--not to use a stronger term--prevailing
at a Conference which was professedly endeavoring to knit together the
peoples of the planet in an organized society of good-fellowship.

The delegates of the lesser states, to whom one should not look for
impartial judgments, formulated some queer theories to explain the
Allies' unavowed policy and revealed a frame of mind in no wise
conducive to the attainment of the ostensible ends of the Conference.
One delegate said to me: "I have no longer the faintest doubt that the
firm purpose of the 'Big Two' is the establishment of the hegemony of
the Anglo-Saxon peoples, which in the fullness of time may be
transformed into the hegemony of the United States of North America.
Even France is in some respects their handmaid. Already she is bound to
them indissolubly. She is admittedly unable to hold her own without
their protection. She will become more dependent on them as the years
pass and Germany, having put her house in order, regains her economic
preponderance on the Continent. This decline is due to the operation of
a natural law which diplomacy may retard but cannot hinder. Numbers will
count in the future, and then France's rôle will be reduced. For this
reason it is her interest that her new allies in eastern Europe should
be equipped with all the means of growing and keeping strong instead of
being held in the leading-strings of the overlords. But perhaps this
tutelage is reckoned one of those means?"

Against Britain in especial the Poles, as we saw, were wroth. They
complained that whenever they advanced a claim they found her first
delegate on their path barring their passage, and if Mr. Wilson chanced
to be with them the British Premier set himself to convert him to his
way of thinking or voting. Thus it was against Mr. Lloyd George that the
eastern Galician problem had had to be fought at every stage. At the
outset the British Premier refused Galicia to Poland categorically and
purposed making it an entirely separate state under the League of
Nations. This design, of which he made no secret, inspired the
insistence with which the armistice with the Ruthenians of Galicia was
pressed. The Polish delegates, one of them a man of incisive speech,
left no stone unturned to thwart that part of the English scheme, and
they finally succeeded. But their opponents contrived to drop a spoonful
of tar in Poland's pot of honey by ordering a plebiscite to take place
in eastern Galicia within ten or fifteen years. Then came the question
of the Galician Constitution. The Poles proposed to confer on the
Ruthenians a restricted measure of home rule with authority to arrange
in their own way educational and religious matters, local
communications, and the means of encouraging industry and agriculture,
besides giving them a proportionate number of seats in the state
legislature in Warsaw. But again the British delegates--experienced in
problems of home rule--expressed their dissatisfaction and insisted on a
parliament or diet for the Ukraine invested with considerable authority
over the affairs of the province. The Poles next announced their
intention to have a governor of eastern Galicia appointed by the
President of the Polish Republic, with a council to advise him. The
British again amended the proposal and asked that the governor should be
responsible to the Galician parliament, but to this the Poles demurred
emphatically, and finally it was settled that only the members of his
council should be responsible to the provincial legislature. The Poles
having suggested that military conscription should be applied to eastern
Galicia on the same terms as to the rest of Poland, the British once
more joined issue with them and demanded that no troops whatever should
be levied in the province. The upshot of this dispute was that after
much wrangling the British Commission gave way to the Poles, but made it
a condition that the troops should not be employed outside the province.
To this the Poles made answer that the massing of so many soldiers on
the Rumanian frontier might reasonably be objected to by the
Rumanians--and so the amoebean word-game went on in the subcommission.
In a word, when dealing with the eastern Galician problem, Mr. Lloyd
George played the part of an ardent champion of complete home rule.

To sum up, the Conference linked eastern Galicia with Poland, but made
the bonds extremely tenuous, so that they might be severed at any moment
without involving profound changes in either country, and by this
arrangement, which introduced the provisional into the definitive, a
broad field of operations was allotted to political agitation and revolt
was encouraged to rear its crest.

The province of Upper Silesia was asked for on grounds which the Poles,
at any rate, thought convincing. But Mr. Lloyd George, it was said,
declared them insufficient. The subject was thrashed out one day in June
when the Polish delegates were summoned before their all-powerful
colleagues to be told of certain alterations that had been recently
introduced into the Treaty which concerned them to know. They appeared
before the Council of Five.[184] President Wilson, addressing the two
delegates, spoke approximately as follows: "You claim Silesia on the
ground that its inhabitants are Poles and we have given your demand
careful consideration. But the Germans tell us that the inhabitants,
although Polish by race, wish to remain under German rule as heretofore.
That is a strong objection if founded on fact. At present we are unable
to answer it. In fact, nobody can answer it with finality but the
inhabitants themselves. Therefore we must order a plebiscite among
them." One of the Polish delegates remarked: "If you had put the
question to the inhabitants fifty years ago they would have expressed
their wish to remain with the Germans because at that time they were
profoundly ignorant and their national sentiment was dormant. Now it is
otherwise. For since then many of them have been educated, and the
majority are alive to the issue and will therefore declare for Poland.
And if any section of the territory should still prefer German sway to
Polish and their district in consequence of your plebiscite becomes
German, the process of enlightenment which has already made such headway
will none the less go on, and their children, conscious of their loss,
will anathematize their fathers for having inflicted it. And then there
will be trouble."

Mr. Wilson retorted: "You are assuming more than is meet. The frontiers
which we are tracing are provisional, not final. That is a consideration
which ought to weigh with you. Besides, the League of Nations will
intervene to improve what is imperfect." "O League of Nations, what
blunders are committed in thy name!" the delegate may have muttered to
himself as he listened to the words meant to comfort him and his
countrymen.

Much might have been urged against this proffered solace if the
delegates had been in a captious mood. The League of Nations had as yet
no existence. If its will, intelligence, and power could indeed be
reckoned upon with such confidence, how had it come to pass that its
creators, Britain and the United States, deemed them dubious enough to
call for a reinforcement in the shape of a formal alliance for the
protection of France? If this precautionary measure, which shatters the
whole Wilsonian system, was indispensable to one Ally it was at least
equally indispensable to another. And in the case of Poland it was more
urgent than in the case of France, because if Germany were again to
scheme a war of conquest the probability is infinitesimal that she would
invade Belgium or move forward on the western front. The line of least
resistance, which is Poland, would prove incomparably more attractive.
And then? The absence of Allied troops in eastern Europe was one of the
principal causes of the wars, tumults, and chaotic confusion that had
made nervous people tremble for the fate of civilization in the interval
between the conclusion of the armistice and the ratification of the
Treaty. In the future the absence of strongly situated Allies there, if
Germany were to begin a fresh war, would be more fatal still, and the
Polish state might conceivably disappear before military aid from the
Allied governments could reach it. Why should the safety of Poland and
to some extent the security of Europe be made to depend upon what is at
best a gambler's throw?

But no counter-objections were offered. On the contrary, M. Paderewski
uttered the soft answer that turneth away wrath. He profoundly regretted
the decision of the lawgivers, but, recognizing that it was immutable,
bowed to it in the name of his country. He knew, he said, that the
delegates were animated by very friendly feelings toward his country and
he thanked them for their help. M. Paderewski's colleague, the less
malleable M. Dmowski, is reported to have said: "It is my desire to be
quite sincere with you, gentlemen. Therefore I venture to submit that
while you profess to have settled the matter on principle, you have not
carried out that principle thoroughly. Doubtless by inadvertence. Thus
there are places inhabited by a large majority of Poles which you have
allotted to Germany on the ground that they are inhabited by Germans.
That is inconsistent." At this Mr. Lloyd George jumped up from his place
and asked: "Can you name any such places?" M. Dmowski gave several
names. "Point them out to me on the map," insisted the British Premier.
They were pointed out on the map. Twice President Wilson asked the
delegate to spell the name Bomst for him.[185] Mr. Lloyd George then
said: "Well, those are oversights that can be rectified." "Oh yes,"
added Mr. Wilson, "we will see to that."[186] M. Dmowski also questioned
the President about the plebiscite, and under whose auspices the voting
would take place, and was told that there would be an Inter-Allied
administration to superintend the arrangements and insure perfect
freedom of voting. "Through what agency will that administration work?
Is it through the officials?" "Evidently," Mr. Wilson answered. "You are
doubtless aware that they are Germans?" "Yes. But the administration
will possess the right to dismiss those who prove unworthy of their
confidence." "Don't you think," insisted M. Dmowski, "that it would be
fairer to withdraw one half of the German bureaucrats and give their
places to Poles?" To which the President replied: "The administration
will be thoroughly impartial and will adopt all suitable measures to
render the voting free." There the matter ended.

The two potentates in council, tackling the future status of Lithuania,
settled it in an offhand and singular fashion which at any rate bespoke
their good intentions. The principle of self-determination, or what was
facetiously termed the Balkanization of Europe, was at first applied to
that territory and a semi-independent state created _in petto_ which was
to contain eight million inhabitants and be linked with Poland. Certain
obstacles were soon afterward encountered which had not been foreseen.
One was that all the Lithuanians number only two millions, or say at the
most two millions and one hundred thousand. Out of these even the
Supreme Council could not make eight millions. In Lithuania there are
two and a half million Poles, one and a half million Jews, and the
remainder are White Russians.[187] It was recognized that a community
consisting of such disparate elements, situated where it now is, could
hardly live and strive as an independent state. The Lithuanian Jews,
however, were of a different way of thinking, and they opposed the
Polish claims with a degree of steadfastness and animation which wounded
Poland's national pride and left rankling sores behind.

It is worth noting that the representatives of Russia, who are supposed
to clutch convulsively at all the states which once formed part of the
Tsardom, displayed a degree of political detachment in respect of
Lithuania which came as a pleasant surprise to many. The Russian
Ambassador in Paris, M. Maklakoff, in a remarkable address before a
learned assembly[188] in the French capital, announced that Russia was
henceforward disinterested in the status of Lithuania.

That the Poles were minded to deal very liberally with the Lithuanians
became evident during the Conference. General Pilsudski, on his own
initiative, visited Vilna and issued a proclamation to the Lithuanians
announcing that elections would be held, and asking them to make known
their desires, which would be realized by the Warsaw government. One of
the many curious documents of the Conference is an official missive
signed by the General Secretary, M. Dutasta, and addressed to the first
Polish delegate, exhorting him to induce his government to come to terms
with the Lithuanian government, as behooves two neighboring states.
Unluckily for the soundness of that counsel there was no recognized
Lithuanian state or Lithuanian government to come to terms with.

As has been often enough pointed out, the actions and utterances of the
two world-menders were so infelicitous as to lend color to the
belief--shared by the representatives of a number of humiliated
nations--that greed of new markets was at the bottom of what purported
to be a policy of pure humanitarianism. Some of the delegates were
currently supposed to be the unwitting instruments of elusive
capitalistic influences. Possibly they would have been astonished were
they told this: Great Britain was suspected of working for complete
control of the Baltic and its seaboard in order to oust the Germans from
the markets of that territory and to have potent levers for action in
Poland, Germany, and Russia. The achievement of that end would mean
command of the Baltic, which had theretofore been a German lake.[189] It
would also entail, it was said, the separation of Dantzig from Poland,
and the attraction of the Finns, Esthonians, Letts, and Lithuanians from
Germany's orbit into that of Great Britain. In vain the friends of the
delegates declared that economic interests were not the mainspring of
their deliberate action and that nothing was further from their
intention than to angle for a mandate for those countries. The
conviction was deep-rooted in the minds of many that each of the Great
Powers was playing for its own hand. That there was some apparent
foundation for this assumption cannot, as we saw, be gainsaid. Widely
and unfavorably commented was the circumstance that in the heat of those
discussions at the Conference a man of confidence of the Allies put this
significant and impolitic question to one of the plenipotentiaries: "How
would you take it if England were to receive a mandate for Lithuania?"

"The Great Powers," observed the most outspoken of the delegates of the
lesser states, "are bandits, but as their operations are on a large
scale they are entitled to another and more courteous name. Their gaze
is fascinated by markets, concessions, monopolies. They are now making
preparations for a great haul. At this politicians cannot affect to be
scandalized. For it has never been otherwise since men came together in
ordered communities. But what is irritating and repellent is the perfume
of altruism and philanthropy which permeates this decomposition. We are
told that already they are purchasing the wharves of Dantzig, making
ready for 'big deals' in Libau, Riga, and Reval, founding a bank in
Klagenfurt and negotiating for oil-wells in Rumania. Although deeply
immersed in the ethics of politics, they have not lost sight of the
worldly goods to be picked up and appropriated on the wearisome journey
toward ideal goals. The atmosphere they have thus renewed is peculiarly
favorable to the growth of cant, and tends to accelerate the process of
moral and social dissolution. And the effects of this mephitic air may
prove more durable than the contribution of its creators to the
political reorganization of Europe. If we compare the high functions
which they might have fulfilled in relation to the vast needs and the
unprecedented tendencies of the new age with those which they have
unwittingly and deliberately performed as sophists of sentimental
morality and destroyers of the wheat together with the tares, we shall
have to deplore one of the rarest opportunities missed beyond retrieve."

In this criticism there is a kernel of truth. The ethico-social currents
to which the war gave rise had a profoundly moral aspect, and if rightly
canalized might have fertilized many lands and have led to a new and
healthy state-system. One indispensable condition, however, was that the
peoples of the world should themselves be directly interested in the
process, that they should be consulted and listened to, and helped or
propelled into new grooves of thought and action. Instead of that the
delegates contented themselves with giving new names to old institutions
and tendencies which stood condemned, and with teaching lawless
disrespect for every check and restraint except such as they chose to
acknowledge. They were powerful advocates for right and justice,
democracy and publicity, but their definitions of these abstract nouns
made plain-speaking people gasp. Self-interest and material power were
the idols which they set themselves to pull down, but the deities which
they put in their places wore the same familiar looks as the idols, only
they were differently colored.


FOOTNOTES:

[127] In February, 1919.

[128] The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, M. Pichon, undertook to
recognize in principle the independence of Esthonia, provided that
Esthonia would take over her part of the Russian debt.

[129] In the first version of the Covenant, Article XIX deals with this
subject. In the revised version it is Article XXI.

[130] Cf. _L'Echo de Paris_, August 19, 1919.

[131] In July, 1919.

[132] _L'Echo de Paris_, August 19, 1919.

[133] The armistice concluded with Hungary was grossly violated by the
Hungarians and had lost its force. The Rumanians, when occupying the
country, demanded a new one, and drafted it. The Supreme Council at
first demurred, and then desisted from dictation. But its attitude
underwent further changes later.

[134] _The New York Herald_, (Paris ed.), August 20, 1919.

[135] _Ibid._, May 4, 1919.

[136] I discussed Belgium's demands in a series of special articles
published in _The London Daily Telegraph_ and _The Philadelphia Public
Ledger_ in the months of January, February, and March, 1919.

[137] In Frisia and Ghelderland.

[138] In August, 1919.

[139] By Article XXI of the Covenant and Article CCCCXXXV of the Treaty.

[140] I was in possession of a complete copy.

[141] Cf. _Corriere della Sera_, August 24, 1919.

[142] In February.

[143] Cf. Chapter, "Censorship and Secrecy." The writer of these pages
was the journalist.

[144] _Le Temps_, July 8, 1919.

[145] At the close of August, 1916.

[146] I was one of those who at the time maintained that even in the
Allies' interests Rumania ought not to enter the war at that
conjuncture, and anticipation of that invasion was one of the reasons I
adduced.

[147] Also known by the German name of Theiss.

[148] Cf. _Le Temps_, July 28, 1919.

[149] Cf. _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), September 5, 1919.

[150] On June 13, 1919.

[151] On July 11, 1919, some days later, the decision was suspended,
owing to the opinion of General Bliss, who disagreed with Foch.

[152] On July 17, 1919.

[153] On July 20th.

[154] Estimated at 85,000.

[155] Moritz Kuhn, who altered his name to Bela Kuhn, was a vulgar
criminal. Expelled from school for larceny, he underwent several terms
of imprisonment, and is alleged to have pilfered from a fellow-prisoner.
Even among some thieves there is no honor.

[156] Italy was represented by Lieutenant-Colonel Romanelli, who resided
in Budapest; Britain, by Col. Sir Thomas Cunningham, who was in Vienna,
as was also Prince Livio Borghese. Later on the Powers delegated
generals to be members of a military mission to the Hungarian capital.

[157] At Bruck.

[158] On July 20th.

[159] _Le Journal des Débats_, August 4, 1919.

[160] This is a larger proportion than was left to the Germans by the
Treaty of Versailles.

[161] _Le Temps_, July 8, 1919.

[162] It was the habitual practice of the Conference to intrust missions
abroad to generals who knew nothing whatever about the countries to
which they were sent.

[163] _Le Temps_, August 8, 1919.

[164] Armistice of November 13, 1918, which had become void.

[165] On June 13, 1919.

[166] Composed of four members, one each for Britain, the United States,
France, and Italy.

[167] On July 20th.

[168] Paris journals ascribed it to Mr. Balfour, although it does not
bear the hall-mark of a diplomatist.

[169] _Le Journal des Débats_, August 13, 1919.

[170] Pertinax in _L'Echo de Paris_, August 10, 1919.

[171] _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), August 10, 1919.

[172] _Le Journal des Débats_, August 13, 1919. Article by Auguste
Gauvain.

[173] General Gorton is the one who is said to have despatched the
telegram.

[174] In the beginning of September, 1919.

[175] The French government having prudently refused to furnish an
envoy, the British chose Sir George Clark.

[176] On June 10, 1919.

[177] The actors in this episode were not all officers and civil
servants. They included some men in responsible positions.

[178] In Teschen.

[179] On Friday, April 18, 1919.

[180] The Rumanians, on the contrary, had been ordered to keep to the
old conditions, although they, too, had lost their force.

[181] That is exactly what happened in the end. But the delegates would
not believe it until it became an accomplished fact.

[182] About twenty-five thousand had already left France.

[183] The Ruthenians, Ukrainians, and Little Russians are racially the
same people, just as those who speak German in northwestern Germany,
Dutch in Holland, and Flemish in Belgium are racially close kindred. The
main distinctions between the members of each branch are political.

[184] The Messrs. Wilson, George, Clemenceau, Barons Makino and Sonnino.
M. Clemenceau was the nominal chairman, but in reality it was President
Wilson who conducted the proceedings.

[185] Bomst is a canton in the former Province (Regierungs-besirk) of
Posen, with about sixty thousand inhabitants.

[186] Minutes of this conversation exist.

[187] An interesting Russian tribe, dwelling chiefly in the provinces of
Minsk and Grodno (excepting the extreme south), a small part of Suvalki,
Vilna (excepting the northwest corner), the entire provinces of Vitebsk
and Moghileff, the west part of Smolensk, and a few districts of
Tshernigoff.

[188] La Société des Études Politiques. The discourse in question was
printed and published.

[189] In Germany and Russia the same view was generally taken of the
motives that actuated the policy of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The most
elaborate attempt to demonstrate its correctness was made by Cr. Bunke,
in _The Dantziger Neueste Nachrichten_, already mentioned in this book.



VII

POLAND'S OUTLOOK IN THE FUTURE


Casting a parting glance at Poland as she looked when emerging from the
Conference in the leading-strings of the Great Western Powers, after
having escaped from the Bolshevist dangers that compassed her round, we
behold her about to begin her national existence as a semi-independent
nation, beset with enemies domestic and foreign. For it would be an
abuse of terms to affirm that Poland, or, indeed, any of the lesser
states, is fully independent in the old sense of the word. The special
treaty imposed on her by the Great Two obliges her to accord free
transit to Allied goods and certain privileges to her Jewish and other
minorities; to accept the supervision and intervention of the League of
Nations, which the Poles contend means in their case an
Anglo-Saxon-Jewish association; and, at the outset, at any rate, to
recognize the French generalissimus as the supreme commander of her
troops.

Poland's frontiers and general status ought, if the scheme of her French
protectors had been executed, to have been accommodated to the peculiar
functions which they destined her to fill in New Europe. France's plan
was to make of Poland a wall between Germany and Russia. The marked
tendency of the other two Conference leaders was to transform it into a
bridge between those two countries. And the outcome of the compromise
between them has been to construct something which, without being
either, combines all the disadvantages of both. It is a bridge for
Germany and a wall for Bolshevist Russia. That is the verdict of a large
number of Poles. Although the Europe of the future is to be a pacific
and ethically constituted community, whose members will have their
disputes and quarrels with one another settled by arbitration courts and
other conciliatory tribunals, war and efficient preparation for it were
none the less uppermost in the minds of the circumspect lawgivers. Hence
the Anglo-Saxon agreement to defend France against unprovoked
aggression. Hence, too, the solicitude displayed by the French to have
the Polish state, which is to be their mainstay in eastern Europe,
equipped with every territorial and other guaranty necessary to qualify
it for the duties. But what the French government contrived to obtain
for itself it failed to secure for its new Slav ally. Nay, oddly enough
it voted with the Anglo-Saxon delegates for keeping all the lesser
states under the tutelage of the League. The Duumvirs, having made the
requisite concessions to France, were resolved in Poland's case to avoid
a further recoil toward the condemned forms of the old system of
equilibrium. Hence the various plebiscites, home-rule charters,
subdivisions of territory, and other evidences of a struggle for reform
along the line of least resistance, as though in the unavoidable future
conflict between timidly propounded theories and politico-social forces
the former had any serious chance of surviving. In politics, as in
coinage, it is the debased metal that ousts the gold from circulation.

Poland's situation is difficult; some people would call it precarious.
She is surrounded by potential enemies abroad and at home--Germans,
Russians, Ukrainians, Magyars, and Jews. A considerable number of
Teutons are incorporated in her republic to-day, and also a large number
of people of Russian race. Now, Russia and Germany, even if they
renounce all designs of reconquering the territory which they misruled
for such a long span of time, may feel tempted one day to recover their
own kindred, and what they consider to be their own territory. And
irredentism is one of the worst political plagues for all the three
parties who usually suffer from it. If then Germany and Russia were to
combine and attack Poland, the consequences would be serious. That
democratic Germany would risk such a wild adventure in the near future
is inconceivable. But history operates with long periods of time, and it
behooves statesmanship to do likewise.

A Polish statesman would start from the assumption that, as Russia and
Germany have for the time being ceased to be efficient members of the
European state-system, a good understanding may be come to with both of
them, and a close intimacy cultivated with one. Resourcefulness and
statecraft will be requisite to this consummation. For some Russians are
still uncompromising, and would fain take back a part of what the
revolutionary wave swept out of their country's grasp, but circumstance
bids fair to set free a potent moderating force in the near future.
Already it is incarnated in statesmen of the new type. In this
connection it is instructive to pass in review the secret maneuvers by
which the recognition of Poland's independence was, so to say, extorted
from a Russian Minister, who was reputed at the time to be a Democrat of
the Democrats. As some governments have now become champions of
publicity, I venture to hope that this disclosure will be as helpful to
those whom it concerns as was the systematic suppression of my articles
and telegrams during the space of four years.[190]

On the outbreak of the Russian revolution Poland's representatives in
Britain, who had been ceaselessly working for the restoration of their
country, approached the British government with a request that the
opportunity should be utilized at once, and the new democratic Cabinet
in Petrograd requested to issue a proclamation recognizing the
independence of Poland. The reasons for this move having been propounded
in detail, orally and in writing, the Foreign Secretary despatched at
once a telegram to the Ambassador in the Russian capital, instructing
him to lay the matter before the Russian Foreign Minister and urge him
to lose no time in establishing the claim of the Polish provisional
government to the sympathies of the world, and the redress of its wrongs
by Russia. Sir George Buchanan called on Professor Milyukoff, then
Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Constitutional
Democratic party, and propounded to him the views of the British
government, which agreed with those of France and Italy, and hoped he
would see his way to profit by the opportunity. The answer was prompt
and definite, and within forty-eight hours of Mr. Balfour's despatch it
reached the Foreign Office. The gist of it was that the Minister of
Foreign Affairs regretted his inability to deal with the problem at that
conjuncture, owing to its great complexity and various bearings, and
also because of his apprehension that the Poles would demand the
incorporation of Russian lands in their reconstituted state. From this
answer many conclusions might fairly be drawn respecting persons,
parties, and principles on the surface of revolutionary Russia. But to
his credit, Mr. Balfour did not accept it as final. He again telegraphed
to the British Ambassador, instructing him to insist upon the
recognition of Poland, as the matter was urgent, and to exhort the
provisional government to give in good time the desired proof of the
democratic faith that is to save Russia. Sir George Buchanan
accomplished the task expeditiously. M. Milyukoff gave way, drafted and
issued the proclamation. Mr. Bonar Law welcomed it in a felicitous
speech in the House of Commons,[191] and the Entente press lauded to the
skies the generous spirit of the new Russian government. The Russian
people and their leaders have traveled far since then, and have rid
themselves of much useless ballast.

As Slavs the Poles might have been naturally predisposed to live in
amity with the Russians, were it not for the specter of the past that
stands between them. But now that Russia is a democracy in fact as well
as in name, this is much more feasible than it ever was before, and it
is also indispensable to the Russians. In the first place, it is
possible that Poland may have consolidated her forces before her mighty
neighbor has recovered the status corresponding to her numbers and
resources. If the present estimates are correct, and the frontiers, when
definitely traced, leave Poland a republic with some thirty-five million
people, such is her extraordinary birth-rate and the territorial scope
it has for development, that in the not far distant future her
population may exceed that of France. Assuming for the sake of argument
that armies and other national defenses will count in politics as much
as hitherto, Poland's specific weight will then be considerable. She
will have become not indeed a world power (to-day there are only two
such), but a European Great Power whose friendship will be well worth
acquiring.

In the meanwhile Polish statesmen--the Poles have one in Roman
Dmowski--may strike up a friendly accord with Russia, abandoning
definitely and formally all claims to so-called historic Poland,
disinteresting themselves in all the Baltic problems which concern
Russia so closely, and envisaging the Ukraine from a point of view that
harmonizes with hers. And if the two peoples could thus find a common
basis of friendly association, Poland would have solved at least one of
her Sphinx questions.

As for the internal development of the nation, it is seemingly hampered
with as many hindrances as the international. It may be likened to the
world after creation, bearing marks of the chaos of the eve. The German
Poles differ considerably from the Austrian, while the Russian Poles are
differentiated from both. The last-named still show traces of recent
servitude in their everyday avocations. They lack the push and the
energy of purpose so necessary nowadays in the struggle for life. The
Austrian Poles in general are reputed to be likewise easy-going, lax,
and more brilliant than solid, while their administrative qualities are
said to be impaired by a leaning toward Oriental methods of transacting
business. The Polish inhabitants of the provinces hitherto under Germany
are people of a different temperament. They have assimilated some of the
best qualities of the Teuton without sacrificing those which are
inherent in men of their own race. A thorough grasp of detail and a gift
for organization characterize their conceptions, and precision,
thoroughness, and conscientiousness are predicated of their methods. If
it be true that the first reform peremptorily called for in the new
republic is an administrative purge, it follows that it can be most
successfully accomplished with the whole-hearted co-operation of the
German Poles, whose superior education fits them to conform their
schemes to the most urgent needs of the nation and the epoch.

The next measure will be internal colonization. There are considerable
tracts of land in what once was Russian Poland, the population of which,
owing to the havoc of war, is abnormally sparse. Some districts, like
that of the Pripet marshes, which even at the best of times had but five
persons to the kilometer, are practically deserts. For the Russian army,
when retreating before the Germans, drove before it a huge population
computed at eight millions, who inhabited the territory to the east of
Brest-Litovsk and northward between Lida and Minsk. Of these eight
millions many perished on the way. A large percentage of the survivors
never returned.[192] Roughly speaking, a couple of millions (mostly
Poles and Jews) went back to their ruined homes. Now the Poles, who are
one of the most prolific races in Europe, might be encouraged to settle
on these thinly populated lands, which they could convert into
ethnographically Polish districts within a relatively short span of
time. These, however, are merely the ideas of a friendly observer, whose
opinion cannot lay claim to any weight.

To-day Poland's hope is not, as it has been hitherto, the nobleman, the
professor, and the publicist, but the peasant. The members of this class
are the nucleus of the new nation. It is from their midst that Poland's
future representatives in politics, arts, and science will be drawn.
Already the peasants are having their sons educated in high-schools and
universities, of which the republic has a fair number well supplied with
qualified teachers,[193] and they are resolute adversaries of every
movement tainted with Bolshevism.

Thus the difficulties and dangers with which new Poland will have to
contend are redoubtable. But she stands a good chance of overcoming them
and reaching the goal where lies her one hope of playing a noteworthy
part in reorganized Europe. The indispensable condition of success is
that the current of opinion and sentiment in the country shall buoy up
reforming statesmen. These must not only understand the requirements of
the new epoch and be alive to the necessity of penetrating public
opinion, but also possess the courage to place high social aims at the
head of their life and career. Statesmen of this temper are rare to-day,
but Poland possesses at least one of them. Her resources warrant the
conviction which her chiefs firmly entertain that she may in a
relatively near future acquire the economic leadership of eastern
Europe, and in population, military strength, and area equal France.

Parenthetically it may be observed that the enthusiasm of the Poles for
British institutions and for intimate relations with Great Britain has
perceptibly cooled.

In the limitations to which she is now subjected, her more optimistic
leaders discern the temporarily unavoidable condition of a beneficent
process of working forward toward indefinite amelioration. Their
people's faith, that may one day raise the country above the highest
summit of its past historical development, if it does not reconcile them
to the present, may nerve them to the effort which shall realize that
high consummation in the future.


FOOTNOTES:

[190] Most of my articles written during the last half of the war, and
some during the armistice, were held back on grounds which were
presumably patriotic. I share with those who were instrumental in
keeping them from the public the moral portion of the reward which
consists in the assumption that some high purpose was served by the
suppression.

[191] On April 26, 1917.

[192] Mainly White Russians.

[193] The Poles have universities in Cracow, Warsaw, Lvoff (Lemberg),
Liublin, and will shortly open one in Posen. One Polish statesman
entertains a novel and useful idea which will probably be tested in the
University of Posen. Noticing that the greater the progress of technical
knowledge the less is the advance made in the knowledge of men, which is
perhaps the most pressing need of the new age, this statesman proposes
to create a new type of university, where there would be two principal
sections, one for the study of natural sciences and mathematics, and the
other for the study of men, which would include biology, psychology,
ethnography, sociology, philology, history, etc.



VIII

ITALY


Of all the problems submitted to the Conference, those raised by Italy's
demands may truly be said to have been among the easiest. Whether placed
in the light of the Fourteen Points or of the old system of the rights
of the victors, they would fall into their places almost automatically.
But the peace criteria were identical with neither of those principles.
They consisted of several heterogeneous maxims which were invoked
alternately, Mr. Wilson deciding which was applicable to the particular
case under discussion. And from his judgment there was no appeal.

It is of the essence of statesmanship to be able to put oneself in the
place--one might almost say in the skin--of the foreign peoples and
governments with which one is called upon to deal. But the feat is
arduous and presupposes a variety of conditions which the President was
unable to fulfil. His conception of Europe, for example, was much too
simple. It has been aptly likened to that of the American economist who
once remarked to the manager of an English railway: "You Britishers are
handicapped by having to build your railway lines through cities and
towns. We go to work diligently: we first construct the road and create
the cities afterward."

And Mr. Wilson happened just then to be in quest of a fulcrum on which
to rest his idealistic lever. For he had already been driven by
egotistic governments from several of his commanding positions, and
people were gibingly asking whether the new political gospel was being
preached only as a foil for backslidings. Thus he abandoned the freedom
of the seas ... on which he had taken a determined stand before the
world. Although he refused the Rhine frontier to France, he had
reluctantly given way to M. Clemenceau in the matter of the Saar Valley,
assenting to a monstrous arrangement by which the German inhabitants of
that region were to be handed over to the French Republic against their
expressed will, as a set-off for a sum in gold which Germany would
certainly be unable to pay.[194] He doubtless foresaw that he would also
yield on the momentous issue of Shantung and the Chino-Japanese secret
treaty. In a word, some of his more important abstract tenets professed
in words were being brushed aside when it came to acts, and his position
was truly unenviable. Naturally, therefore, he seized the first
favorable occasion to apply them vigorously and unswervingly. This was
supplied by the dispute between Italy and Jugoslavia, two nations which
he held, so to say, in the hollow of his hand.

The latter state, still in the making, depended for its frontiers
entirely on the fiat of the American President backed by the Premiers of
Britain and France. And of this backing Mr. Wilson was assured. Italy,
although more powerful militarily than Jugoslavia, was likewise
economically dependent upon the good-will of the two English-speaking
communities, who were assured in advance of the support of the French
Republic. If, therefore, she could not be reasoned or cajoled into
obeying the injunctions of the Supreme Council, she could easily be made
malleable by other means. In her case, therefore, Mr. Wilson's ethical
notions might be fearlessly applied. That this was the idea which
underlay the President's policy is the obvious inference from the calm,
unyielding way in which he treated the Italian delegation. In this
connection it should be borne in mind that there is no more important
distinction between all former peace settlements and that of the Paris
Conference than the unavowed but indubitable fact that the latter rests
upon the hegemony of the English-speaking communities of the world,
whereas the former were based upon the balance of power. So immense a
change could not be effected without discreetly throwing out as useless
ballast some of the highly prized dogmas of the accepted political
creeds, even at the cost of impairing the solidarity of the Latin races.
This was effected incidentally. As a matter of fact, the French are not,
properly speaking, a Latin race, nor has their solidarity with Italy or
Spain ever been a moving political force in recent times. Italy's
refusal to fight side by side with her Teuton allies against France and
her backers may conceivably be the result of racial affinities, but it
has hardly ever been ascribed to that sentimental source. Sentiment in
politics is a myth. In any case, M. Clemenceau discerned no pressing
reason for making painful efforts to perpetuate the Latin union, while
solicitude for national interests hindered him from making costly
concessions to it.

Naturally the cardinal innovation of which this was a corollary was
never invoked as the ground for any of the exceptional measures adopted
by the Conference. And yet it was the motive for several, for although
no allusion was made to the hegemony of Anglo-Saxondom, it was ever
operative in the subconsciousness of the two plenipotentiaries. And in
view of the omnipotence of these two nations, they temporarily
sacrificed consistency to tactics, probably without conscientious
qualms, and certainly without political misgivings. That would seem to
be a partial explanation of the lengths to which the Conference went in
the direction of concessions to the Great Powers' imperialist demands.
France asked to be recognized and treated as the personification of that
civilization for which the Allied peoples had fought. And for many
reasons, which it would be superfluous to discuss here, a large part of
her claim was allowed. This concession was attacked by many as connoting
a departure from principle, but the deviation was more apparent than
real, for under all the wrappings of idealistic catchwords lay the
primeval doctrine of force. The only substantial difference between the
old system and the new was to be found in the wielders of the force and
the ends to which they intended to apply it. Force remains the granite
foundation of the new ordering, as it had been of the old. But its
employment, it was believed, would be different in the future from what
it had been in the past. Concentrated in the hands of the
English-speaking peoples, it would become so formidable a weapon that it
need never be actually wielded. Possession of overwhelmingly superior
strength would suffice to enforce obedience to the decrees of its
possessors, which always will, it is assumed, be inspired by equity. An
actual trial of strength would be obviated, therefore, at least so long
as the relative military and economic conditions of the world states
underwent no sensible change. To this extent the war specter would be
exorcised and trying abuses abolished.

That those views were expressly formulated and thrown into the clauses
of a secret program is unlikely. But it seems to be a fact that the
general outlines of such a policy were conceived and tacitly adhered to.
These outlines governed the action of the two world-arbiters, not only
in the dictatorial decrees issued in the name of political idealism and
its Fourteen Points, which were so bitterly resented as oppressive by
Italy, Rumania, Jugoslavia, Poland, and Greece, but likewise in those
other concessions which scandalized the political puritans and gladdened
the hearts of the French, the Japanese, the Jugoslavs, and the Jews. The
dictatorial decrees were inspired by the delegates' fundamental aims,
the concessions by their tactical needs--the former, therefore, were
meant to be permanent, the latter transient.

All other explanations of the Italian crisis, however well they may fit
certain of its phases, are, when applied to the pith of the matter,
beside the mark. Even if it were true, as the dramatist, Sem Benelli,
wrote, that "President Wilson evidently considers our people as on the
plane of an African colony, dominated by the will of a few ambitious
men," that would not account for the tenacious determination with which
the President held to his slighted theory.

Italy's position in Europe was in many respects peculiar. Men still
living remember the time when her name was scarcely more than a
geographical expression which gradually, during the last sixty years,
came to connote a hard-working, sober, patriotic nation. Only little by
little did she recover her finest provinces and her capital, and even
then her unity was not fully achieved. Austria still held many of her
sons, not only in the Trentino, but also on the other shore of the
Adriatic. But for thirty years her desire to recover these lost children
was paralyzed by international conditions. In her own interests, as well
as in those of peace, she had become the third member of an alliance
which constrained her to suppress her patriotic feelings and allowed her
to bend all her energies to the prevention of a European conflict.

When hostilities broke out, the attitude of the Italian government was a
matter of extreme moment to France and the Entente. Much, perhaps the
fate of Europe, depended on whether they would remain neutral or throw
in their lot with the Teutons. They chose the former alternative and
literally saved the situation. The question of motive is wholly
irrelevant. Later on they were urged to move a step farther and take an
active part against their former allies. But a powerful body of opinion
and sentiment in the country was opposed to military co-operation, on
the ground that the sum total of the results to be obtained by
quiescence would exceed the guerdon of victory won by the side of the
Entente. The correctness of this estimate depended upon many
incalculable factors, among which was the duration of the struggle. The
consensus of opinion was that it would be brief, in which case the terms
dangled before Italy's eyes by the Entente would, it was believed by the
Cabinet, greatly transcend those which the Central Powers were prepared
to offer. Anyhow they were accepted and the compact was negotiated,
signed, and ratified by men whose idealism marred their practical sense,
and whose policy of sacred egotism, resolute in words and feeble in
action, merely impaired the good name of the government without bringing
any corresponding compensation to the country. The world struggle lasted
much longer than the statesmen had dared to anticipate; Italy's
obligations were greatly augmented by Russia's defection, she had to
bear the brunt of all, instead of a part of Austria's forces, whereby
the sacrifices demanded of her became proportionately heavier.
Altogether it is fair to say that the difficulties to be overcome and
the hardships to be endured before the Italian people reached their goal
were and still are but imperfectly realized by their allies. For the
obstacles were gigantic, the effort heroic; alone the results shrank to
disappointing dimensions.

The war over, Italian statesmen confidently believed that those
supererogatory exertions would be appropriately recognized by the
Allies. And this expectation quickly crystallized into territorial
demands. The press which voiced them ruffled the temper of
Anglo-Saxondom by clamoring for more than it was ever likely to concede,
and buoyed up their own nation with illusory hopes, the non-fulfilment
of which was certain to produce national discontent. Curiously enough,
both the government and the press laid the main stress upon territorial
expansion, leaving economic advantages almost wholly out of account.

It was at this conjuncture that Mr. Wilson made his appearance and threw
all the pieces on the political chessboard into weird confusion. "You,"
he virtually said, "have been fighting for the dismemberment of your
secular enemy, Austria. Well, she is now dismembered and you have full
satisfaction. Your frontiers shall be extended at her expense, but not
at the expense of the new states which have arisen on her ruins. On the
contrary, their rights will circumscribe your claims and limit your
territorial aggrandizement. Not only can you not have all the additional
territory you covet, but I must refuse to allot even what has been
guaranteed to you by your secret treaty. I refuse to recognize that
because the United States government was no party to it, was, in fact,
wholly unaware of it until recently. New circumstances have transformed
it into a mere scrap of paper."

This language was not understood by the Italian people. For them the
sacredness of treaties was a dogma not to be questioned, and least of
all by the champion of right, justice, and good faith. They had welcomed
the new order preached by the American statesman, but were unable to
reconcile it with the tearing up of existing conventions, the
repudiation of legal rights, the dissolution of alliances. In particular
their treaty with France, Britain, and Russia had contributed
materially to the victory over the common enemy, had in fact saved the
Allies. "It was Italy's intervention," said the chief of the Austrian
General Staff, Conrad von Hoetzendorff, "that brought about the
disaster. Without that the Central Empires would infallibly have won the
war."[195] And there is no reason to doubt his assertion. In truth Italy
had done all she had promised to the Allies, and more. She had
contributed materially to save France--wholly gratuitously. It was also
her neutrality, which she could have bartered, but did not,[196] that
turned the scale at Bucharest against the military intervention of
Rumania on the side of the Teutons.[197] And without the neutrality of
both these countries at the outset of hostilities the course of the
struggle and of European history would have been widely different from
what they have been. And now that the Allies had achieved their aim they
were to refuse to perform their part of the compact in the name, too, of
a moral principle from the operation of which three great Powers were
dispensed. That was the light in which the matter appeared to the
unsophisticated mind of the average Italian, and not to him alone.
Others accustomed to abstract reasoning asked whether the best
preparation for the future régime of right and justice, and all that
these imply, is to transgress existing rights and violate ordinary
justice, and what difference there is between the demoralizing influence
of this procedure and that of professional Bolshevists. There was but
one adequate answer to this objection, and it consisted in the
whole-hearted and rigid application of the Wilsonian tenets to all
nations without exception. But even the author of these tenets did not
venture to make it.

The essence of the territorial question lay in the disposal of the
eastern shore of the Adriatic.[198] The Jugoslavs claimed all Istria and
Dalmatia, and based their claim partly on the principle of nationalities
and partly on the vital necessity of having outlets on that sea, and in
particular Fiume, the most important of them all, which they described
as essentially Croatian and indispensable as a port. The Italian
delegates, joining issue with the Jugoslavs, and claiming a section of
the seaboard and Fiume, argued that the greatest part of the East
Adriatic shore would still remain Croatian, together with all the ports
of the Croatian coast and others in southern Dalmatia--in a word, twelve
ports, including Spalato and Ragusa, and a thousand kilometers of
seaboard. The Jugoslavs met this assertion with the objection that the
outlets in question were inaccessible, all except Fiume and Metkovitch.
As for Fiume,[199] the Italian delegates contended that although not
promised to Italy by the Treaty of London, it was historically hers,
because, having been for centuries an autonomous entity and having as
such religiously preserved its Italian character, its inhabitants had
exercised their rights to manifest by plebiscite their desire to be
united with the mother country. They further denied that it was
indispensable to the Jugoslavs because these would receive a dozen other
ports and also because the traffic between Croatia and Fiume was
represented by only 7 per cent. of the whole, and even that of Croatia,
Slavonia, and Dalmatia combined by only 13 per cent. Further, Italy
would undertake to give all requisite export facilities in Fiume to the
Jugoslavs.

The latter traversed many of these statements, and in particular that
which described Fiume as a separate autonomous entity and as an
essentially Italian city. Archives were ransacked by both parties,
ancient documents produced, analyzed, condemned as forgeries or appealed
to as authentic proofs, chance phrases were culled from various writers
of bygone days and offered as evidence in support of each contention.
Thus the contest grew heated. It was further inflamed by the attitude of
Italy's allies, who appeared to her as either covertly unfriendly or at
best lukewarm.

M. Clemenceau, who maintained during the peace negotiations the epithet
"Tiger" which he had earned long before, was alleged to have said in the
course of one of those conversations which were misnamed private, "For
Italy to demand Fiume is to ask for the moon."[200] Officially he took
the side of Mr. Wilson, as did also the British Premier, and Italy's two
allies signified but a cold assent to those other claims which were
covered by their own treaty. But they made no secret of their desire to
see that instrument wholly set aside. Fiume they would not bestow on
their ally, at least not unless she was prepared to offer an equivalent
to the Jugoslavs and to satisfy the President of the United States.

This advocacy of the claims of the Jugoslavs was bitterly resented by
the Italians. For centuries the two peoples had been rivals or enemies,
and during the war the Jugoslavs fought with fury against the Italians.
For Italy the arch-enemy had ever been Austria and Austria was largely
Slav. "Austria," they say, "was the official name given to the cruel
enemy against whom we fought, but it was generally the Croatians and
other Slavs whom our gallant soldiers found facing them, and it was they
who were guilty of the misdeeds from which our armies suffered."
Official documents prove this.[201] Orders of the day issued by the
Austrian Command eulogize "the Serbo-Croatian battalions who vied with
the Austro-German and Hungarian soldiers in resisting the pitfalls dug
by the enemy to cause them to swerve from their fidelity and take the
road to treason.[202] In the last battle which ended the existence of
the Austro-Hungarian monarchy a large contingent of excellent Croatian
troops fought resolutely against the Italian armies."

In Italy an impressive story is told which shows how this transformation
of the enemy of yesterday into the ally of to-day sometimes worked out.
The son of an Italian citizen who was fighting as an aviator was killed
toward the end of the war, in a duel fought in the air, by an Austrian
combatant. Soon after the armistice was signed the sorrowing father
repaired to the place where his son had fallen. He there found an
ex-Austrian officer, the lucky victor and slayer of his son, wearing in
his buttonhole the Jugoslav _cocarde_, who, advancing toward him with
extended hand, uttered the greeting, "You and I are now allies."[203]
The historian may smile at the naïveté of this anecdote, but the
statesman will acknowledge that it characterized the relations between
the inhabitants of the new state and the Italians. One can divine the
feelings of these when they were exhorted to treat their ex-enemies as
friends and allies.

"Is it surprising, then," the Italians asked, "that we cannot suddenly
conceive an ardent affection for the ruthless 'Austrians' of whose
cruelties we were bitterly complaining a few months back? Is it strange
that we cannot find it in our hearts to cut off a slice of Italian
territory and make it over to them as one of the fruits of--our victory
over them? If Italy had not first adopted neutrality and then joined the
Allies in the war there would be no Jugoslavia to-day. Are we now to pay
for our altruism by sacrificing Italian soil and Italian souls to the
secular enemies of our race?" In a word, the armistice transformed
Italy's enemy into a friend and ally for whose sake she was summoned to
abandon some of the fruits of a hard-earned victory and a part of her
secular aspirations. What, asked the Italian delegates, would France
answer if she were told that the Prussians whom her matchless armies
defeated must henceforth be looked upon as friends and endowed with some
new colonies which would otherwise be hers? The Italian dramatist Sem
Benelli put the matter tersely: "The collapse of Austria transforms
itself therefore into a play of words, so much so that our people, who
are much more precise because they languished under the Austrian yoke
and the Austrian scourge, never call the Austrians by this name; they
call them always Croatians, knowing well that the Croatians and the
Slavs who constituted Austria were our fiercest taskmasters and most
cruel executioners. It is naïve to think that the ineradicable
characteristics and tendencies of peoples can be modified by a change of
name and a new flag."

But there was another way of looking at the matter, and the Allies,
together with the Jugoslavs, made the most of it. The Slav character of
the disputed territory was emphasized, the principle of nationality
invoked, and the danger of incorporating an unfriendly foreign element
which could not be assimilated was solemnly pointed out. But where
sentiment actuates, reason is generally impotent. The policy of the
Italian government, like that of all other governments, was frankly
nationalistic; whether it was also statesman-like may well be
questioned--indeed the question has already been answered by some of
Italy's principal press organs in the negative.[204] They accuse the
Cabinet of having deliberately let loose popular passions which it
afterward vainly sought to allay, and the facts which they allege in
support of the charge have never been denied.

It was certainly to Italy's best interests to strike up a friendly
agreement with the new state, if that were feasible, and some of the men
in whose hands her destinies rested, feeling their responsibility, made
a laudable attempt to come to an understanding. Signor Orlando, whose
sagacity is equal to his resourcefulness, was one. In London he had
talked the subject over with the Croatian leader, M. Trumbic, and
favored the movement toward reconciliation[205] which Baron Sonnino, his
colleague, as resolutely discouraged. A congress was accordingly held in
Rome[206] and an accord projected. The reciprocal relations became
amicable. The Jugoslav committee in the Italian capital congratulated
Signor Orlando on the victory of the Piave. But owing to various causes,
especially to Baron Sonnino's opposition, these inchoate sentiments of
neighborliness quickly lost their warmth and finally vanished. No trace
of them remained at the Paris Conference, where the delegates of the two
states did not converse together nor even salute one another.

President Wilson's visit to Rome, where, to use an Italian expression,
he was welcomed by Delirium, seemed to brighten Italy's outlook on the
future. Much was afterward made by the President's enemies of the
subsequent change toward him in the sentiments of the Italian people.
This is commonly ascribed to his failure to fulfil the expectations
which his words or attitude aroused or warranted. Nothing could well be
more misleading. Mr. Wilson's position on the subject of Italy's claims
never changed, nor did he say or do aught that would justify a doubt as
to what it was. In Rome he spoke to the Ministers in exactly the same
terms as in Paris at the Conference. He apprized them in January of what
he proposed to do in April and he even contemplated issuing a
declaration of his Italian policy at once. But he was earnestly
requested by the Ministers to keep his counsel to himself and to make no
public allusion to it during his sojourn in Italy.[207] It was not his
fault, therefore, if the Italian people cherished illusory hopes. In
Paris Signer Orlando had an important encounter with Mr. Wilson,[208]
who told him plainly that the allotment of the northern frontiers traced
for Italy by the London Treaty would be confirmed, while that of the
territory on the eastern Adriatic would be quashed. The division of the
spoils of Austria there must, he added, be made congruously with a map
which he handed to the Italian Premier. It was proved on examination to
be identical with one already published by the _New Europe_.[209] Signor
Orlando glanced at the map and in courteous phraseology unfolded the
reasons why he could not entertain the settlement proposed. He added
that no Italian parliament would ratify it. Thereupon the President
turned the discussion to politico-ethical lines, pointed out the harm
which the annexation of an alien and unfriendly element could inflict
upon Italy, the great advantages which cordial relations with her Slav
neighbor would confer on her, and the ease with which she might gain the
markets of the new state. A young and small nation like the Jugoslavs
would be grateful for an act of generosity and would repay it by lasting
friendship--a return worth far more than the contentious territories.
"Ah, you don't know the Jugoslavs, Mr. President," exclaimed Signor
Orlando. "If Italy were to cede to them Dalmatia, Fiume, and eastern
Istria they would forthwith lay claim to Trieste and Pola and, after
Trieste and Pola, to Friuli and Gorizia."

After some further discussion Mr. Wilson said: "Well, I am unable to
reconcile with my principles the recognition of secret treaties, and as
the two are incompatible I uphold the principles." "I, too," rejoined
the Italian Premier, "condemn secret treaties in the future when the new
principles will have begun to regulate international politics. As for
those compacts which were concluded during the war they were all secret,
not excluding those to which the United States was a party." The
President demurred to this reservation. He conceived and put his case
briefly as follows: Italy, like her allies, had had it in her power to
accept the Fourteen Points, reject them, or make reserves. Britain and
France had taken exception to those clauses which they were determined
to reject, whereas Italy signified her adhesion to them all. Therefore
she was bound by the principles underlying them and had forfeited the
right to invoke a secret treaty. The settlement of the issues turning
upon Dalmatia, Istria, Fiume, and the islands must consequently be
taken in hand without reference to the clauses of that instrument.
Examined on their merits and in the light of the new arrangements,
Italy's claims could not be upheld. It would be unfair to the Jugoslavs
who inhabit the whole country to cut them off from their own seaboard.
Nor would such a measure be helpful to Italy herself, whose interest it
was to form a homogeneous whole, consolidate her dominions, and prepare
for the coming economic struggle for national well-being. The principle
of nationality must, therefore, be allowed full play.

As for Fiume, even if the city were, as alleged, an independent entity
and desirous of being incorporated in Italy, one would still have to set
against these facts Jugoslavia's imperative need of an outlet to the
sea. Here the principle of economic necessity outweighs those of
nationality and free determination. A country must live, and therefore
be endowed with the wherewithal to support life. On these grounds,
judgment should be entered for the Jugoslavs.

The Italian Premier's answer was equally clear, but he could not
unburden his mind of it all. His government had, it was true, adhered to
the Fourteen Points without reservation. But the assumptions on which it
gave this undertaking were that it would not be used to upset past
compacts, but would be reserved for future settlements; that even had it
been otherwise the maxims in question should be deemed relevant in
Italy's case only if applied impartially to all states, and that the
entire work of reorganization should rest on this ethical foundation. A
régime of exceptions, with privileged and unprivileged nations, would
obviously render the scheme futile and inacceptable. Yet this was the
system that was actually being introduced. If secret treaties were to be
abrogated, then let the convention between Japan and China be also put
out of court and the dispute between them adjudicated upon its merits.
If the Fourteen Points are binding, let the freedom of the seas be
proclaimed. If equal rights are to be conferred upon all states, let the
Monroe Doctrine be repealed. If disarmament is to become a reality, let
Britain and America cease to build warships. Suppose for a moment that
to-morrow Brazil or Chile were to complain of the conduct of the United
States, the League of Nations, in whose name Mr. Wilson speaks, would be
hindered by the Monroe Doctrine from intervening, whereas Britain and
the United States in analogous conditions may intermeddle in the affairs
of any of the lesser states. When Ireland or Egypt or India uplifts its
voice against Britain, it is but a voice in the desert which awakens no
echo. If Fiume were inhabited by American citizens who, with a like
claim to be considered a separate entity, asked to be allowed to live
under the Stars and Stripes, what would President Wilson's attitude be
then? Would he turn a deaf ear to their prayer? Surely not. Why, in the
case of Italy, does he not do as he would be done by? What it all comes
to is that the new ordering under the flag of equality is to consist of
superior and inferior nations, of which the former, who speak English,
are to possess unlimited power over the latter, to decide what is good
for them and what is bad, what is licit and what is forbidden. And
against their fiat there is to be no appeal. In a word, it is to be the
hegemony of the Anglo-Saxon race.

It is worth noting that Signor Orlando's arguments were all derived from
the merits of the case, not from the terms or the force of the London
Treaty. Fiume, he said, had besought Italy to incorporate it, and had
made this request before the armistice, at a moment when it was risky to
proclaim attachments to the kingdom.[210] The inhabitants had invoked
Mr. Wilson's own words: "National aspirations must be respected....
Self-determination is not a mere phrase." "Peoples and provinces are not
to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were
mere chattels and pawns in a game. Every territorial settlement involved
in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the
populations concerned, and not as a part of any adjustment for
compromise of claims among rival states." And in his address at Mount
Vernon the President had advocated a doctrine which is peculiarly
applicable to Fiume--_i.e._:

"The settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty,
of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of
the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately
concerned, and not upon the basis of material interest or advantage of
any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement, for
the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery."[211] These maxims
laid down by Mr. Wilson implicitly allot Fiume to Italy.

Finally as to the objection that Italy's claims would entail the
incorporation of a number of Slavs, the answer was that the percentage
was negligible as compared with the number of foreign elements annexed
by other states. The Poles, it was estimated, would have some 30 per
cent. of aliens, the Czechs not less, Rumania 17 per cent., Jugoslavia
11 per cent., France 4 per cent., and Italy only 3 per cent.

In February the Jugoslavs made a strategic move, which many admired as
clever, and others blamed as unwise. They proposed that all differences
between their country and Italy should be submitted to Mr. Wilson's
arbitration. Considering that the President's mind was made up on the
subject from the beginning, and that he had decided against Italy, it
was natural that the delegation in whose favor his decision was known to
incline should be eager to get it accepted by their rivals. As neither
side was ignorant of what the result of the arbitration would be, only
one of the two could be expected to close with the offer, and the most
it could hope by doing this was to embarrass the other. The Italian
answer was ingenious. Their dispute, they said, was not with Serbia, who
alone was represented at the Conference; it concerned Croatia, who had
no official standing there, and whose frontiers were not yet determined,
but would in due time be traced by the Conference, of which Italy was a
member. The decision would be arrived at after an exhaustive study, and
its probable consequences to Europe's peace would be duly considered. As
extreme circumspection was imperative before formulating a verdict, five
plenipotentiaries would seem better qualified than any one of them, even
though he were the wisest of the group. To remove the question from the
competency of the Conference, which was expressly convoked to deal with
such issues, and submit it to an individual, would be felt as a slight
on the Supreme Council. And so the matter dropped.

Signor Orlando knew that if he had adopted the suggestion and made Mr.
Wilson arbiter, Italy's hopes would have been promptly extinguished in
the name of the Fourteen Points, and her example held up for all the
lesser states to imitate. The President was, however, convinced that the
Italian people would have ratified the arrangement with alacrity. It is
worth recording that he was so sure of his own hold on the Italian
masses that, when urging Signor Orlando to relinquish his demand for
Fiume and the Dalmatian coast, he volunteered to provide him with a
message written by himself to serve as the Premier's justification.
Signor Orlando was to read out this document in Parliament in order to
make it clear to the nation that the renunciation had been demanded by
America, that it would most efficaciously promote Italy's best
interests, and should for that reason be ratified with alacrity. Signor
Orlando, however, declined the certificate and things took their course.

In Paris the Italian delegation made little headway. Every one admired,
esteemed, and felt drawn toward the first delegate, who, left to
himself, would probably have secured for his country advantageous
conditions, even though he might be unable to add Fiume to those secured
by the secret treaty. But he was not left to himself. He had to reckon
with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was as mute as an oyster and
almost as unsociable. Baron Sonnino had his own policy, which was
immutable, almost unutterable. At the Conference he seemed unwilling to
propound, much less to discuss it, even with those foreign colleagues on
whose co-operation or approval its realization depended. He actually
shunned delegates who would fain have talked over their common interests
in a friendly, informal way, and whose business it was to strike up an
agreement. In fact, results which could be secured only by persuading
indifferent or hostile people and capturing their good-will he expected
to attain by holding aloof from all and leading the life of a hermit,
one might almost say of a misanthrope. One can imagine the feelings, if
one may not reproduce the utterances, of English-speaking officials,
whose legitimate desire for a free exchange of views with Italy's
official spokesman was thwarted by the idiosyncrasies of her own
Minister of Foreign Affairs. In Allied circles Baron Sonnino was
distinctly unpopular, and his unpopularity produced a marked effect on
the cause he had at heart. He was wholly destitute of friends. He had,
it is true, only two enemies, but they were himself and the foreign
element who had to work with him. Italy's cause was therefore
inadequately served.

Several months' trial showed the unwisdom of Baron Sonnino's attitude,
which tended to defeat his own policy. Italy was paid back by her allies
in her own coin, aloofness for aloofness. After she had declined the
Jugoslavs' ingenious proposal to refer their dispute to Mr. Wilson the
three delegates[212] agreed among themselves to postpone her special
problems until peace was signed with Germany, but Signor Orlando, having
got wind of the matter, moved every lever to have them put into the
forefront of the agenda. He went so far as to say that he would not sign
the Treaty unless his country's claims were first settled, because that
document would make the League of Nations--and therefore Italy as a
member of the League--the guarantor of other nations' territories,
whereas she herself had no defined territories for others to guarantee.
She would not undertake to defend the integrity of states which she had
helped to create while her own frontiers were indefinite. But in the art
of procrastination the Triumvirate was unsurpassed, and, as the time
drew near for presenting the Treaty to Germany, neither the Adriatic,
the colonial, the financial, nor the economic problems on which Italy's
future depended were settled or even broached. In the meanwhile the
plenipotentiaries in secret council, of whom four or five were wont to
deliberate and two to take decisions, had disagreed on the subject of
Fiume. Mr. Wilson was inexorable in his refusal to hand the city over to
Italy, and the various compromises devised by ingenious weavers of
conflicting interests failed to rally the Italian delegates,
whose inspirer was the taciturn Baron Sonnino. The
Italian press, by insisting on Fiume as a _sine qua non_ of
Italy's approval of the Peace Treaty and by announcing
that it would undoubtedly be accorded, had made it
practically impossible for the delegates to recede. The
circumstance that the press was inspired by the government is immaterial
to the issue. President Wilson, who had been frequently told that a word
from him to the peoples of Europe would fire their enthusiasm and carry
them whithersoever he wished, even against their own governments, now
purposed wielding this unique power against Italy's plenipotentiaries.
As we saw, he would have done this during his sojourn in Rome, but was
dissuaded by Baron Sonnino. His intention now was to compel the
delegates to go home and ascertain whether their inflexible attitude
corresponded with that of their people and to draw the people into the
camp of the "idealists." He virtually admitted this during his
conversation with Signor Orlando. What he seems to have overlooked,
however, is that there are time limits to every policy, and that only
the same causes can be set in motion to produce the same results. In
Italy the President's name had a very different sound in April from the
clarion-like tones it gave forth in January, and the secret of his
popularity even then was the prevalent faith in his firm determination
to bring about a peace of justice, irrespective of all separate
interests, not merely a peace with indulgence for the strong and rigor
for the weak. The time when Mr. Wilson might have summoned the peoples
of Europe to follow him had gone by irrevocably. It is worth noting that
the American statesman's views about certain of Italy's claims, although
originally laid down with the usual emphasis as immutable, underwent
considerable modifications which did not tend to reinforce his
authority. Thus at the outset he had proclaimed the necessity of
dividing Istria between the two claimant nations, but, on further
reflection, he gave way in Italy's favor, thus enabling Signor Orlando
to make the point that even the President's solutions needed
corrections. It is also a fact that when the Italian Premier insisted on
having the Adriatic problems definitely settled before the presentation
of the Treaty to the Germans[213] his colleagues of France and Britain
assured him that this reasonable request would be complied with. The
circumstance that this promise was disregarded did not tend to smooth
matters in the Council of Five.

The decisive duel between Signor Orlando and Mr. Wilson was fought out
in April, and the overt acts which subsequently marked their tense
relations were but the practical consequences of that. On the historic
day each one set forth his program with a _ne varietur_ attached, and
the President of the United States gave utterance to an estimate of
Italian public opinion which astonished and pained the Italian Premier,
who, having contributed to form it, deemed himself a more competent
judge of its trend than his distinguished interlocutor. But Mr. Wilson
not only refused to alter his judgment, but announced his intention to
act upon it and issue an appeal to the Italian nation. The gist of this
document was known to M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George. It has been
alleged, and seems highly probable, that the British Premier was
throughout most anxious to bring about a workable compromise. Proposals
were therefore put forward respecting Fiume and Dalmatia, some of which
were not inacceptable to the Italians, who lodged counter-proposals
about the others. On the fate of these counter-proposals everything
depended.

On April 23d I was at the Hôtel Edouard VII, the headquarters of the
Italian delegation, discussing the outlook and expecting to learn that
some agreement had been reached. In an adjoining room the members of the
delegation were sitting in conference on the burning subject, painfully
aware that time pressed, that the Damocles's sword of Mr. Wilson's
declaration hung by a thread over their heads, and that a spirit of
large compromise was indispensable. At three o'clock Mr. Lloyd George's
secretary brought the reply of the Council of Three to Italy's maximum
of concessions. Only one point remained in dispute, I was told, but that
point hinged upon Fiume, and, by a strange chance, it was not mentioned
in the reply which the secretary had just handed in. The Italian
delegation at once telephoned to the British Premier asking him to
receive the Marquis Imperiali, who, calling shortly afterward, learned
that Fiume was to be a free city and exempt from control. It was when
the marquis had just returned that I took leave of my hosts and received
the assurance that I should be informed of the result. About half an
hour later, on receipt of an urgent message, I hastened back to the
Italian headquarters, where consternation prevailed, and I learned that
hardly had the delegates begun to discuss the contentious clause when a
copy of the _Temps_ was brought in, containing Mr. Wilson's appeal to
the Italian people "over the heads of the Italian government."

The publication fell like a powerful explosive. The public were at a
loss to fit in Mr. Wilson's unprecedented action with that of his
British and French colleagues. For if in the morning he sent his appeal
to the newspapers, it was asked, why did he allow his Italian colleagues
to go on examining a proposal on which he manifestly assumed that they
were no longer competent to treat? Moreover a rational desire to settle
Italy's Adriatic frontiers, it was observed, ought not to have lessened
his concern about the larger issues which his unwonted procedure was
bound to raise. And one of these was respect for authority, the loss of
which was the taproot of Bolshevism. Signor Orlando replied to the
appeal in a trenchant letter which was at bottom a reasoned protest
against the assumed infallibility of any individual and, in particular,
of one who had already committed several radical errors of judgment.
What the Italian Premier failed to note was the consciousness of
overwhelming power and the will to use it which imparted its specific
mark to the whole proceeding. Had he realized this element, his
subsequent tactics would perhaps have run on different lines.

The suddenness with which the President carried out his purpose was
afterward explained as the outcome of misinformation. In various Italian
cities, it had been reported to him, posters were appearing on the walls
announcing that Fiume had been annexed. Moreover, it was added, there
were excellent grounds for believing that at Rome the Italian Cabinet
was about to issue a decree incorporating it officially, whereby things
would become more tangled than ever. Some French journals gave credit to
these allegations, and it may well be that Mr. Wilson, believing them,
too, and wanting to be beforehand, took immediate action. This, however,
is at most an explanation; it hardly justifies the precipitancy with
which the Italian plenipotentiaries were held up to the world as men who
were misrepresenting their people. As a matter of fact careful inquiry
showed that all those reports which are said to have alarmed the
President were groundless. Mr. Wilson's sources of information
respecting the countries on which he was sitting in judgment were often
as little to be depended on as presumably were the decisions of the
special commissions which he and Mr. Lloyd George so unceremoniously
brushed aside.

On the following morning Signori Orlando and Sonnino called on the
British Premier in response to his urgent invitation. To their surprise
they found Mr. Wilson and M. Clemenceau also awaiting them, ready, as it
might seem, to begin the discussion anew, curious in any case to observe
the effect of the declaration. But the Italian Premier burned his boats
without delay or hesitation. "You have challenged the authority of the
Italian government," he said, "and appealed to the Italian people. Be it
so. It is now become my duty to seek out the representatives of my
people in Parliament and to call upon them to decide between Mr. Wilson
and me." The President returned the only answer possible, "Undoubtedly
that is your duty." "I shall inform Parliament then that we have allies
incapable of agreeing among themselves on matters that concern us
vitally." Disquieted by the militant tone of the Minister, Mr. Lloyd
George uttered a suasive appeal for moderation, and expressed the hope
that in his speech to the Italian Chamber, Signor Orlando would not
forget to say that a satisfactory solution may yet be found. He would
surely be incapable of jeopardizing the chances of such a desirable
consummation. "I will make the people arbiters of the whole situation,"
the Premier announced, "and in order to enable them to judge with full
knowledge of the data, I herewith ask your permission to communicate my
last memorandum to the Council of Four. It embodies the pith of the
facts which it behooves the Parliament to have before it. In the
meantime, the Italian government withdraws from the Peace Conference."
On this the painful meeting terminated and the principal Italian
plenipotentiaries returned to Rome. In France a section of the press
sympathized with the Italians, while the government, and in particular
M. Clemenceau, joined Mr. Wilson, who had promised to restore the
sacredness of treaties[214] in exhorting Signor Orlando to give up the
Treaty of London. The clash between Mr. Wilson and Signor Orlando and
the departure of the Italian plenipotentiaries coincided with the
arrival of the Germans in Versailles, so that the Allies were faced with
the alternative of speeding up their desultory talks and improvising a
definite solution or giving up all pretense at unanimity in the presence
of the enemy. One important Paris journal found fault with Mr. Wilson
and his "Encyclical," and protested emphatically against his way of
filling every gap in his arrangements by wedging into it his League of
Nations. "Can we harbor any illusion as to the net worth of the League
of Nations when the revised text of the Covenant reveals it shrunken to
the merest shadow, incapable of thought, will, action, or justice?...
Too often have we made sacrifices to the Wilsonian doctrine."[215] ...
Another press organ compared Fiume to the Saar Valley and sympathized
with Italy, who, relying on the solidarity of her allies, expected to
secure the city.[216]

While those wearisome word-battles--in which the personal element played
an undue part--were being waged in the twilight of a secluded Valhalla,
the Supreme Economic Council decided that the seized Austrian vessels
must be pooled among all the Allies. When the untoward consequences of
this decision were flashed upon the Italians and the Jugoslavs, the
rupture between them was seen to be injurious to both and profitable to
third parties. For if the Austrian vessels were distributed among all
the Allied peoples, the share that would fall to those two would be of
no account. Now for the first time the adversaries bestirred themselves.
But it was not their diplomatists who took the initiative. Eager for
their respective countries' share of the spoils of war, certain
business men on both sides met,[217] deliberated, and worked out an
equitable accord which gave four-fifths of the tonnage to Italy and the
remainder to the Jugoslavs, who otherwise would not have obtained a
single ship.[218] They next set about getting the resolution of the
Economic Council repealed, and went on with their conversations.[219]
The American delegation was friendly, promised to plead for the repeal,
and added that "if the accord could be extended to the Adriatic problem
Mr. Wilson would be delighted and would take upon himself to ratify it
_even without the sanction of the Conference_.[220] Encouraged by this
promise, the delegates made the attempt, but as the Italian Premier had
for some unavowed reason limited the intercourse of the negotiators to a
single day, on the expiry of which he ordered the conversation to
cease,[221] they failed. Two or three days later the delegates in
question had quitted Paris.

What this exchange of views seems to have demonstrated to open-minded
Italians was that the Jugoslavs, whose reputation for obstinacy was a
dogma among all their adversaries and some of their friends, have chinks
in their panoply through which reason and suasion may penetrate.

When the Italian withdrew from the Conference he had ample reason for
believing that in his absence peace could not be signed, and many
thought that, by departing, he was giving Mr. Wilson a Roland for his
Oliver. But this supposed tactical effect formed no part of Orlando's
deliberate plan. It was a coincidence to be utilized, nothing more. Mr.
Wilson had left him no choice but to quit France and solicit the verdict
of his countrymen. But Mr. Wilson's colleagues were aghast at the
thought that the Pact of London, by which none of the Allies might
conclude a separate peace, rendered it indispensable that Italy's
recalcitrant plenipotentiaries should be co-signatories, or at any rate
consenting parties. About this interpretation of the Pact there was not
the slightest doubt. Hence every one feared that the signing of the
Peace Treaty would be postponed indefinitely because of the absence of
the Italian plenipotentiaries from the Conference. That certainly was
the belief of the remaining delegates. There was no doubt anywhere that
the presence or the express assent of the Italians was a _sine qua non_
of the legality of the Treaty. It certainly was the conviction of the
French press, and was borne out by the most eminent jurists throughout
the world.[222] That the Italian delegates might refuse to sign, as
Signor Orlando had threatened, until Italy's affairs were arranged
satisfactorily was taken for granted, and the remaining members of the
inner Council set to work to checkmate this potential maneuver and
dispense with her co-operation. This aim was attained during the absence
of the Italian delegation by the decree that the signature of any three
of the Allied and Associated governments would be deemed adequate. The
legality and even the morality of this provision were challenged by
many.

But it may be maintained that the imperative nature of the task which
confronted the Conference demanded a chart of ideas and principles
different from that by which Old World diplomacy had been guided and
that respect for the letter of a compact should not be allowed to
destroy its spirit. There is much to be said for this contention, which
was, however, rejected by Italian jurists as destructive of the
sacredness of treaties. They also urged that even if it were permissible
to dash formal obstacles aside in order to clear the path for the
furtherance of a good cause, it is also indispensable that the result
should be compassed with the smallest feasible sacrifice of principle.
Hopes were accordingly entertained by the Italian delegates that, on
their return to Paris, at least a formal declaration might be made that
Italy's signature was indispensable to the validity of the Treaty. But
they were not, perhaps could not, be fulfilled at that conjuncture.

Advantage was taken in other ways of the withdrawal of Italy's
representatives from the Conference. For example, a clause of the Treaty
with Germany dealing with reparations was altered to Italy's detriment.
Another which turned upon Austro-German relations was likewise modified.
Before the delegates left for Rome it had been settled that Germany
should be bound over to respect Austria's independence. This obligation
was either superfluous, every state being obliged to respect the
independence of every other, or else it had a cryptic meaning which
would only reveal itself in the application of the clause. As soon as
the Conference was freed from the presence of the Italians the formula
was modified, and Germany was plainly forbidden to unite with Austria,
even though Austria should expressly desire amalgamation. As this
enactment runs directly counter to the principle of self-determination,
the Italian Minister Crespi raised his voice in energetic protest
against this and the financial changes,[223] whereupon the Triumvirs,
giving way on the latter point, consented to restore the primitive text
of the financial condition.[224] Germany is obliged to supply France
with seven million tons of coal every year by way of restitution for
damage done during the war. At the price of fifty francs a ton, the
money value of this tribute would be three hundred and fifty million
francs, of which Italy would be entitled to receive 30 per cent. But
during the absence of the Italian representatives a supplementary clause
was inserted in the Treaty[225] conferring a special privilege on France
which renders Italy's claim of little or no value. It provides that
Germany shall deliver annually to France an amount of coal equal to the
difference between the pre-war production of the mines of Pas de Calais
and the Nord, destroyed by the enemy, and the production of the mines of
the same area during each of the coming years, the maximum limit to be
twenty million tons. As this contribution takes precedence of all
others, and as Germany, owing to insufficiency of transports and other
causes, will probably be unable to furnish it entirely, Italy's claim is
considered practically valueless.

The reception of the delegates in Rome was a triumph, their return to
Paris a humiliation. For things had been moving fast in the meanwhile,
and their trend, as we said, was away from Italy's goal. Public opinion
in their own country likewise began to veer round, and people asked
whether they had adopted the right tactics, whether, in fine, they were
the right men to represent their country at that crisis of its history.
There was no gainsaying the fact that Italy was completely isolated at
the Conference. She had sacrificed much and had garnered in relatively
little. The Jugoslavs had offered her an alliance--although this kind of
partnership had originally been forbidden by the Wilsonian discipline;
the offer was rejected and she was now certain of their lasting enmity.
Venizelos had also made overtures to Baron Sonnino for an understanding,
but they elicited no response, and Italy's relations with Greece lost
whatever cordiality they might have had. Between France and Italy the
threads of friendship which companionship in arms should have done much
to strengthen were strained to the point of snapping. And worst,
perhaps, of all, the Italian delegates had approved the clause
forbidding Germany to unite with Austria.

That the fault did not lie wholly in the attitude of the Allies is
obvious. The Italian delegates' lack of method, one might say of unity,
was unquestionably a contributory cause of their failure to make
perceptible headway at the Conference. A curious and characteristic
incident of the slipshod way in which the work was sometimes done
occurred in connection with the disposal of the Palace Venezia, in Rome,
which had belonged to Austria, but was expropriated by the Italian
government soon after the opening of hostilities. The heirs of the
Hapsburg Crown put forward a claim to proprietary rights which was
traversed by the Italian government. As the dispute was to be laid
before the Conference, the Roman Cabinet invited a _juris consult_
versed in these matters to argue Italy's case. He duly appeared,
unfolded his claim congruously with the views of his government, but
suddenly stopped short on observing the looks of astonishment on the
faces of the delegates. It appears that on the preceding day another
delegate of the Economic Conference, also an Italian, had unfolded and
defended the contrary thesis--namely, that Austria's heirs had
inherited her right to the Palace of Venezia.[226]

Passing to more momentous matters, one may pertinently ask whether too
much stress was not laid by the first Italian delegation upon the
national and sentimental sides of Italy's interests, and too little on
the others. Among the Great Powers Italy is most in need of raw
materials. She is destitute of coal, iron, cotton, and naphtha. Most of
them are to be had in Asia Minor. They are indispensable conditions of
modern life and progress. To demand a fair share of them as guerdon for
having saved Europe, and to put in her claim at a moment when Europe was
being reconstituted, could not have been construed as imperialism. The
other Allies had possessed most of those necessaries in abundance long
before the war. They were adding to them now as the fruits of a victory
which Italy's sacrifices had made possible. Why, then, should she be
left unsatisfied? Bitterly though the nation was disappointed by failure
to have its territorial claims allowed, it became still more deeply
grieved when it came to realize that much more important advantages
might have been secured if these had been placed in the forefront of the
nation's demands. Emigration ground for Italy's surplus population,
which is rapidly increasing, coal and iron for her industries might
perhaps have been obtained if the Italian plan of campaign at the
Conference had been rightly conceived and skilfully executed. But this
realistic aspect of Italy's interests was almost wholly lost sight of
during the waging of the heated and unfruitful contests for the
possession of town and ports, which, although sacred symbols of
Italianism, could not add anything to the economic resources which will
play such a predominant part in the future struggle for material
well-being among the new and old states. There was a marked propensity
among Italy's leaders at home and in Paris to consider each of the
issues that concerned their country as though it stood alone, instead of
envisaging Italy's economic, financial, and military position after the
war as an indivisible problem and proving that it behooved the Allies in
the interests of a European peace to solve it satisfactorily, and to
provide compensation in one direction for inevitable gaps in the other.
This, to my thinking, was the fundamental error of the Italian and
Allied statesmen for which Europe may have to suffer. That Italy's
policy cannot in the near future return to the lines on which it ran
ever since the establishment of her national unity, whatever her allies
may do or say, will hardly be gainsaid. Interests are decisive factors
of foreign policy, and the action of the Great Powers has determined
Italy's orientation.

Italy undoubtedly gained a great deal by the war, into which she entered
mainly for the purpose of achieving her unity and securing strong
frontiers. But she signed the Peace Treaty convinced that she had not
succeeded in either purpose, and that her allies were answerable for her
failure. It was certainly part of their policy to build up a strong
state on her frontier out of a race which she regards as her adversary
and to give it command of some of her strategic positions. And the overt
bearing manner in which this policy was sometimes carried out left as
much bitterness behind as the object it aimed at. It is alleged that the
Italian delegates were treated with an economy of consideration which
bordered on something much worse, while the arguments officially invoked
to non-suit them appeared to them in the light of bitter sarcasms.
President Wilson, they complained, ignored his far-resonant principle
of self-determination when Japan presented her claim for Shantung, but
refused to swerve from it when Italy relied on her treaty rights in
Dalmatia. And when the inhabitants of Fiume voted for union with the
mother country, the President abandoned that principle and gave judgment
for Jugoslavia on other grounds. He was right, but disappointing, they
observed, when he told his fellow-citizens that his presence in Europe
was indispensable in order to interpret his conceptions, for no other
rational being could have construed them thus.

The withdrawal of the Italian delegates was construed as an act of
insubordination, and punished as such. The Marquis de Viti de Varche has
since disclosed the fact that the Allied governments forthwith reduced
the credits accorded to Italy during hostilities, whereupon hardships
and distress were aggravated and the peasantry over a large area of the
country suffered intensely.[227] For Italy is more dependent on her
allies than ever, owing to the sacrifices which she offered up during
the war, and she was made to feel her dependence painfully. The military
assistance which they had received from her was fraught with financial
and economic consequences which have not yet been realized by the
unfortunate people who must endure them. Italy at the close of
hostilities was burdened with a foreign debt of twenty milliards of
lire, an internal debt of fifty millards, and a paper circulation four
times more than what it was in pre-war days.[228] Raw materials were
exhausted, traffic and production were stagnant, navigation had almost
ceased, and the expenditure of the state had risen to eleven milliards
a year.[229]

According to the figures published by the Statistical Society of Berne,
the general rise in prices attributed to the war hit Italy much harder
than any of her allies.[230] The consequences of this and other
perturbations were sinister and immediate. The nation, bereft of what it
had been taught to regard as its right, humiliated in the persons of its
chiefs, subjected to foreign guidance, insufficiently clad, underfed,
and with no tangible grounds for expecting speedy improvement, was
seething with discontent. Frequent strikes merely aggravated the general
suffering, which finally led to riots, risings, and the shedding of
blood. The economic, political, and moral crisis was unprecedented. The
men who drew Italy into the war were held up to public opprobrium
because in the imagination of the people the victory had cost them more
and brought them in less than neutrality would have done. One of the
principal orators of the Opposition, in a trenchant discourse in the
Italian Parliament, said, "The Salandra-Sonnino Cabinet led Italy into
the war blindfolded."[231]

After the return of the Italian delegation to Paris various fresh
combinations were devised for the purpose of grappling with the Adriatic
problem. One commended itself to the Italians as a possible basis for
discussion. In principle it was accepted. A declaration to this effect
was made by Signor Orlando and taken cognizance of by M. Clemenceau, who
undertook to lay the matter before Mr. Wilson, the sole arbitrator in
Italian affairs. He played the part of Fate throughout. Days went by
after this without bringing any token that the Triumvirate was
interested in the Adriatic. At last the Italian Premier reminded his
French colleague that the latest proposal had been accepted in
principle, and the Italian plenipotentiaries were awaiting Mr. Wilson's
pleasure in the matter. Accordingly, M. Clemenceau undertook to broach
the matter to the American statesman without delay. The reply, which was
promptly given, dismayed the Italians. It was in the form of one of
those interpretations which, becoming associated with Mr. Wilson's name,
shook public confidence in certain of the statesman-like qualities with
which he had at first been credited. The construction which he now put
upon the mode of voting to be applied to Fiume, including this city--in
a large district inhabited by a majority of Jugoslavs--imparted to the
project as the Italians had understood it a wholly new aspect. They
accordingly declared it inacceptable. As after that there seemed to be
nothing more for the Italian Premier to do in Paris, he left, was soon
afterward defeated in the Chamber, and resigned together with his
Cabinet. The vote of the Italian Parliament, which appeared to the
continental press in the light of a protest of the nation against the
aims and the methods of the Conference, closed for the time being the
chapter of Italy's endeavor to complete her unity, secure strong
frontiers, and perpetuate her political partnership with France and her
intimate relations with the Entente. Thenceforward the English-speaking
states might influence her overt acts, compel submission to their
behests, and generally exercise a sort of guardianship over her, because
they are the dispensers of economic boons, but the union of hearts, the
mutual trust, the cement supplied by common aims are lacking.

One of the most telling arguments employed by President Wilson to
dissuade various states from claiming strategic positions, and in
particular Italy from insisting on the annexation of Fiume and the
Dalmatian coast, was the effective protection which the League of
Nations would confer on them.[232] Strategical considerations would, it
was urged, lose all their value in the new era, and territorial
guaranties become meaningless and cumbersome survivals of a dead epoch.
That was the principal weapon with which he had striven to parry the
thrusts of M. Clemenceau and the touchstone by which he tested the
sincerity of all professions of faith in his cherished project of
compacting the nations of the world in a vast league of peace-loving,
law-abiding communities. But the faith of France's leaders differed
little from unbelief. Guaranties first and the protection of the League
afterward was the French formula, around which many fierce battles royal
were fought. In the end Mr. Wilson, having obtained the withdrawal of
the demand for the Rhine frontier, gave in, and the Covenant was
reinforced by a compact which in the last analysis is a military
undertaking, a unilateral Triple Alliance, Great Britain and the United
States undertaking to hasten to France's assistance should her territory
be wantonly invaded by Germany. The case thus provided for is extremely
improbable. The expansion of Germany, when the auspicious hour strikes,
will presumably be inaugurated on wholly new lines, against which
armies, even if they can be mobilized in time, will be of little avail.
But if force were resorted to, it is almost certain to be used in the
direction where the resistance is least--against France's ally, Poland.
This, however, is by the way. The point made by the Italians was that
the League of Nations being thus admittedly powerless to discharge the
functions which alone could render strategic frontiers unnecessary, can
consequently no longer be relied upon as an adequate protection against
the dangers which the possession of the strongholds she claimed on the
Adriatic would effectively displace. Either the League, it was argued,
can, as asserted, protect the countries which give up commanding
positions to potential enemies, or it cannot. In the former hypothesis
France's insistence on a military convention is mischievous and
immoral--in the latter Italy stands in as much need of the precautions
devised as her neighbor. But her spokesmen were still plied with the
threadbare arguments and bereft of the countervailing corrective. And
faith in the efficacy of the League was sapped by the very men who were
professedly seeking to spread it.

The press of Rome, Turin, and Milan pointed to the loyalty of the
Italian people, brought out, they said, in sharp relief by the
discontent which the exclusive character of that triple military accord
engendered among them. As kinsmen of the French it was natural for
Italians to expect that they would be invited to become a party to this
league within the League. As loyal allies of Britain and France they
felt desirous of being admitted to the alliance. But they were excluded.
Nor was their exasperation allayed by the assurance of their press that
this was no alliance, but a state of tutelage. An alliance, it was
explained, is a compact by which two or more parties agree to render one
another certain services under given conditions, whereas the convention
in question is a one-sided undertaking on the part of Britain and the
United States to protect France if wantonly attacked, because she is
unable efficaciously to protect herself. It is a benefaction. But this
casuistry fell upon deaf ears. What the people felt was the
disesteem--the term in vogue was stronger--in which they were held by
the Allies, whom they had saved perhaps from ruin.

By slow degrees the sentiments of the Italian nation underwent a
disquieting change. All parties and classes united in stigmatizing the
behavior of the Allies in terms which even the literary eminence of the
poet d'Annunzio could not induce the censors to let pass. "The Peace
Treaty," wrote Italy's most influential journal, "and its correlate
forbode for the near future the Continental hegemony of France
countersigned by the Anglo-American alliance."[233] Another widely
circulated and respected organ described the policy of the Entente as a
solvent of the social fabric, constructive in words, corrosive in acts,
"mischievous if ever there was a mischievous policy. For while raising
hopes and whetting appetites, it does nothing to satisfy them; on the
contrary, it does much to disappoint them. In words--a struggle for
liberty, for nations, for the equality of peoples and classes, for the
well-being of all; in acts--the suppression of the most elementary and
constitutional liberty, the overlordship of certain nations based on the
humiliation of others, the division of peoples into exploiters and
exploited--the sharpening of social differences--the destruction of
collective wealth, and its accumulation in a few blood-stained hands,
universal misery, and hunger."[234]

Although it is well understood that Italy's defeat at the Conference was
largely the handiwork of President Wilson, the resentment of the Italian
nation chose for its immediate objects the representatives of France and
Britain. The American "associates" were strangers, here to-day and gone
to-morrow, but the Allies remain, and if their attitude toward Italy, it
was argued, had been different, if their loyalty had been real, she
would have fared proportionately as well as they, whatever the American
statesmen might have said or done.

The Italian press breathed fiery wrath against its French ally, who so
often at the Conference had met Italy's solicitations with the odious
word "impossible." Even moderate organs of public opinion gave free vent
to estimates of France's policy and anticipations of its consequences
which disturbed the equanimity of European statesmen. "It is
impossible," one of these journals wrote, "for France to become the
absolute despot of Europe without Italy, much less against Italy. What
transcended the powers of Richelieu, who was a lion and fox combined,
and was beyond the reach of Bonaparte, who was both an eagle and a
serpent, cannot be achieved by "Tiger" Clemenceau in circumstances so
much less favorable than those of yore. We, it is true, are isolated,
but then France is not precisely embarrassed by the choice of friends."
The peace was described as "Franco-Slav domination with its headquarters
in Prague, and a branch office in Agram." M. Clemenceau was openly
charged with striving after the hegemony of the Continent for his
country by separating Germany from Austria and surrounding her with a
ring of Slav states--Poland, Jugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and perhaps the
non-Slav kingdom of Rumania. All these states would be in the
leading-strings of the French Republic, and Austria would be linked to
it in a different guise. And in order to effect this resuscitation of
the Hapsburg state under the name of "Danubian federation," Mr. Wilson,
it was asserted, had authorized a deliberate violation of his own
principle of self-determination, and refused to Austria the right of
adopting the régime which she preferred. It was, in truth, an odd
compromise, these critics continued, for an idealist of the President's
caliber, on whose every political action the scrutinizing gaze of the
world was fixed. One could not account for it as a sacrifice made for a
high ethical aim--one of those ends which, according to the old maxim,
hallows the means. It seemed an open response to a secret instigation or
impulse which was unconnected with any recognized or avowable principle.
Even the Socialist organs swelled the chorus of the accusers. _Avanti_
wrote, "We are Socialists, yet we have never believed that the American
President with his Fourteen Points entered into the war for the highest
aims of humanity and for the rights of peoples, any more than we believe
at present that his opposition to the aspirations of the Italian state
on the Adriatic are inspired by motives of idealism."[235]

The fate of the disputed territories on the Adriatic was to be the
outcome of self-determination. Poland's claims were to be left to the
self-determination of the Silesian and Ruthenian populations. Rumania
was told that her suit must remain in abeyance until it could be tested
by the same principle, which would be applied in the form of a
plebiscite. For self-determination was the cornerstone of the League of
Nations, the holiest boon for which the progressive peoples of the world
had been pouring out their life-blood and substance for nearly five
years. But when Italy invoked self-determination, she was promptly
non-suited. When Austria appealed to it she was put out of court. And to
crown all, the world was assured that the Fourteen Points had been
triumphantly upheld. This depravation of principles by the triumph of
the little prudences of the hour spurred some of the more impulsive
critics to ascribe it to influences less respectable than those to which
it may fairly be attributed.

The directing Powers were hypersensitive to the oft-repeated charge of
meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. They were never
tired of protesting their abhorrence of anything that smacked of
interference. Among the numerous facts, however, which they could
neither deny nor reconcile with their professions, the following was
brought forward by the Italians, who had a special interest to draw
public attention to it. It had to do with the abortive attempt to
restore the Hapsburg monarchy in Hungary as the first step toward the
formation of a Danubian federation. "It is certain," wrote the principal
Italian journal, "that the Archduke Joseph's _coup d'état_ did not take
place, indeed (given the conditions in Budapest) could not take place,
without the Entente's connivance. The official _communiqués_ of Budapest
and Vienna, dated August 9th, recount on this point precise details
which no one has hitherto troubled to deny. The Peidl government was
scarcely three days in power, and, therefore, was not in a position to
deserve either trust or distrust, when the heads of the 'order-loving
organizations' put forward, to justify the need of a new crisis, the
complaints of the heads of the Entente Missions as to the anarchy
prevailing in Hungary and the urgency of finding 'some one' who could
save the country from the abyss. Then a commission repaired to Alscuth,
where it easily persuaded the Archduke to come to Budapest. Here he at
once visited all the heads of missions and spent the whole day in
negotiations. '_As a result of negotiations with Entente
representatives, the Archduke Joseph undertook a solution of the
crisis_.' He then called together the old state police and a volunteer
army of eight thousand men. The Rumanian garrison was kept ready. The
Peidl government naturally did not resist at all. At 10 P.M. on August
7th all the Entente Missions held a meeting, _to which the Archduke
Joseph and the new Premier were invited_. General Gorton presided. _The
Conference lasted two hours and reached an agreement on all questions.
All the heads of Missions assured the new government of their warmest
support_."[236]

Another case of unwarranted interference which stirred the Italians to
bitter resentment turned upon the obligation imposed on Austria to
renounce her right to unite with Germany. "It is difficult to discern in
the policy of the Entente toward Austria anything more respectable than
obstinacy coupled with stupidity," wrote the same journal. "But there is
something still worse. It is impossible not to feel indignant with a
coalition which, after having triumphed in the name of the loftiest
ideas ... treats German-Austria no better than the Holy Alliance treated
the petty states of Italy. But the Congress of Vienna acted in harmony
with the principle of legitimism which it avowed and professed, whereas
the Paris Conference violates without scruple the canons by which it
claims to be guided.

"Not a whit more decorous is the intervention of the Supreme Council in
the internal affairs of Germany--a state which, according to the spirit
and the letter of the Versailles Treaty, is sovereign and not a
protectorate. The Conference was qualified to dictate peace terms to
Germany, but it wanders beyond the bounds of its competency when it
construes those terms and arrogates to itself--on the strength of forced
and equivocal interpretations--the right of imposing upon a nation which
is neither militarily nor juridically an enemy a constitutional reform.
Whether Germany violates the Treaty by her Constitution is a question
which only a judicial finding of the League of Nations can fairly
determine."[237]

It would be impolitic to overlook and insincere to belittle the effects
of this incoherency upon the relations between France and Italy. Public
opinion in the Peninsula characterized the attitude of Prance as
deliberately hostile. The Italians at the Conference eagerly scrutinized
every act and word of their French colleagues, with a view to
discovering grounds for dispelling this view. But the search is reported
to have been worse than vain. It revealed data which, although
susceptible of satisfactory explanations, would, if disclosed at that
moment, have aggravated the feeling of bitterness against France, which
was fast gathering. Signor Orlando had recourse to the censor to prevent
indiscretions, but the intuition of the masses triumphed over
repression, and the existing tenseness merged into resentment. The way
in which Italians accounted for M. Clemenceau's attitude was this.
Although Italy has ceased to be the important political factor she once
was when the Triple Alliance was in being, she is still a strong
continental Power, capable of placing a more numerous army in the field
than her republican sister, and her population continues to increase at
a high rate. In a few years she will have outstripped her rival. France,
too, has perhaps lost those elements of her power and prestige which she
derived from her alliance with Russia. Again, the Slav ex-ally, Russia,
may become the enemy of to-morrow. In view of these contingencies France
must create a substitute for the Rumanian and Italian allies. And as
these have been found in the new Slav states, Poland, Czechoslovakia,
and Jugoslavia, she can afford to dispense with making painful
sacrifices to keep Italy in countenance.

A trivial incident which affords a glimpse of the spirit prevailing
between the two kindred peoples occurred at St.-Germain-en-Laye, where
the Austrian delegates were staying. They had been made much of in
Vienna by the Envoy of the French Republic there, M. Allizé, whose
mission it was to hinder Austria from uniting with the Reich. Italy's
policy was, on the contrary, to apply Mr. Wilson's principle of
self-determination and allow the Austrians to do as they pleased in that
respect. A fervent advocate of the French orthodox doctrine--a
publicist--repaired to the Austrian headquarters at St.-Germain for the
purpose, it is supposed, of discussing the subject. Now intercourse of
any kind between private individuals and the enemy delegates was
strictly forbidden, and when M. X. presented himself, the Italian
officer on duty refused him admission. He insisted. The officer was
inexorable. Then he produced a written permit signed by the Secretary of
the Conference, M. Dutasta. How and why this exception was made in his
favor when the rule was supposed to admit of no exceptions was not
disclosed. But the Italian officer, equal to the occasion, took the
ground that a military prohibition cannot be canceled by a civilian, and
excluded the would-be visitor.

The general trend of France's European policy was repugnant to Italy.
She looked on it as a well-laid scheme to assume a predominant rôle on
the Continent. That, she believed, was the ultimate purpose of the veto
on the union of Austria and Germany, of the military arrangements with
Britain and the United States, and of much else that was obnoxious to
Italy. Austria was to be reconstituted according to the federative plans
of the late Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to be made stronger than before as
a counterpoise to Italy, and to be at the beck and call of France. Thus
the friend, ally, sister of yesterday became the potential enemy of
to-morrow. That was the refrain of most of the Italian journals, and
none intoned it more fervently than those which had been foremost in
bringing their country into the war. One of these, a Conservative organ
of Lombardy, wrote: "Until yesterday, we might have considered that two
paths lay open before us, that of an alliance with France and that of
an independent policy. But we can think so no longer. To offer our
friendship to-day to the people who have already chosen their own road
and established their solidarity with our enemies of yesterday and
to-morrow would not be to strike out a policy, but to decide on an
unseemly surrender. It would be tantamount to reproducing in an
aggravated form the situation we occupied in the alliance with Germany.
Once again we should be engaged in a partnership of which one of the
partners was in reality our enemy. France taking the place of Germany,
and Jugoslavia that of Austria, the situation of the old Triple Alliance
would be not merely reproduced, but made worse in the reproduction,
because the _Triplice_ at least guaranteed us against a conflict which
we had grounds for apprehending, whereas the new alliance would tie our
hands for the sake of a little Balkan state which, single-handed, we are
well able to keep in its place.

"We have had enough of a policy which has hitherto saddled us with all
the burdens of the alliance without bestowing on us any advantage--which
has constrained us to favor all the peoples whose expansion dovetailed
with French schemes and to combat or neglect those others whose
consolidation corresponded to our interests--which has led us to support
a great Poland and a great Bohemia and to combat the Ukraine, Hungary,
Bulgaria, Rumania, Spain, to whose destinies the French, but not we,
were indifferent."[238] A press organ of Bologna denounced the atrocious
and ignominious sacrifice "which her allies imposed on Italy by means of
economic blackmailing and violence with a whip in one hand and a chunk
of bread in the other."[239]

Sharp comments were provoked by the heavy tax on strangers in Tunisia
imposed by the French government,[240] on strangers, mostly Italians,
who theretofore had enjoyed the same rights as the French and Tunisians.
"Suddenly," writes the principal Italian journal, "and just when it was
hoped that the common sacrifices they had made had strengthened the ties
between the two nations, the governor of Tunisia issued certain orders
which endangered the interests of foreigners and the effects of which
will be felt mainly by Italians, of whom there are one hundred and
twenty thousand in Tunisia.[241] First there came an order forbidding
the use of any language but French in the schools. Now the tax referred
to in the House of Lords gives the Tunisian government power to levy an
impost on the buying and selling of property in Tunisia. The new tax,
which is to be levied over and above pre-existing taxes, ranged from 59
per cent. of the value when it is not assessed at a higher sum than one
hundred thousand lire to 80 per cent. when its estimated value is more
than five hundred thousand lire." The article terminates with the remark
that boycotting is hardly a suitable epilogue to a war waged for common
ideals and interests.

These manifestations irritated the French and were taken to indicate
Italy's defection. It was to no purpose that a few level-headed men
pointed out that the French government was largely answerable for the
state of mind complained of. "Pertinax," in the _Echo de Paris_, wrote
"that the alliance, in order to subsist and flourish, should have
retained its character as an Anti-German League, whereas it fell into
the error of masking itself as a Society of Nations and arrogated to
itself the right of bringing before its tribunal all the quarrels of the
planet."[242] Italy's allies undoubtedly did much to forfeit her
sympathies and turn her from the alliance. It was pointed out that when
the French troops arrived in Italy the Bulletin of the Italian command
eulogized their efforts almost daily, but when the Italian troops went
to France, the _communiqués_ of the French command were most chary of
allusions to their exploits, yet the Italian army contributed more dead
to the French front than did the French army to the Italian front.[243]
At the Peace Conference, as we saw, when the terms with Germany were
being drafted, Italy's problems were set aside on the grounds that there
was no nexus between them. The Allies' interests, which were dealt with
as a whole during the war, were divided after the armistice into
essential and secondary interests, and those of Italy were relegated to
the latter class. Subsequently France, Britain, and the United States,
without the co-operation or foreknowledge of their Italian friends,
struck up an alliance from which they excluded Italy, thereby vitiating
the only arguments that could be invoked in favor of such a coalition.
When peace was about to be signed they one-sidedly revoked the treaty
which they had concluded in London, rendering the consent of all Allies
necessary to the validity of the document, and decreed that Italy's
abstention would make no difference. When the instrument was finally
signed, Mr. Wilson returned to the United States, Mr. Lloyd George to
England, and the Marquis of Saionji to Japan, without having settled any
of Italy's problems. Italy, her needs, her claims, and her policy thus
appear as matters of little account to the Great Powers. Naturally, the
Italian people were disappointed, and desirous of seeking new friends,
the old ones having forsaken them.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the consequences which this attitude
of the Allies toward Italy may have on European politics generally. Her
most eminent statesman, Signor Tittoni, who succeeded Baron Sonnino,
transcending his country's mortifications, exerted himself tactfully and
not unsuccessfully to lubricate the mechanism of the alliance, to ease
the dangerous friction and to restore the tone. And he seems to have
accomplished in these respects everything which a sagacious statesman
could do. But to arrest the operation of psychological laws is beyond
the power of any individual. In order to appreciate the Italian point of
view, it is nowise necessary to approve the exaggerated claims put
forward by her press in the spring of 1919. It is enough to admit that
in the light of the Wilsonian doctrine they were not more incompatible
with that doctrine than the claims made by other Powers and accorded by
the Supreme Council.

To sum up, Italy acquired the impression that association with her
recent allies means for her not only sacrifices in their hour of need,
but also further sacrifices in their hour of triumph. She became
reluctantly convinced that they regard interests which she deems vital
to herself as unconnected with their own. And that was unfortunate. If
at some fateful conjuncture in the future her allies on their part
should gather the impression that she has adjusted her policy to those
interests which are so far removed from theirs, they will have
themselves to blame.


FOOTNOTES:

[194] This clause, which figured in the draft Treaty, as presented to
the Germans, provoked such emphatic protests from all sides that it was
struck out in the revised version.

[195] In an interview given to the Correspondenz Bureau of Vienna by
Conrad von Hoetzendorff. Cf. _Le Temps_, July 19, 1919.

[196] The Prime Minister, Salandra, declared that to have made
neutrality a matter of bargaining would have been to dishonor Italy.

[197] King Carol was holding a crown council at the time. Bratiano had
spoken against the King's proposal to throw in the country's lot with
Germany. Carp was strongly for carrying out Rumania's treaty
obligations. Some others hesitated, but before it could be put to the
vote a telegram was brought in announcing Italy's resolve to maintain
neutrality. The upshot was Rumania's refusal to follow her allies.

[198] On the eastern Adriatic, the Treaty of London allotted to Italy
the peninsula of Istria, without Fiume, most of Dalmatia, exclusive of
Spalato, the chief Dalmatian islands and the Dodecannesus.

[199] The present population of Fiume is computed at 45,227 souls, of
whom 33,000 are Italians, 10,927 Slavs, and 1,300 Magyars.

[200] Another delegate is reported to have answered: "As we need Italy's
friendship, we should pay the moderate price asked and back her claim to
have the moon."

[201] A number of orders of the day eulogizing individual Slav officers
and collective military entities were quoted by the advocates of Italy's
cause at the Conference.

[202] Official _communiqué_ of June 17, 1918.

[203] _Journal de Genève_, April 25, 1919.

[204] Cf. _Il Corriere della Sera_ and _Il Secolo_ of May 26, 1919.

[205] In the Senate he defended this attitude on March 4,1919, and
expressed a desire to dispel the misunderstanding between the two
peoples.

[206] In April, 1919.

[207] This fact has since been made public by Enrico Ferri in a
remarkable discourse pronounced in the parliament at Rome (July 9,
1919). It was Baron Sonnino who deprecated the publication of any
statement on the subject by President Wilson. Cf. _La Stampa_, July 10,
1919.

[208] On January 10, 1919.

[209] It gave eastern Friuli to Italy, including Gorizia, split Istria
into two parts, and assigned Trieste and Pola also to Italy, but under
such territorial conditions that they would be exposed to enemy
projectiles in case of war.

[210] The National Council of Fiume issued its proclamation before it
had become known that the battle of Vittorio Veneto was begun--_i.e._,
October 30, 1918.

[211] Speech delivered at Mount Vernon on July 4, 1918.

[212] Of the United States, France, and Great Britain.

[213] Between April 5th and 12th.

[214] In his address to the representatives of organized labor in
January, 1918.

[215] _L'Echo de Paris_, April 29, 1919.

[216] _Le Gaulois_, April 29, 1919.

[217] These meetings were held from March 28 till April 23, 1919.

[218] See Marco Borsa's article in _Il Secolo_, June 18, 1919; also
_Corriere della Sera_, June 19, 1919.

[219] From May 5 to 16, 1919.

[220] _Il Secolo_, June 19, 1919.

[221] On April 23, 1919.

[222] "Can and will our allies treat our absence as a matter of no
moment? Can and will they violate the formal undertaking which forbids
the belligerents to conclude a diplomatic peace?... The London
Declaration prohibits categorically the conclusion of any separate peace
with any enemy state. France and England cannot sign peace with Germany
if Italy does not sign it.... The situation is grave and abnormal, for
our allies it is also grave and abnormal. Italy is isolated, and
nations, especially those of continental Europe, which are not overrich,
flee solitude as nature abhors a vacuum."--_Corriere della Sera_, April
26, 1919. Again: "'The Treaty of London' restrains France and England
from concluding peace without Italy. And Italy is minded not to conclude
peace with Germany before she herself has received
satisfaction."--_Journal de Genève_, April 25, 1919.

[223] On May 6, 1919, at Versailles.

[224] Cf. _Corriere della Sera_, May 10, 1919.

[225] Annex W of the Revised Treaty.

[226] This incident was revealed by Enrico Ferri, in his remarkable
speech in the Italian Parliament on July 9, 1919. Cf. _La Stampa_, July
10, 1919, page 2.

[227] Cf. _The Morning Post_, July 9, 1919.

[228] On July 10th the Italian Finance Minister, in his financial
statement, announced that the total cost of the war to Italy would
amount to one hundred milliard lire. He added, however, that her share
of the German indemnity would wipe out her foreign debt, while a
progressive tax on all but small fortunes would meet her internal
obligations. Cf. _Corriere della Sera_, July 11 and 12, 1919.

[229] Cf. _Avanti_, July 19, 1919.

[230] Shown in percentages, the rise in the cost of living was: United
States, 220 per cent.; England, 240 per cent.; Switzerland, 257 per
cent.; France, 368 per cent.; Italy, 481 per cent.

[231] Enrico Ferri, on July 9, 1919. Cf. _La Stampa_, July 10, 1919.

[232] At a later date the President reiterated the grounds of his
decision. In his Columbus speech (September 4, 1919) he asserted that
"Italy desired Fiume for strategic military reasons, which the League of
Nations would make unnecessary." (_The New York Herald_ (Paris edition),
September 6, 1919.) But the League did not render strategic precautions
unnecessary to France.

[233] _Corriere della Sera_, May 11, 1919.

[234] _La Stampa_, July 16, 1919.

[235] _Avanti_, April 27, 1919. Cf. _Le Temps_, April 28, 1919.

[236] _Corriere della Sera_, August 9, 1919.

[237] _Corriere della Sera_, September 3, 1919.

[238] Quoted in _La Stampa_ of July 20, 1919.

[239] _Ibidem_.

[240] _Corriere d' Italia_, June 29, 1919.

[241] Cf. _Modern Italy_, July 12, 1919 (page 298).

[242] _Echo de Paris_, July 7, 1919.

[243] Cf. "An Italian Exposé," published by _The Morning Post_, July 5,
1919.



IX

JAPAN


Among the solutions of the burning questions which exercised the
ingenuity and tested the good faith of the leading Powers at the Peace
Conference, none was more rapidly reached there, or more bitterly
assailed outside, than those in which Japan was specially interested.
The storm that began to rage as soon as the Supreme Council's decision
on the Shantung issue became known did not soon subside. Far from that,
it threatened for a time to swell into a veritable hurricane. This
problem, like most of those which were submitted to the forum of the
Conference, may be envisaged from either of two opposite angles of
survey; from that of the future society of justice-loving nations, whose
members are to forswear territorial aggrandizement, special economic
privileges, and political sway in, or at the expense of, other
countries; or from the traditional point of view, which has always
prevailed in international politics and which cannot be better described
than by Signor Salandra's well-known phrase "sacred egotism." Viewed in
the former light, Japan's demand for Shantung was undoubtedly as much a
stride backward as were those of the United States and France for the
Monroe Doctrine and the Saar Valley respectively. But as the three Great
Powers had set the example, Japan was resolved from the outset to rebel
against any decree relegating her to the second-or third-class nations.
The position of equality occupied by her government among the
governments of other Great Powers did not extend to the Japanese nation
among the other nations. But her statesmen refused to admit this
artificial inferiority as a reason for descending another step in the
international hierarchy and they invoked the principle of which Britain,
France, and America had already taken advantage.

The Supreme Council, like Janus of old, possessed two faces, one
altruistic and the other egotistic, and, also like that son of Apollo,
held a key in its right hand and a rod in its left. It applied to the
various states, according to its own interest or convenience, the
principles of the old or the new Covenant, and would fain have
dispossessed Japan of the fruits of the campaign, and allotted to her
the rôle of working without reward in the vineyard of the millennium,
were it not that this policy was excluded by reasons of present
expediency and previous commitments. The expediency was represented by
President Wilson's determination to obtain, before returning to
Washington, some kind of a compact that might be described as the
constitution of the future society of nations, and by his belief that
this instrument could not be obtained without Japan's adherence, which
was dependent on her demand for Shantung being allowed. And the previous
commitments were the secret compacts concluded by Japan with Britain,
France, Russia, and Italy before the United States entered the war.

Nippon's rôle in the war and the circumstances that shaped it are
scarcely realized by the general public. They have been purposely thrust
in the background. And yet a knowledge of them is essential to those who
wish to understand the significance of the dispute about Shantung, which
at bottom was the problem of Japan's international status. Before
attempting to analyze them, however, it may not be amiss to remark that
during the French press campaign conducted in the years 1915-16, with
the object of determining the Tokio Cabinet to take part in the military
operations in Europe, the question of motive was discussed with a degree
of tactlessness which it is difficult to account for. It was affirmed,
for example, that the Mikado's people would be overjoyed if the Allied
governments vouchsafed them the honor of participating in the great
civilizing crusade against the Central Empires. That was proclaimed to
be such an enviable privilege that to pay for it no sacrifice of men or
money would be exorbitant. Again, the degree to which Germany is a
menace to Japan was another of the texts on which Entente publicists
relied to scare Nippon into drastic action, as though she needed to be
told by Europeans where her vital interests lay, from what quarters they
were jeopardized, and how they might be safeguarded most successfully.
So much for the question of tact and form. Japan has never accepted the
doctrine of altruism in politics which her Western allies have so
zealously preached. Until means have been devised and adopted for
substituting moral for military force in the relations of state with
state, the only reconstruction of the world in which the Japanese can
believe is that which is based upon treaties and the pledged word. That
is the principle which underlies the general policy and the present
strivings of our Far Eastern ally.

One of the characteristic traits of all Nippon's dealings with her
neighbors is loyalty and trustworthiness. Her intercourse with Russia
before and after the Manchurian campaign offers a shining example of all
the qualities which one would postulate in a true-hearted neighbor and a
stanch and chivalrous ally. I had an opportunity of watching the
development of the relations between the two governments for many years
before they quarreled, and subsequently down to 1914, and I can state
that the praise lavished by the Tsar's Ministers on their Japanese
colleagues was well deserved. And for that reason it may be taken as an
axiom that whatever developments the present situation may bring forth,
the Empire of Nippon will carry out all its engagements with scrupulous
exactitude, in the spirit as well as the letter.

To be quite frank, then, the Japanese are what we should term realists.
Consequently their foreign policy is inspired by the maxims which
actuated all nations down to the year 1914, and still move nearly all of
them to-day. In fact, the only Powers that have fully and
authoritatively repudiated them as yet are Bolshevist Russia, and to a
large extent the United States. Holding thus to the old dispensation,
Japan entered the war in response to a definite demand made by the
British government. The day before Britain declared war against Germany
the British Ambassador at Tokio officially inquired whether his
government could count upon the active co-operation of the Mikado's
forces in the campaign about to begin. On August 4th Baron Kato, having
in the meanwhile consulted his colleagues, answered in the affirmative.
Three days later another communication reached Tokio from London,
requesting the _immediate_ co-operation of Japan, and on the following
day it was promised. The motive for this haste was credibly asserted to
be Britain's apprehension lest Germany should transfer Kiaochow to
China, and reserve to herself, in virtue of Article V of the Convention
of 1898, the right of securing after the war "a more suitable territory"
in the Middle Empire or Republic. Thereupon they began operations which
were at first restricted to the China seas, but were afterward extended
to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and finally to the Mediterranean. The
only task that fell to their lot on land was that of capturing Kiaochow.
But whatever they set their hands to they carried out thoroughly, and
to the complete satisfaction of their European allies.

For many years the people of Nippon have been wending slowly, but with
tireless perseverance and unerring instinct, toward their far-off goal,
which to the unbiased historian will seem not merely legitimate but
praiseworthy. Their intercourse with Russia was the story of one long
laborious endeavor to found a common concern which should enable Japan
to make headway on her mission. Russia was just the kind of partner
whose co-operation was especially welcome, seeing that it could be had
without the hitches and set-backs attached to that of most other Great
Powers. The Russians were never really intolerant in racial matters, nor
dangerous in commercial rivalry. They intermarried freely with all the
so-called inferior races and tribes in the Tsardom, and put all on an
equal footing before the law. Twenty-three years ago I paid a visit to
my friend General Tomitch, the military governor of Kars, and I found
myself sitting at his table beside the Prefect of the city, who was a
Mohammedan. The individual Russian is generally free from racial
prejudices; he has no sense of the "yellow peril," and no objection to
receive the Japanese as a comrade, a colleague, or a son-in-law.

And the advances made by Ito and others would have been reciprocated by
Witte and Lamsdorff were it not that the Tsar, interested in
Bezobrazoff's Yalu venture, subordinated his policy to those vested
interests, and compelled Japan to fight. The master-idea of the policy
of Ito, with whom I had two interesting conversations on the subject,
was to strike up a close friendship with the Tsardom, based on community
of durable interests, and to bespeak Russia's help for the hour of storm
and stress which one day might strike. The Tsar's government was
inspired by analogous motives. Before the war was terminated I repaired
to London on behalf of Russia, in order to propose to the Japanese
government, in addition to the treaty of peace which was about to be
discussed at Portsmouth, an offensive and defensive alliance, and to ask
that Prince Ito be sent as first plenipotentiary, invested with full
powers to conclude such a treaty.

M. Izvolsky's policy toward Japan, frank and statesman-like, had an
offensive and a defensive alliance for its intended culmination, and the
treaties and conventions which he actually concluded with Viscount
Motono, in drafting which I played a modest part, amounted almost to
this. The Tsar's opposition to the concessions which represented
Russia's share of the compromise was a tremendous obstacle, which only
the threat of the Minister's resignation finally overcame. And
Izvolsky's energy and insistence hastened the conclusion of a treaty
between them to maintain and respect the _status quo_ in Manchuria, and,
in case it was menaced, to concert with each other the measures they
might deem necessary for the maintenance of the _status quo_. And it was
no longer stipulated, as it had been before, that these measures must
have a pacific character. They were prepared to go farther. And I may
now reveal the fact that the treaty had a secret clause, providing for
the action which Russia afterward took in Mongolia.

These transactions one might term the first act of the international
drama which is still proceeding. They indicate, if they did not shape,
the mold in which the bronze of Japan's political program was cast. It
necessarily differed from other politics, although the maxims underlying
it were the same. Japan, having become a Great Power after her war with
China, was slowly developing into a world Power, and hoped to establish
her claim to that position one day. It was against that day that she
would fain have acquired a puissant and trustworthy ally, and she left
nothing undone to deserve the whole-hearted support of Russia. In the
historic year of 1914, many months before the storm-cloud broke, the War
Minister Sukhomlinoff transferred nearly all the garrisons from Siberia
to Europe, because he had had assurances from Japan which warranted him
in thus denuding the eastern border of troops. During the campaign, when
the Russian offensive broke down and the armies of the enemy were
driving the Tsar's troops like sheep before them, Japan hastened to the
assistance of her neighbor, to whom she threw open her military
arsenals, and many private establishments as well. And when the
Petrograd Cabinet was no longer able to meet the financial liabilities
incurred, the Mikado's advisers devised a generous arrangement on lines
which brought both countries into still closer and more friendly
relations.

The most influential daily press organ in the Tsardom, the _Novoye
Vremya_, wrote: "The war with Germany has supplied our Asiatic neighbor
with an opportunity of proving the sincerity of her friendly assurances.
She behaves not merely like a good friend, but like a stanch military
ally.... In the interests of the future tranquil development of Japan a
more active participation of the Japanese is requisite in the war of the
nations against the world-beast of prey. An alliance with Russia for the
attainment of this object would be an act of immense historic
significance."[244]

Ever since her entry into the community of progressive nations, Japan's
main aspiration and striving has been to play a leading and a civilizing
part in the Far East, and in especial to determine China by advice and
organization to move into line with herself, adopt Western methods and
apply them to Far-Eastern aims. And this might well seem a legitimate as
well as a profitable policy, and a task as noble as most or those to
which the world is wont to pay a tribute of high praise. It appeared all
the more licit that the Powers of Europe, with the exception of Russia,
had denied full political rights to the colored alien. He was placed in
a category apart--an inferior class member of humanity.

"In Japan, and as yet in Japan alone, do we find the Asiatic welcoming
European culture, in which, if a tree may fairly be judged by its fruit,
is to be found the best prospect for the human personal liberty, in due
combination with restraints of law sufficient to, but not in excess of,
the requirements of the general welfare. In this particular
distinctiveness of characteristic, which has thus differentiated the
receptivity of the Japanese from that of the continental Asiatic, we may
perhaps see the influence of the insular environment that has permitted
and favored the evolution of a strong national personality; and in the
same condition we may not err in finding a promise of power to preserve
and to propagate, by example and by influence, among those akin to her,
the new policy which she has adopted, and by which she has profited,
affording to them the example which she herself has found in the
development of Eastern peoples."[245]

Now that is exactly what the Japanese aimed at accomplishing. They were
desirous of contributing to the intellectual and moral advance of the
Chinese and other backward peoples of the Far East, in the same way as
France is laudably desirous of aiding the Syrians, or Great Britain the
Persians. And what is more, Japan undertook to uphold the principle of
the open door, and generally to respect the legitimate interests of
European peoples in the Far East.

But the white races had economic designs of their own on China, and one
of the preliminary conditions of their execution was that Japan's
aspirations should be foiled. Witte opened the campaign by inaugurating
the process of peaceful penetration, but his remarkable efforts were
neutralized and defeated by his own sovereign. The Japanese, after the
Manchurian campaign, which they had done everything possible to avoid,
contrived wholly to eliminate Russian aggression from the Far East. The
feat was arduous and the masterly way in which it was tackled and
achieved sheds a luster on Japanese statesmanship as personified by
Viscount Motono. The Tsardom, in lieu of a potential enemy, was
transformed into a stanch and powerful friend and ally, on whom Nippon
could, as she believed, rely against future aggressors. Russia came to
stand toward her in the same political relationship as toward France.
Japanese statesmen took the alliance with the Tsardom as a solid and
durable postulate of their foreign policy.

All at once the Tsardom fell to pieces like a house of cards, and the
fragments that emerged from the ruins possessed neither the will nor the
power to stand by their Far Eastern neighbors. The fruits of twelve
years' statesmanship and heavy sacrifices were swept away by the Russian
revolution, and Japan's diplomatic position was therefore worse beyond
compare than that of the French Republic in July, 1917, because the
latter was forthwith sustained by Great Britain and the United States,
with such abundance of military and economic resources as made up in the
long run for that of Russia. Japan, on the other hand, has as yet no
substitute for her prostrate ally. She is still alone among Powers some
of whom decline to recognize her equality, while others are ready to
thwart her policy and disable her for the coming race.

The Japanese are firm believers in the law of causality. Where they
desire to reap, there they first sow. They invariably strive to deal
with a situation while there is still time to modify it, and they take
pains to render the means adequate to the end. Unlike the peoples of
western Europe and the United States, the Japanese show a profound
respect for the principles of authority and inequality, and reserve the
higher functions in the community for men of the greatest ability and
attainments. It is a fact, however, that individual liberty has made
perceptible progress in the population, and is still growing, owing to
the increase of economic well-being and the spread of general and
technical education. But although socialism is likewise spreading fast,
I feel inclined to think that in Japan a high grade of instruction and
of social development on latter-day lines will be found compatible with
that extraordinary cohesiveness to which the race owes the position
which it occupies among the communities of the world. The soul of the
individual Japanese may be said to float in an atmosphere of
collectivity, which, while leaving his intellect intact, sways his
sentiments and modifies his character by rendering him impressible to
motives of an order which has the weal of the race for its object.

Japan has borrowed what seemed to her leaders to be the best of
everything in foreign countries. They analyzed the military, political,
and industrial successes of their friends and enemies, satisfactorily
explained and duly fructified them. They use the school as the seed-plot
of the state, and inculcate conceptions there which the entire community
endeavors later on to embody in acts and institutions. And what the
elementary school has begun, the intermediate, the technical, and the
high schools develop and perfect, aided by the press, which is
encouraged by the state.

Japan's ideal cannot be offhandedly condemned as immoral, pernicious, or
illegitimate. Its partizans pertinently invoke every principle which
their Allies applied to their own aims and strivings. And men of deeper
insight than those who preside over the fortunes of the Entente to-day
recognize that Europeans of high principles and discerning minds, who
perceive the central issues, would, were they in the position of the
Japanese statesmen, likewise bend their energies to the achievement of
the same aims.

The Japanese argue their case somewhat as follows:

"We are determined to help China to put herself in line with ourselves,
and to keep her from falling into anarchy. And no one can honestly deny
our qualifications. We and they have very much in common, and we
understand them as no Anglo-Saxon or other foreign people can. On the
one hand our own past experience resembles that of the Middle Kingdom,
and on the other our method of adapting ourselves to the new
international conditions challenged and received the ungrudging
admiration of a world disposed to be critical. The Peking treaties of
May, 1915, between China and Japan, and the pristine drafts of them
which were modified before signature, enable the outsider to form a
fairly accurate opinion of Japan's economic and political program, which
amounts to the application of a Far Eastern Monroe Doctrine.

"What we seek to obtain in the Far East is what the Western Powers have
secured throughout the remainder of the globe: the right to contribute
to the moral and intellectual progress of our backward neighbors, and to
profit by our exertions. China needs the help which we are admittedly
able to bestow. To our mission no cogent objection has ever been
offered. No Cabinet in Tokio has ever looked upon the Middle Realm as a
possible colony for the Japanese. The notion is preposterous, seeing
that China is already over-populated. What Japan sorely needs are
sources whence to draw coal and iron for industrial enterprise. She also
needs cotton and leather."

In truth, the ever-ready command of these raw materials at their
sources, which must be neither remote nor subject to potential enemies,
is indispensable to the success of Japan's development. But for the
moment the English-speaking nations have a veto upon them, in virtue of
possession, and the embargo put by the United States government upon the
export of steel during the war caused a profound emotion in Nippon. For
the shipbuilding works there had increased in number from nine before
the war to twelve in 1917, and to twenty-eight at the beginning of 1918,
with one hundred slips capable of producing six hundred thousand tons of
net register. The effect of that embargo was to shut down between 70 and
80 per cent. of the shipbuilding works of the country, and to menace
with extinction an industry which was bringing in immense profits.

It was with these antecedents and aims that Japan appeared before the
Conference in Paris and asked, not for something which she lacked
before, but merely for the confirmation of what she already possessed by
treaty. It must be admitted that she had damaged her cause by the manner
in which that treaty had been obtained. To say that she had intimidated
the Chinese, instead of coaxing them or bargaining with them, would be a
truism. The fall of Tsingtao gave her a favorable opportunity, and she
used and misused it unjustifiably. The demands in themselves were open
to discussion and, if one weighs all the circumstances, would not
deserve a classification different from some of those--the protection of
minorities or the transit proviso, for example--imposed by the greater
on the lesser nations at the Conference. But the mode in which they were
pressed irritated the susceptible Chinese and belied the professions
made by the Mikado's Ministers. The secrecy, too, with which the Tokio
Cabinet endeavored to surround them warranted the worst construction.
Yuan Shi Kai[246] regarded the procedure as a deadly insult to himself
and his country. And the circumstance that the Japanese government
failed either to foresee or to avoid this amazing psychological blunder
lent color to the objections of those who questioned Japan's
qualifications for the mission she had set herself. The wound inflicted
on China by that exhibition of insolence will not soon heal. How it
reacted may be inferred from the strenuous and well-calculated
opposition of the Chinese delegation at the Conference.

Nor was that all. In the summer of 1916 a free fight occurred between
Chinese and Japanese soldiers in Cheng-cha-tun, the rights and wrongs of
which were, as is usual in such cases, obscure. But the Okuma Cabinet,
assuming that the Chinese were to blame, pounced upon the incident and
made it the base of fresh demands to China,[247] two of which were
manifestly excessive. That China would be better off than she is or is
otherwise likely to become under Japanese guidance is in the highest
degree probable. But in order that that guidance should be effective it
must be accepted, and this can only be the consequence of such a policy
of cordiality, patience, and magnanimity as was outlined by my friend,
the late Viscount Motono.[248]

At the Conference the policy of the Japanese delegates was clear-cut and
coherent. It may be summarized as follows: the Japanese delegation
decided to give its entire support to the Allies in all matters
concerning the future relations of Germany and Russia, western Europe,
the Balkans, the African colonies, as well as financial indemnities and
reparations. The fate of the Samoan Archipelago must be determined in
accord with Britain and the United States. New Guinea should be allotted
to Australia. As the Marshall, Caroline, and Ladrone Islands, although
of no intrinsic value, would constitute a danger in Germany's hands,
they should be taken over by Japan. Tsingtao and the port of Kiaochow
should belong to Japan, as well as the Tainan railway. Japan would
co-operate with the Allies in maintaining order in Siberia, but no Power
should arrogate to itself a preponderant voice in the matter of
obtaining concessions or other interests there. Lastly, the principle of
the open door was to be upheld in China, Japan being admittedly the
Power which is the most interested in the establishment and maintenance
of peace in the Far East.

At the Conference, when the Kiaochow dispute came up for discussion, the
Japanese attitude, according to their Anglo-Saxon and French colleagues,
was calm and dignified, their language courteous, their arguments were
put with studied moderation, and their resolve to have their treaty
rights recognized was inflexible. Their case was simple enough, and
under the old ordering unanswerable. The only question was whether it
would be invalidated by the new dispensation. But as the United States
had obtained recognition for its Monroe Doctrine, Britain for the
supremacy of the sea, and France for the occupation of the Saar Valley
and the suspension of the right of self-determination in the case of
Austria, it was obvious that Japan had abundant and cogent arguments for
her demands, which were that the Chinese territory once held by Germany,
and since wrested from that Power by Japan, be formally retroceded to
Japan, whose claim to it rested upon the right of conquest and also
upon the faith of treaties which she had concluded with China. At the
same time she expressly and spontaneously disclaimed the intention of
keeping that territory for herself. Baron Makino said at the Peace
Table:

"The acquisition of territory belonging to one nation which it is the
intention of the country acquiring it to exploit to its sole advantage
is not conducive to amity or good-will." Japan, although by the fortune
of war Germany's heir to Kiaochow, did not purpose retaining it for the
remaining term of the lease; she had, in fact, already promised to
restore it to China. She maintained, however, that the conditions of
retrocession should form the subject of a general settlement between
Tokio and Peking.

The Chinese delegation, which worked vigorously and indefatigably and
won over a considerable number of backers, argued that Kiaochow had
ceased to belong to Germany on the day when China declared war on that
state, inasmuch as all their treaties, including the lease of Kiaochow,
were abrogated by that declaration, and the ownership of every rood of
Chinese territory held by Germany reverted in law to China, and should
therefore be handed over to her, and not to Japan. To this plea Baron
Makino returned the answer that with the surrender of Tsingtao to Japan
in 1914[249] the whole imperial German protectorates of Shantung had
passed to that Power, China being still a neutral. Consequently the
entry of China into the war in 1917 could not affect the status of the
province which already belonged to Nippon by right of conquest. As a
matter of alleged fact, this capture of the protectorates by the
Japanese had been specially desired by the British government, in order
to prevent Germany from ceding it to China. If that move meant
anything, therefore, it meant that neither China nor Germany had or
could have any hold on the territory once it was captured by Japan.
Further, this conquest was effected at the cost of vast sums of money
and two thousand Japanese lives.

Nor was that all. In the year 1915[250] China signed an agreement with
Japan, undertaking "to recognize all matters that may be agreed upon
between the Japanese government and the German government respecting the
disposition of all the rights, interests, and concessions which, in
virtue of treaties or otherwise, Germany possesses _vis-à-vis_ China, in
relation to the province of Shantung." This treaty, the Chinese
delegates answered, was extorted by force. Japan, having vainly sought
to obtain it by negotiations that lasted nearly four months, finally
presented an ultimatum,[251] giving China forty-eight hours in which to
accept it. She had no alternative. But at least she made it known to the
world that she was being coerced. It was on the day on which that
document was signed that the Japanese representative in Peking sent a
spontaneous declaration to the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs,
promising to return the leased territory to China on condition that all
Kiaochow be opened as a commercial port, that a Japanese settlement be
established, and also an international settlement, if the Powers desired
it, and that an arrangement be made beforehand between the Chinese and
Japanese governments with regard to "the disposal of German public
establishments and populations, and with regard to other conditions and
procedures."

The Japanese further invoked another and later agreement, which was,
they alleged, signed by the Chinese without demur.[252] This accord,
coming after the entry of China into the war, was tantamount to the
renunciation of any rights which China might have believed she possessed
as a corollary of her belligerency. It also disposed, the Japanese
argued, of her contention that the territory in question is
indispensable and vital to her--a contention which Japan met with the
promise to deliver it up--and which was invalidated by China's refusal
to fight for it in the year 1914. This latter argument was controverted
by the Chinese assertion that they were ready and willing to declare war
against Germany at the outset, but that their co-operation was refused
by the Entente, and subsequently by Japan. This allegation is credible,
if we remember the eagerness exhibited by the British government that
Japan should lose no time in co-operating with her allies, the
representations made by the British Ambassador to Baron Kato on the
subject,[253] and the alleged motive to prevent the retrocession of
Shantung to China by the German government.

The arguments of China and Japan were summarily put in the following
questions by a delegate of each country: "Yes or no, does Kiaochow,
whose population is exclusively Chinese, form an integral part of the
Chinese state? Yes or no, was Kiaochow brutally occupied by the Kaiser
in the teeth of right and justice and to the detriment of the peace of
the Far East, and it may be of the world? Yes or no, did Japan enter the
war against the aggressive imperialism of the German Empire, and for the
purpose of arranging a lasting peace in the Far East? Yes or no, was
Kiaochow captured by the English and Japanese troops in 1914 with the
sole object of destroying a dangerous naval base? Yes or no, was China's
co-operation against Germany, which was advocated and offered by
President Yuan Shi Kai in August, 1914, refused at the instigation of
Japan?"[254]

The Japanese catechism ran thus: "Yes or no, was Kiaochow a German
possession in the year 1914? Yes or no, was the world, including the
United States, a consenting party to the occupation of that province by
the Germans? Why did China, who to-day insists that that port is
indispensable to her, cede it to Germany? Why in 1914 did she make no
effort to recover it, but leave this task to the Japanese army? Further,
who can maintain that juridically the last war abolished _ipso facto_
all the cessions of territory previously effected? Turkey formerly ceded
Cyprus to Great Britain. Will it be argued that this cession is
abrogated and that Cyprus must return to Turkey directly and
unconditionally? The Conference announced repeatedly that it took its
stand on justice and the welfare of the peoples. It is in the name of
the welfare of the peoples, as well as in the name of justice, that we
assert our right to take over Kiaochow. The harvest to him whose hands
soweth the seed."[255]

If we add to all these conflicting data the circumstance that Great
Britain, France, and Russia had undertaken[256] to support Japan's
demands at the Conference, and that Italy had promised to raise no
objection, we shall have a tolerable notion of the various factors of
the Chino-Japanese dispute, and of its bearings on the Peace Treaty and
on the principles of the Covenant. It was one of the many illustrations
of the incompatibility of the Treaty and the Covenant, the respective
scopes of which were radically and irreconcilably different. The
Supreme Council had to adjudicate upon the matter from the point of view
either of the Treaty or of the Covenant; as part of a vulgar bargain of
the old, unregenerate days, or as an example of the self-renunciation of
the new ethical system. The majority of the Council was pledged to the
former way of contemplating it, and, having already promulgated a number
of decrees running counter to the Covenant doctrine in favor of their
own peoples, could not logically nor politically make an exception to
the detriment of Japan.

What actually happened at the Peace Table is still a secret, and
President Wilson, who knows its nature, holds that it is in the best
interests of humanity that it should so remain! The little that has as
yet been disclosed comes mainly from State-Secretary Lansing's answers
to the questions put by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
America's second delegate, in answer to the questions with which he was
there plied, affirmed that "President Wilson alone approved the Shantung
decision, that the other members of the American delegation made no
protest against it, and that President Wilson alone knows whether Japan
has guaranteed to return Shantung to China."[257] Another eminent
American, who claims to have been present when President Wilson's act
was officially explained to the Chinese delegates, states that the
President, disclosing to them his motives, pleaded that political
exigencies, the menace that Japan would abandon the Conference, and the
rumor that England herself might withdraw, had constrained him to accept
the Shantung settlement in order to save the League.[258] Rumors appear
to have played an undue part in the Conference, influencing the judgment
or the decisions of the Supreme Council. The reader will remember that
it was a rumor to the effect that the Italian government had already
published a decree annexing Fiume that is alleged to have precipitated
the quarrel between Mr. Wilson and the first Italian delegation. It is
worth noting that the alleged menace that Japan would quit the
Conference if her demands were rejected was not regarded by Secretary
Lansing as serious. "Could Japan's signature to the League have been
obtained without the Shantung decision?" he was asked. "I think so," he
answered.

The decision caused tremendous excitement among the Chinese and their
numerous friends. At first they professed skepticism and maintained that
there must be some misunderstanding, and finally they protested and
refused to sign the Treaty. One of the American journals published in
Paris wrote: "Shantung was at least a moral explosion. It blew down the
front of the temple, and now everybody can see that behind the front
there was a very busy market. The morals were the morals of a horse
trade. If the muezzin were loud and constant in his calls to prayer, it
probably was to drown the sound of the dickering in the market. There is
no longer any obligation upon this nation to accept the Covenant as a
moral document. It is not."[259]

All that may be perfectly true, but it sounds odd that the discovery
should not have been made until Japan's claim was admitted formally to
take over Shantung, after she had solemnly promised to restore it to
China. The Covenant was certainly transgressed long before this, and
much more flagrantly than by President Wilson's indorsement of Japan's
demand for the formal retrocession of Shantung. But by those infractions
nobody seemed scandalized. _Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi._ Debts of
gratitude had to be paid at the expense of the Covenant, and people
closed their eyes or their lips. It was not until the Japanese asked for
something which all her European allies considered to be her right that
an outcry was raised and moral principles were invoked.

The Japanese press was nowise jubilant over the finding of the Supreme
Council. The journals of all parties argued that their country was
receiving no more than had already been guaranteed to it by China, and
ratified by the Allies before the Peace Conference met, and to have
obtained what was already hers by rights of conquest and of treaties was
anything but a triumph. What Japan desired was to have herself
recognized practically, not merely in theory, as the nation which is the
most nearly interested in China, and therefore deserving of a special
status there. In other words, she aimed at the proclamation of something
in the nature of a Far Eastern doctrine analogous to that of Monroe. As
priority of interest had been conceded to her by the Ishii-Lansing
Agreement with the United States, it was in this sense that her press
was fain to construe the clause respecting non-interference with
"regional understandings."

That policy is open. The principles underlying it, always tenable, were
never more so than since the Peace Conference set the Great Powers to
direct the lesser states. Moreover, Japan, it is argued, knows by
experience that China has always been a temptation to the Western
peoples. They sent expeditions to fight her and divided her territory
into zones of influence, although China was never guilty of an
aggressive attitude toward them, as she was toward Japan. They were
actuated by land greed and all that that implies, and if China were
abandoned to her own resources to-morrow she would surely fall a prey to
her Western protectors. In this connection they point to an incident
which took place during the Conference, when Signor Tittoni demanded
that Italy should receive the Austrian concession in Tientsin, which
adjoins the Italian concession. But Viscount Chinda protested and the
demand was ruled out. To sum up, the broad maxim underlying Japan's
policy as defined by her own representatives is that in the resettlement
of the world the principle adopted, whether the old or the new, shall be
applied fairly and impartially at least to all the Great Powers.

Every world conflict has marked the close of one epoch and the opening
of another. Into the melting-pot on the fire kindled by the war many
momentous problems have been flung, any one of which would have sufficed
to bring about a new political, economic, and social constellation.
Japan's advance along the road of progress is one of these far-ranging
innovations. She became a Great Power in the wars against China and
Russia, and is qualifying for the part of a World Power to-day. And her
statesmen affirm that in order to achieve her purpose she will recoil
from no sacrifice except those of honor and of truth.


FOOTNOTES:

[244] _Novoye Vremya_, June 13-26, 1915.

[245] Cf. _The Problem of Asia_ (Capt. A.T. Mahan), pp. 150-151.

[246] The late President of the Chinese Republic.

[247] These demands were (1) an apology from the Chinese authorities;
(2) an indemnity for the killed and wounded; (3) the policing of certain
districts of Manchuria by the Japanese; and (4) the employment of
Japanese officers to train Chinese troops in Manchuria.

[248] Minister of Foreign Affairs. He repudiated his predecessor's
policy.

[249] November 8th.

[250] May 25, 1915.

[251] On May 6, 1915.

[252] On September 24, 1918.

[253] On August 7, 1914.

[254] Cf. _Le Matin_, April 25, 1919.

[255] _Le Matin_, April 23, 1919.

[256] "His Majesty's Government accede with pleasure to the requests of
the Japanese Government for assurances that they will support Japan's
claims in regard to the disposal of Germany's rights in Shantung, and
possessions in islands north of the Equator, on the occasion of a Peace
Conference, it being understood that the Japanese Government will, in
the event of a peace settlement, treat in the same spirit Great
Britain's claims to German islands south of the Equator." (Signed)
Conyngham Greene, British Ambassador, Tokio, February 16, 1917. France
gave a similar assurance in writing on March 1, 1917, and the Russian
government had made a like declaration on February 20, 1917.

[257] As a matter of fact, the entire world knew and knows that she had
guaranteed the retrocession. Baron Makino declared it at the Conference.
Cf. _The_ (London) _Times_, February 13, 1919; also on May 5, 1919; and
Viscount Uchida confirmed it on May 17, 1919. It had also been stated in
the Japanese ultimatum to Germany, August 15, 1914, and repeated by
Viscount Uchida at the beginning of August, 1919.

[258] Mr. Thomas Millard, some of whose letters were published by _The
New York Times_. Cf. _Le Temps_, July 29, 1919.

[259] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 20, 1919.



X

ATTITUDE TOWARD RUSSIA


In their dealings with Russia the principal plenipotentiaries
consistently displayed the qualities and employed the standards, maxims,
and methods which had stood them in good stead as parliamentary
politicians. The betterment of the world was an idea which took a
separate position in their minds, quite apart from the other political
ideas with which they usually operated. Overflowing with verbal
altruism, they first made sure of the political and economic interests
of their own countries, safeguarding or extending these sources of
power, after which they proceeded to try their novel experiment on
communities which they could coerce into obedience. Hence the aversion
and opposition which they encountered among all the nations which had to
submit to the yoke, and more especially among the Russians.

Russia's opposition, widespread and deep-rooted, is natural, and history
will probably add that it was justified. It starts from the assumption,
which there is no gainsaying, that the Conference was convoked to make
peace between the belligerents and that whatever territorial changes it
might introduce must be restricted to the countries of the defeated
peoples. From all "disannexations" not only the Allies' territories, but
those of neutrals, were to be exempted. Repudiate this principle and the
demands of Ireland, Egypt, India to the benefits of self-determination
became unanswerable. Belgium's claim to Dutch Limburg and other
territorial oddments must likewise be allowed. Indeed, the plea actually
put forward against these was that the Conference was incompetent to
touch any territory actually possessed by either neutral or Allied
states. Ireland, Egypt, and Dutch Limburg Were all domestic matters with
which the Conference had no concern.

Despite this fundamental principle Russia, the whilom Ally, without
whose superhuman efforts and heroic sacrifices her partners would have
been pulverized, was tacitly relegated to the category of hostile and
defeated peoples, and many of her provinces lopped off arbitrarily and
without appeal. None of her representatives was convoked or consulted on
the subject, although all of them, Bolshevist and anti-Bolshevist, were
at one in their resistance to foreign dictation.

The Conference repeatedly disclaimed any intention of meddling in the
internal affairs of any other state, and the Irish, the Egyptian, and
several other analogous problems were for the purposes of the Conference
included in this category. On what intelligible grounds, then, were the
Finnish, the Lettish, the Esthonian, the Georgian, the Ukrainian
problems excluded from it? One cannot conceive a more flagrant violation
of the sovereignty of a state than the severance and disposal of its
territorial possessions against its will. It is a frankly hostile act,
and as such was rightly limited by the Conference to enemy countries.
Why, then, was it extended to the ex-Ally? Is it not clear that if
reconstituted Russia should regard the Allied states as enemies and
choose the potential enemies of these as its friends, it will be
legitimately applying the principles laid down by the Allies themselves?
No expert in international law and no person of average common sense
will seriously maintain that any of the decisions reached in Paris are
binding on the Russia of the future. No problem which concerns two
equal parties can be rightfully decided by only one of them. The
Conference which declared itself incompetent to impose on Holland the
cession to Belgium even of a small strip of territory on one of the
banks of the Belgian river Scheldt cannot be deemed authorized to sign
away vast provinces that belonged to Russia. Here the plea of the
self-determination of peoples possesses just as much or as little
cogency as in the case of Ireland and Egypt.

President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George had inaugurated their East
European policy by publicly proclaiming that Russia was the key to the
world situation, and that the peace would be no peace so long as her
hundred and fifty million inhabitants were left floundering in chaotic
confusion, under the upas shade of Bolshevism. They had also held out
hopes to their great ex-ally of efficient help and practical counsel.
And there ended what may be termed the constructive side of their
conceptions.

It was followed by no coherent action. Discourses, promises, maneuvers,
and counter-maneuvers were continuous and bewildering, but of systematic
policy there was none. Statesmanship in the higher sense of the word was
absent from every decision the delegates took and from every suggestion
they proffered. Nor was it only by omission that they sinned. Their
invincible turn for circuitous methods, to which severer critics give a
less sonorous name, was manifested _ad nauseam_. They worked out cunning
little schemes which it was hard to distinguish from intrigues, and
which, if they had not been foiled in time, would have made matters even
worse than they are. From the outset the British government was for
summoning Bolshevist delegates to the Conference. A note to this effect
was sent by the London Foreign Office to the Allied governments about a
fortnight before the delegates began their work of making peace. But
the suggestion was withdrawn at the instance of the French, who doubted
whether the services of systematic lawbreakers would materially conduce
to the establishment of a new society of law-abiding states. Soon
afterward another scheme cropped up, this time for the appointment of an
Inter-Allied committee to watch over Russia's destinies and serve as a
sort of board of Providence. The representatives of the anti-Bolshevist
governments resented this notion bitterly. They remarked that they could
not be fairly asked to respect decisions imposed on them exactly as
though they were vanquished enemies like the Germans. The British and
American delegates were swayed in their views mainly by the assumptions
that all central Russia was in the power of Lenin; that his army was
well disciplined and powerful; that he might contrive to hold the reins
of government and maintain anarchism indefinitely, and that the
so-called constructive elements were inclined toward reaction.

In other words, the delegates accepted two sets of premises, from which
they drew two wholly different sets of conclusions. Now they felt
impelled to act on the one, now on the other, but they could never make
up their minds to carry out either. They agreed that Bolshevism is a
potent solvent of society, fraught with peril to all organized
communities, yet they could not resolve to use joint action to extirpate
it.[260] They recognized that so long as it lasted there was no hope of
establishing a community of nations, but they discarded military
intervention on grounds of their own internal policy, and because it ran
counter to the principle of self-determination. Over against that
principle, however, one had to set the circumstance that they were
already intermeddling in Russian affairs in Archangel, Murmansk,
Odessa, and elsewhere, and that they ended by creating a new state and
government in northwestern Russia, against which Kolchak and Denikin
vehemently protested.

In mitigation of judgment it is only fair to take into account the
tremendous difficulties that faced them; their unfamiliarity with the
Russian problem; the want of a touchstone by which to test the
overwhelming mass of conflicting information which poured in upon them;
their constitutional lack of moral courage, and the circumstance that
they were striving to reconcile contradictories. Without chart or
compass they drifted into strange and sterile courses, beginning with
the Prinkipo incident and ending with the written examination to which
they naïvely subjected Kolchak in order to legalize international
relations, which could not truly be described as either war or peace.
Neither the causes of Bolshevism in its morbid manifestations nor the
unformulated ideas underlying whatever positive aspect it may be
supposed to possess, nor the conditions governing its slow but
perceptible evolution, were so much as glanced at, much less studied, by
the statesmen who blithely set about dealing with it now by military
force, now by economic pressure, and fitfully by tentative forbearance
and hints to its leaders of forthcoming recognition.

One cannot thus play fast and loose with the destinies of a community
composed of one hundred and fifty million people whose members are but
slackly linked together by a few tenuous social bonds, without
forfeiting the right to offer them real guidance. And a blind man is a
poor guide to those who can see. Alone the Americans were equipped with
carefully tabulated statistics and huge masses of facts which they
poured out as lavishly as coal-heavers hurl the contents of their sacks
into the cellar. But they put them to no practical use. Losing
themselves in a labyrinth of details, they failed to get a
comprehensive view of the whole. The other delegations lacked both data
and general ideas. And all the Allies were destitute of a powerful army
in the East, and therefore of the means of asserting the authority which
they assumed.

They one and all dealt in vague theories and deceptive analogies, paying
little heed to the ever-shifting necessities of time, place, and
peoples, and indeed to the only conditions under which any new maxims
could be fruitfully applied. And even such rules as they laid down were
restricted and modified in accordance with their own countries'
interests or their unavowed aims, without specific warrant or
explanation. No account was taken of the historical needs or aspirations
of the people for whom they were legislating, as though all nations were
of the same age, capable of the same degree of culture, and impressible
to identical motives. It never seemed to have crossed their minds that
races and peoples, like individuals, have a soul, or that what is meat
to one may be poison to another.

One of the most Ententophil and moderate press organs in France put the
matter forcibly and plainly as follows: "The governments of Washington
and of London are aware that we are immutably attached to the alliance
with them. But we owe them the truth. Far too often they make a bad
choice of the agents whose business it is to keep them informed, and
they affect too much disdain for friendly suggestions which emanate from
any other source. American agents, in particular, civil as well as
military, explore Europe much as their forebears 'prospected' the Far
West, and they look upon the most ancient nations of Europe as Iroquois,
Comanches, or Aztecs. They are astounded at not finding everything on
the old Continent as in New York or Chicago, and they set to work to
reform Europe according to the rules in force in Oklahoma or Colorado.
Now we venture respectfully to point out to them that methods differ
with countries. In the United States the Colonists were wont to set fire
to the forests in order to clear and fertilize the land. Certain
American agents recommend the employment in Europe of an analogous
procedure in political matters. They rejoice to behold the Russian and
Hungarian forests burst into flame. In Lenin, Trotzky, Bela Kuhn, they
appreciate useful pioneers of the new civilization. We crave their
permission to view these things from another side. In old Europe one
cannot set fire to the forests without at the same time burning villages
and cities."[261]

Before and during the armistice I was in almost constant touch with all
Russian parties within the country and without, and received detailed
accounts of the changing conditions of the people, which, although
conflicting in many details, enabled me to form a tolerably correct
picture of the trend of things and to forecast what was coming.

Among other communications I received proposals from Moscow with the
request that I should present them to one of the British delegates, who
was supposed to be then taking an active interest, or at any rate
playing a prominent part, in the reconstruction of Russia, less for her
own sake than for that of the general peace. But as it chanced, the
eminent statesman lacked the leisure to take cognizance of the proposal,
the object of which was to hit upon such a _modus vivendi_ with Russia
as would enable her united peoples to enter upon a normal course of
national existence without further delay. Incidentally it would have put
an end to certain conversations then going forward with a view to a
friendly understanding between Russia and Germany. It would also, I had
reason to believe, have divided the speculative Bolshevist group from
the extreme bloodthirsty faction, produced a complete schism in the
party, and secured an armistice which would have prevented the Allies'
subsequent defeats at Murmansk, Archangel, and Odessa. Truth prompts me
to add that these desirable by-results, although held out as inducements
and characterized as readily attainable, were guaranteed only by the
unofficial pledge of men whose good faith was notoriously doubtful.

The document submitted to me is worth summarizing. It contained a lucid,
many-sided, and plausible account of the Russian situation. Among other
things, it was a confession of the enormity of the crimes perpetrated,
on both sides, it said, which it ascribed largely to the brutalizing
effects of the World War, waged under disastrous conditions unknown in
other lands. Myriads of practically unarmed men had been exposed during
the campaign to wholesale slaughter, or left to die in slow agonies
where they fell, or were killed off by famine and disease, for the
triumph of a cause which they never understood, but had recently been
told was that of foreign capitalists. In the demoralization that ensued
all restraints fell away. The entire social fabric, from groundwork to
summit, was rent, and society, convulsed with bestial passions, tore its
own members to pieces. Russia ran amuck among the nations. That was the
height of war frenzy. Since then, the document went on, passion had
abated sensibly and a number of well-intentioned men who had been swept
onward by the current were fast coming to their senses, while others
were already sane, eager to stem it and anxious for moral sympathy from
outside.

From out of the revolutionary welter, the _exposé_ continued, certain
hopeful phenomena had emerged symptomatic of a new spirit. Conditions
conducive to equality existed, although real equality was still a
somewhat remote ideal. But the tendencies over the whole sphere of
Russian social, moral, and political life had undergone remarkable and
invigorating changes in the direction of "reasonable democracy." Many
wholesome reforms had been attempted, and some were partially realized,
especially in elementary instruction, which was being spread clumsily,
no doubt, as yet, but extensively and equally, being absolutely
gratuitous.[262]

Various other so-called ameliorations were enumerated in this obviously
partial _exposé_, which was followed by an apology for certain prominent
individuals, who, having been swept off their feet by the revolutionary
floods, would gladly get back to firm land and help to extricate the
nation from the Serbonian bog in which it was sinking. They admitted a
share of the responsibility for having set in motion a vast juggernaut
chariot, which, however, they had arrested, but hoped to expiate past
errors by future zeal. At the same time they urged that it was not they
who had demoralized the army or abolished the death penalty or thrown
open the sluice-gates to anarchist floods. On the contrary, they claimed
to have reorganized the national forces, reintroduced the severest
discipline ever known, appointed experienced officers, and restored
capital punishment. Nor was it they, but their predecessors, they added,
who had ruined the transport service of the country and caused the food
scarcity.

These individuals would, it was said, welcome peace and friendship with
the Entente, and give particularly favorable consideration to any
proposal coming from the English-speaking peoples, in whom they were
disposed to place confidence under certain simple conditions. The need
for these conditions would not be gainsaid by the British and American
governments if they recalled to mind the treatment which they had
theretofore meted out to the Russian people. At that moment no Russian
of any party regarded or could regard the Allies without grounded
suspicions, for while repudiating interference in domestic affairs, the
French, Americans, and British were striving hard to influence every
party in Russia, and were even believed to harbor designs on certain
provinces, such as the Caucasus and Siberia. Color was imparted to these
misgivings by the circumstance that the Allied governments were openly
countenancing the dismemberment of the country by detaching non-Russian
and even Russian elements from the main body. It behooved the Allies to
dissipate this mistrust by issuing a statement of their policy in
unmistakable terms, repudiating schemes for territorial gains,
renouncing interference in domestic affairs and complicity in the work
of disintegrating the country. Russia and her affairs must be left to
Russians, who would not grudge economic concessions as a reasonable
_quid pro quo_.

The proposal further insisted that the declaration of policy should be
at once followed by the despatch of two or three well-known persons
acquainted with Russia and Russian affairs, and enjoying the confidence
of European peoples, to inquire into the conditions of the country and
make an exhaustive report. This mission, it was added, need not be
official, it might be intrusted to individuals unattached to any
government.

If a satisfactory answer to this proposal were returned within a
fortnight, an armistice and suspension of the secret _pourparlers_ with
Germany would, I was told, have followed. That this compact would have
led to a settlement of the Russian problems is more than any one,
however well informed, could vouch for, but I had some grounds for
believing the move to be genuine and the promises overdone. No
reasonable motive suggested itself for a vulgar hoax. Moreover, the
overture disclosed two important facts, one of which was known at the
time only to the Bolshevist government--namely, that secret
_pourparlers_ were going forward between Berlin and Moscow for the
purpose of arriving at a workable understanding between the two
governments, and that the Allied troops at Odessa, Archangel, and
Murmansk were in a wretched plight and in direr need of an armistice
than the Bolsheviki.[263]

I mentioned the matter summarily to one of the delegates, who evinced a
certain interest in it and promised to discuss it at length later on
with a view to action. Another to whom I unfolded it later thought it
would be well if I myself started, together with two or three others,
for Moscow, Petrograd, Ekaterinodar, and other places, and reported on
the situation. But weeks went by and nothing was done.[264]

I had interesting talks with some influential delegates on the eve of
the invitation issued to all _de facto_ governments of Russia to
forgather at Prinkipo for a symposium. They admitted frankly at the time
that they had no policy and were groping in the dark, and one of them
held to the dogma that no light from outside was to be expected. They
gave me the impression that underlying the impending summons was the
conviction that Bolshevism, divested of its frenzied manifestations, was
a rough and ready government calumniously blackened by unscrupulous
enemies, criminal perhaps in its outbursts, but suited in its feasible
aims to the peculiar needs of a peculiar people, and therefore as worthy
of being recognized as any of the others. It was urged that it had
already lasted a considerable time without provoking a counter-movement
worthy of the name; that the stories circulating about the horrors of
which it was guilty were demonstrably exaggerated; that many of the
bloody atrocities were to be ascribed to crazy individuals on both
sides; that the witnesses against Lenin were partial and untrustworthy;
that something should be done without delay to solve a pressing problem,
and that the Conference could think of nothing better, nor, in fact, of
any alternative.

To me the principal scheme seemed a sinister mistake, both in form and
in substance. In form, because it nullified the motives which determined
the help given to the Greeks, Poles, and Serbs, who were being urged to
crush the Bolshevists, and left the Allies without good grounds for
keeping their own troops in Archangel, Odessa, and northern Russia to
stop the onward march of Bolshevism. Some governments had publicly
stigmatized the Bolshevists as cutthroats; one had pledged itself never
to have relations with them, but the Prinkipo invitation bespoke a
resolve to cancel these judgments and declarations and change their tack
as an improvement on doing nothing at all. The scheme was also an error
in substance, because the sole motive that could warrant it was the hope
of reconciling the warring parties. And that hope was doomed to
disappointment from the outset.

According to the Prinkipo project, which was attributed to President
Wilson,[265] an invitation was to be issued to all organized groups
exercising or attempting to exercise political authority or military
control in Siberia and northern Russia, to send representatives to
confer with the delegates of the Allied and Associated Powers on
Prince's Islands. It is difficult to discuss the expedient seriously.
One feels like a member of the little people of yore, who are reported
to have consulted an oracle to ascertain what they must do to keep from
laughing during certain debates on public affairs. It exposed its
ingenuous authors to the ridicule of the world and made it clear to the
dullest apprehension that from that quarter, at any rate, the Russian
people, as a whole, must expect neither light nor leading, nor
intelligent appreciation of their terrible plight. There is a sphere of
influence in the human intellect between the reason and the imagination,
the boundary line of which is shadowy. That sphere would seem to be the
source whence some of the most extraordinary notions creep into the
minds of men who have suddenly come into a position of power which they
are not qualified to wield--the _nouveaux puissants_ of the world of
politics.

To the credit of the Supreme Council it never let offended dignity stand
between itself and the triumph of any of the various causes which it
successively took in hand. Time and again it had been addressed by the
Russian Bolshevist government in the most opprobrious terms, and accused
not merely of clothing political expediency in the garb of spurious
idealism, but of giving the fore place in political life to sordid
interests, over which a cloak of humanitarianism had been deftly thrown.
One official missive from the Bolshevist government to President Wilson
is worth quoting from:[266] "We should like to learn with more precision
how you conceive the Society of Nations? When you insist on the
independence of Belgium, of Serbia, of Poland, you surely mean that the
masses of the people are everywhere to take over the administration of
the country. But it is odd that you did not also require the
emancipation of Ireland, of Egypt, of India, and of the Philippines....

"As we concluded peace with the German Kaiser, for whom you have no more
consideration than we have for you, so we are minded to make peace with
you. We propose, therefore, the discussion, in concert with our allies,
of the following questions: (1) Are the French and English governments
ready to give up exacting the blood of the Russian people if this people
consent to pay them ransom and to compensate them in that way? (2) If
the answer is in the affirmative, what ransom would the Allies want
(railway concessions, gold mines, or territories)?

"We also look forward to your telling us exactly whether the future
Society of Nations will be a joint stock enterprise for the exploitation
of Russia, and in particular--as your French allies require--for forcing
Russia to refund the milliards which their bankers furnished to the
Tsarist government, or whether the Society of Nations will be something
different...."

As soon as the Prinkipo motion was passed by the delegates I was
informed by telephone, and I lost no time in communicating the tidings
to Russia's official representatives in Paris. The plan astounded them.
They could hardly believe that, while hopefully negotiating with the
anti-Bolshevists, the Conference was desirous at the same time of
opening _pourparlers_ with the Leninists, between whom and them
antagonism was not merely political, but personal and vindictive, like
that of two Albanians in a blood feud. I suggested that the scheme
should be thwarted at its inception, and that for this purpose I should
be authorized by the representatives of the four[267] constructive
governments in Russia to make known their decision. I was accordingly
empowered to announce to the world that they would categorically refuse
to send any representatives to confer with the assassins of their
kinsmen and the destroyers of their country, and that under no
circumstances would they swerve from that attitude. Having received the
authorization, I cabled to the United States and Britain that the
projected meeting would come to naught, owing to the refusal of all
constructive elements to agree to any compromise with the Bolsheviki;
that in the opinion of Russia's representatives in Paris the advance
made by the plenipotentiaries would strengthen the Bolshevist movement,
render the civil war more merciless than before, and raise up formidable
difficulties to the establishment of the League of Nations.

But the plenipotentiaries did not yet give up their cause as lost. By
way of "saving their face," they unofficially approached the Russian
Ministers in Paris, whom they had not deigned to consult on the subject
before making the plunge, and exhorted them to give at least a formal
assent to the proposal, which would commit them to nothing and would
enable them to withdraw without loss of dignity. They, on their part,
undertook to smooth the road to the best of their ability. Thus it would
be unnecessary, they explained, for the Ministers of the constructive
governments or their substitutes to come into contact with the slayers
of their kindred; they would occupy different wings of the hotel at
Prinkipo, and never meet their adversaries. The delegates would see to
that. "Then why should we go there at all if discussion be superfluous?"
asked the Russians. "Because the Allied governments desire to ascertain
the condition of Russia and your conception of the measures that would
contribute to ameliorate it," was the reply. "Prince's Islands is not
the right place to study the Russian situation, nor is it reasonable to
expect us to journey thither in order to tell subordinates, who have no
knowledge of our country, what we can tell them and their principals in
Paris in greater detail and with confirmatory documents. Moreover, the
delegates you have appointed have no qualification to judge of Russia's
plight and potentialities. They know neither the country nor its
language nor its people nor its politics, yet you want us to travel all
the way to Turkey to tell them what we think, in order that they should
return from Turkey to Paris and report to your Ministers what we said
and what we could have unfolded directly to the Ministers themselves
long ago and are ready to propound to them to-day or to-morrow.

"The project is puerile and your tactics are baleful. Your Ministers
branded the Bolshevists as criminals, and the French government publicly
announced that it would enter into no relations with them. In spite of
that, all the Allied governments have now offered to enter into
relations with them. Now you admit that you made a slip, and you promise
to correct it if only we consent to save your face and go on a
wild-goose chase to Prinkipo. But for us that journey would be a
recantation of our principles. That is why we are unable to make it."

The Prinkipo incident, which began in the region of high politics, ended
in comedy. A number of more or less witty epigrams were coined at the
expense of the plenipotentiaries, the scheme, set in a stronger light
than it was meant to endure, assumed a grotesque shape, and its
promoters strove to consign it as best they could to oblivion. But the
Sphinx question of Russia's future remained, and the penalties for
failure to solve it aright waxed more and more deterrent. The supreme
arbiters had cognizance of them, had, in fact, enumerated them when
proclaiming the impossibility of establishing a durable peace or a solid
League of Nations as long as Russia continued to be a prey to anarchy.
But even with the prizes and penalties before their eyes to entice and
spur them, they proved unequal to the task of devising an intelligent
policy. Fitful and incoherent, their efforts were either incapable of
being realized or, when feasible, were mischievous. Thus, by degrees,
they hardened the great Slav nation against the Entente.

The reader will be prepared to learn that the overtures made to the
Bolsheviki kindled the anger of the patriotic Russians at home, who had
been looking to the Western nations for salvation and making veritable
holocausts in order to merit it. Every observer could perceive the
repercussion of this sentiment in Paris, and I received ample proofs of
it from Siberia. There the leaders and the population unhesitatingly
turned for assistance to Japan. For this there were excellent reasons.
The only government which throughout the war knew its own mind and
pursued a consistent and an intelligible policy toward Russia was that
of Tokio. This point is worth making at a time when Japan is regarded as
a Laodicean convert to the invigorating ideas of the Western peoples, at
heart a backslider and a potential schismatic. She is charged with
making interest the mainspring of her action in her intercourse with
other nations. The charge is true. Only a Candide would expect to see
her moved by altruism and self-denial, in a company which penalizes
these virtues. Community of interests is the link that binds Japan to
Britain. A like bond had subsisted between her and Tsarist Russia. I
helped to create it. Her statesmen, who have no taste for sonorous
phraseology, did not think it necessary to give it a more fashionable
name. This did not prevent the Japanese from being chivalrously loyal to
their allies under the strain of powerful temptations, true to the
spirit and the letter of their engagements. But although they made no
pretense to lofty purpose, their political maxims differ nowise from
those of the great European states, whose territorial, economic, and
military interests have been religiously safeguarded by the Treaty of
Versailles. True, the statesmen of Tokio shrink from the hybrid
combination of two contradictions linked together by a sentimental
fallacy. Their unpopularity among Anglo-Saxons is the result of
speculations about their future intentions; in other words, they are
being punished, as certain of the delegates at the Conference have been
eulogized, not for what they actually did, but for what it is assumed
they are desirous of achieving. Toward Russia they played the same game
that their allies were playing there and in Europe, only more frankly
and systematically. They applied the two principal maxims which lie at
the root of international politics to-day--_do ut des_, and the nation
that is capable of leading others has the right and the duty to lead
them. And they established a valuable reputation for fulfilling their
compacts conscientiously. Nippon, then, would have helped her Russian
neighbors, and she expected to be helped by them in return. Have not the
Allies, she asked, compelled Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Jugoslavia to
pay them in cash for their emancipation?

Russians, who have no color prejudices, hit it off with the Japanese, by
whom they are liked in return. That the two peoples should feel drawn to
each other politically is, therefore, natural, and that they will strike
up economic agreements in the future seems to many inevitable and
legitimate. One such agreement was on the point of being signed between
them and the anti-Bolshevists of Omsk immediately after, and in
consequence of, the Allies' ill-considered invitation to Lenin and
Trotzky to delegate representatives to Prinkipo. This convention, I have
reason to believe, was actually drafted, and was about to be signed. And
the adverse influence that suddenly made itself felt and hindered the
compact came not from Russia, but from western Europe. It would be
unfruitful to dwell further on this matter here, beyond recording the
belief of many Russians that the zeal of the English-speaking peoples
for the well-being of Siberia, where they intend to maintain troops
after having withdrawn them from Europe, is the counter-move to Japan's
capacity and wish to co-operate with the population of that rich
country. This assumption may be groundless, but it will surprise only
those who fail to note how often the flag of principle is unfurled over
economic interests.

The delegates were not all discouraged by their discomfiture over the
Prinkipo project. Some of them still hankered after an agreement with
the Bolshevists which would warrant them in including the Russian
problem among the tasks provisionally achieved. President Wilson
despatched secret envoys to Moscow to strike up an accord with
Lenin,[268] but although the terms which Mr. Bullitt obtained were those
which had in advance been declared satisfactory, he drew back as soon as
they were agreed to. And he assigned no reason for this change of
attitude. Whether the brightening of the prospects of Kolchak and
Denikin had modified his judgment on the question of expediency must
remain a matter of conjecture. It is hardly necessary, however, to point
out once more that this sudden improvisation of schemes which were
abandoned again at the last moment tended to lower the not particularly
high estimate set by the ethnic wards of the Anglo-Saxon peoples on the
moral guidance of their self-constituted guardians.

An ardent champion of the Allied nations in France wrote: "We have never
had a Russian policy which was all of one piece. We have never
synthetized any but contradictory conceptions. This is so true that one
may safely affirm that if Russian patriotism has been sustained by our
velleities of action, Russian destructiveness has been encouraged by our
velleities of desertion. We joined, so to say, both camps, and our
velleities of desertion occasionally getting the upper hand of our
velleities of action ... we carry out nothing."[269]

Toward Kolchak and Denikin the attitude of the Supreme Council varied
considerably. It was currently reported in Paris that the Admiral had
had the misfortune to arouse the displeasure of the two Conference
chiefs by some casual manifestation of a frame of mind which was
resented, perhaps a movement of independence, to which distance or the
medium of transmission imparted a flavor of disrespect. Anyhow, the
Russian leader was for some time under a cloud, which darkened the
prospects of his cause. And as for Denikin, he appeared to the other
great delegate as a self-advertising braggart.

These mental portraits were retouched as the fortune of war favored the
pair. And their cause benefited correspondingly. To this improvement
influences at work in London contributed materially. For the
anti-Bolshevist currents which made themselves felt in certain state
departments in that capital, where there were several irreconcilable
policies, were powerful and constant. By the month of May the Conference
had turned half-heartedly from Lenin and Trotzky to Kolchak and Denikin,
but its mode of negotiating bore the mark peculiar to the diplomacy of
the new era of "open covenants openly arrived at." The delegates in
Paris communicated with the two leaders in Russia "over the heads" and
without the knowledge of their authorized representatives in Paris, just
as they had issued peremptory orders to "the Rumanian government at
Bucharest" over the heads of its chiefs, who were actually in the French
capital.

The proximate motives that determined several important decisions of
the Secret Council, although of no political moment, are of sufficient
psychological interest to warrant mention. They shed a light on the
concreteness, directness, and simplicity of the workings of the
statesmen's minds when engaged in transacting international business.
For example, the particular moment for the recognition of new
communities as states was fixed by wholly extrinsical circumstances. A
food-distributer, for instance, or the Secretary of a Treasury, wanted a
receipt for expenditure abroad from the people that benefited by it. As
a document of this character presupposes the existence of a state and a
government, the official dispenser of food or money was loath to go to
the aid of any nation which was not a state or which lacked a properly
constituted government. Hence, in some cases the Conference had to
create both on the spur of the moment. Thus the reason why Finland's
independence received the hall-mark of the Powers when it did was
because the United States government was generously preparing to give
aid to the Finns and had to get in return proper receipts signed by
competent authorities representing the state.[270] Had it not been for
this immediate need of valid receipts, the act of recognition might have
been postponed in the same way as was the marking off of the frontiers.
And like considerations led to like results in other cases.
Czechoslovakia's independence was formally recognized for the same
reason, as one of its leading men frankly admitted.

One of the serious worries of the Conference chiefs in their dealings
with Russia was the lack of a recognized government there, qualified to
sign receipts for advances of money and munitions. And as they could not
resolve to accord recognition to any of the existing administrations,
they hit upon the middle course, that of promoting the anti-Bolshevists
to the rank of a community, not, indeed, sovereign or independent, but
deserving of every kind of assistance except the despatch of Allied
troops. Assistance was already being given liberally, but the necessity
was felt for justifying it formally. And the two delegates went to work
as though they were hatching some dark and criminal plot. Secretly
despatching a message to Admiral Kolchak, they put a number of questions
to him which he was not qualified to answer without first consulting his
official advisers in Paris. Yet these advisers were not apprised by the
Secret Council of what was being done. Nay, more, the French Foreign
Office was not notified. By the merest chance I got wind of the matter
and published the official message.[271] It summoned the Admiral to bind
himself to convene a Constituent Assembly as soon as he arrived in
Moscow; to hold free elections; to repudiate definitely the old régime
and all that it implied; to recognize the independence of Poland and
Finland, whose frontiers would be determined by the League of Nations;
to avail himself of the advice and co-operation of the League in coming
to an understanding with the border states, and to acquiesce in the
decision of the Peace Conference respecting the future status of
Bessarabia. Kolchak's answer was described as clear when "decipherable,"
and to his credit, he frankly declined to forestall the will of the
Constituent Assembly respecting those border states which owed their
separate existence to the initiative of the victorious governments. But
the Secret Council of the Conference accepted his answer, and relied
upon it as an adequate reason for continuing the assistance which they
had been giving him theretofore.

About the person of Kolchak it ought to be superfluous to say more than
that he is an upright citizen of energy and resolution, as patriotic as
Fabricius, as disinterested and unambitious as Cincinnatus. To his
credit account, which is considerable, stands his wonder-working faith
in the recuperative forces of his country when its fortunes were at
their lowest ebb. With buoyancy and confidence he set himself the task
of rescuing his fellow-countrymen when it looked as hopeless as that of
Xenophon at Cunaxa. He created an army out of nothing, induced his men
by argument, suasion, and example to shake off the virus of indiscipline
and sacrifice their individual judgment and will to the well-being of
their fellows. He enjoined nothing upon others that he himself was not
ready to undertake, and he exposed himself time and again to risks
greater far than any general should deliberately incur. Whether he
succeeds or fails in his arduous enterprise, Kolchak, by his preterhuman
patience and sustained energy and courage, has deserved exceptionally
well of his country, and could afford to ignore the current legends that
depict him in the crying colors of a reactionary, even though they were
accepted for the time by the most exalted among the Great Unversed in
Russian affairs. One may dissent from his policy and object to some of
his lieutenants and to many of his partizans, but from the
single-minded, patriotic soldier one cannot withhold a large meed of
praise. Kolchak's defects are mostly exaggerations of his qualities. His
remarkable versatility is purchased at the price of fitfulness, his
energy displays itself in spurts, and his impulsiveness impairs at times
the successful execution of a plan which requires unflagging constancy.
His judgment of men is sometimes at fault, but he would never hesitate
to confer a high post upon any man who deserved it. He is democratic in
the current sense of the word, but neither a doctrinaire nor a faddist.
A disciplinarian and a magnetic personality withal, he charms as
effectually as he commands his soldiers. He is enlightened enough, like
the great Western world-menders in their moments of theorizing, to
discountenance secrecy and hole-and-corner agreements, and, what is
still more praiseworthy, he is courageous enough to practise the
doctrine.

When the revolution broke out Kolchak was at Sebastopol. The telegram
conveying the sensational tidings of the outbreak was kept secret by all
military commanders--except himself. He unhesitatingly summoned the
soldiers and sailors, apprised them of what had taken place, gave them
an insight into the true meaning of the violent upheaval, and asked them
to join with him in a heroic endeavor to influence the course of things,
in the direction of order and consolidation. He gaged aright the
significance of the revolution and the impossibility of confining it
within any bounds, political, moral, or geographical. But he reasoned
that a band of resolute patriots might contrive to wrest something for
the country from the hands of Fate. It was with this faith and hope that
he set to work, and soon his valiant army, the reclaimed provinces, and
the improved Russian outlook were eloquent witnesses to his worth, whose
testimony no legendary reports, however well received in the West, could
weaken.

How ingrained in the plenipotentiaries was their proneness for what, for
want of a better word, may be termed conspirative and circuitous action
may be inferred from the record of their official and unofficial
conversations and acts. When holding converse with Kolchak's authorized
agents in Paris they would lay down hard conditions, which were
described as immutable; and yet when communicating with the Admiral
direct they would submit to him terms considerably less irksome, unknown
to his Paris advisers, thus mystifying both and occasioning friction
between them. In many cases the contrast between the two sets of demands
was disconcerting, and in all it tended to cause misunderstandings and
complicate the relations between Kolchak and his Paris agents. But he
continued to give his confidence to his representatives, although they
were denied that of the delegates. It would, of course, be grossly
unfair to impute anything like disingenuousness to plenipotentiaries
engaged upon issues of this magnitude, but it was an unfortunate
coincidence that they were known to regard some of the members of the
Russian Council in Paris with disfavor, and would have been glad to see
them superseded. When Nansen's project to feed the starving population
of Russia was first mooted, Kolchak's Ministers in Paris were approached
on the subject, and the Allies' plan was propounded to them so
defectively or vaguely as to give them the impression that the
co-operation of the Bolshevist government was part of the program. They
were also allowed to think that during the work of feeding the people
the despatch of munitions and other military necessaries to Kolchak and
his army would be discontinued. Naturally, the scheme, weighted with
these two accompaniments, was unacceptable to Kolchak's representatives
in Paris. But, strange to say, in the official notification which the
plenipotentiaries telegraphed at the same time to the Admiral direct,
neither of these obnoxious riders was included, so that the proposal
assumed a different aspect.

Another example of these singular tactics is supplied by their
_pourparlers_ with the Admiral's delegates about the future
international status of Finland, whose help was then being solicited to
free Petrograd from the Bolshevist yoke. The Finns insisted on the
preliminary recognition of their complete independence by the Russians.
Kolchak's representatives shrank from bartering any territories which
had belonged to the state on their own sole responsibility. None the
less, as the subject was being theoretically threshed out in all its
bearings, the members of the Russian Council in Paris inquired of the
Allies whether the Finns had at least renounced their pretensions to the
province of Karelia. But the spokesmen of the Conference replied
elusively, giving them no assurance that the claim had been
relinquished. Thereupon they naturally concluded that the Finns either
still maintained their demand or else had not yet modified their former
decision on the matter, and they deemed it their duty to report in this
sense to their chief. Yet the plenipotentiaries, in their message on the
subject to Kolchak, which was sent about the same time, assured him that
the annexation of Karelia was no longer insisted upon, and that the
Finns would not again put forward the claim! One hardly knows what to
think of tactics like these. In their talks with the spokesmen of
certain border states of Russia the official representatives of the
three European Powers at the Conference employed language that gave rise
to misunderstandings which may have untoward consequences in the future.
One would like to believe that these misunderstandings were caused by
mere slips of the tongue, which should not have been taken literally by
those to whom they were addressed; but in the meanwhile they have become
not only the source of high, possibly delusive, hopes, but the basis of
elaborate policies. For example, Esthonian and Lettish Ministers were
given to understand that they would be permitted to send diplomatic
legations to Petrograd as soon as Russia was reconstituted, a mode of
intercourse which presupposes the full independence of all the countries
concerned. A constitution was also drawn up for Esthonia by one of the
Great Powers, which started with the postulate that each people was to
be its own master. Consequently, the two nations in question were
warranted in looking forward to receiving that complete independence.
And if such was, indeed, the intention of the Great Powers, there is
nothing further to be said on the score of straightforwardness or
precision. But neither in the terms submitted to Kolchak nor in those to
which his Paris agents were asked to give their assent was the
independence of either country as much as hinted at.[272]

These may perhaps seem trivial details, but they enable us to estimate
the methods and the organizing arts of the statesmen upon whose skill in
resource and tact in dealing with their fellows depended the new
synthesis of international life and ethics which they were engaged in
realizing. It would be superfluous to investigate the effect upon the
Russians, or, indeed, upon any of the peoples represented in Paris, of
the Secret Council's conspirative deliberations and circuitous
procedure, which were in such strong contrast to the "open covenants
openly arrived at" to which in their public speeches they paid such high
tribute.

The main danger, which the Allies redoubted from failure to restore
tranquillity in Russia, was that Germany might accomplish it and, owing
to her many advantages, might secure a privileged position in the
country and use it as a stepping-stone to material prosperity, military
strength, and political ascendancy. This feat she could accomplish
against considerable odds. She would achieve it easily if the Allies
unwittingly helped her, as they were doing.

Unfortunately the Allied governments had not much hope of succeeding.
If they had been capable of elaborating a comprehensive plan, they no
longer possessed the means of executing it. But they devised none. "The
fact is," one of the Conference leaders exclaimed, "we have no policy
toward Russia. Neither do we possess adequate data for one."

They strove to make good this capital omission by erecting a paper wall
between Germany and her great Slav neighbor. The plan was simple. The
Teutons were to be compelled to disinterest themselves in the affairs of
Russia, with whose destinies their own are so closely bound up. But they
soon realized that such a partition is useless as a breakwater against
the tidal wave of Teutondom, and Germany is still destined to play the
part of Russia's steward and majordomo.

How could it be otherwise? Germany and Russia are near neighbors. Their
economic relations have been continuous for ages, and the Allies have
made them indispensable in the future; Russia is ear-marked as Germany's
best colony. The two peoples are become interdependent. The Teuton will
recognize the Slav as an ally in economics, and will pay himself
politically. Who will now thwart or check this process? Russia must
live, and therefore buy and sell, barter and negotiate. Can a parchment
treaty hinder or invalidate her dealings? Can it prevent an admixture of
politics in commercial arrangements, seeing that they are but two
aspects of one and the same transaction? It is worthy of note that a
question which goes to the quick of the matter was never mooted. It is
this: Is it an essential element of the future ordering of the world
that Germany shall play no part whatever in its progress? Is it to be
assumed that she will always content herself with being treated as the
incorrigible enemy of civilization? And, if not, what do all these
checks and barriers amount to?

In Russia there are millions of Germans conversant with the language,
laws, and customs of the people. Many of them have been settled there
for generations. They are passionately attached to their race, and
neither unfriendly nor useless to the country of their adoption. The
trade, commerce, and industry of the European provinces are largely in
their hands and in those of their forerunners and helpers, the Jews. The
Russo-German and Jewish middlemen in the country have their faces ever
turned toward the Fatherland. They are wont to buy and sell there. They
always obtained their credit in Berlin, Dresden, or Frankfurt. They
acted as commercial travelers, agents, brokers, bankers, for Russians
and Germans. They are constantly going and coming between the two
countries. How are these myriads to be fettered permanently and kept
from eking out a livelihood in the future on the lines traced by
necessity or interest in the past? The Russians, on their side, must
live, and therefore buy and sell. Has the Conference or the League the
right or power to dictate to them the persons or the people with whom
alone they may have dealings? Can it narrow the field of Russia's
political activities? Some people flatter themselves that it can. In
this case the League of Nations must transform itself into an alliance
for the suppression of the German race.

Burning indignation and moral reprobation were the sentiments aroused
among the high-minded Allies by the infamous Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.
For that mockery of a peace, even coming from an enemy, transcended the
bounds of human vengeance. It was justly anathematized by all Entente
peoples as the loathsome creation of a frenzied people. But shortly
afterward the Entente governments themselves, their turn having come,
wrought what Russians of all parties regard as a political patchwork of
variegated injustice more odious far, because its authors claimed to be
considered as the devoted friends of their victims and the champions of
right. Whereas the Brest-Litovsk Treaty provided for a federative Slav
state, with provincial diets and a federal parliament, the system
substituted by the Allies consisted in carving up Russia into an
ever-increasing number of separate states, some of which cannot live by
themselves, in debarring the inhabitants from a voice in the matter, in
creating a permanent agency for foreign intervention, and ignoring
Russia's right to reparation from the common enemy. The Russians were
not asked even informally to say what they thought or felt about what
was being done. This province and that were successively lopped off in a
lordly way by statesmen who aimed at being classed as impartial
dispensers of justice and sowers of the seeds of peace, but were
unacquainted with the conditions and eschewed investigation. Here, at
all events, the usual symptoms of hesitancy and procrastination were
absent. Swift resolve and thoroughness marked the disintegrating action
by which they unwittingly prepared the battlefields of the future.

Nobody acquainted with Russian psychology imagines that the feelings of
a high-souled people can be transformed by gifts of food, money, or
munitions made to some of their fellow-countrymen. How little likely
Russians are to barter ideal boons for material advantages may be
gathered from an incident worth noting that occurred in the months of
April and May, when the fall of the capital into the hands of the
anti-Bolshevists was confidently expected.

At that time, as it chanced, the one thing necessary for their success
against Bolshevism was the capture of Petrograd. If that city, which,
despite its cosmopolitan character, still retained its importance as the
center of political Russia, could be wrested from the tenacious grasp
of Lenin and Trotzky, the fall of the anarchist dictators was, people
held, a foregone conclusion. The friends of Kolchak accordingly pressed
every lever to set the machinery in motion for the march against Peter's
city. And as, of all helpers, the Finns and Esthonians were admittedly
the most efficacious, conversations were begun with their leaders. They
were ready to drive a bargain, but it must be a hard and lucrative one.
They would march on Petrograd for a price. The principal condition which
they laid down was the express and definite recognition of their
complete independence within frontiers which it would be unfruitful here
to discuss. The Kolchak government was ready to treat with the Finnish
Cabinet, as the _de facto_ government, and to recognize Finland's
present status for what it is in international law; but as they could
not give what they did not possess, their recognition must, they
explained, be like their own authority, provisional. A similar reply was
made to the Esthonians; to this those peoples demurred. The Russians
stood firm and the negotiations fell through. It is to be supposed that
when they have recovered their former status they will prove more
amenable to the blandishments of the Allies than they were to the
powerful bribe dangled before their eyes by the Esthonians and the
Finns?

But if the improvised arrangements entailing dismemberment which the
Great Powers imposed on Russia during her cataleptic trance are revised,
as they may be, whenever she recovers consciousness and strength, what
course will events then follow? If she seeks to regather under her wing
some of the peoples whose complete independence the League of Nations
was so eager to guarantee, will that body respond to the appeal of these
and fly to their assistance? Russia, who has not been consulted, will
not be as bound by the canons of the League, and one need not be a
prophet to foretell the reluctance of Western armies to wage another war
in order to prevent territories, of which some of the plenipotentiaries
may have heard as little as of Teschen, becoming again integral parts of
the Slav state. Europe may then see its political axis once more shifted
and its outlook obscured. Thus the system of equilibrium, which was
theoretically abolished by the Fourteen Points, may be re-established by
the hundred and one economico-political changes which Russia's recovery
will contribute to bring about.

A decade is but a twinkling in the history of a nation. Within a few
years Russia may once more be united. The army that will have achieved
this feat will constitute a formidable weapon in the hands of the state
that wields it. As everything, even military strength, is relative, and
as the armies of the rest of Europe will not be impatient to fight in
the East, and will therefore count for considerably less than their
numbers, there will be no real danger of an invasion. Russia is a
country easy to get into, but hard to get out of, and military success
against its armies there would in verity be a victory without glory,
annexation, indemnities, or other appreciable gains.

It is hard to believe that the distinguished statesmen of the Conference
took these eventualities fully into account before attempting to reshape
amorphous Russia after their own vague ideal. But whether we assess
their work by the standards of political science or of international
ethics, or explain it as a series of well-meant expedients begotten by
the practical logic of momentary convenience, we must confess that its
gifted authors lacked a direct eye for the wayward tides of national and
international movements; were, in fact, smitten by political blindness,
and did the best they could in these distressing circumstances.


FOOTNOTES:

[260] From whatever angle this Russian business is viewed, the policy of
the Allies, if it can be dignified with that name, seems to be a
compound of weakness, ineptitude, and shilly-shally."--Cf. _The
Westminster Gazette_, July 5, 1919.

[261] Cf. _Journal des Débats_, August 13, 1919. Article by M. Auguste
Gauvain.

[262] There can be no doubt that the Bolshevist government under
Lunatcharsky has made a point of furthering the arts, sciences, and
elementary instruction. All reports from foreign travelers and from
eminent Russians--one of these my university fellow-student, now
perpetual secretary of the Academy--agree about this silver lining to a
dark cloud.

[263] This latter fact was doubtless known to the British government,
which decided as early as March to recall the British troops from
northern Russia.

[264] I published the facts in _The Daily Telegraph_, April 21, and _The
Public Ledger_ of Philadelphia, April 10, 1919.

[265] Colonel House is said to have dissociated himself from the
President on this occasion.

[266] It was sent at the end of October, 1918, and to my knowledge was
not published in full.

[267] Omsk, Ekaterinodar, Archangel, and the Crimea. The last-named
disappeared soon afterward.

[268] See Chapter IV "Censorship and Secrecy," p. 132.

[269] Pertinax in _L'Echo de Paris_, July 5, 1919.

[270] This admission was made to a distinguished member of the
Diplomatic Corps.

[271] In _The Daily Telegraph_, June 19, 1919, and in _The Public
Ledger_ of Philadelphia.

[272] In July M. Pichon told the Esthonian delegates that France
recognized the independence of their country in principle. But this
declaration was not taken seriously, either by the Russians or by the
French.



XI

BOLSHEVISM


What is Bolshevism? A generic term that stands for a number of things
which have little in common. It varies with the countries where it
appears. In Russia it is the despotism of an organized and unscrupulous
group of men in a disorganized community. It might also be termed the
frenzy of a few epileptics running amuck among a multitude of
paralytics. It is not so much a political doctrine or a socialist theory
as a psychic disease of a section of the community which cannot be cured
without leaving permanent traces and perhaps modifying certain organic
functions of the society affected. For some students at a distance who
make abstraction from its methods--as a critic appreciating the
performance of "Hamlet" might make abstraction from the part of the
Prince of Denmark--it is a modification of the theory of Karl Marx, the
newest contribution to latter-day social science. In Russia, at any
rate, the general condition of society from which it sprang was
characterized not by the advance of social science, but by a psychic
disorder the germs of which, after a century of incubation, were brought
to the final phase of development by the war. In its origins it is a
pathological phenomenon.

Four and a half years of an unprecedented campaign which drained to
exhaustion the financial and economic resources of the European
belligerents upset the psychical equilibrium of large sections of their
populations. Goaded by hunger and disease to lawless action, and no
longer held back by legal deterrents or moral checks, they followed the
instinct of self-preservation to the extent of criminal lawlessness.
Familiarity with death and suffering dispelled the fear of human
punishment, while numbness of the moral sense made them insensible to
the less immediate restraints of a religious character. These phenomena
are not unusual concomitants of protracted wars. History records
numerous examples of the homecoming soldiery turning the weapons
destined for the foreign foe against political parties or social classes
in their own country. In other European communities for some time
previously a tendency toward root-reaching and violent change was
perceptible, but as the state retained its hold on the army it remained
a tendency. In the case of Russia--the country where the state, more
than ordinarily artificial and ill-balanced, was correspondingly
weak--Fate had interpolated a blood-stained page of red and white terror
in the years 1906-08. Although fitful, unorganized, and abortive, that
wild splutter was one of the foretokens of the impending cataclysm, and
was recognized as such by the writer of these pages. During the
foregoing quarter of a century he had watched with interest the sowing
of the dragon's teeth from which was one day to spring up a race of
armed and frenzied men. Few observers, however, even in the Tsardom,
gaged the strength or foresaw the effects of the anarchist propaganda
which was being carried on suasively and perseveringly, oftentimes
unwittingly, in the nursery, the school, the church, the university, and
with eminent success in the army and the navy. Hence the widespread
error that the Russian revolution was preceded by no such era of
preparation as that of the encylopedists in France.

Recently, however, publicists have gone to the other extreme and
asserted that Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gorky, and a host of other Russian
writers were apostles of the tenets which have since received the name
of Bolshevism, and that it was they who prepared the Russian upheaval
just as it was the authors of the "Encyclopedia" who prepared the French
Revolution. In this sweeping form the statement is misleading. Russian
literature during the reigns of the last three Tsars--with few
exceptions, like the writings of Leskoff--was unquestionably a vehicle
for the spread of revolutionary ideas. But it would be a gross
exaggeration to assert that the end deliberately pursued was that form
of anarchy which is known to-day as Bolshevism, or, indeed, genuine
anarchy in any form. Tolstoy and Gorky may be counted among the
forerunners of Bolshevism, but Dostoyevsky, whom I was privileged to
know, was one of its keenest antagonists. Nor was it only anarchism that
he combated. Like Leskoff, he was an inveterate enemy of political
radicalism, and we university students bore him a grudge in consequence.
In his masterly delineation[273] of a group of "reformers," in
particular of Verkhovensky--whom psychic tendency, intellectual anarchy,
and political crime bring under the category of Bolshevists--he
foreshadowed the logical conclusion, and likewise the political
consummation, of the corrosive doctrines which in those days were
associated with the name of Bakunin. In the year 1905-06, when the
upshot of the conflict between Tsarism and the revolution was still
doubtful, Count Witte and I often admired the marvelous intuition of the
great novelist, whose gallery of portraits in the "Devils" seemed to
have become suddenly endowed with life, and to be conspiring, shooting,
and bomb-throwing in the streets of Moscow, Petersburg, Odessa, and
Tiflis. The seeds of social revolution sown by the novelists, essayists,
and professional guides of the nation were forced by the wars of 1904
and 1914 into rapid germination.

As far back as the year 1892, in a work published over a pseudonym, the
present writer described the rotten condition of the Tsardom, and
ventured to foretell its speedy collapse.[274] The French historian
Michelet wrote with intuition marred by exaggeration and acerbity: "A
barbarous force, a law-hating world, Russia sucks and absorbs all the
poison of Europe and then gives it off in greater quantity and deadlier
intensity. When we admit Russia, we admit the cholera, dissolution,
death. That is the meaning of Russian propaganda. Yesterday she said to
us, 'I am Christianity.' To-morrow she will say, 'I am socialism.' It is
the revolting idea of a demagogy without an idea, a principle, a
sentiment, of a people which would march toward the west with the gait
of a blind man, having lost its soul and its will and killing at random,
of a terrible automaton like a dead body which can still reach and slay.

"It might commove Europe and bespatter it with blood, but that would not
hinder it from plunging itself into nothingness in the abysmal ooze of
definite dissolution."

Russia, then, led by domiciled aliens without a fatherland, may be truly
said to have been wending steadily toward the revolutionary vortex long
before the outbreak of hostilities. Her progress was continuous and
perceptible. As far back as the year 1906 the late Count Witte and
myself made a guess at the time-distance which the nation still had to
traverse, assuming the rate of progress to be constant, before reaching
the abyss. This, however, was mere guesswork, which one of the many
possibilities--and in especial change in the speed-rate--might belie. In
effect, events moved somewhat more quickly than we anticipated, and it
was the World War and its appalling concomitants that precipitated the
catastrophe.

As circumstances willed it, certain layers of the people of central
Europe were also possessed by the revolutionary spirit at the close of
the World War. In their case hunger, hardship, disease, and moral shock
were the avenues along which it moved and reached them. This coincidence
was fraught with results more impressive than serious. The governments
of both these great peoples had long been the mainstays of monarchic
tradition, military discipline, and the principle of authority. The
Teutons, steadily pursuing an ideal which lay at the opposite pole to
anarchy, had risked every worldly and well-nigh every spiritual
possession to realize it. It was the hegemony of the world. This
aspiration transfigured, possessed, fanaticized them. Teutondom became
to them what Islam is to Mohammedans of every race, even when they shake
off religion. They eschewed no means, however iniquitous, that seemed to
lead to the goal. They ceased to be human in order to force Europe to
become German. Offering up the elementary principles of morality on the
altar of patriotism, they staked their all upon the single venture of
the war. It was as the throw of a gambler playing for his soul with the
Evil One. Yet the faith of these materialists waxed heroic withal, like
their self-sacrifice. And in the fiery ardor of their enthusiasm, hard
concrete facts were dissolved and set floating as illusions in the
ambient mist. Their wishes became thoughts and their fears were
dispelled as fancies. They beheld only what they yearned for, and when
at last they dropped from the dizzy height of their castles in cloudland
their whole world, era, and ideal was shattered. Unavailing remorse,
impotent rage, spiritual and intense physical exhaustion completed their
demoralization. The more harried and reckless among them became
frenzied. Turning first against their rulers, then against one another,
they finally started upon a work of wanton destruction relieved by no
creative idea. It was at this time-point that they endeavored to join
hands with their tumultuous Eastern neighbors, and that the one word
"Bolshevism" connoted the revolutionary wave that swept over some of the
Slav and German lands. But only for a moment. One may safely assert, as
a general proposition, that the same undertaking, if the Germans and the
Russians set their hands to it, becomes forthwith two separate
enterprises, so different are the conceptions and methods of these two
peoples. Bolshevism was almost emptied of its contents by the Germans,
and little left of it but the empty shell.

Comparisons between the orgasms of collective madness which accompanied
the Russian welter, on the one hand, and the French Revolution, on the
other, are unfruitful and often misleading. It is true that at the
outset those spasms of delirium were in both cases violent reactions
against abuses grown well-nigh unbearable. It is also a fact that the
revolutionists derived their preterhuman force from historic events
which had either denuded those abuses of their secular protection or
inspired their victims with wonder-working faith in their power to sweep
them away. But after this initial stage the likeness vanishes. The
French Revolution, which extinguished feudalism as a system and the
nobility as a privileged class, speedily ceased to be a mere dissolvent.
In its latter phases it assumed a constructive character. Incidentally
it created much that was helpful in substance if not beautiful in form,
and from the beginning it adopted a positive doctrine as old as
Christianity, but new in its application to the political sphere. Thus,
although it uprooted quantities of wheat together with the tares, its
general effect was to prepare the ground for a new harvest. It had a
distinctly social purpose, which it partially realized. Nor should it
be forgotten that in the psychological sphere it kindled a transient
outburst of quasi-religious enthusiasm among its partizans, imbued them
with apostolic zeal, inspired them with a marvelous spirit of
self-abnegation, and nerved their arms to far-resonant exploits. And the
forces which the revolution thus set free changed many of the forms of
the European world, but without reshaping it after the image of the
ideal.

Has the withering blight known as Bolshevism any such redeeming traits
to its credit account? The consensus of opinion down to the present
moment gives an emphatic, if summary, answer in the negative. Every
region over which it swept is blocked with heaps of unsightly ruins, It
has depreciated all moral values. It passed like a tornado, spending its
energies in demolition. Of construction hardly a trace has been
discerned, even by indulgent explorers.[275] One might liken it to a
so-called possession by the spirit of evil, wont of yore to use the
human organs as his own for words of folly and deeds of iniquity.
Bolshevism has operated uniformly as a quick solvent of the social
organism. Doubtless European society in 1917 sorely needed purging by
drastic means, but only a fanatic would say that it deserved
annihilation.

It has been variously affirmed that the political leaven of these
destructive ferments in eastern and central Europe was wholesome. Slavs
and Germans, it is argued, stung by the bankruptcy of their political
systems, resolved to alter them on the lines of universal suffrage and
its corollaries, but were carried farther than they meant to go. This
mild judgment is based on a very partial survey of the phenomena. The
improvement in question was the work, not of the Bolshevists, but of
their adversaries, the moderate reformers. And the political strivings
of these had no organic nexus with the doctrine which emanated from the
nethermost depths in which vengeful pariahs, outlaws, and benighted
nihilists were floundering before suffocating in the ooze of anarchism.
Neither can one discern any degree of kinship between Spartacists like
Eichhorn or Lenin and moderate reformers as represented, say, by Theodor
Wolff and Boris Savinkoff. The two pairs are sundered from each other by
the distance that separates the social and the anti-social instinct.
Those are vulgar iconoclasts, these are would-be world-builders. That
the Russian, or, indeed, the German constitutional reformers should have
hugged the delusion that while thrones were being hurled to the ground,
and an epoch was passing away in violent convulsions, a few alterations
in the electoral law would restore order and bring back normal
conditions to the agonizing nations, is an instructive illustration of
the blurred vision which characterizes contemporary statesmen. The
Anglo-Saxon delegates at the Conference were under a similar delusion
when they undertook to regenerate the world by a series of merely
political changes.

No one who has followed attentively the work of the constitution-makers
in Weimar can have overlooked their readiness to adopt and assimilate
the positive elements of a movement which was essentially destructive.
In this respect they displayed a remarkable degree of open-mindedness
and receptivity. They showed themselves avid of every contribution which
they could glean from any source to the work of national reorganization,
and even in Teutonized Bolshevism they apparently found helpful hints of
timely innovations. One may safely hazard the prediction that these
adaptations, however little they may be relished, are certain to spread
to the Western peoples, who will be constrained to accept them in the
long run, and Germany may end by becoming the economic leader of
democratic Europe. The law of politico-social interchange and
assimilation underlying this phenomenon, had it been understood by the
statesmen of the Entente, might have rendered them less desirous of
seeing the German organism tainted with the germs of dissolution. For
what Germany borrows from Bolshevism to-day western Europe will borrow
from Germany to-morrow. And foremost among the new institutions which
the revolution will impose upon Europe is that of the Soviets,
considerably modified in form and limited in functions.

"In the conception of the Soviet system," writes the most influential
Jewish-German organ in Europe, "there is assuredly something
serviceable, and it behooves us to familiarize ourselves therewith.
Psychologically, it rests upon the need felt by the working-man to be
something more than a mere cog in the industrial mechanism. The first
step would consist in conferring upon labor committees juridical
functions consonant with latter-day requirements. These functions would
extend beyond those exercised by the labor committees hitherto. How far
they could go without rendering the industrial enterprise impossible is
a matter for investigation.... This is not merely a wish of the
extremists; it is a psychological requirement, and therefore it
necessitates the establishment of a closer nexus between legislation and
practical life which unhappily is become so complicated. And this need
is not confined to the laboring class. It is universal. Therefore, what
is good for the one is meet for the other."[276]

The Soviet system adapted to modern existence is one--and probably the
sole--legacy of Bolshevism to the new age.

During the Peace Conference Bolshevism played a large part in the
world's affairs. By some of the eminent lawgivers there it was feared as
a scourge; by others it was wielded as a weapon, and by a third set it
was employed as a threat. Whenever a delegate of one of the lesser
states felt that he was losing ground at the Peace Table, and that his
country's demands were about to be whittled down as extravagant, he
would point significantly to certain "foretokens" of an outbreak of
Bolshevism in his country and class them as an inevitable consequence of
the nation's disappointment. Thus the representative of nearly every
state which had a territorial program declared that that program must be
carried out if Bolshevism was to be averted there. "This or else
Bolshevism" was the peroration of many a delegate's _exposé_. More
redoubtable than political discontent was the proselytizing activity of
the leaders of the movement in Russia.

Of the two pillars of Bolshevism one is a Russian, the other a Jew, the
former, Ulianoff (better known as Lenin), the brain; the other,
Braunstein (called Trotzky), the arm of the sect. Trotzky is an
unscrupulous despot, in whose veins flows the poison of malignity. His
element is cruelty, his special gift is organizing capacity. Lenin is a
Utopian, whose fanaticism, although extensive, has well-defined limits.
In certain things he disagrees profoundly with Trotzky. He resembles a
religious preacher in this, that he created a body of veritable
disciples around himself. He might be likened to a pope with a college
of international cardinals. Thus he has French, British, German,
Austrian, Czech, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Japanese, Hindu, Chinese,
Buryat, and many other followers, who are chiefs of proselytizing
sections charged with the work of spreading the Bolshevik evangel
throughout the globe, and are working hard to discharge their duties.
Lenin, however, dissatisfied with the measures of success already
attained, is constantly stimulating his disciples to more strenuous
exertions. He shares with other sectarian chiefs who have played a
prominent part in the world's history that indefinable quality which
stirs emotional susceptibility and renders those who approach him more
easily accessible to ideas toward which they began by manifesting
repugnance. Lenin is credibly reported to have made several converts
among his Western opponents.

The plenipotentiaries, during the first four months, approached
Bolshevism from a single direction, unvaried by the events which it
generated or the modifications which it underwent. They tested it solely
by its accidental bearings on the one aim which they were intent on
securing--a formal and provisional resettlement of Europe capable of
being presented to their respective parliaments as a fair achievement.
With its real character, its manifold corollaries, its innovating
tendencies over the social, political, and ethnical domain, they were
for the time being unconcerned. Without the slightest reference to any
of these considerations they were ready to find a place for it in the
new state system with which they hoped to endow the world. More than
once they were on the point of giving it official recognition. There was
no preliminary testing, sifting, or examining by these empiricists, who,
finding Bolshevism on their way, and discerning no facile means of
dislodging or transforming it, signified their willingness under easy
conditions to hallmark and incorporate it as one of the elements of the
new ordering. From the crimes laid to its charge they were prepared to
make abstraction. The barbarous methods to which it owed its very
existence they were willing to consign to oblivion. And it was only a
freak of circumstance that hindered this embodiment of despotism from
beginning one of their accepted means of rendering the world safe for
democracy.

Political students outside the Conference, going farther into the
matter, inquired whether there was any kernel of truth in the doctrines
of Lenin, any social or political advantage in the practices of
Braunstein (Trotzky), and the conclusions which they reached were
negative.[277] But inquiries of this theoretical nature awakened no
interest among the empiricists of the Supreme Council. For them
Bolshevism meant nothing more than a group of politicians, who directed,
or misdirected, but certainly represented the bulk of the Russian
people, and who, if won over and gathered under the cloak of the
Conference, would facilitate its task and bear witness to its triumph.
This inference, drawn by keen observers from many countries and parties,
is borne out by the curious admissions and abortive acts of the
principal plenipotentiaries themselves.

In its milder manifestations on the social side Russian Bolshevism
resembles communism, and may be described as a social revolution
effected by depriving one set of people--the ruling and intelligent
class--of power, property, and civil rights, putting another and less
qualified section in their place, and maintaining the top-heavy
structure by force ruthlessly employed. Far-reaching though this change
undoubtedly is, it has no nexus with Marxism or kindred theories. Its
proximate causes were many: such, for example, as the breakdown of a
tyrannical system of government, state indebtedness so vast that it
swallowed up private capital, the depreciation of money, and the
corresponding appreciation of labor. It is fair, therefore, to say that
a rise in the cost of production and the temporary substitution of one
class for another mark the extent to which political forces
revolutionized the social fabric. Beyond these limits they did not go.
The notion had been widespread in most countries, and deep-rooted in
Russia, that a political upheaval would effect a root-reaching and
lasting alteration in the forces of social development. It was adopted
by Lenin, a fanatic of the Robespierre type, but far superior to
Robespierre in will-power, insight, resourcefulness, and sincerity, who,
having seized the reins of power, made the experiment.

It is no easy matter to analyze Lenin's economic policy, because of the
veil of mist that conceals so much of Russian contemporary history. Our
sources are confined to the untrustworthy statements of a censored press
and travelers' tales.

But it is common knowledge that the Bolshevist dictator requisitioned
and "nationalized" the banks, took factories, workshops, and plants from
their owners and handed them over to the workmen, deprived landed
proprietors of their estates, and allowed peasants to appropriate them.
It is in the matter of industry, however, that his experiment is most
interesting as showing the practical value of Marxism as a policy and
the ability of the Bolsheviki to deal with delicate social problems. The
historic decree issued by the Moscow government on the nationalization
of industry after the opening experiment had broken down contains data
enough to enable one to affirm that Lenin himself judged Marxism
inapplicable even to Russia, and left it where he had found it--among
the ideals of a millennial future. That ukase ordered the gradual
nationalization of all private industries with a capital of not less
than one million rubles, but allowed the owners to enjoy the gratuitous
usufruct of the concern, provided that they financed and carried it on
as before. Consequently, although in theory the business was transferred
to the state, in reality the capitalist retained his place and his
profits as under the old system. Consequently, the principal aims of
socialism, which are the distribution of the proceeds of industry among
the community and the retention of a certain surplus by the state, were
missed. In the Bolshevist procedure the state is wholly eliminated
except for the purpose of upholding a fiction. It receives nothing from
the capitalist, not even a royalty.

The Slav is a dreamer whose sense of the real is often defective. He
loses himself in vague generalities and pithless abstractions. Thus,
before opening a school he will spin out a theory of universal
education, and then bemoan his lack of resources to realize it. True,
many of the chiefs of the sect--for it is undoubtedly a sect when it is
not a criminal conspiracy, and very often it is both--were not Slavs,
but Jews, who, for the behoof of their kindred, dropped their Semitic
names and adopted sonorous Slav substitutes. But they were most
unscrupulous peculators, incapable of taking an interest in the
scientific aspect of such matters, and hypnotized by the dreams of lucre
which the opportunity evoked. One has only to call to mind some of the
shabby transactions in which the Semitic Dictator of Hungary, Kuhn, or
Cohen, and Braunstein (Trotzky) of Petrograd, took an active part. The
former is said to have offered for sale the historic crown of St.
Stephen of Hungary--which to him was but a plain gold headgear adorned
with precious stones and a jeweled cross--to an old curiosity dealer of
Munich,[278] and when solemnly protesting that he was living only for
the Soviet Republic and was ready to die for it, he was actively
engaged in smuggling out of Hungary into Switzerland fifty million
kronen bonds, thirty-five kilograms of gold, and thirty chests filled
with objects of value.[279] His colleague Szamuelly's plunder is a
matter of history.

To such adventurers as those science is a drug. They are primitive
beings impressible mainly to concrete motives of the barest kind. The
dupes of Lenin were people of a different type. Many of them fancied
that the great political clash must inevitably result in an equally
great and salutary social upheaval. This assumption has not been borne
out by events.

Those fanatics fell into another error; they were in a hurry, and would
fain have effected their great transformation as by the waving of a
magician's wand. Impatient of gradation, they scorned to traverse the
distance between the point of departure and that of the goal, and by way
of setting up the new social structure without delay, they rolled away
all hindrances regardless of consequences. In this spirit of absolutism
they abolished the services of the national debt, struck out the claims
of Russia's creditors to their capital or interest, and turned the shops
and factories over to labor boards. That was the initial blunder which
the ukase alluded to was subsequently issued to rectify. But it was too
late. The equilibrium of the forces of production had been definitely
upset and could no longer be righted.

One of the basic postulates of profitable production is the equilibrium
of all its essential factors--such as the laborer's wages, the cost of
the machinery and the material, the administration. Bring discord into
the harmony and the entire mechanism is out of gear.

The Russian workman, who is at bottom an illiterate peasant with the old
roots of serfdom still clinging to him, has seldom any bowels for his
neighbor and none at all for his employer. "God Himself commands us to
despoil such gentry," is one of his sayings. He is in a hurry to enrich
himself, and he cares about nothing else. Nor can he realize that to
beggar his neighbors is to impoverish himself. Hence he always takes and
never gives; as a peasant he destroys the forests, hewing trees and
planting none, and robs the soil of its fertility. On analogous lines he
would fain deal with the factories, exacting exorbitant wages that eat
up all profit, and naïvely expecting the owner to go on paying them as
though he were the trustee of a fund for enriching the greedy. The only
people to profit by the system, and even they only transiently, were the
manual laborers. The bulk of the skilled, intelligent, and educated
artisans were held up to contempt and ostracized, or killed as an odious
aristocracy. That, it has been aptly pointed out,[280] is far removed
from Marxism. The Marxist doctrine postulates the adhesion of
intelligent workers to the social revolution, whereas the Russian
experimenters placed them in the same category as the capitalists, the
aristocrats, and treated them accordingly. Another Marxist postulate not
realized in Russia was that before the state could profitably proceed to
nationalization the country must have been in possession of a
well-organized, smooth-running industrial mechanism. And this was
possible only in those lands in which capitalism had had a long and
successful innings, not in the great Slav country of husbandmen.

By way of glozing over these incongruities Lenin's ukase proclaimed that
the measures enacted were only provisional, and aimed at enabling Russia
to realize the great transformation by degrees. But the impression
conveyed by the history of the social side of Lenin's activity is that
Marxism, whether as understood by its author or as interpreted and
twisted by its Russian adherents, has been tried and found
impracticable. One is further warranted in saying that neither the
visionary workers who are moved by misdirected zeal for social
improvement nor the theorists who are constantly on the lookout for new
and stimulating ideas are likely to discover in Russian Bolshevism any
aspect but the one alluded to above worthy of their serious
consideration.

A much deeper mark was made on the history of the century by its
methods.

Compared with the soul-searing horrors let loose during the Bolshevist
fit of frenzy, the worst atrocities recorded of Deputy Carrier and his
noyades during the French Revolution were but the freaks of
compassionate human beings. In Bolshevist Russia brutality assumed forms
so monstrous that the modern man of the West shrinks from conjuring up a
faint picture of them in imagination. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of
thousands were done to death in hellish ways by the orders of men and of
women. Eyes were gouged out, ears hacked off, arms and legs torn from
the body in presence of the victims' children or wives, whose agony was
thus begun before their own turn came. Men and women and infants were
burned alive. Chinese executioners were specially hired to inflict the
awful torture of the "thousand slices."[281] Officers had their limbs
broken and were left for hours in agonies. Many victims are credibly
reported to have been buried alive. History, from its earliest dawn down
to the present day, has recorded nothing so profoundly revolting as the
nameless cruelties in which these human fiends reveled. One gruesome
picture of the less loathsome scenes enacted will live in history on a
level with the _noyades_ of Nantes. I have seen several moving
descriptions of it in Russian journals. The following account is from
the pen of a French marine officer:

"We have two armed cruisers outside Odessa. A few weeks ago one of them,
having an investigation to make, sent a diver down to the bottom. A few
minutes passed and the alarm signal was heard. He was hauled up and
quickly relieved of his accoutrements. He had fainted away. When he came
to, his teeth were chattering and the only articulate sounds that could
be got from him were the words: 'It is horrible! It is awful!' A second
diver was then lowered, with the same procedure and a like result.
Finally a third was chosen, this time a sturdy lad of iron nerves, and
sent down to the bottom of the sea. After the lapse of a few minutes the
same thing happened as before, and the man was brought up. This time,
however, there was no fainting fit to record. On the contrary, although
pale with terror, he was able to state that he had beheld the sea-bed
peopled with human bodies standing upright, which the swaying of the
water, still sensible at this shallow depth, softly rocked as though
they were monstrous algæ, their hair on end bristling vertically, and
their arms raised toward the surface.... All these corpses, anchored to
the bottom by the weight of stones, took on an appearance of eerie life
resembling, one might say, a forest of trees moved from side to side by
the wind and eager to welcome the diver come down among them.... There
were, he added, old men, children numerous beyond count, so that one
could but compare them to the trees of a forest."[282]

From published records it is known that the Bolshevist thugs, when
tired of using the rifle, the machine-gun, the cord, and the bayonet,
expedited matters by drowning their victims by hundreds in the Black
Sea, in the Gulf of Finland, and in the great rivers. Submarine
cemeteries was the name given to these last resting-places of some of
Russia's most high-minded sons and daughters.[283] It is not in the
French Revolution that those deeds of wanton destruction and revolting
cruelty which are indissolubly associated with Bolshevism find a
parallel, but in Chinese history, which offers a striking and curious
prefiguration of the Leninist structure.[284] Toward the middle of the
tenth century, when the empire was plunged in dire confusion, a mystical
sect was formed there for the purpose of destroying by force every
vestige of the traditional social fabric, and establishing a system of
complete equality without any state organization whatever, after the
manner advocated by Leo Tolstoy. Some of the dicta of these sectarians
have a decidedly Bolshevist flavor. This, for example: "Society rests
upon law, property, religion, and force. But law is injustice and
chicane; property is robbery and extortion; religion is untruth, and
force is iniquity." In those days Chinese political parties were at
strife with each other, and none of them scorned any means, however
brutal, to worst its adversaries, but for a long while they were divided
among themselves and without a capable chief.

At last the Socialist party unexpectedly produced a leader, Wang Ngan
Shen, a man of parts, who possessed the gift of drawing and swaying the
multitude. Of agreeable presence, he was resourceful and unscrupulous,
soon became popular, and even captivated the Emperor, Shen Tsung, who
appointed him Minister. He then set about applying his tenets and
realizing his dreams. Wang Ngan Shen began by making commerce and trade
a state monopoly, just as Lenin had done, "in order," he explained, "to
keep the poor from being devoured by the rich." The state was proclaimed
the sole owner of all the wealth of the soil; agricultural overseers
were despatched to each district to distribute the land among the
peasants, each of these receiving as much as he and his family could
cultivate. The peasant obtained also the seed, but this he was obliged
to return to the state after the ingathering of the harvest. The power
of the overseer went farther; it was he who determined what crops the
husbandman might sow and who fixed day by day the price of every salable
commodity in the district. As the state reserved to itself the right to
buy all agricultural produce, it was bound in return to save up a part
of the profits to be used for the benefit of the people in years of
scarcity, and also at other times to be employed in works needed by the
community. Wang Ngan Shen also ordained that only the wealthy should pay
taxes, the proceeds of which were to be employed in relieving the wants
of the poor, the old, and the unemployed. The theory was smooth and
attractive.

For over thirty years those laws are said to have remained in force, at
any rate on paper. To what extent they were carried out is
problematical. Probably a beginning was actually made, for during Wang's
tenure of office confusion was worse confounded than before, and misery
more intense and widespread. The opposition to his régime increased,
spread, and finally got the upper hand. Wang Ngan Shen was banished,
together with those of his partizans who refused to accept the return to
the old system. Such would appear to have been the first appearance of
Bolshevism recorded in history.

Another less complete parallel, not to the Bolshevist theory, but to the
plight of the country which it ruined, may be found in the Chinese
rebellion organized in the year 1850 by a peasant[285] who, having
become a Christian, fancied himself called by God to regenerate his
people. He accordingly got together a band of stout-hearted fellows whom
he fanaticized, disciplined, and transformed into the nucleus of a
strong army to which brigands, outlaws, and malcontents of every social
layer afterward flocked. They overran the Yangtse Valley, invaded twelve
of the richest provinces, seized six hundred cities and towns, and put
an end to twenty million people in the space of twelve years by fire,
sword, and famine.[286] To this bloody expedition Hung Sew Tseuen, a
master of modern euphemism, gave the name of Crusade of the Great Peace.
For twelve years this "Crusade" lasted, and it might have endured much
longer had it not been for the help given by outsiders. It was there
that "Chinese" Gordon won his laurels and accomplished a beneficent
work.

There were politicians at the Conference who argued that Russia, being
in a position analogous to that of China in 1854, ought, like her, to be
helped by the Great Powers. It was, they held, quite as much in the
interests of Europe as in hers. But however forcible their arguments,
they encountered an insurmountable obstacle in the fear entertained by
the chiefs of the leading governments lest the extreme oppositional
parties in their respective countries should make capital out of the
move and turn them out of office. They invoked the interests of the
cause of which they were the champions for declining to expose
themselves to any such risk. It has been contended with warmth, and
possibly with truth, that if at the outset the Great Powers had
intervened they might with a comparatively small army have crushed
Bolshevism and re-established order in Russia. On the other hand, it was
objected that even heavy guns will not destroy ideas, and that the main
ideas which supplied the revolutionary movement with vital force were
too deeply rooted to have been extirpated by the most formidable foreign
army. That is true. But these ideas were not especially characteristic
of Bolshevism. Far from that, they were incompatible with it: the
bestowal of land on the peasants, an equitable reform of the relations
between workmen and employers, and the abolition of the hereditary
principle in the distribution of everything that confers an unfair
advantage on the individual or the class are certainly not postulates of
Lenin's party. It is a tenable proposition that timely military
assistance would have enabled the constructive elements of Russia to
restore conditions of normal life, but the worth of timeliness was never
realized by the heads of the governments who undertook to make laws for
the world. They ignored the maxim that a statesman, when applying
measures, must keep his eye on the clock, inasmuch as the remedy which
would save a nation at one moment may hasten its ruin at another.

The expedients and counter-expedients to which the Conference had
recourse in their fitful struggles with Bolshevism were so many
surprises to every one concerned, and were at times redolent of comedy.
But what was levity and ignorance on the part of the delegates meant
death, and worse than death, to tens of thousands of their protégées. In
Russia their agents zealously egged on the order-loving population to
rise up against the Bolsheviki and attack their strong positions,
promising them immediate military help if they succeeded. But when,
these exploits having been duly achieved, the agents were asked how soon
the foreign reinforcements might be expected, they replied, calling for
patience. After a time the Bolsheviki assailed the temporary victors,
generally defeated them, and then put a multitude of defenseless people
to the sword. Deplorable incidents of this nature, which are said to
have occurred several times during the spring of 1919, shook the credit
of the Allies, and kindled a feeling of just resentment among all
classes of Russians.


FOOTNOTES:

[273] In the _Biessy_ (Devils).

[274] _Russian Characteristics_, by E.B. Lanin (Eblanin, a Russian word
which means native of Dublin, Eblana).

[275] Educational reforms have been mentioned among its achievements and
attributed to Lunatcharsky. That he exerted himself to spread elementary
instruction must be admitted. But this progress and the effective
protection and encouragement which he has undoubtedly extended to arts
and sciences would seem to exhaust the list of items in the credit
account of the Bolshevist régime.

[276] _Frankfurter Zeitung_, February 28, 1919.

[277] A succinct but interesting study of this question appeared in the
_Handels-Zeitung_ of the _Berliner Tageblatt_, over the signature of Dr.
Felix Pinner, July 20, 1918.

[278] Cf. _Bonsoir_, July 29, 1919. The price was not fixed, but the
minimum was specified. It was one hundred thousand kronen.

[279] Cf. _Der Tag_, Vienna, August 13, 1919. _L'Echo de Paris_, August
15, 1919.

[280] By Dr. F. Pinner, H. Vorst, and others.

[281] The condemned man is tied to a post or a cross, his mouth gagged,
and the execution is made to last several hours. It usually begins with
a slit on the forehead and the pulling down of the skin toward the chin.
After the lapse of a certain time the nose is severed from the face. An
interval follows, then an ear is lopped off, and so the devilish work
goes on with long pauses. The skill of the executioner is displayed in
the length of time during which the victim remains conscious.

[282] Cf. _Le Figaro_, February 18, 1919.

[283] I do not suggest that these crimes were ordered by Lenin. But it
will not be gainsaid that neither he nor his colleagues punished the
mass murderers or even protested against their crimes. Neither can it be
maintained that massacres were confined to any one party.

[284] This pre-Bolshevist movement is described in an interesting study
on the socialist movement and systems, down to the year 1848, by El.
Luzatto. Cf. _Der Bund_, August 16, 1918.

[285] Hung Sew Tseuen. The rebellion lasted from 1850 to 1864.

[286] The superb city of Nankin, with its temples and porcelain towers,
was destroyed.



XII

HOW BOLSHEVISM WAS FOSTERED


The Allies, then, might have solved the Bolshevist problem by making up
their minds which of the two alternative politics--war against, or
tolerance of, Bolshevism--they preferred, and by taking suitable action
in good time. If they had handled the Russian tangle with skill and
repaid a great sacrifice with a small one before it was yet too late,
they might have hoped to harvest in abundant fruits in the fullness of
time. But they belonged to the class of the undecided, whose members
continually suffer from the absence of a middle word between yes and no,
connoting what is neither positive nor negative. They let the
opportunity slip. Not only did they withhold timely succor to either
side, but they visited some of the most loyal Russians in western Europe
with the utmost rigor of coercion laws. They hounded them down as
enemies. They cooped them up in cages as though they were Teuton
enemies. They encircled them with barbed wire. They kept many of them
hungry and thirsty, deprived them of life's necessaries for days, and in
some cases reduced the discontented--and who in their place would not be
discontented?--to pick their food in dustbins among garbage and refuse.
I have seen officers and men in France who had shed their blood joyfully
for the Entente cause gradually converted to Bolshevism by the misdeeds
of the Allied authorities. In whose interests? With what helpful
results?

I watched the development of anti-Ententism among those Russians with
painful interest, and in favorable conditions for observation, and I say
without hesitation that rancor against the Allies burns as vehemently
and intensely among the anti-Bolshevists as among their adversaries. "My
country as a whole is bitterly hostile to her former allies," exclaimed
an eminent Russian, "for as soon as she had rendered them inestimable
services, at the cost of her political existence, they turned their
backs upon her as though her agony were no affair of theirs. To-day the
nation is divided on many issues. Dissensions and quarrels have riven
and shattered it into shreds. But in one respect Russia is still
united--in the vehemence of her sentiment toward the Allies, who first
drained her life-blood and then abandoned her prostrate body to beasts
of prey. Some part of the hatred engendered might have been mitigated if
representatives of the provisional Russian government had been admitted
to the Conference. A statesman would have insisted upon opening at least
this little safety-valve. It would have helped and could not have harmed
the Allies. It would have bound the Russians to them. For Russia's
delegates, the men sent or empowered by Kolchak and his colleagues to
represent them, would have been the exponents of a helpless community
hovering between life and death. They could and would have gone far
toward conciliating the world-dictators, to whose least palatable
decisions they might have hesitated to offer unbending opposition. And
this acquiescence, however provisional, would have tended to relieve the
Allies of a sensible part of their load of responsibility. It would also
have linked the Russians, loosely, perhaps, but perceptibly, to the
Western Powers. It would have imparted a settled Ententophil direction
to Kolchak's policy, and communicated it to the nation. In short, it
might have dispelled some of the storm-clouds that are gathering in the
east of Europe."

But the Allies, true to their wont of drifting, put off all decisive
action, and let things slip and slide, for the Germans to put in order.
There were no Russians, therefore, at the Conference, and there lies no
obligation on any political group or party in the anarchist Slav state
to hold to the Allies. But it would be an error to imagine that they
have a white sheet of paper on which to trace their line of action and
write the names of France and Britain as their future friends. They are
filled with angry disgust against these two ex-Allies, and of the two
the feeling against France is especially intense.[287]

It is a truism to repeat in a different form what Messrs. Lloyd George
and Wilson repeatedly affirmed, but apparently without realizing what
they said: that the peace which they regard as the crowning work of
their lives deserves such value as it may possess from the assumption
that Russia, when she recovers from her cataleptic fit, will be the ally
of the Powers that have dismembered her. If this postulate should prove
erroneous, Germany may form an anti-Allied league of a large number of
nations which it would be invidious to enumerate here. But it is
manifest that this consummation would imperil Poland, Czechoslovakia,
and Jugoslavia, and sweep away the last vestiges of the peace
settlement. And although it would be rash to make a forecast of the
policy which new Russia will strike out, it would be impolitic to blink
the conclusions toward which recent events significantly point.

In April a Russian statesman said to me: "The Allied delegates are
unconsciously thrusting from them the only means by which they can still
render peace durable and a fellowship of the nations possible.
Unwittingly they are augmenting the forces of Bolshevism and raising
political enemies against themselves. Consider how they are behaving
toward us. Recently a number of Russian prisoners escaped from Germany
to Holland, whereupon the Allied representatives packed them off by
force and against their will to Dantzig, to be conveyed thence to Libau,
where they have become recruits of the Bolshevist Red Guards. Those men
might have been usefully employed in the Allied countries, to whose
cause they were devoted, but so exasperated were they at their forcible
removal to Libau that many of them declared that they would join the
Bolshevist forces.

"Even our official representatives are seemingly included in the
category of suspects. Our Minister in Peking was refused the right of
sending ciphered telegrams and our chargé d'affaires in a European
capital suffered the same deprivation, while the Bolshevist envoy
enjoyed this diplomatic privilege. A councilor of embassy in one Allied
country was refused a passport visa for another until he declared that
if the refusal were upheld he would return a high order which for
extraordinary services he had received from the government whose embassy
was vetoing his visa. On the national festival of a certain Allied
country the chargé d'affaires of Russia was the only member of the
diplomatic corps who received no official invitation."

One day in January, when a crowd had gathered on the Quai d'Orsay,
watching the delegates from the various countries--British, American,
Italian, Japanese, Rumanian, etc.--enter the stately palace to safeguard
the interests of their respective countries and legislate for the human
race, a Russian officer passed, accompanied by an illiterate soldier who
had seen hard service first under the Grand Duke Nicholas, and then in a
Russian brigade in France. The soldier gazed wistfully at the palace,
then, turning to the officer, asked, "Are they letting any of our people
in there?" The officer answered, evasively: "They are thinking it over.
Perhaps they will." Whereupon his attendant blurted out: "Thinking it
over! What thinking is wanted? Did we not fight for them till we were
mowed down like grass? Did not millions of Russian bodies cover the
fields, the roads, and the camps? Did we not face the German great guns
with only bayonets and sticks? Have we done too little for them? What
more could we have done to be allowed in there with the others? I fought
since the war began, and was twice wounded. My five brothers were called
up at the same time as myself, and all five have been killed, and now
the Russians are not wanted! The door is shut in our faces...."

Sooner or later Russian anarchy, like that of China, will come to an
end, and the leaders charged with the reconstitution of the country, if
men of knowledge, patriotism, and character, will adopt a program
conducive to the well-being of the nation. To what extent, one may ask,
is its welfare compatible with the _status quo_ in eastern Europe, which
the Allies, distracted by conflicting principles and fitful impulse,
left or created and hope to perpetuate by means of a parchment
instrument?

The zeal with which the French authorities went to work to prevent the
growth of Bolshevism in their country, especially among the Russians
there, is beyond dispute. Unhappily it proved inefficacious. Indeed, it
is no exaggeration to say that it defeated its object and produced the
contrary effect. For attention was so completely absorbed by the aim
that no consideration remained over for the means of attaining it. A few
concrete examples will bring this home to the reader. The following
narratives emanate from an eminent Russian, who is devoted to the
Allies.

There were scores of thousands of Russian troops in France. Most of them
fought valiantly, others half-heartedly, and a few refused to fight at
all. But instead of making distinctions the French authorities, moved by
the instinct of self-preservation, and preferring prevention to cure,
tarred them all with the same brush. "Give a dog a bad name and hang
him," says the proverb, and it was exemplified in the case of the
Russians, who soon came to be regarded as a _tertium quid_ between
enemies of public order and suspicious neutrals. They were profoundly
mistrusted. Their officers were deprived of their authority over their
own men and placed under the command of excellent French officers, who
cannot be blamed for not understanding the temper of the Slavs nor for
rubbing them against the grain. The privates, seeing their superiors
virtually degraded, concluded that they had forfeited their claim to
respect, and treated them accordingly. That gave the death-blow to
discipline. The officers, most of whom were devoted heart and soul to
the cause of the Allies, with which they had fondly identified their
own, lost heart. After various attempts to get themselves reinstated,
their feelings toward the nation, which was nowise to blame for the
excessive zeal of its public servants, underwent a radical change.
Blazing indignation consumed whatever affection they had originally
nurtured for the French, and in many cases also for the other Allies,
and they went home to communicate their animus to their countrymen. The
soldiers, who now began to be taunted and vilipended as Boches, threw
all discipline to the winds and, feeling every hand raised against them,
resolved to raise their hands against every man. These were the
beginnings of the process of "bolshevization."

This anti-Russian spirit grew intenser as time lapsed. Thousands of
Russian soldiers were sent out to work for private employers, not by the
War Ministry, but by the Ministry of Agriculture, under whom they were
placed. They were fed and paid a wage which under normal circumstances
should have contented them, for it was more than they used to receive in
pre-war days in their own country. But the circumstances were not
normal. Side by side with them worked Frenchmen, many of whom were
unable physically to compete with the sturdy peasants from Perm and
Vyatka. And when propagandists pointed out to them that the French
worker was paid 100 per cent. more, they brooded over the inequality and
labeled it as they were told. For overwork, too, the rate of pay was
still more unequal. One result of this differential treatment was the
estrangement of the two races as represented by the two classes of
workmen, and the growth of mutual dislike. But there was another. When
they learned, as they did in time, that the employer was selling the
produce of their labor at a profit of 400 and 500 per cent., they had no
hesitation about repeating the formulas suggested to them by socialist
propagandists: "We are working for bloodsuckers. The bourgeois must be
exterminated." In this way bitterness against the Allies and hatred of
the capitalists were inculcated in tens of thousands of Russians who a
few months before were honest, simple-minded peasants and
well-disciplined soldiers. Many of these men, when they returned to
their country, joined the Red Guards of Bolshevism with spontaneous
ardor. They needed no pressing.

There was one young officer of the Guards, in particular, named G----,
who belonged to a very good family and was an exceptionally cultured
gentleman. Music was his recreation, and he was a virtuoso on the
violin. In the war he had distinguished himself first on the Russian
front and then on the French. He had given of his best, for he was
grievously wounded, had his left hand paralyzed, and lost his power of
playing the violin forever. He received a high decoration from the
French government. For the English nation he professed and displayed
great affection, and in particular he revered King George, perhaps
because of his physical resemblance to the Tsar. And when King George
was to visit Paris he rejoiced exceedingly at the prospect of seeing
him. Orders were issued for the troops to come out and line the
principal routes along which the monarch would pass. The French
naturally had the best places, but the Place de l'Étoile was reserved
for the Allied forces. G----, delighted, went to his superior officer
and inquired where the Russians were to stand. The general did not know,
but promised to ascertain. Accordingly he put the question to the French
commander, who replied: "Russian troops? There is no place for any
Russian troops." With tears in his eyes G---- recounted this episode,
adding: "We, who fought and bled, and lost our lives or were crippled,
had to swallow this humiliation, while Poles and Czechoslovaks, who had
only just arrived from America in their brand-new uniforms, and had
never been under fire, had places allotted to them in the pageant. Is
that fair to the troops without whose exploits there would have been no
Polish or Czechoslovak officers, no French victory, no triumphal entry
of King George V into Paris?"


FOOTNOTE:

[287] It is right to say that during the summer months a considerable
section of the anti-Bolshevists modified their view of Britain's policy,
and expressed gratitude for the aid bestowed on Kolchak, Denikin, and
Yudenitch, without which their armies would have collapsed.



XIII

SIDELIGHTS ON THE TREATY


From the opening of the Conference fundamental differences sprang up
which split the delegates into two main parties, of which one was
solicitous mainly about the resettlement of the world and its future
mainstay, the League of Nations, and the other about the furtherance of
national interests, which, it maintained, was equally indispensable to
an enduring peace. The latter were ready to welcome the League on
condition that it was utilized in the service of their national
purposes, but not if it countered them. To bridge the chasm between the
two was the task to which President Wilson courageously set his hand.
Unluckily, by way of qualifying for the experiment, he receded from his
own strong position, and having cut his moorings from one shove, failed
to reach the other. His pristine idea was worthy of a world-leader; had,
in fact, been entertained and advocated by some of the foremost spirits
of modern times. He purposed bringing about conditions under which the
pacific progress of the world might be safeguarded in a very large
measure and for an indefinite time. But being very imperfectly
acquainted with the concrete conditions of European and Asiatic
peoples--he had never before felt the pulsation of international
life--his ideas about the ways and means were hazy, and his calculations
bore no real reference to the elements of the problem. Consequently,
with what seemed a wide horizon and a generous ambition, his grasp was
neither firm nor comprehensive enough for such a revolutionary
undertaking. In no case could he make headway without the voluntary
co-operation of the nations themselves, who in their own best interests
might have submitted to heavy sacrifices, to which their leaders, whom
he treated as true exponents of their will, refused their consent. But
he scouted the notion of a world-parliament. Whenever, therefore,
contemplating a particular issue, not as an independent question in
itself, but as an integral part of a larger problem, he made a
suggestion seemingly tending toward the ultimate goal, his motion
encountered resolute opposition in the face of which he frequently
retreated.

At the outset, on which so much depended, the peoples as distinguished
from the governments appeared to be in general sympathy with his
principal aim, and it seemed at the time that if appealed to on a clear
issue they would have given him their whole-hearted support, provided
always that, true to his own principles, he pressed these to the fullest
extent and admitted no such invidious distinctions as privileged and
unprivileged nations. This belief was confirmed by what I heard from men
of mark, leaders of the labor people, and three Prime Ministers. They
assured me that such an appeal would have evoked an enthusiastic
response in their respective countries. Convinced that the principles
laid down by the President during the last phases of the war would go
far to meet the exigencies of the conjuncture, I ventured to write on
one of the occasions, when neither party would yield to the other: "The
very least that Mr. Wilson might now do, if the deadlock continues, is
to publish to the world the desirable objects which the United States
are disinterestedly, if not always wisely, striving for, and leave the
judgment to the peoples concerned."[288]

But he recoiled from the venture. Perhaps it was already too late. In
the judgment of many, his assent to the suppression of the problem of
the freedom of the seas, however unavoidable as a tactical expedient,
knelled the political world back to the unregenerate days of strategical
frontiers, secret alliances, military preparations, financial burdens,
and the balance of power. On that day, his grasp on the banner relaxing,
it fell, to be raised, it may be, at some future time by the peoples
whom he had aspired to lead. The contests which he waged after that
first defeat had little prospect of success, and soon the pith and
marrow of the issue completely disappeared. The utmost he could still
hope for was a paper covenant--- which is a different thing from a
genuine accord--to take home with him to Washington. And this his
colleagues did not grudge him. They were operating with a different cast
of mind upon a wholly different set of ideas. Their aims, which they
pursued with no less energy and with greater perseverance than Mr.
Wilson displayed, were national. Some of them implicitly took the ground
that Germany, having plunged the world in war, would persist
indefinitely in her nefarious machinations, and must, therefore, in the
interests of general peace, be crippled militarily, financially,
economically, and politically, for as long a time as possible, while her
potential enemies must for the same reason be strengthened to the utmost
at her expense, and that this condition of things must be upheld through
the beneficent instrumentality of the League of Nations.

On these conflicting issues ceaseless contention went on from the start,
yet for lack of a strong personality of sound, over-ruling judgment the
contest dragged on without result. For months the demon of
procrastination seemed to have possessed the souls of the principal
delegates, and frustrated their professed intentions to get through the
work expeditiously. Even unforeseen incidents led to dangerous delay.
Every passing episode became a ground for postponing the vital issue,
although each day lost increased the difficulties of achieving the
principal object, which was the conclusion of peace. For example, the
committee dealing with the question of reparations would reach a
decision, say, that Germany must pay a certain sum, which would entail a
century of strenuous effort, accompanied with stringent thrift and
self-denial; while the Economic Committee decided that her supply of raw
material should be restricted within such narrow limits as to put such
payment wholly out of her power. And this difference of view
necessitated a postponement of the whole issue. Mr. Hughes, the Premier
of Australia, commenting on this shilly-shallying, said with truth:[289]
"The minds of the people are grievously perturbed. The long delay,
coupled with fears lest that the Peace Treaty, when it does come, should
prove to be a peace unworthy, unsatisfactory, unenduring, has made the
hearts of the people sick. We were told that the Peace Treaty would be
ready in the coming week, but we look round and see half a world engaged
in war, or preparation for war. Bolshevism is spreading with the
rapidity of a prairie fire. The Allies have been forced to retreat from
some of the most fertile parts of southern Russia, and Allied troops,
mostly British, at Murmansk and Archangel are in grave danger of
destruction. Yet we were told that peace was at hand, and that the world
was safe for liberty and democracy. It is not fine phrases about peace,
liberty, and making the world safe for democracy that the world wants,
but deeds. The peoples of the Allied countries justifiably desire to be
reassured by plain, comprehensible statements, instead of
long-drawn-out negotiations and the thick veil of secrecy in which
these were shrouded."

It requires an effort to believe that procrastination was raised to the
level of a theory by men whose experience of political affairs was
regarded as a guarantee of the soundness of their judgment. Yet it is an
incontrovertible fact that dilatory tactics were seriously suggested as
a policy at the Conference. It was maintained that, far from running
risks by postponing a settlement, the Entente nations were, on the
contrary, certain to find the ground better prepared the longer the day
of reckoning was put off. Germany, they contended, had recovered
temporarily from the Bolshevik fever, but the improvement was fleeting.
The process of decomposition was becoming intenser day by day, although
the symptoms were not always manifest. Lack of industrial production, of
foreign trade and sound finances, was gnawing at the vitals of the
Teuton Republic. The army of unemployed and discontented was swelling.
Soon the sinister consequences of this stagnation would take the form of
rebellions and revolts, followed by disintegration. And this conjunction
would be the opportunity of the Entente Powers, who could then step in,
present their bills, impose their restrictions, and knead the Teuton
dough into any shape they relished. Then it would be feasible to
prohibit the Austrian-Germans from ever entering the Republic as a
federated state. In a word, the Allied governments need only command,
and the Teutons would hasten to obey. It is hardly credible that men of
experience in foreign politics should build upon such insecure
foundations as these. It is but fair to say the Conference rejected this
singular program in theory while unintentionally carrying it out.

Although everybody admitted that the liquidation of the world conflict
followed by a return to normal conditions was the one thing that pressed
for settlement, so intent were the plenipotentiaries on preventing wars
among unborn generations that they continued to overlook the pressing
needs of their contemporaries. It is at the beginning and end of an
enterprise that the danger of failure is greatest, and it was the
opening moves of the Allies that proved baleful to their subsequent
undertakings. Germany, one would think, might have been deprived
summarily of everything which was to be ultimately and justly taken from
her, irrespective of its final destination. The first and most important
operation being the severance of the provinces allotted to other
peoples, their redistribution might safely have been left until
afterward. And hardly less important was the despatch of an army to
eastern Europe. Then Germany, broken in spirit, with Allied troops on
both her fronts, between the two jaws of a vise, could not have said nay
to the conditions. But this method presupposed a plan which unluckily
did not exist. It assumed that the peace terms had been carefully
considered in advance, whereas the Allies prepared for war during
hostilities, and for peace during the negotiations. And they went about
this in a leisurely, lackadaisical way, whereas expedition was the key
to success.

As for a durable peace, involving general disarmament, it should have
been outlined in a comprehensive program, which the delegates had not
drawn up, and it would have become feasible only if the will to pursue
it proceeded from principle, not from circumstances. In no case could it
be accomplished without the knowledge and co-operation of the peoples
themselves, nor within the time-limits fixed for the work of the
Conference. For the abolition of war and the creation of a new ordering,
like human progress, is a long process. It admits of a variety of
beginnings, but one can never be sure of the end, seeing that it
presupposes a radical change in the temper of the peoples, one might
almost say a remodeling of human nature. It can only be the effect of a
variety of causes, mainly moral, operating over a long period of time.
Peace with Germany was a matter for the governments concerned; the
elimination of war could only be accomplished by the peoples. The one
was in the main a political problem, the other social, economical, and
ethical.

Mr. Balfour asserted optimistically[290] that the work of concluding
peace with Germany was a very simple matter. None the less it took the
Conference over five months to arrange it. So desperately slow was the
progress of the Supreme Council that on the 213th day of the Peace
Conference,[291] two months after the Germans had signed the conditions,
not one additional treaty had been concluded, nay, none was even ready
for signature. The Italian plenipotentiary, Signor Tittoni, thereupon
addressed his colleagues frankly on the subject and asked them whether
they were not neglecting their primary duty, which was to conclude
treaties with the various enemies who had ceased to fight in November of
the previous year and were already waiting for over nine months to
resume normal life, and whether the delegates were justified in seeking
to discharge the functions of a supreme board for the government of all
Europe. He pointed out that nobody could hope to profit by the state of
disorder and paralysis for which this procrastination was answerable,
the economic effects making themselves felt sooner or later in every
country. He added that the cost of the war had been calculated for every
month, every week, every day, and that the total impressed every one
profoundly; but that nobody had thought it worth his while to count up
the atrocious cost of this incredibly slow peace and of the waste of
wealth caused every week and month that it dragged on. Italy, he
lamented, felt this loss more keenly than her partners because her peace
had not yet been concluded. He felt moved, therefore, he said, to tell
them that the business of governing Europe to which the Conference had
been attending all those months was not precisely the work for which it
was convoked.[292]

This sharp and timely admonition was the preamble of a motion. The
Conference was just then about to separate for a "well-earned holiday,"
during which its members might renew their spent energies and return in
October to resume their labors, the peoples in the meanwhile bearing the
cost in blood and substance. The Italian delegate objected to any such
break and adjured them to remain at their posts. Why, he asked, should
ill-starred Italy, which had already sustained so many and such painful
losses, be condemned to sacrifice further enormous sums in order that
the delegates who had been frittering away their time tackling
irrelevant issues, and endeavoring to rule all Europe, might have a
rest? Why should they interrupt the sessions before making peace with
Austria, with Hungary, with Bulgaria, with Turkey, and enabling Italy to
return to normal life? Why should time and opportunity be given to the
Turks and Kurds for the massacre of Armenian men, women, and children?
This candid reminder is said to have had a sobering effect on the
versatile delegates yearning for a holiday. The situation that evoked it
will arouse the passing wonder of level-headed men.

It is worth recording that such was the atmosphere of suspicion among
the delegates that the motives for this holiday were believed by some to
be less the need of repose than an unavowable desire to give time to
the Hapsburgs to recover the Crown of St. Stephen as the first step
toward seizing that of Austria.[293] The Austrians desired exemption
from the obligation to make reparations and pay crushing taxes, and one
of the delegates, with a leaning for that country, was not averse to the
idea. As the states that arose on the ruins of the Hapsburg monarchy
were not considered enemies by the Conference, it was suggested that
Austria herself should enjoy the same distinction. But the Italian
plenipotentiaries objected and Signor Tittoni asked, "Will it perhaps be
asserted that there was no enemy against whom we Italians fought for
three years and a half, losing half a million slain and incurring a debt
of eighty thousand millions?"

A French journal, touching on this Austrian problem, wrote:[294]
"Austria-Hungary has been killed and now France is striving to raise it
to life again. But Italy is furiously opposed to everything that might
lead to an understanding among the new states formed out of the old
possessions of the Hapsburgs. That, in fact, is why our transalpine
allies were so favorable to the union of Austria with Germany. France on
her side, whose one overruling thought is to reduce her vanquished enemy
to the most complete impotence, France who is afraid of being afraid,
will not tolerate an Austria joined to the German Federation." Here the
principle of self-determination went for nothing.

Before the Conference had sat for a month it was angrily assailed by the
peoples who had hoped so much from its love of justice--Egyptians,
Koreans, Irishmen from Ireland and from America, Albanians, Frenchmen
from Mauritius and Syria, Moslems from Aderbeidjan, Persians, Tartars,
Kirghizes, and a host of others, who have been aptly likened to the halt
and maimed among the nations waiting round the diplomatic Pool of Siloam
for the miracle of the moving of the waters that never came.[295]

These peoples had heard that a great and potent world-reformer had
arisen whose mission it was to redress secular grievances and confer
liberty upon oppressed nations, tribes, and tongues, and they sent their
envoys to plead before him. And these wandered about the streets of
Paris seeking the intercession of delegates, Ministers, and journalists
who might obtain for them admission to the presence of the new Messiah
or his apostles. But all doors were closed to them. One of the
petitioners whose language was vernacular English, as he was about to
shake the dust of Paris from his boots, quoting Sydney Smith, remarked:
"They, too, are Pharisees. They would do the Good Samaritan, but without
the oil and twopence. How has it come to pass that the Jews without an
official delegate commanded the support--the militant support--of the
Supreme Council, which did not hesitate to tyrannize eastern Europe for
their sake?"

Involuntarily the student of politics called to mind the report written
to Baron Hager[296] by one of his secret agents during the Congress of
Vienna: "Public opinion continues to be unfavorable to the Congress. On
all sides one hears it said that there is no harmony, that they are no
longer solicitous about the re-establishment of order and justice, but
are bent only on forcing one another's hands, each one grabbing as much
as he can.... It is said that the Congress will end because it must, but
that it will leave things more entangled than it found them.... The
peoples, who in consequence of the success, the sincerity, and the
noble-mindedness of this superb coalition had conceived such esteem for
their leaders and such attachment to them, and now perceive how they
have forgotten what they solemnly promised--justice, order, peace
founded on the equilibrium and legitimacy of their possessions--will end
by losing their affection and withdrawing their confidence in their
principles and their promises."

Those words, written a hundred and five years ago, might have been
penned any day since the month of February, 1919.

The leading motive of the policy pursued by the Supreme Council and
embodied in the Treaty was aptly described at the time as the systematic
protection of France against Germany. Hence the creation of the powerful
barrier states, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Greater Rumania, and
Greater Greece. French nationalists pleaded for further precautions more
comprehensive still. Their contention was that France's economic,
strategic, financial, and territorial welfare being the cornerstone of
the future European edifice, every measure proposed at the Conference,
whether national or general, should be considered and shaped in
accordance with that, and consequently that no possibility should be
accorded to Germany of rising again to a commanding position because, if
she once recovered her ascendancy in any domain whatsoever, Europe would
inevitably be thrust anew into the horrors of war. Territorially,
therefore, the dismemberment of Germany was obligatory; the annexation
of the Saar Valley, together with its six hundred thousand Teuton
inhabitants, was necessary to France, and either the annexation of the
left bank of the Rhine or its transformation into a detached state to be
occupied and administered by the French until Germany pays the last
farthing of the indemnity. Further, Austria must be deprived of the
right of determining her own mode of existence and constrained to
abandon the idea of becoming one of the federated states of the German
Republic, and, if possible, northern Germany should be kept entirely
separate from southern. The Allies should divide the Teutons in order to
sway them. All Germany's other frontiers should be delimitated in a like
spirit. And at the same time the work of knitting together the peoples
and nations of Europe and forming them into a friendly sodality was to
go forward without interruption.

"How to promote our interests in the Rhineland," wrote M. Maurice
Barrès,[297] "is a life-and-death question for us. We are going to carry
to the Rhine our military and, I hope, our economic frontier. The rest
will follow in its own good time. The future will not fail to secure for
us the acquiescence of the population of the Rhineland, who will live
freely under the protection of our arms, their faces turned toward
Paris."

Financially it was proposed that the Teutons should be forced to
indemnify France, Belgium, and the other countries for all the damage
they had inflicted upon them; to pay the entire cost of the war, as well
as the pensions to widows, orphans, and the mutilated. And the military
occupation of their country should be maintained until this huge debt is
wholly wiped out.

A Nationalist organ,[298] in a leading article, stated with brevity and
clearness the prevailing view of Germany's obligations. Here is a
characteristic passage: "She is rich, has reserves derived from many
years of former prosperity; she can work to produce and repair all the
evil she has done, rebuild all the ruins she has accumulated, and
restore all the fortunes she has destroyed, however irksome the burden."
After analyzing Doctor Helfferich's report published six years ago, the
article concluded, "Germany must pay; she disposes of the means because
she is rich; if she refuses we must compel her without hesitation and
without ruth."

As France, whose cities and towns and very soil were ruined, could not
be asked to restore these places at her own expense and tax herself
drastically like her allies, the Americans and British, the prior and
privileged right to receive payment on her share of the indemnity should
manifestly appertain to her. Her allies and associates should, it was
argued, accordingly waive their money claims until hers were satisfied
in full. Moreover, as France's future expenditure on her army of
occupation, on the administration of her colonies and of the annexed
territories, must necessarily absorb huge sums for years to come, which
her citizens feel they ought not to be asked to contribute, and as her
internal debt was already overwhelming, it is only meet and just that
her wealthier partners should pool their war debts with hers and share
their financial resources with her and all their other allies. This, it
was argued, was an obvious corollary of the war alliance. Economically,
too, the Germans, while permitted to resume their industrial occupations
on a sufficiently large scale to enable them to earn the wherewithal to
live and discharge their financial obligations, should be denied free
scope to outstrip France, whose material prosperity is admittedly
essential to the maintenance of general peace and the permanence of the
new ordering. In this condition, it is further contended, our chivalrous
ally was entitled to special consideration because of her low
birth-rate, which is one of the mainsprings of her difficulties. This
may permanently keep her population from rising above the level of forty
million, whereas Germany, by the middle of the century, will have
reached the formidable total of eighty million, so that competition
between them would not be on a footing of equality. Hence the chances
should be evenly balanced by the action of the Conference, to be
continued by the League. Discriminating treatment was therefore a
necessity. And it should be so introduced that France should be free to
maintain a protective tariff, of which she had sore need for her foreign
trade, without causing umbrage to her allies. For they could not gainsay
that her position deserved special treatment.

Some of the Anglo-Saxon delegates took other ground, feeling unable to
countenance the postulate underlying those demands, namely, that the
Teuton race was to be forever anathema. They looked far enough ahead to
make due allowance for a future when conditions in Europe will be very
different from what they are to-day. The German race, they felt, being
numerous and virile, will not die out and cannot be suppressed. And as
it is also enterprising and resourceful it would be a mistake to render
it permanently hostile by the Allies overstepping the bounds of justice,
because in this case neither national nor general interests would be
furthered. You may hinder Germany, they argued, from acquiring the
hegemony of the world, but not from becoming the principal factor in
European evolution. If thirty years hence the German population totals
eighty million or more, will not their attitude and their sentiment
toward their neighbors constitute an all-important element of European
tranquillity and will not the trend of these be to a large extent the
outcome of the Allies' policy of to-day? The present, therefore, is the
time for the delegates to deprive that sentiment of its venomous,
anti-Allied sting, not by renouncing any of their countries' rights, but
by respecting those of others.

That was the reasoning of those who believed that national striving
should be subordinated to the general good, and that the present time
and its aspirations should be considered in strict relation to the
future of the whole community of nations. They further contended that
while Germany deserved to suffer condignly for the heinous crimes of
unchaining the war and waging it ruthlessly, as many of her own people
confessed, she should not be wholly crippled or enthralled in the hope
that she would be rendered thereby impotent forever. Such hope was vain.
With her waxing strength her desire of vengeance would grow, and
together with it the means of wreaking it. She might yet knead Russia
into such a shape as would make that Slav people a serviceable
instrument of revenge, and her endeavors might conceivably extend
farther than Russia. The one-sided resettlement of Europe charged with
explosives of such incalculable force would frustrate the most elaborate
attempts to create not only a real league of nations, but even such a
rough approximation toward one as might in time and under favorable
circumstances develop into a trustworthy war preventive. They concluded
that a league of nations would be worse than useless if transformed into
a weapon to be wielded by one group of nations against another, or as an
artificial makeshift for dispensing peoples from the observance of
natural laws.

At the same time all the governments of the Allies were sincere and
unanimous in their desire to do everything possible to show their
appreciation of France's heroism, to recognize the vastness of her
sacrifices, and to pay their debt of gratitude for her services to
humanity. All were actuated by a resolve to contribute in the measure of
the possible to compensate her for such losses as were still reparable
and to safeguard her against the recurrence of the ordeal from which she
had escaped terribly scathed. The only limits they admitted to this
work of reparation were furnished by the aim itself and by the means of
attaining it. Thus Messrs. Wilson and Lloyd George held that to
incorporate in renovated France millions or even hundreds of thousands
of Germans would be to introduce into the political organism the germs
of fell disease, and on this ground they firmly refused to sanction the
Rhine frontier, which the French were thus obliged to relinquish. The
French delegates themselves admitted that if granted it could not be
held without a powerful body of international troops ever at the beck
and call of the Republic, vigilantly keeping watch and ward on the banks
of the Rhine and with no reasonable prospect of a term to this
servitude. For the real ground of this dependence upon foreign forces is
the disproportion between the populations of Germany and France and
between the resources of the two nations. The ratio of the former is at
present about six to four and it is growing perceptibly toward seven to
four. The organizing capacity in commerce and industry is said to be
even greater. If, therefore, France cannot stand alone to-day, still
less could she stand alone in ten or fifteen years, and the necessity of
protecting her against aggression, assuming that the German people does
not become reconciled to its status of forced inferiority, would be more
urgent and less practicable with the lapse of time. For, as we saw, it
is largely a question of the birth-rate. And as neither the British nor
the American people, deeply though they are attached to their gallant
comrades in arms, would consent to this arrangement, which to them would
be a burden and to the Germans a standing provocation, their
representatives were forced to the conclusion that it would be the
height of folly to do aught that would give the Teutons a convenient
handle for a war of revenge. Let there be no annexation of territory,
they said, no incorporation of unwilling German citizens. The Americans
further argued that an indefinite occupation of German territory by a
large body of international troops would be a direct encouragement to
militarism.

The indemnities for which the French yearned, and on which their
responsible financiers counted, were large. The figures employed were
astronomical. Hundreds of milliards of francs were operated with by
eminent publicists in an offhand manner that astonished the survivor of
the expiring budgetary epoch and rejoiced the hearts of the Western
taxpayers. For it was not only journalists who wrote as though a stream
of wealth were to be turned into these countries to fertilize industry
and commerce there and enable them to keep well ahead of their pushing
competitors. Responsible Ministers likewise hall-marked these forecasts
with their approval. Before the fortune of war had decided for the
Allies, the finances of France had sorely embarrassed the Minister, M.
Klotz, of whom his chief, M. Clemenceau, is reported to have said: "He
is the only Israelite I have ever known who is out of his element when
dealing with money matters." Before the armistice, M. Klotz, when
talking of the complex problem and sketching the outlook, exclaimed: "If
we win the war, I undertake to make both ends meet, far though they now
seem apart. For I will make the Germans pay the entire cost of the war."
After the armistice he repeated his promise and undertook not to levy
fresh taxation.

Thus, despite fitful gleams of idealism, the atmosphere of the Paris
Conclave grew heavy with interests, passions, and ambitions. Only people
in blinkers could miss the fact that the elastic formulas launched and
interpreted by President Wilson were being stretched to the
snapping-point so as to cover two mutually incompatible policies. The
chasm between his original prospects and those of his foreign associates
they both conscientiously endeavored to ignore, and after a time they
hit upon a _tertium quid_ between territorial equilibrium and a
sterilized league tempered by the Monroe Doctrine and a military
compact. This composite resultant carried with it the concentrated evils
of one of these systems and was deprived of its redeeming features by
the other. At a conjuncture in the world's affairs which postulated
internationalism of the loftiest kind, the delegates increased and
multiplied nations and states which they deprived of sovereignty and
yoked to the first-class races. National ambitions took precedence of
larger interests; racial hatred was raised to its highest power. In a
word, the world's state system was so oddly pieced together that only
economic exhaustion followed by a speedy return to militarism could
insure for it a moderate duration.

Territorial self-sufficiency, military strength, and advantageous
alliances were accordingly looked to as the mainstays of the new
ordering, even by those who paid lip tribute to the Wilsonian ideal. The
ideal itself underwent a disfiguring change in the process of
incarnation. The Italians asked how the Monroe Doctrine could be
reconciled with the charter of the League of Nations, seeing that the
League would be authorized to intervene in the domestic affairs of other
member-states, and if necessary to despatch troops to keep Germany,
Italy, and Poland in order; whereas if the United States were guilty of
tyrannical aggression against Brazil, the Argentine Republic, or Mexico,
the League, paralyzed by that Doctrine, must look on inactive. The
Germans, alleging capital defects in the Wilsonian Covenant, which was
adjusted primarily to the Allies' designs, went to Paris prepared with a
substitute which, it must in fairness be admitted, was considerably
superior to that of their adversaries, and incidentally fraught with
greater promise to themselves.

It is superfluous to add that the continental view prevailed, but Mr.
Wilson imagined that, while abandoning his principles in favor of
Britain, France, and Bulgaria, he could readjust the balance by applying
them with rigor to Italy and exaggerating them when dealing with Greece.
He afterward communicated his reasons for this belief in a message
published in Washington.[299] The alliance--he was understood to have
been opposed to all partial alliances on principle--which guarantees
military succor to France, he had signed, he said, in gratitude to that
country, for he seriously doubted whether the American Republic could
have won its freedom against Britain's opposition without the gallant
and friendly aid of France. "We recently had the privilege of assisting
in driving enemies, who also were enemies of the world, from her soil,
but that does not pay our debt to her. Nothing can pay such a debt." His
critics retorted that that is a sentimental reason which might with
equal force have been urged by France and Britain in justification of
their promises to Italy and Rumania, yet was rejected as irrelevant by
Mr. Wilson in the name of a higher principle.


The President of the United States, it was further urged, is a
historian, and history tells him that the help given to his country
against England neither came from the French people nor was actuated by
sympathy for the American cause. It was the vindictive act of one of
those kings whose functions Mr. Wilson is endeavoring to abolish. The
monarch who helped the Americans was merely utilizing a favorable
opportunity for depriving with a minimum of effort his adversary of
lucrative possessions. Moreover, the debt which nothing can pay was
already due when in the years 1914-16 France was in imminent danger of
being crushed by a ruthless enemy. But at that time Mr. Wilson owed his
re-election largely to his refusal to extricate her from that peril.
Instead of calling to mind the debt that can never be repaid he merely
announced that he could not understand what the belligerents were
fighting for and that in any case France's grateful debtor was too proud
to fight. The motive which finally brought the United States into the
World War may be the noblest that ever yet actuated any state, but no
student of history will allow that Mr. Wilson has correctly described
it.

The fact is that the French delegates and their supporters were
consistent and, except in their demand for the Rhine frontier,
unbending. They drew up a program and saw that it was substantially
carried out. They declared themselves quite ready to accept Mr. Wilson's
project, but only on condition that their own was also realized,
heedless of the incompatibility of the two. And Mr. Wilson felt
constrained to make their position his own, otherwise he could not have
obtained the Covenant he yearned for. And yet he must have known that
acquiescence in the demands put forward by M. Clemenceau would lower the
practical value of his Covenant to that of a sheet of paper.

A blunt American journal, commenting on the handiwork of the Conference,
gave utterance to views which while making no pretense to courtly
phraseology are symptomatic of the way in which the average man thought
and spoke of the Covenant which emanated from the Supreme Council. "We
are convinced," it said, "that the elder statesmen of Europe, typified
by Clemenceau, consider it a hoax. Clemenceau never before was so
extremely bored by anything in his life as he was by the necessity of
making a pious pretense in the Covenant when what he wanted was the
assurance of the Triple Alliance. He got that assurance, which, along
with the French watch on the Rhine, the French in the Saar Valley and
in Africa, with German money going into French coffers, makes him
tolerably indulgent of the altruistic rhetoricians.

"The English, the intelligent English, we know have their tongues in
their cheeks. The Italians are petulant imperialists, and Japan doesn't
care what happens to the League so long as Japan says what shall happen
in Asia."[300]

Peace was at last signed, not on the basis of the Fourteen Points nor
yet entirely on the lines of territorial equilibrium, but on those of a
compromise which, missing the advantages of each, combined many of the
evils of both and of others which were generated by their conjunction,
and laid the foundations of the new state fabric on quick-sands. That
was at bottom the view to which Italy, Rumania, and Greece gave
utterance when complaining that their claims were being dealt with on
the principle of self-denial, whereas those of France had been settled
on the traditional basis of territorial guaranties and military
alliances. Further, the Treaty failed to lay an ax to the roots of war,
did, in fact, increase their number while purporting to destroy them.
Far from that: germs of future conflicts not only between the late
belligerents, but also between the recent Allies, were plentifully
scattered and may sprout up in the fullness of time.


The Paris press expressed its satisfaction with France's share of the
fruits of victory. For the provisions of the Treaty went as far as any
merely political arrangement could go to check the natural inequality,
numerical, economical, industrial, and financial, between the Teuton and
French peoples. To many this problem seemed wholly insoluble, because
its solution involved a suspension or a corrective of a law of nature.
Take the birth-rate in France, for example. Before the war it had long
been declining at a rate which alarmed thoughtful French patriots. And,
according to official statistics, it is falling off still more rapidly
to-day, whereas the increase in other countries is greater than ever
before.[301] Thus, whereas in the year 1911 there were 73,599 births in
the Seine Department, there were only 47,480 in 1918. Wet nurses, too,
are disappearing. Of these, in the year 1911, in the same territory
there were 1,363, but in 1918 only 65. The mortality among foundlings
rose from 5 per cent. before the war to 40 per cent. in the year
1918.[302] M. Bertillon calculates that for France to increase merely at
the same rate as other nations--not to recover the place among them
which she has already lost, but only to keep her present one--she needs
five hundred thousand more births than are registered at present. A
statistical table which he drew up of the birth-rate of four European
nations during five decades, beginning with the year 1861, is unpleasant
reading[303] for the friends of that heroic and artistic people. France,
containing in round numbers 40,000,000 inhabitants, ought to increase
annually by 500,000. Before the war the total number of births in
Germany was computed at one million nine hundred and fifty thousand, but
hardly more than one million of the children born were viable.[304] The
general conclusion to be drawn from these figures and from the
circumstances that the falling off in the French population still goes
on unchecked, is disquieting for those who desire to see the French
race continue to play the leading part in continental Europe. One of the
shrewdest observers in contemporary Germany--himself a distinguished
Semite--commented on this decisive fact as follows:[305] "Within ten
years Germany will contain seventy million inhabitants, and in the
torrent of her fecundity will drown anemic and exhausted France.... The
French nation is dying of exhaustion. There is no reason, however, for
the world to get alarmed ... for before the French will have vanished
from the earth, other races, virile and healthy, will have come to their
country to take their place." That is what is actually happening, and it
is impressively borne in upon the visitor to various French cities by
the vast number of exotic names over houses of business and in other
ways.

With this formidable obstacle, then, the three members of the Supreme
Council strenuously coped by exercising to the fullest extent the power
conferred on the victors over the vanquished. And the result of their
combinations challenged and received the unstinted approval of all those
numerous enemies of Teutondom who believe the Germans to be incapable of
contributing materially to human progress, unless they are kept in
leading-strings by one of the superior races. The Treaty represents the
potential realization of France's dream, achieved semi-miraculously by
the very statesmen on whom the Teutons were relying to dispel it.
Defeated, disarmed, incapable of military resistance, and devoid of
friends, Germany thought she could discern her sheet-anchor of salvation
in the Wilsonian gospel, and it was the preacher of this gospel himself
who implicitly characterized her salvation as more difficult than the
passage of a camel through the eye of a needle. The crimes perpetrated
by the Teutons were unquestionably heinous beyond words, and no
punishment permitted by the human conscience is too drastic to atone for
them. How long this punishment should endure, whether it should be
inflicted on the entire people as well as on their leaders, and what
form should be given to it, were among the questions confronting the
Secret Council, and they implicitly answered them in the way we have
seen.

People who consider the answer adequate and justified give as their
reason that it presupposes and attains a single object--the efficacious
protection of France as the sentinel of civilization against an
incorrigible arch-enemy. And in this they may be right. But if you
enlarge the problem till it covers the moral fellowship of nations, and
if you postulate that as a safeguard of future peace and neighborliness
in the world, then the outcome of the Treaty takes on a different
coloring. Between France and Germany it creates a sea of bitterness
which no rapturous exultation over the new ethical ordering can sweeten.
The latter nation is assumed to be smitten with a fell moral disease, to
which, however, the physicians of the Conference have applied no moral
remedy, but only measures of coercion, mostly powerful irritants. The
reformed state of Europe is consequently a state of latent war between
two groups of nations, of which one is temporarily prostrate and both
are naïvely exhorted to join hands and play a helpful part in an idyllic
society of nations. This expectation is the delight of cynics and the
despair of those serious reformers who are not interested politicians.
Heretofore the most inveterate optimists in politics were the
revolutionaries. But they have since been outdone by the Paris
world-reformers, who tempt Providence by calling on it to accomplish by
a miracle an object which they have striven hard and successfully to
render impossible by the ordinary operation of cause and effect. Thus
the Covenant mars the Treaty, and the Treaty the Covenant.

In Weimar and Berlin the Treaty was termed the death-sentence of
Germany, not only as an empire, but as an independent political
community. Henceforward her economic efforts, beyond a certain limit,
will be struck with barrenness, her industry will be hindered from
outstripping or overtaking that of the neighboring countries, and her
population will be indirectly kept within definite bounds. For, instead
of exporting manufactures, she will be obliged to export human beings,
whose intellect and skill will be utilized by such rivals of her own
race as vouchsafe to admit them. Already before the Conference was over
they began to emigrate eastward. And those who remain at home will not
be masters in their own house, for the doors will be open to various
foreign commissions.

The assumption upon which the Treaty-framers proceeded is that the
abominations committed by the German military and civil authorities were
constructively the work of the entire nation, for whose reformation
within a measurable period hope is vain. This view predominated among
the ruling classes of the Entente peoples with few exceptions. If it be
correct, it seems superfluous to constrain the enemy to enter the league
of law-abiding nations, which is to be cemented only by voluntary
adherence and by genuine attachment to liberty, right, and justice.
Hence the Covenant, by being inserted in the Peace Treaty, necessarily
lost its value as an eirenicon, and became subsequent to that
instrument, and seems likely to be used as an anti-German safeguard. But
even then its efficacy is doubtful, and manifestly so; otherwise the
reformers, who at the start set out to abolish alliances as recognized
causes of war, would not have ended by setting up a new Triple
Alliance, which involves military, naval, and aerial establishments, and
the corresponding financial burdens inseparable from these. An alliance
of this character, whatever one may think of its economic and financial
aspects, runs counter to the spirit of the Covenant, but was an obvious
corollary of the Allies' attitude as mirrored in the Treaty. And the
spirit of the Treaty destroys the letter of the Covenant. For the world
is there implicitly divided into two camps--the friends and the enemies
of liberty, right, and justice; and the main functions of the League as
narrowed by the Treaty will be to hinder or defeat the machinations of
the enemies. Moreover, the deliberate concessions made by the Conference
to such agencies of the old ordering as the grouping of two or three
Powers into defensive alliances bids fair to be extended in time. For
the stress of circumstance is stronger than the will of man. At this
rate the last state may be worse than the first.

The world situation, thus formally modified, remained essentially
unchanged, and will so endure until other forces are released. The
League of Nations forfeited its ideal character under the pressure of
national interests, and became a coalition of victors against the
vanquished. By the insertion of the Covenant in the Treaty the former
became a means for the execution of the latter. For even Mr. Wilson,
faced with realities and called to practical counsel, affectionately
dismissed the high-souled speculative projects in which he delighted
during his hours of contemplation. Although the German delegates signed
the Treaty, no one can honestly say that he expects them to observe it
longer than constraint presses, however solemn the obligations imposed.

In the press organ of the most numerous and powerful political party in
Germany one might read in an article on the Germans in Bohemia annexed
by Czechoslovakia: "Assuredly their destiny will not be determined for
all time by the Versailles peace of violence. It behooves the German
nation to cherish its affection for its oppressed brethren, even though
it be powerless to succor them immediately. What then can it do? Italy
has given it a marvelous lesson in the policy of irredentism, which she
pursued in respect of the Trentino and Trieste."[306]

With the Treaty as it stands, nationalist France of this generation has
reason to be satisfied. One of its framers, himself a shrewd business
man and politician, publicly set forth the grounds for this
satisfaction.[307] Alsace and Lorraine reunited to the metropolis, he
explained, will assist France materially with an industrious population
and enormous resources in the shape of mineral wealth and a fruitful
soil. Germany's former colonies, Kamerun and Togoland, are become
French, and will doubtless offer a vast and attractive field for the
expansion and prosperity of the French population. Morocco, freed from
German enterprise, can henceforth be developed by the French population
alone and without let or hindrance, for the benefit of the natives and
in the true sense of Mr. Wilson's humanitarian ordinances. The potash
deposits, to which German agriculture largely owed its prosperity, will
henceforward be utilized in the service of French agriculture. "In iron
ore the wealth of France is doubled, and her productive capacity as
regards pig-iron and steel immensely increased. Her production of
textiles is greater than before the war by about a third."[308] In a
word, a vast area of the planet inhabited by various peoples will look
to the French people for everything that makes their collective life
worth living.

The sole arrangement which for a time caused heart-burnings in France
was that respecting the sums of money which Germany should have been
made to pay to her victorious enemies. For the opinions on that subject
held by the average man, and connived at or approved by the authorities,
were wholly fantastic, just as were some of the expectations of other
Allied states. The French people differ from their neighbors in many
respects--and in a marked way in money matters. They will sacrifice
their lives rather than their substance. They will leave a national debt
for their children and their children's children, instead of making a
resolute effort to wipe it out or lessen it by amortization. In this
respect the British, the Americans, and also the Germans differ from
them. These peoples tax themselves freely, create sinking funds, and
make heavy sacrifices to pay off their money obligations. This habit is
ingrained. The contrary system is become second nature to the French,
and one cannot change a nation's habits overnight. The education of the
people might, however, have been undertaken during the war with
considerable chances of satisfactory results. The government might have
preached the necessity of relinquishing a percentage of the war gains to
the state. It was done in Britain and Germany. The amount of money
earned by individuals during the hostilities was enormous. A
considerable percentage of it should have been requisitioned by the
state, in view of the peace requirements and of the huge indebtedness
which victory or defeat must inevitably bring in its train. But no
Minister had the courage necessary to brave the multitude and risk his
share of popularity or tolerance. And so things were allowed to slide.
The people were assured that victory would recompense their efforts, not
only by positive territorial gains, but by relieving them of their new
financial obligations.

That was a sinister mistake. The truth is that the French nation, if
defeated, would have paid any sum demanded. That was almost an axiom. It
would and could have expected no ruth. But, victorious, it looked to the
enemy for the means of refunding the cost of the war. The Finance
Minister--M. Klotz--often declared to private individuals that if the
Allies were victorious he would have all the new national debt wiped out
by the enemy, and he assured the nation that milliards enough would be
extracted from Germany to balance the credit and debit accounts of the
Republic. And the people naturally believed its professional expert.
Thus it became a dogma that the Teuton state was to provide all the cost
of the war. In that illusion the nation lived and worked and spent money
freely, nay, wasted it woefully.

And yet M. Klotz should have known better. For he was supplied with
definite data to go upon. In October, 1918, the French government, in
doubt about the full significance of that one of Mr. Wilson's Fourteen
Points which dealt with reparations, asked officially for explanations,
and received from Mr. Lansing the answer by telegraph that it involved
the making good by the enemy of all losses inflicted directly and
lawlessly upon civilians, but none other. That surely was a plain answer
and a just principle. But, in accordance with the practice of secrecy in
vogue among Allied European governments, the nation was not informed of
these restrictive conditions, but was allowed to hug dangerous
delusions.

But the Ministers knew them, and M. Klotz was a Minister. Not only,
however, did he not reveal what he knew, but he behaved as though his
information was of a directly contrary tenor, and he also stated that
Germany must also refund the war indemnities of 1870, capitalized down
to November, 1918, and he set down the sum at fifty milliards of
francs. This procedure was not what reasonably might have been expected
from the leader of a heroic nation stout-hearted enough to face
unpleasant facts. Some of the leading spirits in the country, despite
the intensity of their feelings toward Germany, disapproved this kind of
bookkeeping, but M. Klotz did not relinquish his method of keeping
accounts. He drew up a bill against the Teutons for one thousand and
eighty-six milliards of francs.

The Germans at the Conference maintained that if the wealth of their
nation were realized and liquid, it would amount at most to four hundred
milliards, but that to realize it would involve the stripping of the
population of everything--of its forests, its mines, its railways, its
factories, its cattle, its houses, its furniture, and its ready money.
They further pleaded that the territorial clauses of the Treaty deprived
them of important resources, which would reduce their solvency to a
greater degree than the Allies realized. These clauses dispossessed the
nation of 21 per cent. of the total crops of cereals and potatoes. A
further falling off in the quantities of food produced would result from
the restrictions on the importation of raw materials for the manufacture
of fertilizers. Of her coal, Germany was forfeiting about one-third;
three-fourths of her iron ore was also being taken away from her; her
total zinc production would be cut down by over three-fifths. Add to
this the enormous shortage of tonnage, machinery, and man-power, the
total loss of her colonies, the shrinkage of available raw stuffs, and
the depreciation of the mark.

At the Conference the Americans maintained their ground. Invoking the
principle laid down by Mr. Wilson and clearly formulated by Mr. Lansing,
they insisted that reparations should be claimed only for damage done to
civilians directly and lawlessly. After a good deal of fencing,
rendered necessary by the pledges given by European statesmen to their
electors, it was decided that the criteria provided by that principle
should be applied. But even with that limitation the sums claimed were
huge. It was alleged by the Germans that some of the demands were for
amounts that exceeded the total national wealth of the country filing
the claim. And as no formula could be devised that would satisfy all the
claimants, it was resolved in principle that, although Germany should be
obliged to make good only certain classes of losses, the Conference
would set no limits to the sums for which she would thus be liable.

At this juncture M. Loucheur suggested that a minimum sum should be
demanded of the enemy, leaving the details to be settled by a
commission. And this was the solution which was finally adopted.[309] It
was received with protests and lamentations, which, however, soon made
place for self-congratulations, official and private.

The French Minister of Finances, for example, drew a bright picture in
the Chamber of the financial side of the Treaty, so far as it affected
his country: "Within two years," he announced, "independently of the
railway rolling stock, of agricultural materials and restitutions, we
receive a part, still to be fixed, of the payment of twenty milliards of
marks in gold; another share, also to be determined, of an emission of
bonds amounting to forty milliard gold marks, bearing interest at the
rate of 2 per cent.; a third part, to be fixed, of German shipping and
dyes; seven million tons of coal annually for a period of ten years,
followed by diminishing quantities during the following years; the
repayment of the expenses of occupation; the right of taking over a part
of Germany's interests in Russia, in particular that of obtaining the
payment of pre-war debts at the pre-war rate of exchange, likewise the
maintenance of such contracts as we may desire to maintain in force and
the return of Alsace-Lorraine free from all incumbrances. Nor is that
all. In Morocco we have the right to liquidate German property, to
transfer the shares that represent Germany's interests in the Bank of
Morocco, and finally the allotment under a French mandate of a portion
of the German colonies free from incumbrances of any kind.... We shall
receive four hundred and sixty-three milliard francs, payable in
thirty-six years, without counting the restitutions which will have been
effected. Nor should it be forgotten that already we have received eight
milliards' worth of securities stolen from French bearers. So do not
consider the Treaty as a misfortune for France."[310]

Soon after the outburst of joy with which the ingathering of the fruits
of France's victory was celebrated, clouds unexpectedly drifted athwart
the cerulean blue of the political horizon, and dark shadows were flung
across the Allied countries. The second-and third-class nations fell out
with the first-class Powers. Italy, for example, whose population is
almost equal to that of her French sister, demanded compensation for the
vast additions that were being made to France's extensive possessions.
The grounds alleged were many. Compensation had been promised by the
secret treaty. The need for it was reinforced by the rejection of
Italy's claims in the Adriatic. The Italian people required, desired,
and deserved a fair and fitting field for legitimate expansion. They are
as numerous as the French, and have a large annual surplus population,
which has to hew wood and draw water for foreign peoples. They are
enterprising, industrious, thrifty, and hard workers. Their country
lacks some of the necessaries of material prosperity, such as coal,
iron, and cotton. Why should it not receive a territory rich in some of
these products? Why should a large contingent of Italy's population have
to go to the colonies of Spain, France, and Britain or to South American
republics for a livelihood? The Italian press asked whether the Supreme
Council was bent on fulfilling the Gospel dictum, "Whosoever hath, to
him shall be given...."

One of the first demands made by Italy was for the port and town of
Djibouti, which is under French sway. It was rejected, curtly and
emphatically. Other requests elicited plausible explanations why they
could not be complied with. In a word, Italy was treated as a poor and
importunate relation, and was asked to console herself with the
reflection that she was working in the vineyard of idealism. In vain
eminent publicists in Rome, Turin, and Milan pleaded their country's
cause. Adopting the principle which Mr. Wilson had applied to France and
Britain, they affirmed that even before the war France, with a larger
population and fewer possessions, had shown that she was incapable of
discharging the functions which she had voluntarily taken upon herself.
Tunis, they alleged, owed its growth and thriving condition to Italian
emigrants. With all the fresh additions to her territories, the
population of the Republic would be utterly inadequate to the task. To
the Supreme Council this line of reasoning was distinctly unpalatable.
Nor did the Italians further their cause when, by way of giving emphatic
point to their reasoning, their press quoted that eminent Frenchman, M.
d'Estournelles de Constant, who wrote at that very moment: "France has
too many colonies already--far more in Asia, in Africa, in America, in
Oceania than she can fructify. In this way she is immobilizing
territories, continents, peoples, which nominally she takes over. And it
is childish and imprudent to take barren possession of them, when other
states allege their power to utilize them in the general interest. By
acting in this manner, France, do what she may, is placing herself in
opposition to the world's interests, and to those of the League of
Nations. In the long run it is a serious business. Spain, Portugal, and
Holland know this to their cost. Do what she would, France was not able
before the war to utilize all her immense colonial domain ... for lack
of population. She will be still less able after the war...."[311]

The discussion grew dangerously animated. Epigrams were coined and sent
floating in the heavily charged air. A tactless comparison was made
between the French nation and a _bon vivant_ of sixty-five who flatters
himself that he can enjoy life's pleasures on the same scale as when he
was only thirty. Little arrows thus barbed with biting acid often make
more enduring mischief than sledge-hammer blows. Soon the estrangement
between the two sister nations unhappily became wider and led to marked
divergences in their respective policies, which seem fraught with grave
consequences in the future.

The Italy of to-day is not the Italy of May, 1915. She now knows exactly
where she stands. When she unsheathed her sword to fight against the
allies of the state that declared a treaty to be but a scrap of paper,
she was heartened by a solemn promise given in writing by her comrades
in arms. But when she had accomplished her part of the contract, that
document turned out to be little more than another scrap of paper. Thus
it was one of the piquant ironies of Fate, Italian publicists said, that
the people who had mostly clamored against that doctrine were indirectly
helping it to triumph. Mr. Wilson, unwittingly sapping public faith in
written treaties, was held up as one of the many pictures in which the
Conference abounded of the delegates refuting their words by acts. The
unbiased historian will readily admit that the secret treaties were
profoundly immoral from the Wilsonian angle of vision, but that the only
way of canceling them was by a general principle rigidly upheld and
impartially applied. And this the Supreme Council would not entertain.

With her British ally, too, France had an unpleasant falling out about
Eastern affairs, and in especial about Syria and Persia. There was also
a demand for the retrocession by Britain of the island of Mauritius, but
it was not made officially, nor is it a subject for two such nations to
quarrel over. The first rift in the lute was caused by the deposition of
Emir Faisal respecting the desires of the Arab population. This
picturesque chief, the French press complained, had been too readily
admitted to the Conference and too respectfully listened to there,
whereas the Persian delegation tramped for months over the Paris streets
without once obtaining a hearing. The Hedjaz, which had been independent
from time immemorial, was formally recognized as a separate kingdom
during the war, and the Grand Sheriff of Mecca was suddenly raised to
the throne in the European sense by France and Britain. Since then he
was formally recognized by the five Powers. His representatives in Paris
demanded the annexation of all the countries of Arabic speech which were
under Turkish domination. These included not only Mesopotamia, but also
Syria, on which France had long looked with loving eyes and respecting
which there existed an accord between her and Britain. The project
community would represent a Pan-Arab federation of about eleven million
souls, over which France would have no guardianship. And yet the
written accord had never been annulled. Palestine was excluded from
this Pan-Arabian federation, and Syria was to be consulted, and instead
of being handed over to France, as M. Clemenceau demanded, was to be
allowed to declare its own wishes without any injunctions from the
Conference. Mesopotamia would be autonomous under the League of Nations,
but a single mandatory was asked for by the king of the Hedjaz for the
entire eleven million inhabitants.

The comments of the French press on Britain's attitude, despite their
studied reserve and conventional phraseology, bordered on recrimination
and hinted at a possible cooling of friendship between the two nations,
and in the course of the controversy the evil-omened word "Fashoda" was
pronounced. The French _Temps's_ arguments were briefly these: The
populations claimed occupy such a vast stretch of territory that the
sovereignty of the Hedjaz could hardly be more than nominal and
symbolical. In fact, they cover an area of one-half of the Ottoman
Empire. These different provinces would, in reality, be under the
domination of the Great Power which was the real creator of this new
kingdom, and the monarch of the Hedjaz would be a mere stalking-horse of
Britain. This, it was urged, would not be independence, but a masked
protectorate, and in the name of the higher principles must be
prevented. Syria must be handed over to France without consulting the
population. The financial resources of the Hedjaz are utterly inadequate
for the administration of such a vast state as was being compacted. Who,
then, it was asked, would supply the indispensable funds? Obviously
Britain, who had been providing the Emir Faisal with funds ever since
his father donned the crown. If this political entity came into
existence, it would generate continuous friction between France and
Britain, separate comrades in arms, delight a vigilant enemy, and
violate a written compact which should be sacred. For these reasons it
should be rejected and Syria placed under the guardianship of France.

The Americans took the position that congruously with the high ethical
principles which had guided the labors of the Conference throughout, it
was incumbent on its members, instead of bartering civilized peoples
like chattels, to consult them as to their own aspirations. If it were
true that the Syrians were yearning to become the wards of France, there
could be no reasonable objection on the part of the French delegates to
agree to a plebiscite. But the French delegates declined to entertain
the suggestion on the ground that Syria's longing for French guidance
was a notorious fact.

After much discussion and vehement opposition on the part of the French
delegates an Inter-Allied commission under Mr. Charles Crane was sent to
visit the countries in dispute and to report on the leanings of their
populations. After having visited forty cities and towns and more than
three hundred villages, and received over fifteen hundred delegations of
natives, the commission reported that the majority of the people "prefer
to maintain their independence," but do not object to live under the
mandatory system for fifty years _provided the United States accepts_
the mandate. "Syria desires to become a sovereign kingdom, and most of
the population supports the Emir Faisal as king.[312] The commission
further ascertained that the Syrians, "who are singularly enlightened as
to the policies of the United States," invoked and relied upon a
Franco-British statement of policy[313] which had been distributed
broadcast throughout their country, "promising complete liberation from
the Turks and the establishment of free governments among the native
population and recognition of these governments by France and
Britain."[314]

The result of the investigation by the Inter-Allied commission reminds
one of the story of the two anglers who were discussing the merits of
two different sauces for the trout which one of them had caught. As they
were unable to agree they decided to refer the matter to the trout, who
answered: "Gentlemen, I do not wish to be eaten with any sauce. I desire
to live and be free in my own element." "Ah, now you are wandering from
the question," exclaimed the two, who thereupon struck up a compromise
on the subject of the sauce.

The tone of this long-drawn-out controversy, especially in the press,
was distinctly acrimonious. It became dangerously bitter when the French
political world was apprised one day of the conclusion of a treaty
between Britain and Persia as the outcome of secret negotiations between
London and Teheran. And excitement grew intenser when shortly afterward
the authentic text of this agreement was disclosed. In France, Italy,
Germany, Russia, and the United States the press unanimously declared
that Persia's international status as determined by the new diplomatic
instrument could best be described by the evil-sounding words
"protectorate" and the violation of the mandatory system adopted by the
Conference.

This startling development shed a strong light upon the new ordering of
the world and its relation to the Wilsonian gospel, complicated with
secret negotiations, protectorates without mandates, and the one-sided
abrogation of compacts.

Persia is one of the original members of the League of Nations,[315] and
as such was entitled, the French argued, to a hearing at the
Conference. She had grievances that called for redress: her neutrality
had been violated, many of her subjects had been put to death, and her
titles to reparation were undeniable. President Wilson, the comforter of
small states and oppressed nationalities, having proclaimed that the
weakest communities would command the same friendly treatment as the
greatest, the Persian delegates repaired to Paris in the belief that
this treatment would be accorded them. But there they were
disillusioned. For them there was no admission. Whether, if they had
been heard and helped by the Supreme Council, they would have contrived
to exist as an independent state is a question which cannot be discussed
here. The point made by the French was that on its own showing the
Conference was morally bound to receive the Persian delegation. The
utmost it obtained was that the Persian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Monalek, who was head of the delegation, had a private talk with
President Wilson, Colonel House, and Mr. Lansing. These statesmen
unhesitatingly promised to help Persia to secure full sovereign rights,
or at any rate to enable her delegates to unfold their country's case
and file their protests before the Conference. The delegates were
comforted and felt sure of the success of their mission. They told the
American plenipotentiaries that the United States would be Persia's
creditor for this help and that she would invite American financiers to
put her money matters in order, American engineers to develop her mining
industries, and the American oil firms to examine and exploit her petrol
deposits.[316] In a word, Persia would be Americanized. This naïve
announcement of the rôle reserved for American benefactors in the land
of the Shah might have impressed certain commercial and financial
interests in the United States, but was wholly alien to the only order
of motives that could properly move the American plenipotentiaries to
interpose in favor of their would-be wards.

The promises made by Messrs. Wilson, House, and Lansing came to nothing.
For months the Persian envoys lived in hope which was strengthened by
the assurances of various members of the Conference that the
intervention of Mr. Wilson would infallibly prove successful. But events
belied this forecast, whereupon the head of the Persian delegation,
after several months of hopes deferred, quitted France for
Constantinople, and his country's position among the nations was settled
in detail by the new agreement.

That position does undoubtedly resemble very closely Egypt's status
before the outbreak of the World War. And Egypt's status could hardly be
termed independence. Henceforward Great Britain has a strong hold on the
Persian customs, the control of the waterways and carriage routes, the
rights of railway construction, the oil-fields--these were ours
before--the right to organize the army and direct the foreign policy of
the kingdom. And it may fairly be argued that this arrangement may prove
a greater blessing to the Persians than the realization of their own
ambitions. That, at any rate, is my own personal belief, which for many
years I have held and expressed. None the less it runs diametrically
counter to the letter and the spirit of Wilsonianism, which is now seen
to be a wall high enough to keep out the dwarf states, but which the
giants can easily clear at a bound.

Against this violation of the new humanitarian doctrine French
publicists flared up. The glaring character of the transgression
revolted them, the plight of the Persians touched them, and the right of
self-determination strongly appealed to them. Was it not largely for the
assertion of that right that all the Allied peoples had for five years
been making unheard-of sacrifices? What would become of the League of
Nations if such secret and selfish doings were connived at? In a word,
French sympathy for the victims of British hegemony waxed as strong as
the British fellow-feeling for the Syrians, who objected to be drawn
into the orbit of the French. Those sharp protests and earnest appeals,
it may be noted, were the principal, perhaps the only, symptoms of
tenderness for unprotected peoples which were evoked by the great
ethical movement headed by the Conference.

The French further pointed out that the system of Mandates had been
specially created for countries as backward and helpless as Persia was
assumed to be, and that the only agency qualified to apply it was either
the Supreme Council or the League of Nations. The British press answered
that no such humiliating assumption about the Shah's people was being
made, that the Foreign Office had distinctly disclaimed the intention of
establishing a protectorate over Persia, who is, and will remain, a
sovereign and independent state. But these explanations failed to
convince our indignant Allies. They argued, from experience, that no
trust was to be placed in those official assurances and euphemistic
phrases which are generally belied by subsequent acts.[317] They further
lamented that the long and secret negotiations which were going forward
in Teheran while the Persian delegation was wearily and vainly waiting
in Paris to be allowed to plead its country's cause before the great
world-dictators was not a good example of loyalty to the new cosmic
legislation. Had not Mr. Wilson proclaimed that peoples were no longer
to be bartered and swapped as chattels? Here the Italians and Rumanians
chimed in, reminding their kinsmen that it was the same American
statesmen who in the peace conditions first presented to Count
Brockdorff-Rantzau made over the German population of the Saar Valley to
France at the end of fifteen years as the fair equivalent of a sum of
money payable in gold, and that France at any rate had raised no
objection to the barter nor to the principle at the root of it. They
reasoned that if the principle might be applied to one case it should be
deemed equally applicable to the other, and that the only persons or
states that could with propriety demur to the Anglo-Persian arrangements
were those who themselves were not benefiting by similar transactions.

At last the Paris press, laying due weight on the alliance with Britain,
struck a new note. "It seems that these last Persian bargainings offer a
theme for conversations between our government and that of the Allies,"
one influential journal wrote.[318] At once the amicable suggestion was
taken up by the British press. The idea was to join the Syrian with the
Persian transactions and make French concessions on the other. This
compromise would compose an ugly quarrel and settle everything for the
best. For France's intentions toward the people of Syria were, it was
credibly asserted, to the full as disinterested and generous as those of
Britain toward Persia, and if the Syrians desired an English-speaking
nation rather than the French to be their mentor, it was equally true
that the Persians wanted Americans rather than British to superintend
and accelerate their progress in civilization. But instead of harkening
to the wishes of only one it would be better to ignore those of both. By
this prudent compromise all the demands of right and justice, for which
both governments were earnest sticklers, would thus be amply satisfied.

Our American associates were less easily appeased. In sooth there was
nothing left wherewith to appease them. Their press condemned the
"protectorate" as a breach of the Covenant. Secretary Lansing let it be
known[319] that the United States delegation had striven to obtain a
hearing for the Persians at the Conference, but had "lost its fight." A
Persian, when apprized of this utterance, said: "When the United States
delegation strove to hinder Italy from annexing Fiume and obtaining the
territories promised her by a secret treaty, they accomplished their aim
because they refused to give way. Then they took care not to lose their
fight. When they accepted a brief for the Jews and imposed a Jewish
semi-state on Rumania and Poland, they were firm as the granite rock,
and no amount of opposition, no future deterrents, made any impression
on their will. Accordingly, they had their way. But in the cause of
Persia they lost the fight, although logic, humanity, justice, and the
ordinances solemnly accepted by the Great Powers were all on their
side." ... One American press organ termed the Anglo-Persian accord "a
coup which is a greater violation of the Wilsonian Fourteen Points than
the Shantung award to Japan, as it makes the whole of Persia a mere
protectorate for Britain."[320]

Generally speaking, illustrations of the meaning of non-intervention in
the home affairs of other nations were numerous and somewhat perplexing.
Were it not that Mr. Wilson had come to Europe for the express purpose
of interpreting as well as enforcing his own doctrine, one would have
been warranted in assuming that the Supreme Council was frequently
travestying it. But as the President was himself one of the leading
members of that Council, whose decisions were unanimous, the utmost
that one can take for granted is that he strove to impose his tenets on
his intractable colleagues and "lost the fight."

Here is a striking instance of what would look to the average man very
like intervention in the domestic politics of another nation--well-meant
and, it may be, beneficent intervention--were it not that we are assured
on the highest authority that it is nothing of the sort. It was devised
as an expedient for getting outside help for the capture of Petrograd by
the anti-Bolshevists. The end, therefore, was good, and the means seemed
effectual to those who employed them. The Kolchak-Denikin party could,
it was believed, have taken possession of that capital long before, by
obtaining the military co-operation of the Esthonians. But the price
asked by these was the recognition of their complete independence by the
non-Bolshevist government in the name of all Russia. Kolchak, to his
credit, refused to pay this price, seeing that he had no powers to do
so, and only a dictator would sign away the territory by usurping the
requisite authority. Consequently the combined attack on Petrograd was
not undertaken. The Admiral's refusal was justified by the circumstances
that he was the spokesman only of a large section of the Russian people,
and that a thoroughly representative assembly must be consulted on the
subject previous to action being taken. The military stagnation that
ensued lasted for months. Then one day the press brought the tidings
that the difficulty was ingeniously overcome. This is the shape in which
the intelligence was communicated to the world: "Colonel Marsh, of the
British army, who is representing General Gough, organized a republic in
northwest Russia at Reval, August 12th, _within forty-five minutes_,
General Yudenitch being nominally the head of the new government, which
is affiliated with the Kolchak government. Northwest Russia opposes the
Esthonian government only in principle because it wants guaranties that
the Esthonians will not be the stepping-stone for some big Power like
Germany to control the Russian outlet through the Baltic. If the
Esthonians give such guaranties, the northwestern Russians are perfectly
willing to let them become an independent state."[321]

Here then was a "British colonel" who, in addition to his military
duties, was, according to this account, willing and able to create an
independent republic without any Supreme Council to assist him, whereas
professional diplomatists and military men of other nations had been
trying for months to found a Rhine republic under Dorten and had failed.
Nor did he, if the newspaper report be correct, waste much time at the
business. From the moment of its inception until northwestern Russia
stood forth an independent state, promulgating and executing grave
decisions in the sphere of international politics, only forty-five
minutes are said to have elapsed. Forty-five minutes by the clock. It
was almost as quick a feat as the drafting of the Covenant of Nations.
Further, the resourceful statemaker forged a republic which was
qualified to transfer sovereignly Russian territory to unrecognized
states without consulting the nation or obtaining authority from any
one. More marvelous than any other detail, however, is the circumstance
that he did his work so well that it never amounted to
intervention.[322]

One cannot affect surprise if the distinction between this amazing
exploit of diplomatico-military prestidigitation and intermeddling in
the internal affairs of another nation prove too subtle for the mental
grasp of the average unpolitical individual.

It is practices like these which ultimately determine the worth of the
treaties and the Covenant which Mr. Wilson was content to take back with
him to Washington as the final outcome of what was to have been the most
superb achievement of historic man. Of the new ethical principles, of
the generous renunciation of privileges, of the righting of secular
wrongs, of the respect that was to be shown for the weak, which were to
have cemented the union of peoples into one pacific if not blissful
family, there remained but the memory. No such bitter draught of
disappointment was swallowed by the nations since the world first had a
political history. Many of the resounding phrases that once foretokened
a new era of peace, right, and equity were not merely emptied of their
contents, but made to connote their opposites. Freedom of the seas
became supremacy of the seas, which may possibly turn out to be a
blessed consummation for all concerned, but should not have been
smuggled in under a gross misnomer. The abolition of war means, as
British and American and French generals and admirals have since told
their respective fellow-citizens, thorough preparations for the next
war, which are not to be confined, as heretofore, to the so-called
military states, but are to extend over all Anglo-Saxondom.[323] "Open
covenants openly arrived at" signify secret conclaves and conspirative
deliberations carried on in impenetrable secrecy which cannot be
dispensed with even after the whole business has passed into
history.[324] The self-determination of peoples finds its limit in the
rights of every Great Power to hold its subject nationalities in thrall
on the ground that their reciprocal relations appertain to the domestic
policy of the state. It means, further, the privilege of those who wield
superior force to put irresistible pressure upon those who are weak, and
the lever which it places in their hands for the purpose is to be known
under the attractive name of the protection of minorities. Abstention
from interference in the home affairs of a neighboring community is made
to cover intermeddling of the most irksome and humiliating character in
matters which have no nexus with international law, for if they had, the
rule would be applicable to all nations. The lesser peoples must harken
to injunctions of the greater states respecting their mode of treating
alien immigrants and must submit to the control of foreign bodies which
are ignorant of the situation and its requirements. Nor is it enough
that those states should accord to the members of the Jewish and other
races all the rights which their own citizens enjoy--they must go
farther and invest them with special privileges, and for this purpose
renounce a portion of their sovereignty. They must likewise allow their
more powerful allies to dictate to them their legislation on matters of
transit and foreign commerce.[325] For the Great Powers, however, this
law of minorities was not written. They are above the law. Their warrant
is force. In a word, force is the trump card in the political game of
the future as it was in that of the past. And M. Clemenceau's reminder
to the petty states at the opening of the Conference that the wielders
of twelve million troops are the masters of the situation was
appropriate. Thus the war which was provoked by the transformation of a
solemn treaty into a scrap of paper was concluded by the presentation of
two scraps of paper as a treaty and a covenant for the moral renovation
of the world.


FOOTNOTES:

[288] _The Daily Telegraph_, March 28, 1919.

[289] In a speech delivered at a dinner given in Paris on April 19,
1919, by the Commonwealth of Australia to Australian soldiers.

[290] In March, 1919.

[291] August 19, 1919.

[292] Cf. _Corriere delta Sera_, August 20, 1919.

[293] _Ibidem_ (_Corriere della Sera_, August 20, 1919).

[294] _L'Humanité,_ May 21, 1919.

[295] _The Nation_, August 23, 1919.

[296] Chief of the Austrian police at Vienna Congress in the years
1814-15.

[297] In _L'Echo de Paris_, March 2,1919. Cf. _The Daily Telegraph_,
March 4th.

[298] _Le Gaulois_, March 8, 1919. Cf. _The Daily Telegraph_, March
10th.

[299] Cf. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 21, 1919.

[300] Cf. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 23, 1919

[301] Report of Dr. Jacques Bertillon. Cf. _L'Information_, January 20,
1919.

[302] Cf. _Le Matin_, August 13, 1919.

30
3: Excess of births over deaths (yearly average).--Cf.
_L'Information,_ January 20, 1919:

          Germany  Great Britain  Italy   France
1861-70   408,333    365,499     183,196  93,515
1871-80   511,034    431,436     191,538  64,063
1881-90   551,308    442,112     307,082  66,982
1891-1900 730,265    430,000     339,409  23,961
1901-10   866,338    484,822     369,959  46,524

[304] Professor L. Marchand. Cf. _La Démocratie Nouvelle_, April 26,
1919.

[305] Dr. Walter Rathenau, in a book entitled _The Death of France_. I
have not been able to procure a copy of this book. The extracts given
above are taken from a statement published by M. Brudenne in the _Matin_
of February 16, 1919.

[306] _Germania_, August 11, 1919. Cf. _Le Temps_, September 9, 1919.

[307] M. André Tardieu in a speech delivered on August 17, 1919. Cf.
Paris newspapers of following two days, and in particular _New York
Herald_, August 19th.

[308] Cf. speech delivered by M. André Tardieu on August 17, 1919.

[309] On this subject of reparations the _Journal de Genève_ published
several interesting articles at various times, as, for example, on May
15, 1919.

[310] Speech of M. Klotz in the Chamber on September 5, 1919. Cf.
_L'Echo de Paris_, September 6, 1919.

[311] D'Estournelles de Constant. _Bulletin des Droits de l'Homme_, May
15, 1919.

[312] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 24, 1919.

[313] Issued on November 9, 1918.

[314] See _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 30, 1919.

[315] An American Senator uncharitably conjectured that she received
this honorable distinction in order to contribute an additional vote to
the British.

[316] Cf. interview with a Persian official, published in the Paris
edition of _The Chicago Tribune_, August 19, 1919.

[317] "Unfortunately, Mr. Lloyd George, who has stripped the Foreign
Office of real power, has frequently given assurances of this nature,
and his acts have always contradicted them. As a proof, his last
interview with M. Clemenceau will serve." Cf. _L'Echo de Paris_, August
15, 1919, article by Pertinax.

[318] _Le Journal des Débats_, August 15, 1919.

[319] In Washington on August 16, 1919.

[320] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 19, 1919.

[321] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 24, 1919.

[322] After the above was written, a French journal, the _Echo de Paris_
of September 19, 1919, announced that General Marsh declares that his
agents acted without his instructions, but none the less it holds him
responsible for this Baltic policy.

[323] Marshal Douglas Haig, Lord French, the American pacifist, Sydney
Baker, Senator Chamberlain, Representative Kahn, and a host of others
have been preaching universal military training. The press, too, with
considerable exceptions, favors the movement. "We want a democratized
army, which represents all the nation, and it can be found only in
universal service.... Universal service is our best guaranty of peace."
Cf. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 22, 1919.

[324] President Wilson, when at the close of his conference with the
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations--at the White House--asked how the
United States had voted on the Japanese resolution in favor of race
equality, replied: "I am not sure of being free to answer the question,
because it affects a large number of points that were discussed in
Paris, and in the interest of international harmony I think I had better
not reply."--_The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), August 22, 1919.

[325] In virtue of Article LX of the Treaty with Austria.



XIV

THE TREATY WITH GERMANY


To discuss in detail the peace terms which after many months' desultory
talk were finally presented to Count Brockdorff-Rantzau would transcend
the scope of these pages. Like every other act of the Supreme Council,
they may be viewed from one of two widely sundered angles of
survey--either as the exercise by a victorious state of the power
derived from victory over the vanquished enemy, or as one of the
measures by which the peace of the world is to be enforced in the
present and consolidated in the future. And from neither point of view
can it command the approval of unbiased political students. At first the
Germans, and not they alone, expected that the conditions would be based
on the Fourteen Points, while many of the Allies took it for granted
that they would be inspired by the resolve to cripple Teutondom for all
time. And for each of these anticipations there were good formal
grounds.

The only legitimate motive for interweaving the Covenant with the Treaty
was to make of the latter a sort of corollary of the former and to
moderate the instincts of vengeance by the promptings of higher
interests. On this ground, and only on this, did the friends of
far-ranging reform support Mr. Wilson in his contention that the two
documents should be rendered mutually interdependent. Reparation for the
damage done in violation of international law and sound guaranties
against its recurrence are of the essence of every peace treaty that
follows a decisive victory. But reparation is seldom this and nothing
more. The lower instincts of human nature, when dominant as they are
during a bloody war and in the hour of victory, generally outweigh
considerations not only of right, but also of enlightened egotism,
leaving justice to merge into vengeance. And the fruits are treasured
wrath and a secret resolve on the part of the vanquished to pay out his
victor at the first opportunity. The war-loser of to-day aims at
becoming the war-winner of to-morrow. And this frame of mind is
incompatible with the temper needed for an era of moral fellowship such
as Mr. Wilson was supposed to be intent on establishing. Consequently, a
peace treaty unmodified by the principles underlying the Covenant is
necessarily a negation of the main possibilities of a society of nations
based upon right and a decisive argument against joining together the
two instruments.

The other kind of peace which Mr. Wilson was believed to have had at
heart consisted not merely in the liquidation of the war, but in the
uprooting of its permanent causes, in the renunciation by the various
nations of sanguinary conflicts as a means of determining rival claims,
and in such an amicable rearrangement of international relations as
would keep such disputes from growing into dangerous quarrels. Right, or
as near an approximation to it as is attainable, would then take the
place of violence, whereby military guaranties would become not only
superfluous, but indicative of a spirit irreconcilable with the main
purpose of the League. Each nation would be entitled to equal
opportunity within the limits assigned to it by nature and widened by
its own mental and moral capacities. Thus permanently to forbid a
numerous, growing, and territorially cramped nation to possess overseas
colonies for its superfluous population while overburdening others with
possessions which they are unable to utilize, would constitute a
negation of one of the basic principles of the new ordering.

Those were the grounds which seemed to warrant the belief that the
Treaty would be not only formally, but substantially and in its spirit
an integral, part of the general settlement based on the Fourteen
Points.

This anticipation turned out to be a delusion. Wilsonianism proved to be
a very different system from that of the Fourteen Points, and its author
played the part not only of an interpreter of his tenets, but also of a
sort of political pope alone competent to annul the force of laws
binding on all those whom he should refuse to dispense from their
observance. He had to do with patriotic politicians permeated with the
old ideas, desirous of providing in the peace terms for the next war and
striving to secure the maximum of advantage over the foe presumptive, by
dismembering his territory, depriving him of colonies, making him
dependent on others for his supplies of raw stuffs, and artificially
checking his natural growth. Nearly all of them had principles to invoke
in favor of their claims and some had nothing else. And it was these
tendencies which Mr. Wilson sought to combine with the ethical ideals to
be incarnated in the Society of Nations. Now this was an impossible
synthesis. The spirit of vindictiveness--for that was well represented
at the Conference--was to merge and lose itself in an outflow of
magnanimity; precautions against a hated enemy were to be interwoven
with implicit confidence in his generosity; a military occupation would
provide against a sudden onslaught, while an approach to disarmament
would bear witness to the absence of suspicion. Thus Poland would
discharge the function of France's ally against the Teutons in the east,
but her frontiers were to leave her inefficiently protected against
their future attacks from the west. Germany was dismembered, yet she
was credited with self-discipline and generosity enough to steel her
against the temptation to profit by the opportunity of joining together
again what France had dissevered. The League of Nations was to be based
upon mutual confidence and good fellowship, yet one of its most powerful
future members was so distrusted as to be declared permanently unworthy
to possess any overseas colonies. Germany's territory in the Saar Valley
is admittedly inhabited by Germans, yet for fifteen years there is to be
a foreign administration there, and at the end of it the people are to
be asked whether they would like to cut the bonds that link them with
their own state and place themselves under French sway, so that a
premium is offered for French immigration into the Saar Valley.

Those are a few of the consequences of the mixture of the two
irreconcilable principles.

That Germany richly deserved her punishment cannot be gainsaid. Her
crime was without precedent. Some of its most sinister consequences are
irremediable. Whole sections of her people are still unconscious not
only of the magnitude, but of the criminal character, of their misdeeds.
None the less there is a future to be provided for, and one of the
safest provisions is to influence the potential enemy's will for evil if
his power cannot be paralyzed. And this the Treaty failed to do.

The Germans, when they learned the conditions, discussed them angrily,
and the keynote was refusal to sign the document. The financial clauses
were stigmatized as masked slavery. The press urged that during the war
less than one-tenth of France's territory had been occupied by their
countrymen and that even of this only a fragment was in the zone of
combat. The entire wealth of France, they alleged, had been estimated
before the war at from three hundred and fifty milliard to four hundred
milliard francs, consequently for the devastated provinces hardly more
than one-twentieth of that sum could fairly be demanded as reparation,
whereas the claim set forth was incomparably more. They objected to the
loss of their colonies because the justification alleged--that they were
disqualified to administer them because of their former cruelties toward
the natives--was groundless, as the Allies themselves had admitted
implicitly by offering them the right of pre-emption in the case of the
Portuguese and other overseas possessions on the very eve of the war.

But the most telling objections turned upon the clauses that dealt with
the Saar Valley. Its population is entirely German, yet the
treaty-makers provided for its occupation by the French for a term of
fifteen years and its transference to them if, after that term, the
German government was unable to pay a certain sum in gold for the coal
mines it contained. If that sum were not forthcoming the population and
the district were to be handed over to France for all time, even though
the former should vote unanimously for reunion with Germany. Count
Brockdorff-Rantzau remarked in his note on the Treaty "that in the
history of modern times there is no other example of a civilized Power
obliging a state to abandon its people to foreign domination as an
equivalent for a cash payment." One of the most influential press organs
complained that the Treaty "bartered German men, women, and children for
coal; subjected some districts with a thoroughly German population to an
obligatory plebiscite[326] under interested supervision; severed others
without any consultation from the Fatherland; delivered over the
proceeds of German industry to the greed of foreign capitalists for an
indefinite period; ... spread over the whole country a network of alien
commissions to be paid by the German nation; withdrew streams, rivers,
railways, the air service, numerous industrial establishments, the
entire economic system, from the sovereignty of the German state by
means either of internationalization or financial control; conferred on
foreign inspectors rights such as only the satraps of absolute monarchs
in former ages were empowered to exercise; in a word, they put an end to
the existence of the German nation as such. Germany would become a
colony of white slaves...."[327]

Fortunately for the Allies, the reproach of exchanging human beings for
coal was seen by their leaders to be so damaging that they modified the
odious clause that warranted it. Even the comments of the friendly
neutral press were extremely pungent. They found fault with the Treaty
on grounds which, unhappily, cannot be reasoned away. "Why dissimulate
it?" writes the foremost of these journals; "this peace is not what we
were led to expect. It dislodges the old dangers, but creates new ones.
Alsace and Lorraine are, it is true, no longer in German hands, but ...
irredentism has only changed its camp. In 1914 Germany put her faith in
force because she herself wielded it. But crushed down under a peace
which appears to violate the promises made to her, a peace which in her
heart of hearts she will never accept, she will turn toward force anew.
It will stand out as the great misfortune of this Treaty that it has
tainted the victory with a moral blight and caused the course of the
German revolution to swerve.... The fundamental error of the instrument
lies in the circumstance that it is a compromise between two
incompatible frames of mind. It was feasible to restore peace to Europe
by pulling down Germany definitely. But in order to accomplish this it
would have been necessary to crush a people of seventy millions and to
incapacitate them from rising to their feet again. Peace could also have
been secured by the sole force of right. But in this case Germany would
have had to be treated so considerately as to leave her no grievance to
brood over. M. Clemenceau hindered Mr. Wilson from displaying sufficient
generosity to get the moral peace, and Mr. Wilson on his side prevented
M. Clemenceau from exercising severity enough to secure the material
peace. And so the result, which it was easy to foresee, is a régime
devoid of the real guaranties of durability."[328]

The judge of the French syndicalists was still more severe. "The
Versailles peace," exclaimed M. Verfeuil, "is worse than the peace of
Brest-Litovsk ... annexations, economic servitudes, overwhelming
indemnities, and a caricature of the Society of Nations--these
constitute the balance of the new policy,"[329] The Deputy Marcel Cachin
said: "The Allied armies fought to make this war the last. They fought
for a just and lasting peace, but none of these boons has been bestowed
on us. We are confronted with the failure of the policy of the one man
in whom our party had put its confidence--President Wilson. The peace
conditions ... are inacceptable from various points of view, financial,
territorial, economic, social, and human."[330]

It is in this Treaty far more than in the Covenant that the principles
to which Mr. Wilson at first committed himself are in decisive issue.
True, he was wont after every surrender he made during the Conference to
invoke the Covenant and its concrete realization--the League of
Nations--as the corrective which would set everything right in the
future. But the fact can hardly be blinked that it is the Treaty and its
effects that impress their character on the Covenant and not the other
way round. As an eminent Swiss professor observed: "No league of nations
would have hindered the Belgian people in 1830 from separating from
Holland. Can the future League of Nations hinder Germany from
reconstituting its geographical unity? Can it hinder the Germans of
Bohemia from smiting the Czech? Can it prevent the Magyars, who at
present are scattered, from working for their reunion?"[331]

These potential disturbances are so many dangers to France. For if war
should break out in eastern Europe, is it to be supposed that the United
States, the British colonies, or even Britain herself will send troops
to take part in it? Hardly. Suppose, for instance, that the Austrians,
who ardently desire to be merged in Germany, proclaim their union with
her, as I am convinced they will one day, does any statesman believe
that democratic America will despatch troops to coerce them back? If the
Germans of Bohemia secede from the Czechoslovaks or the Croats from the
Serbs, will British armies cross the sea to uphold the union which those
peoples repudiate? And in the name of which of the Fourteen Points would
they undertake the task? That of self-determination? France's interests,
and hers alone, would be affected by such changes. And France would be
left to fight single-handed. For what?

It is interesting to note how the conditions imposed upon Germany were
appreciated by an influential body of Mr. Wilson's American partizans
who had pinned their faith to his Fourteen Points. Their view is
expressed by their press organ as follows:[332]

"France remains the strongest Power on the Continent. With her military
establishment intact she faces a Germany without a general staff,
without conscription, without universal military training, with a
strictly limited amount of light artillery, with no air service, no
fleet, with no domestic basis in raw materials for armament manufacture,
with her whole western border fifty kilometers east of the Rhine
demilitarized. On top of this France has a system of military alliances
with the new states that touch Germany. On top of this she secured
permanent representation in the Council of the League, from which
Germany is excluded. On top of that economic terms which, while they
cannot be fulfilled, do cripple the industrial life of her neighbor.
With such a balance of forces France demands for herself a form of
protection which neither Belgium, nor Poland, nor Czechoslovakia, nor
Italy is granted."


FOOTNOTES:

[326] One of the three districts of Schleswig. A curious phenomenon was
this zeal of the Supreme Council for Denmark's interests, as compared
with Denmark's refusal to profit by it, the champions of
self-determination urging the Danes to demand a district, as Danish,
which the Danes knew to be German!

[327] _Das Berliner Tageblatt_, June 4, 1919.

[328] _Le Journal de Genève_, June 24, 1919.

[329] Cf. _L'Echo de Paris_, May 12, 1919.

[330] _Ibidem_.

[331] In a monograph entitled _Plus Jamais_.

[332] Cf. _The New Republic_, August 13, 1919, p. 43.



XV

THE TREATY WITH BULGARIA


Among all the strange products of the many-sided outbursts of the
leading delegates' reconstructive activity, the Treaty with Bulgaria
stands out in bold relief. It reveals the high-water mark reached by
those secret, elusive, and decisive influences which swayed so many of
the mysterious decisions adopted by the Conference. As Bulgaria disposed
of an abundant source of those influences, her chastisement partakes of
some of the characteristics of a reward. Not only did she not fare as
the treacherous enemy that she showed herself, but she emerged from the
ordeal much better off than several of the victorious states. Unlike
Serbia, Rumania, France, and Belgium, she escaped the horrors of a
foreign invasion and she possessed and fructified all her resources down
to the day when the armistice was concluded. Her peasant population made
huge profits during the campaign and her armies despoiled Serbia,
Rumania, and Greek Macedonia and sent home enormous booty. In a word,
she is richer and more prosperous than before she entered the arena
against her protectors and former allies.

For, owing to the intercession of her powerful friends, she was treated
with a degree of indulgence which, although expected by all who were
initiated into the secrets of "open diplomacy," scandalized those who
were anxious that at least some simulacrum of justice should be
maintained. Germany was forced to sign a blank check which her enemies
will one day fill in. Austria was reduced to the status of a parasite
living on the bounty of the Great Powers and denied the right of
self-determination. Even France, exhausted by five years' superhuman
efforts, beholds with alarm her financial future entirely dependent upon
the ability or inability of Germany to pay the damages to which she was
condemned.

But the Prussia of the Balkans, owing to the intercession of influential
anonymous friends, had no such consequences to deplore. Although she
contracted heavy debts toward Germany, she was relieved of the effort to
pay them. Her financial obligations were first transferred[333] to the
Allies and then magnanimously wiped out by these, who then limited all
her liabilities for reparations to two and a quarter milliard francs. An
Inter-Allied commission in Sofia is to find and return the loot to its
lawful owners, but it is to charge no indemnity for the damage done. Nor
will it contain representatives of the states whose property the Bulgars
abstracted. Serbia is allowed neither indemnity nor reparation. She is
to receive a share which the Treaty neglected to fix of the two and a
quarter milliard francs on a date which has also been left undetermined.
She is not even to get back the herds of cattle of which the Bulgars
robbed her. The lawgivers in Paris considered that justice would be met
by obliging the Bulgars to restore 28,000 head of cattle in lieu of the
3,200,000 driven off, so that even if the ill-starred Serbs should
identify, say, one million more, they would have no right to enforce
their claim.[334]

Nor is that the only disconcerting detail in the Treaty. The Supreme
Council, which sanctioned the military occupation of a part of Germany
as a guaranty for the fulfilment of the peace conditions, dispenses
Bulgaria from any such irksome conditions. Bulgaria's good faith
appeared sufficient to the politicians who drafted the instrument. "For
reasons which one hardly dares touch upon," writes an eminent French
publicist,[335] "several of the Powers that constitute the famous world
areopagus count on the future co-operation of Bulgaria. We shrink in
dismay from the perspective thus opened to our gaze."[336]

The territorial changes which the Prussia of the Balkans was condemned
to undergo are neither very considerable nor unjust. Rumania receives no
Bulgarian territory, the frontiers of 1913 remaining unaltered. Serbia
nets some on grounds which cannot be called in question, and a large
part of Thrace which is inhabited, not by Bulgars, but mainly by Greeks
and Turks, was taken from Bulgaria, but allotted to no state in
particular. The upshot of the Treaty, as it appeared to most of the
leading publicists on the Continent of Europe, was to leave Bulgaria,
whose cruelty and destructiveness are described by official and
unofficial reports as unparalleled, in a position of economic
superiority to Serbia, Greece, and Rumania. And in the Inter-Allied
commission Bulgaria is to have a representative, while Serbia, Greece,
and Rumania, a part of whose stolen property the commission has to
recover, will have none.

A comparison between the indulgence lavished upon Bulgaria and the
severity displayed toward Rumania is calculated to disconcert the
stanchest friends of the Supreme Council. The Rumanian government, in a
dignified note to the Conference, explained its refusal to sign the
Treaty with Austria by enumerating a series of facts which amount to a
scathing condemnation of the work of the Supreme Council. On the one
hand the Council pleaded the engagements entered into between Japan and
her European allies as a cogent motive for handing over Shantung to
Japan. For treaties must be respected. And the argument is sound. On the
other hand, they were bound by a similar treaty[337] to give Rumania the
whole Banat, the Rumanian districts of Hungary and the Bukovina as far
as the river Pruth. But at the Conference they repudiated this
engagement. In 1916 they stipulated that if Rumania entered the war they
would co-operate with ample military forces. They failed to redeem their
promise. And they further undertook that "Rumania shall have the same
rights as the Allies in the peace preliminaries and negotiations and
also in discussing the issues which shall be laid before the Peace
Conference for its decisions." Yet, as we saw, she was denied these
rights, and her delegates were not informed of the subjects under
discussion nor allowed to see the terms of peace, which were in the
hands of the enemies, and were only twice admitted to the presence of
the Supreme Council.

It has been observed in various countries and by the Allied and the
neutral press that between the German view about the sacredness of
treaties and that of the Supreme Council there is no substantial
difference.[338] Comments of this nature are all the more distressing
that they cannot be thrust aside as calumnious. Again it will not be
denied that Rumania rendered inestimable services to the Allies. She
sacrificed three hundred thousand of her sons to their cause. Her soil
was invaded and her property stolen or ruined. Yet she has been deprived
of part of her sovereignty by the Allies to whom she gave this help. The
Supreme Council, not content with her law conferring equal rights on
all her citizens, to whatever race or religion they may belong, ordered
her to submit to the direction of a foreign board in everything
concerning her minorities and demanded from her a promise of obedience
in advance to their future decrees respecting her policy in matters of
international trade and transit. These stipulations constitute a
noteworthy curtailment of her sovereignty.

That any set of public men should be carried by extrinsical motives thus
far away from justice, fair play, and good faith would be a misfortune
under any circumstances, but that at a conjuncture like the present it
should befall the men who set up as the moral guides of mankind and
wield the power to loosen the fabric of society is indeed a dire
disaster.


FOOTNOTES:

[333] In June, 1919.

[334] The comments on these terms, published by M. Gauvain in the
_Journal des Débats_ (September 20, 1919), are well worth reading.

[335] M. Auguste Gauvain.

[336] _Le Journal des Débats_, September 20, 1919.

[337] Concluded in the year 1916.

[338] Cf. _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), September 21, 1919.



XVI

THE COVENANT AND MINORITIES


In Mr. Wilson's scheme for the establishment of a society of nations
there was nothing new but his pledge to have it realized. And that
pledge has still to be redeemed under conditions which he himself has
made much more unfavorable than they were. The idea itself--floating in
the political atmosphere for ages--has come to seem less vague and
unattainable since the days of Kant. The only heads of states who had
set themselves to embody it in institutions before President Wilson took
it up not only disappointed the peoples who believed in them, but
discredited the idea itself.

That a merely mechanical organization such as the American statesman
seems to have had in mind, formed by parliamentary politicians
deliberating in secret, could bind nations and peoples together in moral
fellowship, is conceivable in the abstract. But if we turn to the
reality, we shall find that in that direction nothing durable can be
effected without a radical change in the ideas, aspirations, and temper
of the leaders who speak for the nations to-day, and, indeed, in those
of large sections of the nations themselves. For to organize society on
those unfamiliar lines is to modify some of the deepest-rooted instincts
of human nature. And that cannot be achieved overnight, certainly not in
the span of thirty minutes, which sufficed for the drafting of the
Covenant. The bulk of mankind might not need to be converted, but whole
classes must first be educated, and in some countries re-educated, which
is perhaps still more difficult. Mental and moral training must
complement and reinforce each other, and each political unit be brought
to realize that the interests of the vaster community take precedence
over those of any part of it. And to impress these novel views upon the
peoples of the world takes time.

An indispensable condition of success is that the compact binding the
members together must be entered into by the peoples, not merely by
their governments. For it is upon the masses that the burden of the war
lies heaviest. It is the bulk of the population that supplies the
soldiers, the money, and the work for the belligerent states, and
endures the hardships and makes the sacrifices requisite to sustain it.
Therefore, the peoples are primarily interested in the abolition of the
old ordering and the forging of the new. Moreover, as latter-day
campaigns are waged with all the resources of the warring peoples, and
as the possession of certain of these resources is often both the cause
of the conflict and the objective of the aggressor, it follows that no
mere political enactments will meet contemporary requirements. An
association of nations renouncing the sword as a means of settling
disputes must also reduce as far as possible the surface over which
friction with its neighbors is likely to take place. And nowadays most
of that surface is economic. The possession of raw materials is a more
potent attraction than territorial aggrandizement. Indeed, the latter is
coveted mainly as a means of securing or safeguarding the former. On
these and other grounds, in drawing up a charter for a society of
nations, the political aspect should play but a subsidiary part. In
Paris it was the only aspect that counted for anything.

A parliament of peoples, then, is the only organ that can impart
viability to a society of nations worthy of the name. By joining the
Covenant with the Peace Treaty, and turning the former into an
instrument for the execution of the latter, thus subordinating the ideal
to the egotistical, Mr. Wilson deprived his plan of its sole
justification, and for the time being buried it. The philosopher
Lichtenberg[339] wrote, "One man brings forth a thought, another holds
it over the baptismal font, the third begets offspring with it, the
fourth stands at its deathbed, and the fifth buries it." Mr. Wilson has
discharged the functions of gravedigger to the idea of a pacific society
of nations, just as Lenin has done to the system of Marxism, the only
difference being that Marxism is as dead as a door-nail, whereas the
society of nations may rise again.

It was open, then, to the three principal delegates to insure the peace
of the world by moral means or by force. Having eschewed the former by
adopting the doctrines of Monroe, abandoning the freedom of the seas,
and by according to France strategic frontiers and other privileges of
the militarist order, they might have enlarged and systematized these
concessions to expediency and forged an alliance of the three states or
of two, and undertaken to keep peace on the planet against all marplots.
I wrote at the time: "The delegates are becoming conscious of the
existence of a ready-made league of nations in the shape of the
Anglo-Saxon states, which, together with France, might hinder wars,
promote good-fellowship, remold human destinies; and they are delighted
thus to possess solid foundations on which a noble edifice can be raised
in the fullness of time. Tribunals will be created, with full powers to
adjudge disputes; facilities will be accorded to litigious states, and
even an obligation will be imposed to invoke their arbitration. And the
sum total of these reforms will be known to contemporary annals as an
inchoate League of Nations. The delegates are already modestly
disavowing the intention of realizing the ideal in all its parts. That
must be left to coming generations; but what with the exhaustion of the
peoples, their aversion from warfare, and the material obstacles to the
renewal of hostilities in the near future, it is calculated that the
peace will not soon be violated. Whether more salient results will be
attained or attempted by the Conference nobody can foretell."[340]

This expedient, even had it been deliberately conceived and skilfully
wrought out, would not have been an adequate solution of the world's
difficulties, nor would it have commended itself to all the states
concerned. But it would at least have been a temporary makeshift capable
of being transmuted under favorable circumstances into something less
material and more durable. But the amateur world-reformers could not
make up their minds to choose either alternative. And the result is one
of the most lamentable failures recorded in human history.

I placed my own opinion on record at the time as frankly as the
censorship which still existed for me would permit. I wrote: "What every
delegate with sound political instinct will ask himself is, whether the
League of Nations will eliminate wars in future, and, if not, he will
feel conscientiously bound to adopt other relatively sure means of
providing against them, and these consist of alliances, strategic
frontiers, and the permanent disablement of the potential enemy. On one
or other of these alternative lines the resettlement must be devised. To
combine them would be ruinous. Now of what practical use is a league of
nations devoid of supernational forces and faced by a numerous, virile,
and united race, smarting under a sense of injustice, thirsting for the
opportunities for development denied to it, but granted to nations which
it despises as inferior? Would a league of nations combine militarily
against the gradual encroachments or sudden aggression of that Power
against its weaker neighbors? Nobody is authorized to answer this
question affirmatively. To-day the Powers cannot agree to intervene
against Bolshevism, which they deem a scourge of the world, nor can they
agree to tolerate it.

"In these circumstances, what compelling motives can be laid before
those delegates who are asked to dispense with strategic frontiers and
rely upon a league of nations for their defense? Take France's outlook.
Peace once concluded, she will be confronted with a secular enemy who
numbers some seventy millions to her forty-five millions. In ten years
the disproportion will be still greater. Discontented Russia is almost
certain to be taken in hand by Germany, befriended, reorganized,
exploited, and enlisted as an ally."[341]


Conscious of these reefs and shoals, the French government, which was at
first contemptuous of the Wilsonian scheme, discerned the use it might
be put to as a military safeguard, and sought to convert it into that.
"The French," wrote a Francophil English journal published in Paris,
"would like the League to maintain what may be called a permanent
military general staff. The duties of this organization would be to keep
a hawklike eye on the misdemeanors, actual or threatened, of any state
or group of states, and to be empowered with authority to call into
instant action a great international military force for the frustration
or suppression of such aggression. The French have frankly in mind the
possibility that an unrepentant and unregenerate Germany is the most
likely menace not only to the security of France, but to the peace of
the world in general."[342]

And other states cherished analogous hopes. The spirit of right and
justice was to be evoked like the spirit that served Aladdin, and to be
compelled to enter the service of nationalism and militarism, and
accomplish the task of armies.

The paramount Powers prescribed the sacrifices of sovereignty which
membership of the League necessitated, and forthwith dispensed
themselves from making them. The United States government maintained its
Monroe Doctrine for America--nay, it went farther and identified its
interests with the Hay doctrine for the Far East.[343] It decided to
construct a powerful navy for the defense of these political assets, and
to give the youth of the country a semi-military training.[344] Defense
presupposes attack. War, therefore, is not excluded--nay, it is admitted
by the world-reformers, and preparations for it are indispensable.
Equally so are the burdens of taxation. But if liberty of defense be one
of the rights of two or three Powers, by what law is it confined to them
and denied to the others? Why should the other communities be
constrained to remain open to attack? Surely they, too, deserve to live
and thrive, and make the most of their opportunities. Now if in lieu of
a misnamed League of Nations we had an Anglo-Saxon board for the better
government of the world, these unequal weights and measures would be
intelligible on the principle that special obligations and
responsibilities warrant exceptional rights. But no such plea can be
advanced under an arrangement professing to be a society of free
nations. All that can with truth be said is what M. Clemenceau told the
delegates of the lesser states at the opening of the Conference--that
the three great belligerents represent twelve million soldiers and that
their supreme authority derives from that. The rôle of the other peoples
is to listen to the behests of their guardians, and to accept and
execute them without murmur. Might is still a source of right.

It is fair to say that the disclosure of the true base of the new
ordering, as blurted out by M. Clemenceau at that historic meeting,
caused little surprise among the initiated. For there was no reason to
assume that he, or, indeed, the bulk of the continental statesmen, were
converts to a doctrine of which its own apostle accepted only those
fragments which commended themselves to his country or his party. Had
not the French Premier scoffed at the League in public as in private?
Had he not said in the Chamber: "I do not believe that the Society of
Nations constitutes the necessary conclusion of the present war. I will
give you one of my reasons. It is this: if to-morrow you were to propose
to me that Germany should enter into this society I would not
consent."[345]

"I am certain," wrote one of the ablest and most ardent champions of the
League in France, Senator d'Estournelles de Constant--"I am certain that
he [M. Clemenceau] made an effort against himself, against his entire
past, against his whole life, against all his convictions, to serve the
Society of Nations. And his Minister of Foreign Affairs followed
him."[346] Exactly. And as with M. Clemenceau, so it was with the
majority of European statesmen; most of them made strenuous and, one
may add, successful efforts against their convictions. And the result
was inevitable.

"The governments," we read in the organ of syndicalists, who had
supported Mr. Wilson as long as they believed him determined to redeem
his promises--"the governments have acquiesced in the Fourteen
Points.... Hypocrisy. Each one cherished mental reservations. Virtue was
exalted and vice practised. The poltroon eulogized heroism; the
imperialist lauded the spirit of justice. For the past month we have
been picking up ideas about the worth of the adhesions to the Fourteen
Points, and never before has a more sinister or a more odious comedy
been played. Territorial demands have been heaved one upon the other;
contempt of the rights of peoples--the only right that we can
recognize--has been expressed in striking terms; the last restraints
have vanished; the masks have fallen."[347]


From every country in Europe the same judgment came pitched in varying
keys. The Italian press condemned the proceedings of the Conference in
language to the full as strong as that of the German or Austrian
journals. The _Stampa_ affirmed that those who, like Bissolati, were in
the beginning for placing their trust in one of the two coteries at the
Conference were guilty of a fatal mistake. "The mistake lay in their
belief in the ideal strivings of one of the parties, and in the horror
with which the cupidity of the others was contemplated, whereas both of
them were fighting for ... their interests.... In verity France was no
less militarist or absolutist than Germany, nor was England less avid
than either. And the proof is enshrined in the peace treaties which have
masked the results of their respective victories. _Versailles is a
Brest-Litovsk_, aggravated in the same proportion as the victory of the
Entente over Germany, is more complete than was that of Germany over
Russia. Cupidity does not alter its character, even when it seeks to
conceal itself under a Phrugian cap rather than wear a helmet."[348]

M. Clemenceau's opening utterance about the twelve million men, and the
unlimited right which such formidable armies confer on their possessors
to sit in judgment on the tribes and peoples of the planet, was the true
keynote to the Conference. After that the leading statesmen trimmed
their ship, touched the rudder, and sailed toward downright absolutism.

The effect of such utterances and acts on the minds of the peoples are
distinctly mischievous. For they tend to obliterate the sense of public
right, which is the main foundation of international intercourse among
progressive nations.

And already it had been shaken and weakened by the campaigns of the past
fifty years, and in particular by the last war. In the relations of
nation to nation there were certain principles--derivatives of ethics
diluted with maxims of expediency--which kept the various governments
from too flagrant breaches of faith. These checks were the only
substitute for morality in politics. Their highest power was connoted by
the word Europeanism, which stood for a supposed feeling of solidarity
among all the peoples of the old Continent, and for a certain respect
for the treaties on which the state-system reposed. But it existed
mainly among defeated nations when apprehensive of being isolated or
chastised by their victors. None the less, the idea marked a certain
advance toward an ethical bond of union.


Now this embryonic sense, together with respect for the binding force of
a nation's plighted troth, were numbered by the demoralizing influence
of the wars of the last fifty years. And one of the first and peremptory
needs of the world was their restoration. This could be effected only by
bringing the peoples, not merely of Europe, but of the world, more
closely together, by engrafting on them a feeling of close solidarity,
and impressing them with the necessity of making common cause in the one
struggle worth their while waging--resistance to the forces that
militate against human welfare and progress. The feeling was widespread
that the way to effect this was by some form of internationalism, by the
broadening, deepening, and quickening all that was implied by
Europeanism, by co-ordinating the collective energies of all progressive
peoples, and causing them to converge toward a common and worthy goal.
For the working classes this conception in a restricted form had long
possessed a commanding attraction. What they aimed at, however, was no
more than the catholicity of labor. They fancied that after the passage
of the tidal wave of destructiveness the ground was cleared of most of
the obstacles which had encumbered it, and that the forward advance
might begin forthwith.

What they failed to take sufficiently into account was the _vis
inertiæ_, the survival of the old spirit among the ruling orders whose
members continued to live and move in the atmosphere of use and wont,
and the spirit of hate and bitterness infused into all the political
classes, to dispel which was a herculean task. It was exclusively to the
leaders of those classes that Mr. Wilson confided the realization of the
abstract idea of a society of nations, which he may at first have
pictured to himself as a vast family conscious of common interests, bent
on moral and material self-betterment, and willing to eschew such
partial advantages as might hinder or retard the general progress. But,
judging by his attitude and his action, he had no real acquaintance
with the materials out of which it must be fashioned, no notion of the
difficulties to be met, and no staying power to encounter and surmount
them. And his first move entailed the failure of the scheme.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Wilson came to the Conference with a home-made
charter for the Society of Nations, which, according to the evidence of
Mr. Lansing, "was never pressed." The State Secretary added that "the
present league Covenant is superior to the American plan." And as for
the Fourteen Points, "They were not even discussed at the
Conference."[349] Suspecting as much, I wrote at the time:[350] "The
President has pinned himself down to no concrete scheme whatever. His
method is electric, choosing what is helpful and beneficent in the
projects of others, and endeavoring to obtain from the dissentients a
renunciation of ideas belonging to the old national currents and
adherence to the doctrines he deems salutary. It is, however, already
clear that the highest ideal now attainable is not a league of nations
as the masses understand it, which will abolish wars and likewise put an
end to the costly preparations for them, but only a coalition of
victorious nations, which may hope, by dint of economic inducements and
deterrents, to draw the enemy peoples into its camp in the not too
distant future. This result would fall very short of the expectations
aroused by the far-resonant promises made at the outset; but even it
will be unattainable without an international compact binding all the
members of the coalition to make war simultaneously upon the nation or
group of nations which ventures to break the peace. I am disposed to
believe that nothing less than such an express covenant will be regarded
by the continental Powers of the Entente as an adequate substitute for
certain territorial readjustments which they otherwise consider
essential to secure them from sudden attack.

"Whether such a condition would prevent future wars is a question that
only experience can answer. Personally, I am profoundly convinced, with
Mr. Taft, that a genuine league of nations must have teeth in the guise
of supernational, not international, forces. In these remarks I make
abstraction from the larger question which wholly absorbs this--namely,
whether the masses for whose behoof the lavish expenditure of time,
energy, and ingenuity is undertaken, will accept a coalition of
victorious governments against unregenerate peoples as a substitute for
the Society of Nations as at first conceived."

The supposed object of the League was the substitution of right for
force, by debarring each individual state from employing violence
against any of the others, and by the use of arbitration as a means of
settling disputes. This entails the suppression of the right to declare
war and to prepare for it, and, as a corollary, a system of deterrents
to hinder, and of penalties to punish rebellion on the part of a
community. That in those cases where the law is set at naught
efficacious means should be available to enforce it will hardly be
denied; but whether economic pressure would suffice in all cases is
doubtful. To me it seems that without a supernational army, under the
direct orders of the League, it might under conceivable circumstances
become impossible to uphold the decisions of the tribunal, and that, on
the other hand, the coexistence of such a military force with national
armaments would condemn the undertaking to failure.

An analysis of the Covenant lies beyond the limits of my task, but it
may not be amiss to point out a few of its inherent defects. One of the
principal organs of the League will be the Assembly and the Council. The
former, a very numerous and mainly political body, will necessarily be
out of touch with the peoples, their needs and their aspirations. It
will meet at most three or four times a year. And its members alone will
be invested with all the power, which they will be chary of delegating.
On the other hand, the Council, consisting at first of nine members,
will meet at least once a year. The members of both bodies will
presumably be appointed by the governments,[351] who will certainly not
renounce their sovereignty in a matter that concerns them so closely.
Such a system may be wise and conducive to the highest aims, but it can
hardly be termed democratic. The military Powers who command twelve
million soldiers will possess a majority in the Council.[352] The
Secretariat alone will be permanent, and will naturally be appointed by
the Great Powers.

Instead of abolishing war, the Conference described its abolition as
beyond the power of man to compass. Disarmament, which was to have been
one of its main achievements, is eliminated from the Covenant. As the
war that was to have been the last will admittedly be followed by
others, the delegates of the Great Powers worked conscientiously, as
behooved patriotic statesmen, to obtain in advance all possible
advantages for their respective countries by way of preparing for it.
The new order, which in theory reposes upon right, justice, and moral
fellowship, in reality depends upon powerful armies and navies. France
must remain under arms, seeing that she has to keep watch on the Rhine.
Britain and the United States are to go on building warships and
aircraft, besides training their youth for the coming Armageddon. The
article of the Covenant which lays it down that "the members of the
League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction
of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national
safety,"[353] is, to use a Russian simile, written on water with a fork.
Britain, France, and the United States are already agreed that they will
combine to repel unprovoked aggression on the part of Germany. That
evidently signifies that they will hold themselves in readiness to
fight, and will therefore make due preparation. This arrangement is a
substitute for a supernational army, as though prevention were not
better than cure; that it will prove efficacious in the long run very
few believe. One clear-visioned Frenchman writes: "The inefficacy of the
organization aimed at by the Conference constrains France to live in
continual and increasing insecurity, owing to the falling off of her
population."[354] He adds: "It follows from this abortive expedient--if
it is to remain definitive--that each member-state must protect itself,
or come to terms with the more powerful ones, as in the past.
Consequently we are in presence of the maintenance of militarism and the
régime of armaments."[355] This writer goes farther and accuses Mr.
Wilson of having played into the hands of Britain. "President Wilson,"
he affirms, "has more or less sacrificed to the English government the
society of nations and the question of armaments, that of the colonies
and that of the freedom of the seas...."[356] This, however, is an
over-statement. It was not for the sake of Britain that the American
statesman gave up so much; it was for the sake of saving something of
the Covenant. It was in the spirit of Sir Boyle Roche, whose attachment
to the British Constitution was such that, to save a part of it, he was
willing to sacrifice the whole.

The arbitration of disputes is provided for by one of the articles of
the Covenant;[357] but the parties may go to war three months later with
a clear conscience and an appeal to right, justice, self-determination,
and the usual abstract nouns.

In a word, the directors of the Conference disciplined their political
intelligence on lines of self-hypnotization, along which common sense
finds it impossible to follow them. There were also among the delegates
men who thought and spoke in terms of reason and logic, but their voices
evoked no echo. One of them summed up his criticism somewhat as follows:

"During the war our professions of democratic principles were far
resonant and emphatic. We were fighting for the nations of the world,
especially for those who could not successfully fight for themselves.
All the peoples, great and small, were exhorted to make the most painful
sacrifices to enable their respective governments to conquer the enemy.
Victory unexpectedly smiled on us, and the peoples asked that those
promises should be made good. Naturally, expectations ran high. What has
happened? The governments now answer in effect: 'We will promote your
interests, but without your co-operation or assent. We will make the
necessary arrangements in secret behind closed doors. The machinery we
are devising will be a state machinery, not a popular one. All that we
ask of you is implicit trust. You complain of our action in the past.
You have good cause. You say that the same men are about to determine
your future. Again you are right. But when you affirm that we are sure
to make the like mistakes, you are wrong, and we ask you to take our
word for it. You complain that we are politicians who feel the weight of
certain commitments and the fetters of obsolete traditions from which we
cannot free ourselves; that we are mainly concerned to protect and
further the interests of our respective countries, and that it is
inconceivable we should devise an organization which looks above and
beyond those interests. We ask you, are you willing, then, to abandon
the heritage of our fathers to the foreigner?'

"That the downtrodden peoples in Austria and Germany have been
emancipated is a moral triumph. But why has the beneficent principle
that is said to have inspired the deed been restricted in its
application? Why has the experiment been tried only in the enemies'
countries? Or are things quite in order everywhere else? Is there no
injustice in other quarters of the globe? Are there no complaints? If
there be, why are they ignored? Is it because all acts of oppression are
to be perpetuated which do not take place in the enemy's land? What
about Ireland and about a dozen other countries and peoples? Are they
skeletons not to be touched?

"By debarring the masses from participation in a grandiose scheme, the
success of which depends upon their assent, the governments are
indirectly but surely encouraging secret combined opposition, and in
some cases Bolshevism. The masses resent being treated as children after
having been appealed to as arbiters and rescuers. For four and a half
years it was they who bore the brunt of the war, they who sacrificed
their sons and their substance. In the future it is they to whom the
states will look for the further sacrifices in blood and treasure which
will be necessary in the struggles which they evidently anticipate.
Well, some of them refuse these sacrifices in advance. They challenge
the right of the governments to retain the power of making war and
peace. That power they are working to get into their own hands and to
wield in their own way, or at any rate to have a say in its exercise.
And in order to secure it, some sections of the peoples are making
common cause with the socialist revolutionaries, while others have gone
the length of Bolshevism. And that is a serious danger. The agitation
now going on among the people, therefore, starts with a grievance. The
masses have many other grievances besides the one just sketched--the
survivals of the feudal age, the privileges of class, the inequality of
opportunity. And the kernel formed by these is the element of truth and
equity which imparts force to all those underground movements, and
enables them to subsist and extend. Error is never dangerous by itself;
it is only when it has an admixture of truth that it becomes powerful
for evil. And it seems a thousand pities that the governments, whose own
interests are at stake, as well as those of the communities they govern,
should go out of their way to provide an explosive element for
Bolshevism and its less sinister variants."

The League was treated as a living organism before it existed. All the
problems which the Supreme Councilors found insoluble were reserved for
its judgment. Arduous functions were allotted to it before it had organs
to discharge them. Formidable tasks were imposed upon it before the
means of achieving them were devised. It is an institution so elusive
and elastic that the French regard it as capable of being used as a
handy instrument for coercing the Teutons, who, in turn, look upon it as
a means of recovering their place in the world; the Japanese hope it may
become a bridge leading to racial equality, and the governments which
devised it are bent on employing it as a lever for their own
politico-economic aims, which they identify with the progress of the
human race. How the peoples look upon it the future will show.

On the Monroe Doctrine in connection with the League of Nations the less
said the soonest mended. But one cannot well say less than this: that
any real society of peoples such as Mr. Wilson first conceived and
advocated is as incompatible with "regional understandings like the
Monroe Doctrine" as are the maintenance of national armaments and the
bartering of populations. It is immaterial whether one concludes that a
Society of Nations is therefore impossible in the present conjuncture or
that all those survivals of the old state system are obsolescent and
should be abolished. The two are unquestionably irreconcilable.

It would be a mistake to infer from the unanimity with which Mr.
Wilson's Covenant was finally accepted that it expressed the delegates'
genuine conceptions or sentiments. Mr. Bullitt, one of the expert
advisers to the American Peace Delegation, testified before the Senate
committee in Washington that State-Secretary Lansing remarked to him: "I
consider the League of Nations at present as entirely useless. The Great
Powers have simply gone ahead and arranged the world to suit themselves.
England and France, in particular, have gotten out of the Treaty
everything they wanted. The League of Nations can do nothing to alter
any unjust clauses of the Treaty except by the unanimous consent of the
League members. The Great Powers will never consent to changes in the
interests of weaker peoples."[358]

This opinion which Mr. Bullitt ascribed to Mr. Lansing was, to my
knowledge, that of a large number of the representatives of the nations
at the Conference. Among them all I have met very few who had a good
word to say of the scheme, and of the few one had helped to formulate
it, another had assisted him. And the unfavorable judgments of the
remainder were delivered after the Covenant was signed.


One of those leaders, in conversation with several other delegates and
myself, exclaimed one day: "The League of Nations indeed! It is an
absurdity. Who among thinking men believes in its reality?" "I do,"
answered his neighbor; "but, like the devils, I believe and tremble. I
hold that it is a corrosive poison which destroys much that is good and
will further much that is bad." A statesman who was not a delegate
demurred. "In my opinion," he said, "it is a response to a demand put
forward by the peoples of the globe, and because of this origin
something good will ultimately come of it. Unquestionably it is very
defective, but in time it may be--nay, must be--changed for the better."
The first speaker replied: "If you imagine that the League will help
continental peoples, you are, I am convinced, mistaken. It took the
United States three years to go to the help of Britain and France. How
long do you suppose it will take her to mobilize and despatch troops to
succor Poland, Rumania, or Czechoslovakia? I am acquainted with British
colonial public opinion and sentiment--too often misunderstood by
foreigners--and I can tell you that they are misconstrued by those who
fancy that they would determine action of that kind. If England tells
the colonies that she needs their help, they will come, because their
people are flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood, and also because
they depend for their defense upon her navy, and if she were to go under
they would go under, too. But the continental nations have no such
claims upon the British colonies, which would not be in a hurry to make
sacrifices in order to satisfy their appetites or their passions."

The second speaker then said: "It is possible, but nowise certain, that
the future League may help to settle these disputes which professional
diplomatists would have arranged, and in the old way, but it will not
affect those others which are the real causes of wars. If a nation
believes it can further its vital interest by breaking the peace, the
League cannot stop it. How could it? It lacks the means. There will be
no army ready. It would have to create one. Even now, when such an army,
powerful and victorious, is in the field, the League--for the Supreme
Council is that and more--cannot get its orders obeyed. How then will
its behest be treated when it has no troops at its beck and call? It is
redrawing the map of central and eastern Europe, and is very satisfied
with its work. But, as we know, the peoples of those countries look upon
its map as a sheet of paper covered with lines and blotches of color to
which no reality corresponds."

The constitution of the League was termed by Mr. Wilson a Covenant, a
word redolent of biblical and puritanical times, which accorded well
with the motives that decided him to prefer Geneva to Brussels as the
seat of the League, and to adopt other measures of a supposed political
character. The first draft of this document was, as we saw, completed in
the incredibly short space of some thirty hours, so as to enable the
President to take it with him to Washington. As the Ententophil _Echo de
Paris_ remarked, "By a fixed date the merchandise has to be consigned on
board the _George Washington_."[359]


The discussions that took place after the President's return from the
United States were animated, interesting, and symptomatic. In April the
commission had several sittings, at which various amendments and
alterations were proposed, some of which would cut deep into
international relations, while others were of slight moment and gave
rise to amusing sallies. One day the proposal was mooted that each
member-state should be free to secede on giving two years' notice. M.
Larnaude, who viewed membership as something sacramentally inalienable,
seemed shocked, as though the suggestion bordered on sacrilege, and
wondered how any government should feel tempted to take such a step.
Signor Orlando was of a different opinion. "However precious the
privilege of membership may be," he said, "it would be a comfort always
to know that you could divest yourself of it at will. I am shut up in my
room all day working. I do not go into the open air any oftener than a
prisoner might. But I console myself with the thought that I can go out
whenever I take it into my head. And I am sure a similar reflection on
membership of the League would be equally soothing. I am in favor of the
motion."

The center of interest during the drafting of the Covenant lay in the
clause proclaiming the equality of religions, which Mr. Wilson was bent
on having passed at all costs, if not in one form, then in another. This
is one example of the occasional visibility of the religious thread
which ran through a good deal of his personal work at the Conference.
For it is a fact--not yet realized even by the delegates
themselves--that distinctly religious motives inspired much that was
done by the Conference on what seemed political or social grounds. The
strategy adopted by the eminent American statesman to have his
stipulation accepted proceeded in this case on the lines of a
humanitarian resolve to put an end to sanguinary wars rather than on
those which the average reformer, bent on cultural progress, would have
traced. Actuality was imparted to this simple and yet thorny topic by a
concrete proposal which the President made one day. What he is reported
to have said is briefly this: "As the treatment of religious confessions
has been in the past, and may again in the future be, a cause of
sanguinary wars, it seems desirable that a clause should be introduced
into the Covenant establishing absolute liberty for creeds and
confessions." "On what, Mr. President," asked the first Polish delegate,
"do you found your assertion that wars are still brought about by the
differential treatment meted out to religions? Does contemporary
history bear out this statement? And, if not, what likelihood is there
that religious inequality will precipitate sanguinary conflicts in the
future?" To this pointed question Mr. Wilson is said to have made the
characteristic reply that he considered it expedient to assume this
nexus between religious inequality and war as the safest way of bringing
the matter forward. If he were to proceed on any other lines, he added,
there would be truth and force in the objection which would doubtless be
raised, that the Conference was intruding upon the domestic affairs of
sovereign states. As that charge would damage the cause, it must be
rebutted in advance. And for this purpose he deemed it prudent to
approach the subject from the side he had chosen.

This reply was listened to in silence and unfavorably commented upon
later. The alleged relation between such religious inequality as has
survived into the twentieth century and such wars as are waged nowadays
is so obviously fictitious that one can hardly understand the line of
reasoning that led to its assumption, or the effect which the fiction
could be supposed to have on the minds of those legislators who might be
opposed to the measure on the ground that it involved undue interference
in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The motion was referred to
a commission, which in due time presented a report. Mr. Wilson was
absent when the report came up for discussion, his place being taken by
Colonel House. The atmosphere was chilly, only a couple of the delegates
being disposed to support the clause--Rumania's representative, M.
Diamandi, was one, and another was Baron Makino, whose help Colonel
House would gladly have dispensed with, so inacceptable was the
condition it carried with it.

Baron Makino said that he entirely agreed with Colonel House and the
American delegates. The equality of religious confessions was not merely
desirable, but necessary to the smooth working of a Society of Nations
such as they were engaged in establishing. He held, however, that it
should be extended to races, that extension being also a corollary of
the principle underlying the new international ordering. He would
therefore move the insertion of a clause proclaiming the equality of
races and religions. At this Colonel House looked pensive. Nearly all
the other opinions were hostile to Colonel House's motion.

The reasons alleged by each of the dissenting lawgivers were
interesting. Lord Robert Cecil surprised many of his colleagues by
informing them that in England the Catholics, who are fairly treated as
things are, could not possibly be set on a footing of perfect equality
with their Protestant fellow-citizens, because the Constitution forbids
it. Nor could the British people be asked to alter their Constitution.
He gave as instances of the slight inequality at present enforced the
circumstance that no Catholic can ascend the throne as monarch, nor sit
on the woolsack as Lord Chancellor in the Upper House.

M. Larnaude, speaking in the name of France, stated that his country had
passed through a sequence of embarrassments caused by legislation on the
relations between the Catholics and the state, and that the introduction
of a clause enacting perfect equality might revive controversies which
were happily losing their sharpness. He considered it, therefore,
inadvisable to settle this delicate matter by inserting the proposed
declaration in the Covenant. Belgium's first delegate, M. Hymans,
pointed out that the objection taken by his government was of a
different but equally cogent character. There was reason to apprehend
that the Flemings might avail themselves of the equality clause to raise
awkward issues and to sow seeds of dissension. On those grounds he
would like to see the proposal waived. Signor Orlando half seriously,
half jokingly, reminded his colleagues that none of their countries had,
like his, a pope in their capital. The Italian government must,
therefore, proceed in religious matters with the greatest
circumspection, and could not lightly assent to any measure capable of
being manipulated to the detriment of the public interest. Hence he was
unable to give the motion his support. It was finally suggested that
both proposals be withdrawn. To this Colonel House demurred, on the
ground that President Wilson, who was unavoidably absent, attached very
great weight to the declaration, to which he hoped the delegates would
give their most favorable consideration. One of the members then rose
and said, "In that case we had better postpone the voting until Mr.
Wilson can attend." This suggestion was adopted. When the matter came up
for discussion at a subsequent sitting, the Japanese substituted
"nations" for "races."

In the meantime the usual arts of parliamentary emergency were practised
outside the Conference to induce the Japanese to withdraw their proposal
altogether. They were told that to accept or refuse it would be to
damage the cause of the future League without furthering their own. But
the Marquis Saionji and Baron Makino refused to yield an inch of their
ground. A conversation then took place between the Premier of Australia,
on the one side, and Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda, on the other,
with a view to their reaching a compromise. For Mr. Hughes was
understood to be the leader of those who opposed any declaration of
racial equality. The Japanese statesmen showed him their amendment, and
asked him whether he could suggest a modification that would satisfy
himself and them. The answer was in the negative. To the arguments of
the Japanese delegates the Australian Premier is understood to have
replied: "I am willing to admit the equality of the Japanese as a
nation, and also of individuals man to man. But I do not admit the
consequence that we should throw open our country to them. It is not
that we hold them to be inferior to ourselves, but simply that we do not
want them. Economically they are a perturbing factor, because they
accept wages much below the minimum for which our people are willing to
work. Neither do they blend well with our people. Hence we do not want
them to marry our women. Those are my reasons. We mean no offense. Our
restrictive legislation is not aimed specially at the Japanese. British
subjects in India are affected by it in exactly the same way. It is
impossible that we should formulate any modifications of your amendment,
because there is no modification conceivable that would satisfy us
both."

The Japanese delegates were understood to say that they would maintain
their motion, and that unless it passed they would not sign the
document. Mr. Hughes retorted that if it should pass he would refuse to
sign. Finally the Australian Premier asked Baron Makino whether he would
be satisfied with the following qualifying proviso: "This affirmation of
the principle of equality is not to be applied to immigration or
nationalization." Baron Makino and Viscount Chinda both answered in the
negative and withdrew.

The final act[360] is described by eye-witnesses as follows. Congruously
with the order of the day, President Wilson having moved that the city
of Geneva be selected as the capital of the future League, obtained a
majority, whereupon he announced that the motion had passed.

Then came the burning question of the equality of nations.[361] The
Polish delegate arose and opposed it on the formal ground that nothing
ought to be inserted in the preamble which was not dealt with also in
the body of the Covenant, as otherwise it would be no more than an
isolated theory devoid of organic connection with the whole. The
Japanese delegates delivered speeches of cogent argument and impressive
debating power. Baron Makino made out a very strong case for the
equality of nations. Viscount Chinda followed in a trenchant discourse,
which was highly appreciated by his hearers, nearly all of whom
recognized the justice of the Japanese claim. The Japanese delegates
refused to be dazzled by the circumstances that Japan was to be
represented on the Executive Council as one of the five Great Powers,
and that the rejection of the proposed amendment could not therefore be
construed as a diminution of her prestige. This consideration, they
retorted, was wholly irrelevant to the question whether or no the
nations were to be recognized as equal. They ended by refusing to
withdraw their modified amendment and calling for a vote. The result was
a majority for the amendment. Mr. Wilson thereupon announced that a
majority was insufficient to justify its adoption, and that nothing less
than absolute unanimity could be regarded as adequate. At this a
delegate objected: "Mr. Wilson, you have just accepted a majority for
your own motion respecting Geneva; on what grounds, may I ask, do you
refuse to abide by a majority vote on the amendment of the Japanese
delegation?" "The two cases are different," was the reply. "On the
subject of the seat of the League unanimity is unattainable." This
closed the official discussion.

Some time later, it is asserted, the Rumanians, who had supported Mr.
Wilson's motion on religious equality, were approached on the subject,
and informed that it would be agreeable to the American delegates to
have the original proposal brought up once more. Such a motion, it was
added, would come with especial propriety from the Rumanians, who, in
the person of M. Diamandi, had advocated it from the outset. But the
Rumanian delegates hesitated, pleading the invincible opposition of the
Japanese. They were assured, however, that the Japanese would no longer
discountenance it. Thereupon they broached the matter to Lord Robert
Cecil, but he, with his wonted caution, replied that it was a delicate
subject to handle, especially after the experience they had already had.
As for himself, he would rather leave the initiative to others. Could
the Rumanian delegates not open their minds to Colonel House, who took
the amendment so much to heart? They acted on this suggestion and called
on Colonel House. He, too, however, declared that it was a momentous as
well as a thorny topic, and for that reason had best be referred to the
head of the American delegation. President Wilson, having originated the
amendment, was the person most qualified to take direct action. It is
further affirmed that they sounded the President as to the advisability
of mooting the question anew, but that he declined to face another vote,
and the matter was dropped for good--in that form.

It was publicly asserted later on that the Japanese decided to abide by
the rejection of their amendment and to sign the Covenant as the result
of a bargain on the Shantung dispute. This report, however, was
pulverized by the Japanese delegation, which pointed out that the
introduction of the racial clause was decided upon before the delegates
left Japan, and when no difficulties were anticipated respecting
Japan's claim to have that province ceded to her by Germany, and that
the discussion on the amendment terminated on April 11th, consequently
before the Kiaochow issue came up for discussion. As a matter of fact,
the Japanese publicly announced their intention to adhere to the League
of Nations two days[362] before a decision was reached respecting their
claims to Kiaochow.

This adverse note on Mr. Wilson's pet scheme to have religious equality
proclaimed as a means of hindering sanguinary wars brought to its climax
the reaction of the Conference against what it regarded as a systematic
endeavor to establish the overlordship of the Anglo-Saxon peoples in the
world. The plea that wars may be provoked by such religious inequality
as still survives was so unreal that it awakened a twofold suspicion in
the minds of many of Mr. Wilson's colleagues. Most of them believed that
a pretext was being sought to enable the leading Powers to intervene in
the domestic concerns of all the other states, so as to keep them firmly
in hand, and use them as means to their own ends. And these ends were
looked upon as anything but disinterested. Unhappily this conviction was
subsequently strengthened by certain of the measures decreed by the
Supreme Council between April and the close of the Conference. The
misgivings of other delegates turned upon a matter which at first sight
may appear so far removed from any of the pressing issues of the
twentieth century as to seem wholly imaginary. They feared that a
religious--some would call it racial--bias lay at the root of Mr.
Wilson's policy. It may seem amazing to some readers, but it is none the
less a fact that a considerable number of delegates believed that the
real influences behind the Anglo-Saxon peoples were Semitic.

They confronted the President's proposal on the subject of religious
inequality, and, in particular, the odd motive alleged for it, with the
measures for the protection of minorities which he subsequently imposed
on the lesser states, and which had for their keynote to satisfy the
Jewish elements in eastern Europe. And they concluded that the sequence
of expedients framed and enforced in this direction were inspired by the
Jews, assembled in Paris for the purpose of realizing their carefully
thought-out program, which they succeeded in having substantially
executed. However right or wrong these delegates may have been, it would
be a dangerous mistake to ignore their views, seeing that they have
since become one of the permanent elements of the situation. The formula
into which this policy was thrown by the members of the Conference,
whose countries it affected, and who regarded it as fatal to the peace
of eastern Europe, was this: "Henceforth the world will be governed by
the Anglo-Saxon peoples, who, in turn, are swayed by their Jewish
elements."

It is difficult to convey an adequate notion of the warmth of
feeling--one might almost call it the heat of passion--which this
supposed discovery generated. The applications of the theory to many of
the puzzles of the past were countless and ingenious. The illustrations
of the manner in which the policy was pursued, and the cajolery and
threats which were said to have been employed in order to insure its
success, covered the whole history of the Conference, and presented it
through a new and possibly distorted medium. The morbid suspicions
current may have been the natural vein of men who had passed a great
part of their lives in petty racial struggles; but according to common
account, it was abundantly nurtured at the Conference by the lack of
reserve and moderation displayed by some of the promoters of the
minority clauses who were deficient in the sense of measure. What the
Eastern delegates said was briefly this: "The tide in our countries was
flowing rapidly in favor of the Jews. All the east European governments
which had theretofore wronged them were uttering their _mea culpa_, and
had solemnly promised to turn over a new leaf. Nay, they had already
turned it. We, for example, altered our legislation in order to meet by
anticipation the legitimate wishes of the Conference and the pressing
demands of the Jews. We did quite enough to obviate decrees which might
impair our sovereignty or lessen our prestige. Poland and Rumania issued
laws establishing absolute equality between the Jews and their own
nationals. All discrimination had ceased. Immigrant Hebrews from Russia
received the full rights of citizenship and became entitled to fill any
office in the state. In a word, all the old disabilities were abolished
and the fervent prayer of east European governments was that the Jewish
members of their respective communities should be gradually assimilated
to the natives and become patriotic citizens like them. It was a new
ideal. It accorded to the Jews everything they had asked for. It would
enable them to show themselves as the French, Italian, and Belgian Jews
had shown themselves, efficient citizens of their adopted countries.

"But in the flush of their triumph, the Jews, or rather their spokesmen
at the Conference, were not satisfied with equality. What they demanded
was inequality to the detriment of the races whose hospitality they were
enjoying and to their own supposed advantage. They were to have the same
rights as the Rumanians, the Poles, and the other peoples among whom
they lived, but they were also to have a good deal more. Their religious
autonomy was placed under the protection of an alien body, the League,
which is but another name for the Powers which have reserved to
themselves the governance of the world. The method is to oblige each of
the lesser states to bestow on each minority the same rights as the
majority enjoys, and also certain privileges over and above. The
instrument imposing this obligation is a formal treaty with the Great
Powers which the Poles, Rumanians, and other small states were summoned
to sign. It contains twenty-one articles. The first part of the document
deals with minorities generally, the latter with the Jewish elements.
The second clause of the Polish treaty enacts that every individual who
habitually resided in Poland on August 1, 1914, becomes a citizen
forthwith. This is simple. Is it also satisfactory? Many Frenchmen and
Poles doubt it, as we do ourselves. On August 1st numerous German and
Austrian agents and spies, many of them Hebrews, resided habitually in
Poland. Moreover, the foreign Jewish elements there, which have
immigrated from Russia, having lost--like everybody else before the
war--the expectation of seeing Polish independence ever restored, had
definitely thrown in their lot with the enemies of Poland. Now to put
into the hands of such enemies constitutional weapons is already a
sacrifice and a risk. The Jews in Vilna recently voted solidly against
the incorporation of that city in Poland.[363] Are they to be treated as
loyal Polish citizens? We have conceded the point unreservedly. But to
give them autonomy over and above, to create a state within the state,
and enable its subjects to call in foreign Powers at every hand's turn,
against the lawfully constituted authorities--that is an expedient which
does not commend itself to the newly emancipated peoples."

The Rumanian Premier Bratiano, whose conspicuous services to the Allied
cause entitled him to a respectful hearing, delivered a powerful
speech[364] before the delegates assembled in plenary session on this
question of protecting ethnic and religious minorities. He covered
ground unsurveyed by the framers of the special treaties, and his
sincere tone lent weight to his arguments. Starting from the postulate
that the strength of latter-day states depends upon the widest
participation of all the elements of the population in the government of
the country, he admitted the peremptory necessity of abolishing
invidious distinctions between the various elements of the population
there, ethnic or religious. So far, he was at one with the spokesmen of
the Great Powers. Rumania, however, had already accomplished this by the
decree enabling her Jews to acquire full citizenship by expressing the
mere desire according to a simple formula. This act confers the full
rights of Rumanian citizens upon eight hundred thousand Jews. The Jewish
press of Bucharest had already given utterance to its entire
satisfaction. If, however, the Jews are now to be placed in a special
category, differentiated and kept apart from their fellow-citizens by
having autonomous institutions, by the maintenance of the German-Yiddish
dialect, which keeps alive the Teuton anti-Rumanian spirit, and by being
authorized to regard the Rumanian state as an inferior tribunal, from
which an appeal always lies to a foreign body--the government of the
Great Powers--this would be the most invidious of all distinctions, and
calculated to render the assimilation of the German-Yiddish-speaking
Jews to their Rumanian fellow-citizens a sheer impossibility. The
majority and the minority would then be systematically and definitely
estranged from each other; and, seeing this, the elemental instincts of
the masses might suddenly assume untoward forms, which the treaty, if
ratified, would be unavailing to prevent. But, however baneful for the
population, foreign protection is incomparably worse for the state,
because it tends to destroy the cement that holds the government and
people together, and ultimately to bring about disintegration. A classic
example of this process of disruption is Russia's well-meant protection
of the persecuted Christians in Turkey. In this case the motive was
admirable, the necessity imperative, but the result was the
dismemberment of Turkey and other changes, some of which one would like
to forget.


The delegation of Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, and Poland upheld M.
Bratiano's contentions in brief, pithy speeches. President Wilson's
lengthy rejoinder, delivered with more than ordinary sweetness,
deprecated M. Bratiano's comparison of the Allies' proposed intervention
with Russia's protection of the Christians of Turkey, and represented
the measure as emanating from the purest kindness. He said that the
Great Powers were now bestowing national existence or extensive
territories upon the interested states, actually guaranteeing their
frontiers, and therefore making themselves responsible for permanent
tranquillity there. But the treatment of the minorities, he added,
unless fair and considerate, might produce the gravest troubles and even
precipitate wars. Therefore it behooved the Powers in the interests of
all Europe, as of each of its individual members, to secure harmonious
relations, and, at any rate, to remove all manifest obstacles to their
establishment. "We guarantee your frontiers and your territories. That
means that we will send over arms, ships, and men, in case of necessity.
Therefore we possess the right and recognize the duty to hinder the
survival of a set of deplorable conditions which would render this
intervention unavoidable."

To this line of reasoning M. Bratiano made answer that all the helpful
maxims of good government are of universal application, and, therefore,
if this protection of minorities were, indeed, indispensable or
desirable, it should not be restricted to the countries of eastern
Europe, but should be extended to all without exception. For it is
inadmissible that two categories of states should be artificially
created, one endowed with full sovereignty and the other with
half-sovereignty. Such an arrangement would destroy the equality which
should lie at the base of a genuine League of Nations.

But the Powers had made up their minds, and the special treaties were
imposed on the unwilling governments. Thereupon the Rumanian Premier
withdrew from the Conference, and neither his Cabinet nor that of the
Jugoslavs signed the treaty with Austria at St.-Germain.

What happened after that is a matter of history.

Few politicians are conscious of the magnitude of the issue concealed by
the involved diplomatic phraseology of the obnoxious treaties, or of the
dangers to which their enactment will expose the minorities which they
were framed to protect, the countries whose hospitality those minorities
enjoy, and possibly other lands, which for the time being are seemingly
immune from all such perilous race problems. The calculable, to say
nothing of the unascertained, elements of the question might well cause
responsible statesmen to be satisfied with the feasible. The Jewish
elements in Europe, for centuries abominably oppressed, were justified
in utilizing to the fullest the opportunity presented by the
resettlement of the world in order to secure equality of treatment. And
it must be admitted that their organization is marvelous. For years I
championed their cause in Russia, and paid the penalty under the
governments of Alexander II and III.[365] The sympathy of every
unbiased man, to whatever race or religion he may belong, will naturally
go out to a race or a nation which is trodden underfoot, as were the
ill-starred Jews of Russia ever since the partition of Poland. But
equality one would have thought sufficient to meet the grievance. Full
equality without reservation. That was the view taken by numerous Jews
in Poland and Rumania, several of whom called on me in Paris and urged
me to give public utterance to their hopes that the Conference would
rest satisfied with equality and to their fear of the consequences of an
attempt to establish a privileged status. Why this position should exist
only in eastern Europe and not elsewhere, why it should not be extended
to other races with larger minorities in other countries, are questions
to which a satisfactory response could be given only by farther-reaching
and fateful changes in the legislation of the world.

One of the statesmen of eastern Europe made a forcible appeal to have
the minority clauses withdrawn. He took the ground that the principal
aim pursued in conferring full rights on the Jews who dwell among us is
to remove the obstacles that prevent them from becoming true and loyal
citizens of the state, as their kindred are in France, Italy, Britain,
and elsewhere. "If it is reasonable," he said, "that they should demand
all the rights possessed by their Rumanian and Polish fellow-subjects,
it is equally fair that they should take over and fulfil the correlate
duties, as does the remainder of the population. For the gradual
assimilation of all the ethnic elements of the community is our ideal,
as it is the ideal of the French, English, Italian, and other states.

"Isolation and particularism are the negative of that ideal, and operate
like a piece of iron or wood in the human body which produces ulceration
and gangrene. All our institutions should therefore be calculated to
encourage assimilation. If we adopt the opposite policy, we inevitably
alienate the privileged from the unprivileged sections of the community,
generate enmity between them, cause endless worries to the
administration and paralyze in advance our best-intentioned endeavors to
fuse the various ethnic ingredients of the nation into a homogeneous
whole.

"This argument applies as fully to the other national fragments in our
midst as to the Jews. It is manifest, therefore, that the one certain
result of the minority clause will be to impose domestic enemies on each
of the states that submits to it, and that it can commend itself only to
those who approve the maxim, _Divide et impera_.

"It also entails the noteworthy diminution of the sovereignty of the
state. We are to be liable to be haled before a foreign tribunal
whenever one of our minorities formulates a complaint against us.[366]
How easily, nay, how wickedly such complaints were filed of late may be
inferred from the heartrending accounts of pogroms in Poland, which have
since been shown by the Allies' own confidential envoys to be utterly
fictitious. Again, with whom are we to make the obnoxious stipulations?
With the League of Nations? No. We are to bind ourselves toward the
Great Powers, who themselves have their minorities which complain in
vain of being continually coerced. Ireland, Egypt, and the negroes are
three striking examples. None of their delegates were admitted to the
Conference. If the principle which those Great Powers seek to enforce be
worth anything, it should be applied indiscriminately to all minorities,
not restricted to those of the smaller states, who already have
difficulties enough to contend against."

The trend of continental opinion was decidedly opposed to this policy of
continuous control and periodic intervention. It would be unfruitful to
quote the sharp criticisms of the status of the negroes in the United
States.[367] But it will not be amiss to cite the views of two moderate
French publicists who have ever been among the most fervent advocates of
the Allied cause. Their comments deal with one of the articles[368] of
the special Minority Treaty which Poland has had to sign. It runs thus:
"Jews shall not be compelled to perform any act which constitutes a
violation of their Sabbath, nor shall they be placed under any
disability by reason of their refusal to attend courts of law or to
perform any legal business on their Sabbath. This provision, however,
shall not exempt Jews from such obligations as shall be imposed upon all
other Polish citizens for the necessary purposes of military service,
national defense, or the preservation of public order.

"Poland declares her intention to refrain from ordering or permitting
elections, whether general or local, to be held on a Saturday, nor will
registration for electoral or other purposes be compelled to be
performed on a Saturday."

M. Gauvain writes: "One may put the question, why respect for the
Sabbath is so peremptorily imposed when Sunday is ignored among several
of the Allied Powers. In France Christians are not dispensed from
appearing on Sundays before the assize courts. Besides, Poland is
further obliged not to order or authorize elections on a Saturday. What
precautions these are in favor of the Jewish religion as compared with
the legislation of many Allied states which have no such ordinances in
favor of Catholicism! Is the same procedure to be adopted toward the
Moslems? Shall we behold the famous Mussulmans of India, so opportunely
drawn from the shade by Mr. Montagu, demanding the insertion of clauses
to protect Islam? Will the Zionists impose their dogmas in Palestine? Is
the life of a nation to be suspended two, three, or four days a week in
order that religious laws may be observed? Catholicism has adapted
itself in practice to laic legislation and to the exigencies of modern
life. It may well seem that Judaism in Poland could do likewise. In
Rumania, the Jews met with no obstacle to the exercise of their
religion. Indeed, they had contrived in the localities to the north of
Moldavia, where they formed a majority, to impose their own customs on
the rest of the population. Jewish guardians of toll-bridges are known
to have barred the passage of these bridges on Saturdays, because, on
the one hand, their religion forbade them to accept money on that day,
and, on the other hand, they could allow no one to pass without paying.
The Big Four might have given their attention to matters more useful or
more pressing than enforcing respect for the Sabbath.

"It is comprehensible that M. Bratiano should have refused to accept in
advance the conditions which the Four or the Five may dictate in favor
of ethnic and religious minorities. Rumania before the war was a free
country governed congruously with the most modern principles. The
restrictions which she had enacted respecting foreigners in general, and
which were on the point of being repealed, did not exceed those which
the United States and the Dominion of Australia still apply with
remarkable tenacity. Why should the Cabinets of London and Washington
take so much to heart the lot of ethnic and religious minorities in
certain European countries while they themselves refuse to admit in the
Covenant of the Society of Nations the principle of the equality of
races? Their conduct is awakening among the states 'whose interests are
limited' the belief that they are the victims of an arbitrary policy.
And that is not without danger."[369]

Another eminent Frenchman, M. Denis Cochin, who until quite recently was
a Cabinet Minister, wrote: "The Conference, by imposing laws in favor of
minorities, has uselessly and unjustly offended our allies. These laws
oblige them to respect the usages of the Jews, to maintain schools for
them.... I have spent a large part of my career in demanding for French
Catholics exactly that which the Conference imposes elsewhere. The
Catholics pay taxes in money and taxes in blood. And yet there is no
budget for those schools in which their religion is taught; no liberty
for those schoolmasters who wear the ecclesiastical habit. I have seen a
doctor in letters, fellow of the university, driven from his class
because he was a Marist brother and did not choose to repudiate the
vocation of his youth. He died of grief. I have seen young priests,
after the long, laborious preparation necessary before they could take
part in the competition for a university fellowship, thrust aside at the
last moment and debarred from the competition because they wore the garb
of priests. Yet a year later they were soldiers. I have seen Father
Schell presented unanimously by the Institute and the Professional Corps
as worthy to receive a chair at the Collège de France, and refused by
the Minister. Yet I hereby affirm that if foreigners, even though they
were allies, even friends, were to meddle with imposing on us the
abrogation of these iniquitous laws, my protest would be uplifted
against them, together with that of M. Combes.[370] I would exclaim,
like Sganarelle's wife, 'And what if I wish to be beaten?' I hold
tyranny in horror, but I hold foreign intervention in greater horror
still. Let us combat bad laws with all our strength, but among
ourselves."[371]

The minority treaties tend to transform each of the states on which it
is imposed into a miniature Balkans, to keep Europe in continuous
turmoil and hinder the growth of the new and creative ideas from which
alone one could expect that union of collective energy with individual
freedom which is essential to peace and progress. Modern history affords
no more striking example of the force of abstract bias over the
teachings of experience than this amateur legislation which is
scattering seeds of mischief and conflict throughout Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Casting a final glance at the results of the Conference, it would be
ungracious not to welcome as a precious boon the destruction of Prussian
militarism, a consummation which we owe to the heroism of the armies
rather than to the sagacity of the lawgivers in Paris. The restoration
of a Polish state and the creation or extension of the other free
communities at the expense of the Central Empires are also most welcome
changes, which, however, ought never to have been marred by the
disruptive wedge of the minority legislation. Again, although the League
is a mill whose sails uselessly revolve, because it has no corn to
grind, the mere fact that the necessity of internationalism was solemnly
proclaimed as the central idea of the new ordering, and that an effort,
however feeble, was put forth to realize it in the shape of a covenant
of social and moral fellowship, marks an advance from which there can be
no retrogression.

Actuality was thereby imparted to the idea, which is destined to remain
in the forefront of contemporary politics until the peoples themselves
embody it in viable institutions. What the delegates failed to realize
is the truth that a program of a league is not a league.

On the debit side much might be added to what has already been said. The
important fact to bear in mind--which in itself calls for neither praise
nor blame--is that the world-parliament was at bottom an Anglo-Saxon
assembly whose language, political conceptions, self-esteem, and
disregard of everything foreign were essentially English. When speaking,
the faces of the principal delegates were turned toward the future, and
when acting they looked toward the past. As a thoroughly English press
organ, when alluding to the League of Nations, puts it: "We have done
homage to that entrancing ideal by spatchcocking the Convention into the
Treaty. There it remains as a finger-post to point the way to a new
heaven on earth. But we observe that the Treaty itself is a good old
eighteenth-century piece, drawing its inspiration from mundane and
practical considerations, and paying a good deal more than lip service
to the principle of the balance of power."[372]

That is a fair estimate of the work achieved by the delegates. But they
sinned in their way of doing it. If they had deliberately and
professedly aimed at these results, and had led the world to look for
none other, most of the criticisms to which they have rendered
themselves open would be pointless. But they raised hopes which they
refused to realize, they weakened if they did not destroy faith in
public treaties, they intensified distrust and race hatred throughout
the world, they poured strong dissolvents upon every state on the
European Continent, and they stirred up fierce passions in Russia, and
then left that ill-starred nation a prey to unprecedented anarchy. In a
word, they gathered up all the widely scattered explosives of
imperialism, nationalism, and internationalism, and, having added to
their destructiveness, passed them on to the peoples of the world as
represented by the League of Nations. Some of them deplored the mess in
which they were leaving the nations, without, however, admitting the
causal nexus between it and their own achievements.

General Smuts, before quitting Paris for South Africa, frankly admitted
that the Peace Treaty will not give us the real peace which the peoples
hoped for, and that peace-making would not begin until after the signing
of the Treaty. The _Echo de Paris_ wrote: "As for us, we never believed
in the Society of Nations."[373] And again: "The Society of Nations is
now but a bladder, and nobody would venture to describe it as a
lantern."[374] The Bolshevist dictator Lenin termed it "an organization
to loot the world."[375]

The Allies themselves are at sixes and sevens. The French are suspicious
of the British. A large section of the American people is profoundly
dissatisfied with the part played by the English and the French at the
Conference; Italy is stung to the quick by the treatment she received
from France, Britain, and the United States; Rumania loathes the very
names of those for whom she staked her all and sacrificed so much; in
Poland and Belgium the English have lost the consideration which they
enjoyed before the Conference; the Greeks are wroth with the American
delegates; the majority of Russians literally execrate their ex-Allies
and turn to the Germans and the Japanese.

"The resettlement of central Europe," writes an American journal,[376]
"is not being made for the tranquillity of the liberated principles,
but for the purposes of the Great Powers, among whom France is the
active, and America and Britain the passive, partners. In Germany its
purpose is the permanent elimination of the German nation as a factor in
European politics.... We cannot save Europe by playing the sinister game
now being played. There is no peace, no order, no security in it....
What it can do is to aggravate the mischief and intensify the schisms."

A distinguished American, who is a consistent friend of England,[377] in
a review article affirmed that the proposed League of Nations is slowly
undermining the Anglo-American Entente. "There is in America a growing
sense of irritation that she should be forever entangled in the
spider-web of European politics." ... And if the Senate in the supposed
interests of peace should ratify the League, he adds, "In my judgment no
greater harm could result to Anglo-American unity than such reluctant
consent."[378]

Some of Mr. Wilson's fellow-countrymen who gave him their whole-hearted
support when he undertook to establish a régime of right and justice sum
up the result of his labors in Paris as follows:[379]

"His solemn warning against special alliances emerged as a special
alliance with Britain and France. His repeated condemnations of secret
treaties emerges as a recognition that 'they could not honorably be
brushed aside,' even though they conflicted with equally binding public
engagements entered into after they had been written. Openly arrived at
covenants were not openly arrived at. The removal, so far as possible,
of all economic barriers was applied to German barriers, and
accompanied by the blockade of a people with whom we have never been at
war. The adequate guaranties to be given and taken as respects armaments
were taken from Germany and given to no one. The 'unhampered and
unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own
political development' promised to Russia, and defined as the 'acid
test,' has been worked out by Mr. Wilson and others to a point where so
cautious a man as Mr. Asquith says he regards it with 'bewilderment and
apprehension.' The righting of the wrong done in 1871 emerges as a
concealed annexation of the boundary of 1814. The 'clearly recognizable
lines of nationality' which Italy was to obtain has been wheedled into
annexations which have moved Viscount Bryce to denounce them. 'The
freest opportunity of autonomous development' promised the peoples of
Austria-Hungary failed to define the Austrians as peoples...."

Whatever the tests one applies to the work of the Conference--ethical,
social, or political--they reveal it as a factor eminently calculated to
sap high interests, to weaken the moral nerve of the present generation,
to fan the flames of national and racial hatred, to dig an abyss between
the classes and the masses, and to throw open the sluice-gates to the
inrush of the waves of anarchist internationalities. Truth, justice,
equity, and liberty have been twisted and pressed into the service of
economico-political boards. In the United States the people who prided
themselves on their aloofness are already fighting over European
interests. In Europe every nation's hand is raised against its
neighbors, and every people's hand against its ruling class. Every
government is making its policy subservient to the needs of the future
war which is universally looked upon as an unavoidable outcome of the
Versailles peace. Imperialism and militarism are striking roots in soil
where they were hitherto unknown. In a word, Prussianism, instead of
being destroyed, has been openly adopted by its ostensible enemies, and
the huge sacrifices offered up by the heroic armies of the foremost
nations are being misused to give one half of the world just cause to
rise up against the other half.

THE END


FOOTNOTES:

[339] A contemporary of Goethe. His works were republished by Herzog in
the year 1907.

[340] _The Daily Telegraph_, January 28, 1919.

[341] _The Daily Telegraph_, January 31, 1919.

[342] _The Daily Mail_ (Paris edition), February 13, 1919.

[343] State-Secretary Hay addressed a note to the Powers in September,
1899, setting forth America's attitude toward China. It is known as the
doctrine of the "open door." In a subsequent note (July 3, 1900) he
enlarged its scope and promulgated the integrity of China. But Russia
ignored it and flew her flag over the Chinese customs in Newchwang. It
was Japan who, on that occasion, asserted and enforced the doctrine
without outside help.

[344] General March intimated, when testifying before the House Military
Committee, that President Wilson approved of universal training,
indorsing the War Department's army program.--_New York Herald_ (Paris
edition).

[345] _Bulletin des Droits de l'Homme_, No. 10, May 15, 1919.

[346] _Journal Officiel_, November 21, 1917.

[347] _Le Populaire_, February 10, 1919.

[348] _La Stampa_, June 11, 1919. Cf. _L'Humanité,_ June 13, 1919.

[349] Cf. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 27, 1919.

[350] In _The Daily Telegraph_, February 8, 1919.

[351] The Covenant leaves the mode of recruiting them undetermined.

[352] Article IV.

[353] Article VIII.

[354] M. d'Estournelles de Constant, _Bulletin des Droits de l'Homme_,
May 15, 1919, p. 450.

[355] _Ibid._

[356] _Ibid._, p. 457.

[357] Article XII.

[358] Cf. _The New York Herald_ (Paris edition), September 14, 1919.

[359] _L'Echo de Paris_, February 17, 1919.

[360] On April 11, 1919.

[361] The wording of the final Japanese amendment was: "By the
endorsement of the principle of equality of nations and just treatment
of their nationals."

[362] On April 28, 1919.

[363] The Jewish coalition in Vilna inscribed on its program the union
of Vilna with Russia.... There was an overwhelming majority in favor of
its retention by Poland.--_Le Temps_, September 14, 1919. The election
took place on September 7th.

[364] On Saturday, May 31, 1919.

[365] I published several series of articles in _The Daily Telegraph_,
_The Fortnightly Review_, and other English as well as American
periodicals, and a long chapter in my book entitled _Russian
Characteristics_.

[366] "Poland agrees that any member of the Council of the League of
Nations shall have the right to bring to the attention of the Council
any infraction, or _any danger of infraction_, of any of these
obligations, and that the Council may thereupon take such action and
give such direction as it may deem proper and effective in the
circumstances."--Article XII of the Special Treaty with Poland.

[367] Cf. _La Gazette de Lausanne_, April 24, 1919.

[368] Article XI of the Special Treaty, _L'Etoile Belge_, August 17,
1919.

[369] _Le Journal des Débats_, July 7, 1919.

[370] M. Emile Combes was the author of the laws which banished
religious congregations from France.

[371] _Le Figaro_, August 21, 1919. _L'Echo de Paris_, August 22, 1919.

[372] _The Morning Post_, July 21, 1919.

[373] _L'Echo de Paris_, April 29, 1919.

[374] _Ibid._, April 14, 1919.

[375] _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), September 17, 1919.

[376] _The New Republic_, August 6, 1919.

[377] Mr. James B. Beck.

[378] _The North American Review_, June, 1919.

[379] Cf. _The New Republic_, August 6, 1919, pp. 5, 6.





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