29 JANUARY 1921, Page 4



LT OW can that pact between the majority of the Powers 11 which we call the League of Nations be modified SO as to satisfy the United States and secure her admission ? We belieVe, as we said last week, that the proper way to reach an end so desirable is for America to consider and state what she wants in terms of amendment to the Covenant and propose her draft to the League. Greatly daring, we suggest to the President-elect the scheme we put forward in 1918, as we think he might find in it a basis for what he wants—see his very striking letter to the Sulgrave Trustees. The following was our statement of the objects of the pact between the nations which was about to be made when we wrote on October 26th, 1918 :-



The object with which the League of Nations is formed is the preservation of the sanctity of Treaty Contracts made between self-governing States. Members of the League are pledged to maintain amity between themselves, and the League, and its Members, jointly and severally, and are in covenant with each Member and the Members as a whole not to withdraw from the League, and not to put an end to any Treaty _made outside the organization of the League with any Power, without giving one year's notice of their intention of withdrawal from the League or of the abro- gation of a Treaty made with a Power not a Member of the League as aforesaid. The League does not limit, or derogate from, the complete sovereignty of the States which compose it, except in respect of the Contract, explicit and implicit, of a year's notice of with- drawal from the League or from any other Treaty_ obligation whatsoever. Any appeal to arms before such notice has been given or before the year has expired shall be regarded as a violation of the principles and objects of the League, and shall be punished by the League and its Members jointly and severally by a Declara- tion of Non-Intercourse in the manner set forth in the Constitution of the League. Such Non-Intercourse shall be directed, supervised, and maintained by the General Council of the League, and failure by any Power concerned to enforce the Non-Intercourse Decree, or to observe the obligations and duties undertaken by Members of the League, shall in turn be visited by a Decree of Non-Inter- course with the Power guilty of contumacious action or neglect.


I. Only self -governing States are entitled to be Members of the League, and each Member retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence.* H. The Members hereby severally enter into a firm League of friendship with each other for their common - defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves, as long as they are Members of the League, to assist each other against all force offered to, or attacks made upon; them, or any of them, on account of sovereignty, trade, or any other pretence whatever.

ITT. For the more convenient management of the general interests of the League, Delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the Legislature of each Member shall direct, to meet in Council on the first Monday in May of every year, with a power reserved to each Member to recall its Delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead, for the remainder of the year.

IV. In determining questions considered by the Council of the League, each Ordinary Power shall have one Vote. The Great Powers shall each have ten Votes. A Great Power is a Power with a population of over thirty millions, or a State expressly declared to be a Great Power by the Council of the League.

V. No Member shall engage in any war without the consent of the Council of the League, unless such Member is actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation to invade such Member, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the Council of the League can be consulted. VI. The Council of the Leaate assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting, or that hereafter may arise, between two or more Powers con- cerning boundary, jurisdiction, or any other cause whatever— which authority shall always be exercised in the manner follow- ing. Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any Power in controversy with another shall present a petition to the League, stating the matter in question and praying ror a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of the League to the legislative or executive authority of the other Power in controversy, add a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint, by joint consent, Commissioners or Judges to constitute a Court for hearing and determining the matter in question ; but if they cannot agree, the Council of the League shall name three persons

• A hew part of the Constitution of the League is closely modelled on the Articles of Confederation of the American States. 1777. The actual words are often adopted, out of each of the Powers, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately' strike out`One, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen ; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine, names, as the Council shall direct, shall, in the presence of the CZuncil, be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose names shall be so drawn, or any five of them, shall be Commissioners or Judges, to hear, and finally determine, the controversy, so always as a major part of the Judges who shall hear the cause shall agree in the determina- tion ; and if either party shall neglect to attend on the day appointed, without showing reasons which the Council of the League shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Council shall proceed to nominate three persons from each Power, and the Secretary of the League shall strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing ; and the judgment and-sentence of the Court to be appointed, in the mariner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive ; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such Court, or to appear or defend their claim or cause, the Court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence or judgment, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgment or sentence and other proceedings being in either case transmitted to the League, and lodged among the acts of the League for the security of the parties concerned provided that every Commissioner, before he sits in judgment, shall take an oath, to be administered by one of the Judges of the Supreme or Superior Court of the Power where the cause shall be tried, well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgment, without favour, affection, or hope of reward.'

VII. Every Member shall abide by the determinations of the Council of the League assembled on all questions which by this League are submitted to them. And the Articles of this League shall be inviolably observed by every Member ; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them, unless such alteration be agreed to in the Council of the League and be afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every Member. VIII. The Council of the League shall sit throughout the year.

IX. If an armed conflict should arise between any two States which are Members of the League, or between any State which is a Member of the League and some State outside the League, the Council of the League shall decide without appeal which Member was the aggressor in the said conflict, and shall in accordance with such decision direct the Members of the League as to which combatant is to be applied the Decree of Non-Intercourse. If war comes at the end of the year's notice required by the pro- visions of the League, the Council of the League shall decide whether to stop the war by a Decree of Non-Intercourse directed against both or one of the combatants, or, if it shall think fit, shall take no action. The decision is to be by a majority vote of the Council. In such a vote those Powers defined as Great Powers' shall, if unanimous, be entitled to exercise a veto over the decisions of the Members of the League, in addition to the multiple vote accorded to them by Clause IV. of this Constitution.


X. Any Power against which a Decree of Non-Intercourse is passed by the Council of the League shall be styled and regarded as an Outlawed Power. • , XI. When a Power is outlawed all trade and other intercourse is forbidden between the Members of the League and the Out- lawed Power.

• XII. No ship belonging to any Member of the League shall enter the ports of an Outlawed Power, and if at the time of the Declaration of Outlawry any ship is in an outlaNired port she shall withdraw as soon as possible.

XIII. No ship belonging to an Outlawed Power is to be permitted to enter the ports of any Member of the League of Nations, and any ship in a port of Members of the League at the time of the issue of the Declaration shall be ordered to withdraw forthwith.

XIV. No railway-train or vehicle of any sort, or aeroplane or airship, shall pass the frontiers of any Outlawed Power, and all railway trains, vehicles, aeroplanes, and airships belonging to any Power which is a Member of the League shall at once with- draw from the Outlawed State. -

XV. Precautions shall be prescribed by the Council to prevent an indirect trade growing up through Neutral Countries, Members of the League, and the Outlawed Power. XVI. All nationals of any Outlawed Power or Powers shall leave the territories of Members of the League on the Declaration of Non-Intercourse.

XVII. All nationals of Members of the League living in an Outlawed State shall return at once under penalty of forfeiture of their possessions and of denationalization. XVIII. All property of citizens of Outlawed Powers within the jurisdiction of any Member of the League shall be oonfiscated simultaneously with the Declaration of Outlawry and without further notice.

XIX. Damages and losses to nationals and Members of the League owing to a Declaration of Non-Intercourse shall be made good in full. XX. The Outlawry of any State breaking the essential Covenant of the League shall last after the cessation of hostilities on the - principle of one year of additional Outlawry for ever9

three-months of belligerency. " XXL Re-entry into the League shall only be permitted by

leave of the Council on the special 'conditions to be laid down by the said Council. , IMMEDIATE ACTION BY 11:1E ALLIES.

The present Allies constitute themselves a League of Nations as above. They make the following declaration as to the conditions upon which the Central Powers, now in a state of hostility to the Allies or who have been in such state of hostility since 1914, shall be allowed to join the League :— ' [Here follow conditions drawn up by the Council of the League, under which 'present enemy States shall be allowed to purge their crimes and enter the League.] Powers which were Neutral during the Great War to be admitted to the League on the following conditions :- [Here follow conditions to be laid down by the Council of the League.] "

The following are the arguments used by us to support our scheme for the Union of Force to secure peace, to observe Treaties, and to bring about disarmament :- "It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of the civilized world and of all human progress hangs upon whether we take

the right or the wrong path in dealing with the problem of the League of Nations. if we take the wrong one, and if once more the aspiration of organized peace ends in a fiasco, mankind will in despair abandon the hope of settling international disputes without recourse to arms, and the world must continue touioura • en vedette, with an occasional thirty years' armistice for the Peoples to rest and lick their wounds. Remember, the vision of peace by agreement and of the federation of nations has haunted the minds of men in one shape or another for countless centuries; Greek statesmen had these ideas at the end of the Persian War, during the whole of the great Peloponnesian contest and after its conclusion, and though the cynics and the professors of Realpolitik smiled at their simplicity, thinkers and poets like Plato chose the larger hope. Once more the idea is in the ascendant, and minds and spirits are ' finely touched ' to these fine issues. Men of light and leading are wondering whether it may not be possible in a more enlightened and more democratic age actually to . do what our progenitors could dream about but never accomplish.

The readers of the Spectator already know our view of all these hopes and fears. We most sincerely believe that if we are too idealistic, too hopeful, and attempt too much we shall achieve nothing. If, on the other hand, we are moderate, reasonable, and restrained, even in good deeds, in a word if we show ourselves Whigs rather than Bolsheviks, if we choose the apparently dull and toilsome via media rather than the glorious short cut, we may accomplish something of real benefit to -mankind. If we do not banish war in name or in theory, we may make it se impossibly tedious for the ambitious dema- gogue or the cynical autocrat that he will not be able to lure the nation he deceives or compel the people he controls along the path of blood and iron.

Success or failure in this great venture must depend upon the prime object aimed at. We do not want, as we have explained before, to make the object of the League of Nations the abolition of war in the abstract, or the erection of some mixed Tribunal into whose hands men and nations shall entrust the dearest things which they possess—their liberties, their rights, and their independence. We do not want the object of the League of Nations to be the establishment of some Committee or Collectivist form of the Pax Roman's which will crush all national individuality, or will prove a kind of benignant upas-tree that will shelter everybody and yet shrivel while it shelters. We do not want the nations in their mood of humanity caused by the horrors they have witnessed and experienced, first to rush into the extreme belief that anything is better than war, and then to find that they were mistaken and revert to the old and hopeless regime of armed Peace. What we ask them to do, and it is all we believe it is safe for than to do, is to pledge themselves sewrally and jointly to insist that solemn Treaties between nations shall not be treated as scraps of paper,' but shall be strictly and honestly. observed. We want to make contracts between nations, while they remain, the most solemn and essential things in the world—something a thousandfold more sacred than contracts between individuals, just as the interests of the nation are a thousandfold more sacred than those of the single individuals that compose it. But though the nations of the earth must agree to think no crime greater or more despicable than the illegal repudiation of a Treaty contract, whether made for some specific purpose or for general amity sad goodwill, we must recognize that the world of nations can never be put into a strait-waistcoat, that there must always be the capacity for free change and free development within the international circle. Above all, we must never forget that freedom is essential to human happiness, and, further, that freedom to do right must involve freedom to do wrong, and that it is never possible to give man the beneficial power to choose the one path without taking the risk of his choosing the other. Therefore Treaties which are not to prove veritable swaddling- clothes, and to turn the nations into mummies rather than free-limbed human organisms, can never be perpetual. They must be revocable, and revocable within a time that will not make men despair of seeing what they will regard as an essential improvement. Thus, though Treaty contracts as long as they ere in existence must be maintained by the whole weight and power of mankind, the nations which entered into them must be able to free themselves from their contractual bonds, if

they ie ern it essential to their welfare to do so, without

intolerable difficulty' or. delay. •

We suggest that if mankind acting in unison shall be bound to_ uphold the sanctity of Treaties, a year's notice shall free any nation from its Diplomatic Instruments. Any recourse to arms before that year has expired, no matter what the alleged excuse, and no matter what the merits, must be dealt with with the utmost sternness. But it must not be dealt with by war, for that would mean some system of international armies and fleets and air sqpadrons, . which, men being what they are, would open up a hopeless vista of intrigue. We must have recourse to non-intercourse as the weapon Ly which the sanctity of Treaties is to be upheld. Again, though nations may voluntarily agree to have questions like boundaries and other matters decided by an Arbitration Court, there must be no compulsory arbitration, for nations, like men, must be allowed to say that there are certain things so dear to theni —as, for example, a man's honour or his relations with his family—that they cannot wisely or helpfully be decided by submission to a Court of Law. To put the matter quite shortly, we believe that compulsory disarmament, compulsory arbitra- tion, compulsory entry into an international Federation, can only lead first of all to disappointment, tyranny, and intrigue, and ultimately either to the loss of that national individuality which the Peoples rightly cherish, or to the breaking up of the League as a hopeless failure. Instead of all these high-sounding aims, we desire to have the one clear obligation that nations must respect their Treaty pledges, and that the civilized Powers must as a matter of duty use all their strength, moral and physical, to maintain these agreements till they have been solemnly put an end to by an agreed procedure. As we have said before, we hold that one year's notice to abrogate a Treaty contract would be a convenient period. We hold, further, that in almost every case the necessity of giving a year's notice before the appeal to arms could take place would make it virtually impossible for nations to fight each other. Remember that no nation which was restrained from fighting for one year would be able to say, as it might in the case of arbitration, that it must refuse to submit to the ruling of a Court of which the Judges could be alleged to be foolish, inhuman, prejudiced, bribed, or capable of acting as politicians rather than as jurists. By our plan we avoid all these apparently good excuses for war. We avoid also the danger of the Great Powers being judges in their own cause, or else of having • to submit issues of supreme importance to the legal representatives of the smaller nations, as the only persons procurable who could be regarded as wholly impartial. While asking the nations to accept our plan, we are not, we must confess, hopeful of success. They are far more likely to ' go snorting down the flowery meads' of Impracticable Idealism than to tread the dull little cinder-path of Common- Sense to which we invite them. Yet this prim pathway will give them seventy per cent. of what they desire, while the other will give them in the end nothing but old miseries remade. As Sir Thomas Browne warns us, nations are not governed by Ergotisms,' and to say that the world, if it is wise, should do this or that, though true, is, alas ! very little to the purpose.

We may add a word by way of postscript in case it should be said that our draft does not provide any machinery for securing disarmament or partial disarmament. Our suggestion is that it should be the business of the Council of the League to prepare a Treaty regulating armaments. The said Treaty should be adopted jointly and severally by the members of the League, and so come under the covenants in regard to the sanctity of Treaties.