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Premier Lloyd George's Official Review—Summary of the Conference Proceedings—League of Nations Covenant—International Labor Commission— Among the Nations—Germany and the Bolshevist Peril—War Work of the Knights of Columbus—Demobilizing America's War Machine—Two Years of American Accomplishment — Welcoming Home the Soldiers and Sailors—Rebuilding the Industries of France—Egyptian Unrest Under British Rule—Russia's Warfare on Many Fronts—Lenin and Trotzky —The Lenin-Trotzky Government—Testimony of the British Ambassador—Bolshevism Expounded by Bolsheviki—How Russian Officers Were Murdered— Allied Policy in Russia—Why the Karolyi Government Fell—The Second Revolution in Hungary— Events in German Austria—Revolutionary Reforms in Rumania—Poland's Boundary Conflicts—Jugoslavia and Its Internal Problems—Struggle to Stabilize the Czech Republic—The Council of National Defense— Canada's Share in the War—Rebuilding Disabled Soldiers—The Kaiser's Dismissal of Bismarck—German National Assembly in 1848 and in 1919—The Battle of Macedonia—The Treaty Under Which Rumania Entered the War—A Million Added to the American Civil List—Japan's Relations With China.
Record of a Month's Proceedings at Paris, Introduced by Premier Lloyd George's Official Summary
[period Ended April 18, 1919]
David Lloyd George, the Premier of Great Britain, in an address to the House of Commons on April 16, reviewed the decisions of the Peace Conference so far as they could be made public at that time. His statement was the only official declaration regarding the proceedings up to the time this issue of Current History went to press, and it is presented herewith as an authoritative introduction to the magazine's own account of the month's developments at Paris. The doings of the Conference during March and April were not made public, and though many reports of agreements were published from time to time, most of these were not confirmed officially and hence have been excluded from the article that follows Lloyd George's summary. The British Premier said:
TE task with which the peace delegates have been confronted is indeed a gigantic one. No conference that ever assembled in the history of the world has been confronted with problems of such variety, of such perplexity, of such magnitude, and of such gravity. The Congress of Vienna was the nearest approach to it. It had to settle the affairs of Europe. It took eleven months. But the problems of the Congress of Vienna, great as they were, sink into insignificance compared with those that we have to settle at the Paris Conference.
It is not one continent that is engaged. Every continent is affected. With very few exceptions, every country in Europe has been in this war. Every country in Asia is affected by the war except Thibet and Afghanistan. There is not a square mile of Africa which has not been engaged in the war in cne way or another. Almost the whole of the nations of America are in the war. In the far Southern Seas, islands have been captured and hundreds of thousands of men have gone to fight in this great struggle. There has never been in the whole history of the globe anything to compare with this.
Ten new States have sprung into existence. Some of them are independent, some of them seem dependent, some of them may be protectorates; and, at any rate, although we may not define
their boundaries, we must give indications of them. Boundaries of fourteen countries have to be recast That will give some idea of the difficulties of a purely territorial character that have engaged our attention.
But there are problems equally great, equally important, not of a territorial character, but all affecting the peace of the world, all affecting the well-being of men, all affecting the destiny of the human race, and every one of them of a character where, if you make a blunder, humanity may have to pay.
Armament, economic questions of commerce and trade, questions of international waterways and railways, the question of indemnities—not an easy one— and not one that you can settle by telegrams. [Referring to a telegram sent to him by 370 members of Parliament asking that Germany be required to pay the cost of the war.] International arrangements for labor, practically never attempted before—a great world scheme —have been adopted.
And there is that great organization, the great experiment—an experiment, but one upon which the hope of the world for peace will hang—the Society of Nations.
All of them and each of them separately would occupy months, and a blunder might precipitate universal war. It may be near or it may be distant, and all the nations, almost every nation on earth, is engaged in consideration of these problems.
WORKING UNDER PRESSURE
We were justified in taking some time. In fact, I don't mind saying that it would have been imperative in some respects that we should take more time but for one fact, and that is, that we are setting up a machinery that is capable of readjusting and correcting possible mistakes —and that is why the League of Nations, instead of wasting time, has saved time, and we have to shorten our labors, work crowded hours, long and late, because while we were trying to build we saw in many lands the foundations of society crumbling into dust. We had to make haste.
I venture to say that no body of men have worked harder and that no body of men ever worked with better heart. I doubt whether any body of men has worked under greater difficulties. Stones were crackling on the roof and crashing through the windows, and sometimes wild men were screaming through keyholes. [This referred to the attacks on him by the Northcliffe newspapers.] When enormous issues are dependent upon it, you require calm deliberation, and I ask for it. I ask for it for the rest of the journey, because the journey is not at an end. It is full of perils—perils for this country, perils for all lands, perils for the people throughout the world.
I beg that at any rate men who are doing their best should be left in peace to do it, or that other men should be sent there. There are difficulties rather more trying to the temper than to the judgment, but there are intrinsic difficulties of an extraordinary character.
You are dealing with a multitude of nations, most of them with a problem of its own, each and every one of them with a different point of view, even where the problems are common, looking from different angles at questions, and sometimes, perhaps, with different interests. And it requires all the tact and all the patience and all the skill that we can command to prevent the different interests from conflicting.
I want the House and country to bear
that in mind. I believe that we have surmounted these difficulties, but it has not been easy. There are questions which have almost imperiled the peace of Europe while we were sitting there.
I should like to put each member of this House through an examination. I am certain I could not have passed it. Before I went to the Peace Conference, I had never heard of Teschen, but it very nearly produced an angry conflict between two allied States, and we had to try and settle the affairs of Teschen. And there are many questions of that kind where missions have been sent and where we have got to settle differences in order to get on with the different problems of the war.
Those questions are of importance to small States, but it was the quarrels of the small States that made the great war. It was the differences of the Balkans, I believe, that disturbed Europe, created an atmosphere of unrest which began the trouble, roused the military temper, and I am not at all sure that it did not incite the blood lust.
One of the features of the present situation is that Central Europe is falling into small States. The greatest care must be taken lest causes of future unrest be created by the settlement which we make. In addition, we have before us a complete break-up of three ancient empires, Russia, Turkey, anj Austria.
COMPLEX RUSSIAN PROBLEM
I have heard very simple remedies produced on both sides regarding Russia. Some say: "Use force." Some say: "Make peace." It is not as easy as all that. It is one of the most complex problems ever dealt with by any body of men. One difficulty is that there is no Russia. Siberia, the Don region, and the Caucasus have broken off; and then there is some organization controlling Central Russia. But there is no body of men that can say it is the Government for the whole of Russia.
Apart from all questions whether you can, under any circumstances, recognize the Bolshevist Government, you could not apart from this question recognize it as the de facto Government of Russia, because it is not, and there is no other