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proval of the proposition temporarily but added his signature on April 17 to those of Premiers Orlando and Lloyd George and President Wilson, thus practically assuring immediate economic relief of Soviet Russia, as Lenine was known to be willing to accept food on the conditions outlined by Dr. Nansen and discussed with the Bolsheviki by various neutral representatives at Moscow.
The correspondence between Dr. Nansen and the Council of Four, which had led to this important decision, was made public on April 17. Dr. Nansen's letter of April 3 read as follows:
The present food situation in Russia, where hundreds of thousands of people are dying monthly from sheer starvation and disease, is one of the problems now uppermost in all men's minds. As it appears that no solution of this food question has so far been reached in any delegation, I would like to make a suggestion from a neutral point of view for the benefit of this gigantic misery, on purely humanitarian grounds.
It would appear to me possible to organize a purely humanitarian committee for the provisioning of Russia, the foodstuffs and medical supplies to be paid for, perhaps to some considerable extent, by Russia itself, the justice of distribution to be guaranteed by a committee. The general makeup of the commission would be comprised of Norwegians, Swedis:1, and possibly Dutch, Danish, and Swiss nationalities.
It does not appear that the existing authorities in Russia would refuse the intervention of such a committee of a wholly nonpolitical order, devoted solely to the humanitarian service of saving life. If thus organized upon the lines of the Belgian Relief Committee, it would raise no question of political recognition or negotiations between the Allies and the existing authorities in Russia.
I recognize keenly the large political issues involved, and I would be glad to know under what conditions such an enterprise would be approved, and whether such a committee could look for real support in finance and shipping and food and medical supplies from our Governments.
The reply sent by President Wilson and the three Premiers on April 17 said that the Governments and peoples which they represented “ would be glad to cooperate, without thought of political, military, or financial advantage, in any proposal which would relieve this situation in Russia,” with the obvious proviso, of course, that " such a measure would
involve the cessation of hostilities within definite lines in the territory of Russia." Dr. Nansen's mission was generally regarded as possibly the beginning of the end of the Bolshevist war, MEDITERRANEAN BLOCKADE
LIFTED On March 28 the Council of Foreign Ministers and Foreign Secretaries decided that the blockade of German Austria would be lifted as soon as measures could be perfected for preventing imports into that territory being re-exported to Germany. On April 1 it was announced that it had been decided to raise the blockade of German Austria, Poland, Esthonia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and the territories occupied by Rumania and Serbia. Regarding German Austria, prohibition was maintained against trade in a few articles, chiefly of a military nature. The International Trade Commission, sitting at Vienna, was to exercise supervision to prevent re-exportation to Germany. This partial relaxation of the blockade with rigid control decided on by the Supreme War Council was to take effect on April 2. Official notice of this action was given in the United States by the War Trade Board on April 1, in a statement issued over the name of the Chairman, authorizing trade and communication with German Austria under the limitations provided.
CABLES NOT PRIZES The American view that submarine cables were not prizes of war was upheld by the War Council on March 24. This decision, long pending, affected thirteen German cables, including those to America and several in the Pacific, connecting former German colonies.
The Commission on the Regulation of Ports, Waterways, and Railroads by April 8 had completed a report which provided for freedom of transportation for the newly created States in Europe through the central enemy countries, for equality of treatment in ports and harbors, and the international regulation of traffic over the Rhine and Danube Rivers, to which the most important sections of the report were devoted.
Important Amendments Made
MHE covenant of the League of Nations
proved during April to be a more
fruitful subject of discussion in America than any other question relating to the Peace Conference. The controversy assumed a bitter tone, and produced a definite line of cleavage between political parties. It was clear that influential public sentiment in the United States was not satisfied with the original draft, and that important changes would be required before the plan could receive the sanction of the Senate. A notable contribution to the discussion was a
scussion was public debate at Boston on March 19 between A. Lawrence Lowell, President of Harvard University, and Henry Cabot Lodge, the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee in the United States Senate, to which committee the covenant will be first referred when it reaches the Senate for ratification. President Lowell favored the covenant as a whole, but thought it was faulty in construction, somewhat loosely drawn, and required some amendments. Senator Lodge strongly opposed the covenant as drawn, but declared he favored the principle of a League of Nations to insure the peace of the world.
Public statements were made by former Secretary of State Root and by former Justice of the Supreme Court Hughes in opposition to the covenant, and both proposed important amendments. With the exception of former President Taft the leaders of the Republican Party everywhere-also many influential Democrats-opposed the covenant, and it was believed by many that as first drafted it could not receive even a majority vote in the Senate.
WORKING ON AMENDMENTS After the return of President Wilson to Paris in March the League of Nations Commission, of which he was Chair man, resumed its sessions. A general conference was held to which the neutral nations were invited. Their views were given respecting the original cove
nant, and various amendments suggested. This was followed by frequent sessions of the League Commission, but no authorized statements of its proceedings in detail were made public. It was announced that the original draft was being revised section by section, and that the opinions of leading publicists were being considered in the revision.
On March 26 President Wilson issued a statement in which he denied that discussions of the League were in any way delaying the conclusion of peace. He said:
During the last few days the Commission has been engaged in an effort to take advantage of the criticisms which the publication of the covenant has fortunately drawn out. A committee of the Commission has also had the advantage of a conference with representatives of the neutral States, who are evidencing a very deep interest and a practically unanimous desire to align themselves with the League.
The revised covenant is now practically finished. It is in the hands of a committee for the final process of drafting, and will almost immediately be presented a second time to the public.
The conferences of the Commission have invariably been held at times when they could not interfere with the consultation of those who have undertaken to formulate the general conclusions of the Conference with regard to the many other complicated problems of peace. So that the members of the Commission congratulate themselves on the fact that no part of their conferences has ever interposed any form of delay.
PREPARING THE REVISION At the meeting on March 26 President Wilson, as Chairman of the Commission, nominated Signor Orlando, Baron Makino, General Smuts, and Colonel House as members of a committee to consider the question of the locality of the seat of the League. At this meeting it was announced that the amending of the covenant had been concluded. The Chairman appointed Lord Robert Cecil, M. Larnaude, M. Venizelos, and Colonel House as a committee to draft the amendments into the revision of the covenant.
The Committee on Revision presented the new draft of the covenant to the League of Nations Commission on April
f Nations Commission on April 11. On April 12 an official summary of the revised covenant was issued at Paris through Colonel House. It indicated that the new version differed radically in phraseology from the first draft. MONROE DOCTRINE RECOGNIZED
Important changes had been incorporated, among them being an amend ment that added these words to Article X. regarding the obligation of the nations to respect each other's territory, and to guarantee each other against foreign aggression:
ARTICLE X.-A-Nothing in this covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements, such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace.
[The text of Article X. as it stood in the first published draft of the League of Nations covenant was as follows: “ The high contracting parties shall undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression of territorial integrity and existing political independence of all States members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Executive Council shall advise upon the means by which the obligation shall be fulfilled."']
The French representative, Leon Bourgeois, led the opposition to the Monroe Doctrine clause. He contended that it had not been adopted and was still open to rejection or amendment. His main argument was that under this amendment the United States was relieved of the responsibility of coming to the assistance of France or any other European nation that might be attacked by Germany. The French delegates also made an effort to include in the covenant a provision for a permanent League Military Staff, but this did not receive general assent.
OTHER IMPORTANT CHANGES Among other changes from the original draft was one requiring a unanimous vote in both the Assembly of
States and the Governing Executive Council in any decision upon a matter “ of international interest or threatening the peace of the world.” In the original, unanimous consent was required excepting the parties to a dispute. This change was intended to make it clear that no nation surrendered its sovereignty or right of individual action through membership in the League.
Another change required each member State to approve recommendations of the Council as to the amount of armed force, if any, to be supplied by those States to act on behalf of the League in moving against a State which had broken the covenant. Opponents of the constitution as originally drawn insisted that this section took away from Congress the power to declare war and might force the United States to send its soldiers or sailors into battle in some far-off corner of the earth for a cause in which the country was not interested.
The same kind of change was made in the sections relating to disarmament and the administration of mandates over the former German colonies and territories of the Ottoman Empire. It was specifically provided that suggestions of the Council for reduction of armaments should be adopted only with the consent of the affected States themselves. Provision was made for the holding of mandates by States which were “ willing” to be mandataries. ' The right was given any State to withdraw from the League on two years' notice, provided such State “has kept its obligations to date.” The failure of the first draft to make any provision for withdrawal from the League had been the subject of much discussion.
Amendments to the covenant under the new draft required the approval of all States of the Council—the five great powers and four other nations to be selected and “a simple majority in the Assembly," which is composed of all representatives of all member States. Originally a three-fourths majority was required in the Assembly.
Another addition set forth that the number of powers of each class represented on the Council could be increased
by the unanimous consent of the Council and a majority of the Assembly.
Other new provisions included the accepting by member States of certain responsibilities with regard to labor conditions, treatment of natives, white slave traffic, the arms traffic with uncivilized and semi-civilized countries, transit and trade conditions, Public Health and Red Cross Societies, and formal recognition of the League as the central body interested in co-ordinating and assisting international activities generally.
GENEVA THE HEADQUARTERS
At the meeting of the commission on the 10th, Geneva, Switzerland, was chosen as the permanent seat of the League of Nations. There was a division on this question, the issue being between Brussels and Geneva. M.. Hymans, the chief Belgian representative on the commission, gave as one of the reasons for the desirability of choosing Brussels that it was necessary to have the League offices located in the devastated area in order that the hatred engendered by the war should not be forgotten. In answering this contention President Wilson, who spoke with deep feeling, held that this was the very reason why the seat of the League should not be in the devastated region. The League of Nations, he said, was a league of peace; its object was to prevent wars. For this reason it should be located in a neutral country, removed from reminders of the enmities and miseries the war had brought.
Of the five great powers, America, Great Britain, Italy, and Japan voted for Geneva, while of the remaining nations only France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and China voted for Brussels. It was stated that the vote stood 12 for Geneva, 7 for Brussels.
RACE DISCRIMINATION The commission rejected an amendment offered by the Japanese delegates for incorporating into the preamble a declaration on “racial equality.” It failed to receive unanimous approval and hence was declared rejected. The official statement on this subject, issued April 12, said:
At a meeting of the League of Nations Commission on Friday, April 11, the Japanese delegation proposed an amendment to the preamble of the covenant, as follows: To insert after the words “by the prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations " an additional clause, to read: “ By the indorsement of the principle of the equality of nations and just treatment of their nationals."
The amendment was admirably presented by Baron Makino. In the course of his speech he emphasized the great desire of the Japanese Government and of the Japanese people that such a principle be recognized in the covenant. His argument was supported with great force by Viscount Chinda.
A discussion followed, in which practically all the members of the commission participated. The discussion was marked by breadth of thought, free and sympathetic exchange of opinion, and a complete appreciation by the members of the commission of the difficulties which lay in the way of either accepting or rejecting the amendment.
The commission was impressed by the justice of the Japanese claim and by the spirit in which it was presented. Mention was frequently made in the course of the discussion of the fact that the covenant provided for the representation of Japan on the Executive Council as one of the five great powers, and that a rejection of the proposed amendment could not, therefore, be construed as diminishing the prestige of Japan.
Various members of the commission, however, felt that they could not vote for its specific inclusion in the covenant. Therefore the commission was reluctantly unable to give to the amendment that unanimous approval which is necessary for its adoption.
The Japanese delegates announced that they reserved the right to bring the amendment before a plenary session of the Conference. The chief opposition to the Japanese proposal came from Australia.
The French delegation voted for the adoption of the text of the covenant as redrafted, but made reservations as to two points—first, the organization and effective control of the manufacture of war material, and, second, the institution of permanent military control.
T his issue of CURRENT HISTORY MAGAZINE is closed on April 18. The Plenary Council up to that date had not convened to act finally upon the draft as agreed to by the commission.
Regulating the World's Wage Problems
M HE final report of the International 1 Labor Commission was presented
before the fourth plenary session of the Peace Conference on April 11. This commission had been appointed at the plenary session of Jan. 18. Its personnel consisted of fifteen members, representing the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Cuba, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Thirty-five meetings were held. The report was finished March 24, and was made public April 3. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, presided as general Chairman over the meetings, which, according to a statement made subsequently by Mr. Gompers, lasted, on an average, from three to seven hours.
The report contained a draft convention creating a permanent organization for promoting international regulation of labor conditions, a recommendation for an international labor conference, and detailed labor terms to be inserted in the Peace Treaty. The preamble of the report was as follows:
Conditions of labor exist involving such injustice, hardship, and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world is imperiled, and the improvement of those conditions is urgently requested, as, for example, by regulation of hours of work, including the establishment of a maximum working day and week, regulation of the labor supply, prevention of unemployment, provision of an adequate living wage, protection of the worker against sickness, disease, and injury arising out of his employment, the protection of children and young persons and women, provision for old age and injury, protection of interests of workers when employed in other countries than their own, recognition of the principle of freedom of association, and organizing of technical, vocational, educational, and other measures.
PERMANENT ORGANIZATION The establishment of a permanent labor organization to remedy industrial evils and injustices " which mar the present state of society” was viewed as
indispensable. In working toward the achievement of the object of the League of Nations, the report said, every State a member of the League felt morally bound to accept the principles above enunciated and to participate in the labor organization as a condition to membership in the League,
The International Labor Conference is to meet at least once a year and to consist of four representatives from each State, including two representing the Government, one the employers, and one the workers. Each delegation may have two advisers, one of whom must be a woman. When questions affecting women are under discussion, the voting shall be individual, and not according to the traditional procedure of voting. Employers and employes, the report said, must be able to express their views with complete freedom and frankness if the conference is really to be representative of all concerned with industry.
The first meeting was recommended for next October at Washington. The program was to sanction the principle of the eight-hour day and the forty-eighthour week and the prevention of unemployment; to regulate women's employment before and after childbirth; to prohibit women's and children's employment during the night or in unhealthy processes; to fix a minimum age for the employment of children, and to seek the extension of the international conventions adopted at Berne in 1906 prohibiting night work by women and the use of white phosphorus in the manufacture of matches.
INTERNATIONAL LACOR OFFICE
The report said that an international labor office was to be established at the seat of the League of Nations, as a part of the League, to collect and distribute information on the international adjustment of conditions of industrial life and labor-subjects which it was pro. posed to bring before the conference