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England went to war for the sake of France or Belgium or Serbia, or for the protection or liberation of small nationalists, or to make right prevail against armed might. If English statesmen wish to be regarded as sincere they can prove it to the world by adandoning, not in words but in act, the claim to subordinate Ireland's liberty to England's security.
Ireland's complete liberation must follow upon the application of President Wilson's principles. It has not resulted from the verbal acceptance of those principles; and their rejection is implied in the refusal to recognize for Ireland the right of self-determination. Among the principles declared by the President, before and since America entered the war, accepted by the American people and adopted by the spokesmen of the chief allied powers, we cite the following:
"No peace can rest securely on political or economic restrictions, meant to benefit some nations and cripple or embarrass others." "Peace should rest upon the rights of peoples, not on the rights of governments—the rights of peoples, great and small, weak or powerful; their equal right to freedom and security and self-government, and to participation, upon fair terms, iu the economic opportunities of the world." "What we demand in this war is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in, and particular that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation, ■which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by other peoples of the world, as against force and selfish aggression." "An evident principle runs through the whole of the program I have outlined. It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another, whether they be strong or weak. Unless this principle be made the foundation, no part of the structure of international justice can stand."
Speaking on behalf of the American people at New York on the 27th of September, 1918, President Wilson said:
"We accepted the issues of the war as facts, not as any group of men either here or elsewhere had defined them, and we can accept no outcome which does not squarely meet and settle them. These issues are these: • Shall the military power of any nation or group of nations be suffered to determine the fortunes of peoples over whom they have no right to rule, except the right of force?' 'Shall strong nations be free to wrong weak nations and make them subject to their purpose and interest?' 'Shall peoples be ruled and dominated, even in their own internal affairs, by arbitrary and irresponsible force, or by their own will and choice?' 'Shall there be a common standard of right and privilege for all peoples and nations, or shall the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer without redress?' 'Shall the assertion of right be haphazard and by casual alliance, or shall there be a common concert to oblige the observance of common rights?' No man, no group of men, chose these to be the issues of the struggle. They are the issues of it, and they must be settled—by no arrangement or compromise or adjustment of Interests, but definitely and once for all, and with a full and unequivocal acceptance of the principle that the interest of the weakest is as safe as the interest of the strongest. * * * The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no favorites and knows no standards but the equal rights of the several peoples concerned."
If England objects to the application of those principles to the settlement of the ancient quarrel between herself and Ireland, she thereby testifies: (1) That her international policy is entirely biis'ed on her own selfish interest, not on the recognition of rights in others, notwithstanding any professions to the contrary. (2) That in her future dealings with other nations she may be expected, when the opportunity arises, to use her power in order to make her own interest prevail over their rights. (3) That her particular object in keeping possession of Ireland is to secure naval and mercantile domination over the seas, and in particular over the North Atlantic and the nations which have legitimate maritime interests therein; ruling Ireland at the same time on a plan of thoroughgoing exploitation for her own sole profit, to the great material detriment of Ireland, and preventing the establishment of beneficial intercourse, through commerce and otherwise, between Ireland and other countries.
It is evident that, while Ireland is denied the right to choose freely and establish that form of government which the Irish people desire, no international order can be founded on the basis of national right and international justice ; the claim of the stronger to dominate the weaker will once more be successfully asserted; and there will be no true peace.
It must be recognized that Ireland has already clearly demonstrated her will. At the recent general election, out of 105 constituencies 73 returned republican candidates, and 0 returned representatives who, though not republicans, •will not oppose the free exercise of self-determination by the Irish people. Nor is there the slightest likelihood that this right will at any time be relinquished.
The Irish people are thoroughly capable of taking immediate charge of their national and international affairs, not less capable than any of the new States which have been recognized since the beginning of the war, or which are about to be recognized: and by a procedure not less valid than has been held good for other restored or newly established States, they have already formally constituted a national government.
The effect on the world of the restoration of Ireland to the society of free nations can not fail to be beneficial. On the part of the nations in general, this fact will be a guarantee of the new international order and a reassurance to all the smaller nations. On the part of England, if justice to Ireland be not "denied or sold or delayed," the fact will be an earnest to other peoples, especially to those whose commerce is borne upon the Atlantic Ocean, that England's naval power is not hostile to the rights and legitimate Interests of other countries.
Ireland's voice in the councils of the nations will be wholly in favor of peace and justice. Ireland covets no possessions and makes no territorial claims outside of her own well-defined geographical bounds. Her liberty can not infringed on that of any other people. She will not make any war or aggression or favor any. In remembrance of her unexampled progress and prosperity during a brief period of legislative but not executive Independence (1782-1798), she looks forward confidently to the time when she will again be free to contribute to the prosperity of all countries in commercial relation with her.
The longest agony suffered by any people In history will be ended, the oldest standing enmity between two peoples will be removed. England will be relieved of the disgrace she bears in the eyes of all peoples, a disgrace not less evident to the remote Armenian than to her nearest continental neighbors.
In proportion as Engtind gives earnest of disinterestedness and good will, in like proportion shall Ireland show her readiness to join in with England in allowing the past to pass into history. The international ambition of Ireland will be to re-create In some new way that period of her ancient independence of which she Is proudest, when she gave freely of her greatest treasures to every nation within her reach, and entertained no thought of recompense or of selfish advantage.
Judge Cohalan. Mr. Chairman, I have the pleasure of presenting to the committee Hon Frank T. Walsh, who went over to the other side as the chairman of the American mission on Irish independence. He appeared before the Paris peace conference with his colleagues, Mr. Ryan, of Philadelphia, and Gov. Dunn, of Illinois, for the purpose of demanding the appearance there of the chosen representatives of Ireland, President De Valera, Arthur Griffith, and Count Plunkett. The committee may remember that he was with President Taft, the former joint chairman of the War Labor Board. I have great pleasure in presenting to you Hon. Frank P. Walsh.
STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK P. WALSH.
Mr. Walsh. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, to my mind the issue that is before the Senate and to which I have the privilege of addressing myself this morning, transcends in importance any issue that has ever been presented to us in our history of nationhood. I do not except from that the great issues that brought on the conflict between our own people, the question of nullification, the question of black slavery, and the question of the right of secession, because I see in what is going on here a situation of menace to us as a Nation—not as a power, but integral as a Nation—such as we have never been confronted with before.
It was conceivable to the minds of the men who wrote our Constitution that a situation might arise whereby a dictatorship might be asserted in this country by some person who had secured the favor of the people through the processes laid down in the Constitution of the United States. It was conceivable to them that men might be weakened by flattery, that they might be carried away by power and that, perhaps, especially in dealing with other nations of different beliefs and different concepts, they might wander away from the principles laid down in the Constitution of the United States. And so I am profoundly thankful, and I say that on behalf of those whom I represent, that this Senate Committee has given us a hearing to-day. I am distressed to observe that there is not a fuller attendance of Senators, and yet I feel that I should go on ■with what I have to say notwithstanding, in the hope that as my mind was brought to where I am to-day, perhaps the minds of some of my fellow Democrats may be so brought, and that we may be preserved from the calamity which I believe is about to overtake us, if it be not checked by the Senate. Our forefathers, with that in mind, provided specifically against one-man power in the dealing with other nations. They provided that the President of the United States had authority to make treaties only with the advice and consent of the Senate, and then only when two-thirds of those present concurred in the treaty. It is our hold, our democratic hold, on the Constitution of the United States that I believe is going to save us and save more than one-half of the world from being plunged into wars such as have not been comparable in our history before, and which will occur under any such proposition. We have now more than one-half of the world in open rebellion against the other half asserting repressive power, among which would be under the present league of nations the Congress of the United States. So the people of the world have been looking to this constitution, understanding its strength and elasticity, and looking to the Senate to save them from what they think will be the most calamitous event in the history of the world.
Might I, without being thought to put a personal angle on what I have to say, describe as briefly as I may how I am brought to this conclusion, which I urge upon you. Although I am but one humble citizen of this country, in appearing before you gentlemen to plead the cause I do, I do so with a feeling of solemnity which I have never before felt in any presence in my life. Perhaps what I say about myself may in a small way reflect an angle on the public mind, and it might give your committee perhaps some sort of idea if I can make myself plain, of what goes to make up the composite mind. Prior to our entry into this war I might have been described as a pacifist. I know that this finally in its last analysis will not be a political question. I know that when this matter is settled it is going to be settled by honorable men from motives of the loftiest patriotism. Our reactions may first be excused, primarily and initially, for running along party lines, because we are a party government, but in great questions, we stand together. That is evidenced by the support that the gentlemen in whose presence I have the honor to speak gave the President of the United States, a member of my party, during the dark days when he needed support in the bitter conflict which cost us so many precious lives and billions of dollars of our treasure. I say this because I have always been a Democrat, and I like to call myself an independent Democrat, and I have supported every Democratic President since I reached my majority. Prior to our entry into this war I was a believer in peace to the point of being called a pacifist.
I believe I did think that I was a pacifist, but when brought face to face with these questions I found, as we all found, that there are so many things that we would fight for, there are so many things that if physically brave enough we would die for, that the pacifist so-called in this country was a negligible quantity. But I did have that point of view to an extent that I was led to make something like 78 speeches on the theme which the President of the United States gave to us, that he kept us out of war, and I want to say to you that throughout this land there was a great response to that thought. On account of certain connections I have had in an official way—I suppose for that reason—I was sent through the great Hocking Valley of Ohio and Pennsylvania, the coal valley, and practically with unanimity the people in that section responded to the thought that we were traditionally opposed to war, that we were historically opposed to entangling ourselves with any European embroilment and entanglements. But our country saw fit through the regular processes to declare war, and I say that I speak the composite mind of the people who despise war in this country when I say that they sprang to the support of the Government because under the written Constitution laid down by our forefathers they agreed in honor to do so. They knew, the intelligent ones of them, that when war was declared by this country the President of the United States became the most powerful potentate upon the face of the earth. They knew or thought they knew that he needed less legislation in the freest country in the world to perform what was at his hand, namely, to provide the means and opportunity for winning this war, than did any man on the face of the earth, including the late Emperor of Germany; and we did it purposely, gentlemen of the committee—I believe our forefathers did—because it was thought at that time that a democracy, a government founded upon Republican principles, could not stand against an autocracy where one man had autocratic power, so it was provided, and wisely provided, that along the paths of peace we should proceed as a democracy, but that when war was declared we wanted all of the power, all of the drive, all of the concentration that the most powerful potentate on the face of the earth might have at that time.
So that we went into it without question. I believe that nothing that was done by any man in this war was a sacrifice. I stood among the 2,200 graves of those American citizens at the edge of Belleau Wood, with practically every name on every cross showing the boy or the man was of Irish or German origin, because there were many German names on those crosses, and I knew that even they, fighting in this spirit as they did, would not say, if their voiceless lips could speak, that they had made any sacrifice. They did it willingly, cheerfully, for the confederation of human beings that got together more than 150 years ago to declare that this was one Government that would never foster tyranny; that it was one Government that would always remain the refuge of the principles of right, and that when it was threatened or that when its representatives thought it was threatened, their answer could be but one thing, to give up all thev had, even life, for this Government.
I had the privilege to serve my Government for about a year, or over a year, in a capacity that brought me quite in touch with what might be called the masses of the people of this country. Considering industrial disputes involving something over 3,000,000 people, I saw that that same spirit existed among the working people, what we are pleased to call the masses, the common people of this country, and that that same intelligent thought, even though perhaps they could not define a section of the Constitution, actuated them, that same spirit and genius, so that they were just like the soldier who went abroad. Therefore, when we threw the weight of our great resources and our man power into the conflict, we obtained the results we did. I used the words "man power" as I do, although I despise the words, because I know that man power is talked about by the Governments of Europe as meaning only the skull and the brains of such as my boy who sits yonder. It means the disemboweling of the human beings; it means throwing men and women to their death by the words usually of one or two men. But that was the name they gave to it, and so I use it. We threw into the conflict the man power of this country and the matchless resources that won this war. I say that, gentlemen of the committee, not because strategically our soldiers made a fight that kept the enemy from Paris, not because with a dash that at least was as great as that of the most seasoned soldiers, they won a battle at certain points and turned the tide. I do not mean that, but I mean that when we threw in our mighty resources that war was won. We have enough gained to pay off the war in one year's productivity. We have enough now, according to Government figures, to pay the whole cost of the war in the increased value of our productivity since 1914; so that if a country marches on its stomach and wins by the last pound of wheat or the last pound of meat, when we went in, we won this war.
In addition to being opposed to war—and I want to say that my opposition was strengthened by walking through those devastated fields in France—I want to add one other thought. No man could see the bleaching bones of his own kindred, no man could look at those rough brogans still with the flesh and blood in them of the living men who walked in them a few months ago, and not despise war with all his heart. I was a believer likewise in a league of nations. I profoundly believed in a league of nations. I took my conception of a league of nations from what our great President has said, and I want to say at this moment again, according him very great respect for his great ability and for the work that he has done for this country up until this time, that the best friend that he has in the United States is the man who will stand up and preserve him from the wreck of the great mistake that he seems about to make after coming from Paris.
I followed his concept, and I was and am in favor of that much-talked-of thing, a league of nations, a league of nations that will let every nation upon the earth take part in it, to begin with