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POSES, AND WHAT IT DOES NOT PROPOSE.
The best answer to a caricature is a true photograph. The covenant has been so misrepresented and distorted and falsified by its enemies it should be permitted to speak for itself by suitable quotations with comments showing the connections of one article with another and the necessary meaning thereof, so that any citizen may understand it who is able to give it attention.
The preamble, drawn with infinite pains, declares the high and 'noble purposes of the covenant and of the signatory nations.
THE COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS.
To achieve international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war;
By the prescription of open, just, and honorable relations between nations;
By the firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among governments;
And by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another,
Agree to this covenant of the league of nations.
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSIIIP.
Article I declares the membership of the 32 nations signatory and of 13 “other States named in the annex as shall accede without reservation to this covenant."
The signatories are the United States of America, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, British Empire (Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India), China, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hedjaz, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Serb-Croat-Slovene State, Siam, Czechoslovakia, Uruguay.
The States invited to accede are Argentine Republic, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Persia, Salvador, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela.
There are thus 32 signatory States and 13 States invited, making 45 States, leaving out the Teutonic allies–Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey-until a stable government is established, and omitting Russia for the same reason, the purpose being in due time to, admit these five nations when practicable.
Article I provides for the admission of “any fully self-governing State, dominion, or colony not named,” “if its admission is agreed to by two-thirds of the assembly, provided that it shall give effective guaranties of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the league in regard to its military, naval, and air forces and armaments."
The declared purpose, therefore, of the league is to bring every self-governed nation in the world into the league for the purpose of achieving international peace.”
What a magnificent plan! what a glorious conception for the maintenance of peace!
Because certain United States Senators expressed the fear that the representatives of the nations of the world (notwithstanding their pledge to international peace, international cooperation, open, just, and honorable relations between nations) might try to impose upon the United States, Article I was amended at Paris, so that any member, and, of course, the United States, could withdraw 'if any reason should ever appear making it desirable, as follows: "
Any member of the league may, after two years' notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the league, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.
It is entirely incredible that any nation would want to withdraw, because it is incredible that 50 men, representing the world democracies in the assembly, meeting about a round table, each man being the most distinguished man, the most trustworthy man available from his nation, should express such indiscreet opinions or act in such a way as to render the association undesirable and unfruitful for the purposes set forth in the preamble. So suspicious appear the opponents of the league that they insist on a reservation of the right to withdraw on notice, regardless of unfulfilled obligations, on the allegation that the right of withdrawal might be denied by the assemblv on the false pretense that obligations truly fulfilled were not fulfilled. (Reservation I.)
ARTICLE II. LEAGUE STRUCTURE.
ART. II. The action of the league under this covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of an assembly and of a council with a permanent secretariat.
ARTICLE III. ASSEMBLY.
Article III provides for an assembly where “ each member of the league shall have one vote and may not have more than three representatives," an assembly which “shall meet at certain intervals,” and whichmay deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of the action of the league or affecting the peace of the world.
At present, by unavoidable compulsion of war, the representatives of the armed forces of the nations at Paris are at this very moment actually settling as war measures many questions in restoring the peace of Europe, but without a charter except the powers and necessities of war and the unavoidable duty of restoring peace and fixing the boundaries of the new self-governing democracies.
International cooperation requires this round table of the assembly in times of peace or war, where the opinions of mankind can be heard with direct simplicity in one chamber with every nation present. Is not this method of cooperation better than to have 50 nations, each one with 50 representatives, 2,500 in all, scattered in 50 different capitals, trying to cooperate, with possibly 50 different shades of opinion? Is it not better for international intercourse to haye each Nation place one man of international distinction at the round table of the assembly at Geneva rather than to send 50 diplomatic clerks or officials of lower degree to 50 different capitals? The common sense of the assembly is evident.
ARTICLE IV. COUNCIL. Article IV provides for the council, one member each from the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, and four members to be selected by the assembly from time to time, or the council may name additional members of the council, with the approval of the majority of the assembly, or additional members of the league, whose representatives shall always be members of the council. In the meantime Belgium, Brazil, Spain, and Greece have been allowed each a representative in the council. The council must meet once a year, and is authorized to “ deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the league or affecting the peace of the world.” Could you have an international conference for World Peace and do less? Article IV further provides that,
Any member of the league not represented on the council shall be invited to send a representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the council during the consideration of matters specially affecting the interests of that member of the league.
Is not this right? Will it not promote international cooperation, understanding, and peace ?
At council meetings each member has one vote and one representatiye only. (Art. IV.) Decisions of the council and of the assembly, it should be remembered, are not legislative, but merely the expressions of opinion of an assembly composed of one distinguished man representing the several nations there represented, and because of its extraordinary dignity such opinions would rank as matters of opinion as high as any tribunal ever established on earth, although the covenant does not provide for the enforcement of such opinions by a league army or navy. The decisions of the assembly or of the council on disputed questions are merely advisory, but should carry great weight, as such opinions would be supported beyond a doubt with evidence and reason of the highest character.
ARTICLE V. DECISIONS UNANIMOUS.
Article V provides that, • Decisions at any meeting of the assembly or of the council shall require the agreement of all the members of the league represented at the meeting.
Except where otherwise expressly provided in this covenant or by the terms of the present treaty.
The exceptions referred to cover matters of procedure, the appointment of committees, decided by'majority vote. (Art. V.) The couna