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PEACE PLAN OF THE PRESIDENT.
File No. 711.0012/64.
Statement made by the Secretary of State on April 24, 1913, on pre
senting the President's Peace Plan to the Representatives, some thirty-six in number, of the Foreign Governments, who constituti the Diplomatic Circle at Washington.
Your EXCELLENCIES: I have called you together in order that I may present to you all, simultaneously, a plan for the promotion of peace which I am directed by the President to submit. It reads as follows:
The parties hereto agree that all questions of whatever character and natire, in dispute between them, shall, when diplomatic efforts fail, be submitted for investigation and report to an international commission (the composition to be agreed upon); and the contracting parties agree not to declare war or begin hostilities until such investigation is made and report submitted.
The investigation shall be conducted as a matter of course upon the initiative of the commission, without the formality of a request from either party; the report shall be submitted within (time to be agreed upon) from the date of the submission of the dispute, but the parties hereto reserve the right to act indepondently on the subject matter in dispute after the report is submitted.
You will notice that it is very brief and deals only with the principles involved, not with the details which must be considered in embodying the principles in diplomatic form. The President's object is to hasten universal peace. All arbitration treaties contain certain exceptions--that is, certain questions are not to be submitted to arbi. tration, and, as these questions are of the highest importance, they are likely to become themselves a cause of war.
The plan proposed by the President, through you, to the nations which you represent, is intended to supplement the arbitration treaties now in existence and those which may be hereafter made. It is intended to subject to investigation those disputes which have not up to this time been considered fit subjects for arbitration. It is based upon the belief that we have now reached a point in the progress of civilization when nations cannot afford to engage in war before the cause of the war is impartially investigated and openly declared to the world. It is believed that the period of investigation—a time to be fixed by agreement, and which may be different in different agreements-will enable the parties to the controversy to separate questions of fact from questions of national honor and reach some amicable adjustment of their differences. The period of investigation will also allow passion to subside and the great forces that work for peace to assert themselves. When men are excited they talk about what they can do; when they are calm and capable of deliberation they talk about what they ought to do. And this is true of nations as well as of individuals. Public opinion is an increasing force in the world, and the time provided for investigation permits the formation and expression of public opinion.
You will note that while the proposed plan provides for the investigation of all questions which do not yield to diplomatic treatment, it reserves to each of the contracting nations the right to act independently after the investigation is concluded. If, after the time specified elapses and after the results of the investigation are niade known, the nations still desire war, they are at liberty to settle their differences with the sword, but it is believed that this will seldom be the case and it is hoped that this agreement when entered into will make war between the contracting parties a remote possibility.
The plan as outlined does not prescribe the method by which the commission will be created. This is a matter of detail which is left for discussion. It may differ in the different agreements entered into, but it is desired that the commission shall be permanent in character, in order that the investigation may be made by the commission, upon its own initiative, without the formality of a request from either party. This is suggested because of the fear that in times of exciteHeat neither party might be willing to ask for investigation lest such a request be regarded as an evidence of weakness.
In the original draft, as presented to the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, a suggestion was made that the period of investigation should not be utilized for a change in the naval program of the contracting nations, but this is a detail which has been omitted from the plan as proposed because it was feared that different nations might look upon it from different standpoints.
The plan has been made as simple as possible and everything has been eliminated except the things which seem essential to its success, and this Government stands ready to discuss with those Governments which are willing to enter into such an agreement such details as it may be necessary to consider.
In conclusion, let me assure you that I am very much gratified to be the medium through which the President presents this plan to the nations represented here, and I esteem myself fortunate to occupy the office with which the President has honored me at the time when the step is taken in the interest of peace. Our nation desires to use its influence for the promotion of the world's peace, and this plan is offered by the President with the hope that its acceptance by the nations will exert a large influence in this direction.
I thank you for your courtesy in coming at this time and giving me your attention. I hand to each one of you a copy of the plan as outlined, and on behalf of the President, I respectfully invite your cooperation in putting it into effect.
File No. 711.0012/102a.
To the diplomatic officers of the United States in Argentina, Austria
Hungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ilaiti, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
DEPARTMENT or STATE,
Washington, July 7, 1913. Sir: The following nations: Argentina, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Santo Doiningo, Spain and Sweden, have announced their acceptance of the principle embodied in the President's peace plan, a copy of which I herewith enclose.
I have submitted to the Washington representatives of those countries a copy of a memorandum, which I also enclose, covering the suggested details. It occurs to me that it might be well for you to supplement the work that is being done through the representatives here by bringing these details to the attention of the Foreign Office and explaining them. They are offered merely by way of suggestion and we are prepared to consider anything that the other countries may suggest as a means of perfecting the plan.
It is very gratifying to the President and to myself that the plan has been so quickly and so widely accepted. We believe that it will go forward toward the prevention of war, and I think that by fall we will have reached an understanding with all the nations in regard to both the principle and the details and thus be able to complete the treaties during the present year. I am [etc.]
W. J. BRYAX.
PRESIDENT WILSON's PEACE PROPOSAL.
The parties hereto agree that all questions of whatever character and nature, ir dispute between them, shall, when diplomatic efforts fail, be submitted for investigation and report to an international commission (the composition to be agreed upon); and the contracting parties agree not to declare war or begin hostilities until such investigation is made and report submitted.
The investigation shall be conducted as a matter of course upon the initiative of the commission, without the formality of a request from either party; the report shall be submitted within (time to be agreed upon) from the date of the submission of the dispute, but the parties hereto reserve the right to act independently on the subject matter in dispute after the report is submitted.
SUPPLEMENTARY MEMORANDUM BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
In the peace plan proposed by the President to all the nations, the composition of the International Commission is left to agreement between tbc parties, and I am authorized to suggest for the consideration of those who are willing to enter into this agreement :
1. That the International Commission be of five members, to be composed as follows: one member from each of the contracting countries, to be chosen by the Government; one member to be chosen by each of the contracting countries from some other country, and the fifth member of the Commission to be agreed upon by the two Governments, the Commission to be appointed as soon as convenient after the making of the treaty, vacancies to be filled according to the original appointment.
... The time also is to be agreed upon, and it is suggested that that time be one year. If a year is considered too long or too short, this Government will consider either a greater or a less period.
3. This Government is prepared to consider the question of maintaiving the st:tus quo as to military and naval preparation during the period of investigation, if the contracting nation desires to include this, and this Government suggests tentatively that the parties agree that there shall be no change in the military and naval program during the period of investigation unless danger to one of the contracting parties from a third power compels a change in suid program, in which case the party feeling itself menaced by a third power, shall confidentially communicate the matter in writing to the other contracting party and it shall thereupon be released from the obligation not to change its military or naval program, and this release will at the same time operate as a release of the other contracting party. This protects each party from the other in ordinary cases, and yet provides freedom of action in emergencies.
All of these suggestions, howerer, are presented for consideration, and not with the intention of imposing any tixed conditions. The principle of investigatiou being accepted, the details are matters for conference and consideration.
Til No. 711.0012/146a.
To the diplomotie officers of the United States in Argentina, Justria
Ilungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costu Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Gratemala, Ilaiti, Italy. Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, und Sweden.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, .lugust 12, 1913. Sir: I transmit herewith a copy of the treaty entered into on the ith instant with Salvador. You will notice that it embodies all of the details suggested in connection with the President's plan for securing investigation in all cases of dispute. While Salvador was willing to have the treaty made in exact accordance with the suggestions submitted, you will make it clear to the Government to which you are accredited that the suggestions in regard to details are purely tentative and that we are re:dy to consider any modifications that may be suggested. Our chief purpose is to secure investigation in all cases whatsoever and time for deliberation before any declaration of war or commencement of hostilities.
Twenty-sis nations have now endorsed this principle, and these nations represent more than four-fifths of the population of the world.
It is not expected that all of the countries will agree to the same details and it is not at all necessary that the several treaties shall be identical in language. Please make this clear and let us know what suggestions the [blank] Government has to make and when it is ready to take up the matter with a view to agreeing upon a treaty. I am [etc.]
W. J. BRYAN.
File No. 711.0012/199a.
To the diplomatic officers of the United States in Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Peru.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, September 23, 1913. The Department desiring to complete negotiations for a treaty according to the President's plan, already sent you, providing for investigation in all cases, the principle of which has already been accepted, you will see the Minister for Foreign Affairs and urge conideration of details; if those submitted by the Department are unsatisfactory any changes desired will be cheerfully considered. Treaties embodying the principle and the details as submitted have been signed by Guatemala, Panama, and Salvador.
* To be printed when proclaimed.
File No. 711.0012/238a.
To the diplomatic officers of the United States in Argentina, Austria
Ilungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ilaiti, Italy, Persia, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Siam, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Venezuela.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 18, 1913. Sir: I enclose herewith a copy of the treaty with Salvador, which provides for investigation in all cases of disputes. Four other treaties, identical in language, have been signed with Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. We have just signed a treatv with the Netherlands, a copy of which is also enclosed.' You will notice by comparing the two treaties that the chief point of difference lies in the elimination from the Netherlands treaty of the entire section relating to the military and naval status. This Government has at all times been willing to omit this section or to modify it to suit the wishes of contracting nations. There are some minor changes, the two principal being: first, the provision requiring the nations to furnish the necessary facts during investigation; and, second, the provision that the fifth member of the commission shall not be a citizen of either contracting country. I send you the copy of the treaty with the Netherlands in order that you may bring it, and the Salvador treaty again, to the attention of the Government to which you are accredited in the hope that we may reach an early agreement in regard to details and be ready to sign the treaty within a short time.
The President in his recent message expressed gratification that thirty-one nations had accepted the principle of the proposed peace plan. These nations comprise more than three fourths of the popusation of the world. We feel that the treaties made in accordance with this plan take a long step in advance, and are much pleased that the plan has been so generally approved. I am [etc.]
W. J. BRYAN.
PROHIBITION OF IMPORTATION OF AIGRETTES, EGRET PLUMES,
File No. 611.006/81.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, October 29, 1913. To Diplomatic Officers of the United States.
GENTLEMEN: Paragraph 347 of the Tariff Act of October 3, 1913, contains the following provision:
That the importation of aigrettes, egret plumes or so-called osprey plumes, and the feathers, quills, heads, wings, tails, skins, or parts of skins, of wild birds, either raw or manufactured, and not for scientific or educational purposes, is hereby prohibited; but this provision shall not apply to the feathers or plumes of ostriches, or to the feathers or plumes of domestic fowls of any kind.
- To be printed when proclaimed,