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As has been pointed out, the principle of the right of self-determination has not been so clearly defined as to indicate to what extent historic wrongs may be righted. It would not appear reasonable, however, to attempt to revive claims reverting eighteen hundred years ago. The dispersal of the Jews was so complete as to make it impossible for them to maintain even the nucleus of a national culture or preserve any real historic continuity. What militates more forcibly still against the demand for a Jewish State is the fact that Palestine has come to have a very special significance for Christians and Moslems as well as for the Jews. It is truly a “holy land” for them all; and no one sect or race can now claim with justice any special privileges.
It is this fact of the international significance of Palestine that makes it impossible to consider Jewish nationalistic claims on a par with the claims, say, of the Poles, the Czechs, or of the Albanians. The right of self-determination in these instances does not encounter the difficulties of a religious and of a historic character that it does in the case of the Jews. The problem is unique and can only be solved in some unique fashion. The solution, however, might not be as difficult as would now appear, provided all parties were willing to concede the international significance of Palestine. In this age of "internationalism” there could hardly be found a more suitable spot for the practical application of the idea of internationalization than in the land revered by the three great theistic religions which have exerted so profound an influence on the world.
If the Jewish race is determined to resist all assimilative tendencies and to preserve its integrity, and is not satisfied with the internationalization of Palestine, there would seem to be but one other alternative, namely, in a much larger spirit of tolerance and a more liberal attitude on the part of nations toward the foreigner within their gates. Modern ideas of sovereignty have been much affected by feudal notions to the effect that “a man was possessed by the land”; and has identified national jurisdiction with territory. Lorimer once pointed out that the idea of a nation without territory, as in the case of the Jews and the Gypsies, was not utterly unreasonable, provided they were permitted to preserve their peculiar institutions under a régime of the character such as has prevailed in Turkey, Persia, Siam, China, and elsewhere. Under the “exterritorial" or "personal” theory of sovereignty, great concessions might be made to the
peoples of many nationalities who wished to preserve their own national and racial ideals, provided, of course, that these ideals in no way imperilled the morals and public security of the sovereign state granting these concessions. It is doubtless too much to expect so liberal and tolerant an attitude among nations today. In spite of many internationalizing agencies, most nations today are still more or less chauvinistic, and, in a sense, bigoted in their jealous adherence to their own ways and ideas. But it is this very fact that makes the need for mutual toleration all the greater. Nowhere is this need more apparent than in the case of the Jew. He must either seek a “national home,” or obtain a much greater measure of tolerance than has yet been accorded to his race or any other race, or he must reconcile himself to the gradual loss of his racial identity. These are the alternatives before him. The problem of the right of self-determination in the case of the Jew is by all odds the most baffling of the many nationalistic claims now clamoring for recognition. It is not strange that the Peace Conference in Paris has been unable to find a solution. PHILIP MARSHALL BROWN.
MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT WILSON TRANSMITTING TO THE SENATE THE
TREATY WITH FRANCE OF JUNE 28, 1919.1 GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE:
I take pleasure in laying before you a treaty with the Republic of France, the object of which is to secure that Republic of the immediate aid of the United States of America in case of any unprovoked movement of aggression against her on the part of Germany. I earnestly hope that this treaty will meet with your cordial approval and will receive an early ratification at your hands, along with the treaty of peace with Germany. Now that you have had an opportunity to examine the great document I presented to you two weeks ago, it seems opportune to lay before you this treaty which is meant to be in effect a part of it.
It was signed on the same day with the treaty of peace and is intended as a temporary supplement to it. It is believed that the treaty of peace with Germany itself provides adequate protection to France against aggression from her recent enemy on the east; but the years immediately ahead of us contain many incalculable possibilities. The Covenant of the League of Nations provides for military action for the protection of its members only upon advice of the Council of the League-advice given, it is to be presumed, only upon deliberation and acted upon by each of the governments of the member states only if its own judgment justifies such action. The object of the special treaty with France which I now submit to you is to provide for immediate military assistance to France by the United States in case of any unprovoked movement of aggression against her by Germany without waiting for the advice of the Council of the League of Nations that such action be taken. It is to be an arrangement, not independent of the League of Nations, but under it.
It is, therefore, expressly provided that this treaty shall be made the subject of consideration at the same time with the treaty of peace
1 Senate Document No. 63, 66th Congress, 1st session.
with Germany; that this special arrangement shall receive the approval of the Council of the League; and that this special provision for the safety of France shall remain in force only until, upon the application of one of the parties to it, the Council of the League, acting, if necessary, by a majority vote, shall agree that the provisions of the Covenant of the League afford her sufficient protection.
I was moved to sign this treaty by considerations which will, I hope, seem as persuasive and as irresistible to you as they seemed to me. We are bound to France by ties of friendship which we have always regarded, and shall always regard, as peculiarly sacred. She assisted us to win our freedom as a nation. It is seriously to be doubted whether we could have won it without her gallant and timely aid. We have recently had the privilege of assisting in driving enemies, who were also enemies of the world, from her soil; but that does not pay our debt to her. Nothing can pay such a debt. She now desires that we should promise to lend our great force to keep her safe against the power she has had most reason to fear. Another great nation volunteers the same promise. It is one of the fine reversals of history that that other nation should be the very Power from whom France fought to set us free. A new day has dawned. Old antagonisms are forgotten. The common cause of freedom and enlightenment has created new comradeships and a new perception of what it is wise and necessary for great nations to do to free the world of intolerable fear. Two governments who wish to be members of the League of Nations ask leave of the Council of the League to be permitted to go to the assistance of a friend whose situation has been found to be one of peculiar peril, without awaiting the advice of the League to act.
It is by taking such pledges as this that we prove ourselves faithful to the utmost to the high obligations of gratitude and tested friendship. Such an act as this seems to me one of the proofs that we are a people that sees the true heart of duty and prefers honor to its own separate course of peace.
WooDROW WILSON. THE WHITE House, July 29, 1919.
STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT WILSON REGARDING THE DISPOSITION OF FIUME *
PARIs, April 23, 1919.
In view of the capital importance of the questions affected, and in order to throw all possible light upon what is involved in their settlement, I hope that the following statement will contribute to the final formation of opinion and to a satisfactory solution.
When Italy entered the war she entered upon the basis of a definite, but private, understanding with Great Britain and France, now known as the Pact of London. Since that time the whole face of circumstances has been altered. Many other Powers, great and small, have entered the struggle, with no knowledge of that private understanding. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, then the enemy of Europe and at whose expense the Pact of London was to be kept in the event of victory, has gone to pieces and no longer exists. Not only that. The several parts of that Empire, it is now agreed by Italy and all her associates, are to be erected into independent states and associated in a League of Nations, not with those who were recently our enemies, but with Italy herself and the Powers that stood with Italy in the great war for liberty. We are to establish their liberty as well as our own. They are to be among the smaller states whose interests are henceforth to be as scrupulously safeguarded as the interests of the most powerful states.
The war was ended, moreover, by proposing to Germany an armistice and peace which should be founded on certain clearly defined principles which should set up a new order of right and justice. Upon those principles the peace with Germany has been conceived, not only, but formulated. Upon those principles it will be executed. We cannot ask the great body of Powers to propose and effect peace with Austria and establish a new basis of independence and right in the states which originally constituted the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in the states of the Balkan Group on principles of another kind. We must apply the same principles to the settlement of Europe in those quarters that we have applied in the peace with Germany. It was upon the explicit avowal of those principles that the initiative
1 Chicago Tribune, Paris Edition, Thursday, April 24, 1919, p. 1.