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4. As to Russian occupied territories: Phases of policy since the Russian revolution have been so rapid that “it is difficult to speak without some suspension of judgment as to what the situation will be when the final terms of European peace come to be discussed.” Russia “can only be saved by her own people.” 5. An independent Poland “comprising all those genuinely Polish elements who desired to form part of it, is an urgent necessity for the stability of Western Europe.” 6. Unless self-government is granted to Austro-Hungarian nationalities who desire it, it is impossible to hope for “a removal of those causes of unrest in that part of Europe which have so long threatened the general peace.” 7. It is vital that the “claims of the Italians for union with those of their own race and tongue” be satisfied. 8. Justice must be done to the “men of Roumanian blood and speech in their legitimate aspirations.” 9. We do not challenge the maintenance of the Turkish Empire in the homelands of the Turkish race with its capital at Constantinople, the passage between the Mediterranean and Black Sea being “internationalized and neutralized,” but Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine are “entitled to a recognition of their separate national conditions.” 10. German colonies are held at the disposal of a conference which “must have primary regard to the wishes and interests of the native inhabitants of such colonies.” They should have an administration acceptable to them, one of whose main purposes will be to prevent their exploitation for the benefit of European capitalists or Governments.” 11. Reparation for injuries done “in violation of international law.” The peace conference must not forget the services of our seamen and the “outrages they have suffered for the common cause of freedom.” 12. The settlement after this war must not bear in itself the “seed of future war.” 13. A great attempt must be made to establish “by some international organization an alternative to war as a means of settling international disputes.” 14. For permanent peace the “sanctity of treaties must be reestablished”; territorial settlement must be based on the “consent of the governed”; the “burden of armaments” must be limited to “diminish the probability of war.”
Stated by Chancellor von Hertling, January 24 1. No more secret international agreements. Germany declares “publicity of negotiations to be a general political principle.” 2. Freedom of the seas is one of the most important requirements for the future. 3. Germany condemns economic war, which would “inevitably bear within it causes of future warlike complications.”
4. Limitation of armaments is “entirely discussable,” and the financial position of all European states after the war “might most effectively promote a satisfactory solution.” (Cries of “Hear! Hear!”)
5. Colonial claims and disputes will have to be discussed in due time “on the reconstitution of the world's colonial possessions, which we also demand absolutely.”
6. Germany is “dealing here with questions which concern only Russia and the four Allied Powers,” and hopes that “with recognition of self-determination for the peoples of the Western frontier of the former Russian Empire good relations will be established, both with these people and with the rest of Russia.” 7. The Belgian question “belongs to the questions the details of which are to be settled by negotiation at the peace conference,” and so long as our opponents have not taken the stand that the integrity of the allies’ territory can offer the only basis of peace discussion, I must adhere to the stand hitherto adopted, and “refuse the removal in advance of the Belgian affair from the entire discussion.” 8. Occupied parts of France are “a valuable pawn in our hands.” Forcible annexation forms no part of German policy. Conditions and methods of evacuation are to be agreed upon between Germany and France, and “there can never be a question of dismemberment of imperial territory.” 9–10–11. These questions touch both the Italian frontier questions and questions of the development of the AustroHungarian Monarchy and the future of the Balkan States. The interests of our ally Austria-Hungary preponderate. Where German interests are concerned, we shall defend them most energetically and shall “do everything for the attainment of peace by Austria-Hungary which takes into account her just claims.” 12. The integrity of Turkey and the safeguarding of her capital, connected closely with the question of the Straits, are “important and vital interests of the German Empire.” 13. Germany and Austria-Hungary and Poland, it is foreshadowed, are to come to an agreement on the future constitution of the last-named country. 14. If the idea of a bond of nations proves to be really conceived “in a spirit of complete justice and complete impartiality toward all, then the Imperial Government is gladly ready, when all other pending questions have been settled, to begin the examination of the basis of such a bond of nations.”
Stated by Foreign Minister Count Czernin, January 24 “An exchange of views between America and Austria-Hungary might form the starting-point for a conciliatory discussion among all the states which have not yet entered into peace negotiations.” Recent proposals of President Wilson are “an appreciable approach to the Austro-Hungarian point of view.” . . . Austria-Hungary “will defend the possessions of her war-allies as she would her own.” In the matter of the freedom of the seas, President Wilson “responded to the views of all.” “Hostility against a future economic war” is “just and reasonable.” No objection is made to the suppression of secret diplomacy, although “I do not know how one can execute and control this realization.” He supports the idea of an independent Polish state including “all territories and populations which indisputably are Polish.” . . . Finally he avers that there will be probably no opposition in the Monarchy to the President’s idea of a league of nations.
Peace Terms Summary.
President Wilson stated ours before Congress on January 8. Bolshevik proposals were published in Vienna papers and cabled December 31 to the New York “World.” British terms were stated in a speech of Premier Lloyd George to the Trade-Union Conference in London on January 5.
Uncle Sam's Lecture on Peace Proposals.
President Wilson, in addressing Congress on February 11, in reply to leading Teutonic statesmen regarding possible peace terms, spoke as follows:
Gentlemen of the Congress—On the 8th of January, I had the honor of addressing you on the objects of the war as our people conceive them. The Prime Minister of Great Britain had spoken in similar terms on the 5th of January. To these addresses the German Chancellor replied on the 24th, and Count Czernin of Austria on the same day. It is gratifying to have our desire so promptly realized that all exchanges of views on this great matter should be made in the hearing of all the world.
Count Czernin's reply, which is directed chiefly to my own address on the 8th of January, is uttered in a friendly tone. He finds in my statement a sufficiently encouraging approach to the views of his own government to justify him in believing that it furnishes a basis for a more detailed discusson of purposes by the two governments. He is represented to have intimated that the views he was expressing had been communicated to me beforehand and that I was aware of them at the time he was uttering them, but in this I am sure he was misunderstood. I had received no intimation of what he intended to say. There was, of course, no reason why he should communicate privately with me. I am quite content to be one of his public audience.
Hertling is Vague.
Count von Hertling's reply is, I must say, very vague and very confusing. It is full of equivocal phrases and leads it is not clear where. But it is certainly in a very different tone from that of Count Czernin and apparently of an opposite purpose. It confirms, I am sorry to say, rather than removes, the unfortunate impression made by what we had learned of the conferences at Brest-Litovsk. His discussion and acceptance of our general principles lead him to no practical conclusion.
He refuses to apply them to the substantive items which must constitute the body of any final settlement. He is jealous of international action and of international counsel. He accepts, he says, the principle of public diplomacy, but he appears to insist that it be confined—at any rate, in this case—to generalities and that the several particular questions of territory and sovereignty, the several questions upon whose settlement must depend the acceptance of peace by the twenty-three states now engaged in the war must be discussed and settled, not in general council but severally by the nations most immediately concerned by interest or neighborhood. He agrees that the seas should be free, but looks askance at any limitation of that freedom by international action in the interest of the common order.
He would without reserve be glad to see economic barriers removed between nation and nation, for that could in no way impede the ambitions of the military party with whom he seems constrained to keep on terms. Neither does he raise objection to a limitation of armaments. That matter will be settled of itself, he thinks, by the economic conditions which must follow the war. But the German colonies, he demands, must be returned without debate. He will discuss with no one but the representatives of Russia what disposition shall be made of its peoples and lands of the Baltic provinces; with no one but the government of France the “conditions” under which French territory shall be evacuated; and only with Austria what shall be done with Poland. In the determination of all questions affecting the Balkan states he defers, as I understand him, to Austria and Turkey; and with regard to agreements to be entered into concerning the non-Turkish people of the present Ottoman Empire, to the Turkish authorities themselves. After a settlement all around, effected in this fashion, by individual barter and concession, he would have no objection, if I correctly interpret his statement, to a league of nations which would undertake to hold the new balance of power steady against external disturbances.
Will Not Bring Peace.
It must be evident to everyone who understands what this war has wrought in the opinion and temper of the world that no general peace, no peace worth the infinite sacrifices of these years of tragical suffering, can possibly be arrived at in any such fashion. The method the German Chancellor proposes is the method of the Congress of Vienna. We cannot and will not return to that. What is at stake now is the peace of the world. What we are striving for is a new international order based upon broad and universal principles of right and justice—no more peace of shreds and patches. Is it possible that Count von Hertling does not see that, does not grasp it, is in fact living in his thought in a world dead and gone? Has he utterly forgotten the Reichstag resolution of the 19th of July, or does he deliberately ignore them 2 They spoke of the conditions of a general peace, not of national aggrandizement or of arrangement between state and state. The peace of the world depends upon the just settlement of each of the several problems to which I adverted in my recent address to the congress. I, of course, do not mean that the peace of the world would depend upon the acceptance of any particular set of suggestions as to the way in which those problems are to be dealt with. I mean only that those problems, each and all, affect the whole world; that unless they are dealt with in a spirit of unselfish and unbiased justice, with a view to the wishes, the natural connections, the racial aspirations, the security and peace of mind of the peoples involved, no permanent peace will have been attained. They cannot be discussed separately or in corners. None of them