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It was finally found to be impossible to do more than to adopt the following resolution:
"Resolved, That the preservation of the Chinese Eastern Railway for those in interest requires that better protection be given to the railway and the persons engaged in its operation and use, a more careful selection of personnel to secure efficiency of service, and a more economical use of funds to prevent waste of the property; that the subject should immediately be dealt with through the proper diplomatic channels."
The Powers other than China made the following reservation:
"The Powers other than China in agreeing to the resolution regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway reserve the right to insist hereafter upon the responsibility of China for performance or nonperformance of the obligations towards the foreign stockholders, bondholders, and creditors of the Chinese Eastern Railway Company which the Powers deem to result from the contracts under which the railroad was built and the action of China thereunder and the obligations which they deem to be in the nature of a trust resulting from the exercise of power by the Chinese Government over the possession and administration of the railroad."
While, as thus appears, it proved to be necessary to leave these questions for future diplomatic adjustment, not a little was accomplished in ascertaining and clarifying the views of the various governments. The discussions established unanimity among the Powers, other than China, as to the immediate need for more adequate protection of the railway and the impracticability of obtaining financial support without effective financial control, assuring the economical operation of the railway. The Conference effectively recognized Chinese sovereign rights in respect to the railway, but in the reservation above quoted made clear to China the immense responsibilities she might incur by a reckless use of her sovereign prerogatives. The Chinese delegates were impressed by this aspect of the question, and it is understood that they have already recommended to their Government that it take measures immediately and spontaneously to improve the military protection of the railway. It has been suggested to the Chinese delegates also, and has won a certain favorable response from them, that China would be well advised to take the initiative in the diplomatic interchanges which will ensue as a result of the resolution adopted, in requesting at once the cooperation of the other Powers in maintaining the railway. It may prove possible to arrive at practical results in this way while preserving Chinese sovereignty and amour propre. General assent was obtained at the Conference to the continuance in force of the agreement of 1919 for the supervision of the railway.
For some time there have been negotiations between the United States and Japan in relation to the so-called mandated islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the Equator. While the Conference was in session these negotiations resulted in an agreement between the American Government and the Japanese Government, which is to be embodied in a treaty. The points of the agreement are as follows:
1. It is agreed that the United States shall have free access to the Island of Yap on the footing of entire equality with Japan or any other nation, in all that relates to the landing and operation of the existing Yap-Guam cable or of any cable which may hereafter be laid by the United States or its nationals.
2. It is also agreed that the United States and its nationals are to be accorded the same rights and privileges with respect to radio-telegraphic service as with regard to cables. It is provided that so long as the Japanese Government shall maintain on the Island of Yap an adequate radio-telegraphic station, cooperating effectively with the cables and with other radio stations on ships and shore, without discriminatory exactions or preferences, the exercise of the right to establish radiotelegraphic stations at Yap by the United States or its nationals shall be suspended.
3. It is further agreed that the United States shall enjoy in the Island of Yap the following rights, privileges, and exemptions in relation to electrical communications:
(a) Rights of residence without restriction; and rights of acquisition and enjoyment and undisturbed possession, upon a footing of entire equality with Japan or any other nation or their respective nationals of all property and interests, both personal and real, including lands, buildings, residences, offices, works, and appurtenances.
(b) No permit or license to be required for the enjoyment of any of these rights and privileges.
(c) Each country to be free to operate both ends of its cables either directly or through its nationals including corporations or associations.
(d) No cable censorship or supervision of operation or messages.
(e) Free entry and exit for persons and property.
(f) No taxes, port, harbor, or landing charges, or exactions, either with respect to operation of cables or to property, persons, or vessels.
(g) No discriminatory police regulations.
4. Japan agrees that it will use its power of expropriation to secure to the United States needed property and facilities for the purpose of electrical communication in the Island, if such property or facilities can not otherwise be obtained. It is understood that the location and area of land to be so expropriated shall be arranged each time between the two Governments, according to the requirements of each case. American property and facilities for the purpose of electrical communication in the Island are to be exempt from the process of expropriation.
5. The United States consents to the administration by Japan of the mandated islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the Equator subject to the above provisions with respect to the Island of Yap, and also subject to the following conditions:
"(a) The United States is to have the benefit of the engagements of Japan set forth in the mandate, particularly those as follows:
"The Mandatory shall see that the slave trade is prohibited and that no forced labour is permitted, except for essential public work and services, and then only for adequate remuneration.
"The Mandatory shall also see that the traffic in arms and ammunition is controlled in accordance with principles analogous to those laid down in the Convention relating to the control of the arms traffic, signed on September 10th, 1919, or in any convention amending same.
"The supply of intoxicating spirits and beverages to the natives shall be prohibited."
"The military training of the natives, otherwise than for purposes of internal police and the local defense of the territory, shall be prohibited. Furthermore, no military or naval bases shall be established or fortifications erected in the territory."
"(b) With respect to missionaries, it is agreed that Japan shall ensure complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, which are consonant with public order and morality, and that missionaries of all such religions shall be free to enter the territory, and to travel and reside therein, to acquire and possess property, to erect religious buildings, and to open schools throughout the territory. Japan shall, however, have the right to exercise such control as may be necessary for the maintenance of public order and good government, and to take all measures required for such control.
"(c) Japan agrees that vested American property rights will be maintained and respected.
"(d) It is agreed that the treaties between the United States and Japan now in force shall apply to the mandated islands.
"(e) It is agreed that any modifications in the Mandate are to be subject to the consent of the United States, and, further, that Japan will address to the United States a duplicate report on the administration of the Mandate."
No agreement has yet been made with respect to the so-called mandated islands in the Pacific Ocean south of the Equator. The assent of the United States to these mandates has not yet been given, and the subject is left to negotiations between the United States and Great Britain.
No action was taken with respect to electrical communications in the Pacific. The allocation of the former German cables are matters to be dealt with by the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers and will be the subject of diplomatic negotiations.
To estimate correctly the character and value of these several treaties, resolutions and formal declarations they should be considered as a whole. Each one contributes its part in combination with the others towards the establishment of conditions in which peaceful security will take the place of competitive preparation for war.
The declared object was, in its naval aspect, to stop the race of competitive building of warships which was in process and which was so distressingly like the competition that immediately preceded the war of 1914. Competitive armament, however, is the result of a state of mind in which a national expectation of attack by some other country causes preparation to meet the attack. To step competition it is necessary to deal with the state of mind from which it results. A belief in the pacific intentions of other powers must be substituted for suspicion and apprehension.
The negotiations which led to the Four Power Treaty were the process of attaining that new state of mind, and the Four Power Treaty itself was the expression of that new state of mind. It terminated the Anglo-Japanese alliance and substituted friendly conference in place of war as the first reaction from any controversies which might arise in the region of the Pacific; it would not have been possible except as part of a plan including a limitation and a reduction of naval armaments, but that limitation and reduction would not have been possible without the new relations established by the Four Power Treaty or something equivalent to it.
The new relations declared in the Four Power Treaty could not, however, inspire confidence or be reasonably assured of continuance without a specific understanding as to the relations of the powers to China. Such an understanding had two aspects. One related to securing fairer treatment of China, and the other related to the competition for trade and industrial advantages in China between the outside powers.
An agreement covering both of these grounds in a rather fundamental way was embodied in the first article of the general Nine Power Treaty regarding China. In order, however, to bring the rules set out in that article out of the realm of mere abstract propositions and make them practical rules of conduct it was necessary to provide for applying them so far as the present conditions of government and social order in China permit. This was done by the remaining provisions of the general Nine Power Treaty and Chinese Customs Treaty and the series of formal resolutions adopted by the Conference in its Plenary Sessions and the formal declarations made a part of the record of the Conference.
The scope of action by the Conference in dealing with Chinese affairs was much limited by the disturbed conditions of government in China which have existed since the revolution of 1911, and which still exist, and which render effective action by that government exceedingly difficult and in some directions impracticable. In every case the action of the Conference was taken with primary reference to giving the greatest help possible to the Chinese people in developing a stable and effective government really representative of the people of China. Much was accomplished in that direction, and the rules of conduct set forth in the first article of the General Treaty regarding China have not merely received the assent of the Powers but have been accepted and applied to concrete cases.
The sum total of the action taken in the Conference regarding China, together with the return of Shantung by direct agreement between China and Japan, the withdrawal of the most unsatisfactory of the so-called "twenty-one demands," and the explicit declaration of Japan regarding the closely connected territory of Eastern Siberia, justify the relation of confidence and good will expressed in the Four Power Treaty and upon which the reduction of armament provided in the Naval Treaty may be contemplated with a sense of security.
In conclusion, we may be permitted to quote the words of the President in closing the Conference:
"This Conference has wrought a truly great achievement. It is hazardous sometimes to speak in superlatives, and I will be restrained. But I will say, with every confidence, that the faith plighted here to-day, kept in national honor, will mark the beginning of a new and better epoch in human progress.
"Stripped to the simplest fact, what is the spectacle which has inspired a new hope for the world? Gathered about this table nine great nations of the world—not all, to be sure, but those most directly concerned with the problems at hand—have met and have conferred on questions of great import and common concern, on problems menacing their peaceful relationship, on burdens threatening a common peril. In the revealing light of the public opinion of the world, without surrender of sovereignty, without impaired nationality or affronted national pride, a solution has been found in unanimity, and to-day's adjournment is marked by rejoicing in the things accomplished. If the world has hungered for new assurance, it may feast at the banquet which the Conference has spread.
"I am sure the people of the United States are supremely gratified, and yet there is scant appreciation how marvelously you have wrought. When the days were dragging and agreements were delayed, when there were obstacles within and hindrances without, few stopped to realize that here was a conference of sovereign powers where only unanimous agreement could be made the rule. Majorities could not decide without impinging national rights. There were no victors to command, no vanquished to yield. All had voluntarily to agree in translating the conscience of our civilization and give concrete expression to world opinion.
"And you have agreed in spite of all difficulties, and the agreements are proclaimed to the world. No new standards of national honor have been sought, but the indictments of national dishonor have been drawn, and the world is ready to proclaim the odiousness of perfidy or infamy.
* * *
"It has been the fortune of this Conference to sit in a day far enough removed from war's bitterness, yet near enough to war's horrors, to gain the benefit of both the hatred of war and the yearning for peace. Too often, heretofore, the decades following such gatherings have been marked by the difficult undoing of their decisions. But your achievement is supreme because no seed of conflict has been sown, no reaction in regret or resentment ever can justify resort to arms.