Paris Peace Conf. 185.111/28

General Tasker H. Bliss to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I send you herewith a preliminary report on the subject of the League of Nations15 which, possibly, you [Page 520] may find of some interest. The copy of the letter to me from General Nolan,16 which precedes the report, will explain its origin.

I received yesterday a second and fuller report, being an analysis of propositions for a League of Nations and for Disarmament, which I am now having copied and which I hope to be able to send to you before the end of the week.17

Cordially yours,

Tasker H. Buss

Brigadier General D. E. Nolan to General Tasker H. Bliss 18

My Dear General Buss: Pursuant to your instructions, I am forwarding herewith a preliminary report on the various schemes proposed for a League of Nations and Disarmament.19 This report was prepared by Captain H. C. Bell, whom I sent to London for the purpose.

Captain Bell found in London a collection of schemes published in 1917 under the title, “The Framework of a Lasting Peace”. His report therefore omits all material contained in this book, a copy of which is forwarded with the report. The report contains some information of a confidential character. This was secured largely through the courtesy of the Military Attaché at London and his assistants, Major Winthrop and Captain Dennis, who gave generous and valuable assistance wherever opportunity offered.

Owing to the brief period of time which it was possible to allow for the preparation of the report no attempt has been made to digest or compare the various schemes. I have therefore ordered Captain Bell to continue his study of the subject along these lines and to make such additions to the report as may be possible.

A number of books on the subject have been ordered and will be forwarded to you as soon as received. Lists of these and of other books of minor value accompany the report.

In sending Captain Bell to London I directed him to form what estimate he could of the feeling existing there with regard to the League. His impressions are as follows. A large amount of thought and of study have been devoted to the subject for the last year or two, and the interest has greatly increased during the last few months. On the other hand there is no stabilised public opinion on the subject. There are very marked divisions of opinion existing everywhere, so [Page 521] that American proposals are not likely to be confronted by any unified opposition. There is however very general agreement on the idea that the League must be developed gradually and that any attempt to form an actual world state would be premature and probably disastrous. The League must be based above all on an understanding between Great Britain, France and the United States. There is no apparent feeling that the co-operation of Italy is necessary. It is also plain that Great Britain is not prepared to relinquish her sea power. The attitude of the Government is not entirely clear, but there is reason to believe that it regards the whole proposition rather cynically. It has had various experts working on the matter for some time, including Mr. Balfour’s committee, which made its report last March. Careful studies of the various aspects are being made at the present time.

I shall of course furnish you with copies of everything that Captain Bell is able to produce here.

Yours very truly,

D. E. Nolan

Brig. Gen., General Staff
  1. Not printed.
  2. The enclosure to this document.
  3. Not printed; the report was transmitted to the Secretary of State by General Bliss on December 26 (file No. Paris Peace Conf. 185.111/101½).
  4. Filed separately under file No. Paris Peace Conf. 185.111/101½.
  5. Not printed.