Paris Peace Conf. 180.0201/5

Preliminary Peace Conference, Protocol No. 5, Plenary Session of April 28, 1919

The Session is opened at 15 o’clock (3 p.m.) under the presidency of Mr. Clemenceau, President.

  • Present
    • For the United States of America.:
      • The President of the United States.
      • Honorable Robert Lansing.
      • Honorable Henry White.
      • Honorable Edward M. House.
      • General Tasker H. Bliss.
    • For the British Empire:
    • great britain:
      • The Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George.
      • The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour.
      • The Rt. Hon. G. N. Barnes.
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Ward, Bt.
      • The Hon. Arthur L. Sifton.
      • The Rt. Hon. Lora Robert Cecil, Technical Delegate.
    • Dominions and India:
    • canada:
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Borden.
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir George Foster.
    • australia:
      • The Rt. Hon. W. M. Hughes.
      • The Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Cook.
    • south africa:
      • General The Rt. Hon. Louis Botha.
      • Lt. Gen. The Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts.
    • new zealand:
      • The Rt. Hon. W. F. Massey.
    • india:
      • The Rt. Hon. The Lord Sinha.
      • Major-General His Highness the Maharaja of Bikaner.
    • For France:
      • Mr. Clemenceau.
      • Mr. Pichon.
      • Mr. L. L. Klotz.
      • Mr. André Tardieu.
      • Mr. Jules Cambon.
      • Mr. Léon Bourgeois, Technical Delegate.
    • For Japan:
      • The Marquis Saionji.
      • The Baron Makino.
      • Viscount Chinda.
      • Mr. K. Matsui.
      • Mr. H. Ijuin.
    • For Belgium:
      • Mr. Hymans.
      • Mr. van den Heuvel.
      • Mr. Vandervelde.
    • For Bolivia:
      • Mr. Ismael Montes.
    • For Brazil:
      • Mr. Epitacio Pessõa.
      • Mr. Pandia Calogeras.
      • Mr. Rodrigo Octavio, Professor of International Law at the Faculty of Rio de Janeiro, Legal Adviser of the Republic, Technical Delegate.
    • For China:
      • Mr. Lou Tseng-tsiang.
      • Mr. Vi Kyuin Wellington Koo.
    • For Cuba:
      • Mr. Antonio Sanchez de Bustamante.
    • [Page 286]For Ecuador:
      • Mr. Dorn y de Alsua.
    • For Greece:
      • Mr. Eleftherios Veniselos.
      • Mr. Nicolas Politis.
    • For Guatemala:
      • Mr. Joaquín Méndez.
    • For The Hedjaz:
      • Mr. Rustem Haidar.
    • For Honduras:
      • Dr. Policarpo Bonilla.
    • For Liberia:
      • Hon. G. D. B. King.
    • For Nicaragua:
      • Mr. Salvador Chamorro.
    • For Panama:
      • Mr. Antonio Burgos.
    • For Peru:
      • Mr. V. M. Maurtua, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Peru at the Hague, Former Minister of Finance, Former Deputy.
    • For Poland:
      • Mr. Roman Dmowski.
      • Mr. Isniace Paderewski.
    • For Portugal:
      • Dr. Affonso Costa.
      • Col. Norton de Mattos, Former Minister of War.
    • For Roumania:
      • Mr. Jean J. C. Bratiano.
      • Mr. Victor Antonesco, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of H. M. The King of Roumania at Paris, Former Minister of Finance.
    • For Serbia:
      • Mr. Trumbitch.
      • Mr. Vesnitch.
    • For Siam:
      • The Prince Charoon.
      • Phya Bibadh Kosha.
    • For the Czecho-Slovak Republic:
      • Mr. Charles Kramar.
      • Mr. Edouard Benes.
    • For Uruguay:
      • Mr. Juan Antonio Buero, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Former Minister of Industry, Former Deputy.

Also present at the Session:—

The members of the Commission on the League of Nations and the Members of the Commission on International Labor Legislation.

The Minutes of the Session of April 11th, 1919 (Protocol No. 4) are passed.

Discussion of the Report of the Commission on the League of Nations The Agenda Paper provides for the discussion of the Report of the Commission on the League of Nations (Annex I).

The President of the United States explains the alterations made in the Covenant by the Commission in the following speech:—

Alterations introduced into the Covenant “Mr. President, when the text of the Covenant of the League of Nations was last laid before you, I had the honor of reading the Covenant in extenso. I will not detain you to-day to re-read the Covenant as it has been now altered, but will merely take the liberty of explaining to you some of the alterations that have been made.

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“The Report of the Commission has been circulated; you yourselves have in your hands the text of the Covenant, and you will no doubt have noticed that most of the changes that have been made are mere changes of phraseology, not changes of substance, and that besides that, most of the changes are intended to clarify the document, or rather to make explicit what we all had assumed was explicit in the document as it was originally presented to you.

“But I shall take the liberty of calling your attention, for fear that you may not have had time to examine the document carefully, to the new features, such as they are; some of them considerable, the rest, trivial.

“The first paragraph of Article I is new. In view of the insertion of the Covenant in the Peace Treaty specific provision as to the signatories of the Treaty, who would become members of the League, and also as to the neutral States to be invited to accede to the Covenant, was obviously necessary.

“The paragraph also provides for the method by which a neutral State may accede to the Covenant.

“The third paragraph of Article I is new, providing for the withdrawal of any member of the League on a notice given of two years.

“The second paragraph of Article IV is new, providing for a possible increase in the Council, should other Powers be added to the League of Nations, whose present accession is not anticipated.

“The last paragraph of Article IV is new, providing specifically for one vote for each Member of the League in the Council, which was understood before, and providing also for one representative of each Member of the League.

“The first paragraph of Article V is new, expressly incorporating the provision as to unanimity of voting, which was at first taken for granted.

“The second paragraph of Article VI has had added to it, that a majority of the Assembly must approve the appointment of the Secretary General.

“The first paragraph of Article VII, names Geneva as the Seat of the League, and is followed by a second paragraph which gives the Council power to establish the Seat of the League elsewhere should it subsequently deem it necessary.

“The third paragraph of Article VII is new, establishing an equality of employment of men and women, that is to say, by the League. The second paragraph of Article XIII is new, inasmuch as it undertakes to give instances of disputes which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration, instances of what have latterly been called “justiciable” questions. The eighth paragraph of Article XV is new. This is an amendment regarding domestic jurisdiction; where the [Page 288]Council finds that a question arising out of an international dispute affects matters which are clearly under the domestic jurisdiction of one or other of the parties, it is to report to that effect, and make no recommendation. The last paragraph of Article XVI is new, providing for an expulsion from the League in certain extraordinary circumstances. Article XXI is new. The second paragraph of Article XXII inserts the words, with regard to mandatories, ‘and who are willing to accept it,’ thus explicity introducing the principle that a mandate cannot be forced upon a nation unwilling to accept it. Article XXIII is a combination of several former articles, and also contains the following:—a clause providing for the just treatment of aborigines, a clause looking towards the prevention of the White Slave traffic and the traffic in opium, and a clause in regard to the international prevention and control of disease. Article XXV specifically mentions the Red Cross as one of the international organizations which is to connect its work with the work of the League. Article XXVI permits amendment of the Covenant by a majority of States composing the Assembly instead of three-fourths of the States, though it does not change the requirement in that matter with regard to the vote in the Council. The second paragraph of Article XXVI is also new, and was added at the request of the Brazilian Delegation in order to avoid certain constitutional difficulties. It permits any Member of the League to dissent from an amendment, the effect of such dissent, however, being withdrawal from the League. An Annex is added giving the names of the signatories of the Treaty who will become Members, and the names of the States invited to accede to the Covenant.

Amendments Presented by the American Delegation “These are all the changes, I believe, which are of moment. Mr. President, I take the opportunity to move the following resolutions in order to carry out the provisions of the Covenant. You will notice that the first General shall be chosen by this Conference. It also provides that the first choice of the four Member States which are to be added to the Five Great Powers on the Council is left to this Conference. I move, therefore:

  • “First:—

    That the first Secretary General of the League shall be the Honorable Sir James Eric Drummond, K. C. M. G., C. B.

  • “Second:—

    That until such time as the Assembly shall have selected the first four Members of the League to be represented on the Council in accordance with Article IV of the Covenant, representatives of Belgium, Brazil, Greece, and Spain, shall be Members of the Council; and

  • “Third:—

    That the Powers to be represented on the Council of the League of Nations are requested to name representatives who shall form a Committee of Nine to prepare plans for the organization of the League and for the establishment of the Seat of the League, and to make arrangements and to prepare the Agenda for the first meeting of the Assembly. This Committee shall report both to the Council and to the Assembly of the League.

“I think it is not necessary to call your attention to other matters we have previously discussed, the capital significance of this Covenant, the hopes which are entertained as to the effect it will have upon steadying the affairs of the world, and the obvious necessity that there should be a concert of the free nations of the world to maintain justice in international relations and peace between the nations of the world.”

The President was calling on Baron Makino to speak when the President of the United States begged leave to add the few following remarks:

“If Baron Makino will pardon me for introducing a matter which I absent-mindedly overlooked, it is necessary for me to propose the alteration of several words in the first line of Article V. Let me say that in several parts of the Treaty, of which this Covenant will form a part, certain duties are assigned to the Council of the League of Nations. In some instances, it is provided that the action they shall take shall be by a majority vote. It is, therefore, necessary to make the Covenant conform with the other portions of the Treaty by adding these words. I will read the first line, and add the words:

“‘Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant, or by the terms of this Treaty, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the Council, shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League represented at the meeting.’

“‘Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant,’ is the present reading, and I move the addition of ‘or by the terms of this Treaty.’ With that addition, I move the adoption of the Covenant.”

Amendment of the Japanese Delegation for all the Equality of All Nations Baron Makino (Japan) explains the grounds for the amendment proposed by the Japanese Delegation to the Commission with a view to secure recognition in the Covenant for the equality of all nations and of their subjects:

“I had first on the 13th of February an opportunity of submitting to the Commission of the League of Nations our amendment to the Covenant, embodying the principle of equal and just treatment to be accorded to all aliens who happen to be the nationals of the States which are deemed advanced enough and fully qualified to become Members of the League, making no distinction on account of race or nationality.

[Page 290]

“On that occasion I called the attention of the Commission to the fact that the race question being a standing grievance which might become acute and dangerous at any moment, it was desirous that a provision dealing with the subject should be made in this Covenant. We did not lose sight of the many and varied difficulties standing in the way of a full realization of this principle. But they were not insurmountable, I said, if sufficient importance were attached to the consideration of serious misunderstandings between different peoples which might grow to an uncontrollable degree, and it was hoped that the matter would be taken in hand on such opportunity as the present, when what was deemed impossible before was about to be accomplished. Further, I made it unmistakably clear that, the question being of a very delicate and complicated nature, involving the play of a deep human passion, the immediate realization of the ideal equality was not proposed, but that the clause presented enunciated the principle only, and left the actual working of it in the hands of the different Governments concerned; that, in other words, the clause was intended as an invitation to the Governments and peoples concerned to examine the question more closely and seriously, and to devise in a fair and accommodating spirit means to meet it.

“Attention was also called to the fact that the League being, as it were, a world organization of insurance against war; that in cases of aggression nations suitably placed must be prepared to defend the territorial integrity and political independence of a fellow member; that this meant that a national of a State Member must be ready to share military expenditure for the common cause and, if needs be, sacrifice his own person. In view of these new duties, I remarked, arising before him as a result of his country entering the League, each national would naturally feel, and in fact demand, that he be placed on an equal footing with the people whom he undertakes to defend even with his own life. The proposed amendment, however, was not adopted by the Commission.

“On the next day, that is, on the 14th February, when the draft Covenant was reported at a Plenary Session of the Conference without the insertion of our amendment, I had the privilege of expressing our whole-hearted sympathy and readiness to contribute our utmost to any and every attempt to found and secure an enduring peace of the world. At the same time, I made a reservation that we would again submit our proposal for the consideration of the Conference at an early opportunity.

“At the meeting of the Commission on the 11th of April, I proposed the insertion, in the Preamble of the Covenant, of a phrase endorsing the principles of the equality of nations and the just treatment of their nationals. But this proposal again failed to be adopted by unanimity, [Page 291]although it obtained, may I be permitted to say, a clear majority in its favor.

“This modified form of amendment did not, as I had occasion already to state at the Commission, fully meet our wishes, but it was the outcome of an attempt to conciliate the view points of different nations.

“Now that it has been decided by the Commission that our amendment, even in its modified form, would not be included in the draft Covenant, I feel constrained to revert to our original proposal and to avail myself of this occasion to declare clearly our position in regard to this matter.

“The principle which we desire to see acted upon in the future relationship between nations was set forth in our original amendment as follows:—

“‘The equality of nations being a basic principle of the League of Nations, the High Contracting Parties agree to accord, as soon as possible, to all aliens nationals of States Members of the League equal and just treatment in every respect, making no distinction, either in law or in fact, on account of their race or nationality.’

“It is our firm conviction that the enduring success of this great undertaking will depend much more on the hearty espousal and loyal adherence that the various peoples concerned would give to the noble ideals underlying the organization, than on the acts of the respective governments that may change from time to time. In an age of democracy, peoples themselves must feel that they are the trustees of this work, and to feel so, they must first have a sure basis of close harmony and mutual confidence.

“If just and equal treatment is denied to certain nationals, it would have the significance of a certain reflection on their quality and status. Their faith in the justice and righteousness which are to be the guiding spirit of the future international intercourse between the Members of the League may be shaken, and such a frame of mind, I am afraid, would be most detrimental to that harmony and co-operation, upon which foundation alone can the League now contemplated be securely built. It was solely and purely from our desire to see the League established on a sound and firm basis of good-will, justice, and reason that we have been compelled to make our proposal. We will not, however, press for the adoption of our proposal at this moment.

“In closing, I feel it my duty to declare clearly on this occasion that the Japanese Government and people feel poignant regret at the failure of the Commission to approve of their just demand for laying down a principle aiming at the adjustment of this long standing grievance, a demand that is based upon a deep-rooted national conviction, They will continue in their insistence for the adoption of this principle by the League in future.”

[Page 292]

Seat of the League of Nations Mr. Hymans (Belgium), speaking in French, makes the following observations on the choice of a Seat for the League of Nations, and on the Covenant as a whole:—

“The Conference is aware that in the Commission which has drawn up the Covenant now submitted to you for consideration, I had requested the choice of Brussels as the Seat of the League of Nations.

“The Conference is likewise aware that this proposal was not adopted, and I am unable to conceal from you the deep disappointment which the decision in this respect has created in Belgium and in Belgian public opinion.

Approbation of the Belgian Delegation of the Covenant “I am glad, however, on behalf of Belgium which, if the proposal of President Wilson be adopted by the Conference, is to be represented on the Executive Council, and in her name, to welcome today this new institution of general solidarity, the covenant of which, as now laid before us for discussion, represents to some extent its birth-certificate.

“No doubt the work is not perfect: how, indeed, could it be otherwise, seeing that it was necessary, in order to reach a conclusion, to reconcile the customs, the temperament and the political institutions of a number of nations with the international obligations which the Covenant imposes on all the contracting parties?

“There are, therefore, necessarily certain gaps and certain defects, but these must not be used to nourish easy skepticism or futile disparagement. We are initiating a great experiment and, if it is to succeed, that experiment must be helped by the good-will of all nations, by their confidence, and by the loyal and sincere co-operation of both Governments and Peoples.

“Belgium knows well—and events have proved it—that neither the isolated military effort of a people for its own defense, nor the sanctity of a Treaty, constitute adequate protection against the ambitions and cupidity of a State which stakes everything on force. Nevertheless, peoples cannot detach themselves from all feeling of anxiety for their own security; they may, however, rely on the guarantees to be offered to them by the League of Nations, which will be a factor tending to ensure respect for their independence, the service of Right, and the preservation of Peace.”

Approbation of the Uruguayan Delegation Mr. Juan Antonio Buero (Uruguay), speaking in French, explains the reasons for which the Covenant meets with the complete approval of the Uruguayan Delegation, in the following terms:

“I have the honor to express, on behalf of the Government of Uruguay, our adhesion to the principles set forth in the Covenant of the League of Nations.

[Page 293]

“Uruguay, no less than the other countries of America, sees in the consolidation of Peace the means of pursuing her commercial and industrial development, and of turning to account her great natural wealth. Peace is indispensable for carrying out the projects which we must bring to a successful issue in our Continent, such as the creation of railway lines between the two Americas, and the development of the shipping lines which handle the daily increasing traffic between Latin America and the countries of Europe.

I state positively that the forces of Uruguay will always be used in the service of a Peace which is based on Justice. The Treaties providing for obligatory and unlimited arbitration which my country has concluded with England, France, Italy, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Paraguay, are the very basis of our international policy.

“In thus expressing our views, we are glad to show that we are following a tradition already consecrated among us, and one which we announced at the second Peace Conference, which held its meetings at the Hague in 1907. On that occasion, the first Uruguayan Delegate, Mr. Batlle Ordonez, former President of the Republic, expressed his adhesion to the principles which are on the point of being adopted today, principles which, by organizing international co-operation, guarantee to the nations of the world safety, independence, and the respect of Treaties.

“The scheme of President Wilson has been greatly appreciated by all the citizens of my country, and they have already expressed their gratitude to him; I therefore beg leave today to renew the expression of that gratitude. The Uruguayan Delegation voices the wish that the Representatives of the Powers assembled in the capital of glorious France, which Uruguay both loves and admires, may give their unanimous adhesion to the principles of the League of Nations. Uruguay has adopted for her international policy the principle of American solidarity; the Government stated on June 18, 1917, that an attack on the rights of one of the nations of the continent ought to be regarded as an attack on the other nations of that continent, and that common action should therefore ensue. Furthermore, Uruguay stated at the same time that she would not regard as belligerents any American nations which, in defense of their own rights, might be in a state of war with the nations of another Continent.

“These declarations have as their aim the guarantee of Peace, and the observance of the principles of international law, and that is the reason for which Uruguay does not consider that regional Ententes which are animated by the same ideas, and have the same aims in view, are incompatible with the principles of the League of Nations.”

[Page 294]

Amendments of French Delegation to Articles 8 and 9 Mr. Léon Bourgeois (France), speaking in French, proposes amendments to Articles 8 and 9 of the Covenant; in so doing, he explains the principles on which the amendments are based and develops the reasons for which the French Delegation recommend their adoption by the Conference:

“The French Delegation has presented to the League of Nations Commission two amendments to Articles 8 and 9 of the Draft Covenant, but, as these amendments were not accepted, the Delegation reserved its vote on the two Articles in question, and also its right to lay before the Plenary Session of the Conference the two texts, which I have the honor to remind you are as follows:—

Article 8.

“‘The High Contracting Parties, being determined to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of armaments, their military and naval programmes, and the conditions of such of their industries as are adaptable to warlike purposes, have appointed a Committee for the purpose of ascertaining as far as possible the above information.’

Article 9.

“‘A permanent organization shall be constituted for the purpose of considering and providing for naval and military measures to enforce the obligations incumbent on the High Contracting Parties under this Covenant, and of making them immediately operative in all cases of emergency.’

“It is only because we attached really great importance to these amendments that we thought it essential to bring them up for public discussion. The amendments, indeed, are not merely concerned with a detail of the application of the principles of the League of Nations, but rather with the interpretation of those very principles, and, on their adoption or rejection, may depend very far reaching consequences for the future of this international institution.

“At the moment when world-wide opinion, on the distinguished initiative of President Wilson, was first acquainted with the problem which we are discussing today, three distinct conceptions appear to have emerged from the controversies which arose in this connection. Some people dreamed of the creation of a veritable international sovereignty; a common Parliament, and a common Executive Power were to be instituted and would be invested with the right of enacting a whole body of international legislation. This meant nothing less than the abdication by each State of its sovereignty. Others, on the other hand, asked that the most complete liberty should be left to each nation; according to them the settlement of conflicts by pacific methods did not become obligatory, nor was any operative penalty to be imposed on a State which failed in the obligations which it had undertaken; they relied essentially on the moral influence which opinion [Page 295]throughout the world would exercise, thanks to the public deliberations of the International Council, in order to insure the free consent of each State to the execution of the measures recommended on behalf of them all. There were grounds for fearing that a conception of this kind could only lead to ineffective results, and that relief from the crushing charges with which an armed peace burdened the world might be indefinitely postponed.

“France had studied a scheme whereby it was sought to take into account the practical and realizable elements in the two extreme tendencies which I have just outlined. In our view the sovereignty of each State is not an absolute idea, for, as President Wilson himself said: ‘There can be no peace without concessions and sacrifices.’ In the same way as is the case with individual liberty within a State, the sovereignty of a State is, in the eye of the law, limited by the like sovereignty of other States, and an international institution ought to have as its aim the task of defining that limit, of establishing it equitably on a basis of mutual reciprocity and of securing the acceptance by all parties concerned of certain guarantees and certain penalties in order that the Covenant which all had freely accepted might be faithfully fulfilled by all.

“As the League of Nations Commission had taken as the basis of its discussions the Draft Covenant put forward by President Wilson, the French Delegation could only work by means of amendments in its attempt to enable the principles, of which it had undertaken both the initiative and the responsibility, to be more completely diffused throughout the various Articles of the Covenant. The French Delegation is glad to be able to record the fact that unanimous agreement was reached in regard to the majority of the points.

“Article 10 guarantees against all external aggression the territorial integrity and the political independence of each Member of the League, and the Council is bound to consider the means required for guaranteeing the fulfilment of that obligation.

“Article 12 imposes on all Members of the League the obligation of submitting any difference which may arise between them either to arbitration or to the Council for examination. If a State desired to have recourse to war before following this procedure or desired, after following it, to take up arms before the expiration of the period of delay fixed by the arbitral award or by the decision of the Council, that is to say, within three months following the delivery of that award or decision, that State, in accordance with Article 16, would ipso facto be regarded as having committed an act of war against all the other States. All the States adhering to the Covenant bind themselves immediately to break off all commercial or financial relations with such a State, and to forbid all intercourse between their [Page 296]own nationals and those of the State which has broken the Covenant; it would, furthermore, be the duty of the Council to notify the various Governments concerned of the military or naval contingents which they should respectively furnish in order to form the international force.

“Moreover, the Draft Convention (Article 23) most happily attaches to the political and juridical system of the League of Nations a whole set of Rules framed with a view to ensure the development of international interests, either as regards the protection of human labor, the suppression of the sale of women or children, the traffic in opium, the freedom of communication and transit, or the struggle against social evils. Mutual and constant relations, if once established between the different peoples, cannot fail to be a most powerful factor in developing, in the midst of their material and moral interests, the consciousness of solidarity, which is one of the best guarantees of peace.

“Having regard to this set of provisions, we are sincerely anxious to be able to give our adhesion to the Draft Covenant. It is, however, the duty of the French Delegation to indicate the points in regard to which the Covenant appears to it to show serious gaps.

“One general observation is necessary. The essential aim of the League of Nations is to ensure the preservation of peace. Now, even in the cases provided for by Articles 10 and 12, which I have quoted, where penalties are recognized as necessary, there is no tangible obligation on States to furnish their military contingents; there is nothing but a moral obligation which cannot itself be enforced by any penalty. In all the other cases it is not possible to say that recourse to arms is condemned; for, once a State has followed the obligatory procedure and has submitted to all the periods of delay, it may take military measures against the State with which it is in conflict.

“Finally, in the case of differences which have been submitted, not to arbitration but to the Council—and it is evident that this will be the most frequent case since arbitration is not obligatory, and even in a case of a juridical nature, it will be sufficient for one of the parties to the dispute to choose the recourse to the Council in order that the latter should take and retain cognizance of it,—the prohibition to have recourse to arms only exists if there is unanimity in the Council. In every case in which there is only a majority, however large it may be, the Covenant does not come into operation and, according to one of the paragraphs of Article 15, each of the States thereupon resumes its liberty of action and may assist by force of arms the State or States which it intends to uphold; that is to say, the whole system of alliances will thenceforward continue in operation with the assent of the League of Nations. An amendment has, it is true, been presented [Page 297]today which attenuates the effects of this Article, for by its terms a majority would be sufficient to ensure the application of certain clauses which are contemplated in the Treaty of Peace. That is a step forward which we eagerly welcome.

“The French Delegation, inspired by the keenest desire that the creation of the League of Nations should at last be secured, and being resolved to go as far as its conscience will permit in order to attain that end, has not hesitated, in spite of gaps in them, to accept the foregoing provisions of the Draft which is submitted to the Conference. The French Delegation is conscious of the fact that what is being done now is only one stage towards a complete and definite organization and, in point of fact, the inadequacies of the Covenant are only to be feared if the States which may seek to draw advantage therefrom possess sufficient force to resist the common will. One condition is enough, but that one is indispensable; it is that recalcitrants must be deficient in military force.

“Effective limitation of armaments is the supreme condition of Peace. It is precisely because it was not yet possible to insert in the Statutes of the League a general and absolute prohibition to have recourse to war that we took into consideration the means of rendering such recourse in practice well-nigh impossible. France was obliged to concentrate her efforts on the question of a rigorous limitation of armaments; she desired to translate into deed the thought expressed by President Wilson:—

“‘It is necessary to create a force of such superiority that no nation, or probable combination of nations, can withstand it.’1

“We must withdraw from States which might be tempted to break the law and the peace the means of persevering in their schemes, and debar them from all hope of success therein. In order that the international force may make its weight felt by its mere presence, and without the need of setting it in motion, in order that the world may be really rid of war, two conditions are necessary, and those are the conditions which our two amendments propose to lay down.

“By the first amendment we mean to ensure the real, effective, and permanent reduction of armaments. Article VIII of the Draft admits that the maintenance of peace requires this reduction, but it does not make that reduction a binding obligation on all Members of the League; each Government remains free to accept or refuse, without any threat of penalty, the plan of reduction proposed by the Council. Moreover, if a Government, while accepting this reduction in principle, evades it in practice and secretly, no means are proposed whereby the League may verify such an infringement of its Rules. Yet, if this [Page 298]limitation is to be real and effective, the possibility of verification must exist. In a spirit of compromise, to which we render tribute, it has, indeed, been proposed to admit the possibility, in cases which give rise to suspicion, of conducting an inquiry on the spot; but in the very fact of declaring that suspicions exist, while no proof can be adduced, there lies a serious danger and a cause of conflict; if you formulate a suspicion against the loyalty of one of the Associated States, that is an act which the State in question will consider as unfriendly; thereupon a point of honor will be raised and there will be a risk of rupture within the League itself. A system of mutual verification which does not call in question the good faith of any member in particular, would be a common rule accepted by all in the interests of all, and alone would render it possible to ascertain the truth in regard to facts without wounding people’s feelings and without vexatiousness. Nobody can make an accusation until the facts have enabled him to justify it; moreover, the proposed compromise which was suggested to us as regards Article VIII was conditional on the simultaneous withdrawal of the French amendment to Article IX; it is clear, however, that we could not thus abandon one of the essential points in our ideas.

“By our second amendment we do not request, as has been said, the creation of an international General Staff to plan on its own initiative possible future operations. Article IX contemplates the existence of a permanent Commission with the task of giving the Council its views in regard to the carrying out of Articles I and VIII and, generally speaking, in regard to military and naval questions. What we ask is that that Commission should be invested with the competence without which it will always run the risk of playing an ineffective part. The Commission set up by Article IX will necessarily be composed of military experts; it will receive information from all the Associated States in regard to their effectives, armaments, etc., and will therefore have in its hands, and kept up to date, all the necessary statistical records in the event of the Council admitting the necessity of a military operation. We request that the Commission should be entrusted with the task of foreseeing and planning the measures which the Council may prescribe; and we ask that it should, after examining beforehand the risk of possible conflicts, lay forthwith before the Council, thus enabling it to propose them to the Governments, the urgently needed measures in the absence of which the security of weak and pacific States will always be imperilled. This Commission cannot, I repeat, do its work except on the instructions of the Council, and its labors will always have a purely defensive tendency.

“People have gone so far as to say that the Commission would constitute an organ of war which is inadmissible in a League created for peace, and that it might preserve and develop the spirit of strife and [Page 299]conquest. If such a spirit is destined to revive with fresh vigor, that would be much more likely to happen in the individual General Staffs of certain States and in the restless atmosphere of rival factions. It is quite another spirit which will prevail at the Seat of the League of Nations, and the collaboration of the military representatives of the Members of the League, their mutual relations, their common work on problems of which the essential purpose will always be the maintenance of peace—all this will contribute towards the development among them of the spirit of concord, which must be that of the international force, and towards the diffusion by their agency throughout the Armies of that same spirit and of the same mutual feeling of esteem and solidarity. There is, therefore, nothing in these two amendments which can hurt the dignity of a State, or be a menace to the spirit of peace which should animate the League of Nations.

“Though we have been unable to secure the acceptance of these Articles by the Commission, we can nevertheless say that we did not present them solely on behalf of our own country. Great Associations have been formed among all the Allied Peoples to defend and diffuse the principles of the League of Nations. At the two meetings which these Associations have held in Paris and London, all of them, whether English, American, Italian, Belgian, Boumanian, Jugo-Slav or Chinese, have unanimously and formally adopted our proposals. Several of the Neutral States whose delegates have been summoned to Paris for unofficial consultation either supported the French proposals or presented similar amendments. Numerous English groups, the Labor Party, and the Trades Unions, in the special Conference which they held at the beginning of April in order to examine the scheme of the League of Nations, demanded the control of armaments. Finally, Mr. Elihu Root, that great American jurist, proposed the following addition to Article IX:—

“‘The Commission shall have the power of inspecting and verifying all the armaments, equipments, munitions and war industries determined by Article VIII.’

“We would gladly concur in this text, and would even agree to join this first amendment to our second amendment in Article IX.

“The question of form and drafting is, of course, quite a matter of indifference as far as we are concerned; it is at the triumph of the idea itself that we aim.

“We believe that we possess, in the public opinion which holds essentially to the elimination of the risk of war, the support of innumerable adherents. It has been rightly said that the greatest force on which the League of Nations can rely is that of public opinion. How can the League be warned, how can it act, if measures of control and preparation are not laid down in advance, if the ill-will or bad [Page 300]faith of a State is able to make a sudden inroad on the security of nations which respect the common law, and if there is a risk that the international power will only intervene tardily? In asking for these supplementary guarantees, we believe that we are adding one more to all the conditions which the Draft Covenant has so fortunately assembled in order to ensure the peace of the world. What we should fear the most, for the international institution, is that it might one day be shown to be ineffective and impotent. The present moment, is not one in which it is possible to judge of that.

“That international institution is desired by all generous spirits; the horror of the spectacle offered by the unprecedented and merciless war which draws to a close, sets the hearts of all beating with indignation. It is fair to say that the human soul, everywhere in the world, longs for the certainty that horrors of this kind cannot recur henceforward, and the moment is therefore a favorable one for granting powerful arms to the guardian institution to which it is proposed to entrust the defense of civilization. However, the generations to come, which will not have seen at first hand the atrocious sufferings which a large portion of humanity has undergone, will be less sensitive than we are, and maybe the idea of war will not appear in such abominable colors to those who, not having experienced its frightful disasters may again permit themselves to be lured on by dreams of ambition, of conquest, and of glory; then, indeed, dangers may arise and a new catastrophe be let loose.

“Now, we must not forget that any conflict between two States at any point on the globe is destined henceforward to become general, as did the last war, and to endanger the whole world. How great would be the responsibility of the authors of the great Charter if, by some defect of foresight, by the absence of some guarantees, which it is easy to secure, by the refusal of some sacrifices, they had increased, even in the slightest degree, the risks of such a catastrophe. Let us recall the eloquent words pronounced by President Wilson on May 26th [22d], 1917.2 He said, when speaking of the hour of victory:

“‘Now, no less than then, we cannot allow ourselves to be weak, or omit even one of the guarantees which are necessary for justice and security.’

“And what was the guarantee which he required above all others?

“‘The question of armaments’, he said on January 27th [22d], 1917, ‘is the most immediately and intensely practical question connected with the future fortunes of nations and of mankind.’3

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“‘Mere agreements may not make peace secure; it will be absolutely necessary that a force be created as a guarantor of the permanency of the settlement, so much greater than the force of any nation now engaged, or any alliance hitherto formed or projected, that no nation, no probable combination of nations, could face or withstand it.’

“Our amendments have no object other than the practical realization of the same idea.

“We are speaking on behalf of all pacific States and especially of all the small States which will never have the strength to resist by themselves a first aggression; and also on behalf of those whose future will always remain uncertain by reason of their geographical situation and the character of their frontiers, unless some superior system is there to protect them powerfully.

“People have thought and said that France, in defending these amendments, was defending above all, indeed almost exclusively, her own cause and, indeed, we have not hesitated to point out, as an example, the. danger to which may be exposed the frontier of our country, which President Wilson described himself as the frontier of the liberty of the world. But that is only an example, and France, even if she were protected by the strongest ring of mountains, protected by the whole ocean, protected by the most solid alliances, would nevertheless, in her thought not for herself .alone but for all, hold the same language and formulate the same proposals. We speak not only on behalf of our invaded and devastated regions, which must not again be exposed to such ruin, and which it will take so many years to restore and revive, for there are many others in Belgium, in Serbia and in Italy which have suffered a like fate, and yet many more which might undergo it in the States which have been restored to liberty by the victory of Right and whose nascent strength desires effective protection. We Frenchmen do not speak merely in the name of our 1,700,000 dead, but in the name of the innumerable dead who have fallen in the cause of Right on all the fronts of Europe, and have wished to see their children, and their children’s children, made secure from a like slaughter by all the means available to the human will. Is there then in the guarantees for which we ask any sacrifice which the Members of the League of Nations can consider excessive?

“‘France,’ said President Wilson to our Chamber of Deputies, ‘sees in the League of Nations not only a necessity for herself, but also a necessity for mankind, and she knows that the sacrifices which may be necessary for the establishment of the League of Nations are nothing in comparison with the sacrifices which would become necessary if she did not have the League of Nations; a little abatement of independence is not to be compared with the constant dread of [Page 302]another catastrophe.’4 It is not France which will decline the necessary sacrifices, and I should wish to see us all unanimous in accepting them. As for the work which we have undertaken, it will not be judged in the last resort by the Governments represented here but by the peoples themselves.

“Gentlemen, let us reflect on this problem and only take our decision when we have probed the uttermost depths of our consciences.”

Mr. Klotz (France), speaking in French, requests that the draft of a Financial Section for the League of Nations may be referred to the League, expressing himself in the following terms:

“I had the honor, at the Plenary Session of the Peace Conference, held on January 25th, of depositing with the Bureau of the Conference the Draft of a Financial Section for the League of Nations. That Draft was referred for study to the Financial Commission, which unanimously accepted its principles and, at its meeting of February 28th, entrusted it for examination to the Sub-Commission charged with the study of Inter-Allied problems.

“The Report of Mr. Montagu, the representative of the British Empire, which was unanimously accepted by the Sub-Commission on March 26th, has been submitted to the Financial Commission at a Plenary Meeting. That Commission, at its meeting of April 5th, unanimously adopted the Report, which it has since sent to the Supreme Inter-Allied Council.

“The Special Committee entrusted with the task of revising the Report of the Commission and of laying its conclusions before the Council of Heads of Governments, annexed to its General Report, which was of a favorable character, the text adopted by the Financial Commission.

“In accordance with the decision of the Council of Heads of Governments, taken at their meeting of April 26th, 1919, I request you to give directions for its reference to the League of Nations.”

Approbation of the Panama Delegation Mr. Burgos (Panama), speaking in French, explains in the following terms the reasons for which the Delegation of Panama grants its cordial approval to the Covenant:

“I have the great honor of representing at this Conference the Republic of Panama. It is a small State, but its people, steeped in ideas of justice and liberty, was the first one in America, after the Republic of the United States, to adhere to the cause of the Allies. This people, at a moment when others stood silent and trembling before the injustice of the strong, in the hope of averting [Page 303]a yet greater evil, and were abandoning an inalienable right for fear of losing all other rights, and thus, by their attachment to life, seemed resigned to slavery worse than death itself,—this people of Panama, I repeat, has always had confidence in the strength of the spirit which no human power can conquer, which no force, however powerful, should dare to challenge: by that I mean Eight, fighting literally to the death, but never yielding.

“That is why I come forward on behalf of my Government with head erect, for I am certain of finding among you the consideration which we deserve for the noble convictions to which we have always subordinated our actions. My satisfaction in being present at such important discussions is even greater when I remember that Simon Bolivar was the first (namely, at the historical Congress of Panama) to suggest the idea of an institution which should group together the American Republics in a juridical organization, destined, as the great liberator said, ‘to form the most immense, the most extraordinary, and the strongest League which has yet appeared on the earth. The Holy Alliance would be inferior in power to this Confederation. Mankind would bless this League of salvation, and America would reap its benefits. Political Societies would receive at its hands a code of public law which would become the law of the world.’

“I also remember these phrases which I read a long time ago in the history of George Washington, and whose noble meaning I have never forgotten: ‘Oh, my people! keep good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and kindly harmony. Both morality and religion command you to do so, and also wise policy. It will be very splendid to see a free people give to the world an example of the highest justice.’5

“Do we not find in these remembrances something of the thought of President Wilson? This man, however, has given them an even wider interpretation, and he suggests the formation of a League of Nations, thanks to which troubles between States will disappear, democratic institutions will develop on normal lines, peoples will abandon all ideas of conquest and, being certain that their rights will be respected, will no longer have cause to fear the domination of a formidably organized military power.

“Now, in what circumstances has it become possible for questions like these, which hitherto have only been studied and discussed by a [Page 304]few minds, to be put on the program of the nations? It has needed the terrible war conflagration which, during more than four years, has desolated the world and burdened humanity with irreparable sacrifices to bring about this result. We must ask for the creation of a League founded on the immutable bases of Right and Justice, as President Wilson has so fitly said. This work will form, moreover, the line of demarcation between two epochs of humanity: that of wars of ambition and conquest, and that of the triumph of international justice.

“The Covenant of the League of Nations lays down first and foremost that Governments must really shape their line of conduct in accordance with the precepts of international law; this is certainly a new thing, for international law before the war pointed out in theory the rules of conduct for States as between each other, but its precepts remained without effect. They were indeed lacking in two qualities: one was that of their being binding through the freely granted adhesion of the States; the other thing lacking was the establishment of penalties and punishments against any State which might transgress accepted agreements.

“The Draft which is presented to us lays down these two conditions and, for the first time in history, we shall see the birth of a positive international law, sufficiently strong to see its precepts both accepted and executed. The opponents of this splendid Draft tell us that international law is a theoretical science which does not admit of enforcement by penalties, because the integrity of a territory, the honor and sovereignty of a people may only be discussed by the nation concerned, and may not be submitted to the control of a foreign Power; that to abandon in favor of a tribunal the power to settle questions which affect the existence or independence of a nation, implies for that nation a diminution of its attributions, a weakening of its sovereignty, and a position of dependence on foreign elements.

“It must, however, be pointed out that the Covenant of the League of Nations does not threaten the existence or independence of any of these nations. Its exact purpose is to guarantee the existence and independence of each one of them, to avert all wars and to submit to arbitration or to the Executive Council, as the parties may decide, any conflict which is capable of bringing about a rupture.

“John Chamberlain in his book ‘The Suppression of War,’ says that it is necessary to reject the idea that States cannot abandon the right of themselves interpreting agreements concluded with other nations. Independence is not diminished thereby, but there is created an entity, an organization which is superior to all others so far as concerns the relations of peoples with one another.

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“It has further been said that it would never be possible to avert wars, as it was difficult to make a universal code of international law because of the differences of jurisdiction. Chamberlain replies to this objection when he asserts ‘that the juridical sense of nations in regard to relations between States is fairly uniform. It is true that juridical conceptions are liable to change and evolution, but the fundamental basis of law does not change since, each in their own sphere of action, individual persons and social entities can exist concurrently. Its essence is immutable. Its method of application and accidental circumstances change in accordance with periods of time, countries and dominant ideas; but the right of concurrent existence which all peoples possess does not change, and international relations conform to this fundamental theory.’

“That is why the League of Nations is about to be formed in order that this principle may be the basis of international law.

“Finally, it has been said that wars are necessary, and that it is impossible to avert them. The whole history of humanity has concentrated on this perpetual struggle between juridical rules of social justice conceived by the human conscience and the anxieties, errors, interests and passions which throughout the centuries, have resisted the establishment of social forms. I beg those who today may regard it as impossible to put in practice the rules of the League of Nations in order to assure justice and peace among peoples, to reflect on the stages through which humanity has had to pass in order to reach the guiding principles of social justice which today prevail among civilized peoples. In antiquity, Aristotle, the most illustrious of all the Greek philosophers, regarded slavery as a natural circumstance necessary to the social order; could the men of the Middle Ages imagine that one day slavery would be regarded as an iniquitous and unnatural state? How many wars and struggles in all countries have not been waged for the liberty of conscience which all Constitutions now recognize? The same is the case with every reform which has deeply perturbed social and political forms in by-gone times.

“The conscience of humanity therefore regards order and permanent peace between peoples as an end realizable by international law, and believes that Nature herself has not deprived mankind of effective means for attaining so noble a purpose. What has happened is that humanity has delivered a pre-conceived judgment, as it did at the periods when equality before the law, representative systems and liberty of conscience were at stake, and believes that war is alone able to put an end to international disputes, because any other procedure is a constraint, and all constraints are contrary to the sovereign will of a country. No, no such constraint exists, nor should it exist, any more than a man has a right himself to settle his affairs with another man [Page 306]without that man’s participation; therefore, no such restriction must be imposed by the Covenant of the League of Nations on a country which does not wish to adhere to it, unless that country’s attitude be a manifest international danger. Such a country must be persuaded that a sovereignty which may lead it into armed strife and to its own ruin is a dangerous sovereignty and should be voluntarily regulated or held in abeyance in the circumstances provided for by the Constitution of the League of Nations. Chamberlain is right in saying in this connection: ‘All the nations of the world met in assembly are not qualified to control the life and internal affairs of another nation, however small it may be; however, an assembly of nations is qualified to draw up rules and to make laws to govern the international relations of the peoples of the world, in order that they may submit to law and avoid the crimes which war carries with it.’ Therefore recognition is refused to the sovereignty of a country which arrogates to itself the right to settle exclusively its disputes, without paying heed to the guiding juridical principles laid down by the League of Nations, and without having exhausted all the recourses of procedure which the new organization can and should impose. Reason is unable to admit that an individual or an entity should be both judge and party in a dispute. Would such a maxim, which common sense itself rejects, be equitable if applied either to peace, that is, to the greatest good, or to war which is the greatest evil?

“The means laid down by the League of Nations in order to ensure the peace of the world and to assert the effective and objective reality of international law, is arbitration. Human wisdom has discovered no more effective procedure, and the very numerous pacifists before the war, especially in France, the United States, England and Italy, had faith only in this solution. But to that end arbitration must be obligatory and universal, without restriction or exclusion of subject, with one exception; that is, national existence and independence, the guarantees for which are the precise object of the Constitution of the League of Nations. All other questions, whether of interests, territorial sovereignty, or honor, must be submitted to an arbitral tribunal. Questions of honor, indeed, should be submitted to a special tribunal, because in those matters it is a contradiction that one individual should be both judge and party, because questions of honor are subject to the criticisms of others and, finally, because any conflict may become a question of honor. Nor should questions of sovereignty be excluded from arbitration, for this juridical procedure is implied in matters of individual property, and the idea of sovereignty is no more than an amplification of the idea of property. Arbitration has already been applied to questions of territorial integrity, because it is the best means of [Page 307]showing the value of titles to possession, while the mere act of refusing to discuss a title to possession would arouse suspicions in regard to its legality. It is the best means of avoiding international disputes.

“In the formation of nationalities it sometimes happens that a small State borders on a greater Power; how would that small State have the certainty of securing a hearing for its rights unless assured of the possibility of submitting to an arbitral tribunal such questions as might arise from its state of neighborhood?

“Let us admit that the independence or sovereignty of a people should alone be withheld from the control of the League of Nations. The independence and sovereignty of a people are, as a general rule, assets which are not willingly renounced, any more than an individual can abandon his existence and his liberty as a human and reasonable being; nevertheless, the possession of such independence and liberty is not meant to entitle anyone to break his agreements.

“But, it will be said, arbitration has existed and has not secured the looked for results. Thus the Tribunal of the Hague was unable to prevent the greatest and most terrible of wars; moreover its sentences only acquire executive force when the parties submit to its decisions. But the parties did not accept its decisions.*

“Count Goblet d’Aviella, Minister of State, Vice President of the Belgian Senate, and Professor at the University of Brussels, said that up till 1913 one could count 112 arbitral awards; he added, however, that most of them concerned conflicts which did not affect vital interests either of independence or honor.

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“A certain number of documents, of which you are certainly aware, enable us to see the distinct growth of a tendency towards the idea of obligatory obedience to the awards given by an arbitral tribunal. I repeat that, in my opinion, the only restriction in matters of arbitration is that concerned with existence, in respect of independence and sovereignty, for independence and sovereignty either are synonymous terms or become synonymous; the League of Nations is being created in order to ensure their preservation. Any other restriction would render inoperative the arbitration set up by the League of Nations, as was the case with the Hague arbitration; for what distinguishes the future tribunal from all previous ones which have been imagined, will be the penalty imposed on any party which presumes to infringe the arbitral sentence.

“Pascal said that ‘Right without Force is Impotence.’ ‘The peace which is to follow the war,’ so M. Briand stated, ‘must not be an empty formula; it must be based on international law and guaranteed by penalties from which no country can rid itself. Such a peace [Page 309]will reign over humanity and will grant security to the peoples so that they may work and develop according to their peculiar genius.’

“We are familiar with the numerous declarations made in this connection by the illustrious President of the United States.

“It may perhaps be objected that the League of Nations forms a group against which another group or League may be formed, thus giving birth to a state of antagonism liable to stir up war. The Statutes which are suggested for our acceptance do not indicate the purpose of the League to be that of forming a group or coalition of Powers; however, in order to forestall any misleading interpretation and to set aside any possible ground of suspicion, would it not be suitable to make an explicit declaration to the effect that no nation is excluded from the League? Add to that the provisions laid down in the Statutes in regard to the procedure to be followed against States which are not Members of the League in the event of a conflict arising which might degenerate into armed strife. Would it not be, in fact, an employment of force against States which are neither Members of the League nor have been invited to become Members, if the decision of a Society to which they do not belong were imposed on them? It has been said, in this connection, among those who favor Treaties, that the League of Nations, founded for the purpose of peace, ought to be universal. If it is not suitable that the League should be universal now, why not add a precise declaration to the effect that it may become so? Moreover, if any doubt arose in regard to the precise meaning of the text of the Rules of the League, would it not be desirable to create an organization for the purpose of setting at rest any possible doubts in regard to the interpretation of the text of the Statutes of the League, and even [to deal with questions as to whether the Covenant of the League]7 has been violated or not? Is that not indeed the proper task of the Assembly of Delegates, as they constitute the Supreme International Tribunal, and are the Assembly which gives the Covenant its life?

“Gentlemen, you have come from all the corners of the world with a mission from your Governments to accomplish this work to which so many great minds have already devoted the best that is in them. You are assembled here to create this future League which is to ensure the triumph of Right and Justice, as was so finely said by President Wilson, the strength and beauty of whose thought has penetrated the consciences of millions of mankind.

“Peoples like the one which I have the honor to represent, which is small in respect of its territory but great by the nobility of its aspirations and its confidence in a prosperous future, can only live [Page 310]through justice. Therefore all your labors to ensure the triumph of justice are followed with interest and enthusiasm. It is at your hands that those peoples await the realization of their hopes, and you will have merited their eternal gratitude.”

Amendment to Determine the Sense of the Monroe Doctrine Dr. Bonilla (Honduras), speaking in Spanish, proposes an amendment, the purpose of which is to determine the sense of the Monroe Doctrine referred to in Article XXI of the Covenant, following terms:

“The Delegation of Honduras proposes that in any safeguarding or mention of the Monroe Doctrine in the Covenant of the League of Nations, the following should be added:

“‘This doctrine, which has been supported by the United States of America since 1823, when it was proclaimed by President Monroe, means that all the Republics of America have the right to an independent existence, and that no nation can there acquire by conquest any portion of their territory nor intervene in their internal government or administration, nor perform there any act which can diminish their autonomy or wound their national dignity. The Monroe Doctrine does not hinder the countries of Latin America from confederating or otherwise uniting themselves in the search for the best way of fulfilling their destiny.’

“At the informal meeting held on April 16th, to which were invited the Delegates of the Nations which had not taken part in drawing up the Preliminary Treaty of Peace, we were informed that a general Conference would be summoned for the 25th of the present month, with a view to the communication of those bases of peace, before they were laid before the representatives of Germany, who had been invited to Versailles for the following day.

“In view of the short period of time available it was pointed out that it would not be possible to read out the whole of the Draft and that the communication would therefore be limited to the most important points. I do not think that this limitation will present any disadvantages for the Delegates among us who are not acquainted with the Draft, so far as concerns the territorial settlements and other points in which the countries which we represent are not directly interested. I have the fullest confidence that the stipulations in that connection must be in harmony with justice, which is the only secure basis for a stable peace; and that at the same time, the necessary precautions will have been taken to prevent a repetition of the world-wide catastrophe brought about by the war which has just ended.

“According to notices in the press, the Covenant of the League of Nations has been embodied in the Preliminary Treaty of Peace, as [Page 311]that Covenant is regarded as the best means for securing the stability of the peace. All the nations represented at the Conference are directly interested in this Covenant, the small nations, like the one which I represent, perhaps even more so, if that is possible. The bases drafted by the Commission are known to us; but it has been stated in the press that modifications have been introduced, and among them an amendment proposed by the North American Delegation, to the effect that ‘Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements, such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine, for securing the maintenance of peace.’

“The Monroe Doctrine directly affects the Latin American Republics; but since it has never been alluded to in any international document, nor been expressly accepted by the nations, either of the old or new continent, and as it has been defined and applied in different ways by the statesmen and Presidents of the United States of America, I think it is necessary that it should be defined with absolute clearness in the Treaty which is about to be signed, in order that henceforward it may be embodied in written international law.

“The North American Delegation is presided over by the most Honorable Mr. Woodrow Wilson; and if the Monroe Doctrine has been mentioned, it is certain that, in the absence of any definition thereof in the same document, the definition present in the minds of the drafters has been that which Mr. Wilson, as President of the United States, gave to it in his various speeches since the one which he made at Mobile in 1918 [1913],8 up to the concluding ones of the present year. In those speeches he laid it down that the Doctrine is not a menace but a guarantee for the weaker States of America, and he expressly disavowed the interpretations which had been given to it in the sense that it implies a kind of tutelage which the United States have the right to exercise over the remaining American Republics; more especially, in his speech to the Mexican journalists on June 7th, 1918,9 he stated that the guarantee implied by the Doctrine for the benefit of the weaker countries, not only applies to the nations of the Old World, but also to the United States; and he spoke of the possibility of concluding a Pan-American Pact in this sense, which may find its accomplishment through its inclusion in the Covenant which is now before us for discussion. It is through declarations such as these that President Wilson has become the best exponent of the ideals of the peoples of the American Continent.

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“All the foregoing considerations lead me to bring forward the accompanying proposal which will, I hope, deserve a kindly welcome on the part of the United States Delegation, and be supported by the Latin-American Republics, which will thereby render a tribute of admiration and respect to the First Magistrate of the North American nation, who has given so many proofs of his love of justice.

“I likewise lay before you a few paragraphs from his eloquent speech to the Mexican journalists,* to which allusion has already been made.

“If the American amendment which I just mentioned is drafted in the terms which have been published, or in other similar terms, the Covenant of the League of Nations will not be an obstacle to the possibility of the peoples of Latin America confederating or uniting [Page 313]together in some other form which will approach the realization of the dream of Bolivar.

“While adhering on behalf of Honduras to the Covenant in its draft form, I desire to make one last statement, and that is to make express reservation beforehand on behalf of my country of the right which it derives from its Constitution of uniting with one or more of the nations of the Central American Isthmus, for the purpose of reconstituting what was formerly the Republic of Central America; and I make this express reservation because such a union constitutes the finest ideal of patriotism in that part of the world, and no doubt can possibly exist in regard to the legitimacy of its realization.

Mr. Pichon (France), speaking in French makes the following declaration in regard to the two amendments moved by Mr. Leon Bourgeois:

“Before a decision is taken on the Covenant which has been submitted to the Conference for deliberation, I beg leave, on behalf of the French Delegation, to make a statement in connection with the two amendments which were just now explained by Mr. Leon Bourgeois.

“The Government of the French Republic expresses the satisfaction which it feels at finding, in the draft Covenant of the League of Nations, the crowning point of its constant endeavor, since the Conferences at the Hague, to ensure the organization of Right and Peace.

“It records its confident conviction that the League of Nations will become in an ever-increasing degree the necessary instrument in relations between peoples.

“It reminds the Assembly that, with a view to strengthening that instrument, its Delegates have presented two amendments, which appeared to them necessary, in regard to the control of armaments and the enforcement of penalties.

“It accepts in the spirit of solidarity which has prevailed in the preparation of the Covenant, the draft which is submitted to the Conference, and confidently hopes that the exercise of the right of amendment provided for in Article XXVI will enable it to be strengthened. I should like to make at the same time a proposal in connection with Annex I, which contains the list of States invited to adhere to the Covenant.”

Mr. Pichon adds:

French Motion to Add Monaco to Status Invited to Adhere to the Convent “The French Delegation requests the inclusion of the Principality of Monaco in the list of neutral States which are to be invited to adhere to the Covenant of the League of Nations.

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“The Prince of Monaco has been one of the most faithful and most devoted servants of the cause which the League of Nations is summoned to represent and to bring to a triumphant issue. He has un-intermittently shared in the international labors of arbitration and peace. It would, therefore, only be justice to accept the adhesion and assistance of his Principality, as has been done in the case of the other neutral States mentioned on the list.

“If there is no opposition, I request the addition of the Principality of Monaco to the list.”

After an exchange of views between Mr. Pichon and the President, it is decided to refer the proposal to the Council of the League of Nations.

Observation of the Portuguese Delegation to the American Proposal Relative to Article 4 Dr. Affonso Costa (Portugal), speaking in French, makes the following observations on the proposal of the President of the United States to carry out the provisions of Article IV of the Covenant by the selection of four Members of the Council of the League:

“I was somewhat surprised to find, just as our labors were to begin, that a proposal had been presented today by President Wilson for the nomination of the four members of the Executive Council of the League of Nations. We are not yet in a position to appoint any representative of a neutral country to a seat on the Executive Council of the League of Nations, for Article IV of the Covenant says:—

“‘The Council shall consist of Representatives of the United States, of the British Empire, of France, of Italy, and of Japan, together with Representatives of four other Members of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the [Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by the Assembly,]10 Representatives of . . . . . . . and of . . . . . . . shall be Members of the Council.’

“If tomorrow the Assembly of the League of Nations may only select Members of the League of Nations to sit on the Executive Council, we, the Peace Conference, are likewise debarred today from appointing any but Members of the League of Nations, and I ask the Conference whether it regards as Members of the League the neutral countries which we have invited to enter it. I consider that the proposal which has been made is a premature one and that we are only empowered today to appoint four Delegates who belong to the Peace [Page 315]Conference, that is to say, to the Allied and Associated Belligerent States and not to the States which are not yet Members of the League of Nations.

“If some time hence we think it possible to give this satisfaction to one of the neutral countries which have merely received our invitation, but will tomorrow be our partners, one of the Representatives chosen today will yield his place or we shall take advantage of the right given us by Article IV to increase the number of the Members of the Executive Council.

“The question is one of competence, and, in my capacity as head of the Portuguese Delegation, and also as a Professor of Law, I should be unwilling to sign my name and that of the Delegation to an appointment which I regard at this moment as altogether illegitimate.

“The Portuguese Delegation makes every possible reservation in regard to the appointment by the Peace Conference of representatives of any neutral country whatsoever as members of the Executive Council of the League of Nations. That may come about later on; today it is too soon.”

Dr. Affonso Costa therefore deposits with the Bureau of the Conference the following statement:

“The Portuguese Delegation makes every possible reservation in regard to the appointment by the Peace Conference of a representative of any neutral country whatsoever as a member of the Executive Council of the League of Nations.”

The President informs Dr. Costa that due note has been taken of the reservation made by the Portuguese Delegation.

The proposal made by the President of the United States for the adoption of the Covenant of the League of Nations, together with the amendments moved in the course of the session, is put to vote and carried unanimously.

Discussion of the Clauses on the Condition of Labor The Agenda Paper provides for the discussion of the clauses on the conditions of labor to be inserted in the Treaty of Peace, and for the presentation of Sir Robert Borden’s amendment.

Mr. Barnes (British Empire) explains in the following terms the grounds of the alterations in the clauses to be inserted in the Treaty of Peace:

“I rise to revive the resolutions of which mention was made on the occasion of our last meeting,—I mean the resolutions connected with the report of the Labor Commission. (Annex II (A).) It will be remembered that there was embodied in that report a reference to [Page 316]nine resolutions which had, been adopted by the Labor Commission, each one of which was accorded two-thirds of a majority vote; and it was intended that we should have dealt with them on that day. They were unfortunately not reached. Difficulties had arisen even then, and developed later on with regard to the drafting.

“I endeavored, on behalf of the Labor Commission to get an agreement on a re-draft. I am sorry to say that I was not altogether successful, but Sir Robert Borden was more successful than I had been in getting agreement upon a re-draft, which he is going to submit to this meeting, and which, I have to say, so far as I can see, does embody the spirit of the nine resolutions which were adopted by the Labor Commission. It is my duty, however, just as a matter of form, to revive the resolutions as they came from the Labor Commission, and to submit those resolutions to you in their original form.”

Amendment of the Clauses to Insert in the Treaty Sir Robert Borden (Canada), proposes in the following terms the amended draft of the nine Resolutions (Annex II (B)).

“It is proper that, in the first instance, I should read the amended text which I move as an amendment to that originally proposed:

“‘The High Contracting Parties, recognizing that the well-being, physical, moral and intellectual, of industrial wage-earners is of supreme international importance, have framed a permanent machinery associated with that of the League of Nations to further this great end.

“‘They recognize that differences of climate, habits and customs, of economic opportunity and industrial tradition, make strict uniformity in the conditions of labor difficult of immediate attainment. But, holding as they do, that labor should not be regarded merely as an article of commerce, they think that there are methods and principles for regulating labor conditions which all industrial communities should endeavor to apply, so far as their special circumstances will permit.

“‘Among these methods and principles, the following seem to the High Contracting Parties to be of special and urgent importance:—

  • “‘First.—The guiding principle above enunciated that labor should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.
  • “‘Second.—The right of association for all lawful purposes by the employed as well as by the employers.
  • “‘Third.—The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in their time and country.
  • “‘Fourth.—The adoption of an eight hours day or a forty-eight hours week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already been attained.
  • “‘Fifth.—The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable.
  • “‘Sixth.—The abolition of child labor and the imposition of such limitations on the labor of young persons as shall permit the continuation of their education and assure their proper physical development.
  • “‘Seventh.—The principle that men and women should receive, equal remuneration for work of equal value.
  • “‘Eighth.—The standard set by law in each country with respect to the conditions of labor should have due regard to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.
  • “‘Ninth.—Each State should make provision for a system of inspection in which women should take part, in order to ensure the [en]forcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the employed.

“‘Without claiming that these methods and principles are either complete or final, the High Contracting Parties are of opinion that they are well fitted to guide the policy of the League of Nations; and that, if adopted by the industrial communities who are members of the League, and safe-guarded in practice by an adequate system of such inspection, they will confer lasting benefits upon the wage-earners of the world.’

“I may say, in the first instance, of this, as President Wilson said of the new draft of the League of Nations, that there are no alterations in substance, as I understand it. There is, however, a new arrangement, and the phraseology has been somewhat altered. For example, the difference of conditions among different nations which was alluded to in paragraph 7 of the Articles as originally drafted is now recognized as a consideration which must apply to all the principles here laid down. Further, as it is manifestly impossible to establish at once a code which shall be permanent or enduring, emphasis is laid in the new draft upon the view that these Articles are to be regarded as an enunciation of the principles upon which from time to time, if need be, a code may be built up. In the concluding paragraph, emphasis is also laid upon the consideration that these methods and principles are not to be regarded as complete or final. It is quite impossible for us to foresee all developments and all ideals which may arise in the future and, therefore, this is put forward as no more than a tentative enunciation of principles which, if they are observed and carried out as they should be, will result in a vast improvement of labor conditions throughout the world, I desire to explain, also, that the amended Articles are not presented here as embodying merely my own language and my own ideas. The suggested changes in phraseology and arrangements have come from the different Delegations which are [Page 318]represented in the Conference. They have received, I believe, the approval and endorsement of all the important industrial communities.

“I am, glad to say that I am to be supported in making this proposal by Mr. Vandervelde, whose eloquent and inspiring speech on the subject at a previous session of the Conference still dwells in our memory. Therefore, with some confidence and for these reasons, I venture to present the amended draft as one which should command the support of this Conference.”

Approval of the Belgian Delegation M. Vandervelde (Belgium), speaking in French, expresses his approval of the proposed amendment in the following terms:

“As Sir Robert Borden has just said, a mere comparison of the two texts suffices to show that there is no essential difference between them. The text proposed by the Commission was more precise, and I may say that my personal preferences were for such precision. However, in the course of the exchange of views which preceded this meeting, we have convinced ourselves that in order to secure unanimity between the representatives of the 32 nations, situated in every corner of the globe, a little scumbling, if I may use the phrase, was indispensable.

“We have, therefore, slightly scumbled the text, and I give my complete adhesion to the final text proposed by Sir Robert Borden. I do so all the more gladly because, as regards the questions to which European working-men are more especially attached, that is, syndical liberty, a minimum wage and the eight-hours day, the two texts are well-nigh identic. Having placed on record the foregoing observations, I beg your leave to propose three amendments to the drafting.

“The French text, line 2, speaks of ‘industrial wage-earners.’ In agreement with Mr. Fontaine, Director of the French Labor Bureau, I propose to say, ‘paid workers,’ for it has always been understood, during the labors of the Conference, that international labor legislation ought to be applied no less to agricultural wage-earners than to the wage-earners of industry. That is, moreover, the sense of the English text.

“Furthermore, in line 3, instead of saying, ‘a permanent machinery,’ we have thought that the words, ‘a permanent organization’ should be substituted. That will point out the possibility for growth of the institution which we are about to create.

“Finally, at the end of the page (of the French text), instead of ‘Commission des Nations,’ I think it would be more accurate to say ‘League of Nations.’”

The President puts to the vote Sir Robert Borden’s amendment together with the alterations suggested by Mr. Vandervelde.

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The amendment and the alterations are unanimously adopted. The Session is adjourned at 17.45 o’clock (5.45 p.m.).

The President,
G. Clemenceau.

The Secretary-General,
P. Dutasta.

The Secretaries,
J. C. Grew,
M. P. A. Hankey,
Paul Gauthier,
Aldrovandi,
Sadao Saburi.

Annex I

Report of the Commission on the League of Nations

1. Terms of Reference

The Preliminary Peace Conference, at the Plenary Session of the 25th January, 1919 (Protocol No. 2), decided to nominate a Commission to work out in detail the Constitution and functions of a League of Nations.

The terms of reference of this Commission were as follows:—

“The Conference, having considered the proposals for the creation of a League of Nations, resolved that—

  • “1. It is essential to the maintenance of the world settlement, which the Associated Nations are now met to establish, that a League of Nations be created to promote international co-operation, to ensure the fulfilment of accepted international obligations, and to provide safeguards against war.
  • “2. This league should be treated as an integral part of the general Treaty of Peace, and should be open to every civilized nation which can be relied on to promote its objects.
  • “3. The members of the League should periodically meet in international conference, and should have a permanent organization and secretariat to carry on the business of the League in the intervals between the conferences.”

“The Conference therefore appoints a Committee representative of the Associated Governments to work out the details of the constitution and functions of the League.”

This Commission was to be composed of fifteen members, i. e., two members representing each of the Great Powers (United States of America, British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan), and five members [Page 320]to represent all the Powers with special interests. At a meeting of these latter Powers on the 27th January, 1919, Belgium, Brazil, China, Portugal, and Serbia were chosen to designate one representative each. (See Annex 6 of Protocol No. 2).11

2. Constitution of the Commission

The Commission was therefore originally composed as follows:

  • For the United States of America:
    • The President of the United States of America.
    • Honorable Edward M. House.
  • For the British Empire:
    • The Rt. Hon. the Lord Robert Cecil, K. C., M. P.
    • Lieutenant-General the Rt. Hon. J. C. Smuts, K. C., Minister of Defence of the Union of South Africa.
  • For France:
    • Mr. Léon Bourgeois, former President of the Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
    • Mr. Larnaude, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Paris.
  • For Italy:
    • Mr. Orlando, President of the Council.
    • Mr. Scialoja, Senator of the Kingdom.
  • For Japan:
    • Baron Makino, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Member of the Diplomatic Council.
    • Viscount Chinda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of H. I. M. the Emperor of Japan at London.
  • For Belgium:
    • Mr. Hymans, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister of State.
  • For Brazil:
    • Mr. Epitacio Pessõa, Senator, former Minister of Justice.
  • For China:
    • Mr. V. K, Wellington Koo, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of China at Washington.
  • For Portugal:
    • Mr. Jayme Batalha Reis, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Portugal at Petrograd.
  • For Serbia:
    • Mr. Vesnitch, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of H. M. the King of Serbia at Paris.

A request of four other Powers—Greece, Poland, Roumania, and the Czecho-Slovak Republic—to be represented on the Commission was referred by the Conference to the Commission for consideration. Upon the recommendation of the Commission the four following members took their seats on the 6th February:— [Page 321]

  • For Greece:
    • Mr. Eleftherios Veniselos, President of the Council of Ministers.
  • For Poland:
    • Mr. Roman Dmowaki, President of the Polish National Committee.
  • For Roumania:
    • Mr. Diamandy, Roumanian Minister Plenipotentiary.
  • For the Czecho-Slovak Republic:
    • Mr. Charles Kramar, President of the Council of Ministers.

3. First Report of the Commission

Between the date of its appointment and the 14th February, the Commission met ten times. As a result of these meetings the following Draft Covenant of the League of Nations was adopted, and read as a preliminary report by the Chairman at a Plenary Session of the Conference on the latter date. (Protocol No. 3):—

[Here follows draft covenant printed as Annex A to Protocol No. 3, page 230.]

4. Subsequent Meetings of the Commission

The Draft Covenant of the 14th February was made public in order that discussion of its terms might be provoked. A great deal of constructive criticism followed upon its publication. Further suggestions resulted from hearings of Representatives of thirteen neutral States before a Committee of the Commission on the 20th and 21st March.

These various recommendations were taken under advisement by the Commission, which held meetings on the 22nd, 24th, and 26th March, and on the 10th and 11th April. At the meeting of the 10th April a delegation representing the International Council of Women and the Suffragist Conference of the Allied countries and the United States were received by the Commission.

5. Final, Report of the Commission

At the meetings of the 10th and 11th April the Commission agreed definitively on the following text of the Covenant to be presented to the Conference:—

Covenant of the League of Nations

In order to promote international co-operation and to achieve international peace and security by the acceptance of obligations not to resort to war, by the prescription of open, just and honorable relations between nations, by the [Page 322]firm establishment of the understandings of international law as the actual rule of conduct among Governments, and by the maintenance of justice and a scrupulous respect for all treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another, the High Contracting Parties agree to this Covenant of the League of Nations.

Article I

The original Members of the League of Nations shall be those of the Signatories which are named in the Annex to this Covenant, and also such of those other States named in the Annex as shall accede without reservation to this Covenant. Such accession shall be effected by a Declaration deposited with the Secretariat within two months of the coming into force of the Covenant. Notice thereof shall be sent to all other Members of the League.

Any fully self-governing State, Dominion or Colony not named in the Annex may become a Member of the League if its admission is agreed to by two-thirds of the Assembly, provided that it shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, and shall accept such regulations as may be prescribed by the League in regard to its military and naval forces and armaments.

Any Member of the League may, after two years’ notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal.

Article II

The action of the League under this Covenant shall be effected through the instrumentality of an Assembly and of a Council, with a permanent Secretariat.

Article III

The Assembly shall consist of Representatives of the Members of the League.

The Assembly shall meet at stated intervals and from time to time as occasion may require at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may be decided upon.

The Assembly may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.

At meetings of the Assembly each Member of the League shall have one vote, and may have not more than three Representatives.

Article IV

The Council shall consist of Representatives of the United States of America, of the British Empire, of France, of Italy, and of Japan, together with Representatives of four other Members of the League. These four Members of the League shall be selected by the Assembly from time to time in its discretion. Until the appointment of the Representatives of the four Members of the League first selected by the Assembly, Representatives of . . . . . . . shall be members of the Council.

With the approval of the majority of the Assembly, the Council may name additional Members of the League whose Representatives shall always be members of the Council; the Council with like approval may increase the number of Members of the League to be selected by the Assembly for representation on the Council.

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The Council shall meet from time to time as occasion may require, and at least once a year, at the Seat of the League, or at such other place as may be decided upon.

The Council may deal at its meetings with any matter within the sphere of action of the League or affecting the peace of the world.

Any Member of the League not represented on the Council shall be invited to send a Representative to sit as a member at any meeting of the Council during the consideration of matters specially affecting the interests of that Member of the League.

At meetings of the Council each Member of the League represented on the Council shall have one vote, and may have not more than one Representative.

Article V

Except where otherwise expressly provided in this Covenant, decisions at any meeting of the Assembly or of the Council shall require the agreement of all the Members of the League represented at the meeting.

All matters of procedure at meetings of the Assembly or of the Council, including the appointment of Committees to investigate particular matters, shall be regulated by the Assembly or by the Council, and may be decided by a majority of the Members of the League represented at the meeting.

The first meeting of the Assembly and the first meeting of the Council shall be summoned by the President of the United States of America.

Article VI

The permanent Secretariat shall be established at the Seat of the League. The Secretariat shall comprise a Secretary-General and such secretaries and staff as may be required.

The first Secretary-General shall be the person named in the Annex; thereafter the Secretary-General shall be appointed by the Council with the approval of the majority of the Assembly.

The secretaries and the staff of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary-General, with the approval of the Council.

The Secretary-General shall act in that capacity at all meetings of the Assembly and of the Council.

The expenses of the Secretariat shall be borne by the Members of the League in accordance with the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.

Article VII

The Seat of the League is established at Geneva.

The Council may at any time decide that the Seat of the League shall be established elsewhere.

All positions under or in connection with the League, including the Secretariat, shall be open equally to men and women.

Representatives of the Members of the League and officials of the League when engaged on the business of the League shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.

The buildings and other property occupied by the League or its officials or by Representatives attending its meetings shall be inviolable.

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Article VIII

The Members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.

The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several Governments.

Such plans shall be subject to reconsideration and revision at least every ten years.

After these plans shall have been adopted by the several Governments, the limits of armaments therein fixed shall not be exceeded without the concurrence of the Council.

The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections. The Council shall advise how the evil effects attendant upon such manufacture can be prevented, due regard being had to the necessities of those Members of the League which are not able to manufacture the munitions and implements of war necessary for their safety.

The Members of the League undertake to interchange full and frank information as to the scale of their armaments, their military and naval programmes, and the condition of such of their industries as are adaptable to warlike purposes.

Article IX

A permanent Commission shall be constituted to advise the Council on the execution of the provisions of Articles I and VIII, and on military and naval questions generally.

Article X

The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression, or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression, the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.

Article XI

Any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the Members of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations. In case any such emergency should arise the Secretary-General shall, on the request of any Member of the League, forthwith summon a meeting of the Council.

It is also declared to be the friendly right of each Member of the League to bring to the attention of the Assembly or of the Council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.

Article XII

The Members of the League agree that if there should arise between them any dispute likely to lead to a rupture they will submit the matter either to arbitration [Page 325]or to inquiry by the Council, and they agree in no case to resort to war until three months after the award by the arbitrators or the report by the Council.

In any case under this Article the award of the arbitrators shall be made within a reasonable time, and the report of the Council shall be made within six months after the submission of the dispute.

Article XIII

The Members of the League agree that whenever any dispute shall arise between them which they recognize to be suitable for submission to arbitration, and which cannot be satisfactorily settled by diplomacy, they will submit the whole subject-matter to arbitration.

Disputes as to the interpretation of a treaty, as to any question of international law, as to the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of any international obligation, or as to the extent and nature of the reparation to be made for any such breach, are declared to be among those which are generally suitable for submission to arbitration.

For the consideration of any such dispute the court of arbitration to which the case is referred shall be the court agreed on by the parties to the dispute or stipulated in any convention existing between them.

The Members of the League agree that they will carry out in full good faith any award that may be rendered and that they will not resort to war against a Member of the League which complies therewith. In the event of any failure to carry out such an award, the Council shall propose what steps should be taken to give effect thereto.

Article XIV

The Council shall formulate and submit to the Members of the League for adoption plans for the establishment of a Permanent Court of International Justice. The Court shall be competent to hear and determine any dispute of an international character which the parties thereto submit to it. The Court may also give an advisory opinion upon any dispute or question referred to it by the Council or by the Assembly.

Article XV

If there should arise between Members of the League any dispute likely to lead to a rupture, which is not submitted to arbitration as above, the Members of the League agree that they will submit the matter to the Council. Any party to the dispute may effect such submission by giving notice of the existence of the dispute to the Secretary-General, who will make all necessary arrangements for a full investigation and consideration thereof.

For this purpose the parties to the dispute will communicate to the Secretary-General, as promptly as possible, statements of their case with all the relevant facts and papers, and the Council may forthwith direct the publication thereof.

The Council shall endeavor to effect a settlement of the dispute, and if such efforts are successful, a statement shall be made public giving such facts and explanations regarding the dispute and the terms of settlement thereof as the Council may deem appropriate.

If the dispute is not thus settled, the Council either unanimously or by a majority vote shall make and publish a report containing a statement of the facts of the dispute and the recommendations which are deemed just and proper in regard thereto.

[Page 326]

Any Member of the League represented on the Council may make public a statement of the facts of the dispute and of its conclusions regarding the same.

If a report by the Council is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute which complies with the recommendations of the report.

If the Council fails to reach a report which is unanimously agreed to by the members thereof, other than the representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute, the Members of the League reserve to themselves the right to take such action as they shall consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice.

If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement.

The Council may in any case under this Article refer the dispute to the Assembly. The dispute shall be so referred at the request of either party to the dispute, provided that such request be made within fourteen days after the submission of the dispute to the Council.

In any case referred to the Assembly all the provisions of this Article and of Article XII relating to the action and powers of the Council shall apply to the action and powers of the Assembly, provided that a report made by the Assembly if concurred in by the Representatives of those Members of the League represented on the Council and of a majority of the other Members of the League, exclusive in each case of the Representatives of the parties to the dispute, shall have the same force as a report by the Council concurred in by all the members thereof other than the Representatives of one or more of the parties to the dispute.

Article XVI

Should any Member of the League resort to war in disregard of its covenants under Articles XII, XIII or XV, it shall ipso facto be deemed to have committed an act of war against all other members of the League, which hereby undertake immediately to subject it to the severance of all trade or financial relations, the prohibition of all intercourse between their nationals and the nationals of the covenant-breaking State, and the prevention of all financial, commercial or personal intercourse between the nationals of the covenant-breaking State and the nationals of any other State, whether a Member of the League or not.

It shall be the duty of the Council in such case to recommend to the several Governments concerned what effective military or naval force the Members of the League shall severally contribute to the armed forces to be used to protect the covenants of the League.

The Members of the League agree, further, that they will mutually support one another in the financial and economic measures which are taken under this Article, in order to minimize the loss and inconvenience resulting from the above measures, and that they will mutually support one another in resisting any special measures aimed at one of their number by the covenant-breaking State, and that they will take the necessary steps to afford passage through their territory to the forces of any of the Members of the League which are co-operating to protect the covenants of the League.

Any member of the League which has violated any covenant of the League may be declared to be no longer a Member of the League by a vote of the [Page 327]Council concurred in by the Representatives of all the other Members of the League represented thereon.

Article XVII

In the event of a dispute between a Member of the League and a State which is not a Member of the League, or between States not Members of the League, the State or States not Members of the League shall be invited to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, upon such conditions as the Council may deem just. If such invitation is accepted, the provisions of Articles XII to XVI inclusive shall be applied with such modifications as may be deemed necessary by the Council.

Upon such invitation being given the Council shall immediately institute an inquiry into the circumstances of the dispute and recommend such action as may seem best and most effectual in the circumstances.

If a State so invited shall refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, and shall resort to war against a Member of the League, the provisions of Article XVI shall be applicable as against the State taking such action.

If both parties to the dispute when so invited refuse to accept the obligations of membership in the League for the purposes of such dispute, the Council may take such measures and make such recommendations as will prevent hostilities and will result in the settlement of the dispute.

Article XVIII

Every treaty or international engagement entered into hereafter by any Member of the League shall be forthwith registered with the Secretariat and shall as soon as possible be published by it. No such treaty or international engagement shall be binding until so registered.

Article XIX

The Assembly may from time to time advise the reconsideration by Members of the League of treaties which have become inapplicable and the consideration of international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world.

Article XX

The Members of the League severally agree that this Covenant is accepted as abrogating all obligations or understandings inter se which are inconsistent with the terms thereof, and solemnly undertake that they will not hereafter enter into any engagements inconsistent with the terms thereof.

In case any Member of the League shall, before becoming a Member of the League, have undertaken any obligations inconsistent with the terms of this Covenant, it shall be the duty of such Member to take immediate steps to procure its release from such obligations.

Article XXI

Nothing in this Covenant shall be deemed to affect the validity of international engagements such as treaties of arbitration or regional understandings like the Monroe Doctrine for securing the maintenance of peace.

[Page 328]

Article XXII

To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.

The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who, by reason of their resources, their experience, or their geographical position, can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as mandatories on behalf of the League.

The character of the mandate must differ according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions, and other similar circumstances.

Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a mandatory until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.

Other peoples, especially those of Central Africa, are at such a stage that the mandatory must be responsible for the administration of the territory under conditions which will guarantee freedom of conscience or religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition of abuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases, and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other Members of the League.

There are territories, such as Southwest Africa and certain of the South Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centers of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the mandatory, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above-mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.

In every case of mandate, the mandatory shall render to the Council an annual report in reference to the territory committed to its charge.

The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the mandatory shall, if not previously agreed upon by the Members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.

A permanent Commission shall be constituted to receive and examine the annual reports of the mandatories and to advise the Council on all matters relating to the observance of the mandates.

Article XXIII

Subject to and in accordance with the provisions of international conventions existing or hereafter to be agreed upon, the Members of the League [Page 329]

(a.)
will endeavor to secure and maintain fair and humane conditions of labor for men, women and children both in their own countries and in all countries to which their commercial and industrial relations extend, and for that purpose will establish and maintain the necessary international organizations;
(b.)
undertake to secure just treatment of the native inhabitants of territories under their control;
(c.)
will entrust the League with the general supervision over the execution of agreements with regard to the traffic in women and children, and the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs;
(d.)
will entrust the League with the general supervision of the trade in arms and ammunition with the countries in which the control of this traffic is necessary in the common interest;
(e.)
will make provision to secure and maintain freedom of communications and of transit and equitable treatment for the commerce of all Members of the League. In this connection, the special necessities of the regions devastated during the war of 1914–1918 shall be borne in mind;
(f.)
will endeavor to take steps in matters of international concern for the prevention and control of disease.

Article XXIV

There shall be placed under the direction of the League all international bureaux already established by general treaties if the parties to such treaties consent. All such international bureaux and all commissions for the regulation of matters of international interest hereafter constituted shall be placed under the direction of the League.

In all matters of international interest which are regulated by general conventions, but which are not placed under the control of international bureaux or commissions, the Secretariat of the League shall, subject to the consent of the Council, and if desired by the parties, collect and distribute all relevant information, and shall render any other assistance which may be necessary or desirable.

The Council may include as part of the expenses of the Secretariat the expenses of any bureau or commission which is placed under the direction of the League.

Article XXV

The Members of the League agree to encourage and promote the establishment and cooperation of duly authorized voluntary national Red Cross organizations having as purposes the improvement of health, the prevention of disease, and the mitigation of suffering throughout the world.

Article XXVI

Amendments to this Covenant will take effect when ratified by the Members of the League whose Representatives compose the Council and by a majority of the Members of the League whose Representatives compose the Assembly.

No such amendment shall bind any Member of the League which signifies its dissent therefrom, but in that case it shall cease to be a Member of the League.

[Page 330]

Annex to the Covenant

1. Original Members of League of Nations

Signatories of the Treaty of Peace.

  • United States of America
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • British Empire
    • Canada
    • Australia
    • South Africa
    • New Zealand
    • India
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Czecho-Slovakia
  • Ecuador
  • France
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Hedjaz
  • Honduras
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liberia
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Roumania
  • Serbia
  • Siam
  • Uruguay

States Invited to Accede to the Covenant.

  • Argentine Republic
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Paraguay
  • Persia
  • Salvador
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

2. First Secretary-General of the League of Nations

6. Recommendation of the Commission

At the last meeting of the Commission, the following resolution was adopted:—

“Resolved, that in the opinion of the Commission, the President of the Commission should be requested by the Conference to invite seven Powers, including two neutrals, to name Representatives on a Committee

A.
to prepare plans for the organization of the League,
B.
to prepare plans for the establishment of the Seat of the League,
C.
to prepare plans and the Agenda for the first meeting of the Assembly.

This Committee shall report both to the Council and to the Assembly.”

[Page 331]

Annex II

Draft Clauses for Insertion in the Treaty of Peace in Regard to the Conditions of Labor

(A.) Text Proposed by the Commission on International Labor Legislation

The High Contracting Parties declare their acceptance of the following principles and engage to take all necessary steps to secure their realization in accordance with the recommendation to be made by the International Labor Conference as to their practical application:—

1.
In right and in fact the labor of a human being should not be treated as merchandise or an article of commerce.
2.
Employers and workers should be allowed the right of association for all lawful purposes.
3.

No child should be permitted to be employed in industry or commerce before the age of fourteen years, in order that every child may be ensured reasonable opportunities for mental and physical education.

Between the years of fourteen and eighteen young persons of either sex may only be employed on work which is not harmful to their physical development and on condition that the continuation of their technical or general education is ensured.

4.
Every worker has a right to a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life, having regard to the civilization of his time and country.
5.
Equal pay should be given to women and to men for work of equal value in quantity and quality.
6.
A weekly rest, including Sunday, or its equivalent for all workers.
7.

Limitation of the hours of work in industry on the basis of eight hours a day or forty-eight hours a week, subject to an exception for countries in which climatic conditions, the imperfect development of industrial organization or other special circumstances render the industrial efficiency of the workers substantially different.

The International Labor Conference will recommend a basis approximately equivalent to the above for adoption in such countries.

8.
In all matters concerning their status as workers and social insurance foreign workmen lawfully admitted to any country and their families should be ensured the same treatment as the nationals of that country.
9.
All States should institute a system of inspection in which women should take part, in order to ensure the enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the workers.

(B.) Amended Text to be moved by Sir Robert Borden

The High Contracting Parties, recognizing that the well-being, physical, moral and intellectual, of industrial wage-earners is of supreme international importance, have framed a permanent machinery [Page 332]associated with that of the League of Nations to further this great end.

They recognize that differences of climate, habits and customs, of economic opportunity and industrial tradition, make strict uniformity in the conditions of labor difficult of immediate attainment. But, holding as they do, that labor should not be regarded merely as an article of commerce, they think that there are methods and principles for regulating labor conditions which all industrial communities should endeavor to apply, so far as their special circumstances will permit.

Among these methods and principles, the following seem to the High Contracting Parties to be of special and urgent importance:—

  • First.—The guiding principle above enunciated that labor should not be regarded merely as a commodity or article of commerce.
  • Second.—The right of association for all lawful purposes by the employed as well as by the employers.
  • Third.—The payment to the employed of a wage adequate to maintain a reasonable standard of life as this is understood in their time and country.
  • Fourth.—The adoption of an eight-hours day or a forty-eight hours week as the standard to be aimed at where it has not already been attained.
  • Fifth.—The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable.
  • Sixth.—The abolition of child labor and the imposition of such limitations on the labor of young persons as shall permit the continuation of their education and assure their proper physical development.
  • Seventh.—The principle that men and women should receive equal remuneration for work of equal value.
  • Eighth.—The standard set by law in each country with respect to the conditions of labor should have due regard to the equitable economic treatment of all workers lawfully resident therein.
  • Ninth.—Each State should make provision for a system of inspection in which women should take part, in order to ensure the enforcement of the laws and regulations for the protection of the employed.

Without claiming that these methods and principles are either complete or final, the High Contracting Parties are of opinion that they are well fitted to guide the policy of the League of Nations; and that, if adopted by the industrial communities who are members of the League, and safeguarded in practice by an adequate system of such inspection, they will confer lasting benefits upon the wage-earners of the world.

  1. This retranslation differs somewhat from the original English text; see President Wilson’s address to the Senate, Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 1, pp. 24, 26.
  2. In his message to the Russian Provisional Government; for text of the message, see Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 2, vol. i, p. 72. The retranslation appearing here differs slightly from the original English text.
  3. This quotation and the one which follows are from the President’s address to the Senate, Foreign Relations, 1917, supp. 1, p. 24.
  4. This retranslation differs slightly from the original English text; see Baker and Dodd (eds.), The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson: War and Peace, vol. i, pp. 405, 407.
  5. The original English text reads as follows: “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. And can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” Washington’s Farewell Address, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789–1897, vol. i, pp. 213, 221.
  6. According to the statement made by the Bureau at Berne in 1901, recourse has been made during the last century to arbitration in respect to international questions in the following proportion:—

    From 1850–59, number of question settled by arbitration 15
    From 1860–69, number of question settled by arbitration 22
    From 1870–79, number of questions settled by arbitration 24
    From 1880–99, number of question settled by arbitration 42
    From 1890–99, number of questions settled by arbitration 63
    Total cases settled by arbitration 166

    In the history of arbitration the case of the steamship “Alabama” between the United States and England was a famous one and England was condemned to pay 15½ million dollars by a sentence which was delivered against her. [Footnote in the original.]

  7. Among these Treaties for restricted arbitration special mention should be made of the one quoted in the book for the years 1913–1914, of the ‘Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.’ It was signed between the United States and England and was concerned with the sense in which should be interpreted the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of November 18th, 1901, in regard to certain dues payable by vessels passing through the Panama Canal. The Treaty states that ‘differences which may arise of a legal nature or relating to the interpretation of Treaties existing between two contracting parties and which it may not have been possible to settle by diplomacy, shall be referred to the permanent Court of Arbitration established at the Hague by the Convention of the 19th [29th] July, 1899, provided, nevertheless, that they do not affect the vital interests, the independence, or the honor of the two contracting States, and do not concern the interests of third parties.’ [Arbitration convention signed Apr. 4, 1908, Article I, Foreign Relations, 1908, p. 382.]

    It will be seen that this is a Treaty which contains restrictions. The Carnegie Institute for Peace had 1,200,000 copies of it printed in order to acquaint the world with this arbitration agreement.

    This idea of a Treaty of Arbitration with restrictions was again taken up at the two Conferences at the Hague, and the Republic of Panama was represented at the second one. On that occasion the theories set forth in the English Treaty quoted above were again brought up.

    Mr. Taft in the United States took the initiative in propounding the idea of submitting to international arbitration any question incapable of solution by diplomatic means, before an appeal to arms. This was the dominant idea in the Pan-American Congresses assembled at Washington and at that held in Mexico, to which numerous American States had given their adhesion. Even in the Constitutions of some of those States arbitration is laid down as a means for settling disputes with other countries.

    It may therefore be said that arbitration is a principle of international law which had its birth in America.

    A few European States have accepted the elimination of restrictions from arbitration Treaties. Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands have acted in the same way as the Argentine Republic.

    The Inter-Parliamentary Union for the Maintenance of International Peace, at its session of 1908, expressed the wish that, in the case of disputes concerning questions which were not submitted to arbitration, the contracting parties should abstain from committing hostile acts until they had sought, either jointly or separately, the mediation of one or several friendly Powers. The aspiration thus voiced was first applied when the United States, under the presidency of Mr. Taft, introduced arbitration covenants for the progress of peace (Treaties for the Progress of Peace) which have been negotiated since 1911 by the great American Republic with France, England, and, immediately afterwards, with a dozen other States, among which were Italy, Russia, Holland, Spain, the Scandinavian States and many South American nations. (C. H. [L.] Lange, The American Peace Treaties, Christiania, 1915.)

    Arbitration Treaties in regard to boundaries which have been settled between various American countries are very numerous. Arbitration is the rule of conduct for the solution of such questions. [Footnote in the original.]

  8. These words appear in the British print but were omitted, apparently by typographical error, from the American print.
  9. Baker and Dodd (eds.), The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson: The New Democracy, vol. i, p. 64.
  10. Foreign Relations, 1918, p. 577.
  11. Paragraphs of the President’s Speech at the White Home to Mexican Editors, June 7, 1918.

    “You know your own personal reception. You know how gladly we have opened to you the doors of every establishment that you wanted to see and have shown you just what we were doing and I hope you have gained the right impression as to why we were doing it. We are doing it, Gentlemen, so that the world may never hereafter have to fear the only thing that any nation has to dread, the unjust and selfish aggression of another nation. Some time ago, as you probably all know, I proposed a sort of Pan-American agreement. I had perceived that one of the difficulties of our relationship with Latin America was this: the famous Monroe Doctrine was adopted without your consent, without the consent of any of the Central or South American States.

    “If I may express it in the terms that we so often use in this country, we said: ‘We are going to be your big brother whether you want us to be or not.’ We did not ask whether it was agreeable to you that we should be your big brother. We said we were going to be. Now, that was all very well so far as protecting you from aggression from the other side of the water was concerned, but there was nothing in it that protected you from aggression from us, and I have repeatedly seen the uneasy feeling on the part of representatives of the States of Central and South America that our self-appointed protection might be for our own benefit and our own interests and not for the interest of our neighbors. So I said: ‘Very well, let us make an arrangement by which we will give bond. Let us have a common guarantee, that all of us will sign, of political independence and territorial integrity. Let us agree that if any of us, the United States included, violates the political independence or the territorial integrity of any of the others, all the others will jump on her.’ I pointed out to some of the gentlemen who were less inclined to enter into this arrangement than others that that was in effect giving bonds on the part of the United States that we would enter into an arrangement by which you would be protected from us.

    “Now, that is the kind of agreement that will have to be the foundation of the future life of the nations of the world, Gentlemen. The whole family of nations will have to guarantee to each nation that no nation shall violate its political independence or its territorial integrity. That is the basis, the only conceivable basis, for the future peace of the world, and I must admit that I was ambitious to have the States of the two continents of America show the way to the rest of the world as to how to make a basis of peace. Peace can come only by trust. As long as there is suspicion there is going to be misunderstanding, and as long as there is misunderstanding there is going to be trouble. If you can once get a situation of trust then you have got a situation of permanent peace. Therefore, every one of us, it seems to me, owes it as a patriotic duty to his own country to plant the seeds of trust and confidence instead of the seeds of suspicion and variety of interest. That is the reason that I began by saying to you that I have not had the pleasure of meeting a group of men who were more welcome than you are, because you are our near neighbors. Suspicion on your part or misunderstanding on your part distresses us more than we would be distressed by similar feelings on the part of those less near by.” [Footnote in the original.]

  12. These words appear in the text of the Covenant of the League of Nations, post, p. 322 (first paragraph of Article IV), but were omitted here apparently by typographical error.
  13. Printed as “Minutes of the Meeting of January 27, 1919, of the Powers with Special Interests,” p. 447.