Demilitarized zones are even to be organized beforehand in the most exposed territories, so as to favor the control exercised by the League and make easier the designation of the aggressor. Discussion about the Protocol thus offers a method of measuring the progress made in five years towards understanding the importance of an international force and of control organized by the League of Nations. It is true that in the beginning this confidence was rather fragile. This bitter experience induced France to seek in the League of Nations a remedy for her unsupported status. Forced to withdraw by German occupation in May 1940 and incorporation into the German Reich. Japan ignored the league and just left in 1933, and continued their invasion of Manchuria. Between 1920 and 1939, a total of 63 countries became member states of the League of Nations. Such was the revelation at Geneva, which has been renewed at each Assembly for five years. The decision to take this step was announced in theatrical fashion to 100,000 persons in the Piazza di Venezia in Rome last night. Germany and Italy would follow in Japan's steps years down the road. As I have tried to show elsewhere,[i] the post-war economic difficulties were due less to political causes for which the new and weak countries were responsible than to economic measures taken by the great nations. That a country as large as a continent, protected by oceans and deserts, with neighbors either weak in number or attached to her by profound affinities, possessed of the men, raw materials, and financial resources to defend herself and to influence the wills of others--that such a country should be impatient of any restriction upon her sovereignty and of foreign entanglements, and should declare her policy simply to be a matter of her own concern and limited only by her own moderation--that such a country should assume a high hand towards the League of Nations and determine to do as she wants where she wants, is quite natural. In 1937, Japan invaded china itself. The League has likewise caused uneasiness because one member has presumed, in defining its relations with the government of the empire of which it forms a part, to make use of the specific statute under which it becomes a member of the League, talking about complete legal equality, registration by the League of its treaties with the government already mentioned, and eventual submission to the Council of the League of Nations of any conflict that may arise in the interpretation of these treaties. There in the Hall of the Reformation the words "Little Entente" took on concrete meaning, signifying a force that counts for something and with which one has to count, since room has been made for it on the Council. There is another reason: the League is universal in character. A land with a low birth-rate, busy repairing by immigration the gaps which war created among her producing population; a land which has not yet effaced from her soil the traces of invasion; which though formerly the world's creditor is today, as a result of the war, heavily burdened with internal and external debt; which is confronted with the enormous task of meeting continental, maritime, and colonial obligations; which is temptingly exposed to the covetousness of her neighbors, though herself desiring no new territory; which knows by experience that disturbances anywhere in the world will have repercussions on the Rhine (for the World War, though it did not come after Mukden and Liaoyang or after the Agadir crisis, did finally begin in the Balkans); which is aware that she saved the world from the surprise German attack, but is quite aware, too, that, having held out long enough for the public opinion and the armies of Great Britain and the United States to mobilize, she was herself saved in turn by her allies and associates,--what is it that such a country needs? This is trade, not mutual aid, and the countries most threatened will come to believe that the money which they will eventually have to pay to allies or associates as a debt will be much better spent if preventively devoted to armaments which they will get at lower prices and which will keep their national industry alive. The methods and spirit prevailing at Geneva are an added reason. The ink of the signatures to the treaties of peace was scarcely dry before the economists were predicting the worst sort of catastrophes if the political clauses were not readjusted. The fight for the League of Nations was therefore largely on the shoulders of President Wilson. As a matter of fact, since the Treaty was signed no member of the League has submitted weightier matters to its management, decision or oversight than France has submitted. But they have found warm exponents in most European countries. It is provided that as soon as the Interallied Commission of Control shall have decided that Germany has provisionally completed all demands, the task of continued surveillance will fall upon the League. It is vital, and for years to come it will be vital, for France to know where German armaments stand and whether they are in conformity with Part V of the Treaty of Versailles. The confidence of France in this universal League of Nations will naturally grow or decrease according to the way in which the great countries beyond the sea deal with Europe. Yet the League of Nations did work surprisingly well, at least for a decade after the war. Since then it has almost entirely disappeared, together with the legend that President Wilson--said to be an incorrigible dreamer --had during the course of the negotiations often hampered bipartisan agreements which France and England were ready to put through on a basis of solid reality. How much better adapted to European conditions and how much more disinterested does the Wilsonian principle of the rights of peoples to dispose of themselves now appear than the cleverness of Mr. Lloyd George in hindering the unduly rapid recovery of France and the growth of the newly emancipated nations, in order to get back as soon as possible to that European equilibrium which is so nicely calculated to favor England's desire to recover her old rôle of the isolated arbiter! So far as France is concerned, I shall now try to reply to the question. Yet if such a policy should some day be imposed on France it will be against her will, for France understands that henceforward Europe represents too small a unit in the world to live a separate existence. The Assembly at Geneva has shown, however, that it is not indifferent to ideals of reconciliation when the ex-enemies exhibit a similar disposition. This was not only because they had the fortune to be represented there during the early years by two distinguished men who brought to their conversations a serenity, philosophy, and experience which are rare in chancelleries; but also because at Geneva, England, which ordinarily looks at Europe through a haze of traditional ideas, is compelled to fall back on her deep-seated sense of reality and to see Europe, assembled before her eyes, directly and as it really is. On the one hand, if England is some day to subscribe to European engagements, it will be through the League of Nations; on the other, each year for five Assemblies, England has been made to feel that more than fifty nations hope a Franco-British agreement will be reached. Thus quite naturally, though not without surprise, France finds herself on a level of equality in this international assembly by sheer virtue of her historic position--her centuries of culture, her hundred and thirty years of democratic tradition, her chivalry toward weak nations and her humanity toward the non-white races. Five years of Anglo-French tête à têtes have brought matters back into perspective. The situation of the powers was delicate, for on the one hand they could not admit that the League would ever undertake revision of the treaties, and, on the other hand, they had never pretended to oppose all such revision. A further fact is significant. The League is in no danger from Europe. Today the League of Nations is something more in the minds of the peoples than an idea. ", Now It Must Stand With Those Struggling Against Tyranny, A Strategy for Restoring Balance and Legitimacy, How Thousands of Americans Were Convinced to Storm the Capitol—and What Comes Next, Popular Chinese Mobile Payment Apps Are Just the Tip of the Spear, Get in-depth analysis delivered right to your inbox, From the Click here to learn more. In ten years the territory of the Saar will decide by plebiscite whether it wishes to become French or German, or to stay as it is. But power has so departed from Europe that, it is to be feared, those lands where in the future power will be lodged may not realize to what extent the pact has taken root in Europe. The thesis which M. Léon Bourgeois managed to get accepted was that all articles of the Covenant could be amended by the Assembly, except those articles which relate directly to the treaties, since that would have permitted indirect revision of the treaties by powers not parties to them. This severance of the two kinds of negotiations is a means of giving the Covenant the independent attitude which it ought to maintain toward the treaties and at the same time safeguards the link that unites them. Should it come into being, the Assembly would breathe more freely; were the idea given up, the Assembly would be paralyzed. Fourth, the mandates. By giving too much satisfaction to national desires, they said, these clauses had left Europe bristling with frontiers and tariff walls and had left the instruments of production--which had been created by great peoples who understood how to use them--in the hands of little peoples without experience. Under Article 213 of the Treaty, Germany promises to give every facility for any investigation which the Council of the League of Nations, acting if need be by a majority vote, may consider necessary. 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