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   Chapter 3 THE DELEGATES

The Inside Story of the Peace Conference By Emile Joseph Dillon Characters: 112673

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

The plenipotentiaries, who became the world's arbiters for a while, were truly representative men. But they mirrored forth not so much the souls of their respective peoples as the surface spirit that flitted over an evanescent epoch. They stood for national grandeur, territorial expansion, party interests, and even abstract ideas. Exponents of a narrow section of the old order at its lowest ebb, they were in no sense heralds of the new. Amid a labyrinth of ruins they had no clue to guide their footsteps, in which the peoples of the world were told to follow. Only true political vision, breadth of judgment, thorough mastery of the elements of the situation, an instinct for discerning central issues, genuine concern for high principles of governance, and the rare moral courage that disregards popularity as a mainspring of action-could have fitted any set of legislators to tackle the complex and thorny problems that pressed for settlement and to effect the necessary preliminary changes. That the delegates of the principal Powers were devoid of many of these qualities cannot fairly be made a subject of reproach. It was merely an accident. But it was as unfortunate as their honest conviction that they could accomplish the grandiose enterprise of remodeling the communities of the world without becoming conversant with their interests, acquainted with their needs, or even aware of their whereabouts. For their failure, which was inevitable, was also bound to be tragic, inasmuch as it must involve, not merely their own ambition to live in history as the makers of a new and regenerate era, but also the destinies of the nations and races which confidently looked up to them for the conditions of future pacific progress, nay, of normal existence.

During the Conference it was the fashion in most European countries to question the motives as well as to belittle the qualifications of the delegates. Now that political passion has somewhat abated and the atmosphere is becoming lighter and clearer, one may without provoking contradiction pay a well-deserved tribute to their sincerity, high purpose, and quick response to the calls of public duty and moral sentiment. They were animated with the best intentions, not only for their respective countries, but for humanity as a whole. One and all they burned with the desire to go as far as feasible toward ending the era of destructive wars. Steady, uninterrupted, pacific development was their common ideal, and they were prepared to give up all that they reasonably could to achieve it. It is my belief, for example, that if Mr. Wilson had persisted in making his League project the cornerstone of the new world structure and in applying his principles without favor, the Italians would have accepted it almost without discussion, and the other states would have followed their example. All the delegates must have felt that the old order of things, having been shaken to pieces by the war and its concomitants, could not possibly survive, and they naturally desired to keep within evolutionary bounds the process of transition to the new system, thus accomplishing by policy what revolution would fain accomplish by violence. It was only when they came to define that policy with a view to its application that their unanimity was broken up and they split into two camps, the pacifists and the militarists, or the democrats and imperialists, as they have been roughly labeled. Here, too, each member of the assembly worked with commendable single-mindedness, and under a sense of high responsibility, for that solution of the problem which to him seemed the most conducive to the general weal. And they wrestled heroically one with the other for what they held to be right and true relatively to the prevalent conditions. The circumstance that the cause and effects of this clash of opinions and sentiments were so widely at variance with early anticipations had its roots partly in their limited survey of the complex problem, and partly, too, in its overwhelming vastness and their own unfitness to cope with it.

The delegates who aimed at disarmament and a society of pacific peoples made out as good a case-once their premises were admitted-as those who insisted upon guarantees, economic and territorial. Everything depended, for the theory adopted, upon each individual's breadth of view, and for its realization upon the temper of the peoples and that of their neighbors. As under the given circumstances either solution was sure to encounter formidable opposition, which only a doughty spirit would dare to affront, compromise, offering a side-exit out of the quandary, was avidly taken. In this way the collective sagacities, working in materials the nature of which they hardly understood, brought forth strange products. Some of the incongruities of the details, such, for instance, as the invitation to Prinkipo, despatched anonymously, occasionally surpass satire, but their bewildered authors are entitled to the benefit of extenuating circumstances.

On the momentous issue of a permanent peace based on Mr. Wilson's pristine concept of a league of nations, and in accordance with rigid principles applied equally to all the states, there was no discussion. In other words, it was tacitly agreed that the fourteen points should not form a bar to the vital postulates of any of the Great Powers. It was only on the subject of the lesser states and the equality of nations that the debates were intense, protracted, and for a long while fruitless. At times words flamed perilously high. For months the solutions of the Adriatic, the Austrian, Turkish, and Thracian problems hung in poignant suspense, the public looking on with diminishing interest and waxing dissatisfaction. The usual optimistic assurances that all would soon run smoothly and swiftly fell upon deaf ears. Faith in the Conference was melting away.

The plight of the Supreme Council and the vain exhortations to believe in its efficiency reminded me of the following story.

A French parish priest was once spiritually comforting a member of his flock who was tormented by doubts about the goodness of God as measured by the imperfection of His creation. Having listened to a vivid account of the troubled soul's high expectation of its Maker and of its deep disappointment at His work, the pious old curé said: "Yes, my child. The world is indeed bad, as you say, and you are right to deplore it. But don't you think you may have formed to yourself an exaggerated idea of God?" An analogous reflection would not be out of place when passing judgment on the Conference which implicitly arrogated to itself some of the highest attributes of the Deity, and thus heightened the contrast between promise and achievement. Certainly people expected much more from it than it could possibly give. But it was the delegates themselves who had aroused these expectations announcing the coming of a new epoch at their fiat. The peoples were publicly told by Mr. Lloyd George and several of his colleagues that the war of 1914-18 would be the last. His "Never again" became a winged phrase, and the more buoyant optimists expected to see over the palace of arbitration which was to be substituted for the battlefield, the inspiring inscription: "A la dernière des guerres, l'humanité reconnaissante."[46] Mr. Wilson's vast project was still more attractive.

Mr. Lloyd George is too well known in his capacity of British parliamentarian to need to be characterized. The splendid services he rendered the Empire during the war, when even his defects proved occasionally helpful, will never be forgotten. Typifying not only the aims, but also the methods, of the British people, he never seems to distrust his own counsels whencesoever they spring nor to lack the courage to change them in a twinkling. He stirred the soul of the nation in its darkest hour and communicated his own glowing faith in its star. During the vicissitudes of the world struggle he was the right man for the responsible post which he occupied, and I am proud of having been one of the first to work in my own modest way to have him placed there. But a good war-leader may be a poor peace-negotiator, and, as a matter of fact, there are few tasks concerned with the welfare of the nation which Mr. Lloyd George could not have tackled with incomparably greater chances of accomplishing it than that of remodeling the world. His antecedents were all against him. His lack of general equipment was prohibitive; even his inborn gifts were disqualifications. One need not pay too great heed to acrimonious colleagues who set him down as a word-weaving trimmer, between whose utterances and thoughts there is no organic nexus, who declines to take the initiative unless he sees adequate forces behind him ready to his to his support, who lacks the moral courage that serves as a parachute for a fall from popularity, but possesses in abundance that of taking at the flood the rising tide which balloon-like lifts its possessor high above his fellows. But judging him in the light of the historic events in which he played a prominent part, one cannot dismiss these criticisms as groundless.

Opportunism is an essential element of statecraft, which is the art of the possible. But there is a line beyond which it becomes shiftiness, and it would be rash to assert that Mr. Lloyd George is careful to keep on the right side of it. At the Conference his conduct appeared to careful observers to be traced mainly by outside influences, and as these were various and changing the result was a zigzag. One day he would lay down a certain proposition as a dogma not to be modified, and before the week was out he would advance the contrary proposition and maintain that with equal warmth and doubtless with equal conviction. Guided by no sound knowledge and devoid of the ballast of principle, he was tossed and driven hither and thither like a wreck on the ocean. Mr. Melville Stone, the veteran American journalist, gave his countrymen his impression of the first British delegate. "Mr. Lloyd George," he said, "has a very keen sense of humor and a great power over the multitude, but with this he displays a startling indifference to, if not ignorance of, the larger affairs of nations." In the course of a walk Mr. Lloyd George expressed surprise when informed that in the United States the war-making power was invested in Congress. "What!" exclaimed the Premier, "you mean to tell me that the President of the United States cannot declare war? I never heard that before." Later, when questions of national ambitions were being discussed, Mr. Lloyd George asked, "What is that place Rumania is so anxious to get?" meaning Transylvania.[47]

The stories current of his praiseworthy curiosity about the places which he was busy distributing to the peoples whose destinies he was forging would be highly amusing if the subject were only a private individual and his motive a desire for useful information, but on the representative of a great Empire they shed a light in which the dignity of his country was necessarily affected and his own authority deplorably diminished. For moral authority at that conjuncture was the sheet anchor of the principal delegates. Although without a program, Mr. Lloyd George would appear to have had an instinctive feeling, if not a reasoned belief, that in matters of general policy his safest course would be to keep pace with the President of the United States. For he took it for granted that Mr. Wilson's views were identical with those of the American people. One of his colleagues, endeavoring to dispel this illusion, said: "Your province at this Conference is to lead. Your colleagues, including Mr. Wilson, will follow. You have the Empire behind you. Voice its aspirations. They coincide with those of the English-speaking peoples of the world. Mr. Wilson has lost his elections, therefore he does not stand for as much as you imagine. You have won your elections, so you are the spokesman of a vast community and the champion of a noble cause. You can knead the Conference at your will. Assert your will. But even if you decide to act in harmony with the United States, that does not mean subordinating British interests to the President's views, which are not those of the majority of his people." But Mr. Lloyd George, invincibly diffident-if diffidence it be-shrank from marching alone, and on certain questions which mattered much Mr. Wilson had his way.

One day there was an animated discussion in the twilight of the Paris conclave while the press was belauding the plenipotentiaries for their touching unanimity. The debate lay between the United States as voiced by Mr. Wilson and Great Britain as represented by Mr. Lloyd George. On the morrow, before the conversation was renewed, a colleague adjured the British Premier to stand firm, urging that his contention of the previous day was just in the abstract and beneficial to the Empire as well. Mr. Lloyd George bowed to the force of these motives, but yielded to the greater force of Mr. Wilson's resolve. "Put it to the test," urged the colleague. "I dare not," was the rejoinder. "Wilson won't brook it. Already he threatens, if we do, to leave the Conference and return home." "Well then, let him. If he did, we should be none the worse off for his absence. But rest assured, he won't go. He cannot afford to return home empty-handed after his splendid promises to his countrymen and the world." Mr. Lloyd George insisted, however, and said, "But he will take his army away, too." "What!" exclaimed the tempter. "His army? Well, I only ..." but it would serve no useful purpose to quote the vigorous answer in full.

This odd mixture of exaggerated self-confidence, mismeasurement of forces, and pliability to external influences could not but be baleful in one of the leaders of an assembly composed, as was the Paris Conference, of men each with his own particular ax to grind and impressible only to high moral authority or overwhelming military force. It cannot be gainsaid that no one, not even his own familiars, could ever foresee the next move in Mr. Lloyd George's game of statecraft, and it is demonstrable that on several occasions he himself was so little aware of what he would do next that he actually advocated as indispensable measures diametrically opposed to those which he was to propound, defend, and carry a week or two later. A conversation which took place between him and one of his fellow-workers gives one the measure of his irresolution and fitfulness. "Do tell me," said this collaborator, "why it is that you members of the Supreme Council are hurriedly changing to-day the decisions you came to after five months' study, which you say was time well spent?"

"Because of fresh information we have received in the meanwhile. We know more now than we knew then and the different data necessitate different treatment."

"Yes, but the conditions have not changed since the Conference opened. Surely they were the same in January as they are in June. Is not that so?"

"No doubt, no doubt, but we did not ascertain them before June, so we could not act upon them until now."

With the leading delegates thus drifting and the pieces on the political chessboard bewilderingly disposed, outsiders came to look upon the Conference as a lottery. Unhappily, it was a lottery in which there were no mere blanks, but only prizes or heavy forfeits.

To sum up: the first British delegate, essentially a man of expedients and shifts, was incapable of measuring more than an arc of the political circle at a time. A comprehensive survey of a complicated situation was beyond his reach. He relied upon imagination and intuition as substitutes for precise knowledge and technical skill. Hence he himself could never be sure that his decision, however carefully worked out, would be final, seeing that in June facts might come to his cognizance with which five months' investigations had left him unacquainted. This incertitude about the elements of the problem intensified the ingrained hesitancy that had characterized his entire public career and warped his judgment effectually. The only approach to a guiding principle one can find in his work at the Conference was the loosely held maxim that Great Britain's best policy was to stand in with the United States in all momentous issues and to identify Mr. Wilson with the United States for most purposes of the Congress. Within these limits Mr. Lloyd George was unyielding in fidelity to the cause of France, with which he merged that of civilization.

M. Clemenceau is the incarnation of the tireless spirit of destruction. Pulling down has ever been his delight, and it is largely to his success in demolishing the defective work of rivals-and all human work is defective-that he owes the position of trust and responsibility to which the Parliament raised him during the last phase of the war. Physically strong, despite his advanced age, he is mentally brilliant and superficial, with a bias for paradox, epigram, and racy, unconventional phraseology. His action is impulsive. In the Dreyfus days I saw a good deal of M. Clemenceau in his editorial office, when he would unburden his soul to M.M. Vaughan, the poet Quillard, and others. Later on I approached him while he was chief of the government on a delicate matter of international combined with national politics, on which I had been requested to sound him by a friendly government, and I found him, despite his developed and sobering sense of responsibility, whimsical, impulsive, and credulous as before. When I next talked with him he was the rebellious editor of _L'Homme Encha?né_, whose corrosive strictures upon the government of the day were the terror of Ministers and censors. Soon afterward he himself became the wielder of the great national gagging-machine, and in the stringency with which he manipulated it he is said by his own countrymen to have outdone the government of the Third Empire. His _alter ego_, Georges Mandel, is endowed with qualities which supplement and correct those of his venerable chief. His grasp of detail is comprehensive and firm, his memory retentive, and his judgment bold and deliberate. A striking illustration of the audacity of his resolve was given in the early part of 1918. Marshal Joffre sent a telegram to President Wilson in Washington, and because he had omitted to despatch it through the War Ministry, M. Mandel, who is a strict disciplinarian, proposed that he be placed under arrest. It was with difficulty that some public men moved him to leniency.

M. Clemenceau, the professional destroyer, who can boast that he overthrew eighteen Cabinets, or nineteen if we include his own, was unquestionably the right man to carry on the war. He acquitted himself of the task superbly. His faith in the Allies' victory was unwavering. He never doubted, never flagged, never was intimidated by obstacles nor wheedled by persons. Once during the armistice, in May or June, when Marshal Foch expressed his displeasure that the Premier should have issued military orders to troops under his command[48] without first consulting him, he was on the point of dismissing the Marshal and appointing General Pétain to succeed him.[49] Whether the qualities which stood him in such good stead during the world struggle could be of equal, or indeed of much, avail in the general constructive work for which the Conference was assembled is a question that needs only to be formulated. But in securing every advantage that could be conferred on his own country his influence on the delegates was decisive. M. Clemenceau, who before the war was the intimate friend of Austrian journalists, hated his country's enemies with undying hate. And he loved France passionately. I remember significant words of his, uttered at the end of the year 1899 to an enterprising young man who had founded a Franco-German review in Munich and craved his moral support. "Is it possible," he exclaimed, "that it has already come to that? Well, a nation is not conquered until it accepts defeat. Whenever France gives up she will have deserved her humiliation."

At the Conference M. Clemenceau moved every lever to deliver his country for all time from the danger of further invasions. And, being a realist, he counted only on military safeguards. At the League of Nations he was wont to sneer until it dawned upon him that it might be forged into an effective weapon of national defense. And then he included it in the litany of abstract phrases about right, justice, and the self-determination of peoples which it became the fashion to raise to the inaccessible heights where those ideals are throned which are to be worshiped but not incarnated. The public somehow never took his conversion to Wilsonianism seriously, neither did his political friends until the League bade fair to become serviceable in his country's hands. M. Clemenceau's acquaintanceship with international politics was at once superior to that of the British Premier and very slender. But his program at the Conference was simple and coherent, because independent of geography and ethnography: France was to take Germany's leading position in the world, to create powerful and devoted states in eastern Europe, on whose co-operation she could reckon, and her allies were to do the needful in the way of providing due financial and economic assistance so as to enable her to address herself to the cultural problems associated with her new r?le. And he left nothing undone that seemed conducive to the attainment of that object. Against Mr. Wilson he maneuvered to the extent which his adviser, M. Tardieu, deemed safe, and one of his most daring speculations was on the President's journey to the States, during which M. Clemenceau and his European colleagues hoped to get through a deal of work on their own lines and to present Mr. Wilson with the decisions ready for ratification on his return. But the stratagem was not merely apparent; it was bruited abroad with indiscreet details, whereupon the first American delegate on his return broke the tables of their laws-one of which separated the Treaty from the Covenant-and obliged them to begin anew. It is fair to add that M. Clemenceau was no uncompromising partisan of the conquest of the left bank of the Rhine, nor of colonial conquests. These currents took their rise elsewhere. "We don't want protesting deputies in the French Parliament," he once remarked in the presence of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.[50] Offered the choice between a number of bridgeheads in Germany and the military protection of the Anglo-Saxon peoples, he unhesitatingly decided for the latter, which had been offered to him by President Wilson after the rejection of the Rhine frontier.

M. Clemenceau, whose remarkable mental alacrity, self-esteem, and love of sharp repartee occasionally betrayed him into tactless sallies and epigrammatic retorts, deeply wounded the pride of more than one delegate of the lesser Powers in a way which they deemed incompatible alike with circumspect statesmanship and the proverbial hospitality of his country. For he is incapable of resisting the temptation to launch a _bon mot_, however stinging. It would be ungenerous, however, to attach more importance to such quickly forgotten utterances than he meant them to carry. An instance of how he behaved toward the representatives of Britain and France is worth recording, both as characterizing the man and as extenuating his offense against the delegates of the lesser Powers.

One morning[51] M. Clemenceau appeared at the Conference door, and seemed taken aback by the large number of unfamiliar faces and figures behind Mr. Balfour, toward whom he sharply turned with the brusque interrogation: "Who are those people behind you? Are they English?" "Yes, they are," was the answer. "Well, what do they want here?" "They have come on the same errand as those who are now following you." Thereupon the French Premier, whirling round, beheld with astonishment and displeasure a band of Frenchmen moving toward him, led by M. Pichon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In reply to his question as to the motive of their arrival, he was informed that they were all experts, who had been invited to give the Conference the benefit of their views about the revictualing of Hungary. "Get out, all of you. You are not wanted here," he cried in a commanding voice. And they all moved away meekly, led by M. Pichon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Their services proved to be unnecessary, for the result reached by the Conference was negative.

M. Tardieu cannot be separated from his chief, with whom he worked untiringly, placing at his disposal his intimate knowledge of the nooks and crannies of professional and unprofessional diplomacy. He is one of the latest arrivals and most pushing workers in the sphere of the Old World statecraft, affects Yankee methods, and speaks English. For several years political editor of the _Temps_, he obtained access to the state archives, and wrote a book on the Agadir incident which was well received, and also a monograph on Prince von Bülow, became Deputy, aimed at a ministerial portfolio, and was finally appointed Head Commissary to the United States. Faced by difficulties there-mostly the specters of his own former utterances evoked by German adversaries-his progress at first was slow. He was accused of having approved some of the drastic methods-especially the U-boat campaign-which the Germans subsequently employed, because in the year 1912, when he was writing on the subject, France believed that she herself possessed the best submarines, and she meant to employ them. He was also challenged to deny that he had written, in August, 1912, that in every war churches and monuments of art must suffer, and that "no army, whatever its nationality, can renounce this." He was further charged with having taken a kindly interest in air-war and bomb-dropping, and given it as his opinion that it would be absurd "to deprive of this advantage those who had made most progress in perfecting this weapon." But M. Tardieu successfully exorcised these and other ghosts. And on his return from the United States he was charged with organizing a press bureau of his own, to supply American journalists with material for their cablegrams, while at the same time he collaborated with M. Clemenceau in reorganizing the political communities of the world. It is only in the French Chamber, of which he is a distinguished member, that M. Tardieu failed to score a brilliant success. Few men are prophets in their own country, and he is far from being an exception. At the Conference, in its later phases, he found himself in frequent opposition to the chief of the Italian delegation, Signor Tittoni. One of the many subjects on which they disagreed was the fate of German Austria and the political structure and orientation of the independent communities which arose on the ruins of the Dual Monarchy. M. Tardieu favored an arrangement which would bring these populations closely together and impart to the whole an anti-Teutonic impress. If Germany could not be broken up into a number of separate states, as in the days of her weakness, all the other European peoples in the territories concerned could, and should, be united against her, and at the least hindered from making common cause with her. The unification of Germany he considered a grave danger, and he strove to create a countervailing state system.

To the execution of this project there were formidable difficulties. For one thing, none of the peoples in question was distinctly anti-German. Each one was for itself. Again, they were not particularly enamoured of one another, nor were their interests always concordant, and to constrain them by force to unite would have been not to prevent but to cause future wars. A Danubian federation-the concrete shape imagined for this new bulwark of European peace-did not commend itself to the Italians, who had their own reasons for their opposition besides the Wilsonian doctrine, which they invoked. If it be true, Signor Tittoni argues, that Austria does not desire to be amalgamated with Germany, why not allow her to exercise the right of self-determination accorded to other peoples? M. Tardieu, on the other hand, not content with the prohibition to Germany to unite with Austria, proposed[52] that in the treaty with Austria this country should be obliged to repress the unionist movement in the population. This amendment was inveighed against by the Italian delegation in the name of every principle professed and transgressed by the world-mending Powers. Even from the French point of view he declared it perilous, inasmuch as there was, and could be, no guarantee that a Danubian confederation would not become a tool in Germany's hands.

Two things struck me as characteristic of the principal plenipotentiaries: as a rule, they eschewed first-rate men as fellow-workers, one integer and several zeros being their favorite formula, and they took no account of the flight of time, planning as though an eternity were before them and then suddenly improvising as though afraid of being late for a train or a steamer. These peculiarities were baleful. The lesser states, having mainly first-class men to represent them, illustrated the law of compensation, which assigned many mediocrities to the Great Powers. The former were also the most strenuous toilers, for their task bristled with difficulties and abounded in startling surprises, and its accomplishment depended on the will of others. Time and again they went over the ground with infinite care, counting and gaging the obstacles in their way, devising means to overcome them, and rehearsing the effort in advance. So much stress had been laid during the war on psychology, and such far-reaching consequences were being drawn from the Germans' lack of it, that these public men made its cultivation their personal care. Hence, besides tracing large-scale maps of provinces and comprehensive maps[53] of the countries to be reconstituted, and ransacking history for arguments and precedents, they conscientiously ascertained the idiosyncrasies of their judges, in order to choose the surest ways to impress, convince, or persuade them. And it was instructive to see them try their hand at this new game.

One and all gave assent to the axiom that moderation would impress the arbiters more favorably than greed, but not all of them wielded sufficient self-command to act upon it. The more resourceful delegates, whose tasks were especially redoubtable because they had to demand large provinces coveted by others, prepared the ground by visiting personally some of the more influential arbiters before these were officially appointed, forcibly laying their cases before them and praying for their advice. In reality they were striving to teach them elementary geography, history, and politics. The Ulysses of the Conference, M. Venizelos, first pilgrimaged to London, saying: "If the Foreign Office is with Greece, what matters it who is against her." He hastened to call on President Wilson as soon as that statesman arrived in Europe, and, to the surprise of many, the two remained a long time closeted together. "Whatever did you talk about?" asked a colleague of the Greek Premier. "How did you keep Wilson interested in your national claims all that time? You must have-" "Oh no," interrupted the modest statesman. "I disposed of our claims succinctly enough. A matter of two minutes. Not more. I asked him to dispense me from taking up his time with such complicated issues which he and his colleagues would have ample opportunity for studying. The rest of the time I was getting him to give me the benefit of his familiarity with the subject of the League of Nations. And he was good enough to enumerate the reasons why it should be realized, and the way in which it must be worked. I was greatly impressed by what he said." "Just fancy!" exclaimed a colleague, "wasting all that time in talking about a scheme which will never come to anything!" But M. Venizelos knew that the time was not misspent. President Wilson was at first nowise disposed to lend a favorable ear to the claims of Greece, which he thought exorbitant, and down to the very last he gave his support to Bulgaria against Greece whole-heartedly. The Cretan statesman passed many an hour of doubt and misgiving before he came within sight of his goal. But he contrived to win the President over to his way of envisaging many Oriental questions. He is a past-master in practical psychology.

The first experiments of M. Venizelos, however, were not wholly encouraging. For all the care he lavished on the chief luminaries of the Conference seemingly went to supplement their education and fill up a few of the geographical, historical, philological, ethnological, and political gaps in their early instruction rather than to guide them in their concrete decisions, which it was expected would be always left to the "commissions of experts." But the fruit which took long to mature ripened at last, and Greece had many of her claims allowed. Thus in reorganizing the communities of the world the personal factor played a predominant part. Venizelos was, so to say, a fixed star in the firmament, and his light burned bright through every rift in the clouds. His moderation astonished friends and opponents. Every one admired his _exposé_ of his case as a masterpiece. His statesman-like setting, in perspective, the readiness with which he put himself in the place of his competitor and struck up a fair compromise, endeared him to many, and his praises were in every one's mouth. His most critical hour-it lasted for months-struck when he found himself struggling with the President of the United States, who was for refusing the coast of Thrace to Greece and bestowing it on Bulgaria. But with that dispute I deal in another place.

Of Italy's two plenipotentiaries during the first five months one was the most supple and the other the most inflexible of her statesmen, Signor Orlando and Baron Sonnino. If her case was presented to the Conference with less force than was attainable, the reasons are obvious. Her delegates had a formal treaty on which they relied; to the attitude of their country from the outbreak of the war to its finish they rightly ascribed the possibility of the Allies' victory, and they expected to see this priceless service recognized practically; the moderation and suppleness of Signor Orlando were neutralized by the uncompromising attitude of Baron Sonnino, and, lastly, the gaze of both statesmen was fixed upon territorial questions and sentimental aspirations to the neglect of economic interests vital to the state-in other words, they beheld the issues in wrong perspective. But one of the most popular figures among the delegates was Signor Orlando, whose eloquence and imagination gave him advantages which would have been increased a hundredfold if he might have employed his native language in the conclave. For he certainly displayed resourcefulness, humor, a historic sense, and the gift of molding the wills of men. But he was greatly hampered. Some of his countrymen alleged that Baron Sonnino was his evil genius. One of the many sayings attributed to him during the Conference turned upon the quarrels of some of the smaller peoples among themselves. "They are," the Premier said, "like a lot of hens being held by the feet and carried to market. Although all doomed to the same fate, they contrive to fight one another while awaiting it."

After the fall of Orlando's Cabinet, M. Tittoni repaired to Paris as Italy's chief delegate. His reputation as one of Europe's principal statesmen was already firmly established; he had spent several years in Paris as Ambassador, and he and the late Di San Giuliano and Giolitti were the men who broke with the Central Empires when these were about to precipitate the World War. In French nationalist circles Signor Tittoni had long been under a cloud, as the man of pro-German leanings. The suspicion-for it was nothing more-was unfounded. On the contrary, M. Tittoni is known to have gone with the Allies to the utmost length consistent with his sense of duty to his own country. To my knowledge he once gave advice which his Italian colleagues and political friends and adversaries now bitterly regret was disregarded. The nature of that counsel will one day be disclosed....

Of Japan's delegates, the Marquis Saionji and Baron Makino, little need be said, seeing that their qualifications for their task were demonstrated by the results. Mainly to statesmanship and skilful maneuvering Japan is indebted for her success at the Paris Conference, where her cause was referred by Mr. Lloyd George and M. Clemenceau to Mr. Wilson to deal with. The behavior of her representatives was an illuminating object-lesson in the worth of psychological tactics in practical politics. They hardly ever appeared in the footlights, remained constantly silent and observant, and were almost ignored by the press. But they kept their eyes fixed on the goal. Their program was simple. Amid the flitting shadows of political events they marched together with the Allies, until these disagreed among themselves, and then they voted with Great Britain and the United States. Occasionally they went farther and proposed measures for the lesser states which Britain framed, but desired to second rather than propose. Japan, at the Conference, was a stanch collaborator of the two English-speaking principals until her own opportunity came, and then she threw all her hoarded energies into her cause, and by her firm resolve dispelled any opposition that Mr. Wilson may have intended to offer. One of the most striking episodes of the Conference was the swift, silent, and successful campaign by which Japan had her secret treaty with China hall-marked by the puritanical President of the United States, whose sense of morality could not brook the secret treaties concluded by Italy and Rumania with the Greater and Greatest Powers of Europe. Again, it was with statesman-like sagacity that the Japanese judged the Russian situation and made the best of it-first, shortly before the invitation to Prinkipo, and, later, before the celebrated eight questions were submitted to Admiral Kolchak. I was especially struck by an occurrence, trivial in appearance, which demonstrated the weight which they rightly attached to the psychological side of politics. Everybody in Paris remarked, and many vainly complained of, the indifference, or rather, unfriendliness, of which Russians were the innocent victims. Among the Allied troops who marched under the Arc de Triomphe on July 14th there were Rumanians, Greeks, Portuguese, and Indians, but not a single Russian. A Russian general drove about in the forest of flags and banners that day looking eagerly for symbols of his own country, but for hours the quest was fruitless. At last, when passing the Japanese Embassy, he perceived, to his delight, an enormous Russian flag waving majestically in the breeze, side by side with that of Nippon. "I shed tears of joy," he told his friend that evening, "and I vowed that neither I nor my country would ever forget this touching mark of friendship."

Japanese public opinion criticized severely the failure of their delegates to obtain recognition of the equality of races or nations. This judgment seems unjust, for nothing that they could have done or said would have wrung from Mr. Wilson and Mr. Hughes their assent to the doctrine, nor, if they had been induced to proclaim it, would it have been practically applied.

In general, the lawyers were the most successful in stating their cases. But one of the delegates of the lesser states who made the deepest impression on those of the greater was not a member of the bar. The head of the Polish delegation, Roman Dmowski, a picturesque, forcible speaker, a close debater and resourceful pleader, who is never at a loss for an image, a comparison, an _argumentum ad hominem_, or a repartee, actually won over some of the arbiters who had at first leaned toward his opponents-a noteworthy feat if one realizes all that it meant in an assembly where potent influences were working against some of the demands of resuscitated Poland. His speech in September on the future of eastern Galicia was a veritable masterpiece.

M. Dmowski appeared at the Conference under all the disadvantages that could be heaped upon a man who has incurred the resentment of the most powerful international body of modern times. He had the misfortune to have the Jews of the world as his adversaries. His Polish friends explained this hostility as follows. His ardent nationalist sentiments placed him in antagonism to every movement that ran counter to the progress of his country on nationalist lines. For he is above all things a Pole and a patriot. And as the Hebrew population of Poland, disbelieving in the resurrection of that nation, had long since struck up a cordial understanding with the states that held it in bondage, the gifted author of a book on the _Foundations of Nationalism_, which went through four editions, was regarded by the Hebrew elements of the population as an irreconcilable enemy. In truth, he was only the leader of a movement that was a historical necessity. One of the theses of the work was the necessity of cultivating an anti-German spirit in Poland as the only antidote against the Teuton virus introduced from Berlin through economic and other channels. And as the Polish Jews, whose idiom is a corrupted German dialect and whose leanings are often Teutonic, felt that the attack upon the whole was an attack on the part, they anathematized the author and held him up to universal obloquy. And there has been no reconciliation ever since. In the United States, where the Jewish community is numerous and influential, M. Dmowski found spokes in his wheel at every stage of his journey, and in Paris, too, he had to full-front a tremendous opposition, open and covert. Whatever unbiased people may think of this explanation and of his hostility to the Germans and their agents, Roman Dmowski deservedly enjoys the reputation of a straightforward and loyal fighter for his country's cause, a man who scorns underhand machinations and proclaims aloud-perhaps too frankly-the principles for which he is fighting. Polish Jews who appeared in Paris, some of them his bitterest antagonists, recognized the chivalrous way in which he conducts his electoral and other campaigns. Among the delegates his practical acquaintanceship with East European polities entitled him to high rank. For he knows the world better than any living statesman, having traveled over Europe, Asia, and America. He undertook and successfully accomplished a delicate mission in the Far East in the year 1905, rendering valuable services to his country and to the cause of civilization.

"M. Dmowski's activity," his friends further assert, "is impassioned and unselfish. The ambition that inspires and nerves him is not of the personal sort, nor is his patriotism a ladder leading to place and power. Polish patriotism occupies a category apart from that of other European peoples, and M. Dmowski has typified it with rare fidelity and completeness. If Wilsonianism had been realized, Polish nationalism might have become an anachronism. To-day it is a large factor in European politics and is little understood in the West. M. Dmowski lives for his country. Her interests absorb his energies. He would probably agree with the historian Paolo Sarpi, who said, 'Let us be Venetians first and Christians after.' Of the two widely divergent currents into which the main stream of political thought and sentiment throughout the world is fast dividing itself, M. Dmowski moves with the national away from the international championed by Mr. Wilson. The frequency with which the leading spirits of Bolshevism turn out to be Jews-to the dismay and disgust of the bulk of their own community-and the ingenuity they displayed in spreading their corrosive tenets in Poland may not have been without effect upon the energy of M. Dmowski's attitude toward the demand of the Polish Jews to be placed in the privileged position of wards of the League of Nations. But the principle of the protection of minority-Jewish or Gentile-is assailable on grounds which have nothing to do with race or religion." Some of the most interesting and characteristic incidents at the Conference had the Polish statesman for their principal actor, and to him Poland owes some of the most solid and enduring benefits conferred on her at the Conference.

Of a different temper is M. Paderewski, who appeared in Paris to plead his country's cause at a later stage of the labors of the Conference. This eminent artist's energies were all blended into one harmonious whole, so that his meetings with the great plenipotentiaries were never disturbed by a jarring note. As soon as it was borne in upon him that their decisions were as irrevocable as decrees of Fate, he bowed to them and treated the authors as Olympians who had no choice but to utter the stern fiat. Even when called upon to accept the obnoxious clause protecting religious and ethnic minorities against which his colleague had vainly fought, M. Paderewski sunk political passion in reason and attuned himself to the helpful role of harmonizer. He held that it would have been worse than useless to do otherwise. He was grieved that his country must acquiesce in that decree, he regretted intensely the necessity which constrained such proven friends of Poland as the Four to pass what he considered a severe sentence on her; but he resigned himself gracefully to the inevitable and thanked Fate's executioners for their personal sympathy. This attitude evoked praise and admiration from Messrs. Lloyd George and Wilson, and the atmosphere of the conclave seemed permeated with a spirit that induced calm satisfaction and the joy of elevated thoughts. M. Paderewski made a deep and favorable impression on the Supreme Council.

Belgium sent her most brilliant parliamentarian, M. Hymans, as first plenipotentiary to the Conference. He was assisted by the chief of the Socialist party, M. Vandervelde, and by an eminent authority on international law, M. Van den Heuvel. But for reasons which elude analysis, none of the three delegates hit it off with the duumvirate who were spinning the threads of the world's destinies. M. Hymans, however, by his warmth, sincerity, and courage impressed the representatives of the lesser states, won their confidence, became their natural spokesman, and blazed out against all attempts-and they were numerous and deliberate-to ignore their existence. It was he who by his direct and eloquent protest took M. Clemenceau off his guard and elicited the amazing utterance that the Powers which could put twelve million soldiers in the field were the world's natural arbiters. In this way he cleared the atmosphere of the distorting mists of catchwords and shibboleths.

How decisive a role internal politics played in the designation of plenipotentiaries to the Conference was shown with exceptional clearness in the case of Rumania. That country had no legislature. The Constituent Assembly, which had been dissolved owing to the German invasion, was followed by no fresh elections. The King, with whom the initiative thus rested, had reappointed M. Bratiano Chief of the Government, and M. Bratiano was naturally desirous of associating his own historic name with the aggrandizement of his country. But he also desired to secure the services of his political rival, M. Take Jonescu, whose reputation as a far-seeing statesman and as a successful negotiator is world-wide. Among his qualifications are an acquaintanceship with European countries and their affairs and a rare facility for give and take which is of the essence of international politics. He can assume the initiative in _pourparlers_, however uncompromising the outlook; frame plausible proposals; conciliate his opponents by showing how thoroughly he understands and appreciates their point of view, and by these means he has often worked out seemingly hopeless negotiations to a satisfactory issue. M. Clemenceau wrote of him, "C'est un grand Européen."[54]

M. Bratiano's bid for the services of his eminent opponent was coupled with the offer of certain portfolios in the Cabinet to M. Jonescu and to a number of his parliamentary supporters. While negotiations were slowly proceeding by telegraph, M. Jonescu, who had already taken up his abode in Paris, was assiduously weaving his plans. He began by assuming what everybody knew, that the Powers would refuse to honor the secret treaty with France, Britain, and Russia, which assigned to Rumania all the territories to which she had laid claim, and he proposed first striking up a compromise with the other interested states, then compacting Rumania, Jugoslavia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Greece into a solid block, and asking the Powers to approve and ratify the new league. Truly it was a genial conception worthy of a broad-minded statesman. It aimed at a durable peace based on what he considered a fair settlement of claims satisfactory to all, and it would have lightened the burden of the Big Four. But whether it could have been realized by peoples moved by turbid passions and represented by trustees, some of whom were avowedly afraid to relinquish claims which they knew to be exorbitant, may well be doubted.

But the issue was never put to the test. The two statesmen failed to agree on the Cabinet question; M. Jonescu kept aloof from office, and the post of second delegate fell to Rumania's greatest diplomatist and philologist, M. Mishu, who had for years admirably represented his country as Minister in the British capital. From the outset M. Bratiano's position was unenviable, because he based his country's case on the claims of the secret treaty, and to Mr. Wilson every secret treaty which he could effectually veto was anathema. Between the two men, in lieu of a bond of union, there was only a strong force of mutual repulsion, which kept them permanently apart. They moved on different planes, spoke different languages, and Rumania, in the person of her delegates, was treated like Cinderella by her stepmother. The Council of Three kept them systematically in the dark about matters which it concerned them to know, negotiated over their heads, transmitted to Bucharest injunctions which only they were competent to receive, insisted on their compromising to accept future decrees of the Conference without an inkling as to their nature, and on their admitting the right of an alien institution-the League of Nations-to intervene in favor of minorities against the legally constituted government of the country. M. Bratiano, who in a trenchant speech inveighed against these claims of the Great Powers to take the governance of Europe into their own hands, withdrew from the Conference and laid his resignation in the hands of the King.

One of the most remarkable debaters in this singular parliament, where self-satisfied ignorance and dullness of apprehension were so hard to pierce, was the youthful envoy of the Czechoslovaks, M. Benes. This politician, who before the Conference came to an end was offered the honorable task of forming a new Cabinet, which he wisely declined, displayed a masterly grasp of Continental politics and a rare gift of identifying his country's aspirations with the postulates of a settled peace. A systematic thinker, he made a point of understanding his case at the outset. He would begin his _exposé_ by detaching himself from all national interests and starting from general assumptions recognized by the Olympians, and would lead his hearers by easy stages to the conclusions which he wished them to draw from their own premises. And two of them, who had no great sympathy with his thesis, assured me that they could detect no logical flaw in his argument. Moderation and sincerity were the virtues which he was most eager to exhibit, and they were unquestionably the best trump cards he could play. Not only had he a firm grasp of facts and arguments, but he displayed a sense of measure and open-mindedness which enabled him to implant his views on the minds of his hearers.

Armenia's cause found a forcible and suasive pleader in Boghos Pasha, whose way of marshaling arguments in favor of a contention that was frowned upon by many commanded admiration. The Armenians asked for a vast stretch of territory with outlets on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, but they were met with the objections that their total population was insignificant; that only in one province were they in a majority, and that their claim to Cilicia clashed with one of the reserved rights of France. The ice, therefore, was somewhat thin in parts, but Boghos Pasha skated over it gracefully. His description of the Armenian massacres was thrilling. Altogether his _exposé_ was a masterpiece, and was appreciated by Mr. Wilson and M. Clemenceau.

The Jugoslav delegates, MM. Vesnitch and Trumbitch, patriotic, tenacious, uncompromising, had an early opportunity of showing the stuff of which they were made. When they were told that the Jugoslav state was not yet recognized and that the kingdom of Serbia must content itself with two delegates, they lodged an indignant protest against both decisions, and refused to appear at the Conference unless they were allowed an adequate number of representatives. Thereupon the Great Powers compromised the matter by according them three, and with stealthy rage they submitted to the refusal of recognition. They were not again heard of until one day they proposed that their dispute with Italy about Fiume and the Dalmatian coast should be solved by submitting it to President Wilson for arbitration. The expedient was original. President Wilson, people remembered, had had an animated talk on the subject with the Italian Premier, Orlando, and it was known that he had set his face against Italy's claim and against the secret treaty that recognized it. Consequently the Serbs were running no risk by challenging Signor Orlando to lay the matter before the American delegate. Whether, all things considered, it was a wise move to make has been questioned. Anyhow, the Italian delegation declined the suggestion on a number of grounds which several delegates considered convincing. The Conference, it urged, had been convoked precisely for the purpose of hearing and settling such disputes as theirs, and the Conference consisted, not of one, but of many delegates, who collectively were better qualified to deal with such problems than any one man. Europeans, too, could more fully appreciate the arguments, and the atmosphere through which the arguments should be contemplated, than the eminent American idealist, who had more than once had to modify his judgment on European matters. Again, to remove the discussion from the international court might well be felt as a slight put upon the men who composed it. For why should their verdict be less worth soliciting than that of the President of the United States? True, Italy's delegates were themselves judges in that tribunal, but the question to be tried was not a matter between two countries, but an issue of much wider import-namely, what frontiers accorded to the embryonic state of Jugoslavia would be most conducive to the world's peace. And nobody, they held, could offer a more complete or trustworthy answer than they and their European colleagues, who were conversant with all the elements of the problem. Besides-but this objection was not expressly formulated-had not Mr. Wilson already decided against Italy? On these and other grounds, then, they decided to leave the matter to the Conference. It was a delicate subject, and few onlookers cared to open their minds on its merits.

Albania was represented by an old friend of mine, the venerable Turkhan

Pasha, who had been in diplomacy ever since the Congress of Berlin in the 'seventies of last century, and who looked like a modernized Nestor. I made his acquaintance many years ago, when he was Ambassador of Turkey in St. Petersburg. He was then a favorite everywhere in the Russian capital as a conscientious Ambassador, a charming talker, and a professional peace-maker, who wished well to everybody. The Young Turks having recalled him from St. Petersburg, he soon afterward became Grand Vizier to the Mbret of Albania. Far resonant events removed the Mbret from the throne, Turkhan Pasha from the Vizierate, and Albania from the society of nations, and I next found my friend in Switzerland ill in health, eating the bitter bread of exile, temporarily isolated from the world of politics and waiting for something to turn up. A few years more gave the Allies an unexpectedly complete victory and brought back Turkhan Pasha to the outskirts of diplomacy and politics. He suddenly made his appearance at the Paris Conference as the representative of Albania and the friend of Italy.

Another Albanian friend of mine, Essad Pasha, whose plans for the regeneration of his country differed widely from those of Turkhan, was for a long while detained in Saloniki. By dint of solicitations and protests, he at last obtained permission to repair to Paris and lay his views before the Conference, where he had a curious interview with Mr. Wilson. The President, having received from Albanians in the United States many unsolicited judgments on the character and antecedents of Essad Pasha, had little faith in his fitness to introduce and popularize democratic institutions in Albania. And he unburdened himself of these doubts to friends, who diffused the news. The Pasha asked for an audience, and by dint of patience and perseverance his prayer was heard. Five minutes before the appointed hour he was at the President's house, accompanied by his interpreter, a young Albanian named Stavro, who converses freely in French, Greek, and Turkish, besides his native language. But while in the antechamber Essad, remembering that the American President speaks nothing but pure English, suggested that Stavro should drive over to the H?tel Crillon for an interpreter to translate from French. Thereupon one of the secretaries stopped him, saying: "Although he cannot speak French, the President understands it, so that a second interpreter will be unnecessary." Essad then addressed Mr. Wilson in Albanian, Stavro translated his words into French, and the President listened in silence. It was the impression of those in the room that, at any rate, Mr. Wilson understood and appreciated the gist of the Pasha's sharp criticism of Italy's behavior. But, to be on the safe side, the President requested his visitor to set down on paper at his leisure everything he had said and to send it to him.


President Wilson, before assuming the redoubtable r?le of world arbiter, was hardly more than a name in Europe, and it was not a synonym for statecraft. His ethical objections to the rule of Huerta in Mexico, his attempt to engraft democratic principles there, and the anarchy that came of it were matters of history. But the President of the nation to whose unbounded generosity and altruism the world owes a debt of gratitude that can only be acknowledged, not repaid, deservedly enjoyed a superlative measure of respect from his foreign colleagues, and the author of the project which was to link all nations together by ties of moral kinship was literally idolized by the masses. Never has it fallen to my lot to see any mortal so enthusiastically, so spontaneously welcomed by the dejected peoples of the universe. His most casual utterances were caught up as oracles. He occupied a height so far aloft that the vicissitudes of everyday life and the contingencies of politics seemingly could not touch him. He was given credit for a rare degree of selflessness in his conceptions and actions and for a balance of judgment which no storms of passion could upset. So far as one could judge by innumerable symptoms, President Wilson was confronted with an opportunity for good incomparably vaster than had ever before been within the reach of man.

Soon after the opening of the Conference the shadowy outlines of his portrait began to fill in, slowly at first, and before three months had passed the general public beheld it fairly complete, with many of its natural lights and shades. The quality of an active politician is never more clearly brought out than when, raised to an eminent place, he is set an arduous feat in sight of the multitude. Mr. Wilson's task was manifestly congenial to him, for it was deliberately chosen by himself, and it comprised the most tremendous problems ever tackled by man born of woman. The means by which he set to work to solve them were startlingly simple: the regeneration of the human race was to be compassed by means of magisterial edicts secretly drafted and sternly imposed on the interested peoples, together with a new and not wholly appropriate nomenclature.

In his own country, where he has bitter adversaries as well as devoted friends, Mr. Wilson was regarded by many as a composite being made up of preacher, teacher, and politician. To these diverse elements they refer the fervor and unction, the dogmatic tone, and the practised shrewdness that marked his words and acts. Independent American opinion doubted his qualifications to be a leader. As a politician, they said, he had always followed the crowd. He had swum with the tide of public sentiment in cardinal matters, instead of stemming or canalizing and guiding it. Deficient in courageous initiative, he had contented himself with merely executive functions. No new idea, no fresh policy, was associated with his name. His singular attitude on the Mexican imbroglio had provoked the sharp criticism even of friends and the condemnation of political opponents. His utterances during the first stages of the World War, such as the statement that the American people were too proud to fight and had no concern with the causes and objects of the war,[55] when contrasted with the opposite views which he propounded later on, were ascribed to quick political evolution-but were not taken as symptoms of a settled mind. He seemed a pacifist when his pride revolted at the idea of settling any intelligible question by an appeal to violence, and a semi-militarist when, having in his own opinion created a perfectly safe and bloodless peace guarantee in the shape of the League of Nations, he agreed to safeguard it by a military compact which sapped its foundation. He owed his re-election for a second term partly, it was alleged, to the belief that during the first he had kept his country out of the war despite the endeavors of some of its eminent leaders to bring it in; yet when firmly seated in the saddle, he followed the leaders whom he had theretofore with-stood and obliged the nation to fight.

As chief of the great country, his domestic critics add, which had just turned victory's scale in favor of the Allies, Mr. Wilson saw a superb opportunity to hitch his wagon to a star, and now for the first time he made a determined bid for the leadership of the world. Here the idealist showed himself at his best. But by the way of preparation he asked the nation at the elections to refuse their votes to his political opponents, despite the fact that they were loyally supporting his policy, and to return only men of his own party, and in order to silence their misgivings he declared that to elect Republican Senators would be to repudiate the administration of the President of the United States at a critical conjuncture. This was urged against him as the inexpiable sin. The electors, however, sent his political opponents to the Senate, whereupon the President organized his historic visit to Europe. It might have become a turning-point in the world's history had he transformed his authority and prestige into the driving-power requisite to embody his beneficent scheme. But he wasted the opportunity for lack of moral courage. Thus far American criticism. But the peoples of Europe ignored the estimates of the President made by his fellow-countrymen, who, as such, may be forgiven for failing to appreciate his apostleship, or set the full value on his humanitarian strivings. The war-weary masses judged him not by what he had achieved or attempted in the past, but by what he proposed to do in the future. And measured by this standard, his spiritual statue grew to legendary proportions.

Europe, when the President touched its shores, was as clay ready for the creative potter. Never before were the nations so eager to follow a Moses who would take them to the long-promised land where wars are prohibited and blockades unknown. And to their thinking he was that great leader. In France men bowed down before him with awe and affection. Labor leaders in Paris told me that they shed tears of joy in his presence, and that their comrades would go through fire and water to help him to realize his noble schemes.[56] To the working classes in Italy his name was a heavenly clarion at the sound of which the earth would be renewed. The Germans regarded him and his humane doctrine as their sheet-anchor of safety. The fearless Herr Muehlon said, "If President Wilson were to address the Germans, and pronounce a severe sentence upon them, they would accept it with resignation and without a murmur and set to work at once." In German-Austria his fame was that of a savior, and the mere mention of his name brought balm to the suffering and surcease of sorrow to the afflicted. A touching instance of this which occurred in the Austrian capital, when narrated to the President, moved him to tears. There were some five or six thousand Austrian children in the hospitals at Vienna who, as Christmas was drawing near, were sorely in need of medicaments and much else. The head of the American Red Cross took up their case and persuaded the Americans in France to send two million dollars' worth of medicaments to Vienna. These were duly despatched, and had got as far as Berne, when the French authorities, having got wind of the matter, protested against this premature assistance to infant enemies on grounds which the other Allies had to recognize as technically tenable, and the medicaments were ordered back to France from Berne. Thereupon Doctor Ferries, of the International Red Cross, became wild with indignation and laid the matter before the Swiss government, which undertook to send some medicaments to the children, while the Americans were endeavoring to move the French to allow at least some of the remedies to go through. The children in the hospitals, when told that they must wait, were bright and hopeful. "It will be all right," some of them exclaimed. "Wilson is coming soon, and he will bring us everything."

Thus Mr. Wilson had become a transcendental hero to the European proletarians, who in their homely way adjusted his mental and moral attributes to their own ideal of the latter-day Messiah. His legendary figure, half saint, half revolutionist, emerged from the transparent haze of faith, yearning, and ignorance, as in some ecstatic vision. In spite of his recorded acts and utterances the mythopeic faculty of the peoples had given itself free scope and created a messianic democrat destined to free the lower orders, as they were called, in each state from the shackles of capitalism, legalized thraldom, and crushing taxation, and each nation from sanguinary warfare. Truly, no human being since the dawn of history has ever yet been favored with such a superb opportunity. Mr. Wilson might have made a gallant effort to lift society out of the deep grooves into which it had sunk, and dislodge the secular obstacles to the enfranchisement and transfiguration of the human race. At the lowest it was open to him to become the center of a countless multitude, the heart of their hearts, the incarnation of their noblest thought, on condition that he scorned the prudential motives of politicians, burst through the barriers of the old order, and deployed all his energies and his full will-power in the struggle against sordid interests and dense prejudice. But he was cowed by obstacles which his will lacked the strength to surmount, and instead of receiving his promptings from the everlasting ideals of mankind and the inspiriting audacities of his own highest nature and appealing to the peoples against their rulers, he felt constrained in the very interest of his cause to haggle and barter with the Scribes and the Pharisees, and ended by recording a pitiful answer to the most momentous problems couched in the impoverished phraseology of a political party.

Many of his political friends had advised the President not to visit Europe lest the vast prestige and influence which he wielded from a distance should dwindle unutilized on close contact with the realists' crowd. Even the war-god Mars, when he descended into the ranks of the combatants on the Trojan side, was wounded by a Greek, and, screaming with pain, scurried back to Olympus with paling halo. But Mr. Wilson decided to preside and to direct the fashioning of his project, and to give Europe the benefit of his advice. He explained to Congress that he had expressed the ideals of the country for which its soldiers had consciously fought, had had them accepted "as the substance of their own thoughts and purpose" by the statesmen of the associated governments, and now, he concluded: "I owe it to them to see to it, in so far as in me lies, that no false or mistaken interpretation is put upon them, and no possible effort omitted to realize them. It is now my duty to play my full part in making good what they offered their lives and blood to obtain. I can think of no call to service which could transcend this."[57] No intention could well be more praiseworthy.

Soon after the _George Washington_, flying the presidential flag, had steamed out of the Bay on her way to Europe, the United Press received from its correspondent on board, who was attached to Mr. Wilson's person, a message which invigorated the hopes of the world and evoked warm outpourings of the seared soul of suffering man in gratitude toward the bringer of balm. It began thus: "The President sails for Europe to uphold American ideals, and literally to fight for his Fourteen Points. The President, at the Peace Table, will insist on the freedom of the seas and a general disarmament.... The seas, he holds, ought to be guarded by the whole world."

Since then the world knows what to think of the literal fighting at the Peace Table. The freedom of the seas was never as much as alluded to at the Peace Table, for the announcement of Mr. Wilson's militant championship brought him a wireless message from London to the effect that that proposal, at all events, must be struck out of his program if he wished to do business with Britain. And without a fight or a remonstrance the President struck it out. The Fourteen Points were not discussed at the Conference.[58] One may deplore, but one cannot misunderstand, what happened. Mr. Wilson, too, had his own fixed aim to attain: intent on associating his name with a grandiose humanitarian monument, he was resolved not to return to his country without some sort of a covenant of the new international life. He could not afford to go home empty-handed. Therein lay his weakness and the source of his failure. For whenever his attitude toward the Great Powers was taken to mean, "Unless you give me my Covenant, you cannot have your Treaty," the retort was ready: "Without our Treaty there will be no Covenant."

Like Dejoces, the first king of the Medes, who, having built his palace at Ecbatana, surrounded it with seven walls and permanently withdrew his person from the gaze of his subjects, Mr. Wilson in Paris admitted to his presence only the authorized spokesmen of states and causes, and not all of these. He declined to receive persons who thought they had a claim to see him, and he received others who were believed to have none. During his sojourn in Paris he took many important Russian affairs in hand after having publicly stated that no peace could be stable so long as Russia was torn by internal strife. And as familiarity with Russian conditions was not one of his accomplishments, he presumably needed advice and help from those acquainted with them. Now a large number of Russians, representing all political parties and four governments, were in Paris waiting to be consulted. But between January and May not one of them was ever asked for information or counsel. Nay, more, those who respectfully solicited an audience were told to wait. In the meanwhile men unacquainted with the country and people were sent by Mr. Wilson to report on the situation, and to begin by obtaining the terms of an acceptable treaty from the Bolshevik government.

The first plenipotentiary of one of the principal lesser states was for months refused an audience, to the delight of his political adversaries, who made the most of the circumstance at home. An eminent diplomatist who possessed considerable claims to be vouchsafed an interview was put off from week to week, until at last, by dint of perseverance, as it seemed to him, the President consented to see him. The diplomatist, pleased at his success, informed a friend that the following Wednesday would be the memorable day. "But are you not aware," asked the friend, "that on that day the President will be on the high seas on his way back to the United States?" He was not aware of it. But when he learned that the audience had been deliberately fixed for a day when Mr. Wilson would no longer be in France he felt aggrieved.

In Italy the President's progress was a veritable triumph. Emperors and kings had roused no such enthusiasm. One might fancy him a deity unexpectedly discovered under the outward appearance of a mortal and now being honored as the god that he was by ecstatic worshipers. Everything he did was well done, everything he said was nobly conceived and worthy of being treasured up. In these dispositions a few brief months wrought a vast difference.

In this respect an instructive comparison might be made between Tsar Alexander I at the Vienna Congress and the President of the United States at the Conference of Paris. The Russian monarch arrived in the Austrian capital with the halo of a Moses focusing the hopes of all the peoples of Europe. His reputation for probity, public spirit, and lofty aspirations had won for him the good-will and the anticipatory blessings of war-weary nations. He, too, was a mystic, believed firmly in occult influences, so firmly indeed that he accepted the fitful guidance of an ecstatic lady whose intuition was supposed to transcend the sagacity of professional statesmen. And yet the Holy Alliance was the supreme outcome of his endeavors, as the League of Nations was that of Mr. Wilson's. In lieu of universal peace all eastern Europe was still warring and revolting in September and the general outlook was disquieting. The disheartening effect of the contrast between the promise and the achievement of the American statesman was felt throughout the world. But Mr. Wilson has the solace to know that people hardly ever reach their goal-though they sometimes advance fairly near to it. They either die on the way or else it changes or they do.

It was doubtless a noble ambition that moved the Prime Ministers of the Great Powers and the chief of the North American Republic to give their own service to the Conference as heads of their respective missions. For they considered themselves to be the best equipped for the purpose, and they were certainly free from such prejudices as professional traditions and a confusing knowledge of details might be supposed to engender. But in almost every respect it was a grievous mistake and the source of others still more grievous. True, in his own particular sphere each of them had achieved what is nowadays termed greatness. As a war leader Mr. Lloyd George had been hastily classed with Marlborough and Chatham, M. Clemenceau compared to Danton, and Mr. Wilson set apart in a category to himself. But without questioning these journalistic certificates of fame one must admit that all three plenipotentiaries were essentially politicians, old parliamentary hands, and therefore expedient-mongers whose highest qualifications for their own profession were drawbacks which unfitted them for their self-assumed mission. Of the concrete world which they set about reforming their knowledge was amazingly vague. "Frogs in the pond," says the Japanese proverb, "know naught of the ocean." There was, of course, nothing blameworthy in their unacquaintanceship with the issues, but only in the offhandedness with which they belittled its consequences. Had they been conversant with the subject or gifted with deeper insight, many of the things which seemed particularly clear to them would have struck them as sheer inexplicable, and among these perhaps their own leadership of the world-parliament.

What they lacked, however, might in some perceptible degree have been supplied by enlisting as their helpers men more happily endowed than themselves. But they deliberately chose mediocrities. It is a mark of genial spirits that they are well served, but the plenipotentiaries of the Conference were not characterized by it. Away in the background some of them had familiars or casual prompters to whose counsels they were wont to listen, but many of the adjoints who moved in the limelight of the world-stage were gritless and pithless.

As the heads of the principal governments implicitly claimed to be the authorized spokesmen of the human race and endowed with unlimited powers, it is worth noting that this claim was boldly challenged by the peoples' organs in the press. Nearly all the journals read by the masses objected from the first to the dictatorship of the group of Premiers, Mr. Wilson being excepted. "The modern parasite," wrote a respectable democratic newspaper,[59] "is the politician. Of all the privileged beings who have ever governed us he is the worst. In that, however, there is nothing surprising ... he is not only amoral, but incompetent by definition. And it is this empty-headed individual who is intrusted with the task of settling problems with the very rudiments of which he is unacquainted." Another French journal[60] wrote: "In truth it is a misfortune that the leaders of the Conference are Cabinet chiefs, for each of them is obsessed by the carking cares of his domestic policy. Besides, the Paris Conference takes on the likeness of a lyrical drama in which there are only tenors. Now would even the most beautiful work in the world survive this excess of beauties?"

The truth as revealed by subsequent facts would seem to be that each of the plenipotentiaries recognizing parliamentary success as the source of his power was obsessed by his own political problems and stimulated by his own immediate ends. As these ends, however incompatible with each other, were believed by each one to tend toward the general object, he worked zealously for their attainment. The consequences are notorious. M. Clemenceau made France the hub of the universe. Mr. Lloyd George harbored schemes which naturally identified the welfare of mankind with the hegemony of the English-speaking races. Signor Orlando was inspired by the "sacred egotism" which had actuated all Italian Cabinets since Italy entered the war, and President Wilson was burning to associate his name and also that of his country with the vastest and noblest enterprise inscribed in the annals of history. And each one moved over his own favorite route toward his own goal. It was an apt illustration of the Russian fable of the swan, the crab, and the pike being harnessed together in order to remove a load. The swan flew upward, the crab crawled backward, the pike made with all haste for the water, and the load remained where it was.

A lesser but also a serious disadvantage of the delegation of government chiefs made itself felt in the procedure. Embarrassing delays were occasioned by the unavoidable absences of the principal delegates whom pressure of domestic politics called to their respective capitals, as well as by their tactics, and their colleagues profited by their absence for the sake of the good cause. Thus all Paris, as we saw, was aware that the European chiefs, whose faith in Wilsonian orthodoxy was still feeble at that time, were prepared to take advantage of the President's sojourn in Washington to speed up business in their own sense and to confront him on his return with accomplished facts. But when, on his return, he beheld their handiwork he scrapped it, and a considerable loss of time ensued for which the world has since had to pay very heavily.

Again, when Premier Orlando was in Rome after Mr. Wilson's appeal to the Italian people, a series of measures was passed by the delegates in Paris affecting Italy, diminishing her importance at the Conference, and modifying the accepted interpretation of the Treaty of London. Some of these decisions had to be canceled when the Italians returned. These stratagems had an undesirable effect on the Italians.

Not the least of the Premiers' disabilities lay in the circumstance that they were the merest novices in international affairs. Geography, ethnography, psychology, and political history were sealed books to them. Like the rector of Louvain University who told Oliver Goldsmith that, as he had become the head of that institution without knowing Greek, he failed to see why it should be taught there, the chiefs of state, having attained the highest position in their respective countries without more than an inkling of international affairs, were unable to realize the importance of mastering them or the impossibility of repairing the omission as they went along.

They displayed their contempt for professional diplomacy and this feeling was shared by many, but they extended that sentiment to certain diplomatic postulates which can in no case be dispensed with, because they are common to all professions. One of them is knowledge of the terms of the problems to be solved. No conjuncture could have been less favorable for an experiment based on this theory. The general situation made a demand on the delegates for special knowledge and experience, whereas the Premiers and the President, although specialists in nothing, had to act as specialists in everything. Traditional diplomacy would have shown some respect for the law of causality. It would have sent to the Conference diplomatists more or less acquainted with the issues to be mooted and also with the mentality of the other negotiators, and it would have assigned to them a number of experts as advisers. It would have formed a plan similar to that proposed by the French authorities and rejected by the Anglo-Saxons. In this way at least the technical part of the task would have been tackled on right lines, the war would have been liquidated and normal relations quickly re-established among the belligerent states. It may be objected that this would have been a meager contribution to the new politico-social fabric. Undoubtedly it would, but, however meager, it would have been a positive gain. Possibly the first stone of a new world might have been laid once the ruins of the old were cleared away. But even this modest feat could not be achieved by amateurs working in desultory fashion and handicapped by their political parties at home. The resultant of their apparent co-operation was a sum in subtraction because dispersal or effort was unavoidably substituted for concentration.

Whether one contemplates them in the light of their public acts or through the prism of gossip, the figures cut by the delegates of the Great Powers were pathetic. Giants in the parliamentary sphere, they shrank to the dimensions of dwarfs in the international. In matters of geography, ethnography, history, and international politics they were helplessly at sea, and the stories told of certain of their efforts to keep their heads above water while maintaining a simulacrum of dignity would have been amusing were the issues less momentous. "Is it after Upper or Lower Silesia that those greedy Poles are hankering?" one Premier is credibly reported to have asked some months after the Polish delegation had propounded and defended its claims and he had had time to familiarize himself with them. "Please point out to me Dalmatia on the map," was another characteristic request, "and tell me what connection there is between it and Fiume." One of the principal plenipotentiaries addressed a delegate who is an acquaintance of mine approximately as follows: "I cannot understand the spokesmen of the smaller states. To me they seem stark mad. They single out a strip of territory and for no intelligible reason flock round it like birds of prey round a corpse on the field of battle. Take Silesia, for example. The Poles are clamoring for it as if the very existence of their country depended on their annexing it. The Germans are still more crazy about it. But for their eagerness I suppose there is some solid foundation. But how in Heaven's name do the Armenians come to claim it? Just think of it, the Armenians! The world has gone mad. No wonder France has set her foot down and warned them off the ground. But what does France herself want with it? What is the clue to the mystery?" My acquaintance, in reply, pointed out as considerately as he could that Silesia was the province for which Poles and Germans were contending, whereas the Armenians were pleading for Cilicia, which is farther east, and were, therefore, frowned upon by the French, who conceive that they have a civilizing mission there and men enough to accomplish it.

It is characteristic of the epoch, and therefore worthy of the historian's attention, that not only the members of the Conference, but also other leading statesmen of Anglo-Saxon countries, were wont to make a very little knowledge of peoples and countries go quite a far way. Two examples may serve to familiarize the reader with the phenomenon and to moderate his surprise at the defects of the world-dictators in Paris. One English-speaking statesman, dealing with the Italian government[61] and casting around for some effective way of helping the Italian people out of their pitiable economic plight, fancied he hit upon a felicitous expedient, which he unfolded as follows. "I venture," he said, "to promise that if you will largely increase your cultivation of bananas the people of my country will take them all. No matter how great the quantities, our market will absorb them, and that will surely make a considerable addition to your balance on the right side." At first the Italians believed he was joking. But finding that he really meant what he said, they ruthlessly revealed his idea to the nation under the heading, "Italian bananas!"

Here is the other instance. During the war the Polish people was undergoing unprecedented hardships. Many of the poorer classes were literally perishing of hunger. A Polish commission was sent to an English-speaking country to interest the government and people in the condition of the sufferers and obtain relief. The envoys had an interview with a Secretary of State, who inquired to what port they intended to have the foodstuffs conveyed for distribution in the interior of Poland. They answered: "We shall have them taken to Dantzig. There is no other way." The statesman reflected a little and then said: "You may meet with difficulties. If you have them shipped to Dantzig you must of course first obtain Italy's permission. Have you got it?" "No. We had not thought of that. In fact, we don't yet see why Italy need be approached." "Because it is Italy who has command of the Mediterranean, and if you want the transport taken to Dantzig it is the Italian government that you must ask!"[62]

The delegates picked up a good deal of miscellaneous information about the various countries whose future they were regulating, and to their credit it should be said that they put questions to their informants without a trace of false pride. One of the two chief delegates wending homeward from a sitting at which M. Jules Cambon had spoken a good deal about those Polish districts which, although they contained a majority of Germans, yet belonged of right to Poland, asked the French delegate why he had made so many allusions to Frederick the Great. "What had Frederick to do with Poland?" he inquired. The answer was that the present German majority of the inhabitants was made up of colonists who had immigrated into the districts since the time of Frederick the Great and the partition of Poland. "Yes, I see," exclaimed the statesman, "but what had Frederick the Great to do with the partition of Poland?" ... In the domain of ethnography there were also many pitfalls and accidents. During an official _exposé_ of the Oriental situation before the Supreme Council, one of the Great Four, listening to a narrative of Turkish misdeeds, heard that the Kurds had tortured and killed a number of defenseless women, children, and old men. He at once interrupted the speaker with the query: "You now call them Kurds. A few minutes ago you said they were Turks. I take it that the Kurds and the Turks are the same people?" Loath to embarrass one of the world's arbiters, the delegate respectfully replied, "Yes, sir, they are about the same, but the worse of the two are the Kurds."[63]

Great Britain's first delegate, with engaging candor sought to disarm criticism by frankly confessing in the House of Commons that he had never before heard of Teschen, about which such an extraordinary fuss was then being made, and by asking: "How many members of the House have ever heard of Teschen? Yet," he added significantly, "Teschen very nearly produced an angry conflict between two allied states."[64]

The circumstance that an eminent parliamentarian had never heard of problems that agitate continental peoples is excusable. Less so was his resolve, despite such a capital disqualification, to undertake the task of solving those problems single-handed, although conscious that the fate of whole peoples depended on his succeeding. It is no adequate justification to say that he could always fall back upon special commissions, of which there was no lack at the Conference. Unless he possessed a safe criterion by which to assess the value of the commissions' conclusions, he must needs himself decide the matter arbitrarily. And the delegates, having no such criterion, pronounced very arbitrary judgments on momentous issues. One instance of this turned upon Poland's claims to certain territories incorporated in Germany, which were referred to a special commission under the presidency of M. Cambon. Commissioners were sent to the country to study the matter on the spot, where they had received every facility for acquainting themselves with it. After some weeks the commission reported in favor of the Polish claim with unanimity. But Mr. Lloyd George rejected their conclusions and insisted on having the report sent back to them for reconsideration. Again the commissioners went over the familiar ground, but felt obliged to repeat their verdict anew. Once more, however, the British Premier demurred, and such was his tenacity that, despite Mr. Wilson's opposition, the final decision of the Conference reversed that of the commission and non-suited the Poles. By what line of argument, people naturally asked, did the first British delegate come to that conclusion? That he knew more about the matter than the special Inter-Allied commission is hardly to be supposed. Indeed, nobody assumed that he was any better informed on that subject than about Teschen. The explanation put in circulation by interested persons was that, like Socrates, he had his own familiar demon to prompt him, who, like all such spirits, chose to flourish, like the violet, in the shade. That this source of light was accessible to the Prime Minister may, his apologists hold, one day prove a boon to the peoples whose fate was thus being spun in darkness and seemingly at haphazard. Possibly. But in the meanwhile it was construed as an affront to their intelligence and a violation of the promise made to them of "open covenants openly arrived at." The press asked why the information requisite for the work had not been acquired in advance as these semi-mystical ways of obtaining it commended themselves to nobody. Wholly mystical were the methods attributed to one or other of the men who were preparing the advent of the new era. For superstition of various kinds was supposed to be as well represented at the Paris Conference as at the Congress of Vienna. Characteristic of the epoch was the gravity with which individuals otherwise well balanced exercised their ingenuity in finding out the true relation of the world's peace to certain lucky numbers. For several events connected with the Conference the thirteenth day of the month was deliberately, and some occultists added felicitously, chosen. It was also noticed that an effort was made by all the delegates to have the Allies' reply to the German counter-proposals presented on the day of destiny, Friday, June 13th. When it miscarried a flutter was caused in the dovecotes of the illuminated. The failure was construed as an inauspicious omen and it caused the spirits of many to droop. The principal clairvoyante of Paris, Madame N--, who plumes herself on being the intermediary between the Fates that rule and some of their earthly executors, was consulted on the subject, one knows not with what result.[65] It was given out, however, as the solemn utterance of the oracle in vogue that Mr. Wilson's enterprise was weighted with original sin; he had made one false step before his arrival in Europe, and that had put everything out of gear. By enacting fourteen commandments he had countered the magic charm of his lucky thirteen. One of the fourteen, it was soothsaid, must therefore be omitted-it might be, say, that of open covenants openly arrived at, or the freedom of the seas-in a word, any one so long as the mystic number thirteen remained intact. But should that be impossible, seeing that the Fourteen Points had already become house-hold words to all nations and peoples, then it behooved the President to number the last of his saving points 13a.[66]

This odd mixture of the real and the fanciful-a symptom, as the initiated believed, of a mood of fine spiritual exaltation-met with little sympathy among the impatient masses whose struggle for bare life was growing ever fiercer. Stagnation held the business world, prices were rising to prohibitive heights, partly because of the dawdling of the world's conclave; hunger was stalking about the ruined villages of the northern departments of France, destructive wars were being waged in eastern Europe, and thousands of Christians were dying of hunger in Bessarabia.[67] Epigrammatic strictures and winged words barbed with stinging satire indicated the feelings of the many. And the fact remains on record that streaks of the mysticism that buoyed up Alexander I at the Congress of Vienna, and is supposed to have stimulated Nicholas II during the first world-parliament at The Hague, were noticeable from time to time in the environment of the Paris Conference. The disclosure of these elements of superstition was distinctly harmful and might have been hindered easily by the system of secrecy and censorship which effectively concealed matters much less mischievous.

The position of the plenipotentiaries was unenviable at best and they well deserve the benefit of extenuating circumstances. For not even a genius can efficiently tackle problems with the elements of which he lacks acquaintanceship, and the mass of facts which they had to deal with was sheer unmanageable. It was distressing to watch them during those eventful months groping and floundering through a labyrinth of obstacles with no Ariadne clue to guide their tortuous course, and discovering that their task was more intricate than they had imagined. The ironic domination of temper and circumstance over the fitful exertions of men struggling with the partially realized difficulties of a false position led to many incongruities upon which it would be ungracious to dwell. One of them, however, which illustrates the situation, seems almost incredible. It is said to have occurred in January. According to the current narrative, soon after the arrival of President Wilson in Paris, he received from a French publicist named M.B. a long and interesting memorandum about the island of Corsica, recounting the history, needs, and aspirations of the population as well as the various attempts they had made to regain their independence, and requesting him to employ his good offices at the Conference to obtain for them complete autonomy. To this demand M.B. is said to have received a reply[68] to the effect that the President "is persuaded that this question will form the subject of a thorough examination by the competent authorities of the Conference" Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon, and as much an integral part of France as the Isle of Man is of England, seeking to slacken the ties that link it to the Republic and receiving a promise that the matter would be carefully considered by the delegates sounds more like a mystification than a sober statement of fact. The story was sent to the newspapers for publication, but the censor very wisely struck it out.

These and kindred occurrences enable one better to appreciate the motives which prompted the delegates to shroud their conversations and tentative decisions in a decorous veil of secrecy.

It is but fair to say that the enterprise to which they set their hands was the vastest that ever tempted lofty ambitions since the tower-builders of Babel strove to bring heaven within reach of the earth. It transcended the capacity of the contemporary world's greatest men.[69] It was a labor for a wonder-worker in the pristine days of heroes. But although to solve even the main problems without residue was beyond the reach of the most genial representatives of latter-day statecraft, it needed only clearness of conception, steadiness of purpose, and the proper adjustment of means to ends, to begin the work on the right lines and give it an impulse that might perhaps carry it to completion in the fullness of time.

But even these postulates were wanting. The eminent parliamentarians failed to rise to the gentle height of average statecraft. They appeared in their new and august character of world-reformers with all the roots still clinging to them of the rank electoral soil from which they sprang. Their words alone were redolent of idealism, their deeds were too often marred by pettifogging compromises or childish blunders-constructive phrases and destructive acts. Not only had they no settled method of working, they lacked even a common proximate aim. For although they all employed the same phraseology when describing the objects for which their countries had fought and they themselves were ostensibly laboring, no two delegates attached the same ideas to the words they used. Yet, instead of candidly avowing this root-defect and remedying it, they were content to stretch the euphemistic terms until these covered conflicting conceptions and gratified the ears of every hearer. Thus, "open covenants openly arrived at" came to mean arbitrary ukases issued by a secret conclave, and "the self-determination of peoples" connoted implicit obedience to dictatorial decrees. The new result was a bewildering phantasmagoria.

And yet it was professedly for the purpose of obviating such misunderstandings that Mr. Wilson had crossed the Atlantic. Having expressed in plain terms the ideals for which American soldiers had fought, and which became the substance of the thoughts and purposes of the associated statesmen, "I owe it to them," he had said, "to see to it, in so far as in me lies, that no false or mistaken interpretation is put upon them and no possible effort omitted to realize them." And that was the result achieved.

No such juggling with words as went on at the Conference had been witnessed since the days of medieval casuistry. New meanings were infused into old terms, rendering the help of "exegesis" indispensable. Expressions like "territorial equilibrium" and "strategic frontiers" were stringently banished, and it is affirmed that President Wilson would wince and his expression change at the bare mention of these obnoxious symbols of the effete ordering which it was part of his mission to do away with forever. And yet the things signified by those words were preserved withal under other names. Nor could it well be otherwise. One can hardly conceive a durable state system in Europe under the new any more than the old dispensation without something that corresponds to equilibrium. An architect who should boastingly discard the law of gravitation in favor of a different theory would stand little chance of being intrusted with the construction of a palace of peace. Similarly, a statesman who, while proclaiming that the era of wars is not yet over, would deprive of strategic frontiers the pivotal states of Europe which are most exposed to sudden attack would deserve to find few disciples and fewer clients. Yet that was what Mr. Wilson aimed at and what some of his friends affirm he has achieved. His foreign colleagues re-echoed his dogmas after having emasculated them. It was instructive and unedifying to watch how each of the delegates, when his own country's turn came to be dealt with on the new lines, reversed his tactics and, sacrificing sound to substance, insisted on safeguards, relied on historic rights, invoked economic requirements, and appealed to common sense, but all the while loyally abjured "territorial equilibrium" and "strategic guarantees." Hence the fierce struggles which MM. Orlando, Dmowski, Bratiano, Venizelos, and Makino had to carry on with the chief of that state which is the least interested in European affairs in order to obtain all or part of the territories which they considered indispensable to the security and well-being of their respective countries.

At the outset Mr. Wilson stood for an ideal Europe of a wholly new and undefined type, which would have done away with the need for strategic frontiers. Its contours were vague, for he had no clear mental picture of the concrete Europe out of which it was to be fashioned. He spoke, indeed, and would fain have acted, as though the old Continent were like a thinly inhabited territory of North America fifty years ago, unencumbered by awkward survivals of the past and capable of receiving any impress. He seemingly took no account of its history, its peoples, or their interests and strivings. History shared the fate of Kolchak's government and the Ukraine; it was not recognized by the delegates. What he brought to Europe from America was an abstract idea, old and European, and at first his foreign colleagues treated it as such. Some of them had actually sneered at it, others had damned it with faint praise, and now all of them honestly strove to save their own countries' vital interests from its disruptive action while helping to apply it to their neighbors. Thus Britain, who at that time had no territorial claims to put forward, had her sea-doctrine to uphold, and she upheld it resolutely. Before he reached Europe the President was notified in plain terms that his theory of the freedom of the seas would neither be entertained nor discussed. Accordingly, he abandoned it without protest. It was then explained away as a journalistic misconception. That was the first toll paid by the American reformer in Europe, and it spelled failure to his entire scheme, which was one and indivisible. It fell to my lot to record the payment of the tribute and the abandonment of that first of the fourteen commandments. The mystic thirteen remained. But soon afterward another went by the board. Then there were twelve. And gradually the number dwindled.

This recognition of hard realities was a bitter disappointment to all the friends of the spiritual and social renovation of the world. It was a spectacle for cynics. It rendered a frank return to the ancient system unavoidable and brought grist to the mill of the equilibrists. And yet the conclusion was shriked. But even the tough realities might have been made to yield a tolerable peace if they had been faced squarely. If the new conception could not be realized at once, the old one should have been taken back into favor provisionally until broader foundations could be laid, but it must be one thing or the other. From the political angle of vision at which the European delegates insisted on placing themselves, the Old World way of tackling the various problems was alone admissible. Their program was coherent and their reasoning strictly logical. The former included strategic frontiers and territorial equilibrium. Doubtless this angle of vision was narrow, the survey it allowed was inadequate, and the results attainable ran the risk of being ultimately thrust aside by the indignant peoples. For the world problem was not wholly nor even mainly political. Still, the method was intelligible and the ensuing combinations would have hung coherently together. They would have satisfied all those-and they were many-who believed that the second decade of the twentieth century differs in no essential respect from the first and that latter-day world problems may be solved by judicious territorial redistribution. But even that conception was not consistently acted on. Deviations were permitted here and insisted upon there, only they were spoken of unctuously as sacrifices incumbent on the lesser states to the Fourteen Points. For the delegates set great store by their reputation for logic and coherency. Whatever other charges against the Conference might be tolerated, that of inconsistency was bitterly resented, especially by Mr. Wilson. For a long while he contended that he was as true to his Fourteen Points as is the needle to the pole. It was not until after his return to Washington, in the summer, that he admitted the perturbations caused by magnetic currents-sympathy for France he termed them.

The effort of imagination required to discern consistency in such of the Council's decisions as became known from time to time was so far beyond the capacity of average outsiders that the ugly phrase "to make the world safe for hypocrisy" was early coined, uttered, and propagated.


[46] Cf. Le Temps, May 23, 1919. It is an adaptation of the inscription over the Pantheon, "Aux grands hommes, la Patrie reconnaissante."

[47] The Daily Mail, April 25, 1919 (Paris edition).

[48] In Germany.

[49] General Pétain is said to have rejected the suggestion.

[50] Cf. Bulletin des Droits de l'Homme, 19ème année, p. 461.

[51] It was either Friday, the 4th, or Saturday, the 5th of July.

[52] At the end of August, 1919.

[53] One delegate from a poor and friendless country had to take the maps of a rival state and retouch them in accordance with the ethnographical data, which he considered alone correct.

[54] L'Homme Enchatné, December 14, 1914.

[55] "With its causes and objects we have no concern." Speech delivered by Mr. Wilson before the League to Enforce Peace in Washington on May 24, 1916.

[56] The testimony of a leading French press organ is worth reproducing here: "La situation du Président Wilson dans nos démocraties est magnifique, souveraine et extrêmement périlleuse. On ne conna?t pas d'hommes, dans les temps contemporains, ayant eu plus d'autorité et de puissance; la popularité lui a donné ce que le droit divin ne conférait pas toujours aux monarques héréditaires. En revanche et par le fait du choc en retour, sa responsabilité est supérieure à celle du prince le plus absolu. S'il réussit à organiser le monde d'après ses rêves, sa gloire dominera les plus hautes gloires; mais il faut dire hardiment que s'il échouait il plongerait le monde dans un chaos dont le bolchevisme russe ne nous offre qu'une faible image; et sa responsabilité devant la conscience humaine dépasserait ce que peut supporter un simple mortel. Redoutable alternative!"-Cf. Le Figaro, February 10, 1919.

[57] From Mr. Wilson's address to Congress read on December 2, 1918. Cf. The Times, December 4, 1918.

[58] Cf. Secretary Lansing's evidence before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, The Chicago Tribune, August 27, 1919.

[59] La Démocratie Nouvelle, May 27, 1919

[60] Le Figaro, March 26, 1919.

[61] Both of them occurred before the armistice, but during the war.

[62] For the accuracy of this and the preceding story I vouch absolutely. I have the names of persons, places, and authorities, which are superfluous here.

[63] The Kurds are members of the great Indo-European family to which the Greeks, Italians, Celts, Teutons, Slavs, Hindus, Persians, and Afghans belong, whereas the Turks are a branch of a wholly different stock, the Ural-Altai group, of which the Mongols, Turks, Tartars, Finns, and Magyars are members.

[64] April 16, 1919.

[65] Madame N-- showed a friend of mine an autograph letter which she claims to have received from one of her clients, "a world's famous man." I was several times invited to inspect it at the clairvoyante's abode, or at my own, if I preferred.

[66] Articles on the subject appeared in the French press. To the best of my recollection there was one in _Bonsoir_.

[67] The American Red Cross buried sixteen hundred of them in August, 1919. _The Chicago Tribune_ (Paris edition), August 30, 1919.

[68] The reply, of which I possess what was given to me as a copy, is dated Paris, January 9, 1919, and is in French.

[69] Imagine, for instance, the condition of mind into which the following day's work must have thrown the American statesman, beset as he was with political worries of his own. The extract quoted is taken from The Daily Mail of April 18, 1919 (Paris edition).

President Wilson had a busy day yesterday, as the following list of engagements shows:

11 A.M. Dr. Wellington Koo, to present the Chinese Delegation to the Peace Conference.

11.10 A.M. Marquis de Vogué had a delegation of seven others, representing the Congrès Fran?ais, to present their view as to the disposition of the left bank of the Rhine.

11.30 A.M. Assyrian and Chaldean Delegation, with a message from the Assyrian-Chaldean nation.

11.45 A.M. Dalmatian Delegation, to present to the President the result of the plebiscite of that part of Dalmatia occupied by Italians.

Noon. M. Bucquet, Chargé d'Affaires of San Marino, to convey the action of the Grand Council of San Marino, conferring on the President Honorary Citizenship in the Republic of San Marino.

12.10 P.M. M. Colonder, Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs.

12.20 P.M. Miss Rose Schneiderman and Miss Mary Anderson, delegates of the National Women's Trade Union League of the United States.

12.30 P.M. The Patriarch of Constantinople, the head of the Orthodox Eastern Church.

12.45 P.M. Essad Pasha, delegate of Albania, to present the claims of Albania.

1 P.M. M. M.L. Coromilas, Greek Minister at Rome, to pay his respects.

Luncheon. Mr. Newton D. Baker, Secretary for War. 4 P.M. Mr. Herbert Hoover.

4.15 P.M. M. Bratiano, of the Rumanian Delegation.

4.30 P.M. Dr. Affonso Costa, former Portuguese Minister, Portuguese Delegate to the Peace Conference.

4.45 P.M. Boghos Nubar Pasha, president of the Armenian National Delegation, accompanied by M.A. Aharoman and Professor A. Der Hagopian, of Robert College.

5.15 P.M. M. Pasitch, of the Serbian Delegation.

5.30 P.M. Mr. Frank Walsh, of the Irish-American Delegation.

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