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I am not blaming America in the the war by Germany, I do not know how least. Our own long-established prac- she can be gainsaid. In the circumtice, to keep out of continental entangle stances, it is the truth. I even think ments when we can, is as deeply rooted that we English and Americans, having in principle as that of the United States, left to France the largest share of the to steer clear of European commit- war, must feel a tinge of shame at leavments. The difference between us is ing also to her the main burden of enmerely the difference between the forcing the peace, with all the obloquy breadth of the Channel and the breadth that follows. of the Atlantic. By that much our pol- Italy will plead that she has greatly icy differs from yours; but it is a differ- reduced her army and diminished the ence of degree, and not of kind. But service periods. She can say with jusfor all that, when one observes, as every tice that her policy has been conciliatraveler through Europe must observe tory, and that she has shunned advendaily, the truly appalling results that tures. But she can also show that the have followed from this failure, miscon- Anschluss movement in Austria has ception, desertion, or whatever one underlined the danger of Austria joinshould term it, one stands aghast at the ing Germany, and she can point out consequences, and laments the little wis- that such an act would bring Germany dom with which the world is governed down to her borders. Yugoslavia can France has no definite
guaranty now urge that both Hungary and Bulgaria that any state but Belgium, and per- are uneasy neighbors; Czechoslovakia, haps Poland, will support her when that she is liable to be stifled by the Germany feels strong enough to act; Germans round her, and has Austria and in the sheer desperation of self-de- and Hungary to fear. Rumania can fense, has thought it necessary to in- point to dangers from three neighbors, flict upon her neighbor one humiliation and, above all, from the Soviet armies after another, in order to make her, and
upon the Dniester, and from the bulk of keep her, weak. The policy of broad the Bolshevist reserves not far away. and genial tolerance, which would have Belgium has too complete a case to so well become a country with France's bring up from 1914, for anyone to find generous traditions, she could not fol- fault with her for abandoning her neulow, for with her forty millions there trality and reorganizing her army on were over against her seventy million more modern lines; while Poland can Germans, with a far higher natality; say that she has recently saved Europe and France saw no salvation except in from the Reds by her military exertions. the rigid exaction of all her treaty Lastly, there is Greece, who can show rights, so that Germany, for a great that she went to Asia Minor at the renumber of years hence, might be inhib- quest of the Allies, who have since let ited from even dreaming of revenge. her down and given her no assistance, But when one thinks of the dry-powder because she chose, in the full plentitude rézime under which France has been of popular right, to recall her King. living for so long, and of all the terrible Two states of unequal importance injuries inflicted on her by Germany and discordant character will stand alin the past, one can understand, and most wholly beyond the influence of the tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner. Washington Conference. These are If France declares at Washington that Russia and Turkey. The picture that nothing tangible except her army stands we make of both is not a pleasant one; between the world and the renewal of but in reference to armaments they cannot be excluded, because the exist- discover a formula for the reduction of ence of their armed forces is primarily armaments, in response to the late the cause of countervailing armies in Tsar's humanitarian appeal. We could the countries round them. If Poland, not find one, though we sought high Rumania, and Greece are more immedi- and low for it, and a very good Amerately affected for the moment, it must ican delegation helped us in our search. not be forgotten how far Russia extends, Time has passed, and the urgency of or how insidiously the Turks are able the question may lead to the discovery to work upon Mohammedan sentiment of the formula for which we sought in in Asia and Africa. Nothing final in the vain; but I am not confident that it will. nature of reduction in armaments can Recently I had the pleasure of meetbe settled until these two contuma- ing again that very competent Belgian cious peoples rejoin the comity of na- lawyer, M. Rolin Jacquemyns, who tions. No one can say when they will. also was at the Peace Conference of Neither seems to possess the capacity, 1899, and is now the Belgian representeither for evolution or for repentance. ative on the Rhineland High Commis
There are also alliances, supple- sion. We compared notes and were mented by military agreements, be- both convinced that the creation of the tween certain states of Europe, which Permanent Court of Arbitration at may tell against the conclusion of agree. The Hague, which was the chef-d'auvre ments to disarm. France has a treaty of our Conference, was of more value and a military agreement with Belgium, than the League of Nations is ever and, perhaps, understandings, at least, likely to be. The Court still exists and with other states. In the east of Europe has done much useful work. To it the Little Entente unites Rumania, should have been submitted the Upper Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Po- Silesia case. The Hague Court repreland in a series of alliances which sents the main idea that seemed to me Greece may possibly join; and all these to be in President Harding's mind at states may plead, not only these under- the time of the late presidential election standings, but their fear of warlike in the United States; and I hoped that neighbors, as reasons for maintaining we were on the right track once more their military strength.
and were getting back to practical For all these reasons we cannot be politics after our Geneva day-dreams. sure that disarmament, or reduction of I shall retain that hope till the end. armaments, so far as they relate to An International Court of Arbitraland forces, will have more than a suc- tion, rather than a spurious form of cès d'estime at Washington. It is not a world-government like the League, is favorable moment to discuss this ques- the real remedy for most of the present tion, and it is even open to argument troubles of the world. But I would like whether a direct attack on armaments to see its importance magnified a hunis the best way of securing either their dred times by the acceptance of the liminution or their abolition. I hap- principle of obligatory arbitration by pened to take an unimportant part in all the states of the world. That condithe first Peace Conference at The tion we could not secure in 1899, beHague in the year 1899, when all the cause several states insisted on withstates of the world were not separated drawing from the purview of the Court by the terrible antagonisms aroused by all questions in which ‘honor and vital the late war. We were very well inten- interests' were involved. That reserva: tioned, very friendly, and set out to tion practically made the Court useless at the time when it would have been Court of Justice shall be placed on its most needed. If the United States agenda at its second assembly, which is were ever great enough and wise enough taking place as I write; but I do not to accept the principle of compulsory know why this Court should be any betarbitration, I cannot name the state ter than, or even so good as, our Hague that would not follow her. Can any ar- Court of the first Peace Conference. bitral decision, even against the claims To take two years to begin to duplicate of any one of us, cause one millionth the machinery that we finished twenpart of the ruin and loss of life and ty-two years ago does not strike me as treasure of the late war? And, on the an achievement of great merit. The other hand, compulsory arbitration is a real practical international diplomacy sure means of sterilizing armaments, of the moment, in all but American since, once international arbitration affairs, is controlled by the Supreme becomes our settled rule in diplomacy, Council and by the Council of Ambassathe use of force must end; for no state dors in Paris, both of which are, in efwould be so foolish as to keep up ex- fect, instruments for registering the de pensive forces for long when there was cisions of the Allied cabinets. The no use for them. On these lines, and I League is left to its pious aspirations, believe on these lines only, can the de- and the main stream of diplomacy sign that must stand behind the assem- passes it by. Even when it has taken up bly of the Washington Conference be a question like that of Armenia, with carried out to its logical completion. passionate earnestness, the only result
I suppose that we shall not hear very has been that its protégé has become much of the League of Nations at Wash- either Kemalist or Red; while in the ington. It was mainly American handi- matter of mandates, the United States work, but America's refusal to recog- has protested against decisions made nize her own child has relegated it to without its approval, and the whole the political workhouse. No world- question is consequently hung up. Well authority can exist when the United may a French statesman have said to States, Germany, and Russia have no himself sarcastically every morning in share in it. There are League enthusi- the spring of 1919, as he rose from his asts here, as there doubtless are in bed: 'Georges Clemenceau, you believe America, and we must admire the devo- in the League of Nations.' tion with which the League works and accumulates mountains of documents
The Sorrows of Europe and reports. But we must also admit that it makes little progress and has In what particular manner President scant authority. Some say that the Harding and Mr. Hughes will change Council of the League is a mere crea- the situation for the better, we shall all ture of the French and British Foreign learn presently; but that the old ContiOffices. Others declare Geneva to be a nent of Europe is beset with immense focus of international intrigue. In any difficulties, political, social, economic, case, it is common ground that the and commercial, is manifest to a travelLeague has no authority, and no force er in every country that he visits. I at its back except that of moral per- place the question of exchange first suasion; and that it can do nothing but among the anxieties of Europe; and it report, warn, or recommend. With dif- is needless to remark how gravely ficulty it has at last agreed that the British and American trade have been election of judges to an International affected by it. It is not only the depre
ciation that has hit the world so hard, undersell us owing to their depreciated but the constant fluctuations, which exchanges, that their governments prohave ruined confidence, caused every mote this depreciation. I have seen no trader to think many times before he evidence of it. The fall makes it enorcloses a deal, and involved, not only mously more difficult for countries to foreign merchants, but many British pay their foreign debts; and those and American ones as well, in very countries at all dependent on foreign severe losses. The foreigner, except in imports naturally have to pay through the case of a few neutrals, cannot afford the nose for them. The depreciation, to buy from us at the present rates, and or, at least, the fluctuations, may be in consequently purchases only what he part accounted for by speculation and cannot produce or buy elsewhere. In gambling, which proceed on a vast many cases, foreigners refuse to pay for scale; but, taking the situation as a our goods on arrival, because the local whole, the fall seems generally justified exchange has fallen since the order was by foreign debts, by inflation, by intergiven. In some cases, notably in Ru- nal exhaustion, by reduced output per mania, the inefficiency and inadequacy man per day, by consequent failure of of the railway service preclude the for- productivity, and by the inability of warding of our goods from ports when many countries to complete the reconthey are landed; and there the goods struction of their state machinery, remain for months, on the quays, often without which their wealth cannot be perishing from exposure.
fully exploited. Is there no remedy against this dead- The countries doing best are those in ly injury of the depreciated European which Labor is most moderate in the exchanges? I know of none except standards of wages and living it accepts, work, thrift, retrenchment, and time. and in which governments provide But I think that we should explore the cheap coal and relatively cheap food. repudiation of old currencies, the re- This is Germany's strength. She is placement of old units by new, and cur- resolutely setting to work, and all rency reform based on the international classes are accepting a standard of livredistribution of gold. Sound currency ing and of wages far below ours and stands at the base of sound trade; but even farther below the American scale. as America holds most of the gold of Compare the seventeen shillings per the world, it is up to her to initiate ton for German coal at the Ruhr pitreform.
heads with the price we have to pay; People curse Versailles for not hav- and compare the fifty pounds a year of ing stabilized exchanges at the time of the German bank-clerk with the
-pay of the Peace Conference; but when one the English or American clerk! This looks into the procedure recommended, difference runs through all German it is usually evident that the remedy is social and industrial life, and there is, to declare that one crown, mark, franc, besides, a rigid elimination of waste, dinar, or lewa, is worth five, or possibly which is unknown with us. ten. Artificial stabilization is financial The combination of the benefit from quack medicine. International finance a depreciated exchange and that demay be very clever, but apparently it is rived from low wages
rived from low wages and poor living is disarmed in presence of conditions with enough to account for our difficulty in which it had no previous acquaintance. competing with German trade. In Some people think, seeing how the many other countries the scale of rehard-working countries like Germany muneration of the highest dignitaries is preposterously small. In Austria the from the very great obstacles which are President of the Republic draws only at present accumulated in its path. I eighty pounds a year, and heads of de- refer especially to passports, custompartments in the Foreign Office tell me houses, tariffs, permits, and all the vast that they cannot afford a new suit of machinery for selfish national isolation clothes. The High Court Judge in Bu- which seems especially devised, not to charest draws sixteen pounds a month, assist trade, but to hamper it. The and the lieutenant four pounds. How grand tour of Europe is no joke in these they manage to live at all
, with prices days. One's passport becomes a formidat their present height in these coun- able document. One must get a vise in tries, is one of those mysteries which I advance for every country through have not been able to penetrate, though which one passes, even if one does not we must, of course, admit that the pur- propose to stop there. One must carry chasing power of the local currency in only a very limited amount of the local the country itself is much higher than money out of each country; and in the English or American equivalent of traveling across a number of states one it would be in London or New York. A
must carry the coinage, or rather the few countries have checked inflation horrible paper, of each. The trader is and are bravely facing their liabilities; greatly handicapped by a system of but in many — and Poland and Aus
and Poland and Aus- permits, and export and import duties, tria are the worst cases
and the wonder is how any trader gets a on, and selfishness often prevents the ton of goods into, or out of, any counimposition of taxes needed for recon- try. This arises from state control of struction.
trade, and everything shows that, whatGenerally speaking, I regard this ever else the state may be, it is a failure question of the rates of exchange as as a merchant. much more vital to England and Amer- We see the system at work to kill ica than to Continental Europe, though trade in full perfection in the Succesin one way or another all suffer from sion States of Austria. The old Austrothe present situation. We are really in Hungarian Empire was favorably situpresence of a state of chaos which in- ated economically, because different jures all the world, and only the union parts of it supplied things that other of the world for the purpose of mending parts lacked, and everything passed matters can improve conditions. In this freely from one province to another. matter, America might take the lead. There was internal free trade, and the and, by collecting the best practical ex- Empire was almost self-supporting. ports, endeavor to formulate a solution. Hungary sent her wheat and her timThe Brussels Economic Conference ber, Bohemia sent her coal and sugar, gave us the most excellent advice upon Styria and the other parts all their pro the questions of state finance and eco- ducts. It was less the Austrian marnomics; but something more is needed riages that made Austria happy than the before we can go ahead. Unless some very shrewd business sense which realfinancial genius can discover a remedy, ized that certain provinces were needed one must regard British and American to supply Austria's deficiencies. trade with Continental Europe as al- Now all this economically happy most dead for a long time to come. state of affairs has terminated. The
Second only to the exchanges, there Succession States have all closed their comes the urgent need of freeing inter- frontiers against Austria and against national trade by every possible means each other. Each has its own currency,