HON. R. J. MANION
Minister of Railways and Canals,
HAVING LAST AUTUMN attended the Assembly of the League of Nations, and a little later the Disarmament Conference, as Canada's representative, I have been surprised on my return at the
great interest shown by the people of Canada in the work of the League and in international relations in general. The evidence of this is in the reception given by Canadian Clubs and other organizations in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and at the Head of the Lakes to speeches which I have made since my return, and in the large number of requests from like organizations in other cities of Canada which have been received by me. expressing the desire that I give the same address to them.
The League of Nations has been the subject of many speeches and articles, and for this reason I shall give it only brief mention in order to refresh the memory as to its constitution and methods of operation. For generations there has been a realization that war is as uncivilized as the duel, and as a consequence there has grown up a desire in the minds of thoughtful men to set up some organization that might be utilized for the purpose of settling international disputes in the same manner as ordinary disputes are now settled in the courts of most civilized countries. The League of Nations is the first international organization of this kind to set up to fulfill this desire. The formation of the League of Nations was proposed at the Peace Conference of 1919 and the Covenant was inconx>rated in the Peace Treaties. It held its first session in 1920. The original members were the Allied and associated powers signatories to the Peace Treaties, later joined by those nations which remained neutral during the war, and, still later, by some of the enemy jxnvers, so that between fifty and sixty nations are members of the League, which carries on its operations through the following instruments:
L The Assembly, which meets annually, usually in September, at which all the national member states are represented, and at which general discussions take place on various subjects affecting international relations, and during which, as well, various commissions (committees) deal with the details of certain of these subjects. The Assemblyusual 1 y lasts for about three weeks.
2. The Council has five permanent members and at the present time eleven non-permanent members, the latter elected for three years and rotated in such manner that the nation members of the League have an opportunity from time to time to become members of the Council. The original proposal was that the five permanent members should be the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan, though the United States never became a member, due to the fact that the U. S. Senate refused to support President Wilson's policies either as to the League or as to guarantees to France in case of attack. The Council meets as a rule every three months or as is required by the international situation.
3. The International Labor Office, which deals with labor questions as they affect the working people of the world; which body is independent of the League of Nations except that it is financed bv it, and upon which body sit even some of the nations which have withdrawn from the League of Nations itself. Japan is one of these.
4. The Permanent Court of International Justice, which sits at The Hague, composed of eleven judges and four deputy judges elected by the League from various countries, to which may be submitted any disputed questions of an
international character for an opinion or a decision. Questions of fact as well as questions of law may be submitted. The Court is financed by the League. It first sat in 1922 and since that time has been much occupied with cases placed before it, either for an advisory opinion or for the settlement of certain international differences. The first case with which it dealt was one between Great Britain and France, and since then many of the greater as well as many of the lesser powers have appeared before it.
5. Finally, there is a Secretariat for the League of Nations, consisting of a Secretary-General—at present Mr. Avenol but recently Sir Eric Drummond—assisted by some 600 international civil servants, men and women who have been chosen largely though not entirely from the countries
members of the League of Nations. The Secretariat comprise the permanent staff carrying on the daily activities of the League.
“Teeth” Not Feasible
HTHE LEAGUE OF -*■ Nations has been described as an international parliament. This is not a proper description, as a parliament such as we have in Canada has the power to make laws and to enforce those laws whereas the League of Nations, as at present constituted, can neither make nor enforce laws.
The League may come to decisions, pass resolutions, even arrive at conventions to be signed by its members, but the signatures of these national representatives must be ratified by the governments which
they represent, and if these governments so choose, after having signed a convention, they may ignore its terms with reasonable certainty that the League cannot by any act or process punish them for so refusing to carry out the convention or agreement. It is the absence of this power of
enforcement which has caused certain people to propose that the League should be given a sort of international police body in the shape of an army, navy and air force for the purpose of enforcing its decisions. This is what is called “putting teeth in the League” but has not been accepted by the great powers as feasible under present world conditions.
The language at the discussions of the League may be either English or French, though the majority use the latter; those who speak English, as a rule, being the various British representatives, the Japanese and the Chinese, the Scandinavians, and occasionally one or two others. Translations are made immediately into the other official language as soon as the speaker finishes, and quite often the translation may seem superior to the delivered speech, so adept at this work are these clever translators.
VL7TTH THAT background, perhaps we can ** go on to deal with the international situation as it faces the League and the world today, bearing in mind that to discuss this subject in a brief space is somewhat difficult because of its immensity and complexity. To realize how involved is this question, a useful experiment is to take a map of Europe of 1913 and another of 1933—only twenty years apart —and compare them. One will find that, while the geographical contours remain, the general picture of Europe is vastly different in the two maps. Whereas in 1913 some seventeen or eighteen countries existed in Europe, todaysome twenty-seven or twenty-eight countries are shown on the map. At least two-thirds of the nations of 1913 have had their boundaries changed, resulting in a number of new nations being shown on the map of today, of which Poland with its thirty-two million people is an example. One has to go back to the eighteenth century to find Poland represented upon a map of Europe as an independent country, it having been eliminated in the various partitions between 1772 and 1796.
One finds another new country in Czecho-
slovakia, with some fourteen or fifteen millions of people; which nation has not been shown as an independent state since the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Jugoslavia appears also to be a recent addition, but is really the old Serbia with a portion of Austria-Hungary added. The great
empire of Austria-Hungary, which before the war had from fifty to sixty millions of people, has been almost completely dismembered, the only remaining recognizable portions being Austria with its ten million people, and Hungary with about eight millions, the remainder of the great empire having been divided among Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rou-
mania, Jugoslavia, and even Italy. Up on the Baltic, one will notice new nations in Latvia, Esthonia, Lithuania and Finland, which before 1914 were parts of the huge Russian empire.
Other great changes have occurred in Europe, a number of monarchies having been wiped out and replaced by either republics or dictatorships, or both in strange combinations. The three greatest of the monarchs who have disappeared are, of course, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of AustriaHungary, and the Emperor of Germany.
Politically also one finds great changes in the governments of Europe. Away over on the east is Russia, with its immense national experiment, consisting of an attempt to change the whole economic system under which it previously lived—and under which most of the world remains — by trying out under Communism an extreme type of socialistic government.
In Western Europe dictatorships have sprung up—Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, Dollfuss in Austria, and others. Thus the war which was “to make the world safe for democracy” has apparently undermined democracy as we know it and has led to autocracies and bureaucracies. That slogan has attained a disrepute equal to that of the other which said that this was “a war to end war.”
TN ADDITION to all this confusion, the changes of frontiers have created new and large minorities in various countries—Germans in Poland and Italy, Hungarians in Czechoslovakia, Roumania and Jugoslavia, Ukrainians in Russia and Poland—to mention only a few. It is authoritatively stated that, due to the Peace Treaties, some thirty million people are now minority groups; in other words, have changed their sovereignty and are now controlled by the majority in countries to which they did not belong prior to 1914. Without doubt some of these minorities have been ill-treated and are very vociferous in their complaints. While sympathizing with them, it must be remembered that majorities must also have some consideration in their objection to the creation of a state within a state. Minorities must ultimately become part and parcel of the state to which they belong, as the minority in Canada has become as loyal a part of the Canadian nation as is the majority,
due to the wise and tolerant policies obtaining since Wolfe took Quebec. In this, European majorities might learn a useful lesson, as I suggested in my remarks at Geneva.
Because of the frontier changes, boundary problems of great importance have arisen, the most outstanding being the Polish corridor; that is, the strip of land running from
the otherwise landlocked Poland up to the Baltic Sea and separating East Prussia from the remainder of the German empire. The territory comprising this corridor belonged to the Polish state of something over a century ago, and without doubt Poland would fight to the last ditch to retain it. But the Germans possessed much of it for the
intervening time, after the partitions, and take the attitude that they should reixissess it. The Hungarians have had their country so mutilated that they are completely surrounded by boundary problems and the Bulgarians feel also that they have been very unjustly treated.
When one remembers that, as a result of these changed frontiers, not only new national boundaries but trade barriers have been erected between the nations of today and what were, in some cases before the war, their hinterlands, and when one recalls that all the conditions that 1 have very briefly described, plus scores of different languages, exist in an area—if one leaves out Russia — of less than half the area of Canada, it is not hard to understand why I stated in one of my speeches that the whole affair is a sort of international jigsaw puzzle with many of the pieces missing.
To realize the situation, one should attempt to visualize a Canada divided north and south at Winnipeg, the eastern half comprised of twenty-five or thirty different nations, with their disputed frontiers, their trade barriers, their different languages, their minority problems, and with most of these nations armed to the teeth. One would thus obtain in imagination some idea of the confused, involved situation in Europe, and would understand why I have stated in a Toronto address that, while not wishing to be thought to be either a pessimist or an alarmist, I felt that the European world was sitting on a jxnvder magazine into which some irresponsible leader might at any time throw a lighted cigarette.
It will lx* remembered that President Wilson changed the traditional custom of United States Presidents not absenting themselves from their country. by attending the Peace Conference; and President Wilson it was who, despite the very highest motives, brought about many of the conditions set up by the Peace Treaties. Being a student of history, lie felt that as far as possible self-determination should govern the tenus of the Peace Treaties; in other words, that a number of new nations should lx* established on the theory of nationality, endeavoring wherever possible to give to large groups of distinct nationality and culture the right to govern themselves. By the terms of
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the Peace Treaties the enemy powers were disarmed, reparations were imposed, frontiers were changed, and new nations given their sovereignty, in an endeavor to carry out the high ideals which Mr. Wilson felt should be put into practice. Mr. Wilson was, of course, supported in this by other leaders at the Peace Conference.
Another ideal just as noble as the first and perhaps more practical was the setting up of the League of Nations, with the two objects—first, of promoting international cooperation among the nations and, second, of achieving international peace and security.
I That is the order in which the two objects ! of the League of Nations were described i when the Covenant of the League was made part and parcel of the Peace Treaties.
I Without doubt the League was expected to maintain the terms of this just and durable peace—as it w'as thought and hoped to be— by peace lovers throughout Christendom.
So far as the first objective is concerned— that is, international co-operation—excellent work has been done by the League in such matters as the restriction of the use of opium; the wiping out of slavery, which unfortunately still exists in China, India and Africa; the improvement of international public health; the elevation of labor conditions in certain countries of the world; and the caring for refugees and the repatriation of prisoners of war. In the latter two efforts the late Dr. Nansen was a motivating force, being assisted and financed by the League of Nations. National minorities, when they deem themselves unjustly treated have the right of appeal to the League of Nations, and the open, frank and free discussion of the League has unquestionably had some effect in improving the condition of these minorities in certain countries.
These are a few of the activities of international co-operation writh which the League has dealt. I expressed in my remarks before the Assembly the idea that the League in I this regard has too many activities, causing it to spread its efforts too widely, to the neglect of the ultimate goal aimed at, but the encouragement of international co-operation does undoubtedly lay a foundation upon which ultimately should be built a peace edifice based upon the same principles of equity and justice between states as exist in civilized countries between man and man.
Why League is Criticized
TJTOW'EVER, while in the branch of inter•*national co-operation of the League of Nations’ work there has been reasonably good success, in the second branch—namely, peace, security and disarmament—which after all is the main goal or objective, the progress has, unhappily, not been great, although we should not forget that in some threatened conflicts among the smaller nations the League performed very useful I services. In 1921 the Jugoslavs and AlbanI ians were on the verge of war; in 1923 the I Italians and the Greeks, over the Corfu I incident; in 1925 the Bulgarians and the I Greeks had crossed each other’s frontiers, i and some killing had occurred; and last I year in South America the Colombians and I Peruvians clashed. In all these cases the I League was successful in averting war. But ! the League has not been so successful in dealing with the greater nations, notably ; Japan and China.
So far as armaments are concerned, there i has been practically no success, inasmuch I as the cost of armaments in the world today I is probably greater than the cost of armaments the year before the war. It is estimated that in 1913 the world spent for armaments about $2,500,000,000, whereas in 1930 it spent $4,500,000,000; thus, even allowing for the depreciated value of the dollar, the costs of armaments in 1930 were considerably greater than in 1913. Incidentally it may be pointed out that the annual cost of the League is about one-five-
hundredth to one-thousandth of the annual cost of world armaments. In addition to the huge sums of money spent on armaments, there has been going on for the past ten years a heavy traffic in arms among the nations, amounting to from forty to sixty million dollars per annum. All of this in a world supposedly wanting peace.
Because of the failure in the larger question of peace, security and disarmament, the resulting disappointment has aroused much severe criticism of the League of Nations, many quite serious people taking the attitude that the League has been a complete failure. But nothing is offered in substitution of it, though it is the only institution of its kind that has yet been tried. One speaker —the Spanish representative at the Assembly—in replying to this criticism, claimed that the League of Nations had not been a failure because, he said, its principles, like the principles of Christianity, had reaily never been tried, and as a sincere attempt to foster peace, equity and justice among nation states, it should not be discarded while its peace efforts continue.
In view of the fact that sane people generally recognize that war is barbarism and claim that they favor peace, it may well be asked why there is so much insecurity— particularly in the European world—and why armaments have increased rather than decreased. The answer is that the terms of the Peace Treaties are such that absolutely antagonistic national policies have arisen as to frontiers, armaments, reparations, and national security.
We have, on the one hand, the attitude of the French, the Poles, Czechoslovakians, Roumanians and Jugoslavians—the last three named constituting the “Little Entente”—who insist that the Peace Treaties remain the law of Europe and that the frontiers as set up in those treaties be retained as they are, and maintain that unless they are given security guarantees they must refuse to disarm. And, as these five countries together have a population of w'ell over a hundred million people, their attitude cannot be ignored. As a consequence, these nations are more heavily armed, generally speaking, than they were before 1914. They take the position that if they are given security for the permanent maintenance of the Peace Treaties, as well as a promise of support from the other nations of the world in case of attack, then and only then will they disarm. France places security in the very forefront before she will agree to disarm or permit Germany to re-arm.
Then there is the group who lost the war— namely, the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, particularly the first-named, who take the contrary attitude. It will be remembered that by the Peace Treaties the Germans were disarmed, heavy reparations were imposed upon them, their colonies were taken from them, and their boundaries were changed both east and west. So far as reparations are concerned, they have escaped them. As to armaments, the Germans were limited to 100,000 men; and they insist that, being a nation of 65,000,000 people, who. before the war, were rapidly taking the lead in industry and commerce, they will not remain in an inferior position. They demand equality with thè other nations, pointing out, justly and truthfully enough, that when they and their allies were disarmed this action was supposed to be only a preliminary to general world disarmament : and they urge in this regard that the terms of the treaties be carried out. They point out that they are surrounded by heavily armed nations, and they insist that they be given the right to equality in this respect.
Why France Won’t Disarm
r"PHEY CHOOSE to forget that the reason why the French and the Poles take the opposing view is because of the lessons of a tragic past. In the case of France she has had
two wars in less than two generations—in 1870 and 1914—with her more powerful neighbor. France is a rich and lovely country, with forty millions of thrifty, brave, and intensely loyal people, and they dread a rearmed Germany with a population of sixtyfive million bent on revenge.
In the case of Poland, that country was ruthlessly partitioned and divided up among the Germans, the Russians and the Austrians in the eighteenth century, and Polish national ideals were ignored until now. Having regained their national existence, they have no intention of sacrificing it or of permitting other selfish states to partition them once more. They point out that for a number of centuries they possessed the outlet via the corridor to the Baltic, and they would not peacefully accede to the German demand that the corridor once more become German.
As to Czechoslovakia, Roumania and Jugoslavia—they also refuse to be sacrificed on the altar of peace. That I am not exaggerating the position of the “Little Entente” is proved by a statement given out by Nicholas Titulescu, the Foreign Minister of Roumania, on December 11 last. It was quoted in the Associated Press as follows:
“Kosice,Czechoslovakia, Dec.ll. (A. P.) Nicholas Titulescu, Foreign Minister of Roumania, stated definitely today that no change in the Treaty of Versailles is desired by the Little Entente— Roumania, Czechoslovakia and Jugoslavia.
“After a conference with Dr. Eduard Benes, Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, he made a speech in which he said:
“‘Inasmuch as there has been so much lying about this subject, it cannot be held against us if I proclaim in my name and in the name of Dr. Benes:
“ ‘Revision means war. We do not want war, but for that very reason I do not want revision. If someone wants revision and war we will not be intimidated and will be strong enough to repulse such an attack.
“ ‘Not one square centimetre of Little Entente land will be given up by us or won by force. Those who do not respect the will of the Little Entente— which means the will to preserve the inviolability of peace treaties—are brewing war.’ ”
The French, the Poles, and the people of the “Little Entente” are bound together by this common interest of maintaining the Peace Treaties inviolable.
There is a third policy adopted by Canada as part of the British Empire and adhered to by the Americans—the policy that general world disarmament should forthwith take place, while refusing at the same time to give to the French, the Poles, and their allies any further guarantees of security. “The way to disarm is to disarm,” expresses this view, and having expressed it we wait impatiently for Europe to put it into force.
rPHESE THREE international policies A are mutually incompatible, and their existence is perhaps the full explanation of why there is no real move toward disarmament, and why, notwithstanding more pacts and conventions and international conferences than ever before, there seems to be at the same time greater distrust and fear than at any time since 1913. The conditions are much the same now as they were in 1913, although millions died to change them. No sane man in any country wants a recurrence of a world war such as we had from 1914 to 1918. Certainly no returned man who experienced the horrors of the last war wishes to participate in another. Due to the marvellous scientific advances made since 1919 all of which would be turned to war purposes if another world cataclysm took place it is obvious that in another such war the horrors would be incomparably greater, the devastation too dreadful to contemplate. Not only the men in the trenches, the actual
participants, would suffer, but the civilian ! population of the countries affected would be almost as vulnerable.
Whatever romance war had in Napoleonic days, when small armies, cavalry charges, and battles of two or three days duration existed, that romance has become a thing of the past. War with its terrible atrocities is more than ever a relic of barbarism, and the desire of reasonable people that it should be eliminated as a method of settling international disputes is the only sane attitude. The Pact of Paris, the Kelloggj Briand Pact of 1928, expresses the view! point of the Canadian people in renouncing war as a method of national policy and in ' insisting that international differences, of whatsoever nature, must be settled by peaceful means. Until these ideals are accepted in principle and adopted in practice among the nations, there is great danger of our whole civilization being wrecked. And yet. while over fifty nations signed that pact, some of them are today in armed conflict. Is it any wonder that the British ; public, through Sir John Simon and its other representatives, have been endeavomg to bring about an understanding, to eliminate the psychology of fear on the continent of Europe in order to avoid another catastrophe which might well wipe out civilization as we know it?
Unfortunately, when the nations met at the Disarmament Conference following the Assembly of the League of Nations in October last, the Germans refused to accept the standstill agreement proposed—an agreement by which both the armed and the j supposedly unarmed powers would remain as they are for a period of at least four years, j during which a commission would supervise them in order to see that they were living up to the terms of the agreement. The Germans withdrew on Saturday, October j 14, after having demanded equality in arms. It was frankly stated by their enemies that they were re-arming and that this was the reason why they—the Germans—objected to the supervisory commission.
Whether the claim that Germany is rearming is true or not, it is freely stated by writers such as H. Wickham Stead and others in the press of Europe. Mr. Wickham Stead has had a wide and varied experience as the London Times foreign correspondent in Berlin, Rome and Vienna before the war, and later as editor of the Tirnes. 1 le is now lecturer on Central European history at King’s College. In an article published in the November-December issue of International Affairs he says:
“We know that Germany is re-arming and is training millions of her youth for a new ‘war of liberation.’ We know, too, that professors of military science in German universities are preaching war and preparation for war.”
Whether the postjxined Disarmament Conference, when it reconvenes, will accomplish anything it is difficult to say, but, in view of the opposing political attitudes of the countries concerned, one cannot feel optimistic for the future. Civilization is in the balance; more today than it was even j prior to 1914. The late Lord Grey said that great armaments lead inevitably to war, i and the statement was justified by the events preceding and succeeding 1914. The nego, tiations preliminary to the Peace Treaties showed that the national leaders of that day had come to the same conclusion as ! Lord Grey—if you prepare for war you get war. Article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations expresses the same view:
“The Members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety. . . ”
And in another sub-clause Article 8 says:
“The Members of the League agree that the manufacture by private enterprise of munitions and implements of war is open to grave objections.”
Yet both these truisms are being flouted by the nations of the world today. Nations i
continue to arm, and private manufacturers of arms still speak of their dividends, as the slave traders of other days defended slavery because it meant profits in their pockets. All nationals claim to be peace lovers, but the horrible armament rivalry continues, and the chaos of Europe does not lessen.
On this continent we are more fortunate. For over one hundred years we have settled our disputes -and we have had disputes— by peaceful means, and we will so continue. But here, though we are two nations, we are descended largely from the same parent stocks, have the same language, the same literature, traditions, free institutions and much the same ideas of government. Finally, we have democracy in the sense that Lincoln meant when he spoke of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” And we are 3,000 miles across the Atlantic from the historical rivalries, antagonisms and jealousies of Europe. War on this continent, north of the Rio Grande at any rate, is unthinkable.
But 3,000 miles is not far in these days of lightning communication and transportation, in a world the nations of which are interdependent to a degree greater than ever in the past. Because of this, wars, even in Europe, are closer than ever to our doors, and their effects, whether we participate or not, cannot but be felt by us. Therefore it is our duty morally and materially to do all in our power to eliminate the possibility of warfare by encouraging and supporting
The future of the organization is unhappily somewhat obscure at this moment. The United States and Russia will not become members; Germany and Jajian have withdrawn; and Italy is threatening to withdraw. The future prospects of the League would certainly seem to be uncertain. At the same time, while it continues to carry on, supjx>rting the ideals in which we in Canada believe, it is our duty to give it reasonable supjx>rt. The day will come, jx;rhai)s within the life of some Canadians now living, when those who supjx)rt war will be looked ujx>n as criminals. Anything we can do to hasten the arrival of that day should be gladly done, for no longer should the flower of the youth of all lands be forced to p>ay with their lives for the blunders of their elders, no longer should the jxnver to maim, jx>ison and kill on a large scale be substituted for conciliation and arbitration in the settlement of international differences.