« AnteriorContinuar »
In the result the appeal will be allowed with costs, and the decree of the president will be varied by directing that the appellant is entitled to be paid such expenses of removing the Dusseldorf from British waters to Norwegian or other neutral waters as may have fallen, or will ultimately fall, on the Government of Norway, but otherwise the decision of the president will be affirmed. The case will be remitted to the prize court to make the necessary formal decree and to direct a reference to the registrar. Their lordships will humbly advise his Majesty to this effect.
BOOK REVIEWS 1
Some Problems of the Peace Conference. By Charles Homer Haskins
and Robert Howard Lord. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1920. pp. viii + 310. 6 maps. The title of this book is well chosen, as the subjects of the chapters indicate. These are: I. Tasks and Methods of the Conference, II. Belgium and Denmark, III. Alsace-Lorraine, and IV. The Rhine and the Saar, these four treated by Mr. Haskins; and V. Poland, VI. Austria, VII. Hungary and the Adriatic, and VIII. the Balkans, treated by Mr. Lord. All these topics present very difficult problems, not only of peace but of justice upon which peace, if it is to be expected, must ultimately rest.
Not the least of these problems was a right decision regarding the tasks and methods of the Conference. Broadly speaking the proper task was the just termination of the war. But, as Mr. Haskins says, “Far beyond the more immediate and necessary tasks of the Conference rose the dreams of those who looked for the dawning of a new age of peace and justice, a new social and economic era.
The downtrodden and the oppressed looked toward Paris.. Beautiful, extravagant, heart-breaking hopes were centered on the Conference at Paris, most of all on the leader of the American delegation and his program. And such hopes were in large measure inevitably doomed to disappointment.”
Although Mr. Haskins and Mr. Lord were participants in arriving at the territorial settlements, in these chapters, which were delivered as lectures before the Lowell Institute last January, and are now printed with only “incidental revision,'—while clearly setting forth the intrinsic difficulties of the problems, they are not boastful of the results and frankly admit the imperfections of the adjustments made.
Confessedly, the territorial arrangements of the treaties, viewed from the point of view either of peace or justice, cannot be considered final. Many of them might advantageously have been deferred. As Mr. Haskins says, “Germany would have accepted terms
1 The JOURNAL assumes no responsibility for statements made or views expressed in signed book reviews.-Ed.
in January at which she howled in June, while the Allied peoples might thus have avoided the long agony of doubt and postponement which delayed the resumption of normal activities and the rehabilitation of the devastated regions."
It is suggested by Mr. Haskins that agreement upon the necessary preliminaries might not have been possible. We now know, however, that while a quick peace was universally desired and striven for by Europe, it was delayed by American intervention. “At every time," the author says, "the problem of the League of Nations obtruded itself, and the elaboration of the plan for a league facilitated, instead of hindering, the work of the Conference." No doubt, since the League was to carry some of the territorial solutions, it facilitated the dismissal of some of them by enabling the transfer of several difficult matters to the League. This does not prove, however, that an earlier peace might not have been concluded, leaving the territorial adjustments for the most part to more deliberate action. Through failure to do this, the work of the Conference was thus rendered both too long drawn out and too summary, too long for the immediate need of peace and too quick for a final plan and organization of peace. The redistribution of such large areas of Europe by a victorious military group of great Powers gave little chance for the reasoned agreement of the peoples whose territories were in dispute, and the plain demands of justice were swept aside without the deliberate attempt to conciliate the peoples in interest which the principle of selfdetermination justified them in expecting.
How vaguely the principle of nationality was conceived and applied at Paris is impressively illustrated on almost every page of this book. There is, of course, no possibility of any exact geographic solution of the problem of national frontiers so long as nationality is founded on identity of race, language, or religion. As for national boundaries in the physical sense, they do not correspond with political facts in more than a few instances, and a claim to them would require wholesale migrations. Where then is the basis of national cohesion and limitation to be found? Before we can speak in any sure sense of “self-determination” we must find the essential nucleus of the national self. Mr. Haskins says, “We may begin by eliminating race, for in Europe race is a matter of no importance in drawing national lines;” and yet, in every solution described or suggested in this book race is the primary basis sought, and statistics are resorted to as a means of determining it. After discussing the phenomena of speech, Mr. Haskins concludes, “Finally, language, even when accurately ascertained, is not a certain test of political affiliation. “Historic right' would, if its claims were allowed, throw all questions of nationality into confusion."
There remains the effort to solve the problem of political affiliation by consulting the preferences of the people, but here again we find serious obstacles to the best adjustment. “Unequivocal expressions of public opinion are hard to reach, especially in times of stress and in regions that are under dispute. At best a plebiscite may be but a poor indication of real opinion, and the opinion it registers may well be only transitory. . . . It is also possible that in the long run commercial intercourse and economic interest may create ties more lasting than language or national sentiment, and that a given boundary may do more ultimate harm by violating the fundamental economic interests of a region than by violating its momentary political sentiments."
Into the specific problems that are presented in this volume space does not permit us to enter. It is apparent that no one consistent policy was followed in the decisions of the Supreme Council, and that the national interests of the great Powers had a large influence in determining the conclusions reached. It is equally evident that some of these decisions, and probably most of them, will breed a dissatisfaction that will result in war if they are not altered. It is also quite certain that some of these results cannot be changed by common consent through appeal to the League of Nations, where unanimity is necessary to any change. To the thoughtful reader the mere statement of facts, as presented in this volume, furnishes conclusive evidence of the entanglements in which the United States would be involved by a guarantee of the territorial dispositions made at the Paris Conference. This statement implies no reflection upon the knowledge, or skill, or good intentions of the ethnologists and cartographers who proposed these dispositions. They were assigned an impossible task. These adjustments are in some instances not only questionable approximations to justice, they afford no firm foundation for peace. The peoples concerned have not had their proper part in them. When disputes arise regarding them, as they certainly will, these problems will be found too complicated to be properly understood in the United States. In so far as they may be made the subject of American decision they will confuse and divide public opinion and obstruct official action, if our Government has the folly to assume any part in them.
The peace of the world can never be made secure by drawing lines on a map. The only true nationality lies in the community of devotion to a body of institutions in which the people believe. The hope of the world, therefore, must be based on the possibility of creating political institutions which will make it possible for human beings to live together on terms of just relationship, without regard to race, language or religion. Until these elements are subordinated and nationality can be given an institutional basis, such as it has in Switzerland, for example, there will continue to be trouble over the disputed areas. The real problem of peace is not one of ethnology or cartography, with results imposed by great Powers, but one of ethical development, taking the form of accepted law. The world has waited long for this, and it must wait longer still; but it is the only way.
As a whole, this book may be commended as sincerely and intelligently written. The problems are stated with clearness and the historic expositions are very helpful to a clear understanding. Mr. Haskins' statement on page 68 that “Holland had no objection to the abandonment of Belgium's neutrality, which had been guaranteed to her as well as to Belgium," suggests the question when and by whom had Holland's neutrality been guaranteed! Mr. Lord's opinion that Italy's possession of Avlona, occupied by her in 1914, "is no more unnatural than England's position at Gibraltar or our own at Panama," seems to imply that England holds Gibraltar in the same manner as the United States holds her freely negotiated purchase of a leasehold in Panama. It would be more just to the United States, to history, and to the theory of rightful national possession to omit the reference to Panama, where the United States bought and paid for the privilege of creating a great waterway for the use of the whole world.
A good index and a very full bibliography add to the value of this book.
DAVID JAYNE HILL.