The Peace Negotiations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about The Peace Negotiations.

The time had arrived when the bad name which diplomacy had so long borne could and should have been removed.  “Open covenants openly arrived at” appealed to the popular feeling of antipathy toward secret diplomacy, of which the Great War was generally believed to be the product.  The Paris Conference appeared to offer an inviting opportunity to turn the page and to begin a new and better chapter in the annals of international intercourse.  To do this required a fixed purpose to abandon the old methods, to insist on openness and candor, to refuse to be drawn into whispered agreements.  The choice between the old and the new ways had to be definite and final.  It had to be made at the very beginning of the negotiations.  It was made.  Secrecy was adopted.  Thus diplomacy, in spite of the announced intention to reform its practices, has retained the evil taint which makes it out of harmony with the spirit of good faith and of open dealing which is characteristic of the best thought of the present epoch.  There is little to show that diplomacy has been raised to a higher plane or has won a better reputation in the world at large than it possessed before the nations assembled at Paris to make peace.  This failure to lift the necessary agency of international relations out of the rut worn deep by centuries of practice is one of the deplorable consequences of the peace negotiations.  So much might have been done; nothing was done.



The Shantung Settlement was not so evidently chargeable to secret negotiations as the crisis over the disposition of Fiume, but the decision was finally reached through that method.  The controversy between Japan and China as to which country should become the possessor of the former German property and rights in the Shantung Peninsula was not decided until almost the last moment before the Treaty with Germany was completed.  Under pressure of the necessity of making the document ready for delivery to the German delegates, President Wilson, M. Clemenceau, and Mr. Lloyd George, composing the Council of the Heads of States in the absence of Signor Orlando in Rome, issued an order directing the Drafting Committee of the Conference to prepare articles for the Treaty embodying the decision that the Council had made.  This decision, which was favorable to the Japanese claims, was the result of a confidential arrangement with the Japanese delegates by which, in the event of their claims being granted, they withdrew their threat to decline to sign the Treaty of Peace, agreed not to insist on a proposed amendment to the Covenant declaring for racial equality, and orally promised to restore to China in the near future certain rights of sovereignty over the territory, which promise failed of confirmation in writing or by formal public declaration.

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The Peace Negotiations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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