This ends the account of the Shantung Settlement and the negotiations which led up to it. The consequences were those which were bound to follow so indefensible a decision as the one that was reached. Public opinion in the United States was almost unanimous in condemning it and in denouncing those responsible for so evident a departure from legal justice and the principles of international morality. No plea of expediency or of necessity excused such a flagrant denial of undoubted right. The popular recognition that a great wrong had been done to a nation weak because of political discord and an insufficient military establishment, in order to win favor with a nation strong because of its military power and national unity, had much to do with increasing the hostility to the Treaty and preventing its acceptance by the Senate of the United States. The whole affair furnishes another example of the results of secret diplomacy, for the arguments which prevailed with the President were those to which he listened when he sat in secret council with M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George.
THE BULLITT AFFAIR
The foregoing chapters have related to subjects which were known to President Wilson to be matters of difference between us while we were together in Paris and which are presumably referred to in his letter of February 11, 1920, extracts from which are quoted in the opening chapter. The narration might be concluded with our difference of opinion as to the Shantung Settlement, but in view of subsequent information which the President received I am convinced that he felt that my objections to his decisions in regard to the terms of the peace with Germany extended further than he knew at the time, and that he resented the fact that my mind did not go along with his as to these decisions. This undoubtedly added to the reasons for his letter and possibly influenced him to write as he did in February, 1920, even more than our known divergence of judgment during the negotiations.
I do not feel, therefore, that the story is complete without at least a brief reference to my views concerning the Treaty of Versailles at the time of its delivery to the German delegates, which were imperfectly disclosed in a statement made by William C. Bullitt on September 12, 1919, at a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. As to the conduct of Mr. Bullitt, who had held a responsible position with the American Commission at Paris, in voluntarily repeating a conversation which was from its nature highly confidential, I make no comment.
The portion of the statement, which I have no doubt deeply incensed the President because it was published while he was in the West making his appeals to the people in behalf of the Treaty and especially of the League of Nations, is as follows: