The only opportunity that I had to learn more of the President’s plan for a League before arriving in Paris was an hour’s interview with him on the U.S.S. George Washington some days after we sailed from New York. He showed me nothing in writing, but explained in a general way his views as to the form, purpose, and powers of a League. From this conversation I gathered that my fears as to the proposed organization were justified and that it was to be based on the principle of diplomatic adjustment rather than that of judicial settlement and that political expediency tinctured with morality was to be the standard of determination of an international controversy rather than strict legal justice.
In view of the President’s apparent fixity of purpose it seemed unwise to criticize the plan until I could deliver to him a substitute in writing for the mutual guaranty which he evidently considered to be the chief feature of the plan. I did not attempt to debate the subject with him believing it better to submit my ideas in concrete form, as I had learned from experience that Mr. Wilson preferred to have matters for his decision presented in writing rather than by word of mouth.
SUBSTITUTE ARTICLES PROPOSED
The President, Mr. Henry White, and I arrived in Paris on Saturday, December 14, 1918, where Colonel House and General Bliss awaited us. The days following our arrival were given over to public functions in honor of the President and to official exchanges of calls and interviews with the delegates of other countries who were gathering for the Peace Conference. On the 23d, when the pressure of formal and social engagements had in a measure lessened, I decided to present to the President my views as to the mutual guaranty which he intended to propose, fearing that, if there were further delay, he would become absolutely committed to the affirmative form. I, therefore, on that day sent him the following letter, which was marked “Secret and Urgent”:
“Hotel de Crillon December 23, 1918
“My Dear Mr. President:
“The plan of guaranty proposed for the League of Nations, which has been the subject of discussion, will find considerable objection from other Governments because, even when the principle is agreed to, there will be a wide divergence of views as to the terms of the obligation. This difference of opinion will be seized upon by those, who are openly or secretly opposed to the League, to create controversy and discord.
“In addition to this there will be opposition in Congress to assuming obligations to take affirmative action along either military or economic lines. On constitutional grounds, on its effect on the Monroe Doctrine, on jealousy as to Congressional powers, etc., there will be severe criticism which will materially weaken our