Let me restate this section in slightly different words. At the end of this war there must be a congress of adjustment. The suggestion in this section is to make this congress permanent, to use it as a clearing house of international relationships and to abolish embassies.
Instead of there being a British Ambassador, for example, at every sufficiently important capital, and an ambassador from every important State in London, and a complex tangle of relationships, misstatements, and misconceptions arising from the ill-co-ordinated activities of this double system of agents, it is proposed to send one or several ambassadors to some central point, such as The Hague, to meet there all the ambassadors of all the significant States in the world and to deal with international questions with a novel frankness in a collective meeting.
This has now become a possible way of doing the world’s business because of the development of the means of communication and information. The embassy in a foreign country, as a watching, remonstrating, proposing extension of its country of origin, a sort of eye and finger at the heart of the host country, is now clumsy, unnecessary, inefficient, and dangerous. For most routine work, for reports of all sorts, for legal action, and so forth, on behalf of traveling nationals, the consular service is adequate, or can easily be made adequate. What remains of the ambassadorial apparatus might very well merge with the consular system and the embassy become an international court civility, a ceremonial vestige without any diplomatic value at all.
Given a permanent world congress developed out of the congress of settlement between the belligerents, a world alliance, with as a last resort a call upon the forces of the associated powers, for dealing with recalcitrants, then a great number of possibilities open out to humanity that must otherwise remain inaccessible. But before we go on to consider these it may be wise to point out how much more likely a world congress is to effect a satisfactory settlement at the end of this war than a congress confined to the belligerents.
The war has progressed sufficiently to convince every one that there is now no possibility of an overwhelming victory for Germany. It must end in a more or less complete defeat of the German and Turkish alliance, and in a considerable readjustment of Austrian and Turkish boundaries. Assisted by the generosity of the doomed Austrians and Turks, the Germans are fighting now to secure a voice as large as possible in the final settlement, and it is conceivable that in the end that settlement may be made quite an attractive one for Germany proper by the crowning sacrifice of suicide on the part of her two subordinated allies.