World political leaders, if one may judge from events so far, foresee a new era in international affairs. Instead of a nation’s foreign policies being secret, instead of unpublished alliances and iron-bound treaties, there may be the proclaiming of a nation’s international intentions, exactly as a political party in the United States pledges its intentions in a political campaign. Parties in Europe may demand a statement of the foreign intentions of their governments. If there was this candidness between the governments and their citizens there would he more frankness between the nations and their neighbours. Public opinion would then be the decisive force. International steps of all nations would then be decided upon only after the public was thoroughly acquainted with their every phase. A fully informed nation would be considered safer and more peace-secure than a nation whose opinion was based upon coloured official reports, “Ems” telegrams of 1870 and 1914 variety, and eleventh-hour appeals to passion, fear and God.
The opinion of the world may then be a stronger international force than large individual armies and navies. The opinion of the world may be such a force that every nation will respect and fear it. The opinion of the world may be the mistress of the world and publicity will be the new driving force in diplomacy to give opinion world power.
Germany’s defeat will be the greatest event in history because it will establish world democracy upon a firm foundation and because Germany itself will emerge democratic. The Chancellor has frequently stated that the Germany which would come out of this war would be nothing like the Germany which went into the war and the Kaiser has already promised a “people’s kingdom of Hohenzollern.” The Kaiser’s government will be reformed because world opinion insists upon it. If the German people do not yet see this, they will be outlawed until they are free. They will see it eventually, and when that day comes, peace will dawn in Europe.
Ithaca, N. Y.
Returning to Ithaca, I find your letter with its question relating to the temporary arrest of a vessel carrying munitions of war to Spain shortly after the beginning of our war with that country. The simple facts are as follows: Receiving a message by wire from our American Consul at Hamburg early during the war, to the effect that a Spanish vessel supposed to carry munitions for Spain was just leaving Germany, I asked the Foreign Office that the vessel be searched before leaving, my purpose being not only to get such incidental information as possible regarding the contraband concerned, but particulars as to the nature of the vessel, whether it was so fitted that it could be used with advantage by our adversaries against our merchant navy, as had happened during our Civil War, when Great Britain let out of her ports vessels fitted to prey upon our merchant ships.