The scenes of the great treaties of the modern world must present interesting studies in internationalism. Picture the scene at Versailles in 1918 when the representatives of all the Allied and Entente Powers met to discuss and arrange the fates of the losers and portion out the winnings- to the victors. Consider the races and nations represented and the number of languages and modified tongues spoken between delegates in discussions outside the peace chamber. More recently, and closer to the Navy, picture the scenes attending the Naval Disarmament Conference at Washington in 1922. Here indeed was a chance for a naval linguist. Imagine one’s self in an ante chamber during recess, around coffee cups, with mellow cigar smoke dulling racial animosities and suspicions, the English delegate talking Italian to the delegate from Rome; the latter turning to vociferate fluently with the Frenchman, while the Japanese takes up the Englishman’s attention in purest English; the American explains the viewpoint and aims to the South American delegates, as onlookers, in Spanish.
Babel in China
By Lieutenant R. M. Ihrig, U. S. Navy