Let there be understanding that wisdom and tolerance may prevail
While limitation of armament runs through this paper like a thread the purpose of the article is not a technical discussion of the subject. Since the dawn of civilization man has struggled to better his own condition and that of his family, then that of his group and nation, until today we sense vaguely the necessity for including within the purview of our efforts something broader. As man has trudged his weary course through the ages, he has had to fight every inch of the way; if he compromised it was because his opponent made him do so. One of his oldest maxims has been, “Life is a battle.” Thus this though has crept from its early beginnings down through our feudal lives to the life of the nation as it exists today. We have fought for our women, for our homes, for religion’s sake, for our trade, for our national life. Perhaps this is inevitable. It may be one of nature’s laws that life means war. Peoples and nations have come, waxed great, and then gone to be replaced by others; time has obliterated their memories and kindly earth has taken them unto its embrace.
The verdict has been that he who lives by the sword alone, shall perish by the sword. It is only the things of the spirit which live on through time and space. No one people, no single nation, can claim the monopoly of the good things of the spirit. Some of them are common to all, but this great nation came into being under auspices where the things of the spirit meant more than the material things of life and we may be thankful that we could start as pioneers from the beginning free from many of the fettering influences which cramped older peoples. In effect it was the things of the spirit and not material things which went into the making of the early heart of America. This others must see or never will they understand us; for as free men, free to move forward, free to express our opinions, free to live and to exercise that proper initiative which we believe is the right of individual man, so we have grown from small beginnings to what we are today. There are those who believe that the purpose of this nation is ordained. If this be so then must we, while willing to walk the path of compromise in order that the fortunes of others may be bettered and our own lot improved, never let our locks like those of Samson be so shorn that we lose our strength.
Had we continued prosperous and world conditions stable, reduction in armament would still have been advocated for three reasons, all of which we would have attempted to balance in some workable formula: one the theoretical and idealistic point of view which believes in complete disarmament as a panacea for many of the world’s ills on the basis that disarmament means no war; another which recommends the minimum of armament necessary to protect just national right and interest, the reduction to be effected through agreement; a third having as its focus of action economy. Another attitude of mind is indicated by those who believe that the history of the past will be repeated and that the wise way is to be prepared always for the contingency of war. The first point of view is destructive and chaotic; the last is not constructive and, while it may be the wisest policy under many circumstances, it is not the one the American people will choose voluntarily. However, we might be forced by the aggressive action of others to accept it. The second and third reasons are the sane and moderate ones but in these days of depression and because of the necessity for drastic economy in governmental expenditures, economy may be given a place of merit above its full due. Much blame has been placed at the door of armaments as the author of our present- day woes, and loud are the claims of those whose sole object is economy. As a matter of fact, complete disarmament would not fundamentally better the economic situation. There are other equal or more important factors involved in this problem. To cite only one, the machine age with its capacity for mass production has changed living conditions, forced new labor problems upon us, and altered the channels of commerce and trade with the aid of tariff barriers which have upset the financial systems built to cope with the old order of things and thus helped to demoralize credit. Without credit free from suspicion and fear, no progress can be made. War is the disease which during the last eighteen years has ravaged the world and caused many of the present-day ills. The underlying causes of war are deeper. The first step taken to stop war’s immediate ravages rests in the hands of the operating surgeon, viz., the military man. War must be arrested, and it is stopped by the military and naval surgeons, who have to cut deep. The patient, a sick world, then has to recover, and the recovery is slow. In the end, the services of the diagnostician are required to get at underlying causes. Before the diagnostician can start to work the patient suffering a collapse must be revived. In the history of the small war the world has had a natural recovery, but as the aftermath of a world war circulation is arrested. As we know, the life blood is small in weight compared to the whole body, but its proper circulation keeps the body alive and the man in normal fit condition. So with the sick world, its circulation credit is poor. Gold, the life blood, the red corpuscles, though small in weight compared to the body it nourishes, must flow properly or the body remains inadequately nourished. Shall we resort to war to stimulate the flow? This is an artificial method, a temporary expedient, after which the patient relapses unless more scientific methods are tried. Shall we deliberately invite another illness in order to cure the results of the first? Could we be sure that the effects of the inoculation would not be too dire and that a healthy body politic would be the result, it might be tried. The world has repeatedly tried the method of bloodletting to relieve congestion. Repeatedly, as a permanent cure, it has failed. A way must be found, else our civilization as we know it today may pass. The armaments question, important as it may be, is only one drop in the bucket of woes. What people forget is that in bringing the idea of limitation of armament into existence, an old idea which possibly may be expressed by the words “thoughtful restraint” was brought into practical world politics, and it is this idea which it is important to incorporate, not only into armament limitation, but also into the abuses of our present industrial and economic age and into some of the social problems which cry for a solution.
The subject of armament, largely on account of its relationship to war, is one which has interested the nations of the world in varying degrees. Lately sentiment in this country on the one hand has become so pronounced that radical thought has coined the word disarmament when the saner and sounder term limitation is the one to be used. The best thought and effort move in this direction and not along the line of disarmament. The world is not ready for complete disarmament now, nor will it be for centuries, if ever. In the beginning, quantitative limitation was not advanced, because the effort was to place restrictions upon the use of armaments through the agency of international law, in order that armaments could not be used in a manner repugnant to a growing moral sentiment in the world against the wholesale destruction of human life by means not considered ethical.
As a development of the late war, it was found that a major conflagration caused such disturbance in the economic structure of the nations comprising the world state, that a thought was born—war itself should be done away with and all international difficulties settled through the agency of arbitration or in the application of combined moral or physical force against a nation which violated certain established rules. It was in this atmosphere that the Pact of Paris was agreed to, and other treaties signed which endeavored to bring into being a realizing sense that war was only the last resort, and that arbitration should be the means used instead of force. As a further development of this line of thought, it came to be realized that competition in armaments, without some restraining influence, was bad for the world. Even if smaller nations are not directly involved in a great war, they cannot as a part of humanity escape from its evil effects. More intensive thought was given to the subject of armaments than before had been given. Prior to 1914 the relations of sea power and of military power to the state had been studied, notably in the works of Mahan and Bernhardi. After the war it was borne home to peoples that no more convincing proof could be given that a state was headed toward a policy of aggression than for it to attempt to be overstrong in both forms of armament, in land power and in sea power. The relationship of military power and sea power to each other and to the state, in preserving the peace and in waging war, became better understood. Men and women heretofore not specially interested in these subjects began to do more thinking about them instead of relegating them to technical men.
The first definite step taken, after the war, to find some solution for the problem which was vexing most states, particularly those who had been participants in the 1914-18 struggle, or who had suffered from it, was the formation of the League of Nations. Fortunately or otherwise, depending upon how one chooses to look at the question, the teeth of the League of Nations were drawn when the clauses containing the military sanctions were omitted from the Covenant of the League. Had these been included the first step toward immediate quantitative limitation of armament would have been taken. As it was, the opportunity to introduce this practice as a possible solution or antidote to the unlimited expansion of world armaments passed out of the power of the League to effect immediately, and the process under League direction became one which must extend over a long term of years. The ability to make immediate material consolidations and reductions having passed from the League, the problem was left much as it was before 1914. In pursuance of an awakened world interest, the League with others then set to work to marshal and consolidate the moral sentiment of the world against aggressive war as a profitable instrument of state policy, while it worked at leisure upon the quantitative factors of armaments reduction under the general name of disarmament. The Briand- Kellogg Peace Pact resulted.
Since we were the first at the time of the Washington conference to attempt, from the quantitative angle, a practical solution of this problem, some digression may be permitted now in order that our motives may be better understood. So often in the past have we been misjudged when we have put forth a proposal, that a better understanding of us as a people is necessary for those who handle the problems of international relationships, if progress is to be made. We have grown from a small nation to a very powerful one. The growth has been steady and sure. We did not know our own strength until the World War, and Germany sadly underestimated it then to her own undoing. In so many countries the power has been vested in government that they forget that with us, under a liberal but essentially practical Constitution, it is vested in the people. Our countrymen have wielded this power so long, even if in a rather happy-go-lucky way, that they are not afraid of any new experiment, or that any of the rights they may have delegated to government can be abused beyond certain limits of toleration. In time of a great war, as was shown in the last one, our chief executive becomes in reality the most dominating personality in the world, with all the resources of a great state back of him to the limit, once the country is aroused. We do not use the methods of propaganda to awaken unwisely the impulses of our people against others. First, it is unnecessary; moreover, we are unafraid of anything in this world. Perhaps this is what makes us so slow to act, prevents us from hurrying in our preparations when prophets tell us that an emergency has arisen. Wise men, however, will think long before they carelessly flout the power of this great state, for it is hard to stem the tide once the sentiment of our people is aroused by the clarion call of a great cause. Those who neglect this warning play with fire. They who think us soft have only to read the annals of our Civil War.
As a nation we are composed of various racial elements and do not entirely understand ourselves; how, then, can it be expected that others will understand us? We pride ourselves on being idealistically minded, and to this claim we have some right, but no people who fought as we did, first to obtain and maintain a footing on a hostile and alien soil, and then to extend our holding through wave after wave of progressive expansion from the Atlantic to the Pacific, fighting constantly against odds of nature and man, can fail to become direct-acting and practical. However, in spite of the difficulties, we did attempt to establish one of the most idealistic forms of democratic society the world has known. This was first done when the Pilgrim Fathers set foot on our soil, many of whose ideals were embodied into our Constitution when we became a federal state. The practices and purposes of the congregation and the meeting-house became imbedded in our minds, and while religious in character at first, it was a short step for these principles to be associated with our concept of government, and for them to enter the realm of international relationships. Even the political battles waged between our two great parties are more matters of ways and means than they are variance in the matter of traditional principle. One outstanding characteristic of our line of thought and purpose is that we are opposed as a people to the application of military force when it can be avoided. We are disinclined to unite with national groups to enforce a joint will through the invocation of military sanctions. We are in favor of settling disputes by arbitration and through the agency of the conference. We are not antagonistic to the thought of joining with others to produce a united moral force. We believe that good results can be accomplished better through the agency of co-operation, than by any acts of direct alliance.
A young state in an old world, a state started first in the wilderness and then expanded and improved until today, despite all the difficulties confronting it, despite all the difficulties confronting it, despite the present economic crisis, despite the fact that in our rapid growth and expansion we became the melting pot of the races of Continental Europe, it is one of the great nations of the world with a reserve of power which has enabled it to stand firm like a great tree deeply rooted in the soil. It may bend to the gales which sweep it, but it has not broken and will not break, though the storms of battle and of economic stress tear wildly at its roots. The people who first came to our shores were of the pioneer type; God-fearing for the most part, even if narrow in their views and having little of the culture which characterized western and southern Europe. They were fighters and possessed the ability to press forward in whatever enterprise they undertook, carrying with them their ideals. They were dissatisfied with the conditions left behind and set themselves the task of founding a great democratic state, where all men should be free and equal, and where the path of progress through the ages should be marked by the gradual uplift of the plane of life for all men, morally, economically, socially. Such a concept waged in adversity and against great odds is character building and America has a character of its own which is not understood by others and only partially glimpsed by many of our own people. We battled our way through the wilderness leaving behind us great areas to be converted into fertile and productive farm lands. We crossed the Seven Seas in search of trade. At a later period we turned to industry and developed facilities comparable to the finest systems in the world. Possibly we moved too fast then for there flowed to our shores a racial product which did not represent the highest type of what Europe could produce. Europe began to look upon us as a mongrel nation, and so do the orientals of a purer racial cast. What of this? The golden land of opportunity became the mecca of those that were weary and heavy laden, and they came, the weak and the strong, the bad and the good, to cast their fortunes in the new land and to leave a heritage for their children better than the birthright which was theirs in their native land. Out of every phase of America’s struggle onward to a definite goal there have emerged great leaders. In their review of American character all are prone to forget the past in the cleaner-cut picture of the present and, with this definite picture before them always, too little heed to the future is given. Remember, however, that in the onward progress of life while the face of thoughtful America is set toward that goal, peace on earth, good will toward men, a goal which never will be reached, for it is not so ordained in the book of life, we must not forget that this onward march is the practical step-by-step process never putting the foot farther ahead than where it rests on solid ground. Let us not forget, and in the end we will not, that this constant struggle has been given to us that we might develop a national character; that it was not given that we might lead lives of personal ease at the expense of others, but that slowly and surely we may raise the plane of life of our democratic state as America moves on to its predestined purpose. The specter of the amalgamation of alien races, if considered thoughtfully, gradually fades into the background before the moral force of this purpose. Do not let our thoughts be disturbed too greatly by the distressing problems of the present. Others not knowing us for what we are, forgetful of the past, thoughtless of the future, but with eyes fixed on the present, see in most of our leaders today and in many of our people a reincarnation of the spirit of Shylock. They look upon us as selfish moneygrubbers who have made of Mammon a god; but no thoughtful man who gives heed to the history of this country can fail to see that this accusation is false, or at worst is but a passing phase in the evolution of our state. The enthronement of wealth would be impossible of accomplishment as a permanent policy, even if desired by a small minority. We have no special classes with roots of inherited privilege extending into the dim past of tradition. The struggles we have gone through as a growing state built for the people would prevent it. In the process of our development fortunes have been made, but they have been incidental to our growth. Money is not the goal of the average American. It is but a means to an end, and while to the individual who accumulates wealth it means power, ultimately there are forces at work here stronger than individual desires and the acquisition of money as an end in itself cannot endure permanently. We cannot make of it a god and never have. The genius of America is constructive and purposeful. It is not negative, it is not radical, nor is it ultraconservative. Free as we have been, luckily, from so many of the complexities which have beset the international relationships of European states, we have grown slowly and surely into the world position we hold today. The various proposals and statements of principle which we have made in the past, and which we will in all probability make in the future, are what seem to be fair attempts to solve certain problems on the face value of things as they are and as we believe they should be. The matter of ulterior motive enters very little into our calculations. It is difficult for others to understand this unless instinctively they can grasp the essentials back of the growth of our federal state and behind the gradual development of our American character within the state. We enter the arena of world politics young and untried, impulsive and direct, lacking many of the accomplishments which go with long diplomatic training. We have all the faults and growing pains of youth. Frequently we have been unpardonably rude and brusque, giving too little weight to the feelings, opinions, and rights of others. We lack the cultural background of older, more established social groups, but we do have honesty of purpose in all of our undertakings and we are fearless of consequences once we believe we are right. We preach peace from the housetops and believe in it as an ideal state toward which we should strive, but, if goaded into action through a sense of injustice and thoroughly aroused, we are about as dangerous to tread on as it would be to step with bare feet on a live rattlesnake, for then we strike with all the power that lies within us. Those who may think that our American women are peace-at-any-price products had better give the subject mature thought. They will cling to the banner of peace as long as it is possible to keep it flying, but let someone trample it in the dust and you have aroused a fighting spirit which carries on until death overcomes it. Read the record of the last war. It was the spirit of American womanhood which gave their sons, and kept the flow going to the front to fight for what they considered a great cause.
On November 12, 1921, at ten-thirty o’clock, the first plenary session of the Washington conference for a limitation of armament was held in Memorial Continental Hall. It is needless to go into the details of this conference. The motives inspiring it are to be found in the opening speech of the President of the United States, the last two paragraphs of which the liberty is taken of quoting:
I can speak officially only for our United States. Our hundred millions frankly want less of armament and none of war. Wholly free from guile, sure in our own minds that we harbor no unworthy designs, we accredit the world with the same good intent. So I welcome you, not alone in good will and high purpose, but with high faith.
We are met for a service to mankind. In all simplicity, in all honesty and all honor, there may be written here the avowals of a world conscience refined by the consuming fires of war, and made more sensitive by the anxious aftermath. I hope for that understanding which will emphasize the guaranties of peace, and for commitments to less burdens and a better order which will tranquilize the world. In such an accomplishment there will be added glory to your flags and ours, and the rejoicing of mankind will make the transcending music of all succeeding time.
Who can doubt the sincerity of this utterance, or that he spoke for America? Yet before the end of the conference the same old jockeying for advantageous position came to pass with the result that the conference was only a partial success. Agreements to limit tonnage included but the two types of naval craft, battleships and aircraft carries. Military armaments were not touched and at least one of those countries which say around the table left Washington dissatisfied. Even the sincerity of our motives was viewed somewhat skeptically, but could it be otherwise to those not accustomed to such direct methods? It was a breath of fresh air in the old school of diplomacy. It was a great and noble experiment and on the whole more good came out of it than harm. It was probably all that could be accomplished at the time, and undoubtedly the indirect were greater than the direct results arrived at through the process of quantitative limitation, for it did lighten competition somewhat, it did bring America and Great Britain closer together, and it did for the time being ease a somewhat acute situation growing in the Pacific and Far East. It is pardonable that many of our naval men should feel that we had, to use a slang expression, “been done in” for they saw only our own sacrifices, 28 per cent finally completed of the finest tonnage ever laid down in a naval program scrapped and thrown to the winds and $169,627,374 given away. Article XIX of the naval treaty forbade us fortifying our naval bases and island possessions in the Far East. No other country made the same commensurate sacrifices. What they did not see was the dream behind the project, and the fact that acceptance of the principle of quantitative limitation involved a change in our naval building and operating policies, and if carried to a logical conclusion should help to better international relationships. The older building policy of the General Board was sound under the competitive system of building. It was one to which a return may have to be made if conditions are unfavorable for the continuation of the limitation scheme. It is eminently fitted for a rich country like ours if others will not choose the way of arbitration and thoughtful restraint, for the power of the purse is a potent power indeed. Can any country imagine that in the race of competitive armament we could not outstrip the best if our people were so minded, and as they would be if pushed too far, or if they felt that their efforts through the proper executive channels for a saner viewpoint towards armaments were to be looked upon as child’s play. However, for the present we have accepted the restrictions imposed by limitation and are endeavoring to make our building policy conform to this new order with, as some think, the sincere belief that the conception of limitation, if applied fairly to all forms of armament and accepted by all nations in the same spirit with which we accept it, will help to prolong the peace of the world as well as to very appreciably reduce the financial burdens entailed in the upkeep of all armaments beyond those strictly necessary. We are giving the scheme a fair tryout, for it is one of the ways in which a greater sense of security can be given to the world as its effect is to increase the potency of arbitration versus the way of aggression and force. However, if from fear, suspicion, or any other cause, no further tangible results are to be gained, or the result is to be that America curtails armaments while others build, and we alone are to be the sufferers, then it is time for us to take account of stock and make our arrangements accordingly. We might as well face the truth frankly and say it.
Following the Washington conference, a naval conference was held at Geneva in 1927 in an attempt to bring into line those types of naval craft left unrestricted at Washington. No results were achieved there; the only accomplishment was a little hard feeling, and some of the good work of the previous conference was undone. However, following this abortive attempt to reach some definite results in the matter of limiting the tonnages of the lesser naval combatant craft, we laid down a program which contemplated building twenty-three of the finest 8-inch cruisers ever seen in modern fleets. The way was now paved for the London conference which was held in 1930. No other nationals, except Americans who hold to the same opinion as Theodore Roosevelt that in dangerous times it is well to “speak softly and carry the big stick,” and who wish to see us build and maintain a navy adequate for our purposes, wanted to see these particular ships or their equivalents completed.
The London naval conference was held in the winter of 1930, and this time definite agreements were reached by the three sea powers, Great Britain, Japan, and the United States, extending those reached in Washington in 1922 to cover all types of combatant craft to the effect that, as between these three countries, limitation of naval armament was now in force, not only in principle, but in practice. France and Italy could not be brought into the agreement pertaining to cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, and Japan was not satisfied with the cuts made in submarines. It now became necessary for us to two things: (1) to reorganize the fleet and (2) to lay down a program for new construction on the lines of the treaties entered into. The first we accomplished; the second was never started except on paper, due to two causes, first, the economic depression which about this time struck America in full force and, second, the further efforts toward disarmament begun by the League of Nations. As a result of these various naval and other conferences, and in view of momentous world crises, certain things to be evident to those who thought about the matter: (a) That naval limitation had gone far enough unless commensurate reductions were made in military establishments, for the two taken together from the force which wages war, and of the two, military force is essentially the more aggressive in character. To be effective it must lay foot on foreign soil, while the effective factor of sea power is pressure; (b) that having made treaties regulating armaments, they became obligations to live up to, as well as not to exceed, for the failure to live up to this obligation, expensive as it might be, may disturb the balance of power and thus upset the peace of the world, one of the ends the treaties were striving to attain; (c) that armaments in themselves were not the causes of war, but the means taken to put into effect definite policies; (d) that the causes of the present-day, modern war are economic; (e) that the peace of the world could not be assured by pursuing the disarmament idea indefinitely without an adjustment of many other related factors; that in fact, if carried to unreasonable lengths, it was either provocative of war, or left the world impotent to take adequate measures to police itself against lawless acts; (f) that the first appreciable benefit attributable to limitation of armament lay in the reduction of expense going toward the upkeep of military establishments. Strange to relate, the country most able to stand this expense was on of the foremost advocates of the system.
While America had taken the path of direct action in the attempt to find determinative ratios in the matter of the arms limitation problem, the League of Nations, mainly under the leadership of France, approached the problem from another angle. It seems fair to say this approach followed the lines of the older statecraft governing the interrelationships of European states. Herein lies the fundamental difference between its method of approach to the problem and ours; it favors a solution by which security is afforded through alliance, or by the coercive action of a single body such as the League of Nations. We favor a solution based upon the agreements of free individual states. The ends in view are probably the same; we think results can be achieved more quickly our way. A somewhat closer analysis indicates that there are speaking broadly, three major ways of approach in the attempt to solve world problems leading to or resulting in war. Naturally within these three spheres of action there are various ramifications and bypaths. The first is the direct-dealing way of aggression and force used by the individual nation or alliance of nations against others, a method antedating the last war, and one the world is trying to circumvent. While it is flexible and permits of change, natural or unnatural, it is too aggressive and embodies all of those undesirable features which the world is trying to avoid. The second is the way of the League of Nations. This concept has many desirable features and seems to be adapted to suit Europe’s needs for a limited period; its covenants are open and not secret. However, even if the incorporation of the military sanctions within the Covenant of the League were an immediate necessity in order to avoid war, this in the end would lead to an unnatural fixation of the status quo of the balance of power of the various European states, and the Versailles Treaty would become in the nature of a sacred document, working counter to the natural law of change and advance. Without military sanctions the League becomes a flexible, moral body with which we should naturally, working along our own independent way, come closer to in principle. The third is the direct way of arbitration and is the normal way of American choice. It is natural, flexible, permits of individual or co-ordinate action, gives time to cool off when minds are heated, and it is progressive. It makes allowance for normal and natural world changes. It is sufficiently flexible to permit us to assimilate ourselves with certain phases of the second way, and as a last resort, but as a last resort only, it does not preclude our adopting the first method, if conditions force us to adopt it. Is there not a point where the paths cross, where there can be a meeting of the minds? There must be, or else the question of world disarmament becomes an idle gesture, a noble experiment, but a practical failure.
The conference on disarmament under the aegis of the League of Nations met in the winter of 1932. From the beginning it was doomed to be unsuccessful if it followed along the old well-worn path dictated by European state strategy. Fearing to tackle the real heart of the problem, which from the economic point of view is quantitative reduction, much time was spent in the discussion of definitions which in ten long years of work might have been settled before this. The conference had almost reached a stalemate, when once more the subject was given new life by another American proposal. In June of 1932, President Hoover made his straightforward proposal to all nations assembled at Geneva. Had it come at a time when the world was not in the midst of an economic crisis, it would have received from thoughtful men free from suspicion, fear, and aggressive intent, greater acclaim than it did receive. It was direct, purposeful, and reasonably simple of accomplishment, had all powers the will to accomplish it. For the first time an attempt had been made to reconcile the two different viewpoints towards limitation of armaments, for while it made a straightforward bid for quantitative reduction in all arms, it left the way open in the statement of principles for a rapprochement of ideas. It was the first time that reduction in all arms had ever been embodied in any substantial proposal, or that the interlocking relationship of all arms to each other had been definitely and specifically stressed in a practical program. The strength of the proposal lies in its statement of principles. The practical utility of it as an economic factor in world life lies in its quantitative suggestions. The President said in enunciating his statement of principles:
I proposed that the following principles should be our guide:
(1) The Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact, to which we are all signatories, can only mean that the nations of the world have agreed that they will use their arms solely for defense.
(2) This reduction should be carried out not only by broad general cuts in armaments but by increasing the comparative power of defense through decreases in the power of the attack.
(3) The armaments of the world have grown up in general mutual relation to each other. And, speaking generally, such relativity should be preserved in making reductions.
(4)The reductions must be real and positive. They must effect economic relief.
(5) There are three problems to deal with— land forces, air forces, and naval forces. They are all interconnected. No part of the proposals which I make can be disassociated one from the other.
Based on these principles, I propose that the arms of the world should be reduced by nearly one-third.
As a matter of figures the following are roughly correct: To maintain and operate a treaty navy for one year on the basis of the Washington and London treaties approximately $357,000,000 is required (yearly increase under same, $96,000,000) total $453,000,000. To maintain and operate a navy for one year under the President’s proposal to Geneva approximately $325,000,000 is required (yearly increase under same $69,000,000) total $394,000,000. Difference between the two schemes roughly $59,000,000 a year. Probably a one-third cut in military establishments by those countries which maintain large forces would amount to a goodly figure.
This proposal was accepted as the basis for future discussions but up to the date of writing this article, December, 1932, no definite agreements of major importance have been reached.
In the meantime in the Far East a state of affairs had sprung up in Manchuria and at Shanghai where war was being waged without war having been declared. Blunt sailormen are less concerned with the legal technicalities of the case than they are with the facts. The plain fact is, that what is equivalent to war is taking place at a time when the outside world is in the most unfavorable position that it has been in since the World War to enforce the peace machinery erected to stop war; also that the so-called “Twenty-one Demands” were made under somewhat similar conditions; that the Manchurian and Shanghai episodes happened at a time when the participants to the quarrel were also members of the conference for disarmament being held at Geneva. Irrespective of any justification for those acts, what a peculiar state of affairs the whole picture presents. Is it strange that the people of our country are wondering why it should have happened at this time and in just this way? They are wondering if all nations mean peace when they talk of peace as an end to be sought for. What is the use of an attempt at limitation of armaments if the net result is to bring the peace lover to such a pass that he has deprived himself of the means of self-protection or endangers his positon if war starts? Every sane man realizes that if war begins in any locality of the world where blood runs hot, then the danger of a world conflagration always is imminent. We are wondering whether treaties are sacred things or are merely convenient promises, valid today, worthless tomorrow. And if so, what is the position of the Washington and London treaties, are they really good for anything? If their major purpose, which is thoughtful restraint thereby helping to stabilize the condition of peace, is frustrated, why should we, a powerful nonaggressive country, in our efforts to achieve an unattainable goal, that of peace, put fetters upon ourselves, tying our hands and rendering them incapable, when if free, no hands could be made more capable to render useful service if we choose? We are wondering is there no way out of the dilemma, whereby the rights of all can be assured without the use of military force, a dangerous expedient, and one openly disavowed by all except in the case of self-defense. To those who look at present events in the lights of what happened just before the World War, it would seem almost as though a leaf had been torn out of the book of German statecraft and military strategy. Is it true that the use of military force is a safer, saner policy to advocate than the more moderate, if slower, process of arbitration and conciliation brought into being since the war as the guiding impulse of a world full of people who suffered terribly from the effects of war? If the policy of the mailed fist is still to govern national statecraft instead of the more moderate methods of arbitration and conciliation, what is the use of world courts or of limitation of armament treaties? What are their decisions but idle gestures, scraps of paper?
Granting even all the claims stressed under the term necessity, is there no way out, no way to find a solution for this problem, a solution which will be just to those most intimately concerned and will satisfy the rest of the world, some way short of war. For war it is, as so stated in the Lytton report, viz.:
It is a fact that without a declaration of war a large area of what was indisputably the Chinese territory has been forcibly seized and occupied by the armed forces of Japan, and has in consequence of this operation been separated from and declared independent of the rest of China.
This report seems to be such a sane attempt to find a solution to the problem that it must give level-headed men pause to consider before they act contrary to the judgments pronounced. Merely to point out briefly the path along which a solution may be found, after discussion at length of the different phases of the problem the report says:
We suggest in the first place that the Council of the League should invite the governments of China and Japan to discuss a solution of their dispute on the lines indicated in the last chapter.
Finally we suggest that the results of these discussions and negotiations should be embodied in four separate instruments:
(1) A declaration by the government of China constituting a special administration for the three Eastern Provinces, in the terms recommended by the advisory conference.
(2) A Sino-Japanese treaty dealing with Japanese interests.
(3) A Sino-Japanese treaty of conciliation and arbitration, non-aggression, and mutual assistance.
(4) A Sino-Japanese commercial treaty.
This baby is now in the lap of the League of Nations. What will be done about it? We are not members of the League but we are interested parties, however, to this extent at least, that we would like to know whether it is the way of arbitration or the way of force which is going to prevail, for as a nation with contacts all over the world the ultimate decision cannot help affecting us in one way or another. Would those who were responsible for the 1914 catastrophe, if they had to do it all over again, choose the way of the sword or the way of arbitration? Which course would have been the wiser to follow? Did a single world power gain by the war in the end? The year 1932 speaks for itself and is its own lesson for those who would read.
Without attempting to condemn or to condone any recent acts, or to prejudge the merits of the case, and in the utmost friendliness to all concerned, the fact remains that recently there has come to the surface actively an old problem which demands a solution, if solution be possible. What most people are wondering about today is, how is it to be settled? Will it be along the lines antedating the last war, when the ultimate solution was force, or is it to be along the path of arbitration and conciliation, which has been the guiding principle back of most treaties entered into in the last ten years? American thought is clear upon this matter and has not deviated much from the time of the founding of our nation. As a guiding principle we believe in the method of arbitration and conciliation as opposed to the principle of the imposition of force. There is undoubtedly an overwhelming support for this point of view today from the lesser nations of the world.
Despite the dissensions which creep into the discussions going on today in the disarmament conference held at Geneva, there seems to be a leaning toward the quantitative American point of view in relation to armaments which in all probability would become more unanimous could security be assured during the period of change from the old order to the new. After all, the goal to be attained remains the same, even if the methods differ. Ours is the more direct and immediate method of approach, the other is the cautious step-by-step way, induced by a well-founded fear having centuries of strife behind it, that to move too hastily toward the desired objective would not only retard its attainment, but perhaps bring on an immediate period when chaos might reign. It is not a complete answer to our efforts to say that we of all the more powerful nations can well afford to take a very liberal and perhaps radical point of view since we are the most secure. The fact remains that from a purely nationalistic point of view, we probably have the most to gain, in a selfish sense, by a return to the old order of things, where might right and devil take the hindermost. With our traditional attitude towards neutrality coupled with the power of choice given to us by the possession of a huge armada, when matters reach the danger stage it would be strange if our position were not a favorable one, especially as we could not be dragged into a war against our own choosing. On the other hand, it seems fair to say that of our own free will we will never incite or start major war. We will not take advantage of the weakness of another nation, due to whatsoever cause, in order to strike her at a disadvantageous moment, even though a state of strained relations existed. This may not be good military strategy, but the American people have a psychology of their own, and we think that the advantages to be gained by utilizing the military factor of surprise is more than offset by the adverse moral sentiment created both in this country and elsewhere. We are not a military people, warlike minded, and for that reason or others, will never be as well prepared at the outset as nations differently situated, but if we are judged solely by the peace and disarmament speeches one hears throughout our country, a grave error is liable to be made. You have but to look at the record of our Civil War, also of the World War, to learn that once our country is aroused it will fight to the bitter end, and fight fiercely and long regardless of losses of men or money. It is not wise to count on the effect pacifist groups in this country have in counter acting the popular voice, once the mass of our people is thoroughly aroused. It would not amount to a whisper in a gale of wind, for while the bulk of our countrymen are not militaristically minded, never were, and in all probability never will be, this in the past has not stopped them from urging that most drastic steps be taken once their sense of injustice is aroused or when they deemed that a great national emergency demanded it. Our military men consider it an unwise policy to play on the psychology of fear, or to use other methods which are not sound to stir up a people, if you wish to keep the peace. They never attempt it, knowing that if a just cause exists, it, of its own force, will make our countrymen arise overnight and may start an avalanche of public sentiment no one can stop. You have merely to remember what happened at the time of the blowing up of the Maine in Havana Harbor, or look at the wave of resentment which swept over the country last winter when the details of the Ala Moana case in Hawaii were released to the press, or note the sentiment which sweeps over the country during a presidential election, to realize that it is not difficult, given the proper setting, to arouse this country to great heights of enthusiasm. The facilities for spreading news and its organization are so perfected that from North to South and East to West, from one ocean to the other, it is but a matter of minutes before the entire country is awake to what is happening.
What is the purpose of this essay? It is a plea for sanity and common sense and a warning of what may happen if these do not prevail. It is a hope that by frank, friendly analysis of conditions so far as they can be visualized, we may all come to a better understanding with each other and face the future determined to do what is right and fair by ourselves and by each other whatever the problems that present themselves may be. We must hold to this spirit unswervingly as a guiding principle, even though the solution of each question as it comes before us must be solved in a practical manner, suited to the conditions that exist in the world at the time the matter comes up. No other way seems possible if the world is to make orderly, peaceful progress forward. We must not falter because we fail of perfection, for never will that be achieved in this world, and if achieved, progress would stop. But each generation of men can do something and that something should be tried, even though the process be slow and carried on step by step. The two extreme paths open to us in the march ahead of world progress are the way of arbitration, conciliation and compromise, and the path of war. Based on the history of the past the latter road seems inevitable and perhaps it is. Almost all military and practical men of this day feel somewhat this way about it. The idealist and the dreamer feel otherwise; they think that a ban can be placed on war and that it will be effective. Not so until the moral and intellectual planes of the world are much higher than they are today. Yet these idealists are not wrong; they may be impractical, but no great advance has ever been made without its dreamer. Neither is the extreme military reactionary entirely wrong. Each is right from his own point of view, but it is only the practical, constructive mind which can furnish adequate solutions in the step-by-step process of real world progress. Disarmament, the world fetish of the moment, is no panacea for the world ills, nor will it even stop war. The best we can do at present is to prescribe limits to armaments, that they may not become over burdensome, and that they may not induce fear, suspicion, and unwise competition. But even so in this present-day world, there are rational limits which must be placed upon the progress of disarmament else the world move too fast and the result be chaos. The best thing then which limitation has done is to be the signpost to guide this and other generations of men along one road to a correct solution of world problems, some of them being of greater importance even than the question of disarmament. The solution of our economic problems in a manner satisfactory to the present age will not stop war. It only postpones it, puts it a day further into the future. Even though the structure of most modern wars rests on an economic basis, this is only one of the top layers of the foundation. The entire structure which the world has erected rests on society, and because the world looked upon as one great society is not founded to cope adequately with the present-day needs, the entire structure totters when great upheavals take place. It is useless to talk of the abolition of war just so long as major social problems remain unsettled. No such medicines as complete disarmament, tariff revisions, economic adjustments, settle finally the disturbed conditions of the world today and as they will continue to be until the knife cuts deeper. Each nation now must defend its right to live and to march forward through the ages, in an orderly and peaceful fashion, if that be possible, along the straight path of arbitration, conciliation and compromise, but if that be not possible, then along the road of force, each nation taking such steps as it deems best to preserve its own interests. Mass production as a principle has crept up from the sublying strata into those above it and, stimulated to a large extent by the World War, shows now its direful effects in the economic fabric of the world where, under the impetus of science, the machine has crept in and supplied most necessities in this so-called industrial age, to the great undoing of those who must work with their hands. Then the machine, like great armies and navies, had to turn and fight other machines. The symptoms of world sickness were detected first in the active agencies which are used against each other when open warfare is declared, viz., our armed military and naval forces. Then the principle of limitation, or may we coin the expression “thoughtful restraint,” was tried out on these same armed forces. Those who could not see beyond their noses thought a world cure had been found and disarmament became the slogan of the day. How shortsighted that an excellent principle should be abused and so limited in its scope of action.
Let the reader of this article make no mistake in thinking that the writer in his statement that the social problems form the substrata upon which other problems rest is in sympathy with the present Russian method of solution. Their government and the methods it pursues are the direct antithesis of many of the things we advocate. It is an oligarchy, that is, a government by the few in the interest certain special classes. It is not the government of a free people, freely expressing their will at the polls. There is not given equal opportunity for all men to progress nor is individual initiative encouraged as it is under our methods. It has frankly denounced the ascendancy of the spiritual over the material things of life, and has made of material a god. It has advocated mass production and has resorted to the method called dumping in order to assure its material ascendancy. It has thrown overboard many of its legal obligations. The relationship of the sexes to each other is founded on a different concept toward life from the one which we believe in with the family as the fundamental integer of society. In the past, it has resorted to the method of propaganda to disseminate its doctrines in a way which we consider to be not open and above board and it has encouraged world revolution for the purpose of overthrowing other established governments and substituting its own system instead. Aside from the first direful effects of world anarchy, even though it be claimed the governmental and social structures of other nations need purging, there can be no assurance, after the clouds of revolution have disappeared, that the acceptance of the communistic principle would lessen the chances of war between groups racially and spiritually dissimilar, and economically and socially at variance with each. We believe that the American system is better and that our method of handling spiritual, international, economic, and social problems is sounder and more practical.
All that has gone before in this discussion is background, but it goes to show that the problem of armament is by no means the simple problem many people would have you believe. Statesmen, economists, and military men all play their technical roles, but the question is still one of many and varied ramifications. Even China, though not militarily aggressive, at heart peaceful, and at present playing no prominent role in the discussions going on at Geneva in the matter relativity of armaments, and is so badly organized that she can neither help herself nor help others. She has her own individual problems and their correct solution is of importance to others. But aside from analytical discussions, what we are much interested in is specifically what is going on at Geneva and elsewhere today for they force to the front many questions. One, not the least, is how far is it safe to go in limitation of armaments under the urge of financial stress, for that is the motivating power back of the attempt to limit arms now, more than pure altruism. A part of what we like to call altruism is indifference, though there is a real thread of altruism running though all of our proposals. Given the background of the world picture today and the adequate financial and economic support it might not take much for the pendulum to start to swing back again to its old place in the competitive scheme, should things break badly at Geneva now or later in 1936 at the next naval conference, or should we feel that our national security and just interests were seriously jeopardized by any acts on the part of others. On October 27, 1932, President Hoover gave the following statement to the press:
I take the occasion of Navy Day to remind the nation that the national defense is the first and most solemn obligation placed upon the federal government by the Constitution. Our people have ever been lovers of peace, and they have consistently pursued a policy designed to preserve national rights by peaceful negotiations wherever possible, rather than by resort to arms.
This administration has spared no reasonable effort to bring about an agreement of all nations upon a reduction of arms, upon the ratio agreed upon at the London naval conference. Our patience in these negotiations has never for a moment jeopardized the safety of the United States. These efforts are making progress.
If these efforts finally fail, we shall be compelled by reason of the disturbed conditions prevailing throughout the world and the necessity of protecting American commerce to build our Navy to the full strength provided in the London agreement, equal to that of the most powerful in the world.
I need scarcely suggest the vast expenditures that would be involved by that necessity, or the blow that it would deal to one of the most cherished aspirations of our people.
It might be well at this time to review how Congress reacted to the thought that the national defense of the nation is the first and most solemn obligation placed upon the federal government by the Constitution. In 1916 the World War was in full swing. In view of the grave danger to this country in case things went badly the Sixty-fourth Congress enacted the following legislation. We had no thought of entering the war then, but our neutrality was being violated, our rights were disregarded, and a state of affairs having come to pass which threatened to endanger our national security Congress authorized the following increase of the Navy:
For the purpose of further increasing the Naval Establishment of the United States, the President of the United States is hereby authorized to undertake prior to July 1, 1919, the construction of the vessels enumerated below:
Ten first-class battleships, carrying as heavy armor and as powerful armament as any vessels of this class, to have the highest practicable speed and greatest desirable radius; 4 of these at a cost exclusive of armor and armament, not to exceed $11,500,000 each, to be begun as soon as practicable.
Six battle cruisers, carrying suitable armor and as powerful armament as any vessels of their class, to have the highest practicable speed and the greatest desirable radius of action; 4 of these to cost exclusive of armor and armament, not to exceed $16,500,000 each, to be begun as soon as practicable.
Ten scout cruisers, carrying suitable protection and armament suited to their size and type, to have the highest practicable speed and greatest desirable radius of action; 4 to cost, exclusive of armor and armament, not to exceed $5,000,000 each, to be begun as soon as practicable.
Fifty torpedo-boat destroyers, to have the highest practicable speed and greatest radius of action; 20 to cost, exclusive of armor and armament, not to exceed $1,200,000 each, to be begun as soon as practicable.
Nine fleet submarines, 58 coast submarines, 1 repair ship, 1 transport, 1 hospital ship, 2 destroyer tenders, 1 fleet submarine tender, 2 ammunition ships, 2 gunboats, and 1 experimental submarine.
Total increase of the Navy heretofore and herein authorized, $139,345,287. Total number of ships, 154.
When we got into the war in 1917 and it was found that more destroyers were needed, Congress authorized the building of over 200 destroyers in addition to the building program outlined above.
On top of this was the creation and organization of our huge military machine, which no nation, not understanding us or realizing our resources, power, and indomitable purpose, once it was awakened, ever believed could be brought to the battle ground in France. But it was carried overseas and did good work there.
Speaking in all frankness, but with sincerity and in a spirit of friendliness, there are certain facts which no one can afford to ignore. The troubled condition of the times demand frankness, sincerity, and the willingness to co-operate. If these qualities are not kept to the fore in international relationships, trouble is sure to come. There is always good in every man and good in every nation and if public servants do not seek that good and endeavor to work with it, they are one the wrong path and the best results never will be attained. Too often the spirit of destructive criticism and negative action replaces the work of constructive building. Because mistakes are made is no reason to condemn the effort. Military men from their calling and training are prone to be conservative and their concern for the security of the nation sometimes leads them to consider their own immediate problems as of paramount importance at all times regardless of other things which must be taken into account. As a matter of fact, sometimes they are the most important, and sometimes they are not, and the broadminded naval man must learn to consider all sides of a question and to weigh and balance the evidence very carefully before he passes judgement. Frequently he must accept the dictum of others even in his own special realm, when a mandate is given by those who have to view national problems as a whole. This is the true spirit of co-operation and we are singularly fortunate in this country in knowing that this spirit will in the main always prevail. It enables us in dealing with world problems to approach them along the path of arbitration, compromise, and conciliation, which when back by our great natural power, gives us an assurance which perhaps it is correct to state cannot be felt by those whose natural tendency of action takes a more aggressive way. When we fail in an undertaking, which we attempt to settle by arbitration, we still have the resources and moral support of a great country behind us. When a purely militaristic country fails, it fails totally, for it is almost sure to lose the support of its own nationals, as well as that of the nationals of other countries. Sometimes the venture bankrupts them. This really was the way the last war went towards its close. Our way is more economical and in the end, for us, is perhaps just as efficient. Against this must be balanced, in a military sense, when danger impends, the value of quick assets and speedy returns from being always ready, knowing that unless these speedy returns are sufficient in themselves to amount to demoralization of our great power, we must win in the end. Hence the military man must in his judgements follow the wise, sane course; on the one hand he must not press his own opinions beyond reason, or he will antagonize public sentiment, and on the other he must not let his guard down too far. The statesman feels that the way of arbitration is better in the long run; the true military mind feels that preparation for an immediate emergency which may result in war is the only safe course to pursue. Under a competitive system of armament, or if any one nation runs wild, probably the latter is the safer path for us tread, but if all nations pursue a sane, orderly course of limitation then the nervous tension of all nations should be relaxed and we can with more assurance turn to the way of the statesman. Our immediate problem today, the one of greatest national import, is the return of this country to normal prosperity. It is more important now, even as a military asset, than is the accumulation of great armaments. The return of the world to normalcy is probably the most important problem facing it today. The necessity of righting conditions which if permitted to continue may result in throwing the whole world out of gear is apparent. Certainly we could not hope to benefit from a world condition of this sort, but the adjustments made must be so fair and just to all that no bitter feeling is engendered else the repercussion may be bad.
Having been the first to propose quantitative limitation, we can hardly be the first to propose scrapping it, even though mistakes will creep in, and though there may be constant effort to force us to accept conditions which from our point of view are not favorable. We are the sponsors of the plan and thus we can fairly combat any such suggestion as a change in ratios in practice, even though in theory admitting every nation the right to equality. Moreover, we have precedent behind us. Let us turn back the pages of history. In 1910 Germany had the most magnificent army in Europe, and was also building a great navy. In that year when Herr von Bethmann was trying to secure an understanding with England, Sir Edward Grey had written to the British Ambassador in Berlin “The mutual arrest or decrease of naval expenditures is the test of whether an understanding is worth anything.” In 1912, when the Haldane Mission was trying to arrive at some sort of political compromise between Great Britain and Germany, Grey told Metternich, the German Ambassador, that it would be impossible to sign any political agreement at the moment when both countries were making increased naval expenditures, because public opinion would regard this as inconsistent. The episode furnishes us with the attitude taken by a power which had only its navy to rely upon for its defense, versus a nation which had a great army and at the same time was trying to build up a great navy as Germany was trying to do before 1914. In 1913 Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed that Great Britain and Germany agree to a naval holiday for the period of twelve months. This suggestion was refused by Germany. The war proved that this great combination of force was not designed for defense but was built with aggressive intent; to use an old expression “to give Germany her proper place in the sun,” and that it played an important r61e in upsetting the equilibrium of Europe. We cannot lose sight of this memorable incident in history. It has made us quite convinced that no country can have the right to both a powerful army and a powerful navy in practice without grave danger of upsetting world equilibrium. Also we may have to combat such illogical proposals as the division of combatant types of ships into defensive and aggressive groups. This is pure nonsense and every naval man properly grounded in his strategical and tactical conceptions knows this to be so. It is the way combatant ships are used, not how they are built, that determines their defensive or aggressive qualities. Used offensively a submarine is more aggressive than a battleship used defensively, and if improperly used it is a world menace. Our great problem is to get Congress to look at the matter as naval men see it, that once a treaty is made, let the Senate provide a blanket authorization covering the terms of the treaty, and then for the House to pass a definite building program specifying year by year for the full time of the treaty just what shall be built and providing the necessary money in each year's appropriations.
But should some country be dissatisfied with the way the scheme of limitation is working, decide to break and go in for competition in naval building, what then? We do not have to worry about it if those who guide our destinies are wise men. We can change our naval policy of building to accord with treaty specifications and go in for straight competition under the policy outlined by the General Board years ago. The facts are, and it is well not to forget them, that while it might be a bad thing for the cause of peace under the leadership of limitation of armaments, if so be it that others decide the break must come, then it is playing into our hands for if we choose, and you have only to look at the past record to see what we can do, probably we could drive our competitors to the wall in the end and maintain peace by force if necessary.
Should war come in which we were participants, this short quotation from Lord Haldane’s book Before the War may give some inkling as to how we are regarded in the face of actual trouble: “May the lesson taught to the world by the determined entry of the United States into the conflict between right and wrong never be forgotten by the world.” It is not what we do in war, but what we are prepared to do before war which perplexes the world. If we are honest with ourselves we will have to face some unpalatable truths. First of all, as a nation we are not world minded. This has not stopped us from expressing opinions upon matters about which we have not given deliberate thought. If there be any doubt, read the bulk of our smaller news sheets and talk to the average man. There is great interest in local affairs; much less in world affairs. This attitude is reflected in Congress and naturally so, yet there never was a time in late history when the world, in this country and elsewhere, stood in greater need of real leadership, for the times are acute and a true understanding of world problems and decision to meet them is demanded if trouble is to be avoided. Fate has forced us to play a major role in world politics whether we desire it or not. We are in because we cannot help it and the best thing for us to do is to steer a wise course. We want to avoid war and so does every other sensible nation. Some of us think that if we keep out of the fight we keep out of war. We are just beginning to wake up to the fact that whether we actually declare war and shed blood or not, we are in it directly or indirectly, and that as one of the richest countries we pay the price and cannot help it. The best thing we can say about war is, “make it short”; about peace is, “keep it long.” What happened in the last war? Our decision was correct when we made it, but had it been made earlier probably the war would not have lasted so long and its evil effects would have been less. Today, in common with all countries we are paying the price for that delay. What are we doing now to help maintain the peace of the world? We do not seem to realize that we are one of the big cogs in the peace machinery, but that to be efficient we must do more than talk. We are a sound instrument of the present peace machinery, because even those who do not like us can hardly accuse us of aggressiveness except in speech.
Many of us regard ourselves as the proponents of disarmament, and because other countries do not follow our lead to the extent desired, we call them militaristic. Have these good ladies and gentlemen ever thought that some of these militaristic countries have paid the price in blood and gold over and over and that they are afraid they may have to do it again if they do not take adequate precautions? Most of them want peace and many of them would be willing to go as far as we can go if they dared. So in our criticism let us be reasonable and just. Now exactly what part are we playing as a cog in the peace machinery of the world, except to talk about it and to advance the project of limitation of armament and then more limitation? We are not in the League of Nations, no, so whether it be good or bad, our work in that direction must be limited. Are we willing to talk it over when affairs reach the danger point, that is confer, admit we are willing to go into conference about it? No, that might drag us into something. We do not know exactly what it might be, probably commitments or some kind of entanglement which we talk a lot about without specifying exactly what it is, so we do not wish to confer. Are we willing to accept a few decisions on international matters given by men chosen from around the world for their knowledge of the subjects they deal with and their outstanding reputations for character? No, we prefer to be very guarded there; it might let us in for something. But this is what we will do, we will tell you about the Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact. Then some skeptic asks what about it, will it do things, and we say yes it will; it is a great moral force. So it is, but we have forgotten one simple thing in connection with it as our contribution to the world’s peace machinery, a thing which seems self-evident to a nation determined to walk alone. We entered into two treaty agreements, one at Washington, the other at London. The Briand-Kellogg Peace Pact fell between the two and its efficacy as a moral force depends to a large extent upon whether we will live up to the obligations we assumed when we made those treaties, for the purpose was not only to cut down armaments, but to help prolong the peace. We have made every fair effort to induce other nations to reduce the levels set by the two naval treaties and to bring military force within the limitation scheme. If they do not accept our terms because they will not or dare not, there is nothing for us to do except to meet them on their own terms. Every day that we delay in bringing our fleet up to treaty strength, once we find out that other nations will not reduce to meet us, is a day lost and another blow to the prestige and efficacy of the world’s peace machinery, for our fleet is the one effective contribution which we can make to put teeth into the Briand- Kellogg Peace Pact.