- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 26 Nov 1925, p. 351-363
- Garnett, Dr. James Maxwell, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- What Locarno has meant to those in England. The view that war between civilized states can be finally got rid of in our lifetime. The world now six times smaller, for practical purposes, than it was one hundred years ago. The result of that shrinkage in a crowded continent like Europe: a steady increase in the volume of human affairs that can no longer be handled by governments of independent sovereign states individually. Instances throughout history where this has happened. The world war as a piece of unifying machinery. The illegality of settling disputes by fighting over them. The League of Nations, established to co-ordinate those pieces of international machinery to do for the world many of those things that could not be accomplished by independent sovereign governments independently; to promote international co-operation amongst those organizations. The League also formed for the purpose of preventing war, to achieve international peace and security. The progress that has been achieved, with one or two examples in the field of promoting international co-operation. Progress in terms of preventing war much less. How Locarno extended the spirit of co-operation and mutual help from other nations to Germany. The next result to bring Germany into the League; expectations as to when that may happen. The next steps to carry forward the process of disarmament, security and arbitration. The whole of the Locarno agreements directed to the reduction and limitation of armaments. The bi-lateral nature of the Locarno agreements. How the Locarno agreements have increased security along the frontier, but also added considerably to general security among the nations. Reflecting on what that means. How Locarno and Geneva made it abundantly plain that the lively support of public opinion was necessary for the completion even of the treaty-making process, essential for the implementing or enforcement of the Treaties when made. Locarno only the beginning. The need also to produce internal changes in the hearts and minds of the people. The need to develop a sense of world-citizenship, a sense of the solidarity of the international community. The widening of patriotism.
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- 26 Nov 1925
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AN ADDRESS BY DR. JAMES MAXWELL GARNETT, M.A., Sc.D., C.B.E.
Before the Empire Club of Canada, Toronto,
November 26, 1925.
PRESIDENT BURNS introduced the speaker.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Empire Club of Canada, what I have just heard about your Club makes me appreciate still more highly the honor you have done me in inviting me to speak this afternoon.
I am going to talk about Locarno, and let me begin by saying what Locarno has meant to us in England. I think it has meant this, that we are now able to look to our children without the awful dread that they are going to be killed by war, or that many of them are, as though they were suffering from some disease of which the symptoms would appear incurable when they were about twenty years old. We do not feel sure that they are cured, but we know that they are curable. We do not feel sure that another war will not come, but we know that it is not inevitable. (Hear, hear, and applause) Our view, as the result of Locarno and Geneva-and I will explain in a moment why I couple those names-our view is that war between civilized states can be finally got rid of in our lifetime.
Dr. James Maxwell Garnett is the Secretary of the League of Nations' Union of Great Britain. He was educated at St. Paul's School and Trinity College, Cambridge, and has had a very distinguished career as an educationist, and later as a publicist. His interest in and his work for the League of Nations' Union have qualified him peculiarly to write and speak on international affairs.
Let me begin by going back one hundred years, to the opening of the first railway in Darlington, England. Up till that time, during the time of the teaming-horses, it took people approximately the same time to cover the same distance in any moderately settled part of the island. Since the days of Caesar, couriers were able to get backwards and forwards between Rome and Britain in fourteen days, and our greatest historian of Roman Britain tells me that he thinks they could, by pushing, get through in twelve days. Well; in 1834, Sir Robert Peel happened to be in Rome when he got a message from the Duke of Wellington asking him to come to Britain as soon as possible in order to become Prime Minister, and with all the resources of those days it took him just twelve days to get from Rome to London--no appreciable change you see, in 1,700 years. Now, as you know, there are three methods by which you can do the journey in three days, or a shrinkage of six to one, arid if you like to go by aeroplane you can do it in six hours. If you take that proportion of six to one you will find that it applies pretty well all over. The world is six times smaller, for practical purposes, than it was one hundred years ago. The result of that shrinkage in a crowded continent like Europe has been just this, that there has been a steady increase in the volume of human affairs that can no longer be handled by governments of independent sovereign states individually. A hundred years before the outbreak of the great war there was not in existence one single bit of public international machinery through which governments could co-operate to do what they all wanted to do, but could not do separately and alone. During those one hundred years they were forced, almost against the wills of the governments, to invent different bits of international machinery for doing these things. Let me mention just one of them. When sailing ships were replaced by steamships on the high seas, it was not only goods and passengers but germs of disease that made the trip from Asia to Europe greater in danger than before. Epidemic after epidemic and plague after plague followed one another, and from about 1851 onwards it became pretty plain that we must have a union in the matter of quarantine laws and a system of administering them before we could get rid of the cholera. After that, every epidemic for forty years was followed by an international conference, and it was not until 1853, after a series of epidemics, that an international convention was signed for a uniform system of laws, and a court establishing an international system of administering them. There has been no cholera since that.
I could go on and tell you of the International Postal Union, the Conference for International Telegraphs, Wireless, and one thing after another, thirty-three of them came into existence immediately, and it was becoming plain to the governments just before the great war that something would soon have to be done to co-ordinate those thirty-three separate organizations and to provide for a much larger number of similar organizations that the continued shrinkage of the world and the continued interdependence of states would force into existence in the coming years.
Well, the world war brought about that piece of unifying machinery. It became clear, to the people of Europe, during the great war, that the shrinkage of the world which compelled us, or made it most desirable, to co-operate in those other matters in order to get rid of all that could be got rid of only by international action, would compel such action for the still greater scourge of war, which could only be got rid of in the same way. (Applause)
In the days of Elizabeth and in the days of George the Third, a private war between nations-I mean a war by a nation for its own ends-might be tolerated, like the rough justice of a western mining camp eighty years ago, when perhaps it was simpler to allow people who could not settle their quarrels peacefully to settle them by pistols on the spot than to initiate those methods of justice that involve the services of magistrates. Now, civilization has extended and population increased, and it is just as illegal to settle disputes by fighting over them, in every civilized part of the world.
Something of the same kind has happened with private international war. When Wellington could defeat Napoleon at Waterloo with an army of only 35,000 British and 40,000 allied troops, and settle the fate of Europe for a generation, war was an institution that might perhaps be tolerated; but when the great war killed 900,000 British soldiers and 9,000,000 men altogether, and caused 30,000,000 casualties, and when the increasing application of mechanical inventions had enabled armies to transport, feed and clothe the whole manhood of a nation in a few months, and the horrors had been increased by poison gas and aeroplanes and great guns, it became obvious to people that war as we now have it was an institution that must at all costs be got rid of. That is why the covenant of the League of Nations formed the first chapter of each of the first four treaties of peace.
The League of Nations, then, was established to co-ordinate those thirty-three pieces of international machinery to do for the world many of those things that could not be accomplished by independent sovereign governments independently; in short, positively to promote international co-operation amongst; those organizations. It was also formed for the negative purpose of preventing war, or, as it is stated in the Covenant, to achieve international peace and security.
The progress that has been achieved has astonished even the most sanguine prophets. Let me give you just one or two examples. As a result of the League's rescue of Austria, and of the financial reconstruction of Austria, that has been followed by the financial reconstruction of Hungary, the process was set going by the people of Europe, of which the result is just this, that whereas three years ago only three percent of the population of Europe were living in countries with stable currencies, today seventy percent of the population of Europe are living in countries where the currency is either gold or linked to gold, and most of the remainder are in countries where the currency during 1924 did not vary more than five percent (Applause) That means that the financial reconstruction of Europe is well on the way to completion. That opens the way to economic reconstruction so that it seems likely, though somewhat doubtful three years ago-that Europe is going to recover economically and financially from the last world war. Sir Arthur Salter, formerly secretary of the Allied Shipping Control, and then secretary of the Reparations Commission, and now secretary of the Economic and Financial Department of the League, who gave me those facts, added that he was quite certain, from his intimate knowledge of the situation, that Europe could never recover economically and financially from a repetition of the world war. But that is only one example of this business of the organization of peace. There has been the reparation of oppressed people, and seeing after women and children, the health work of the League, the responsibility that the League has assumed for minorities--100,000,000 people in Europe changed their nationality, changed their state, at any rate, as a result of the peace settlements; and then there has been the responsibility assumed by the League for some of the backward races of mankind.
In all these fields, or nearly all of them, much progress has been made, and the result of it all is that a spirit of co-operation and mutual help has been developed in Europe, so that those of us who were at the last Assembly of the League felt sure that the League has come to stay. As you talk to the members of the Secretariat you find an absolutely different atmosphere, a different sense of security, from that which obtained two or three years ago. Many of the ministers said plainly that the League was not only inevitable but was now an indispensable piece of international machinery (applause), and if you want their words to be proven by actions you will find it in the fact that apart from Italy and Spain-which just now are living under special regimes-practically every state in Europe that was a member of the League was represented at the last Assembly either by its Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary, or by both. (Applause)
In the negative department, of preventing war, the progress made is much less. As Mr. Chamberlain said at the last Assembly, the way to do is to get disarmament through security, and security through arbitration. There is not much disarmament, because the security has been doubtful, and the arbitration machinery established by the Covenant left a loop-hole for war. But in the actual, practical business of stopping war a beginning has certainly been made. You will have seen in the newspapers what happened in Macedonia only last month. You remember how Greece invaded Bulgaria. After a couple of days the Bulgars telegraphed to Geneva and asked the League to intervene. The telegram arrived at half-past eleven in the morning, and by half-past seven telegrams had been sent out calling a meeting of the Council for three days later. Nine out of ten members of the Council came to that meeting. There were present the French Foreign Minister, the British Foreign Secretary-in spite of the fact that he had been at Geneva, and had only come back from Locarno, and had had only three or four days to handle the accumulation of business-yet he went to Paris again to attend the Council of the League. The Swedish Foreign Minister actually flew in an aeroplane from Stockholm in order to be in time. (Hear, hear) The result of the meeting, which continued two or three days, was that five days later not a single Greek soldier was left in Bulgaria, and the war was over. (Applause)
Locarno has followed along the line of Geneva. When Mr. Chamberlain was still at Locarno negotiating the nine agreements, Prime Minister Baldwin said that the pact which Mr. Chamberlain would make would be framed in the spirit of the League's Covenant, and would be worked in close harmony with the League and under its guidance. On reading the text of those nine agreements you will see the League running right through the whole business, and you can see where the different ideas came from; you will find that nearly all of them originated with the League at Geneva during the past six years. The great thing that Locarno did was to extend the spirit of co-operation and mutual help from other nations to Germany. As one observer said, the negotiators began by treating one another as equals, and ended by treating one another as friends. (Applause) The next result is to bring Germany into the League, and I expect that will be accomplished in February next at the latest. After that are the steps taken by the Locarno agreements to carry forward this process of disarmament, security and arbitration. The whole of the Locarno agreements are directed to the reduction and limitation of armaments. When I was in the United States lately I was astonished that they had never seen in that country the final protocol of Geneva. The first of the nine agreements, the only one that was actually signed by the representatives of the Governments that were there, ends in this way:
The representatives of the Governments represented here declare their firm conviction that the entry into force of these treaties and conventions will hasten effectually the disarmament provided for in article 8 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and they undertake to give their serious co-operation to the work relating to this disarmament already accomplished by the League of Nations and to seek to realize therein the general agreement.
You will realize that security is a psychological matter, and if the French feel a security that will enable them to begin disarming it will result in an all-round reduction of armaments. From the standpoint of security the agreement of Locarno along the line of frontier is absolute.
May I add that the Locarno agreements are absolutely bilateral; whatever France gets Germany gets. It is not an agreement between five or six nations directed against another nation; but it is an agreement between themselves to go a little further than the rest of the world in carrying out the principles of the League of Nations. (Hear, hear) I remember Lord Grey saying to a meeting in London, just after Dr. Streseman had made the first offer of his allegiance to the Locarno Conference, that he had thought very much about the origin of the great war, and if he had to put his finger on any one thing that had caused it more than any other it was the fact that when Germany had defeated France in 1870 she formed a Triple Alliance directed against France for the keeping of France down; Mr. Chamberlain, who was present, expressed his entire agreement with that point of view. We owe it largely to Mr. Chamberlain that those agreements are absolutely bi-lateral; there is no idea of anything directed against any power in the world. (Applause)
But while the Locarno agreements have increased security along the frontier they have added considerably to general security among the nations, because I want you to reflect what it means. Every nation in Europe can feel that not only the British Foreign Secretary and the French Foreign Office, but the German Foreign Minister, too, will be present within a few hours to quench the smouldering fires of war wherever they appear in the future. (Hear, hear) Then, after disarmament and security and arbitration, the Locarno agreements are largely concerned with the provision of means for a peaceful settlement of international disputes between Germany and her enemy neighbors. As far as justiciable disputes are concerned, they are covered in the fifth paragraph of the Covenant as completely as they are by the agreements. Nonjusticiable matters are not quite closed, but are to a very considerable extent. Locarno, reinforced by Geneva, give us, as we think, good means for believing that we are not now far from agreements between governments to get rid of war--that is to say, nearly all governments except the Soviet Republics, United States of America, and Mexico and Turkey.
Locarno and Geneva made it ambundantly plain that the lively support of public opinion was necessary for the completion even of the treaty-making process. It is essential for the implementing or enforcement of the Treaties when made. Without it Governments cannot achieve arbitration or security or disarmament, and they certainly cannot get rid of war. Locarno, according to Mr. Chamberlain, was only the beginning. At Geneva Mr. Chamberlain and Lord Cecil both said that the British Government could not do more to carry out the wishes of some of the other governments there, to carry the League principals further, because they did not want to go beyond public opinion; and the fact is that the British delegation at Geneva last September was pretty severely criticized because it hung back in several respects, and was said for the moment to have lost the moral leadership of the League. I remember that one member of the British delegation, who was carrying out the British idea, not to go beyond public opinion, was the Duchess of Athol. She was called the Duchess of "Atol," and the distinguished head of the International Labour Organization and was anxious to get certain arrangements made for carrying on his organization, and the Duchess was opposing them as they came up, saying, "I think we cannot get that." At last Mr. Latoma exclaimed, "They call her the Duchess Atol; I call her the Duchess Not-at-all." (Laughter) When they got back to England Lord Gray said he thought they had done quite right in not going beyond public opinion, and added, "That is just where the League of Nations Union comes in; you have got to see to it that public opinion will let them go on a great deal further next year, and not only let them go, but encourage them to go a great deal further next year. (Applause)
Lord Cecil, who lead the British delegation after Mr. Chamberlain went back, had previously said at Liverpool last summer:
"I believe that the League of Nations Union has been in the past of incalculable value to the cause of the League of Nations. It is not too much to say that without the Union the League might not have survived, and it is almost certain that it would not have achieved the growth and remarkable success that has fallen to it."
Those are strong words, and of course I do not repeat them in order to boost my own society. I quote them because I know that here, as in other countries of the world, Lord Cecil is well known as a man who does not say more than he means. (Hear, hear) The truth is that any great and lasting change in,' human institutions can only be achieved by a two-fold process. You must have an external change in the rules or laws of society, and .you must have an internal change in the minds of most of the citizens who matter. (Applause) If you have the external change without the internal you get laws that cannot be enforced and treaties that are scraps of paper. (Hear, hear) So it is that if our generation is to put an end to war before another war puts an end to Europe, it is not enough to outlaw war by treaties and pacts and protocols; we have also to produce internal change in the hearts and minds of the people--the very change that in Greek is represented by the word mutano, and that is translated in our New Testament "repentance."
What is the change that is necessary? Well, it includes the development of a sense of world-citizenship, a sense of the solidarity of the international community. In Geneva the hall is larger than this, and it is very difficult to hear, but when the shorthand reporters miss a sentence they always write down "the solidarity of the international community,"--and it always fits in. (Laughter) People tell me that it is unpatriotic to develop a sense of world-citizenship. There are many countries in Europe that feel it is unpatriotic not to have a sense of world-citizenship. (Applause)
Then we have the widening of patriotism. In the case of England, that business in its early stages is familiar; for years we have aimed at widening the objects of patriotism so that it includes not England alone but the whole British Commonwealth of Nations. Then many people go on to widen the objects of patriotism still further, to include the whole English-speaking world, the League of Nations, and ultimately the whole world. When I speak of widening the objects of patriotism I would like to say that from the standpoint of psychology it appears to me that a group sentiment is created, is made and is largely influenced by education; it is not something that you can begin with; and so we are not just talking nonsense when we speak of widening the objects of patriotism. But the thing that we want to make, in pressing for this change in people's minds, is a faith that this world-wide war free society of nations will come only if we strive to the utmost. So our Society in England is working through schools and colleges and universities, through Churches, rotary clubs, labor organizations, women's organizations, and others. For our efforts we have this much authority, that the King has said
"Nothing is more essential than a strong and enduring League of Nations; that millions of British men and women stand ready to help if only they be shown the way. I commend the cause to all the citizens of my Empire." (Applause)
We take ourselves rather seriously. We look on ourselves as trustees in the sense of a gospel whose responsibility is great. We feel that we have a principle that can make the world free from war, and that we have to complete the trust that we hold, to the glorious day that will mark the end of war.
I remember Dr. Mott coming over from this side of the Atlantic to ours during the first two months of the great war, aid saying to a large audience in London that he would like to be alive during the ten years following the war rather than in any other decade in history. His feeling was that the people who would be alive then-who are alive today-would have an opportunity to serve their fellows such as had not fallen to the lot of mankind before. It seems to me that in building the Kingdom of God on earth we are dealing with a long and complex process. Just as in building a house you have to employ, first, the navvies to dig the foundations, and then bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, plasterers, electricians, plumbers and the rest, more or less in order, and just as you have, at a certain stage of progress, to finish one job lest the rest would not hang together, so in building the Kingdom of God there is a job that belongs specially to us that is different from the one that belonged to our fathers. Our job is to get rid of international war, and I believe we can do it if we consider our times, and particularly if we educate as much as possible. I believe we can do it if we properly reckon and appreciate our time and opportunity. (Loud applause, the audience rising)
HIS LORDSHIP, MR. JUSTICE RIDDELL, voiced the thanks of the Club.