PEACE AMONG THE NATIONS
AN ADDRESS BY HON. M. M. LOGAN, OF KENTUCKY.
28th February, 1930
MR. WILLIAM TYRRELL Introduced MR. LOGAN, who said: The biggest problem in the world is the working out of plans that will ensure peace-permanent and honourable peace among the nations.
I am proud that I am a citizen of the United States of America--yes--and I am also proud that I am a neighbour--a very close neighbour--to the citizens of British America. Our nations are two eagles flying together--unafraid of each other and unafraid of the nations of the world. It is, therefore, fitting that we should be what we are--living examples of peace.
If there should be those who say that we are pacifists, using that word in its present-day meaning-that we are afraid to face an enemy on any battle front-let them go read the records on the battle-fields of France and Flanders, and look up the graves scarce covered with grass--graves filled with the mouldering bones of valorous young men whose dauntless courage that was is to us a heritage and a lesson-a heritage in that they are of the ages because of their unmatched sacrifice on the altar of humanity--a lesson in that their sacrifice has brought into the world the idea branded on the hearts of men--that never again shall such a sacrifice be demanded of youth by the nations of the world.
If it be admitted that war is a necessary function of nations, likewise it must be admitted that society has taken its last step upward. At the zenith of civilization there can be no resort to war. 'Therefore, as long as nations resort to war, society is imperfect. Civilization is progressive in its character. The new heaven and the new earth, written about by the Saints of old, were, probably, no more than this earth of ours when civilization has reached its highest point.
Law has been gradually substituted for war since civilization was at its dawn. In the beginning the individual was without government or law. He sought out a favoured spot where he lived because of its natural advantages. These advantages consisted largely of food, water and shelter. No law protected him in his right of occupancy. There was no government to which he could appeal for protection. The weapons which nature gave him and the strength of his sinews constituted his equipment for war, both defensive and offensive. If another sought that which he claimed, he resorted to war. His life was one of constant warfare. In protecting that which he claimed as his, he waged defensive warfare, but if, perchance, he sought the favoured spot of another, he conducted a war of aggression. Then there was no way of settling disputes other than by war-individual warfare between man and man. Aside from his natural strength one individual had little advantage over another. There was no agitation over the size of armies and navies.
In the course of time the individual gathered about him a family. The members of the same family did not engage in warfare with one another. Rules were evolved for family government. These rules were the law, and they were substituted for war; hence, these were the beginnings of the abolition of war and the substitution of law. There was peace in the same household, but each family fought with every other family; there were more days of peace, but the battles involved a greater number of individuals.
Families grew into tribes. Members of the same tribe did not make war on each other. They were governed by tribal laws. Law took the place of war in the lives of a greater number of people. This was another step in the abolition of war. Law had made gains and war had suffered losses. But a tribe made war on other tribes. War had not been abolished. Law had been substituted for war on a larger scale, but there were no inter-tribal laws.
Tribes developed into states. Those familiar with the history of the feudal days in England will well understand the welding of small warring groups into a great state governed by laws. With the advent of states there was a further abolition of war. Law was forging its way to the front. The citizens of states did not war with each other, but the laws of a state governed only those within that state. States made war on each other.
Then came the confederation of states, resulting in the substitution of law for war in ever-increasing areas with ever increasing populations.
Should we say that any country is civilized if its citizens, as a settled policy, make war upon each other for the settlement of private rights? Should we say that any nation is civilized if it allows its citizens to make war upon each other in the settlement of internal controversies? Should we say that Ontario is civilized if she should allow groups of her citizens to obtain by force what they could not obtain in her courts of law? The citizens of the province look to the law for the settlement of all internal disputes. Dominions, a part of the British Empire, settle their controversies through procedure provided by dominion laws, and the citizens of one Dominion do not engage in warfare with the citizens of another Dominion, because British laws afford means of settling disputes between Dominions. So it is in the United States. Individuals submit their controversies to legal tribunals. If a citizen of one State has a grievance against a citizen of another State, he looks only to the law for relief. If one State has a controversy with another State there is no thought of war. The courts are the supreme power for ending disagreements. The judgment may take from an adversary a vast domain, but it requires no army to put the judgment into effect. An individual, clothed with the majesty and authority of the law, finds no resistance to his official demands.
Peace among members of the human race has been achieved and brought to its present state through a process of education and growth--through a better understanding of each other. He who says that law can not be substituted for war, denies that society is capable of further progress, and affirms that it has reached its zenith. If we measure the future with rules of knowledge gleaned from the past, we must conclude that he who argues that war must continue as one of the legitimate functions of national existence, is without the support of sociological history. Individuals, families and tribes engaged in war until law was established. Law prevents warfare among the citizens of the same nation. Law prevails in every part of the world and affords ample remedy for all wrongs except the wrongs of a nation against a nation. Society is divided into about sixty main groups called governments. Each of these governments has supplanted war with law within the component parts of the same government. If these sixty governments can agree upon a tribunal, or tribunals, with judicial powers for the determination of international questions of disagreement, civilization will have taken its last step in the abolition of war.
No one will contend that any international agreement will entirely eliminate violation of the laws made for the settlement of international controversies, but the nations, or the citizens of nations, who should violate the laws for the settlement of such matters would become outlaws, and they could be made to atone to the offended law. The laws governing citizens of a state are frequently violated by those disobedient to the laws, but organized society is behind the laws, and the punishment of offenders is measured by the laws themselves.
If the statesmen of the world are unable to establish a system of international laws regulating the offensive conduct of one nation toward another, and to erect tribunals for the administration and enforcement of such laws, there is little hope for a long continuation of the present cycle of civilization. If this cycle fails to achieve universal peace, there will be a recession into that darkness from which the human race has toiled upward through the painful years. Like Moses we stand on the mountain in sight of the Promised Land. Shall we take the other step, or shall we leave it to another age which, many thousand years in the future, may have again worked its way up from the depths?
It may not be actual war that destroys the nations of today. The mad race among them in preparation for war is probably as dangerous as war itself. The burden of it all rests on the bent backs of groaning humanity. Year after year the burdens grow heavier. A large part of the earnings of every citizen goes toward the payment of the costs. A large part of the time of every citizen is given in labour to support his government in its warlike activities. The increasing weight of these burdens is fast approaching oppression which has been the chief factor in the downfall of all nations. It always leads to revolution or serfdom.
It was said recently by President Hoover that it is possible to abolish poverty. If the money expended for and as a result of war should be expended for the welfare and happiness of the race, the result would be inconceivable. How useful it would be in the fostering of industries for the employment of millions; in the elimination of unsanitary conditions in the great cities of the world; in affording opportunities for education and recreation; in the creation of beauty; in the promotion of health; in caring for the unfortunate, and in making happiness the dominant note in every voice and love the law guiding and governing every heart!
The World War shook the very foundation of society and obscured for the time civilization itself. History will never record its horrors. The imagination of man cannot grasp them. Hearts unnumbered were crushed and sorrow inexpressible was brought into innumerable homes. The moving battle fronts with carnage-filled trenches presented a picture that no painter will ever put on canvas, scenes that no sculptor will ever chisel, an epic which no poet will ever give to the world, events that no historian will ever narrate. For more than four years the thunder of guns drowned the voices of the world. Mothers prayed that the nations be made sane again. In the darkness of the Stygian night hope was born--a hope that the sacrifice might not be in vain-that it was "a war to end war". Responsible leaders impelled by the pressure of public opinion, began to whisper it about that such an unholy spectacle must not again deluge the world in blood.
Then peace came with its staggering problems. The Treaty of Versailles with the League of Nations Covenant and provision for a World Court was the first step toward peace among the Nations. One day the world will erect monuments of enduring marble to the memory of those who wrought there, and among that number no one wrote his name m larger letters of living light on that immortal page of history, than that statesman, philosopher and prophet, the then President of the United States, the friend of society, Woodrow Wilson. He gave his life for a cause more sacred than any other--the cause of humanity. And there with him, seeing eye to eye, his equals in purity of purpose and unselfish statesmanship, were the representatives of the great mother of free nations, the British Empire.
There was joy in the hearts of the peoples of the nations when the Treaty was signed. The representatives of the nations had opened a door of hope. The United States, for reasons known only to some of her statesmen, failed to carry on. I make no criticism of her conduct. We have currents of opinion and actuating motives not well understood by other nations. The heart of the people of the United States has always been true to the ideals of those who believe in law as a substitute for war. Our people have not grown faint in their adherence to the idea that finally the nations, acting in unison, will set up the necessary machinery for the abolition of war. No political party in the United States has ever declared against a working agreement which will promote and ensure peace among the nations. The nation has moved with hesitating steps, but with unfaltering vision, in the path that leads to national concord.
The League of Nations was offered to the world at a time most unpropitious. The fires of national patriotism burned brightly and nations were suspicious of each other. It is no great cause for wonder that the United States held back, fearing what she might encounter just around the corner. But that is in the past. We did not go in. There has never been a plebiscite on the question. The political campaign of 1920 was fought between the Democrats and Republicans, the one declaring for the League of Nations and the other declaring for an Association of Nations. A few days prior to the election the ablest and most outstanding leaders of the Republican party, including the now President, issued a manifesto, advising the voters that the quickest way to get into a league with other nations was to elect the Republican Candidates. The question has been an issue in no other campaign. The League has made fair progress notwithstanding the hesitant policy of the United States toward it. The first decade of its existence has amply justified its organization. It has introduced among the nations an entirely new system of international dealings. It has brought about cooperation in important affairs and made nations know each other better. Its record is, indeed, one covering a wide range, touching all branches of international relations and every stratum of international life, reaching all countries on every continent. The record includes the organization of the World Court and the establishment of a permanent Secretariat; the holding of an annual Assembly and a periodic Council. It has provided standing committees and an evolution of new methods of conference, correspondence and co-operation. It has settled eighteen political disputes which might have resulted in war, and has decided thirty-two judicial questions. It has given stimulus to the Locarno and Kellogg Pacts; arranged for the holding of forty general conventions; registered four thousand treaties; prepared for a disarmament conference; provided for international supervision of mandates, minorities and special districts. It has enunciated financial and economic doctrines, and organized reconstruction loans totalling four hundred million dollars. It has freed international intercourse from many restrictions and facilitated the work of business men abroad. It has brought about co-operation among the nations for the safety of the sea as well as in news transmission, and it has reduced substantially the opium and white slave trades. It has fostered a world convention on slavery and obscene publications. It has repatriated four hundred thousand prisoners of war and cared for thousands of refugees.
The United States is not unmindful of the work which has been done through the League. She is moving slowly and with caution, but the time is not far distant when she may become identified with the League in a manner satisfactory to all nations.
At this time there is little doubt that the United States will soon adhere to the World Court. When this action shall have been taken, another step toward substituting law for war will have been accomplished. On December 9, 1929, the representative of the United States, under the directions of the President, signed, in behalf of his nation, the original World Court protocol of 1920, as well as two protocols adopted by the World Court members in September, in a conference assembled for that purpose by the Council of the League of Nations. Three nations must yet sign the Root Protocol before the United States can adhere. Fifty nations have already signed. When all the nations which have adhered to the Court have affixed their signatures to the Root Protocol, the United States will doubtless ratify the original protocol and the two recently proposed. Our national administration favours adherence to the World Court by our Nation.
The "Moving Providence" mentioned by Woodrow Wilson in his last public utterance is at work in the affairs of the nations. The Kellogg Treaty, while of little practical benefit without the erection of machinery to carry it into effect, is evidence of that " Moving Providence" which will not be stayed. The substance of this treaty is that the nations "condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies and renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another". In this treaty there is no stipulation to disarm; there is no agreement to arbitrate and there is no definition of the nature of the controversies. Secretary Kellogg, in transmitting the treaty to the forty-eight States to which it was sent, took occasion to explain that it was not intended to restrict defensive war. The treaty, perhaps better known as the Pact of Paris, is at least a gesture toward a forward step in tine direction of peace among nations.
The Naval Conference in Washington in 1921 was not harmful. It was the initial effort, so far as the United States was concerned, to grapple with one of the fundamental questions which must be solved before the nations can travel far toward peace. The Washington Conference left the way open for further consideration of the problem. The visit of Mr. MacDonald of recent date and the conversations between him and President Hoover have been of a heartening nature. The Five Powers, Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy and the United States, are now engaged in a sincere effort to bring about an agreement among themselves relating to naval limitation of armament, which may be of far-reaching consequences.
There has been no cessation among the nations during the last eleven years in their efforts to prevent a recurrence of war. There is selfishness in nations the same as in individuals. Selfishness and prejudices are holding the nations back. These should be removed; but they are hoary with age, and nations must prove the sincerity of their efforts to make war yield to law, before suspicions may be allayed. They must deal with peoples of different traditions, different religions, and at different stages of progressive civilization. Mighty men of mighty interests will stand for the old order until they are overcome. Visions of the World War will rise before them in their dreams, and increasingly their slumbers will be broken by nightmares of horror. When it is borne in upon them that they--if they succeed in defeating the wishes of the people of the nations--will be responsible for the miseries and horrors of unborn generations, then may we not hope that they will understand that a "Moving Providence" will not be hindered; that the hope of humanity is law, not war, that peace is the final destiny of the nations? Not until then will civilization reach the pinnacle of its glory. Then comes the time:
"When the war drums throb no longer
And the battle-flags are furled
In the parliament of man,
The federation of the world." (Applause.)
The thanks of the Club were tendered to the speaker by Sir William Hearst.