"The Primary Essential"
Before House's intimacy with Wilson ended in April the colonel was able to continue his work in satisfying national demands that impeded the revision of the League Covenant. A text had been tentatively adopted in February and supplemented by two American amendments in March. A third, designed to safeguard the Monroe Doctrine, was yet to be approved. This prime concern could not be brought up at Paris without a risk of provoking a demand by Japan for a similar reservation in respect of its influence in Asia. i. It would be difficult, moreover, to get the assent of the British and French delegates unless Lloyd George was first satisfied with respect to sea power and Clemenceau with respect to security. In the face of these obstacles Wilson was reluctant to seek explicit recognition of the Monroe Doctrine. House, however, was insistent.
When Lloyd George let it be known that a formula that would allay British fear of American naval rivalry was a sine qua non, House complained to Lord Robert Cecil of the intransigence of the prime minister, from whom he expected some compensation for concessions that Wilson had made to the British Empire. 2.
Lloyd George's position was based firmly upon public opinion in England and upon the support of the British Empire delegation. 3. He was being pressed by the necessity for a reduction in British naval expenditures, and he would like to bring this about without sacrificing British primacy on the seas. 4. The prospect for any understanding on this question was clouded by contentious nationalism on the part of "blue-sea" Englishmen and "big-Navy" Americans. 5.
House was confident that economic necessity would make both sides see reason before very long. 6. Yet only with difficulty had he succeeded in the prearmistice meetings in devising a compromise formula to overcome British resistance to Point____________________
Miller, vol. 1, p. 205. Minutes, ACTNP, March 27, 1919.