SCIENCE OR STALEMATE
Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of thinking people all over the world share the common objective of the prevention of war and the stabilisation of peace by means of a process which they call disarmament. They have anxiously watched their own national groups and official international organisations striving to obtain practical results for a decade in a manner absolutely unparalleled in the history of the world. Apart from the development of this movement and of the moral momentum behind it, which, of course, are of the utmost importance, the general feeling is one of the deepest disappointment. Practical results have been meagre, and the future is black.
This state of affairs has naturally invited and produced a widespread expression of views which, in many cases, has taken the form of books claiming to deal with the subject of disarmament. It may therefore be asked why another should be added.
It is a curious thing that during the whole twelve years of international activity, of official and private publication and conference, the subject of technical disarmament, the non-political and scientific aspect, has received an amazingly small amount of informed consideration. A detailed examination of records and publications admits no other conclusion. One gets a general impression, either from surveying the whole movement or any one of its component steps, of a process starting out genuinely towards disarmament but finding initial external difficulties of a political or economic character, and diverting its energies to other solutions of the problem of peace and war, with the net result that the thorough consideration of real disarmament is sidetracked and has never yet been reached. This, of course, is a somewhat sweeping generalisation, and there are one or two notable exceptions, but the mere fact that they stand out so clearly only serves to show that the claim is substantially true.
One examines the very full records of the Washington Conference, more promising for the world than any one before or since, and in every field of armament which it touched, with the partial exception of naval matters, a position of stalemate was