Syllabus on International Relations

By Parker Thomas Moon; Institute of International Education (New York, N.Y.) | Go to book overview
lations", in Am. Pol. Sci. Review, Feb. 1917. E. D. Morel, "Giolitti's Bill to Abolish Secret Diplomacy", in Foreign Affairs, Jan. 1921. Mowrer, 222-237.
A. PREVALENCE OF SECRET DIPLOMACY.
1. Diplomatic archives not usually open to public until many years after events have occurred.
2. Universal policy of governments to publish most treaties and some diplomatic correspondence, shortly after the event, but to withhold documents and information which might interfere with negotiations.
3. Movements of troops and warships often secret.
4. Many important facts about military and naval preparation, necessary for an accurate estimation of probabilities of success in war, usually withheld from public.
5. Governments themselves often ill-informed ( U. S. and secret treaties).
6. Problem--would complete publicity be possible? expedient?

B. REASONS FOR SECRECY.
1. Some information derived through spies and other secret or confidential agencies.
2. Some negotiations considered to be too delicate for popular debate.
3. Danger of misunderstanding, or excitement, or uncompromising attitude, on the part of the people.
4. Danger of offending other nations, if frank popular discussion is permitted.
5. Danger that neither side will compromise, if its yielding is to be discussed in the press and perhaps interpreted as sign of weakness.
6. Natural inclination of diplomats and officials to enjoy esoteric character of their functions.

C. THE AGITATION AGAINST SECRET DIPLOMACY.
1. Influence of organizations such as Union of Democratic Control in England, against secret diplomacy.
2. Wilson's declaration in Fourteen Points speech--"I. Open covenants of peace openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view."
3. Continuation of agitation since the war, and widespread popular feeling that "secret diplomacy" is wrong.
4. Desire of press to obtain as much news as possible.

D. ARGUMENTS OF OPPONENTS OF SECRET DIPLOMACY.
1. Secret diplomacy undemocratic.
2. Secret diplomacy dangerous.
i. Danger of secret alliances, understandings, and ententes, such as British secret promise to defend French coast, Aug. 2, 1914. (Cf. Part 5.)
ii. Danger of aggressive action under veil of secrecy, as in case of inter-Allied secret treaties, signed during Great War, for dismemberment of enemy countries. (Cf. Part 6.)

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