The American Road to World Peace

By Alfred Zimmern | Go to book overview
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secretariat. True to their self-regarding traditions, the Great Powers did business together, when ambassadors did not suffice, by means of conferences, each one of which was organized separately; and this improvised organization was dismantled at the. close of the proceedings. What the Covenant did was to take the individual foreign ministers and diplomats and to make them members of a continuing community, the "Council" and "Assembly" of the League of Nations.

We have become so used to those international gatherings that we have forgotten what an innovation they were in the days when the concept of sovereignty, that is to say, of self-centered power, still held sway in the chancelleries of Europe. For a foreign minister to know that, in so many weeks' time, he will be facing his opposite number in another country and must be ready to answer his points in public debate or in private conversation involves a most salutary discipline-a discipline in social behavior. If the League of Nations had done no more than that, it would already have rendered most valuable service.


CHAPTER 32: The Reduction of Armaments

THE Covenant of the League of Nations consists of 26 Articles. The first seven of these deal with the internal organization of the League of Nations. In the leading place, as the first Article concerned with matters of substance, stands Article 8 dealing with the reduction of armaments. The first two paragraphs of this famous (or notorious) Article run as follows: The Members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations. The Council, taking account of the geographical situation and circumstances of each State, shall formulate plans for such reduction for the consideration and action of the several governments.

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