Pioneers in World Order: An American Appraisal of the League of Nations

Pioneers in World Order: An American Appraisal of the League of Nations

Pioneers in World Order: An American Appraisal of the League of Nations

Pioneers in World Order: An American Appraisal of the League of Nations

Excerpt

BYRAYMOND B. FOSDICY

THIS BOOK has been written by Americans, all of whom were associated with an institution that was itself the result of American initiative and leadership -- the League of Nations. What they have written here is the record of a gallant beginning in a new kind of world order -- the pioneering attempts to establish a definitized system of international relationships in a century when such a system has suddenly become imperative.

Twenty years ago Mr. Elihu Root wrote some paragraphs which might serve as a text for this book. This is the way he expressed his conception of an experiment in world order:

The real power behind international as well as national progress toward better conditions is public opinion . . . Public opinion, however, cannot make itself affirmatively effective except by the creation of institutions adapted to give it effect. Mere verbal expressions of opinion get nowhere . . . What is everybody's business is nobody's business. To get things done some human agency must be designated to give effect to the general desire that they be done.

And Mr. Root went on to develop his point in this manner:

The question inevitably arises, "How is it that nations composed of people who don't want war are continually fighting?" The answer is that opinion against war has been without adequate institutions to give it effect. . . . The important thing is to get the right kind of an institution started, even though it be in the most rudimentary form.

This was what the experiment at Geneva represented: an attempt to get the right kind of institution started, even though it was in rudimentary form.

It is significant that, although the United States was not a

RAYMOND B. FOSDICK, lawyer and well-known public servant, is president and trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation and the General Education Board. He was born in Buffalo. In New York City he served as Commissioner of Accounts and later as a member of the Board of Education. He became in 1916 special representative for the Secretary of War on the Mexican Boarder and in 1918 went to France as special representative for the War Department. He acted as civilian aide to General Pershing in 1919. When the League of Nations was formed, Mr. Fosdick became Under Secretary General and served for a year.

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