League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment

League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment

League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment

League of Nations and National Minorities: An Experiment

Excerpt

The reader must not expect to find in these pages a systematic and complete exposition of what is usually and somewhat improperly known as the "question," or " problem," of national minorities in Europe. How many times have I heard or read the statement -- made nearly always in a tone of reproach -- that the League of Nations was not able to "resolve the problem of minorities"! As though the "problem" of minorities (or any problems of a political or social nature) were as susceptible of solution as those of physics and mathematics! Where national minorities are concerned, what is needed is the establishment of adequate juridical and political institutions -- according to the circumstances of the moment -- in order to prevent the existence of these minorities from becoming a threat to peace, both internal and international.

The most detailed experiment which has been made up to now in this field was that entrusted to the League of Nations by the treaties signed after the first World War. In the following pages an attempt has been made to examine the results of twelve years' personal experience in the task of insuring that this experiment should achieve a positive outcome. It is not my purpose here to mete out either praise or blame, although the reader will find incidental criticisms or justifications of the work carried out by the League of Nations. But what is unquestionable is that this experiment and its results, both positive and negative, deserve at least to be considered as an interesting precedent if and when those responsible for reconstructing Europe find themselves once again confronted by the difficulties which national minorities have created in the past.

In the future international organization of Europe, will these difficulties arise in such a way that we shall be able to make full use of the experience of the last post-war period? That is a question to which there is as yet no answer. The so-called . . .

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