Official Statements of War Aims and Peace Proposals, December 1916 to November 1918

By James Brown Scott | Go to book overview

to the utmost was, so far as has transpired, the most recent watchword issued by the Conference of Versailles, and in the English Premier's speeches it again finds loud echo.

Our people will hold out further, but the blood of the fallen, the agonies of the mutilated and the distress and sufferings of the peoples will fall on the heads of those who insistently refuse to listen to the voice of reason and humanity.


REPLY OF FOREIGN MINISTER BALFOUR TO CHANCELLOR VON HERTLING1
February 27, 1918

My honorable friend (Mr. Holt) has dealt with two speeches, one delivered by myself a fortnight or three weeks ago, already therefore fading into the past, and the other delivered by the German Chancellor the day before yesterday in the Reichstag. I only wish that the honorable member had dealt as kindly and as gently with the speech of his colleague in the House of Commons as he did with the speech of the German Chancellor in the Reichstag. So far as my own humble effort of three weeks ago is concerned, the main complaint of the honorable gentleman is that I observed that the Versailles Council was not very well equipped in my opinion to deal with these difficult diplomatic questions, and to that opinion I still hold. Let me observe that a great deal of criticism leveled at the resolutions of the Versailles Conference is wholly out of perspective. I do not necessarily say that the honorable gentleman or the House itself is wholly to blame for that, because in the very nature of the case the real work performed by the Versailles Council at its last meeting was necessarily private. It has never been wholly communicated. Its real work was concerned with military procedure. A communiqué was made, as is customary, of certain things in which the public might be interested, and which could be safely stated, but from that communiqué it was quite impossible to judge of the work of the conference. This particular statement which the honorable member refers to was no doubt the result of some discussion, but it in no sense represents the mature

____________________
1

In debate in the House of Commons. Text in The Times, London, February 28, 1918, p. 10.

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