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Woodrow Wilson As I Know Him
Chapter XXXVI - The Great Adventure
by Tumulty, Joseph P.

As we conferred together for the last time before the President left Washington for the other side, I had never seen him look more weary or careworn. It was plain to me who had watched him from day to day since the Armistice, that he felt most keenly the heavy responsibility that now lay upon him of trying to bring permanent peace to the world. He was not unmindful of the criticism that had been heaped upon him by his enemies on the Hill and throughout the country. The only thing that distressed him, however, was the feeling that a portion of the American people were of the opinion that, perhaps, in making the trip to Paris there lay back of it a desire for self-exploitation, or, perhaps, the idea of garnering certain political advantages to himself and his party. If one who held this ungenerous opinion could only have come in contact with this greatly overworked man on the night of our final talk and could understand the handsome, unselfish purpose that really lay behind his mission to France and could know personally how he dreaded the whole business, he would quickly free himself of this opinion. Discussing the object of the trip with me in his usually intimate way, he said: "Well, Tumulty, this trip will either be the greatest success or the supremest tragedy in all history; but I believe in a Divine Providence. If I did not have faith, I should go crazy. If I thought that the direction of the affairs of this disordered world depended upon our finite intelligence, I should not know how to reason my way to sanity; but it is my faith that no body of men however they concert their power or their influence can defeat this great world enterprise, which after all is the enterprise of Divine mercy, peace and good will."

As he spoke these fateful words, he clearly foresaw the difficulties and dangers and possible tragedy of reaction and intrigue that would soon exert themselves in Paris, perhaps to outwit him and if possible to prevent the consummation of the idea that lay so close to his heart: that of setting up a concert of powers that would make for ever impossible a war such as we had just passed through. Indeed, he was ready to risk everything--his own health, his own political fortunes, his place in history, and his very life itself--for the great enterprise of peace. "This intolerable thing must never happen again," he said.

No one more than Woodrow Wilson appreciated the tragedy of disappointment that might eventually follow out of his efforts for peace, but he was willing to make any sacrifice to attain the end he had so close to his heart.

He realized better than any one the great expectations of the American people. Discussing these expectations with Mr. Creel, who was to accompany him, he said: "It is to America that the whole world turns to-day, not only with its wrongs but with its hopes and grievances. The hungry expect us to feed them, the homeless look to us for shelter, the sick of heart and body depend upon us for cure. All of these expectations have in them the quality of terrible urgency. There must be no delay. It has been so always. People will endure their tyrants for years, but they tear their deliverers to pieces if a millennium is not created immediately. Yet, you know and I know that these ancient wrongs, these present unhappinesses, are not to be remedied in a day or with a wave of the hand. What I seem to see--with all my heart I hope that I am wrong--is a tragedy of disappointment."

The President and I had often discussed the personnel of the Peace Commission before its announcement, and I had taken the liberty of suggesting to the President the name of ex-Secretary of State Elihu Root. The President appeared to be delighted with this suggestion and asked me to confer with Secretary Lansing in regard to the matter. I conferred with Mr. Lansing, to whom the suggestion, much to my surprise, met with hearty response. At this conference Mr. Lansing said that he and the President were attempting to induce some members of the Supreme Court--I think it was either Mr. Justice Day or Chief Justice White--to make the trip to Paris as one of the Commission; but that they were informed that Chief Justice White was opposed to the selection of a Supreme Court Judge to participate in any conference not connected with the usual judicial work of the Supreme Court.

After this conference I left for New York, there to remain with my father who lay seriously ill, and when I returned to the White House the President informed me that he and Mr. Lansing had had a further conference with reference to the Root suggestion and that it was about concluded that it would be inadvisable to make Mr. Root a member of the Commission. The President felt that it would be unwise to take Mr. Root, fearing that the reputation which Mr. Root had gained of being rather conservative, if not reactionary, would work a prejudice toward the Peace Commission at the outset.

Mr. Taft's name was considered, but it was finally decided not to include him among the commissions to accompany the President.

The personnel of the Commission, as finally constituted, has been much criticized, but the President had what were for him convincing reasons for each selection: he had formed a high opinion of Col. E. M. House's ability to judge clearly and dispassionately men and events; Mr. Robert Lansing as Secretary of State was a natural choice; Mr. Henry White, a Republican unembittered by partisanship, had had a life-long and honourable experience in diplomacy; General Tasker Bliss was eminently qualified to advise in military matters, and was quite divorced from the politics of either party. The President believed that these gentlemen would cooperate with him loyally in a difficult task.

I quote from Mr. Creel:
The truly important body--and this the President realized from the first--was the group of experts that went along with the Commission, the pick of the country's most famous specialists in finance, history, economics, international law, colonial questions, map-making, ethnic distinctions, and all those other matters that were to come up at the Peace Conference. They constituted the President's arsenal of facts, and even on board the George Washington, in the very first conference, he made clear his dependence upon them. "You are in truth, my advisers," he said, "for when I ask you for information I will have no way of checking it up, and must act upon it unquestioningly. We will be deluged with claims plausibly and convincingly presented. It will be your task to establish the truth or falsity of these claims out of your specialized knowledges, so that my positions may be taken fairly and intelligently."

It was this expert advice that he depended upon and it was a well of information that never failed him. At the head of the financiers and economists were such men as Bernard Baruch, Herbert Hoover, Norman Davis, and Vance McCormick. As head of the War Industries Board, in many respects the most powerful of all the civil organizations called into being by the war, Mr. Baruch had won the respect and confidence of American business by his courage, honesty, and rare ability. At his side were such men as Frank W. Taussig, chairman of the Tariff Commission; Alex Legg, general manager of the International Harvester Company; and Charles McDowell, manager of the Fertilizer and Chemical departments of Armour & Co.--both men familiar with business conditions and customs in every country in the world; Leland Summers, an international mechanical engineer and an expert in manufacturing, chemicals, and steel; James C. Pennie, the international patent lawyer; Frederick Neilson and Chandler Anderson, authorities on international law; and various others of equal calibre.

Mr. Hoover was aided and advised by the men who were his representatives in Europe throughout the war, and Mr. McCormick, head of the War Trade Board, gathered about him in Paris all of the men who had handled trade matters for him in the various countries of the world.

Mr. Davis, representing the Treasury Department, had as his associates Mr. Thomas W. Lament, Mr. Albert Strauss, and Jeremiah Smith of Boston.

Dr. Sidney E. Mezes, president of the College of the City of New York, went with the President at the head of a brilliant group of specialists, all of whom had been working for a year and more on the problems that would be presented at the Peace Conference. Among the more important may be mentioned: Prof. Charles H. Haskins, dean of the Graduate School of Harvard University, specialist on Alsace-Lorraine and Belgium; Dr. Isaiah Bowman, director of the American Geographical Society, general territorial specialist; Prof. Allyn A. Young, head of the Department of Economics at Cornell; George Louis Beer, formerly of Columbia, and an authority on colonial possessions; Prof. W. L. Westermann, head of the History Department of the University of Wisconsin and specialist on Turkey; R. H. Lord, professor of History at Harvard, specialist on Russia and Poland; Roland B. Dixon, professor of Ethnography at Harvard; Prof. Clive Day, head of the Department of Economics at Yale, specialist on the Balkans; W. E. Lunt, professor of History at Haverford College, specialist on northern Italy; Charles Seymour, professor of History at Yale, specialist on Austria-Hungary; Mark Jefferson, professor of Geography at Michigan State Normal, and Prof. James T. Shotwell, professor of History at Columbia. These groups were the President's real counsellors and advisers and there was not a day throughout the Peace Conference that he did not call upon them and depend upon them.
No man ever faced a more difficult or trying job than the President, when he embarked upon the George Washington on his voyage to the other side. The adverse verdict rendered against the President in the Congressional elections was mighty dispiriting. The growing bitterness and hostility of the Republican leaders, and the hatred of the Germans throughout the country, added more difficulties to an already trying situation. America had seemed to do everything to weaken him at a time when united strength should have been behind him. Again I quote from Mr. Creel:
On November 27th, five days before the President's departure, Mr. Roosevelt had cried this message to Europe, plain intimation that the Republican majority in the Senate would support the Allies in any repudiation of the League of Nations and the Fourteen Points:

"Our allies and our enemies and Mr. Wilson himself should all understand that Mr. Wilson has no authority whatever to speak for the American people at this time. His leadership has just been emphatically repudiated by them. The newly elected Congress comes far nearer than Mr. Wilson to having a right to speak the purposes of the American people at this moment. Mr. Wilson and his Fourteen Points and his four supplementary points and his five complementary points and all his utterances every which way have ceased to have any shadow of right to be accepted as expressive of the will of the American people.

"He is President of the United States. He is a part of the treaty- making power; but he is only a part. If he acts in good faith to the American people, he will not claim on the other side of the water any representative capacity in himself to speak for the American people. He will say frankly that his personal leadership has been repudiated and that he now has merely the divided official leadership which he shares with the Senate."

What Mr. Roosevelt did, in words as plain as his pen could marshal, was to inform the Allies that they were at liberty to disregard the President, the League of Nations, and the Fourteen Points, and that the Republican party would stand as a unit for as hard a peace as Foch chose to dictate.
As the President left his office on the night of his departure for New York, preparatory to sailing for the other side, he turned to me and said: "Well, Tumulty, have you any suggestions before I leave?" "None, my dear Governor," I replied, "except to bid you Godspeed on the great journey." Then, coming closer to me, he said: "I shall rely upon you to keep me in touch with the situation on this side of the water. I know I can trust you to give me an exact size-up of the situation here. Remember, I shall be far away and what I will want is a frank estimate from you of the state of public opinion on this side of the water. That is what I will find myself most in need of. When you think I am putting my foot in it, please say so frankly. I am afraid I shall not be able to rely upon much of the advice and suggestions I will get from the other end."

Before the President left he had discussed with me the character of the Peace Conference, and after his departure I kept him apprised by cable of opinion in this country. Appendix "A", which contains this cabled correspondence shows how he welcomed information and suggestion.

The Secretary thinks the President would like to read this letter.

(Manuscript: Thank you, what's his game?
W. W.

Dear Tumulty

I have not sufficient confidence in the man.

W. W.)

Dear Tumulty,

There is absolutely nothing new in Root's speech and I do not see any necessity to answer it. Certainly I would not be willing to have so conspicuous a representative of the Administration as Mr. Colby take any notice of it. Let me say again that I am not willing that answers to Republican speakers or writers should emanate from the White House or the Administration.

The President.
Some characteristic White House memoranda]

As my duty held me in Washington, I am dependent upon others, especially Mr. Creel and Mr. Ray Stannard Baker, a member of the President's official family, for a connected narrative of events in Europe.

Speaking of his attitude in the trials that confronted the President on the other side, Mr. Baker said:
No one who really saw the President in action in Paris, saw what he did in those grilling months of struggle, fired at in front, sniped at from behind--and no one who saw what he had to do after he came home from Europe in meeting the great new problems which grew out of the war--will for a moment belittle the immensity of his task, or underrate his extraordinary endurance, energy, and courage.

More than once, there in Paris, going up in the evening to see the President, I found him utterly worn out, exhausted, often one side of his face twitching with nervousness. No soldier ever went into battle with more enthusiasm, more aspiration, more devotion to a sacred cause than the President had when he came to Paris; but day after day in those months we saw him growing grayer and grayer, grimmer and grimmer, with the fighting lines deepening in his face.

Here was a man 63 years old--a man always delicate in health. When he came to the White House in 1913, he was far from being well. His digestion was poor and he had a serious and painful case of neuritis in his shoulder. It was even the opinion of so great a physician as Dr. Weir Mitchell, of Philadelphia, that he could probably not complete his term and retain his health. And yet such was the iron self-discipline of the man and such was the daily watchful care of Doctor Grayson, that instead of gradually going down under the tremendous tasks of the Presidency in the most crowded moments of our national history, he steadily gained strength and working capacity, until in those months in Paris he literally worked everybody at the Peace Conference to a stand-still.

It is so easy and cheap to judge people, even presidents, without knowing the problems they have to face. So much of the President's aloofness at Paris, so much of his unwillingness to expend energy upon unnecessary business, unnecessary conferences, unnecessary visiting-- especially the visitors--was due directly to the determination to husband and expend his too limited energies upon tasks that seemed to him essential.

As I say, he worked everybody at the Peace Conference to a standstill. He worked not only the American delegates, but the way he drove the leisurely diplomats of Europe was often shameful to see. Sometimes he would actually have two meetings going on at the same time. Once I found a meeting of the Council of the Big Four going on in his study, and a meeting of the financial and economic experts--twenty or thirty of them--in full session upstairs in the drawing room--and the President oscillating between the two.

It was he who was always the driver, the initiator, at Paris: he worked longer hours, had more appointments, granted himself less recreation, than any other man, high or low, at the Peace Conference. For he was the central figure there. Everything headed up in him.

Practically all of the meetings of the Council of Four were held in his study in the Place des États-Unis. This was the true capitol of the Peace Conference; here all the important questions were decided. Everyone who came to Paris upon any mission whatsoever aimed first of all at seeing the President. Representatives of the little, downtrodden nationalities of the earth--from eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa--thought that if they could get at the President, explain their pathetic ambitions, confess their troubles to him, all would be well.
While the President was struggling in Europe, his friends in America had cause for indignation against the course adopted by the Republican obstructionists in the Senate, which course, they saw, must have a serious if not fatal effect upon developments overseas. Occurrences on both sides of the Atlantic became so closely interwoven that it is better not to separate the two narratives, and as Mr. Creel, upon whose history I have already drawn, tells the story with vigour and a true perception of the significance of events, I quote at length from him:
The early days of February, 1919, were bright with promise. The European press, seeming to accept the President's leadership as unshakable, was more amiable in its tone, the bitterness bred by the decision as to the German colonies had abated. Fiume and the Saar Basin had taken discreet places in the background with other deferred questions, and the voice of French and English and Italian liberalism was heard again. On February 14th the President reported the first draft of the League constitution--a draft that expressed his principles without change--and it was confirmed amid acclaim. It was at this moment, unfortunately, that the President was compelled to return to the United States to sign certain bills, and for the information of the Senate he carried with him the Covenant as agreed upon by the Allies.

We come now to a singularly shameful chapter in American history. At the time of the President's decision to go to Paris the chief point of attack by the Republican Senators was that such a "desertion of duty" would delay the work of government and hold back the entire programme of reconstruction. Yet when the President returned for the business of consideration and signature, the same Republican Senators united in a filibuster that permitted Congress to expire without the passage of a single appropriation bill. This exhibition of sheer malignance, entailing an ultimate of confusion and disaster, was not only approved by the Republican press, but actually applauded.

The draft of the League Constitution was denounced even before its contents were known or explained. The bare fact that the document had proved acceptable to the British Empire aroused the instant antagonism of the "professional" Irish-Americans, the "professional" German- Americans, the "professional" Italian-Americans, and all those others whose political fortunes depended upon the persistence and accentuation of racial prejudices. Where one hyphen was scourged the year before a score of hyphens was now encouraged and approved. In Washington the President arranged a conference with the Senators and Representatives in charge of foreign relations, and laid the Covenant frankly before them for purposes of discussion and criticism. The attitude of the Republican Senators was one of sullenness and suspicion, Senator Lodge refusing to state his objections or to make a single recommendation. Others, however, pointed out that no express recognition was given to the Monroe Doctrine; that it was not expressly provided that the League should have no authority to act or express a judgment on matters of domestic policy; that the right to withdraw from the League was not expressly recognized; and that the constitutional right of the Congress to determine all questions of peace and war was not sufficiently safeguarded.

The President, in answer, gave it as his opinion that these points were already covered satisfactorily in the Covenant, but that he would be glad to make the language more explicit, and entered a promise to this effect. Mr. Root and Mr. Taft were also furnished with copies of the Covenant and asked for their views and criticism, and upon receipt of them the President again gave assurance that every proposed change and clarification would be made upon his return to Paris. On March 4th, immediately following these conferences, and the day before the sailing of the President, Senator Lodge rose in his place and led his Republican colleagues in a bold and open attack upon the League of Nations and the war aims of America. The following account of the proceedings is taken from the Congressional Record:

Mr. Lodge: Mr. President, I desire to take only a moment of the time of the Senate. I wish to offer the resolution which I hold in my hand, a very brief one:

Whereas under the Constitution it is a function of the Senate to advise and consent to, or dissent from, the ratification of any treaty of the United States, and no such treaty can become operative without the consent of the Senate expressed by the affirmative vote of two thirds of the Senators present; and

Whereas owing to the victory of the arms of the United States and of the nations with whom it is associated, a Peace Conference was convened and is now in session at Paris for the purpose of settling the terms of peace; and

Whereas a committee of the Conference has proposed a constitution for the League of Nations and the proposal is now before the Peace Conference for its consideration; Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate of the United States in the discharge of its constitutional duty of advice in regard to treaties, That it is the sense of the Senate that while it is their sincere desire that the nations of the world should unite to promote peace and general disarmament, the constitution of the League of Nations in the form now proposed to the Peace Conference should not be accepted by the United States; and be it

Resolved further, That it is the sense of the Senate that the negotiations on the part of the United States should immediately be directed to the utmost expedition of the urgent business of negotiating peace terms with Germany satisfactory to the United States and the nations with whom the United States is associated in the war against the German Government, and that the proposal for a League of Nations to insure the permanent peace of the world should be then taken up for careful and serious consideration.

I ask unanimous consent for the present consideration of this resolution.

Mr. Swanson: I object to the introduction of the resolution.

Mr. Lodge: Objection being made, of course I recognize the objection. I merely wish to add, by way of explanation, the following: The undersigned Senators of the United States, Members and Members- Elect of the Sixty-sixth Congress, hereby declare that, if they had had the opportunity, they would have voted for the foregoing resolution:
        Henry Cabot Lodge              James E. Watson
        Philander C. Knox              Thomas Sterling
        Lawrence Y. Sherman            J. S. Frelinghuysen
        Harry S. New                   W. G. Harding
        George H. Moses                Frederick Hale
        J. W. Wadsworth, Jr.           William E. Borah
        Bert M. Fernald                Walter E. Edge
        Albert B. Cummins              Reed Smoot
        F. E. Warren                   Asle J. Gronna
        Frank B. Brandegee             Lawrence C. Phipps
        William M. Calder              Selden P. Spencer
        Henry W. Keyes                 Hiram W. Johnson
        Boies Penrose                  Charles E. Townsend
        Carroll S. Page                William P. Dillingham
        George P. McLean               I. L. Lenroot
        Joseph Irwin France            Miles Poindexter
        Medill McCormick               Howard Sutherland
        Charles Curtis                 Truman H. Newberry
        L. Heisler Ball
I ought to say in justice to three or four Senators who are absent at great distances from the city that we were not able to reach them; but we expect to hear from them to-morrow, and if, as we expect, their answers are favourable their names will be added to the list.

A full report of this action was cabled to Europe, as a matter of course, and when the President arrived in Paris on March 14th, ten days later, he was quick to learn of the disastrous consequences. The Allies, eagerly accepting the orders of the Republican majority, had lost no time in repudiating the President and the solemn agreements that they had entered into with him. The League of Nations was not discarded and the plan adopted for a preliminary peace with Germany was based upon a frank division of the spoils, the reduction of Germany to a slave state, and the formation of a military alliance by the Allies for the purpose of guaranteeing the gains. Not only this, but an Allied army was to march at once to Russia to put down the Bolshevists and the Treaty itself was to be administered by the Allied high command, enforcing its orders by an army of occupation. The United States, as a rare favour, was to be permitted to pay the cost of the Russian expedition and such other incidental expenses as might arise in connection with the military dictatorship that was to rule Europe.

While primarily the plan of Foch and the other generals, it had the approval of statesmen, even those who were assumed to represent the liberal thought of England being neck-deep in the conspiracy.

Not a single party to the cabal had any doubt as to its success. Was it not the case that the Republican Senators, now in the majority, spoke for America rather than the President? Had the Senators not stated formally that they did not want the League of Nations, and was the Republican party itself not on record with the belief that the Allies must have the right to impose peace terms of their own choosing, and that these terms should show no mercy to the "accursed Hun"? ... The President allowed himself just twenty-four hours in which to grasp the plot in all its details, and then he acted, ordering the issuance of this statement:

"The President said to-day that the decision made at the Peace Conference in its Plenary Session, January 25, 1919, to the effect that the establishment of a League of Nations should be made an integral part of the Treaty of Peace, is of final force and that there is no basis whatever for the reports that a change in this decision was contemplated."

...On March 26th, it was announced, grudgingly enough, that there would be a league of nations as an integral part of the Peace Treaty. It was now the task of the President to take up the changes that had been suggested by his Republican enemies, and this was the straw that broke his back. There was not a single suggested change that had honesty back of it. The League was an association of sovereigns, and as a matter of course any sovereign possessed the right of withdrawal. The League, as an international advisory body, could not possibly deal with domestic questions under any construction of the Covenant. No power of Congress was abridged, and necessarily Congress would have to act before war could be declared or a single soldier sent out of the country. Instead of recognizing the Monroe Doctrine as an American policy, the League legitimized it as a world policy. The President, however, was bound to propose that these plain propositions be put in kindergarten language for the satisfaction of his enemies, and it was this proposal that gave Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and their associates a new chance for resistance. All of the suggested changes were made without great demur until the question of the Monroe Doctrine was reached, and then French and English bitterness broke all restraints. Why were they expected to make every concession to American prejudice when the President would make none to European traditions? They had gone to the length of accepting the doctrine of Monroe for the whole of the earth, but now, because American pride demanded it, they must make public confession of America's right to give orders. No! A thousand times no! It was high time for the President to give a little consideration to French and English and Italian prejudices--time for him to realize that the lives of these governments were at stake as well as his own, and that Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Sonnino had parliaments to deal with that were just as unreasonable as the Congress of the United States. If the President asked he must be willing to give.

As if at a given signal, France renewed her claim for the Rhine Valley and the Saar Basin; Italy clamoured anew for Fiume and the Dalmatian coast; and Japan, breaking a long silence, rushed to the fore with her demand for Shantung in fee simple and the right of her nationals to full equality in the United States.
Around this time the President fell suddenly ill and took to his bed. That the illness was serious is evidenced by the following letter which Doctor Grayson wrote me:
Paris, 10 April 1919.


While the contents of this letter may possibly be somewhat out of date by the time it reaches you, nevertheless you may find something in it of interest.

This has been one of the most complexing and trying weeks of my existence over here. The President was taken violently sick last Thursday. The attack was very sudden. At three o'clock he was apparently all right; at six he was seized with violent paroxysms of coughing, which were so severe and frequent that it interfered with his breathing. He had a fever of 103 and a profuse diarrhoea. I was at first suspicious that his food had been tampered with, but it turned out to be the beginning of an attack of influenza. That night was one of the worst through which I have ever passed. I was able to control the spasms of coughing but his condition looked very serious. Since that time he has been gradually improving every day so that he is now back at work--he went out for the first time yesterday. This disease is so treacherous, especially in this climate, that I am perhaps over- anxious for fear of a flare-back--and a flare-back in a case of this kind often results in pneumonia. I have been spending every minute of my time with him, not only as physician but as nurse. Mrs. Wilson was a perfect angel through it all.

Continuing the narrative Mr. Creel writes:
On April 7th, the President struggled to his feet and faced the Council in what everyone recognized as a final test of strength. There must be an end to this dreary, interminable business of making agreements only to break them. An agreement must be reached once for all. If a peace of justice, he would remain; if a peace of greed, then he would leave. He had been second to none in recognizing the wrongs of the Allies, the state of mind of their peoples, and he stood as firmly as any for a treaty that would bring guilt home to the Germans, but he could not, and would not, agree to the repudiation of every war aim or to arrangements that would leave the world worse off than before. The George Washington was in Brooklyn. By wireless the President ordered it to come to Brest at once.

The gesture was conclusive as far as England and France were concerned. Lloyd George swung over instantly to the President's side, and on the following day Le Temps carried this significant item:

"Contrary to the assertions spread by the German press and taken up by other foreign newspapers, we believe that the Government has no annexationist pretensions, openly or under cover, in regard to any territory inhabited by a German population. This remark applies peculiarly to the regions comprised between the frontier of 1871 and the frontier of 1814."

Again, in the lock of wills, the President was the victor, and the French and English press, exhausted by now, could only gasp their condemnation of Clemenceau and Lloyd George.
The statement of Mr. David Hunter Miller, the legal adviser of the American Peace Commission, with reference to the debate on the Monroe Doctrine, in which the President played the leading part, is conclusive on this point. Mr. Miller speaks of the President's devotion to the Monroe Doctrine in these words:
But the matter was not at an end, for at the next meeting, the last of all, the French sought by amendment to obtain some definition, some description of the Monroe Doctrine that would limit the right of the United States to insist upon its own interpretation of that Doctrine in the future as in the past. The French delegates, hoping for some advantage for their own proposals, urged such a definition: and at that last meeting I thought for a moment, in despair, that President Wilson would yield to the final French suggestion, which contained only a few seemingly simple words: but he stood by his position through the long discussion, and the meeting and the proceedings of the Commission ended early in the morning in an atmosphere of constraint and without any of the speeches of politeness customary on such an occasion.
Of all the false reports about the President's attitude none was more erroneous than the combined statements that he was lukewarm about the Monroe Doctrine and that he declined to ask for or receive advice from eminent Americans outside of his own party.

In Appendix "B" there will be found a series of letters and cable messages, too long for insertion in the chapter, which will support the statement that he not only listened to but had incorporated in the Covenant of the League of Nations suggestions from Mr. Taft, including important reservations concerning the Monroe Doctrine, and suggestions from Mr. Root as to the establishment of an International Court of Justice.

Former-President Taft had intimated to me a desire to make certain suggestions to Mr. Wilson, and, upon my notification, Mr. Wilson cabled me that he would "appreciate Mr. Taft's offer of suggestions and would welcome them. The sooner they are sent the better." Whereupon, Mr. Taft's suggestions were cabled to the President together with Mr. Taft's statement that, "My impression is that if the one article already sent, on the Monroe Doctrine, be inserted in the Treaty, sufficient Republicans who signed the Round Robin would probably retreat from their position and vote for ratification so that it would carry. If the other suggestions were adopted, I feel confident that all but a few who oppose any league would be driven to accept them and to stand for the League."

Mr. Taft's recommendations were in substance incorporated in the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Emphasizing further the President's entire willingness to confer with leading Republicans, even those outside of official relationship, on March 27, 1919, Mr. Polk, Acting Secretary of State, dispatched to Secretary of State Lansing, for the President, proposed amendments offered by Mr. Root to the constitution of the League of Nations, involving the establishment of a Court of Justice. Immediately upon receipt of Mr. Polk's cable, the President addressed to Colonel House, a member of the Peace Commission, the following letter, marked "Confidential."
Paris. March 30, 1919.


Here is a dispatch somewhat belated in transmission stating Mr. Root's ideas as to amendments which should be made to the Covenant. I think you will find some of these very interesting. Perhaps you have already seen it.

In haste.

Affectionately yours,

Hotel Crillon,
A comparison of the suggestions presented by Mr. Taft and Mr. Root, which will be found in the Appendix, with the existing Covenant of the League of Nations, will readily convince any person desiring to reach the truth of the matter, that all the material amendments proposed by these eminent Republicans which had any essential bearing on the business in hand were embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations as brought back by President Wilson.


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Referenced Works