A New Peace, First Provision Draft of Resolutions for the Hague Women’s Conference, September 29, 1922

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A New Peace

First Provision Draft of Resolutions for The Hague Women’s Conference, 7th December, 1922.

I. GENERAL EFFECT OF PEACE TREATIES.

This Conference declares that the present miserable state of Europe is in very large measure the result of the Treaties imposed by the Victors upon the Vanquished as the end of the Great War.

It notes that, from the political, economic, military and [psychological?] aspects, these treaties have been alike disastrous.

It recalls that early in the War (April 1915) at The Hague Congress of Women the ↑[true]↓ foundations of a just and lasting peace were truly suggested; that during the Armistice (May 1919) at the Zurich Congress of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom representations were made to the Powers sitting at Versailles in the same sense; that last year (July 1921) at the Vienna Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom a resolution was passed declaring that Revisions of the Peace Treaties should be the principal task of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Since then the consequences of these Treaties have been increasingly disastrous and they have become the chief obstacles to the peaceful reorganization of the world.

This Conference, organized by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, therefore calls upon the League of Nations to summon a World Congress of all the Powers to discuss A New Peace, whose object shall be to satisfy international interests and to encourage international [cooperation]. [page 2]

II. POLITICAL EFFECTS.

Upon the League of Nations

This Conference notes that although the Covenant actually forms Part I of the Treaty of Versailles and declares that its object is international [cooperation], peace and security, the rest of the Treaty is absolutely opposed to international [cooperation], being one-sided and penal; opposed to peace, since it is filled with injustices; opposed to [illegible] security, since its provisions tend to destroy the only hope of security, -- a true League of Nations.

It declares further that, by the decision of the Victors at first to admit only certain States to the League of Nations by invitation, the international character of the League was jeopardized at the outset.

Article 10 requires the members to “respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League;” but there are in the Treaties repeated instances of contempt for the desires and interests of the inhabitants of Germany, Austria and Turkey and this makes Article 10 either a dead letter for those who do [illegible] not wish to administer it, or a cause of wars for those who do.

Recommendation.

This Conference recalling the consistent advocacy by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom of a universal League of Nations to promote international [cooperation], reiterates its steadfast belief that such a League is the only Political Instrument capable of preventing the causes of war. It therefore urges upon all nations the importance of: [page 3]

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(1) Putting into power Governments which shall honestly promote the development of such a League and shall submit to its decisions all differences in international policy great or small;

(2) Admitting to the League of all States desiring to become members;

(3) Revising the Treaties so as to settle national boundaries in accordance with the will of the majority of inhabitants, impartially ascertained, together with provision for the welfare of dissident minorities and for free exchange and traffic between States;

(4) Revising the Mandate system so as to give the inhabitants a chance of declaring their preferences and to give the League of Nations power to distribute and withdraw mandates.

III. ECONOMIC EFFECTS.

(1) Reparations and War Debts.

This Conference holds that the extravagant claims made by the Allied and Associated powers for Reparations from Germany and Austria were not only in contravention of the Armistice Terms but have proved economically disastrous to victors as well as vanquished.

The holding by the Alliance of Austrian securities for reparations until summer 1922 and the refusal to allow her to join Germany rendered her already critical situation hopeless.

The effort to impose fantastic indemnities upon Germany has resulted in the sum never being finally fixed, with the inevitable consequence that the people must lose zest for work (since no amount of work profits them) and the credit of [page 4] the German Government cannot recover (since no lender can be sure that his interest and even capital may not be seized by the Victors).

The devaluation of money in Central Europe, the destruction of credit, the crippling tariffs and regulations have destroyed a large part of world-trade and made what remains a mere gamble. Monstrous prices, underfeeding, overwork and insecurity among the Vanquished peoples on the one hand, unemployment and the closing of factories and loss of trade among the victor peoples on the other hand are the result of the economic and penal clauses of the Treaty while the Armies of Occupation and the countless extravagant Commissions eat up even such proportion of the indemnities as has been paid.

Recommendation

This Conference heartily welcomes the suggestion advanced at the Assembly of the League of Nations that the whole question of the Reparations should be considered from an international standpoint and recommends that Inter-Allied War Debts should be considered at the same time, with a view to reducing international indebtedness and once more bringing world-trade into normal channels.

(2) Free Trade.

The effect of the Treaties has been very extensively to restrict trade, partly as an extension of trade-war, partly in an [endeavor] to counteract the disastrous effect of [page 5] the indemnity clauses.

This Conference holds that tariff wars and the political corruption associated with protection are some of the chief causes of wars; it also notes that self-determination may be economically disastrous, unless associated with Free Trade, as was proved in the Succession States of the late Austrian Empire.

Recommendations.

This Conference recommends that the World Congress of Powers should [endeavor] to arrive at Conventions by which protective Tariffs may be abandoned all the world over, while the needs of all Peoples in regard to Raw Materials should at the same time be supplied, and vexatious restrictions on the free circulation of law-abiding [travelers] should be universally withdrawn.

IV. MILITARY EFFECTS.

Disarmament.

This Conference notes that, whereas provisions for disarmament are made in the Covenant, very little progress has been made by the League in this direction and that, whereas Germany has been extensively and Austria entirely disarmed, the Turks have been allowed to recover their military power and the military excesses of Hungary have not been checked. Among the Allies on the other hand, armaments by sea, land and air have grown very far beyond even the 1914 standard. [page 6]

Recommendation.

This Conference believes that, in view of modern scientific developments, there is no practicable halfway measure in respect to disarmament and urges Universal Total Disarmament by Land, Sea and Air, each State retaining only such forces and arms as are adapted to internal police work. As a necessary corollary, all standing armies, navies and air-forces would be disbanded.

V. PHYSIC EFFECTS.

This Conference is of opinion that the psychic effects of the Treaties have been at least as bad for the Victors as for the Vanquished and that they have been in the highest degree responsible for the failure of the League of Nations to take the place it ought to have taken and to deal with the most important international questions.

The Treaties have among other [illegible] injuries: --

(1) Maintained the distinction between Victors and Vanquished, between Allies and non-Allies;

(2) Required Armies of Occupation whose presence is like the persistent irritation of an open sore;

(3) Necessitated frequent interferences with the sovereign rights of vanquished Powers, not in international interests, but in the supposed interest of the Allies, or as part of a penal policy;

(4) Created a whole propaganda of antagonism and misrepresentation on the part of the Allies, in order to prove Germany in default;

(5) Perpetuated the false legend of Germany’s sole responsibility for the war;

(6) Kept in being the Supreme Council, the council of [page 7] Ambassadors, the Reparations and other Missions, all of which tend to diminish the prestige of the League of Nations;

(7) Given to the League of Nations the odious task of carrying out some of the penal clauses of the Treaty, such as the administration of the Saar basin and the partition of Silesia, thereby associating the League with a victor’s peace in which it had no hand, and rendering it unpopular and suspect among the vanquished Powers.

Recommendation.

Since a true League of nations can work efficiently only in an international atmosphere, this Conference declares that it is the duty of the Victors in the Great War to consent to the amendment of all clauses in the Treaties which make such an [illegible] atmosphere impossible and calls upon all people to put into power Governments which will make and keep agreements in accordance with international well-being and for the purpose of International [cooperation].