Interview with Percival Proctor Baxter, November 11, 1921


Interview with Percival P. Baxter, Governor of Maine, on the Approaching Conference for the Limitation of Armaments.

"The Disarmament Conference, or Conference for the Limitation of Armaments, will be the most momentous gathering of statesmen in history, and upon the results of its deliberations depend the status of this and succeeding generations. It is too much to hope that the time-worn and discredited practices of European diplomacy will not be in evidence, and that selfish men will not seek to gain advantage by plots and counterplots. I am confident, however, that wise councils will prevail, and that those who represent the new order will dominate the situation, and will shape the conference in response to the overwhelming demand of civilized people that competition in armaments must cease.

"It matters not whether the conference is called for Disarmament or for the Limitation of Armaments, since its purpose is to show to the world that friendship and trust, and not strife and distrust, are the proper foundations for international relations.

"If the American statesmen at the Conference are guided by the principle and keep before them the fact that this conference can succeed only if they remain true to their trust, the greatest step ever taken toward world righteousness will be begun on November 11, 1921.

"European diplomats have too often regarded themselves as men of destiny, in whose hands are placed the divine right to parcel out the peoples of the earth and to force them to pay tribute to those in power. Diplomats of this stamp already have been too long in power.

"Secret diplomacy is responsible for much of the misery that has afflicted the world. If the sessions of the Conference are held behind closed doors, evil influences will find fertile ground to feed upon. Diplomats may argue that the details of international affairs should not be subjected to the light of day, but the fruits of secrecy in the past do not warrant its continuance in the future. I realize the difficulties of open sessions, but the peoples of the world who bear the burdens and make the sacrifices should not be denied full information and detail. They are the ones to be considered and the sooner diplomats realize this and act accordingly, the sooner [will] peace come to the world. The pitfalls ahead of the [Conference] are many; its path will be lined with obstructionists and [scoffs,?] but notwithstanding these difficulties good is bound to [come?] of it and I believe that the conference is destined to great [accomplishment]."

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