4157 HOW THE WAR CAME TO AMERICA
to make. The conference therefore came to naught. And the London
Declaration having been rejected by the strongest maritime power, its
endorsement was postponed by all the other countries involved. Our motives,
however, remained unchanged; and our Government persisted in its purpose
to secure a general ratification either of this declaration or of some similar
There has been in our diplomacy one more outstanding aspiration. We
have constantly sought to substitute judicial for military settlement of disputes between nations.
The genesis of this idea dates from the discussions over the Federal organization of our thirteen original States, which were almost as jealous of their
sovereignties as are the nations of Europe today. The first great step toward
the League of Honor, which we hope will at last bring peace to the world,
was taken when our thirteen States agreed to disarm and submit all their
disputes to the high tribunal of the new federation.
And this idea of an interstate court, which except at the time of our Civil
War has given this Nation internal peace, has profoundly influenced our
foreign policy. Of our efforts to bring others to our way of thinking, a
historical resume was presented by our delegates at the First Hague Conference. A project was submitted there for the formation of a world court.
And a few years later Mr. Root, our Secretary of State, in instructing our
delegates to the Second Conference at The Hague, laid especial emphasis
on this same international ideal.
We have taken a particular pride in being in the vanguard of this movement for the peaceable settlement by process of law of all disputes between
nations. And these efforts have not been without success. For although
the last few decades have seen this principle time and again put under a
terrific strain, no nation has dared to go to war against the award of a court
of arbitration. The stupendous possibilities that lie in arbitration for solving
international problems, promoting liberal principles, and safeguarding human
life had been amply demonstrated before the present war began.
But in the discussions at The Hague, largely through the resistance of the
German Empire and its satellites, the efforts of our delegates and those of
other Governments to bring about a general treaty of compulsory arbitration had failed. And therefore this nation, having been thwarted in its
attempt to secure a general agreement, began negotiations with all those
nations which like our own preferred the methods of law and peace, with
the purpose of effecting dual arbitration treaties. And before the end of
1914 we had signed far-reaching treaties with thirty nations, twenty of which