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MR MASSEY'S COMMENTARY.

FLAWS AND WEAKNESSES

(Official.)

LONDON, May 8. Mr Massey sa.ys:—"lt would bo very easy to find fl%ws and imperfections in the" Peace Treaty, but these will doubtless be more: evident later on without them now. The Council ft the Great Powers have had, during the past' few months, a most difficult task, ,ot which a great deal has been well done, but it has to be admitted that there have been many indications of a lack of that co-ordination essential to success. Now that the terms have been presenced unity is more. essential than ever to counteract the weakness of the Treaty, : Without ■ such inter-Allied unity!" there cannot be the peace the world has hoped for. The greatest ""danger to a satisfactory outcome is the number of experiments embodied in. the Treaty. . . The League of Nations, winch is excellent in theory and aims is still without practical .machinery. Moreover, it must have' tjme before its power can be relied upon, even to make wars less frequent than in the past. The Labour Convention is also well based on high principles, and I l#pe it may do all that.is expected in bringing up nations backward in labour conditions. The systems in regard to mandates, and the economic terras, are also experiments on which much depends. The results from the mandate system will be closely watched all over the world. Many proposals look simple on paper, but when put into practice in conditions widely varied throughout the world they may not achieve the results desired. 'Probably the greatest weakness in the Treaty is the provision as regards guarantees for its execution. The proposal that the Allies should occupy the districts west of the Rhine for "15 years does not give France the measure of permanent security desired. "What -will happen after 15 years, even if the conditions have been complied with ? There is a very prevalent opinion in France that Germany will come again, though not in the present generation, and military experts urge that the only way to make France safe is to give her defensive control of the west bank of the Rhine. This in itself is a serious problem. As regards the various adjustments of past grievances and unjust conditions, there seem to be too many commissions, making for complexity of the control of European frontiers, ports, rivers and railways, possibly causing frequent conflict of | varied nationalities and jealousies., The section dealing with reparation is good as far as it goes, though dangerously indefinite. It is generally -understood that this part of the Treaty gave the Council aid its advisers more trouble than anything else, owing to the wide diversity of opinion. If the Germans accept the terms Britain and the dominione will get something back, 'but their proportion is very hard to estimate. They certainly will not get -jnofe than 25 per cent, spread over about thirty years, and will, perhaps, feet much less than that. It may be eaid now that; respecting finance, tenderness, to Germany was very marked the argument being that if the Allies demands were too high they would probably get nothing, and that Ger-

many would Bolshevise rather, s than pay.'.' ■'■" "■' ■ ■ "*"*■ ."■."■• ■■ "■ ,--"/. The die is now cast, and if one should judge by the arrogant bearing of the Hun delegates to-day they will give trouble and plenty of it, indeed, before peace is finally declared. ■ The most vital anl satisfying features of the Treaty are the military, naval and aerial terms which were fixed by practical, experts .who..knew;, their enemy adu what was required, and who hit directly at Prussian-militarism, which for many years to come has been smashed. ■This in; itself '--is a -great l! reWlt ?i and cburifcer-bal&iices many minor'detects in other 'directions'..' -These terms'are in striking contrast "to" the "'reparation' and restitution' proposals, '"which 'gaye ■■" too much scope lor evasion. No aggregate sum is fixed,' and Germany/will slirely take advantage of 'the.' elasticity' of details. ■:'.' •'•' '' ■• : -'° '•''"■•' :,: ' ' ■"■' '."';

. 1 he"; - clauses '"dealing ' witlr'' enemy crimes aud tlie ■enforcement 6i penalties for: atrocities, and breaches;, of the laws of war ' aud . humanity... are ' Weak compared" with ■the;' , k"-'ti?c'6'm , '''o^niriussion' ,, - -.meiidatious, aiid, afford the ex-Kaiser a wide loophole of escape through -tech-' nicalitiea. The weakness of the Coiincil's, clauses isu due to. the conflict of legal opinion respecting the .sacrosanct position of the exalted heads:of States. . .'in conclusion, .ijb may be said, that the .chief cause of the iiaws. in the Treaty baa been the effort to adjust all sort a of Allied difficulties and dif- ! ferences before .securing, [ without dec ' lay, a delinite, firm peace,.with Gerr many and adequate , reparation. The world wjU welcome and- endorse, the genuine effort of the Allies at the .feace Conference to secure the restoration of Belgium and Northern France and the devastated regions swept by Prussian warfare, and the opportunity now given to the new States emancipated by Allied effort: from tyranny. :

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19190510.2.15.4

Bibliographic details

MR MASSEY'S COMMENTARY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9606, 10 May 1919

Word Count
816

MR MASSEY'S COMMENTARY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9606, 10 May 1919

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