M'Cormick Attacks League Covenant
New York Times
Asserts Constitution Creates a Super-State that Curbs American Liberties
Calls it a British Plan
Senator-Elect, in Reply to Critic, Defends His Action in Indorsing Lodge Resolution
Special to The New York Times. Washington, March 5.
Senator-elect Medill McCormick of Illinois, one of the thirty-nine Senators who signed the Lodge resolution on the League of Nations, made public tonight a letter sent to him today by George H. Mead, President of the City Club of Chicago, defending his course. The President of the City Club telegraphed to McCormick, criticising him for opposing the constitution of the League of Nations. His telegram read:
"Regard the action taken by Republican Senators on the constitution of the League of Nations as a fatal disaster to the party, and if it should prevail in our neighborhood it would lose the party one-half to three-fourths of its vote."
In his reply Senator McCormick says:
"You are for the Constitution of the League of Nations as represented to the Paris Conference: I am not. Since you are for the proposed constitution, you approve of giving the British Empire six votes in the League to one vote for the United States, and in your capacity as President, you commit the City Club to that project, to which I am opposed. Upon what ground do you justify giving the British Empire, in proportion to its self-governing population, twelve times the voting strength of the people of the United States? Is one Englishman twelve times as important as one American?
Opposed to Arbitration
"The projected constitution provides that all diferences (sic) upon all subjects are subject to arbitration. This includes the question of immigration to the United States.
"Upon that point Count Okuma, speaking in the Japanese House of Peers on Feb. 22, voiced the determination of Japan in no unmistakable terms. Your are prepared to submit the matter of immigration and to accept the probability - nay, the almost certainty - that Oriental labor would be permitted to enter the United States; you are willing to see efficient and economical Japanese operating our street railways, to find Hindoo janitors in our offices and apartments, to hear the rivets, joining timbers, laying brick and carrying tires in the construction of our buildings, and your are willing to commit the City Club to this proposition. But I am utterly opposed to a plan which may introduce Asiatic labor into America, to open our farms or our factories to Oriental hands.
"Under the projected constitution of the League, the cession of territory in the American Hemisphere to Asiatic or European nations is determinable by the Executive Council or arbitrable. The Council, composed of eight Asiatic and European nations and one American nation, could award Japan the right to buy Magdalena Bay or the Galapagos Islands, lying off the Panama Canal. You are for that but I am not.
"An American garrison today is keeping the peace on the shores of the Adriatic between former allies, now prepared to spring at one another's threats. Under the League, the Council could require Americans to keep garrisons on the marshes of Poland, Hungary, Rumania, the new Serbia, Bulgaria, and the greater Bohemia - to guard disputed frontiers. If Russian armies were to break through the Khyber Pass into the northern plains of India, even though the Indians welcomed the Russians, the Executive Council could call upon America for 100,000, for 500,000 for 1,000,000 men.
"Regiments from the mines of Illinois, from the north woods of Michigan and Wisconsin, from the prairies of Iowa and Indiana, by decree of a non-American council, and not by act of the American Congress, could be summoned to march out to the strains of 'Yankee Doodle' in order to uphold at the foot of the Himilaya(sic) the scepter of George V., 'Kaiser I-Hind, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India.' You would keep our men in Russia, send them to garrison the Balkans, order them to battle on the parched Sahara, if the powers of Asia and Europe commanded. I would not.
Says Wilson Threatened
"I have seen war as perhaps you have not, and I have a horror of it which only those can share who have seen it. Under the projected constitution we may be forced to go to war against the wishes of our people and the judgment of our Congress. The proposed League will not prevent war, as Mr. Wilson himself said at the Whit House conference, and in seven different ways it proposed constitution positively provides for war, as Senator Knox, (who was Mr. Taft's secretary of War) proved in his great speech, which I gather you have not troubled to read.
"I am not ready to abandon the Monroe Doctrine or to agree that the voices and votes of Europe and Asia shall declare ware for us, decide where our armies shall go, and choose their commanders for them.
"During his week's visit to the United States, Mr. Wilson gave vent to a couple of rhetorical rhapsodies, but he adduced no argument in support of any one of the disputed articles of the proposed Constitution. He made no specific answer to any specific objection. He explained nothing and he converted nobody. When he arrived in Boston he threatened, and the threaten again as he sailed from New York. Threats avail nothing among free men. Reason and not hysteria, patriotism and wisdom and not partisanship will prevail.
"This is not a partisan question. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taft whose leadership was definitely rejected by the American people in 1912 and 1918 are for the League as planned by General Smuts of the British War Cabinet and reported by Mr. Wilson. Tomorrow, in New York, two Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator will speak against the Constitution of the League as not proposed. Mr. Wilson is not the sum of human wisdom, but he will consider no amendment to the British plan. If our common hope to create some League of Nations fails, the fault will be his.
"Like a large proportion of the small number of persons who have telegraphed to me in opposition to the resolution of which I was one of the signers, you for yourself and for the City Club of Chicago, threaten me and the Republican Party with political punishment, as Mr. Wilson threatens. If you will reflect, I think you will agree that that was a poor and mean thing to do, unworthy of the City Club, of its President, and of yourself as a citizen. Never until now has an American treaty of peace been drawn without in some sense consulting those who must share in its confirmation. Ours is not a plebliscitary dictatorship, but a representative Government.
"I am here in a representative capacity, but I must act upon my conscience and upon my judgment to serve my country, to protect it not only from the aggressions of ambitious autocrats, but from the vagaries of autocratic internationalists. There is no way in which I can divest myself of my responsibility, the heaviest which I have ever borne and I suppose the heaviest which I shall ever be called upon to bear. Men have died the death in this war to defend representative institutions. We in the Senate should be unworthy of them if we were to blanch before the treats of those who have been carried away in an effort not to create a League of Nations which we may safely join, but to impose on us the constitution of a superstate, an international confederation which would extinguish our national importance and our American liberties.
"It is a bad sign when the Chicago City Club, which was organized as a forum for civic discussion, has become under your presidency, an engine of political coercion."