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Transportation by motor-truck, except for short distances, is too expensive. Our goods must be transported by rail, if at all, and we must either provide cheap and rapid railroad transportation, or perish as a manufacturing centre.
This conclusion does not imply that the policy of the Commonwealth regarding the construction of state roads has been unwise. On the contrary, such construction, properly planned and administered on the basis of payment by the automobile of its share of cost and maintenance, through a system of registration fees, is sound and popular. But these roads were designed for relatively light traffic; their foundations and bridges are wholly inadequate to withstand the blows of a five-ton truck, and their use for freight-service of this character is wantonly wasteful. The $25.000,000 investment of the taxpayers' money is being destroyed by a use that was never intended. Your pocket-knife makes a poor claw-hammer, to say nothing of the effect on the knife.
That the task is not beyond our power, there is no question. Brains and energy of the sort that have made New England, if applied to this problem, will solve it. A small commission, composed of the leaders of our industrial life, could, in a very short time, verify the facts of the case and draw up a statement which
every citizen in New England could understand, and which should be published and advertised in such a way as to drive it home in every section and in every class. The tax-payers, once aroused, will then insist that the necessary steps be taken at once. Different methods of handling goods and of handling men must be put in operation, but these methods need not of necessity be invented. To a large extent, the laborsaving devices which we need are already in existence and in use in other industrial or construction organizations. The future methods of handling men need not, in fact must not, be new. They must be the methods now in use in other great, efficient, and successful industries.
Whether these changes can be carried out by the men who now operate the roads remains to be seen. With a clear mandate and a fair chance, which they have not had heretofore, they should be given time to show what they can do. If they fail, they must be replaced by men who will not fail. Needs must when the Devil drives. Our need is desperate, and the right men can be found. Management, and not money, is what we need. The motor-trucks for local deliveries, the terminals, the railroads, and a large part of the necessary equipment are at hand. We have the tools — our problem is to use them with the requisite skill.
THE ADRIATIC NEGOTIATIONS AT PARIS
BY DAVID HUNTER MILLER
The story of the Paris negotiations about the Adriatic has not yet been written; perhaps all of it cannot be told until we read the papers of Orlando and Lloyd George, of Sonnino and President Wilson, and of some other figures who, at times at least, played a part in the drama; but certainly an attempt can now be made to outline the picture and to reconstruct the progress of one of the failures of Paris, a failure, however, which paved the way for the final ending, by the Treaty of Rapallo, of the differences between Italy and the kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes.
First of all, let us recall to our minds just what the Adriatic problem was. When Italy became at once a united nation and a great power, her situation geographically was both singularly satisfactory and unsatisfactory. That great peninsula, which looks on the map like a gigantic boot projecting into the Mediterranean, has a coast-line with an extraordinary opportunity for commerce. On the other hand, the Italian frontier on the north and northeast was almost hopeless for defense, and, indeed, seemed drawn so as to invite attack.
But we are concerned only with the Adriatic, whose western waves wash the coasts of Italy for five hundred miles, from beyond Venice to the Mediterranean. From the point of view of modern naval warfare, no sea is more one-sided. Every advantage is with the
east: the many islands, often with concealed channels and with an indented shore behind them, protected by an almost impassable mountain range along the coast, not only are beyond all attack, but, with their deep harbors and their hiding-places, make an ideal haven for warships; but the unbroken coast-line on the Italian side, with its shallow waters and almost no ports, affords no naval base. Moreover, the waters of the Italian shores are shallow, while those leading to the Mediterranean by the Straits of Otranto are deep and the currents swift, so that mines in that twenty miles of channel are hardly possible. No wonder that, despite the Allied fleets, Austria controlled the Adriatic throughout the war.
But the Adriatic problem meant more than this. The shores of the Adriatic that were not Italian were largely within the Empire of Austria-Hungary. Before the war, the peninsula of Istria, coming down east of Venice, had to the north the great Austrian port of Trieste and near its southern tip the famous naval base of Pola. Hungary reached the sea just below, at Fiume, the outlet for a hinterland of varied races under different governments. Farther south, Austrian territory extended along the coast, in the narrow strip of Dalmatia, that Adriatic wall along which Serbia was looking for a window. And when one thought of the Adriatic, one could not but think of the provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, annexed by A ustria-Hungary with a cynical contempt for treaties; and one must think also of two other countries on the sea below Dalmatia — Montenegro, that superb anomaly of independence, and Albania, a land that had always lived its own life in the Balkans, but apart from the rest of the world and of Europe till 1913.
With its memories of Italian civilization and culture, where Italian power had long since lost sway; with its medley of races, of religions, and of governments; with the conflicting strategic positions and ambitions of the great powers bordering on its waters; with its cross-currents of commercial rivalries, and with ancient hatreds smouldering under modern injustice, the Adriatic presented a situation which, at any static stage, it might well seem impossible to change without disaster, but which, in the state of flux created by a great war, became a problem whose solution was well worthy of any wisdom.
The diplomatic history of the Adriatic in the World War is usually dated from the Pact of London. But I put it farther back. I date it from that night in August, 1914, when the Italian Ambassador at Paris woke the French Minister of Foreign Affairs in his bedroom, and told him that the attacks by Germany on France and on Russia were not a casus fcsderis within the terms of the Triple Alliance, and that Italy would remain neutral. Then was taken the great decision by Italy, a decision which really put the Adriatic question on the lap of the gods, and which, by permitting the withdrawal of French troops from the Italian frontier, made possible the first victory of the Maine.
Now, the Pact of London has been denounced by almost every recent crit
ic; and, in particular, it has been denounced by every so-called 'liberal,' a term which seems to me often to mean one who is very tolerant of his own point of view. We have been told that the Pact of London was secret, that it was a bargain — a hard bargain — driven by Italy with the Allies, and that it violated every principle of self-determination and of justice. Well, despite the critics and despite the fact that they charged me at Paris with the crime of being pro-Italian, I think I can consider the Pact of London by an examination of its provisions in the light of the circumstances surrounding ifs creation; and that is how any international document should be considered.
That treaty was signed on April 26, 1915, between Italy, Great Britain, France, and Russia; and one of its provisions was that Italy should enter the war on the side of the Allies within one month thereafter. This fact alone repels all criticism on the ground of secrecy at the time; for it could hardly be expected that public announcement would be made of a future move in the war.
Of course, no one can defend secret treaties in principle, for the principle of secrecy in diplomacy is an evil one. But the evil was not generally recognized in Europe in 1915; we are apt to forget the great change which has taken place in world-sentiment in this matter. The Covenant of the League of Nations contains a clause for the public registration of treaties; any such idea would have been wholly illusory and impossible only a few years ago, for the fundamental law of almost every continental state made provision for secret treaties. Indeed, if we go back a century in our own history, we find the Congress of the United States under Madison passing secret laws, which for years were kept off our statute-books.
By the rest of the Pact of London it was agreed that Italy should have various territorial acquisitions in the Adriatic and elsewhere, and that she should be given a loan in London of £50,000,000 — a very modest sum from the later point of view of war finance. I am reminded in this connection of a remark which Mr. Lloyd George is reported to have made in Paris, to the effect that the refusal of Great Britain to give Turkey a loan of £20,000,000 in 1914 was the most extravagant economy known to history.
Of course, the territorial clauses of the Pact of London were a bargain between Italy and the Allies; but I fail to see that they were a harsh bargain. Passing, for the moment, any question of the righteousness of the clauses, surely France and Great Britain were not being treated harshly; they were not giving away anything of their own, and from the point of view simply of self-interest, they could well afford to be generous with the territory of their enemies before they were just; it was not their ox that was being gored in Dalmatia.
Now the territorial clauses of the Pact of London have such a direct relation to the Adriatic negotiations at Paris that it is necessary to examine those clauses in some detail; perhaps their justice or injustice has become a matter of no practical moment; but still I shall turn aside to consider that question of justice, for otherwise the background of the Paris negotiations may be seen in a false light.
The moral qualities of an act are to be judged as of its date and not from subsequent events. I not only admit, but insist, that in 1919 it would have been wrong and unjust, as well as unwise and impossible, to carry out the terms of the Pact of London; but, to consider fairly the situation of 1915, we must lay aside our knowledge of subsequent events, difficult as that is to do.
In the spring of 1915, when Italy entered the war, the cause of the Allies was not going well. They were making no progress on the Western Front, and in the East, Russia was about to meet with a severe defeat. No one dreamed of a rout of Germany or of a complete remaking of the map of Europe. A continuance of the former European alignment seemed reasonable to expect, in a modified form, perhaps, but certainly with no overturn of the situation.
Italy had lived her national life of two generations in a continuous and justified state of fear — a sentiment almost unknown to American statesmen, but which has had, and has, a more profound influenceonEuropean thought and action than can well be imagined. The door in the Alps was open. Italy visualized a German empire and an Austro-Hungarian empire existing after the war, the former probably, and the latter certainly, deeply hostile to her; and so Italy sought safety, sought to acquire a frontier as impregnable as possible, together with the control of the Adriatic. Most of the questioned territorial gains secured by Italy in the Pact of London in the legion we are now considering were of comparatively little material value; their worth was chiefly as a defense against attack.
Furthermore, unless the Empire of Austria-Hungary was to collapse, the future of the Jugo-Slav movement was problematical. In 1915, one might, perhaps, have predicted a greater Serbia, but hardly a union of all the Jugo-Slavs. Certainly, there was no heaven-sent reason why any of those peoples should be governed from Vienna or from Budapest rather than from Rome, if they were not to have their own capital at Belgrade. And while Serbia did not sign the Pact of London, Russia, the self-constituted protector of the Balkan Slavs, was a consenting party.
So, while the terms of the Pact of London were drawn in the spirit of the old and now discredited diplomacy, still Italy, from the standpoint of 1915, was largely justified in signing that treaty, although the same treaty in 1919 would have been unrighteous and unjust.
By the Pact of London, while a part of the coast toward the north of the Adriatic, including specifically Fiume and all the coast of Croatia, was not to be Italian, the whole of the Istrian peninsula was to go to Italy, and in addition an extensive strip of Dalmatia above Spalato, with nearly all the islands off the coast; and when to these was added Valona and its gulf, almost opposite Brindisi and the heel of the Italian boot, the control of the Adriatic was complete; it would have been wholly Italian in all but name.
But by the time the Conference of Paris met, a change had come over the spirit of the political dream of Eastern Europe. The ancient empire, which had been the natural enemy of Italy, had vanished. And here let me say that it is a common criticism, born of common ignorance, to charge the Conference of Paris*with the Balkanization of Eastern Europe, that catching phrase. It was no treaty that set up separate governments at Prague, at Budapest and at Vienna, for those separate governments had existed since before the German Armistice. And no Peace Conference could have joined together these fragments of an empire which its peoples had put asunder.
Nor was it any outside influence which brought to a conclusion that national movement which resulted in the union of the three Jugo-Slav peoples — peoples of different religions, indeed, and under different governments, some of whom had been under alien rule for centuries, but who were all of nearly the same blood and of nearly the same speech.
It has recently been made public, as perhaps some had earlier suspected, that not all the Americans at Paris were of one mind with their chief about the principle of self-determination. It now appears that there were some unexpressed and private thoughts at Paris, to the effect that self-determination is a rather unsettling doctrine and one not based on sufficiently ancient legal precedents; but surely everyone who is at all familiar with the history of the Jugo-Slav movement will agree with Woodrow Wilson that 'self-determination is not a mere phrase.'
For in place of Serbia we found, not a Greater Serbia, but a new kingdom, the kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes; a kingdom including Serbia and Montenegro, and which had taken in not only Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also Croatia and Slavonia, and other parts of Austria-Hungary; a kingdom which regarded its claim to Dalmatia and the adjacent islands as perfect, and which had aspirations, not only to Istria but even to Trieste.
And the change that had come was not a change in fact and in feeling only, but also in law. The Jugo-Slavs were not bound technically or in any other sense by the Pact of London, but held it as void from their point of view, and claimed that it had been annulled by the so-called 'Pact of Rome,' of April, 1918, a claim which had in it, perhaps, more of equity than of technical accuracy. But more important, practically, was the fact that the United States was certainly not bound by the Pact of London, to which we had never directly or indirectly assented; indeed, the American legal view was that the Pact of London, so far as it conflicted with the Fourteen Points, bound nobody at all; for the Fourteen Points had in substance been accepted by Italy as well as by France and Great Britain, even though they had not been