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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 1919.
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in room 426, Senate Office Building, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presiding.
Present: Senators Lodge (chairman), McCumber, Borah, Brandegee, Fall, Knox, Harding, Johnson, New, Moses, Hitchcock, Williams, Swanson, Pomerene, Smith, and Pittman.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT LANSING, SECRETARY OF STATE.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Lansing, I desire to ask you a few questions about a matter which has not been discussed by the committee yet. That is in relation to the expenses of the league, the provision for the payment of the expenses.
Article 6 says: The expenses of the secretariat shall be borne by the members of the league in accordance with the apportionment of the expenses of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.
That is a clause simply arranging for the apportionment?
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose those expenses will include salaries of officers and staff, and equipment, and rental and maintenance of offices of the organization, and, generally, the expenses to carry on the activities involved in the work of the permanent committees on armament and mandates under articles 9 and 22, and in formulating the plans of the international tribunal. I am just taking this from the treaty. I should say there would be large expenses. Article
There shall be placed under the direction of the league all international bureaus already established by general treaties if the parties to such treaties consent. All such international bureaus and all commissions for the regulation of matters of international interest hereafter constituted shall be placed under the direction of the league.
I need not go into details. That involves a great many more heavy expenses.
Article 399 says: All the other expenses of the international labor office and of the meetings of the conference or governing body shall be paid to the director by the secretary general of the league of nations out of the general funds of the league. The director
That is, the director of laborshall be responsible to the secretary general of the league for the proper expenditure of all moneys paid to him in pursuance of this article.
Now, I have been unable to find any provision for what is styled here the general funds of the league, and I should like to know if you can tell us how those funds are to be provided and how those expenses are to be met! We are told how they shall be apportioned but not how they shall be met.
Mr. LANSING. I assume-and it must be an assumption, since there is nothing definite about it in the treaty—that there will be a budget prepared and the apportionment made accordingly, and it will all enter into one general fund which will be distributed under the direction of the council.
The CHAIRMAN. The labor provision seems to assume the existence of a general fund in the possession of the league.
Secretary LANSING. I suppose it means the general fund of the league, which would be the fund raised by that apportionment, based upon a budget. The CHAIRMAN. Who establishes the amount of that fund ?
Secretary LANSING. I should assume that it would have to be established by the council in the first instance and probably a submission to the assembly afterwards.
The CHAIRMAN. Our share then is assessed upon us by the league?
Secretary LANSING. Assessed upon us, of course, subject to the proper appropriations, as is always so in the event of an international fund.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, of course, the Congress has to appropriate the money, but is anything left to the Congress as to the amount ?
Secretary LANSING. I should assume so. They might refuse to pass the amount.
The CHAIRMAN. They might refuse to agree then to the assessments made by the league organization?
Secretary LANSING. So far as it concerns the United States, I presume they have got entire control over the appropriations of the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. There seems to be no special provision in the treaty for this matter of finance. There must be a large sum raised. That is obvious.
Secretary LANSING. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. The point I was anxious to get at was whether we were bound to take that budget as it stood, or whether Congress still had the power to say what appropriations should be made.
Secretary LANSING. I think it is no more so than in the case of the Pan American Union and other international bodies which are supported by contributions from the various member Governments.
Senator HITCHCOCK. As it is now, every year your department makes a recommendation to Congress of items to be appropriated for the various international commissions that are in existence, and then it is for Congress to decide whether it will appropriate the money asked for.
Secretary LANSING. Yes; my recollection is that we have 19 such international commissions.
Senator HITCHCOOK. And you assume that this will probably be provided for in the same way. That is, the council of the league would request each nation to furnish so much on a certain basis of proportion, and then you would recommend it to Congress, and it will be for Congress to say whether the appropriation should be made or not.
Secretary LANSING. Exactly.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, there is no obligation then under the league on any power to appropriate this money?
Secretary LANSING. No more than any international agreement imposes a certain moral obligation.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; I know the distinction that is attempted to be drawn, but I regard a moral obligation as just as binding as a legal obligation.
Senator SWANSON. This action of the council and assembly would have to be unanimous, would it not?
Secretary LANSING. I have no recollection that there is any exception made in that particular case.
Senator SWANSON. And there being no exception made, the budget would have to have the approval of the representative of the United States ?
The CHAIRMAN. I had only one or two other questions. What I wanted to get at really was that this assessment is made by the council of the league?
Secretary LANSING. You can term it an assessment. I thought it was an apportionment. I thought that was the term used.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the apportionment of the total, the proportion that we should pay. That is according to the International Universal Postal Union apportionment; but who fixes the total amount that is to be taken from the different countries?
Secretary LANSING. I assume that as it is left indefinite, it falls on the assembly, ultimately.
The CHAIRMAN. It falls on the assembly to decide how much each country should pay?
Secretary LANSING. Yes; how much they ought to pay; and for that purpose the general fund of the league of nations was established.
The CHAIRMAN. And those general funds are under the control of the secretariat ?
Secretary LANSING. Yes.
Senator McCUMBER. Why did you say the secretariat rather than the council ? Under what provision of the league of nations is there anything about this particular matter being a matter for the assembly rather than for the council ?
Secretary LANSING, My recollection is that the items with which the council have particularly to do are set forth, while those in connection with the assembly are not set forth.
Senator McCUMBER. And you assume, therefore, that those which are not set forth as those which the council has special jurisdiction of, must necessarily fall under the jurisdiction of the assembly?
Secretary LANSING. Yes; but of course the introduction would be by the council. It would be passed by the council and then by the assembly.
The CHAIRMAN. I have a series of questions I want to ask the Secretary, but I am perfectly willing to wait. I have one or two more questions that I would like to ask him.
Senator McCUMBER. That is all I want to ask.
The CHAIRMAN. As to these bureaus which all pass under the control of the league, they include the 19 bureaus and commission you were speaking of, do they not?
Secretary LANSING. Not all, no; because many of those are merely bilateral in character. I assume that it does not refer to those, but to general international bureaus.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you refer me to the provision in the treaty that makes a distinction of that kind ?
Secretary LANSING. No, sir. The CHAIRMAN. The article says: There shall be placed under the direction of the league all international bureaus already established by general tréaties if the parties to such treaties consent. All such international bureaus and all commissions for the regulation of matters of international interest hereafter constituted shall be placed under the direction of the league.
That would include the Pan American, would it not?
Secretary LANSING. I should doubt it. That is not a general international treaty. That is a special treaty covering the Western Hemisphere.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, but this says “all.”
Secretary LANSING. Because it is limited in the character of the membership
The CHAIRMAN. Then “general” means only those that cover the whole world?
Secretary LANSING. Substantially that.
The CHAIRMAN. That cover all the world, to which all the powers of the world are parties?
Secretary LANSING. Not necessarily all the powers of the world, but all that desire to enter.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, as I understand it, a general treaty is one that includes—that is open to --all the powers of the world?
Secretary LANSING. Yes.
Secretary LANSING. I assume that that would be a general convention.
The CHAIRMAN. Those are general?
The CHAIRMAN. But the Pan American is not general because it is confined to a hemisphere!
Serretary LANSING. Exactly; any more than the joint high commission between this country and Canada.
The CHAIRMAN. The language of the treaty is extremely broad. It does not draw that distinction, I think.
Secretary Lansing. Well
The CHAIRMAN. Except that it says "general, and that distinction. I confess, I was not familiar with. I thought that a general agreement was one that applied to all the world, of which the whole world took notice.
Senator HITCHCOCK. The chairman will notice, too, that the parties to the treaties must first consent, in order to have it come under the control of the league.
The CHAIRMAN. I have not got it before me.
Senator Knox. I assume that consent provision would refer to those treaties already made and not to the future.
Secretary LANSING. That would be to a limited extent, except those that came in.
The CHAIRMAN. The league would take them all, everywhere!
Secretary LANSING. It would be a mere transference from one bill to another.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Now, on another matter: The President stated at the meeting at the White House of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives and the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate last March, that four plans were presented at the peace conference for a league: The Italian plan, an American plan, a French plan, and a British plan, and that the American plan was not the one used for the purpose of building the league, and there have been several requests and there has been a good deal of desire to see that American plan. Do you know whether that plan is in existence?
Secretary LANSING. I do not, sir.
Secretary LANSING. There are no copies, to my knowledge, in the department.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you know who drafted the plan?
The CHAIRMAN. Then that draft of that plan is practically unobtainable.
Secretary LANSING. That I do not know, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all. Oh, yes; may I ask if you ever saw it yourself?
Secrétáry Lansing. Yes.
Secretary LANSING. No, sir. It may have been presented to the commission on the league of nations. It was not presented to the conference.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you ever prepare a draft yourself?
Senator Borah. Mr. Secretary, you say you saw this plan. Could you tell us the difference between the plan which the Americans presented and the one which was finally adopted ?
Secretary LANSING. No; I do not think i could, because they were along the same general line.
Senator BORAH. Do you remember any distinguishing features between them?
Secretary Lansing. No; I can not recall now. it was very early in the proceedings, and the American plan was not pressed.
Senator Boray. No print of it that you know of was ever made? Secretary LANSING. I do not think it was ever printed.
Senator BORAH. Mr. Secretary, I wanted to ask you in regard to another feature of this matter we have been talking about, the American plan, if no one else wanted to ask any questions about that.