The trustees in charge of the Carnegie Peace Fund have announced the real reason for President Eliot's coming trip around the world. President Eliot at the request of the Peace Fund committee is to travel through the various Asiatic countries for the purpose of explaining the organization and aims of the ten million dollar Peace Endowment, and of studying public opinion there upon matters of international concern. He will secure the material for a report which will consider how best the Carnegie Endowment may proceed with the view of promoting the cause of peace among the Asiatic nations.
Little by little the international peace movement is shifting from the realm of theory to the world of actual facts. The first definite steps were taken in its behalf at the Hague Conferences in 1899 and 1907. A tribunal was established to decide such international differences as did not touch the national honor or vital interests of the parties. The Declaration of London, not yet accepted, embodies a set of rules by which such international disputes shall be decided. The latest step in the same direction was taken last spring when the Taft administration opened negotiations for the peace treaties which now await ratification by the Senate. These treaties will make it binding upon the nations that sign them to arbitrate a still larger proportion of the disputes that may arise.
Such far-reaching agreements are evidence of a great increase in the community of international interests. An arbitration treaty will not of itself stop war,--it is merely an indication of public sentiment. Since the beginning of time there has been scarcity and consequent conflict of desire among men. The savage thought that a fight with his fellow was the only solution of the problem, if there was but food enough for one. At present two civilized nations think that war is the only solution, if there are sufficient foreign trade markets for but one. The present propaganda for international peace among nations can be likened to the first and somewhat hesitating arrangements between savages for the settlement of their disputes by a third person. The savage's problem appears indeed simple compared to ours.
The advancement of any movement that affects so many people so vitally must, in the very nature of things, move slowly. The experience which President Eliot has had in dealing with the most perplexing problems of University administration and his familiarity with most matters of national importance makes him eminently fitted to take a leading part in the solution of the all important international question.