Some two weeks ago, word came to us from Paris that the President was much encouraged by the cabled adherance of a very prominent Republican, whose name was not given, to the draft of the League of Nations Covenant. It now appears that this anonymous supporter of the principles underlying the Covenant was none other than ex-Senator Elihu Root, Secretary of State under Mr. Roosevelt, and member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.
In answer to a letter of inquiry as to his attitude from Mr. Will H. Hays, Republican National Chairman, Mr. Root now presents six constructive suggestions in the form of amendments to the Covenant of Paris. He suggests an agency for settling disputes between the "High Contracting Powers," conferences to be called under the League between stated dates to revise the Covenant, and review the conditions of International Law, securing the rights of nations to decide purely internal questions for themselves, authorizing a commission to supervise reduction of armaments, and permitting conditional withdrawal from the League.
Needless to say, such a battery of constructive suggestion, coming as it does from so authoratative a source, is of immense value at this time. This is particularly the case since Mr. Root, like most of his fellow Americans, takes a liberal view of the Covenant, and considers it far from hopeless. He considers the Covenant as it stands an instrument of great practical power, but as yet far from a perfect one. If reports be true, President Wilson in Paris has already taken Senator Root's views into account. Let us profit by the fair and reasonable position which Mr. Root has taken and above all let us detach the League scheme from personalities as completely as he has done, and try to discuss as justly and disinterestedly its merits and defects.