"One of the greatest fallacies in our present international organization is the empty chair in the League of Nations", said Professor Manly O. Hudson '10, Bemis Professor of International Law, in his lecture yesterday at Phillips Brooks House discussing "Progress in International Organization Since the War." "The United States is one of the three nations which were asked to join the League and refused."
Professor Hudson, who has been a member of the legal section of the secretariat of the Lague of Nations since 1919, outlined some of the accomplishments of the first five years of the League. "Disputes between Sweden and Finland, Poland and Lithuania, Poland and Germany, Jugo Slavia and Albania, and Italy and Greece have all been satisfactorily settled," he declared, "and war, which threatened in each case, has been averted. I have never seen a time so intense, a time so difficult to resist hysteria, as when the Corfu question was being discussed. There has been much comment in regard to the inability of the League to handle this dispute, but I have never heard an intelligent person say that the world would have been better if the League had not existed at that time. This quarrel may be likened to that between Serbia and Austria in 1914 in substance, but not in results.
"The language used around the table is quite different from that used over the telephone or in the mail. The process of consultation between the leading political men has worked in the League of Nations. If a great experiment like the League had been launched into a tranquil, peaceful world, all would have said it was a great thing. All would have watched it with interest and helped it as much as possible. But instead the League was launched into the most troubled world history has ever known, where hate was dominant.
"The League of Nations has issued from the war supported by 54 countries," Professor Hudson continued, which are representative of every continent, every religion, and every race. During the five years it has operated there have been 29 meetings of the Council of the League and four meetings of the Assembly. It has made the notion of conference a fact. The principle has been established that every one must consent to what every one wishes--no majority rule can exist.
Other Devices Insufficient
"At the outbreak of the war," continued Professor Hudson, "the world had two kinds of international organization: the Court of Arbitration, and several independent leagues of nations, such as the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and the Universal Postal System. The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 established the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which successfully functioned in 18 cases. But it had a very basic fault in that it was not permanent, not a court, and not an adequate body for arbitration. Since the war a Permanent Court of International Justice has been formed which has proved more adequate. However, these two courts can handle only legal dis- putes; a machine was still needed that would intergrate the world, where the political leaders could meet in conference. For this purpose," he concluded, "the League of Nations, in which all people who are interested can give and take with understanding, was established.