Tomorrow, students from twenty-five eastern Universities will descend upon Providence to partake in the fifth annual League of Nations Model Assembly Council of New England Colleges. In swift succession of meetings most of the major international problems confronting the world will be discussed, solutions will be debated, and votes taken. The avowed purpose of the founders of the Model League is to animate matters ordinarily embalmed in newspaper headlines and magazine summaries, to initiate participants in the mechanical aspects of the League, and to give opportunity for diplomatic and international talking and thinking.
Valuable as may appear such a project, it does not yield graciously to searching examination for real benefits. In its purported capacity for vitalizing news and clarifying thought, the League falls far short of claims made on its behalf. Many who attend are of that encyclopaedic turn of mind which, accepting as law the written page, declaims stereotyped phrases and frozen ideas; others are of the amiable twist that leads to futile bickering over details. The majority of those present have acquired their profound knowledge of affairs by studious cramming of text books and outline magazines; still more have never so much as visited their constituencies; and all are forced to comply in their discussions to the strict limitations imposed by the two day period and the carefully prearranged program. The mere physical character of the Model League precludes any possible constructive conclusion.
The fact that America is not represented in the meetings and that her interests may therefore be conviently disregarded leads participants to express foreign claims with a sympathy and enthusiasm that might easily prejudice their subsequent attitude toward American rights and demands. Such a lack of appreciation for national sentiment is apparent throughout all the negotiations and accounts in, large measure for the character of the conclusions. This fact, coupled to the mechanical ease with which those decisions are reached, must inevitably give rise to a mistaken conception in the minds of participants as to the true nature of international negotiations.
On a basis of relative merits and defects, the Model League of Nations would experience difficulty in justifying its existence. Its confinement to the intellectual east, a section of the country almost unanimous in its advocacy of American entrance into the League, will nullify whatever propagandist powers it may have, except for antagonizing opponents to the League. As a means for enlivening current events and broadening college thinking on international topics it offers less advantages and more possibilities for distorted conceptions than does the average debate.