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With the statement of the thirty-one who pledge their support to Senator Harding the speedy entrance of the United States into the "association of free nations of the world" is assured beyond the possibility of rejection. Advocates of the Wilson league "as' is," inflexible in their obstinate insistence upon the verbal inspiration of its author, have signed their own death warrant. The leaders of that group whose unflagging efforts made a world covenant-possible, the League to Enforce Peace, together with leaders of the most progressive and broad-minded element in the Republican party, foreseeing the futility of attempting to force upon the electorate an international agreement with which the body of voters could not completely acquiesce, have declared themselves firmly in favor of Mr. Harding, and of his desire to cleave to the substance and not the outward word.
The question accordingly is not between a league and no league, (they contend) but is whether certain provisions in the proposed league agreement shall be accepted unchanged or shall be changed.
The contest is not about the principle of a league of nations, but it is about the method of most effectively applying that principle to preserve peace.
The statement of the thirty-one has with a single bolt cleared a political atmosphere threatening trouble for the Republican hopes at the polls. Carrying as it does the backing of the most ardent supporters of the league idea, it will, in the event of Mr. Harding's election, make impossible the rejection of such an idea. Even more, it will make imperative and certain the immediate application of that idea to the international affairs of the United States. No one can deny the influence which the group led by Mr. Root will have in the affairs of state; no one can now believe it possible for Mr. Harding to deny such support in the hour of his assumption of the country's affairs. The position taken by the thirty-one will prove of tremendous importance in affecting the issue of the election on November 2. Their influence will be equally powerful when the new administration shall have been inaugurated.
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