The Potential Advantages of the Mandate System, May 13, 1921


MISS [ADDAMS]: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Academy: Mr. Gibbons' account of the state of mind of the United States at the present moment reminds me of a story I once heard of Noah Webster, of the dictionary fame. I think, perhaps it is an improbable story ↑apocryphal↓. I don't give it as an historic incident, but the story runs this wise: His wife went into the kitchen one day and found him kissing the cook. She drew herself up with great ↑such↓ dignity ↑as the occasion permitted↓ and said she was ↑very much↓ surprised; and her husband replied, "My dear, will you never learn to speak the English language? I am surprised, you are merely astonished." (Laughter). I imagine something of that sort is the state of mind between Europe and ourselves. We are somewhat astonished as these things unroll before us, but it is really Europe with her various, shall we say, hidden motives in the mandates, who is being "surprised."

and ↑Some people are also being disappointed.↓ ↑May↓ I might give a little personal history of the feeling which many people in my neighborhood had when the League of Nations was first talked about and when they believed, as simple people all over the world believed, that it was going to be the friend, ↑and↓ the big brother , so to speak of the weak in various parts of the world ↑scattered over the earth's surface↓ and in various orders of society ↑of those social groups↓ who hadn't had a chance, it ↑Their experience↓ will, perhaps, [register] something of the bitter disappointment [at] the moment which has taken constristation, if I may say, in ↑constricted↓ the hearts of these very simple people.

For many years at Hull House we have had a great deal to do with Italians who had left South Italy for South America to gather in the crops and to do ↑perform↓ other plain and hard agricultural labor. They used to have a very naïve way of beginning on the South side of the equator, and then ↑to↓ following the ripening of the crops, as best they may, ↑might sometimes↓ up into North Dakota, and then ↑to↓ go home for a few months and begin again. It was a very interesting scheme, and it would have worked very well but for one thing -- that for so much of the time they were on the water, ↑ocean,↓ for so much of the time they were in remote parts of South American countries, [page 2] and sometimes ↑in↓ Central Mexico and sometimes ↑even↓ in our own States where they could not easily find an Italian Consul. They seemed to belong to a No Man's Land, and ↑where↓ no man seemed to be very much concerned about ↑for↓ their rights and about ↑or↓ their protection. A Committee of such Italians came to me in the early days of the ↑discussion of the↓ League of Nations, and asked whether or not it was going to do something to take care of what we may call nomadic labor, of the labor which had so little chance to be fostered by its own nationality and which was exploited, more or less, by all the other nationalities. They feel ↑These Italians felt↓ very grateful , many of these Italians to ↑to↓ President Taft, because at one time when he was serving as a Federal Judge, and ↑in↓ a case having to do with the West Virginia mines, came before him, he gave a decision in favor of some emigrants; who ↑because they↓ had taken out their first papers and ↑were↓ therefore, were in a sense wards of the United States ↑nations, he↓ [allowed] the to have some compensation ↑for damages↓ which in the steel mills and in other places  ↑mines↓ had systematically been denied them unless they were citizens of the United States. There was no money paid at that time to a widow or her little children living in Italy if the bread-winner were killed or injured in this country. ↑Because of this decision the Italians hoped that↓ There were many things which had to do with that nomadic labor which they hoped, and which we, their friends, hoped might be taken care of when the League of Nations was established, ↑& they were the more hopeful because Mr Taft advocated it.↓

and Then there are other aspects of it ↑the League of Nations↓ which came very near home , as Mr. Moore said, in a place where ↑to↓ one had to do with all kinds of people ↑immigrants↓, many of whom came to this country in search of more protection and more freedom [than] they were able to find at home. but In the minds of ↑some of↓ these people and in many little discussions which I have had with small groups of them ↑whose daily lives are spent in hard labor↓ there has been a bitter disappointment that the League of Nations in its first activities, and again this is registered in ↑would apply to↓ the mandatory system as it is in ↑does to↓ other commissions, was ↑has been↓ so slow to have anything to do with the economic side ↑aspects↓ of life. and I am sure ↑that↓ many of them feel, as people in this audience , certainly a few people in this audience must feel that if ↑a nation ignores↓ you have nothing to do with the economic resources of a country that is handed over to another country ↑it↓ for protection and [page 3] care, is in a certain way to ↑it↓ begs the ↑whole↓ question. It is like being good or being moral according to an old-fashioned test but refusing to measure up to the current test of the moment, to the test which after all is the thing which asks ↑determines↓ whether or not you are moral contemporaneously. whether you are ethical up to the last standard of ethical conduct, or whether you are ↑A nation may be↓ content to apply a standard which was very good, perhaps, merely in the political sense, when politics ↑when colonial government↓ had to do with merely , shall I say, ↑with↓ political relations and had not yet openly acknowledged that they were also dealing with economic relations.

Now, perhaps, This can ↑may↓ be illustrated if I may venture so far afield ↑as↓ into Mesopotamia, by the fact that, as you know, in the secret treaties France was to have Mesopotamia but England's troops won Mesopotamia, and England was able to produce a concession ↑signed before the war↓ for the oil interests in Mesopotamia, ↑there↓ and so when the thing was finally adjudicated England was given the mandatory over Mesopotamia, with 3/4ths ↑75%↓ of the oil ---with 2/3rds of the oil, I think it was -- and France had 1/3rd ↑the remainder 25%↓. The oil was apportioned before ↑and↓ the mandate was given , because ↑as↓ all ↑the other↓ allocations, as I understand it, were made, by the Supreme Council and were not made by the League of Nations. The League of Nations merely undertakes to see that the ↑annual↓ reports are made, and other things ↑matters carried out↓ which are provided for under the paragraph ↑section↓ on mandatories.

Now, if that is the test, and ↑But the economic test is at least under discussion,↓ an Englishman has recently said that this will be the test there, as it will be in other places, then ↑described what the result would be↓ if England could ↑should↓ say to Mesopotamia, "Of course, this oil must be developed. It belongs to the world; it [does] ↑not↓ belong to these tribes of Kurds and Arabs who happen to live in this immediate neighborhood. It is needed for the heat and light and comfort of all the world. but We will put our capital into it and pay our capital a good percentage, [we] will put men there, experts ↑here↓ to develop these oil fields and ↑we will↓ pay them ↑our experts↓ well, but after that is done, after all the nations of the earth have [an] ↑equal↓ chance to buy this oil, the profits therefrom shall be returned, at least, a goodly [page 4] percentage of them, shall be returned into the development of Mesopotamia." That would be fair and square, what we call a guardianship, would it not ↑analogous to what would happen to↓ Let us say that a child ↑who↓ had lost its parents and is given ↑had been provided with↓ a guardian; it is the business of this ↑such a↓ guardian to make a report to the Probate Judge. ↑Let us assume that↓ he makes a report on having kept the child in law and order, and let us say that he makes a report on giving ↑recognizing↓ the child's right to vote and ↑on↓ getting him ready for his vote when he is 21; he makes a report on all sorts of ↑other↓ things but ↑that↓ he never makes [no] report on the property which might be supposed to belong to the child. He says, "No, I prefer not to make a report on that." Now, it seems to me that it is something of that sort ↑May we not say that there is a similar situation↓ in these mandatory ↑reports to be made to the secretariat of the League?↓ situations I have been guardian of many ↑several↓ children during the many years that I have lived at Hull House. Mothers are always giving ↑have given↓ them to me at the last desperate moment. Some of [these] are very ↑children have been↓ "dependent" and some of them are very ↑have been↓ "backward," and they ↑most of them have had↓ a little property, usually what comes from an insurance. and If there is one thing that is pathetic about these little bereft creatures it is this, that they are reaching out , they are so ↑most↓ [eagerly] to find some one to take the mother's place. They don't stand aside, but they make an imperious claim, "My mother is dead and you are now to be my mother," and they bring sometimes their little bags and baggages, after I have made ↑a↓ very careful arrangements to have them live with some Aunt or relative, and camp on the door-steps of Hull House and say ↑saying↓, "You are my guardian, and, of course, I am going to live with you."

Something of that sort it seems to me, is the situation ↑implied in the mandatory system↓. If there ↑If we admit that there↓ are simple people in the world who are unable to govern themselves -- and I think there are very few of us, although we like to assert that ↑most of us very much dislike to admit it --↓ then we ought also to say, "Let that nation which is given [the] right ↑of a mandatory also render↓ over them give some account of the economic resources which are found within the borders of the ↑so called↓ backward nation."

Now, I claim ↑Of↓ course, that it is a great thing to have publicity [page 5] on these matters ↑of colonial administrations↓. Perhaps the first Probate Court was established without having very much to do with property although I imagine that ↑the↓ lawyers ↑in the audience↓ would tell me ↑us↓ that it had only to do ↑only↓ with property and didn't care much about what happened to the child but if we can only begin with ↑certainly↓ publicity ↑was very good for the child's guardian.↓ these various nations have have to ↑A great deal is to be gained in that the mandatory nation must↓ report back once a year, and that is a great deal to be gained and it may be possible that gradually the other thing also will ↑property interests will also↓ be accounted for.

The British [Labour] Party in 1917, in the early months of 1917, when that remarkable cry came out from Russia, "No indemnities and no reparations," no, what was it -- "No annexations and no indemnities", the British labor party said this, "Let the League of Nations take all of the colonies in tropical Africa, not only the German colonies but the Belgian colonies and the French colonies and the Portuguese colonies. Let them administer them ↑first↓ for the benefit of the people who are there, of course, and also if there are ↑let the↓ vegetable oils and if there are other valuable things to be found there, let them be ↑fairly↓ allocated to the other ↑all the↓ nations of the earth." and this was ↑The British [Labour] Party made↓ [this] point ↑in regard to the natural resources↓ that they made, that because [they] ↑knew that these natural resources influenced the situation↓ interests came in all of the time; the trader, and the concessionaire, and the planter and the rest of them ↑continually made it↓ -  it was very hard for the [national] administrators to stand firm ↑in the interests of the natives↓. I think no one would doubt that there has been a splendid civil service administration of the British African colonies, and ↑that↓ when things went wrong in  [those colonies], as perhaps it ↑some times↓ certainly did ↑as↓ in other colonies -- it was under the pressure of the Nationals of the ↑men from↓ various nations who came in hoping to get some advantage, and perhaps rightly, some advantage ↑make financial gain out↓ of the economic resources which were hidden in tropical Africa. Now, If the British [Labour] Party had ↑been able to↓ [carry] out this scheme, what would ↑have↓ [followed] then? some sort, [As] an Englishman ↑has↓ recently said, ↑there would have to be↓ some sort of civil service training for men who are going to represent the League of Nations, and as ↑such trained men↓ they made continuous inquiries into what was happening in this tropical South Africa, which had formerly belonged to at least four different nations, they might make a protest against the conscription [page 6] of native troops, and ↑as↓ they might make a protest against various things which are ↑now↓ happening in other ↑certain↓ colonies in South Africa, and ↑above all↓ they would ↑certainly↓ develop an ↑the↓ international mind, as Dr. Butler calls it. They would develop a point of view which had not to do ↑not↓ with the good fortune or good will of one trader or another, ↑one nation↓ but primarily that the resources there should get out ↑be developed in order↓ to serve all the world, and secondarily, if you please ↑[although] I should like to put it first,↓ that the people in that region should have a ↑every↓ chance for development. Then we would have a Probate Court out of the League of Nations ↑growing out of the↓ mandatory system ↑of the League of Nations,↓ a Probate Court that had to do with all the aspects of this ↑a↓ backward child, if we ↑are↓ pleased to call him that. because After all any guardian who should come ↑into Court↓ and say, "I was interested, of course, in taking care of the child but I was also interested in lining my own pockets," would I think be thrown out of Court, even in ↑the most↑ corrupt ↑one.↓ well, I won't mention it -- I was going to say Chicago, please don't think I meant Philadelphia (laughter). in Chicago, our Courts are supposed to be somewhat under the influence of the City Hall.

I should like to say one more thing. I remember in the early days, ↑years ago↓ when we all began to talk about the Philippines, that one day Mr. Dooley said to Mr. Hennessey, "We are all talking about the Philippines now as if we had known them from infancy, and ↑but↓ only last week I didn't know whether they were islands or canned goods." (Laughter). I think something of the same sort is true about these islands -- Yap -- I innocently called it Yap but I see that Dr. Gibbons pronounces it [Jap], and I am very glad of the correction -- and [that] other island [underlined blank space] which has its ↑is full of↓ phosphates. in it. England and her colonies have ↑has↓ had these phosphates ↑that island↓ allocated to them by the supreme council but they still have to give an account of their stewardship to the League of Nations which will be made public and all the world will gradually know what their administration is. They have ↑already↓ nationalized [the] phosphates, ↑perhaps we can't strictly↓ if we may call them nationalized when Australia and New Zealand also has a share in [them] phosphates, and that certainly is a move forward. Now, [page 7] is it going much further to say that [the] ↑island↓ should be administered, at least, so far as [the] allocation ↑of phosphates is concerned, having in mind the↓ is needed by farmers who cannot raise grain to feed this [hungry] world because their soil lacks certain constituents? Could we not say ↑that↓ it is the ↑there are↓ beginning in various directions, in all sorts of little subtle ways, for ↑toward↓ an administration of ↑the↓ [so-called] backward peoples of the earth in the interest, first, of the world and that their possessions may get out into ↑be fairly distributed↓ the world -- that's the way it will have to be read at ↑put↓ at present, I think -- and secondarily for the people themselves. and then, Perhaps, it won't be very long until the Assembly and I hope ↑am sure↓ you agree with me that the hope of the League of Nations seems to reside in the Assembly perhaps it will not be long before the Assembly will make some trenchant suggestions having to do with these matters.

I am ↑myself↓ in a very curious position in regard to the League of Nations. I used to go around making very eloquent ↑long↓ speeches for it before there was any League of Nations, at all and one's mind could range ↑for illustrations all↓ over the world in a most marvelous fashion, and then there was a ↑the↓ League of Nations ↑was created↓ and somehow my mouth was stopped ↑estopped, which was at least↓ to the great advantage of my audiences. I have never said a word against it, but I did ↑could↓ not go about advocating it. Then there was the meeting of the Assembly ↑in Geneva↓ and suddenly all sorts of things cleared up. and It seemed as if, after all, we were going to have the nations of the earth ↑could↓ get together and discuss openly, and freely and ↑also↓ kindly for the most part ↑and even↓ and unselfishly, if you please, for the most part, the various ↑genuine↓ concerns of the world. It was ↑The meeting of the Assembly was like↓ the beginning of a new era, and perhaps this public discussion and this good will and this international intent was the beginning, after all, of a real League of Nations. Of course, the Secretariat is doing wonderful things, and why not? It has been picked ↑selected↓ from the best men in all the nations, exactly as Col. House picked the best men he could find and ↑thus procured↓ laid out a wonderful Secretariat [for] the Peace Commission. But the crux of the situation ↑will test the League as it did the Peace Commission,↓ seemed to all of us to come when something was ↑is↓ brought up before the Supreme Council which touches the [page 8] individual interest of the nations that were ↑are↓ represented there. Of course, ↑the Council of the League↓ they adjudicated the Finland and Sweden difficulties; but that was not so difficult [although] it was very fine,  however, and we were glad to have it done, but now the next thing, ↑the test will come↓ if something should go wrong in Syria with France's interest involved and that should ↑have to↓ come up before the Supreme Council. Mr. Hamilton Holt had the courage yesterday to mention Ireland, I do not know where he ever got the courage ↑but he certainly had it with him when↓ from -- he said that the United States might bring up the question of Ireland to the Supreme Council ↑-- I can only ask↓ what would happen then? And so one has to say so far so ↑that the mandatory so far as it has gone has been all to the↓ good -- publicity for the care of backward people, publicity for all sorts of treaties ↑for [treaties in time?] which will be invalid if they are not registered with the Secretariat at Geneva -- publicity coming in ↑international affairs↓ all ↑coming from↓ directions, and, perhaps, most of all the free and open discussion of those matters which adhere to the interests of all nations. (Applause).