Returning to this question otf Persia, I may point out that there is no analogy between the case of the fire department and that of calling upon certain nations to act as suggested, because people do not get killed in putting out a fire but they do when they go to war. What guarantee is there that the Italians, if called upon, as the nearest people, to take action, would do so? Is that agreed to?
Well, you have to take it for granted that the nations who have signed and subscribed to the covenant of the League of Nations will live up to their obligations. I do not think we can quite discuss what would happen if a nation, having, signed the covenant, should refuse to fulfil it. The understanding is that the Council of the League of Nations can take such steps as are necessary for the defence of any nation that is unjustly attacked.
The situation as already explained by my hon. friend (Sir Herbert Ames) is this; that in case a dispute should arise and the Council of the League should decide that armed forces should be called upon to assist in settling that dispute, they would have to summon to the Council the nations which they considered should pro-
vide the armed forces; the representatives of those nations "would be entitled to sit on the Council for the purpose of considering and determining that matter, and no country could be called upon to contribute an armed force unless its representative on the Council agreed that that nation should contribute that force. There can be no compulsion. It has been pointed out to this House before that the success of the League depends upon the co-operation and goodwill of the nations who are parties to it, backed by the sound moral sense and public opinion of the world. The League of Nations, in the last analysis, depends upon the public opinion of the world for its justification and support.
Supposing the nation in closest proximity to the seat of trouble, on being called upon to act, after having a representative on the Council, refuses to act and the next-nearest nation was called upon and it refuses to act, how far back will the matter be carried until somebody does act?
If this nation or any other nation were to accept the advice of the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) and disarm, that nation would at once put itself into a position of being unable to obey the request of the League of Nations if it "were called upon to police some other locality? Is that not so?
would be profitable for us to enter on a review of the question of disarmament on a discussion of this item, I think we had better confine ourselves to the matter under discussion. The hon. member is, however, quite correct. The League of Nations contemplates the existence of force in the nations that are parties to the Treaty and the use of that force for the purpose of preserving the world peace as against a nation which violates its obligations under the Treaty or is disturbing the peace of the world. It does not aim at the complete elimination of armaments; it does aim at a substantial reduction in armaments, in reducing armaments proportionately to a much more moderate basis than that which exists in Europe to-day, although no suggestion has been made to any nation in Eurpoe of a reduction in armanments that could compare with the maximum that is proposed in Canada.
I should not like to be understood as opposing a genuine, reasonable and well-thought-out attempt to bring about the cessation or diminution of war, and I was struck with one sentence that fell from the lips of my hon. friend (Sir Robert Ames), when he said that, amongst other things, the League of Nations would undertake the study of the causes of war and the removal of those causes. If the League of Nations does nothing but that, it will be taking a long step towards the diminution of war. The study of the causes and the scientific and intelligent removal of the causes of war are
the first steps. To begin this attempt at the diminution of war, to precede all discussion by disarmament is, in my judgment, the height of nonsense. I can never subscribe to that, but I agree that the League of Nations can do a very useful work, in the first place, by studying the causes of war and, in the second place, by attempting to remove those causes.
The hon. member need have no anxiety that disarmament will come suddenly to the world. All the tendency is the other way. But I think he will admit that what has already been done to that ultimate end is wise. When the meeting of the Council was held in Rome, there were present representatives of the armies, navies and air forces of nearly all the principal nations. A committee of twenty-seven was, or is being formed, there being nine naval, nine air and nine military experts on this committee. Their duties are both immediate and future, their immediate duties being to examine carefully into the military strength of each nation which applies for admission to the League with a view to seeing whether these nations are likely to be militaristic in character and to set the extent of the military strength that one of these new nations entering the League may be permitted to carry. Their second duty is to prepare a convention with a view to securing the recording of all sales of arms that are made by nations in Europe to undeveloped peoples in other parts of the world. It is realized that there is an immense stock of ammunition and arms in the hands of certain nations in Europe who need the money and do not need the arms, and there is a great temptation to them to sell these arms and ammunition to backward countries in other parts of the world. When these backward countries find themselves in possession of modern arms, it is a direct incentive to war. Consequently, the second task that falls upon this expert committee that is now well on in the process of formation is to prepare a scheme by which all such sales of arms must be registered, and no sale of arms can be made without the permission of the League. It is recognized that anything like proportional disarmament is a matter requiring long and careful consideration, but it is expected that this expert committee- which, mind you, is primarily composed of military, naval, and air men,-will first undertake a complete stock-taking, so to speak, of the war possibilities of all the 2524
nations of the world. When the actual facts are obtained, and are codified so that they can be studied, then it will be possible by agreement, I believe, to have a proportional disarmament of the world undertaken, so that no nation will suddenly find itself entirely at the mercy of its neighbour, and that each nation will gradually find that the burden of preparedness which it has hitherto carried can be lessened, knowing that the other nations of the world are doing the same thing. If we can once get the armaments of the world down to such a small extent that no nation can suddenly take any other nation by the throat we shall have gone a long way towards securing everlasting peace.
We have now reached the point where we are asked to believe that the maintenance of peace and the curtailment of armaments are the aims of the League of Nations, and also, we are told, of the Canadian Government and of the division of St. Antoine, Montreal. I would ask the hon. member if the United States was represented at the meetings of the Council that have been held in the last five months,-the United States being one of the five Great Powers?
I think I can say that no important step has been taken by the Council of the League of Nations since its formation without an opportunity having been afforded to the United States to cooperate. That will be shown by our records. If the United States declined to co-operate, they will never be in a position to say they were not invited to do so on each important matter. As yet they do not officially cooperate. They have on several occasions unofficially permitted prominent Americans to give us the benefit of their views and advice, but so long as the United States is not a member of the League of Nations, it is, of course, not bound by the decisions that are arrived at, nor does it assume any official responsibility for the carrying out of those decisions.
At the meeting in Rome it was decided that there shall be a meeting of the Assembly before the end of the present calendar year, and a decision was recorded that this meeting should commence in the first half of No-
vember. The Covenant provides that the first meeting of the Assembly must he called by President Wilson. He was therefore communicated with, and asked to issue the official call. It was suggested to him that one of the capitals of Europe would be a proper place. Whether Brussels was distinctly stated in the telegram or not I do not remember, but the understanding was that the preference of the Council for the first meeting of the Assembly was for Brussels.
Every meeting of *the Council has been attended by eight members. They are not always the same persons, although, generally speaking, the representation is continuous. The four principal Powers, and Belgium, Spain, Greece and Brazil are represented at every meeting. The Council has never sat with less nor more than eight members.