June 26, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


Joseph Tweed Shaw



I think there is a matter which is far more important than the mere proportion of expenditure, and that is the question whether or not we are getting anything like

Supply-League of Nations
the value for the expenditure that we make. I feel there is a growing conviction-I will not say as to the futility altogether-but certainly that we are not getting the maximum usefulness from this particular organization known as the League of Nations. I am not going to argue the thing now. I think it is rather unfortunate that to the question of our external relations we pay but little attention. I remember reading a statement of Vincent Massey, of Toronto, in which he pointed out that of 534 days of discussion in the last five sessions preceding this parliament, we spent only some 13^ days altogether covering the whole field of trade treaties, external department estimates, and all other matters that had even the remotest relation to external affairs. I do not want to discuss that particular matter now, but I do want to challenge the attention of the Prime Minister, and I cannot do it better than by reading two or three extracts from the first volume of a book by Kellor, entitled "Security against War." Dealing with the career of the League of Nations he says:
There have been recorded thirty-seven disputes which threatened a rupture or to disturb international peace and good understanding. Of these disputes all but four have been in some form before either the assembly or council, so a fair test of the practical value of the covenant has been afforded.
Of these thirty-seven disputes, resort was had in fourteen instances to some form of aggression in which military force was used, either before, or without, resort to the conciliatory methods of the covenant. Among these are major disputes involving territory and reparations. In thirteen o-ther disputes resort was had to political interevention. These, with the exception of Upper Silesia and Iraq, constitute minor disputes involving small territories and minorities.
It will be observed from the table that in the fourteen instances where resort was had to force, vhe question has been definitely settled, in nine of which (namely, the Burgenland, Polish-Russian War, Vilna, Corfu, Memel, the Rhur, Fiume, Teschen and Eastern Galicia) the aggressor was either rewarded with a slice of territory or with reparations. In the other instances, Greece lost its conquest over Turkey and Albania, Russia did not seek territory in Persia, and was only pursuing General Deniken, Yugo-Slavia lost its conquest over Albania and Panama lost its territory to Costa Rica as awarded by the White decision. In one other instance, upon the threatened return of ex-King Charles to Hungary, the Little Entente threatened to use force.
Of the fourteen instances in which resort was had to conciliation six (Upper Silesia, Hedjaz and Lebanon, Hungarian frontiers with Yugo-Slavia and Czechoslovakia, the Aaland islands and the return of ex-King Charles) have been definitely settled; four remain unsettled (Bolivia, the Bulgarian disputes and Hungarian optants), two have been withdrawn from the league and are in process of settlement (Iraq in the Lausanne treaty and Peru before the United States), and two have been the subject of conquest after or without political intervention (Armenia and Georgia). In four of these instances the people most vitally concerned either lost their independence or their territory (the Aaland islands, Armenia, Georgia, Hungary), and in another instance they were divided (Upper Silesia).
And may I interject, one of the real danger points of the world.
In one instance (Lebanon) the people received autonomy under a French protectorate, and in Iraq a similar provision is made under British protection.
Of the nine questions referred to the Permanent Court, only six have any direct relation to the maintenance of peace; in four of these the court rendered an opinion and in one a judgment which constituted the basis for peace and security, namely, in the instances of the nationality decrees, Polish-Czecho-slcvakian frontier, the two questions concerning German settlers, and in the Kiel canal case. The Eastern Carelian dispute was outside its jurisdiction and remains unsettled.
From the following table it appears that of the thirty-seven disputes, thirty-three were the subject of negative, neutral or affirmative action in either the assembly or the council. Of the thirty-three disputes, the council took decisive action which was accepted by the parties in four instances, the Aalands islands, Upper Silesia, Jaworzina and Memel, the initative in each instance being taken by an allied power or the conference of ambassadors. Of the remainder, eight questions have been referred to the court. In five of these an opinion has been rendered which has been accepted by the parties. In two opinions relating to minorities in Poland, that state has accepted the opinions in principle, but their application is encountering obstacles; while in one no relief was afforded.
That short statement is a challenge to the League of Nations to justify its existence.

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