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of Imperial relations, as he sees it, from a merely personal union. There is little doubt that Sir Robert Borden had a mandate for a strong assertion of Canadian nationality. It is, however, the vice of democracy that the people, in their demand for privileges, forget the corresponding obligations. This vice it is the paramount duty of the statesman to correct. There is no trace in any of Sir Robert Borden's speeches that are available in Australia that he has attempted to do this. He contents himself with a plain narrative of what he has done for Canada, and never appears to have put to himself the searching questions which should accompany such a big departure as he advocated.
One of Sir Robert's Ministers, Mr A. L. Sefton, was more critical, and declared that 'the British Empire is composed of five or six nations with one Sovereign. When that Sovereign is at war, all these nations are at war; but the part that any one nation takes in that war is determined by its own Parliament exercising its own sovereign power.' In this remark he made an attempt to meet one of the deepest problems involved in the position which his chief had taken up. Will it serve? War has consequences undesirable to noncombatants. It can hardly be regarded as a very successful assertion of Canadian individuality to bring about a state of things in which she can be involved in a war, brought about purely by Australian action, in regard to which Canada has never been consulted. The implications from such a position are unthinkable. In the event of the King being at war through Canadian action, the United Kingdom not being consulted, would the British Navy support the King who had been involved by Canada, and would the people of the United Kingdom be willing to suffer the penalties of being at war, even as non-combatants? It is evident that the statesmen who proposed these suggestions do not envisage Canada really in danger. Though they probably do not admit it to themselves, they consider themselves adequately protected by the Monroe Doctrine. It is somewhat significant that Canada's first action in pursuance of her new status is to appoint an ambassador to Washington. Is the common political interest of the two countries under the Monroe Doctrine the
sub-conscious influence at the back of this? Mr Hughe has also announced that Australia intends to appoin an ambassador in America who will act in conjunction but not necessarily in agreement, with the British Ambassador. Common interests in the Pacific car hardly be sufficient to justify the appointment. More over, the chances of diplomatic incident, needing handling by an ambassador, are very remote. Mi Με Hughes' action is merely imitative, and it represents a growing momentum in the centrifugal tendency.
The very fact that there can be so many different interpretations of the same act by the participants within a few months is rather a severe criticism upon those statesmen. In fact, save as to the bare words of the formula used in Paris, there was no mutuality. Each statesman used the formula with his own idea of what he meant. What he has been doing since is to give it some relation to a definite theory. This formula represents what is left of Imperial unity. It is not inconsistent with a very effective unity and a common effort to achieve the great purposes for which the British peoples stand. But, while statesmen get up and give varying accounts of what the formula means, while they make up their minds as to how they are going to apply it, the question of Imperial unity must be in a somewhat precarious condition. It may not be possible or desirable to set up a central instrument of government for the Empire. It should at least be possible to draw up a covenant which sets out in intelligible terms what the parties intend to do for one another.
Meanwhile, it is important to point out that, in their anxiety to assert their freedom, their virtual independence without actually parting asunder, the statesmen of Canada and South Africa have placed upon the Sovereign a serious responsibility and strain. It is all too probable that their theory would destroy the very basis upon which they seek to rest it. However far you abstract the Sovereign, he can only act in one way at once. It is contemplated that he will be receiving advice from different sources. Such advice will not always coincide. It may be contradictory, even antagonistic. In such & case, the King will have to choose whose advice he will follow. The rejection of one advice will snap the link
and lead to the dissolution of the one bond. Nor does the responsibility of choosing which advice to follow belong to the Crown. By a series of democratic victories it has been taken away. If we insist on restoring it, we place on the King an obligation which he could never sustain. The King can never become an organ in the Imperial system. He must remain what he is in the British Constitution. The idea of multiple responsibilty is either a reactionary attempt to increase the prerogatives of the Crown or it is a sham. If the advice to the Crown is a mere form-something which is only meant to maintain the show of what has already disappearedthen the Empire is dead already.
Events which have transpired since the Peace was signed render it unnecessary to consider in such detail the third step in Dominion Status taken at Paris—the separate membership of the League of Nations. The refusal of the United States of America to ratify the Covenant radically affects that compact. Without the United States the League cannot function effectively. If the Covenant is finally approved, it will probably differ widely from the existing document. One of the terms at present under discussion is the status of the Dominions. Nevertheless this whole phase illustrates, in the most illuminating way, the statesmanship of the representatives of the various British Delegates. During the Peace Conference-while the Draft Covenant was being prepared-Sir Robert Borden, as he informed his House of Commons, set himself to ensure that the status accorded the Dominions in the Peace Conference and the Peace Treaty should be accorded to them in all international relationships in the future. The first drafts of the Covenant did not altogether satisfy him, and he pressed for a recognition which would be quite unambiguous. It was due to this pressure, which was supported by the other Dominion delegates, that the Dominions were accepted as original signatories of the Covenant and members of the League.
There are still two slight ambiguities in the Covenant which are relevant. The list of British signatories, commencing with the British Empire and the Dominions, are set out with an inner margin. It has been suggested that the words 'British Empire' include the Dominions, which
have thus a dual membership. It is also suggested that the inner margin groups in some way the British States. Sir Robert Borden is, however, emphatic that there is nothing whatever in the Covenant to distinguish the British Dominions from any other member of the League. To make this doubly sure, he secured a memorandum from Mr Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau, and President Wilson, in which they assured him that Canada is eligible for a seat on the Council of the League. Having received this assurance, Sir Robert Borden signed the Covenant, and assumed for the 7,000,000 souls in Canada the vast obligations of that document with an enviable feeling of satisfaction. It will be noticed that in the same geographical area, a nation of over 100,000,000 souls hesitates, and finally refuses, to accept these obligations. Either the American nation are caitiffs or Sir Robert Borden and his constituents are foolhardy. The difference, of course, is that the United States has for a century and a half enjoyed the responsibility of international action; whereas Canada has not. The American reluctance to assume these obligations may or may not be a paltry fear of responsibility. But surely the Canadian attitude is the carelessness of irresponsibility. And if this applies to Canada, what shall we say of Australia, which has no great Republic to nestle under, but, is isolated and practically incapable of guaranteeing its own security?
Even if we pass by the obligations of the League and test the position by calculating the influence which will be exercised by the various Powers in association with or without the rest of the Empire, we must see that the Dominions have gained only the shadow and lost the substance by the change. The relative influence of the Dominions in isolation will be exceedingly small. Canada will rank far below Belgium; and Australia, taking into account her smallness of population and her strategic weakness and the small value she possesses for any system of world balance, will be one of the most insignificant influences in the League. What have these shadowy influences to compare with the extraordinary influence they would wield as favourite sons' and partners of the most powerful and best trusted member of the League?
General Smuts, indeed, claims that during the discussion on economic conventions it was admitted by the Peace Conference that for economic purposes the British Nation was entitled to be treated as a group and the restriction on international economic agreements should not apply to them. He argued, therefore, that defensive agreements between the various parts of the Empire were in order. If this be so, the British members of the League enjoy a position of peculiar privilege. It may be suggested, however, that the second proposition, which affects a supremely vital principle of the League, does not follow from the first, which is not at all vital. There is no justification for the doctrine of a British League within the League of Nations in the Covenant itself. A discussion at Paris, or even a clause in the Peace Treaty, cannot alter the interpretation of the Covenant.
The whole proposition that the Dominions can be linked in defensive organisation with each other and the United Kingdom and yet be independent members is fallacious. Like the other ideas we have been discussing, it is based on a contradiction. It is inconsistent with a statesmanlike interpretation of the Covenant. The Covenant is an agreement to adopt certain measures in order to prevent war amongst its members or against any of them. It relies on the guarantee given by each member and the independent and impartial exercise of the influence of each on matters which come before it. Can it be said that such a system will work if members who have an independent status and voice in the League are yet bound to one another in a complete naval and military organisation? Will they use such an organisation against one of their own League? Will the British forces and the British economic organisation be used to bring a recalcitrant Canada to book? It is often said that voting power under the League is of little importance because most of the decisions of the League have to be unanimous. Many important matters can, however, be decided by majority votes, the power of amendment being one. The voting power can be used to put a Dominion on the Council. In the proposed system the voting power could be used to prevent an unanimous vote, or in practice a two-thirds vote, being given against