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A small segment of the great wheel of international affairs is studied here in some detail. Intensive studies of small fields are always liable to lose their sense of proportion. The fly, in Bacon's essay, "sat upon the axle-tree of the chariot wheel, and said, 'what a dust do I raise.'”
International trusteeship has a certain intrinsic importance. But that can be overemphasized, and has sometimes in the past been exaggerated and distorted. A great deal of its significance lies not in trusteeship as such but in its relationship to, and in the light it throws upon, the political axis on which the whole wheel turns. The political axis of mandates and trusteeship is discussed briefly in the introductory chapter (the detailed evidence on which that summary is based will be given in a study of international trusteeship now in preparation). Trusteeship is studied in this chapter as a phenomenon of the international frontier in relation to the working of the state system and the balance of power. The chapter is made the introduction because it is the broad conclusion that emerges from the study. This is the main historical taproot of mandates. The other important historical roots are traced in Chapter VIII.
Neglect of the political taproot of mandates and trusteeship is not the only factor making for exaggeration and illusion. Another is failure to view them against the background of national trusteeship and of dependencies in general, of which they form only a small part. A general view of mandates against this wider background is given in Part I, which was circulated by the Carnegie Endowment at the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations in April, 1945. The text of Part I has not been changed except for a few drafting changes and the addition of one or two paragraphs.
Now that history repeats itself in the trusteeship system of the United Nations, an understanding of the main historical roots of both mandates and trusteeship is more important than it was when the mandate system was a going concern. The longer perspective, and the vantage ground of a Second World War and second world organization, have made essential a historical revision both of the premandate basis and of the setting-up of the system. Part II of the study deals with the premandate
basis, the first World War, and the Paris Peace Conference. This is followed by a full account of the transition from the Covenant to the mandate system, with its many close parallels to the transition between the United Nations Charter and the trusteeship system. Full use is made of the important new historical material which has just been made available by the United States Department of State, in its Foreign Relations series, on the peacemaking of 1918–20.
Part III is devoted to a detailed examination of the working of the League mandate system. Though illustrations are drawn from the different territories, the book is in no sense a history of each of the fourteen territories. Such histories, so far as it has been possible to consult them, are referred to in some cases in the footnotes and in the bibliography. The mandate system is studied in Part III in its wider contexts. Thus, mandates in Africa are examined in relation both to League universality and to the regional conception and treatment of tropical Africa as embodied in the Congo Basin treaties.
The winding-up of the mandate system and of the League and the transition to United Nations trusteeship, are dealt with in Part IV.
The book has been written amidst the pressure of other duties. Its judgments are the author's. So are its faults and defects; but these would have been greater but for the help of friends and colleagues in supplying information and reading the manuscript. My thanks are due to Professor W. N. Medlicott, who supplied me with illustrations of the working of the international frontier; to former colleagues in the League of Nations Secretariat: Dr. Benjamin Gerig, with whom many points were discussed, and to Dr. Ranshofen-Wertheimer and Mr. V. Pastuhov (who have contributed books in this series). Mr. Peter Anker let me draw freely upon his expert knowledge and read a number of chapters, and Mr. Wilfrid Benson read the section on the ILO. Dr. Victor Hoo, Assistant Secretary General for the Department of Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories, has placed facilities and documents at my disposal. The book owes much also to information given freely by officials working in the field of international trusteeship and colonial problems in Washington and London-American, Australian, South African, and British—as well as to the reading by some of them of parts of the manuscript. My debt to other writers, and especially to Professor Quincy Wright, is apparent from the footnotes. The staff of the Carnegie Endowment has given me throughout invaluable aid in the preparation of the manuscript. I wish also to express my appreciation of the helpful advice given me by Mr. S. Whittemore Boggs, Special Adviser on Geography of the Department of State, in the preparation of the map of the international frontier.
Chapter I of this study appeared in a slightly different form as an article in the American Journal of International Law, January, 1948. An article on "International Trusteeship,” and two Notes on “Mandates and Belligerency” and on "South-West Africa,” in the British Year Book of International Law for 1947, have drawn to some extent on material in the book.
At the time of his death in London during the latter part of the war, Lord Lugard was busy on a study of mandates for the Royal Institute of International Affairs. His notes, written in his incredibly small and neat handwriting, were forwarded to me for use in the writing of this book. Wherever use has been made of them they are referred to as Lugard Manuscript. I am much indebted to his executor, Major E. J. Lugard, and through the good offices of Miss Margery Perham to whom the papers were entrusted, for the privilege of using them.
This book was completed before the tension between the U.S.S.R. and the western powers came to a head in the spring of 1948. During that spring the grinding together of the “mighty opposites,” sometimes intensified by local friction, along the zones of the international frontier produced a whole series of new fissures which throw light on the historical processes at work on that frontier. They illustrate the weakness of the characteristic arrangements, national or international-such as buffer state, or international regime—whose purpose has been to secure some stability in these perilous zones. The concept of neutrality reappeared in Scandinavia in the Soviet-Finnish treaty of April 6, and a declaration made by the Foreign Minister of Sweden. There was an ominous widening of the fissures in Germany threatening its partition. The new international regime in Trieste collapsed in the struggle between East and West over Italy. The mandate over Palestine foundered in a minor war threatening graver complications. The international frontier divided Korea. What was to emerge from this grinding process -whether new growth of international compromises, or the blighting of the old crop could not be foreseen.
H. DUNCAN HALL
Washington, D. C.