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organized power, always lying in wait to accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security for the democratic governments of the world. We are now about to accept the gage of battle with this natural foe to liberty and shall, if necessary, spend the whole force of the nation to check and nullify its pretensions and its power. We are glad, now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the world and for the liberation of its peoples, the German peoples included; for the rights of nations great and small and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience. The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind. We shall be satisfied when those rights have been made as secure as the faith and the freedom of nations can make them.
And you will see the feeling toward Russia with which America has entered the great war in another clause of the same address. President Wilson further said:
Does not every American feel that assurance has been added to our hope for the future peace of the world by the wonderful and heartening things that have been happening within the last few weeks in Russia. Russia was known by those who knew it best to have been always in fact democratic at heart, in all the vital habits of her thought, in all the intimate relationships of her people that spoke their natural instinct, their habitual attitude towards life. The autocracy that crowned the summit of her political structure, long as it had stood and terrible as was the reality of its power, was not in fact Russian in origin, character, or purpose; and now it has been shaken off and the great generous Russian people has been added in all their naïve majesty and might to the forces that are fighting for freedom in the world, for justice, and for peace. Here is a fit partner for a League of Honor.
That partnership of honor in the great struggle for human freedom, the oldest of the great democracies now seeks in fraternal union with the youngest.
The practical and specific methods and possibilities of our allied coöperation, the members of the mission would be glad to discuss with the members of the Government of Russia.
REPLY OF THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
It is a great honor to me to have the pleasure of receiving this high commission which is sent by the American people and their President to freed Russia and to express the feelings of deep sympathy which the Provisional Government, representing the people of Russia, have toward your country.
The event of the great revolution which we have achieved makes allies of the oldest and the newest republics in the world. Our revolution was based on the same wonderful words which first were expressed in that memorable document in which the American people in 1776 declared their independence.
Just as the American people then declared:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
So the Russian people, which for centuries have been enslaved by a government which was not that which the feeling of the nation wished or wanted, have so declared and shaken off the fetters which bound them, and as the wind blows away the leaves in autumn so the government which has bound us for centuries has fallen and nothing is left but the free government of the people.
So the Russian people now stand before the world, conscious of their strength and astonished at the ease with which that revolution happened, and the first days of our freedom indeed brought surprise to us as well as to the rest of the world; but the day which brought the revolution was not only a day which brought freedom, for it brought us face to face with two enormous problems which now stand before the Russian people, and these problems are the creation of a strong democratic force in the interior of Russia and a fight with the common foe without, with that foe which is fighting you as well as us and which is now the last form and last strength of autocracy; and it was with a feeling of gladness that we found you on the side of the Allies and that after our revolution there was no autocracy among those with whom we found ourselves fighting. We found with joy that in the high, lofty motives which have impelled your great republic to enter this conflict there is no strain of autocracy or spirit of conquest, and our free people shall be guided by those same high, lofty motives and principles.
And now let us stand together, for we pursue the same endeavor in the war and in the peace which is to follow. We representatives of the Russian nation who have been placed at its head to lead the Russian nation through its hardships on its way to freedom, following these principles which have always brought a nation from complete slavery into complete freedom, are confident we shall find the way which will lead us side by side, not only the Russian peoples but their allies, along that way which will bring us to future happiness.
The revolution of Russia is a moral factor which shows the will of the Russian people in its endeavor to secure liberty and justice, and these elements the Russian people show and wish to show, not only in their internal affairs which we ourselves have to lead and in which we wish to be guided by these principles, but also in our international relations and in our international policies.
This war, which was brought upon us three years ago and which the Russian revolution found when it entered the struggle of free nations, left but one door for us to enter, and by that door we have entered and we shall continue in that path. These Russian people strive to the end of militarism and to a durable peace which would exclude every violence, from whatever side it may come and all imperialistic schemes, whatever
their form may be. The Russian people have no wish of conquest or dominion and are opposed to those ideas in others, and first of all they will not allow any of those imperialistic desires which our enemy has formed, manifest or hidden, to come to good in whatever sphere he may have planned them, political, financial, or economic. This constitutes the firm will or what Russia has to guard herself against.
There is also a second great thought which was expressed by that memorable document by which the nation of the United States and its people at the day of their independence declared their desires and wishes, which says that nations should have a right to show themselves the way they wished to go and to decide for their future, and this high principle the Russian people have accepted and considered that it must guide their politics, and they consider also that all nations, however small or great, have the right to decide what their future will be and that no territory and no people can be transferred from one country to another without their consent and like things. Human beings have the right to say for themselves what they shall do and whose subjects they shall become.
I am happy to see you and happy to say that there is no idea or factor of a moral or material kind to divide us or to prevent us from being hand in hand across the Pacific. These two great peoples, the free people of Russia and the free people of America - the great people of the United States who are the oldest, strongest, and purest democracy,— hand in hand will show the way that human happiness will take in the future.
Allow me, therefore, to greet you, to welcome you in the name of my colleagues and of our government which represents our people, and to say how happy we are to see you here.
A UNIQUE INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM 1
Just previous to the outbreak of the European War there was an international conference in session at Christiania in Norway which was charged with the solution of a problem unique from an international standpoint. It arose from the extraordinary political situation of the archipelago of Spitzbergen lying about four hundred miles north of the Norwegian coast.
The conference, which was in session for several weeks and to which the United States sent delegates, as did all the Powers of Northern Europe, was unable to reach a definite agreement, so that the problem remains unsolved. Sometime, however, a solution will have to be found, although the United States may not participate in future conferences, since the American interests which were involved in 1914 have, it is reported, been transferred to Norwegian capitalists. But whether we take part or not in working out the problem, it is none the less interesting on account of its difficulties and unusual character, as will be disclosed when the facts are stated.
Prior to the beginning of the present century the islands of Spitzbergen, which are nearly 50,000 square miles in area, were merely places of resort for whalers and hunters of various nationalities. The barren shores and deep harbors, which are closed by arctic ice eight or nine months in the year, were deemed to be valueless for permanent occupation. About the year 1900, however, coal deposits in West Spitzbergen, the existence of which had been known for some time, were found to be commercially valuable, and a company with American capital was organized to exploit them. Confident of the wealth of these coal fields, a considerable investment was made, shafts were sunk, and machinery and buildings erected.
The profitable nature of the enterprise aroused the cupidity of persons belonging to nationalities other than that of the first company and,
1 This article was prepared by Mr. Lansing before he became Secretary of State. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF.