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Digest of Public Opinion on Jewish Matters

[The purpose of the Digest is informative: Preference is given to papers not generally accessible to our readers. Quotation does not indicate approval.--Editor.]

Has the League of Nations failed in the matter of the protection of national, religious and linguistic minorities? This question is dealt with by Dr. William E. Rappard, head of the Permanent Mandates Commission, whose article on the minorities problem appears in “International Conciliation,” (Sept. issue) published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Dr. Rappard gives an outline of the history of the minority problem and describes the League’s machinery set up for the protection of minorities. Pointing out that in the several years since this machinery was created only five petitions, including the one of the Jews regarding the numerus clausus in Hungary, have been considered, Dr. Rappard proceeds:

“This is by no means a brilliant record of achievement. It is a fact universally admitted by competent and impartial observers that most minorities in Eastern Europe are being subjected to a treatment which is sometimes declared grossly oppressive and sometimes pettily unfair, but which is certainly far from that generous and even-handed justice contemplated by the authors of the minority treaties. The obligations to ensure equality and ‘security in law and in fact’ to all citizens of the signatory states, irrespective of their race, language, or religion, have been recognized as being of international concern and placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations. The Council has accepted the responsibility of seeing to the execution of these obligations. In the course of five years it has not considered more than half a dozen petitions and in no case has it succeeded in clearly and unqualifiedly enforcing the provisions of the treaties, which are being generally violated in their spirit if not in their letter.

“Must we therefore conclude that the action of the League to execute the Peace Treaties has been a blank failure in this vital matter of the protection of minorities ? If we were to base our answer solely on a comparison between what is and what ought to be, I am afraid we would be driven to reply in the affirmative. If however, we compare what is, with what was before the war and what presumably would be today, if there were no minority treaties and no League of Nations responsible for their enforcement, our answer will be very different.

“The positive action of the Council has resulted in no fully satisfactory immediate remedial measures. But the constant pressure of international opinion, focussed on the policy of the minority Powers, thanks to the publicity of the proceedings before the Council, the Court, and above all of the Assembly, combined with the inconspicuous but persistent friendly warnings, advice, and suggestions which the governments concerned are constantly receiving from Geneva, have undoubtedly exercised a moderating, as well as a constructively pacifying influence.

“Year after year the representatives of these governments come before the Assembly to show just how liberal, how generous are their intentions, their institutions, and their policy with respect to their minorities. If so doing they rarely convince their audiences, they achieve a far more useful result: they oblige themselves, their governments, and even to some degree their parliaments, to endeavor to live up to the standards which in the face of the world they insistently declare to be theirs. The often noted fact that these representatives, on their return from Geneva, are more liberal than their governments at home, and these in turn more liberal than their parliaments and officials, less exposed to the pressure of international opinion, is a clear indication of the hopeful possibilities of the action of the League.”

The chief reason for the difficulty encountered in the effort to protect the minorities results, we are told by Dr. Rappard, “from the recrudescence of narrow nationalism and from the slump in international solidarity, which have characterized the last years the world over. Some states have been driven thereby to adopt a policy of national isolation, others to bow down before the fascist ideal of national power and national glory, others to exalt the principle of absolute, unbridled, uncompromising national sovereignty in their foreign relations and that of intolerant racial, linguistic, and religious unity within their own frontiers. It is obvious that under such conditions a League of Nations, weakened by the very circumstances which would make its interventions more imperative, could not completely fulfill the hopes of its founders in carrying out their designs.”

BREVITIES

Attorney General Albert Ottinger was endorsed for nomination for Governor at a meeting of the Republican Club of the Seventh Assembly District. The resolution was offered by Judge Abraham Ellenbogen and seconded by J. Van Vechten Elsberg.

Jacob Rosenthal, a retired business man of Woodmere, Long Island, was kidnapped Monday night by bandits near Cuernavaca, despatches from Mexico City state.

There will be no performance of “Potash and Perlmutter” at the Ritz Theatre on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The contract of Ludwig Satz contains a clause excusing him from appearing on the stage during Yom Kippur.

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