In short, it may be said that on paper the obligations to settle international disputes peacefully are now so comprehensive and far-reaching that it is almost impossible for a state to resort to war without violating one or more solemn treaty obligations.
Four years of world war, at a cost in human suffering which our minds are mercifully too limited to imagine, led to the very clear realization that international anarchy must be abandoned if civilization was to survive.
He would see civilization in danger of perishing under the oppression of a gigantic paradox: he would see multitudes of people starving in the midst of plenty, and nations preparing for war although pledged to peace.
I do not believe that the values which the Western democracies consider essential to civilization can survive in a world rent by the international anarchy of nationalism and the economic anarchy of competitive enterprise.
In almost every country there are elements of opinion which would welcome such a conclusion because they wish to return to the politics of the balance of power, unrestricted and unregulated armaments, international anarchy, and preparation for war.
It is because I believe that it is in the power of such nations to lead the world back into the paths of peace that I propose to devote myself to explaining what, in my opinion, can and should be done to banish the fear of war that hangs so heavily over the world.
Therefore, let us not despair, but instead, survey the position, consider carefully the action we must take, and then address ourselves to our common task in a mood of sober resolution and quiet confidence, without haste and without pause.
The Disarmament Conference has become the focal point of a great struggle between anarchy and world order… between those who think in terms of inevitable armed conflict and those who seek to build a universal and durable peace.
The first condition of success for the League of Nations is, therefore, a firm understanding between the British Empire and the United States of America and France and Italy that there will be no competitive building up of fleets or armies between them.