Description

    Allen Foster Dulles Typed Letter Signed. Two pages, 8.25" x 10.5" on American Commission to Negotiate Peace letterhead, [Paris], April 17, 1919 to William J. Curtis in New York. An early and fine content letter reporting on the reception of Wilson's proposal for the League of Nations. An attorney specializing in international law, Dulles (1888-1959) was chosen by Woodrow Wilson to serve as legal counsel to the United States at the Versailles Peace Conference where he served under his uncle, Secretary of State Robert Laning. Decades before his service as Cold War Secretary of State, Dulles writes in small part: "...The opinion here at the Conference, however, outside of the American Commission, is that there is very little of substance in the League, and, as a matter of fact, surprisingly little attention is being paid to it in the Conference proceedings. Curiously enough it is not regarded as one of the big peace issues, and is being accepted more for the purpose of meeting what are thought to be the strong personal views of President Wilson than because it is felt that the League will really be a power for peace. Of course, this point of view may be, and probably is, entirely erroneous, and what Europe is accepting with indifference may prove to be the really big constructive achievement of the peace. I have the impression, however, that the Convent is badly drafted, and, through excessive ambition, fails to make the definite progress which a more conservative effort might bring about... It was originally felt here in France that the peace must be one of two kinds - either a very drastic peace, which would give to France a preponderant superiority over Germany; or an equitable peace, which would leave Germany powerful but it would contain guarantees to ensure France against subsequent aggression. it was assumed that the League would afford this guarantee, and during the early stages of the discussion this was given to be understood in France. Now, however, opinion is general that the League can serve no such purpose, and there is a probability that an effort will be made to continue an alliance between France, England and the United states for the purpose of guaranteeing France against aggression... Certainly in the eyes of Europe the League will start out as a shadowy affair, not designed to be of any real influence and already, in the opinion of Europe, discredited. This is rather gloomy picture, but, of course, the League may evidence a vitality and a vigor which will surprise those who have accepted it with indifference. That will depend largely upon its personnel curing the first few years. I should, perhaps, before closing make clear that I personally wholly favor the plan and approve of the present 'Covenant if, as is probably, that is the best that be can be gotten. I am not over-sanguine as to its significance for the future..." During the conference Dulles made a great impression by his staunch opposition to the crushing reparations imposed on Germany. He notes to Curtis that "Reparations has been one of the very thorny questions, but I think we [will] have it solved after a fashion, although the peoples here in Europe will be very far from satisfied..." Dulles would later serve at the San Francisco Conference which drafted the United Nations Charter and later as Eisenhower's Secretary of State. Two file holes at top, else fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
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