Thursday, July 10, 2008

On July 10

On this day in ...

... 1999, a Ceasefire Agreement respecting the armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (map at left) was signed by that country as well as Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Witnessing the signing were delegates from Zambia, the Organization for African Unity, the United Nations, and the Southern African Development Community. The Movement for the Liberation of the Congo signed the agreement on August 1; the Congolese Rally for Democracy on August 31.

... 1919, President Woodrow Wilson personally delivered to the U.S. Senate the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I and established the League of Nations. It was the 1st such personal delivery since the founding of the Republic in 1789. His presentation did not go well:

[H]e strained to read from typewritten notes on small index cards. Perhaps suffering from the effects of a small stroke, Wilson inadvertently omitted words as he proceeded. Realizing this, he stopped and repeated the garbled sentence, only to drop more words and repeat more sentences. Only near the end of his forty-minute address did Wilson approach eloquence. Setting aside his cards, the president turned to the Republican side of the chamber, where members sat in sullen hostility. He declared that treaty approval was their only option. "The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God. We cannot turn back. The light streams on the path ahead, and nowhere else." His conclusion evoked only scattered applause.

In November 1919 and again in March 1920, the Senate rejected the treaty. (credit for photo of "Big 4" -- from right, Wilson, France's Georges Clemenceau, Italy's Vittorio Orlando, and Britain's David Lloyd George -- during negotiation of treaty in Paris)

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