Nuclear Terrorism

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Office Without Power: Secretary-General Sir Eric
Drummond 1919-1933. By James Barros. (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1979. Pp. xii
+ 423. $41.00.)
James Barros' Office Without Power is the first
book to appear on Sir Eric Drummond's tenure
as the first secretary-general of the League of Na-
tions. Those who write textbooks on international
organization frequently use Drummond as a pro-
totype of the discreet, behind-the-scenes admin-
istrator and facilitator of international agree-
ments who eschews public exposure and publicity
either for his own positions on issues or for the
ideals of the organization's charter.
Drummond adopted this role because he was
aware that the great powers in his day would not
and could not rely upon the newly created League
to solve major international issues. Thus, he
sought to be perceived as a neutral international
officer who would merit the confidence of every
League member and who would always be ready
to help in international conflicts to whatever ex-
tent possible within the principles of the Covenant
(p. 263). While the League could never dictate the
settlement of disputes, especially those involving
major powers, Drummond thought that the or-
ganization could provide "face shaving machin-
ery" in conflicts involving prestige and serve as
"an enormous safety valve" for the volatile boun-
dary and minority disputes that plagued the first
decade of the interwar period (p. 41). Any more
grandiose role for the organization would come
slowly, he thought.
The great contribution of Barros' book is his
absolutely thorough and detailed description of
Drummond's behavior within this role concep-
tion. Drummond's quiet activity is revealed in de-
tail for every major conflict during the first 13
years of the League's history. Barros' study also
makes it clear that while Drummond worked qui-
etly and discreetly he was in no way nonpolitical.
He...
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