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gards Russia, asked his Ambassador to request us to remain neutral, and gave us a delay in which to reply of 18 hours. What is not known and what I now reveal is that the telegram containing these instructions finished with these words:
“If the French Government declares that it will remain neutral your Excellency will kindly state that we must, as a guarantee of that neutrality, demand the handing over of the fortresses of Toul and Verdun, which we shall occupy and hand back on the conclusion of the war with Russia. The reply to this last question must have reached here before 4 o'clock on Saturday."
That is how Germany wished to treat at the moment when she declared war. That shows her sincerity when she maintains that we forced her to take arms for her defense. That is the price she meant to make us pay for our turpitude if we had had the infamy to hand over Allied Russia to her and of repudiating our signature as Prussia repudiated hers in tearing up the treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality. She began by exacting, in order to come to an agreement with us to consummate her crime, that we should give up our two dearest and most glorious fortresses, one of which by the heroism of its defenders has increased its immortal
Who can say where Germany would have stopped had we been vile enough to take the crude bait of her ignominious perfidy?
The passage of the German White Book to which M. Pichon refers is the following telegram:
Russia has ordered mobilization of her entire army and navy, directed also against us in spite of our still pending mediation and although we have not resorted to any mobilization measures. We thereupon declared the threatening state of war, which is bound to be followed by mobilization unless Russia stops within twelve hours all warlike measures against us and Austria. Mobilization inevitably implies war. Please ask French Government whether they intend to remain neutral in a Russo-German war. Reply must be made within eighteen hours. Wire at once hour of enquiry. Utmost speed necessary.'
In commenting upon this address and its disclosures, M. Viviani said, according to the London Times of March 4, 1918:
These revelations enable me now better to appreciate Baron von Schoen's attitude in my room on July 31, 1914. You will remember that it was on that occasion that he came to tell me that Germany felt herself obliged to declare & state of danger of war, and he then asked me what would be the attitude of France in the event of a conflict between Russia and Germany. The question was precise, and doubtless the German Ambassador expected one or other of the following replies, which he would have turned to profit: Either he expected me to say,
1 German White Book, No. 24, telegram of the Imperial Chancellor to the Imperial Ambassador in Paris on July 31, 1914 (Urgent). Supplement to this JOURNAL, Vol. 8 (1914), p. 409 (Annex 25); Diplomatic Documents Relating to the Outbreak of the European War, publication of the Carnegie Endowment, ed. by J. B. Scott, Part II, pp. 811-812.
"In such a case this is war," when he would have left me, imputing aggressive language to France; or else he expected me, stunned by the news he communicated, to display a weakness favorable to the dishonorable proposals which could not only not be considered for a moment by a representative of France, but which such a representative could not expose himself to receive. I replied to him, “France will consider her interests." Baron von Schoen, apart from telling me that he had to return on the following day for a reply to his questions, said nothing more. He did, indeed, come back, but he asked no question, and appeared, indeed, to take no further interest in that which he had put to me on the previous day.
The incident to which M. Viviani refers is thus related in the French Yellow Book under date of July 31, 1914:
Baron von Schoen finally asked me, in the name of his government, what the attitude of France would be in case of war between Germany and Russia. He told me that he would come for my reply to-morrow (Saturday) at 1 o'clock.
I have no intention of making any statement to him on this subject and I shall confine myself to telling him that France will have regard to her interests. The Government of the Republic need not indeed give any account of her intentions except to her ally.'
According to the German White Book, under date of August 1, 1.05 P.M., the German Ambassador sent the following telegram to the Imperial Chancellor:
Upon my repeated definite enquiry whether France would remain neutral in the event of a Russo-German war, the Prime Minister declared that France would do that which her interests dictated.?
In reply to M. Pichon's statement and declaration, Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg is reported by the Associated Press, in a dispatch dated March 16, 1917, to have said in an interview published by the Munich Nueste Nachrichten:
The Russian general mobilization furnished an indisputable proof that those factors which wielded power in Russia over the head of the Tsar desired war in all circumstances. My instructions to our Ambassador, Baron von Schoen, on July 31, 1914, have now been brought to light. But what have these instructions to do with the Russian mobilization and France's attitude? Russian regiments were already on the march before these instructions were written, and the French Government had no knowledge whatever of these instructions when replying to our
1 French Yellow Book, No. 117, M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. Paléologue, French Ambassador at St. Petersburg, Paris, July 31, 1914. Supplement to this JOURNAL, Vol. 9 (1915), p. 258; Diplomatic Documents, ibid., Part I, p. 673.
2 German White Book, No. 26, telegram of the Imperial Ambassador in Paris, to the Imperial Chancellor, August 1, 1.05 P.M. Supplement, Vol. 8, p. 410 (Annex 27); Diplomatic Documents, ibid., Part II, p. 813.
question as to whether, in case of war with Russia, it would remain neutral. The French Government simply declared it would do what France's interests demanded. As is indeed well known, these instructions were never acted upon, consequently they had not the slightest influence on the actual course of events.
No one could seriously doubt that we had not only to fight against the Russian mobilization, but also to fight France. The Russo-French alliance had sufficiently shown by the entire policy pursued by both countries during recent decades that any war would be for us a war on two fronts; and, furthermore, our enemies' own publications in regard to the events of July, 1914, also testify that Russia herself had made sure of France's assistance.
I myself was not in the slightest doubt about this state of affairs when the instructions were sent to Baron von Schoen; but, precisely on that account, we could not disregard the eventuality that perhaps France might provisionally make a declaration of neutrality, which, however, could not be relied upon permanently, and that under cover of her apparent initial neutrality she might complete her preparations in order, at a moment when we were deeply engaged in the East, to fall upon us. I do not need to point out in what a desperate position we should have been placed in such a contingency. Only a neutrality which was securely guaranteed could afford us any protection against such an eventuality.
I would also like to remind French statesmen that Germany proposed yet another form of guarantee for France's neutrality, not in any way connected with the unfulfilled instructions. When the prospect opened which unfortunately rested upon a misunderstanding of the war being restricted through Great Britain's intermediation to the East we expressly declared that the declaration of France's neutrality would offer us complete security if guaranteed by Great Britain. Nothing can more unequivocally demonstrate that we had no intention whatever of assailing France's honor, let alone an attack on France.
The statements of these distinguished European gentlemen speak for themselves. They require neither comment, criticism, nor confirmation.
JAMES BROWN Scott.
THE DEFENSE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
It is significant and helpful to note that in France there was formed in 1916 a Committee for the Defense of International Law.? At
1 The London Times, March 18, 1918.
Belgique, Louis Renault, 1917
le Droit International, Jules Basdevant, 1917
Février Mars 1917, Paul Fauchille, 1917
the head of the Comité pour la Defense du Droit International was the late Louis Renault. Renault had long occupied the foremost place in the science of international law. His judicial temperament, simplicity of nature, lucidity of thought and expression, his spirit of sincere kindliness, graced a primacy which was ungrudingly conceded. It would be difficult even for one of enemy nationality to accuse Renault of degrading his intellect to support as scientific a contention which had its sole basis in national interest.
The Committee admits that doubtless it is difficult to ask a jurist to condemn in express terms the conduct of his own government, even when he regards it as blameworthy in the highest degree. He is naturally inclined to defend it, more or less to identify the rule of law with the interest of his own country. But, nevertheless, there is a limit imposed upon men devoted to the study of law and entrusted with its teachings. Not everything should be approved, or, in accordance with prejudice, declared lawful and honorable. In the presence of certain acts silence can be demanded and laudation condemned. After the violation of law, in the presence of actions illegal or barbarous, nothing is more detestable than the attempt to justify them by unreal arguments; this leads to a downright perversion of the moral sense. Whether or not this passage from the Committee's preface was drafted by Renault, it would express his sentiments.
It is with this spirit that Renault entered upon the discussion of Les Premières Violations du Droit des Gens par l'Allemagne, Luxembourg et Belgique, which was published in 1917, and later translated by Frank Carr, and published by Longmans, Green & Company. In the seventy-eight pages of this pamphlet the legal aspect of these violations of law, which have so often been discussed, are clearly stated, and Renault says, “in conclusion I wish to express my entire conviction of the guilt of Germany and the good right of Belgium.” The second pamphlet in the series is by Professor Pillet, and is concerned with German violence against noncombatants.
The third, a pamphlet of sixty-nine pages, is by Professor Basdevant of Grenoble, and relates to deportations from northern France and from Belgium, for forced labor. After a clear and careful consideration of authorities, he finds no precedents for the deportations. Such acts are contrary to conventional and general international law, and in flagrant violation of approved practice, is Professor Basdevant's conclusion.
Monsieur Paul Fauchille, of the Revue Générale de Droit International Public, is the author of a pamphlet upon the evacuation of the territory
occupied by Germany in northern France. In this pamphlet, practice, the Hague and other conventions, and the German rules of war are cited in order to show the disregard of all rules which accompanied the evacuation. Devastation of fields, destruction of fertile lands, injury to water supplies, pillage of public and private buildings, are mentioned as examples of the martyrdom of northern France, that the Germans announced had been transformed into a "land of death." These acts have been justified by German commanders on the usual plea of “military necessity.” Even the most liberal interpretation of this plea would not justify the destruction of artistic property, public monuments, and the like. Fauchille looks forward to penal reparation in the treaty of peace for these German violations of the law of war.
These pamphlets present clearly and briefly, from the French point of view, the illegal aspects of the German conduct of warfare. The names of the authors are sufficient to warrant the highest consideration of their conclusions. Behind these names stand the names of the distinguished French Committee for the Defense of International Law,
They propose to study scientifically some of the questions raised by the war, to apply to them solutions dictated by legal principles generally recognized, and by the conscience of the civilized world. Not indulging in loud declamation, they will fight the opinions of their enemies with keenness, and sometimes even with passion, but without permitting themselves to be drawn into abuse. Doubtless we do not forget that we are Frenchmen, that our country is engaged in a terrible war, but we will always remember that we are lawyers and that we must respect our science even in the fiercest struggles. To enlighten our conscience and that of our allies and neutrals, to state our common faith in the justice of our cause, such is the task we set before us, and which we shall endeavor to accomplish in all plainness.
GEORGE GRAFTON WILSON.
THE CLOSING OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN COURT OF JUSTICE
On March 17, 1918, it was announced in the press that the judges of the Central American Court of Justice paid their respects to the President of Costa Rica and took leave of the court, which had ceased to exist because of the failure of a contracting Power to renew the convention creating the court when the term of ten years for which it was concluded had elapsed.
It is not necessary to enter upon a detailed examination of the convention creating the court, or of the reasons which caused one of the