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inaugurated by General Carranza against General Huerta proved successful and the government established by him has been recognized by the political department of our government as the de facto and later as the de jure government of Mexico, which decision binds the judges as well as all other officers and citizens of the government. United States v. Palmer, 3 Wheat, 160; In re Cooper, 143 U. S. 472; Jones v. United States, 137 U. S. 202. This recognition is retroactive in effect and validates all the actions of the Carranza Government from the commencement of its existence (Williams v. Bruffy, 96 U. S. 176, 186; Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 253) and the action of General Pereyra complained of must therefore be regarded as the action, in time of civil war, of a duly commissioned general of the legitimate Government of Mexico.
In Oetjen v. Central Leather Co. (this JOURNAL, Vol. 12, p. 421), a case decided on March 11, 1918, involved the question of title to two consignments of hides which had been purchased from General Villa, on January 3, 1914, who had seized them while acting as commander of Carranza forces in the north of Mexico. The Supreme Court took
judicial notice of the fact that since the transactions thus detailed and since the trial of this case in the lower courts, the Government of the United States recognized the Government of Carranza as the de facto government of the Republic of Mexico, on October 19, 1915, and as the de jure government on August 31, 1917. Jones v. United States, 137 U. S. 202; Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250...
The conduct of the foreign relations of our government is committed by the Constitution to the Executive and Legislative—“the political?–Departments of the Government, and the propriety of what may be done in the exercise of this political power is not subject to judicial inquiry or decision. United States v. Palmer, 3 Wheat. 610; Foster v. Neilson, 2 Pet. 253, 307, 309; Garcia v. Dee, 12 Pet. 511, 517, 520; Williams v. Suffolk Ins. Co., 13 Pet. 415, 420; In re Cooper, 143 Ú. S. 472, 499. It has been specifically decided that “Who is the sovereign de jure or de facto of a territory is, not a judicial but is a political question, the determination of which by the legislative and executive departments of any government conclusively binds the judges, as well as all other officers, citizens and subjects of that government. This principle has always been upheld by this court, and has been affirmed under a great variety of circumstances.' Jones v. United States, 137 U. S. 202, 212.
It is also the result of the interpretation by this court of the principles of international law that when a government which originates in revolution or revolt is recognized by the political department of our government as the de jure government of the country in which it is established, such recognition is retroactive in effect and validates all the actions and conduct of the government so recognized from the commencement of its existence. Williams v. Bruffy, 96 U. S. 176, 186; Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 253. See S. C. 65 Fed. Rep. 577.
To these principles we must add that: “Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other sovereign state and the courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the acts of the government of another done within its own territory. Redress of grievances by reason of such acts must be obtained through the means open to be availed of by sovereign Powers as between themselves. Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 253; American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U. S. 347.
Applying these principles of law to the case at bar, we have a duly commissioned military commander of what must be accepted as the legitimate government of Mexico, in the progress of a revolution, and when conducting active independent operations, seizing and selling in Mexico, as a military contribution, the property in controversy, at the time owned and in the possession of a citizen of Mexico, the assignor of the plaintiff in error. Plainly this was the action, in Mexico, of the legitimate Mexican Government when dealing with a Mexican citizen, and, as we have seen, for the soundest reasons, and upon repeated decisions of this court such action is not subject to reëxamination and modification by the courts of this country.
The principle that the conduct of one independent government can not be successfully questioned in the courts of another is as applicable to a case involving the title to property brought within the custody of a court, such as we have here, as it was held to be to the cases cited, in which claims for damages were based upon acts done in a foreign country, for it rests at last upon the highest considerations of international comity and expediency. To permit the validity of the acts of one sovereign state to be reëxamined and perhaps condemned by the courts of another would very certainly "imperil the amicable relations between governments and vex the peace of nations."
An editorial in this JOURNAL (Vol. X, p. 366) imparts the following information bearing on the form of recognition by the United States of the de facto governments of Carranza in Mexico :
On October 19, 1915, the Secretary of State of the United States sent a note to the Confidential Agent extending recognition to the de facto government in Mexico, of which General Venustiano Carranza is the chief executive, and suggesting the reciprocal appointment of diplomatic representatives by the two governments. The Secretary of State stated on February 12, 1916, that "the said de facto government has since been recognized by substantially all the countries of Latin America; also by Great Britain, France, Italy, Russia, Japan, Austria-Hungary, Germany and Spain; and several other countries have recently announced their intention of extending recognition.
Respecting the form of recognition of de facto governments, there appears to be very little accessible information. The recognition of belligerency usually occurs indirectly through proclamations of neutrality, but Wiesse (Le droit international appliqué, etc., p. 32) says it may be given directly by decree. He cites the recognition by decree of the Cuban insurgents by Peru in 1869 and of the Chilean insurgents by Bolivia in 1891.
On July 3, 1815, the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States directed that merchant vessels belonging to the Spanish provinces in revolt should be admitted at our custom houses (Moore's Digest, I, p. 170); and in 1822 an Act of Parliament was passed (3 Geo. IV, c. 43, III), providing that “any goods or merchandise being of the growth, production or manufacture of any country or place in America or the West Indies, being or having been a part of the dominions of the King of Spain, and which goods or merchandise may at any time be lawfully imported into the United Kingdom in British built ships, may be imported into the United Kingdom directly from the place of their growth, production or manufacture, or from those ports in such country or place where such goods or merchandise can only be or have usually been first shipped for transportation, in ships or vessels of the build of the country or place of which such goods or merchandise may be the growth, production or manufacture; or in ships or vessels of the build of the port in such country or place where such goods or merchandise can only be or have usually been first shipped for transportation; and all which ships or vessels shall be wholly owned by the people of such country, place or port, and navigated by the master and three-fourths of the mariners of such country, place or port." (62 Pickering's Statutes, 187.)
Such action as indicated above has been characterized as a recognition of the "commercial flag."
It is a disputed question among the authorities (see, e.g., Hall, 5th ed., p. 88n in the negative, and Oppenheim, I, § 428 in the affirmative) whether the appointment and acceptance of consuls implies recognition of independence. A study of the precedents connected with the Spanish-American revolt tends to the conclusion that the mere appointment of consuls only implies de facto recognition, whereas the granting of exequaturs to consuls would imply full recognition.
Moore makes the following observations based on the documents given in § 73 of his Digest (I, p. 235):
That the recognition of a government is not necessarily to be implied from the fact of holding communication, whether oral or written, with it, is a principle of which numerous illustrations may be found in the precedents heretofore discussed, in connection with the recognition of new governments; and the same principle has been seen to be applicable to intercourse with the authorities of new states claiming to be recognized as independent. In the case of new governments, however, a situation usually exists which does not arise in the case of new states. In the latter case special agents are, where there is occasion for them, employed, since the dispatch of a minister to a new state is one of the acts from which its recognition is necessarily implied; but, in the case of a new government, the question of recognition, as a rule, practically concerns only the Powers that have already recognized the state and established regular diplomatic relations with it. There has thus arisen a certain right of diplomatic representation; and the sending of a new minister or the retention of an old one, while it implies continued recognition of the state, does not constitute a recognition of the new government, so long as there is no formal presentation of credentials and communications bear only an unofficial character.
Wiesse (see citation on p. 501, supra) remarks that recognition of de facto governments may be given by means of an acte diplomatique, lettre autographe, depêche de chancellerie, etc.
In conclusion, it may be said that European governments, at least in the nineteenth century, seem to have been guided in the matter of the recognition of new states or governments almost wholly by considerations of policy or expediency and (perhaps we should add) sympathy with monarchical régimes.
The record shows that in every instance except Poland down to 1850 where any people has claimed independence by right of revolt the right of intervention has been exercised against the will of one or the other party to the dispute. In every instance the only question that has disturbed the intervening Powers has regarded neither the-right nor the policy so much as the “time and mode" of action. The only difference between the European and American practice was that the United States aimed at moderating or restricting the extreme license of European intervention, and this was the difference which brought the United States nearly into collision with Europe in 1861 and 1862. (Senate Report on Recognition of Cuban Independence, No. 1166, 54th Congress, 2d session, p. 58.)
The practice of the United States, on the other hand, appears to have been governed by mixed motives of expediency, sympathy with democratic movements, and supposed legality.
It would seem from Buchanan's statement on p. 124 of Moore's Digest that in his opinion the practice of the United States has been somewhat exceptional in its liberal recognition of de facto governments. He says: “The Pope, the Emperor of Russia, and President Jackson were the only authorities on earth which ever recognized Dom Miguel as King of Portugal." (For our recognition of Dom Miguel, see I Moore, pp. 134-136.) Yet it should be noted (p. 125) that President Polk (1848) praises Mr. Rush for having been the first to recognize the free government established by the French people, and that in 1851 Mr. Rives, our minister at Paris, felt it did not become him to sanction the successful coup d'état of Napoleon III by his presence until after the election.
In 1879 General Blanco was recognized as head of the Government of Venezuela by Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. But the United States deferred its recognition. For Evarts's reasons, see I Moore, pp. 150 ff. It may be noted (p. 161) that in 1889 we hastened to recognize the new de facto government of Brazil, apparently because of our sympathy with a republican form of government.
The method of procedure followed by the United States in recognizing new states is briefly set forth in Senate Document No. 40 of the 54th Congress, 2d session (1897). The report and resolution on Mexican affairs addressed to the House of Representatives (June, 1874, by H. W. Davis, see "Speeches and Addresses," pp. 456-471, and House Report No. 129, 38th Congress, 1st session) also contains a review of precedents in recognition of "new governments" by the United States. But these reviews throw little or no light upon the recognition of mere de facto governments. Senate Report No. 1160 (Dec. 21, 1896), on Recognition of Cuban Independence, is interest