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further consideration of the immunity of private property at sea by the next Hague Conference was earnestly favored.
Two incidents deserve special mention.
An eloquent letter from Mr. Andrew Carnegie was read, in which that eminent advocate of the pacific adjustment of differences between nations suggested the possibility of preventing future wars through the organization of a league of peace to be initiated by the German Emperor. This proposition evoked the assertion by a delegate that no single potentate was in a position to secure the peace of the world, and that such an endeavor on the part of Germany might create distrust among other nations. It was not affirmed, however, that such a league is intrinsically impossible; and tribute was paid to the idea of such an expedient by the declaration that when the world is ready for universal peace no single power could prevent its consummation.
The other incident was the proposition of the Roumanian delegate, Mr. Diesco, that the Czar of Russia should take the initiative in calling the next conference at The Hague and propose the program to be followed. Professor Quidde of Munich suggested that this proposition be referred to the general council, adding that it was, perhaps, not desirable to address this request to the Czar, and that it might be quite as appropriate to address it either to the President of the United States or the Queen of the Netherlands. The Danish delegate, Mr. Beier, supported this suggestion. Mr. Diesco replied that Russia was a country which possessed a historical conscience and followed historical tradition, and that the President of the United States had voluntarily remitted the preliminaries of the last conference at The Hague to the Czar of Russia. Further, in the final act of the last Hague Conference, he declared, it was formally provided that the Czar should convoke the next one; and, it was urged, the propriety of this must be conceded, since the Hague conferences were his work. The subject was finally referred to the council.
The wish is father to the thought, and the learned delegate of Roumania treads manfully in the footsteps of Mr. Beldiman, who endeavored in the Sixth Plenary Session (The Second Peace Conference, Acts and Documents, I:169 et seq.) of the Second Hague Conference to secure for Russia the initiative in summoning all future conferences, and who considered the “august initiative as acquired.” Mr. Mérey went so far as to say in the name of the Austrian-Hungarian delegation that “we consider the initiative of Russia as definitively acquired in this matter."
The delegations generally paid their respects to Russia as the initiator of the conference idea. It must be remembered, however, that the recommendation speaks for itself and in the recommendation for a future conference Russia is mentioned neither directly nor indirectly. The learned delegate refers to the final act as consecrating Russian initiative. The final act states in unmistakable language that the second conference was proposed in the first instance by the President of the United States of America, that it was convoked by Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, upon the invitation of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias. The diplomatic correspondence leading to the second conference shows that President Roosevelt took the initiative, that he issued the call on October 21, 1904, and that the various nations represented at the first conference expressed their willingness to attend a second as stated by President Roosevelt in the second circular letter, dated December 16, 1904. It further appears, as the delegate himself admits, that President Roosevelt renounced the initiative to Russia upon the request of Russia, as stated in a Russian memorandum presented to the President, September 13, 1905, and from the answer of the Secretary of State, dated October 12, 1905. It is not meant to suggest that the initiative taken by President Roosevelt in 1904 confers any permanent right upon the President of the United States to summon the third conference; it is insisted, however, that no nation possesses the exclusive right to initiate or summon this conference and that the expressed language of the final act, far from consecrating the Russian initiative, is an authority to the contrary. The language of the recommendation must be interpreted as any legal document, and if it be interpreted in the light of the final act as suggested by the Roumanian delegate, it would appear that any state represented at the first or second conference may take the initiative. It is important that this be clearly understood, for the conference as an institution should not depend upon any power, whether it be Russia or the United States. It should meet when international opinion requires it to meet, irrespective of the desire of any particular state. No discourtesy is meant to Russia by this simple comment. The original conference was due to the sole initiative of Russia, and the world owes the Czar a debt of gratitude. Finally, it may be said that if, as alleged, the question is already settled in the final act of the Hague Conference, it is difficult to understand why it should be raised in the Parliamentary Union.
Among the amenities of the conference was the presentation of a
peace-flag sent by the American group to the German group, accompanied by a graceful address delivered in German by Representative Richard Bartholdt in which the historic friendship and community of sentiments between the two countries were emphasized.
Of the many great truths uttered during this memorable gathering the most worthy of remembrance, perhaps, is the assertion of the German Chancellor that there is no contradiction between the highest patriotism and the common desire of the nations for peace with their neighbors. It has long been evident that what is most needed to secure the peace of the world is the growth of confidence in the good intentions and the sincerity of all the governments, and this confidence can rest upon no more secure foundation than the honor of the rulers and statesmen who direct their course.
Upon this point we may profitably weigh the words of the German Chancellor willen he says: “A rather long experience has convinced me that nothing is so well adapted to destroy misunderstandings as to become acquainted with one another through the establishment of personal relations.” This is the aim of the Interparliamentary Union, which periodically brings into contact the representatives of the legislative bodies of different countries. It is a valuable supplement to that continuous personal intercourse which permanent diplomatic missions are intended to promote, and has for its object the same purpose, namely, the consolidation of friendship and the interpretation of the national aims, so likely if not understood to create misapprehension.
It is an auspicious sign of the times that the British Parliament has appropriated three hundred pounds to meet the expenses of the next conference, an example which will no doubt be followed by other nations. If a small fraction of the money expended in preparations for wars which all good men hope may be averted were applied to the direct cultivation of the normal relations which most effectively tend to prevent them, the ends of civilization would be more speedily realized and at far less expense.
THE INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
The Institute of International Law, composed of specialists in international law selected from the nations at large, held its twenty-fourth session at Florence in the last days of September. The Institute opened on September 28 and was largely attended by its members and associates.
1 For the origin and purpose of the Institute of International Law, see editorial, this JOURNAL, 1, 135.
The general secretary, Prof. Albéric Rolin, reported upon the work of the institute during the two years which had elapsed since its meeting at Ghent in 1906, and called attention to the order of business, which dealt in the domain of international law proper, with submarine mines, treaties of arbitration, defaulting states, occupation of territories, foreigners in belligerent service, and neutrality; in the domain of conflict of laws, with obligations, movable property, penal law, “ordre public,” personal capacity, change of nationality, double taxation, etc. M. Rolin stated that several of the committees had not been able to complete their labors and that the program was one which could not be disposed of in a single session. Of the seventeen topics before the committees only six were taken into consideration, most of them dealing with private international law.
The elaborate report of M. Albéric Rolin upon the conflict of laws en matière d'obligations was substantially adopted so fat as it related to obligations ex contractu, but obligations quasi ex contractu and ex lege were reserved for future treatment. M. Corsi's report upon the laws which should regulate the obligations between citizens or subjects of different states arising from insurance against accident to workmen was referred back to his committee after receiving various amendments. The illness of M. De Lapradelle prevented the discussion of the rights and duties of neutrals which has so long commanded the attention of the institute. The report of M. Edouard Rolin, the editor in chief of the Revue de Droit International et de Législation Comparée, upon the position of foreigners in the service of belligerents was carried unanimously so far as to assimilate the status of foreigners in belligerent service to the status of nationals in like service. The subject was referred to the committee with instructions to work out the details involved by the adoption of the general principle. M. Strisower's report upon double taxation was referred back to the committee with instruction to confine itself to the question of rights of succession.
In the domain of international law proper the institute approved the committee's draft upon the employment of mines in naval warfare, a question carefully considered by the institute at Ghent in 1906. The question of submarine mines was the subject of a convention at the Second Hague Conference, and it was therefore indispensable to consider the topic not only in the light of the institute's previous action, but from the standpoint of the Hague Conference. The importance of the sub
2 See Annuaire, 21, 88–99, 330—345.
ject, therefore, is very great, and the provisional draft will be reconsidered at the next meeting of the institute at Paris in 1910. The draft as approved by the institute follows:
ARTICLE 1. Il est interdit de placer en pleine mer les mines automatiques de contact amarrées ou non.
ART. 2. Les belligérants peuvent pour des raisons stratégiques (1) placer des mines dans leurs eaux territoriales ou dans celles de l'ennemi; (2) mais il leur est interdit:
Q. De placer des mines automatiques de contact non amarrées, à moins qu'elles ne soient construites de manière à devenir inoffensives une heure au maximum après que celui qui les a placées en aura perdu le contrôle;
6. De placer des mines automatiques de contact amarrées, qui ne deviennent pas inoffensives dès qu'elles auront rompu leurs amarres.
ART. 3. Il est toujours interdit, tant en pleine mer que dans les eaux territoriales, d'employer des torpilles qui ne deviennent pas inoffensives lorsqu'elles auront manqué leur but.
ART. 4. Il est interdit de placer des mines automatiques de contact devant les côtes et les ports de l'adversaire, dans le seul but d'intercepter la navigation de Commerce.
ABT. 5. Lorsque les mines automatiques de contact amarrées sont employées, toutes les précautions doivent être prises pour la sécurité de la navigation pacifique.
ART. 6. Toute Puissance neutre qui place des mines automatiques de contact devant ses côtes doit observer les mêmes règles et prendre les mêmes précautions que celles qui sont imposées aux belligérants.
Art. 7. L'obligation de la notification incombe à l'État belligérant aussi bien qu'a l'État neutre.
ART. 8. À la fin de la guerre, les Puissances contractantes s'engagent à faire tout ce qui dépend d'elles pour enlever, chacune de son côte, les mines qu'elles ont placées.
Quant aux mines automatiques de contact amarrées que l'un des belligérants aurait posées le long des côtes de l'autre, l'emplacement en sera notifié à l'autre Partie par la Puissance qui les a posées et chaque Puissance devra procéder dans le plus bref délai à l'enlèvement des mines qui se trouvent dans ses eaux.
ABT. 9. Les Puissances contractantes, qui ne disposent pas encore de mins perfectionnées telles qu'elles sont prévues dans la présente Convention, et qui, par conséquent, ne sauraient actuellement se conformer aux règles établies dans son Art. 1 et 3, s'engagent à transformer, aussitôt que possible, leur matériel pin mines, afin qu'il réponde aux prescriptions susmentionnées.
ART. 10. La violation de l'une des règles qui précèdent entrafne la responsabilité de l'État fautif.
It is interesting to compare the project of the institute with the convention adopted at The Hague, for the text of which see this JOURNAL, Supplement, 2, 138.